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Name That Trauma :: Jody Susskind of Gods of the Game on a Tot Thrown from a Tower & a Paper-Plagued Opera Diva

September 29th, 2011 by aunt john · 11 Comments

I have vague memories of two T.V. shows that have eluded me despite intense Googling over the past few years.

The first was from the early or mid ’70s and was probably shown on The CBS Children’s Film Festival, though I can’t find anything like it on their episode list. The reason I remember it so well is because I only caught the tail end and have always wondered what the full story was.

From what I gathered, it was about a bunch of kids having an adventure in a fantasy kingdom, and one of the kids ends up in a situation where he had to jump to his death off a tower, as part of some ritual. There was a very creepy scene of this kid being forced up the stairs by two guards carrying spears. In the end his friends save the day by throwing a dummy off the tower instead.

The other one was from the late ’70s or early ’80s. My parents were watching an opera on PBS one night, and for some reason I decided to watch it with them. It was a modern opera, in English, about a woman who was progressively going insane. Her husband was missing or presumed dead or maybe he just left, but the upshot is he wasn’t there. The woman was battling some kind of awful bureaucracy that had her constantly filling out forms.

In one disturbing scene, she says (sings) “I ask you for help, and all you give me is…PAPER!” Then she goes on a rampage, screaming and throwing paper around.

The conclusion was even more horrifying: The woman has finally had enough, so she sticks her head in a gas oven. She starts to hallucinate, and in her hallucinations she’s STILL doing paperwork. The whole time the phone is ringing, and somehow you know the call is to tell her that her husband is alive, or coming back. And then she dies.

It was deeply disturbing, but I didn’t say anything to my parents because I didn’t want them to know that the opera had gotten to me. But the memory lingered for years, until I finally decided I needed to see it again. I asked my parents about it, and of course they didn’t know what I was talking about. So I’m on my own. Hope someone out there can help!

Jody Susskind

Gods of the Game

UPDATE: NAME THAT TRAUMAS SOLVED! Special thanks to kinderpals BigWig for getting the first one with THE BANANA SPLITS“New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” episode entitled “Son of the Sun” and FatherOfTears for knowing that the second opera in question is THE CONSUL.

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JSusskindNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Thanks, guys!

  • 2 bigwigNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    After four years of anxiously holding my Jeopardy buzzer, I’m going to ring in.
    I believe this to be from the Banana Split’s “New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Episode entiteled “Son of the Sun”
    These were a unique blend of live actors and animation, which was unique in the day.
    here’s a youtube link:

  • 3 JSusskindNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Holy crap, that was it! I don’t even remember there being any animation, but that was definitely the scene I saw. Thanks!

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Wow! Great job Bigwig!

    Man, I loved that show as a kid and it was pretty scary sometimes – especially Injun Joe who I thought was “Engine Joe”.

  • 5 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I might have found the second trauma:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIB9cGlLkm0 (1960)

    and a color one from 1970:


    This is the “I need help and all you give me is paper!” act from the opera “The Counsul”. The missing husband is a political dissident.

  • 6 JSusskindNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    OMG, I can’t believe anyone actually knew it! I had just about given up hope. Okay, now I can sleep!

  • 7 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I think it’s interesting how many people I’ve seen mention that, despite being disturbed by whatever they saw, they didn’t mention it to their parents.
    I know that’s true for me as well and I’ve mentioned it to friends of mine with kids. We all fret over not letting little Johnny see anything that will torment him… but from my own experience there’s no telling what will push those buttons and most likely you wont hear about it if it does.

  • 8 JSusskindNo Gravatar // Sep 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Kids don’t tell their parents because they don’t want their TV viewing restricted!

  • 9 Princess FluffernutterNo Gravatar // Sep 30, 2011 at 9:36 am

    OT, but I just wanted to say thank you for posting stills from the original “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” cartoon. I have fond memories of it.

  • 10 bigwigNo Gravatar // Sep 30, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Yes Unk, they were spookier than Scooby Doo. I guess it had to do with the real kids and their responses on the greenscreen.
    As an aside, there was a scary episode I remember where somehow the Twain Trio were inside a giant whale, and some evil scarred Captain who looked like Frankenstein was chasing them. He met his demise by falling into a bubbling pestule of ambergris. (I don’t remember if it was stated to be such, or my Dad declared it when we asked what kind of thing would be in a giant whale). Anyway, for awhile, the timeless “don’t step on the living room floor; it’s quicksand- or lava” game, that all kids seem to play, morphed into Don’t Step in the Ambergris!

  • 11 Jami JoAnne RussellNo Gravatar // Sep 30, 2011 at 10:47 am

    That’s funny, I never held back from telling parents things they made me me watch with them scared me. I would even hide my eyes and everything in front of them. They never limited my tv viewing because of it. Instead, it just seemed to encourage my mom to force me to watch more horror movies with her.

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