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
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.