Name That Trauma :: Reader Llama on a Breakaway Blonde Boy Sesame Street Short

This is a Name That Trauma. I was watching a kid's show in the mid to late '70s. I have always believed it to be SESAME STREET, but it is possible it was THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.

It was a short cartoon clip and the only part that stuck in my mind was that it involved a blonde kid imagining what would happen if he fell off of a building or a mountain. It showed him at the bottom after his tumble, and from what I remember, his arms, legs AND head were not attached to his torso anymore!

I was always a little on edge and ready to run when I watched this show after this. I NEVER knew when it would spring up again.


Traumafesions/Name That Trauma :: Reader Chanter on Sesame Street Fires and Worrying Words

Hi Kindertrauma!

I recently stumbled across your site via another reader's link, and now I easily lose time poking through the assorted archives. I never knew records of this type of thing existed! I've got a couple traumafessions of my own, and one hard-to-identify snippet that I'm sincerely hoping I didn't dream... but almost equally hoping I never see again!

Silly as it may sound, all three of these are SESAME STREET sketches. I was an impressionable tiny geek with a gigantic imagination and a definite twitchy side - still am, too! I saw all these on Wisconsin Public Television in the late '80's or very early '90's, though they could easily have been recorded earlier and rerun. Both my clearly-remembered sketches had what was to me some seriously terrifying background music; intense, menacing minor key piano playing, brrrrr!

One featured a group of kids shouting in unison 'Go to the exit!' while an on-screen a someone or someones tried to find the way out of a house or building. I'm not sure, but the sketch itself might have been black and white. The off-screen kids repeated 'go to the exit!' at least a couple of times, and I distinctly remember one of them speaking up solo to warn 'oh no, that's a closet.' Someone else might've murmured 'wrong way dummies' somewhere in there, but it didn't much detract from the overall scariness of the thing! At the end, everyone apparently did get out, as the unison kids all yelled 'yaaaaay!' just before the scene changed. Didn't help me feel any less creeped out, though!

The other began with a lower-voiced woman yelling 'Help!' at the top of her lungs, which was extremely jarring and terrifying if you weren't expecting it! To this day, remembering that yell makes me shiver. I believe she yelled 'help!' a second time, though very slightly less in-your-face obviously do to the background music that had started up. The sketch itself had to do with a person getting rescued from what was very likely a burning building, because the woman narrator said something like 'It looks like she needs some help', and then later on 'he's a real swinger', referencing the firefighter assisting whoever was trapped. I'm assuming everyone got out, but again, the sketch was plenty scary despite everyone being safe in the end!

Those are closer to traumafessions, but here's the one I'm not sure whether or not I dreamed. I almost hope I did, although I remember sitting on the living room carpet in front of the T.V. and watching it on a warm morning. This one had to do with a specific sound rather than the meaning of a word. There's odd, spare staccato trumpet and drum music in the background, and I'm not clear on the setting, but there may have been a desert on screen? A male narrator is repeating first the sound, and then short words all featuring -ut. 'Hut' comes to mind as one of them. At one point, he says something to the effect of 'let's try tut.' A few seconds and a little of that same strange music later, he yells 'tuuuuuut!' This was the point where I ran into the other room and did my best to forget what I'd seen.

I have no idea what made the narrator yell like that, as my vision was crummy and my comprehension of what little I was seeing was even more so. I've just now realized that saying 'tut' may have invoked King Tut somehow, if it was truly a sketch set in a desert, and maybe brought a mummy walking out of the woodwork - stonework? That's a true guess, though. Whatever it was, it scared and severely unnerved tiny!me, as did the other two. Brrrr!

-- Chanter

Traumfessions :: Reader V. on Sesame Street Short "Electric H"

Hi Kindertrauma,

SESAME STREET had a sequence about the letter H augmented with animation from a Scanimate (an early analog computer animation system) that COMPLETELY. EFFING. TERRIFIED me. You'd be hanging out, minding your own business watching Big Bird and whatever, and all of a sudden this droning, existential, solarized, hypnotic meditation on the letter H came on. That first stoned animal growl of "Riiiiight . . ." from Luis was the call announcing that we had left the safe world of SESAME STREET and were going to enter a frightening Interzone parallel universe. I called it "Electric H", in the same tones of "He Who Must Not Be Named."

The worst was that it was a clip that wasn't in heavy rotation, so you never knew when it would come on. It got to the point where I would check to see what the letter of the day was and wouldn't watch any shows that said they were "sponsored by the letter H." My parents knew I was terrified of this and were very sympathetic about me running to turn the T.V. off as soon as it came on, but I remember one day in the kitchen when it came on, right after a Bert and Ernie sketch (and it wasn't even an H day!) and there I was, trapped, because our old black and white T.V. was on top of the refrigerator and I wasn't tall enough to reach it. Electric H, beaming its satanic bizarreness from little me from on high, for what seemed like eternity. I screamed and screamed until one of my parents came to rescue me. (Electric H is even scarier in black and white, btw. It's like ERASERHEAD.)

The irony is, I grew up to be quite fascinated with the computer animation and video art of this era (Nam Jun Paik, for example), so even though this was a traumatic experience maybe it horrified and fascinated me in equal measure? In any case, after finding "Electric H" on YouTube I'm not going to sleep tonight.