I love your site. I found it after reading Kris Straub’s masterful creepypasta “Candle Cove” and finding your interview with him about it.
When I was little, I saw an animated TV movie, PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON AND THE INCREDIBLE MR. NOBODY. It’s about a boy named Terry who has an imaginary friend, an anthropomorphic duck named Nobody. Terry’s active imagination is met with scorn from parents, teachers, and kids. He makes some art for class using spaghetti, but it’s so well done that the teacher doesn’t believe that he made it himself, so eventually he starts attributing his art and talent to Nobody. I think I must have been too little (probably five or younger) to cope with the many surreal sequences in the movie. It also traumatized me because I also was very creative as a kid, and adults and kids treated me like that all the time!
There is a crack under Terry’s window and he says he sees a path in it. Everyone thinks he’s totally weird. The scene where the crack transforms into a path leading to a trippy sunset was really disturbing to me as a kid. It’s probably the thing about the movie that traumatized me the most. I realize that it was supposed to be this kid’s happy fantasy, but it just seemed awful to me that you could disappear into a wall and walk along a path that seemed to stretch on forever. That image haunted me, and I even remember being scared of an actual crack on the wall of my house.
Then when Terry gets fed up with being misunderstood, he tries to run away, but Puff the Magic Dragon transforms the crack in the wall into an actual path, and the two of them go to a surreal fantasy world together. All sorts of bizarre things happen. One of the most disturbing was when Puff shows Terry some kids who are being very mean and evil. They also look at a large version of Terry’s pasta art that really creeped me out, especially the spider-like trees. And the surreal sequence of musical instruments floating through the sky scared me as well. They made me feel threatened, like they were swarms of monsters or something. These images were so embedded in my subconscious that they still seem creepy to me now, even though other people seem to think it’s a cute, heartwarming movie.
I thought I had seen this movie on The Disney Channel as a young’en, and remembered it with a sense of great melancholy. But the photos don’t match my memory. Was there a similarly Kindertraumatizing cartoon of PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON about a kid who had cancer and was helped by Puff? I can only find information on IMDB about a PUFF cartoon in which the protagonist kid was catatonic. I’m wondering if I’m mixing that up with the devastating “Why, Charlie Brown, Why?” Either way, great traumafession! I miss when animation was frequently used to accurately portray kids’ nightmarish imaginations (which is, of course, why I’m here).
Thanks for posting my traumafession! I hadn’t made a Kindertrauma account yet when I mailed it in.
Ben: This is actually the third in a series of Puff the Magic Dragon animated movies. The first was “Puff the Magic Dragon and Jackie Draper,” about a boy whose self-doubt is so severe that he refuses to talk. Maybe this is what you were thinking of?
There’s also a second movie, “Puff the Magic Dragon in the Land of Living Lies.”
Whoops, I need to read more carefully. Yeah, the Jackie Draper film is the one with the catatonic kid.