As we begin a new year (and a new decade), it’s important that animation creators (and particularly those working in the field of children’s animation) remind themselves of the deep and lasting impact that the work they create has on audiences. An example of that impact is summed up in this 2019 episode of the public radio program Studio 360, which explored a subculture grounded on a shared childhood fear of a Sesame Street segment.
For decades, numerous Gen Xers from multiple countries yearned to find out if an old Sesame Street cartoon that terrified them back in the mid-70s actually existed or if it was a figment of collective psychosis. But it wasn’t until someone diligently searched for it that the mystery behind said clip became even more bizarre.
“Cracks” (or “The Crack Monster” as people online referred to it not knowing its actual title), was one of many animated shorts that played in between Sesame Street’s live-action segments. It shows a young girl discovering animal shapes in the cracks on her bedroom walls, and encountering the terrifying Crack Master, an angry face that destroys itself out of sheer anger.