I saw this television program when I was six or seven years old. It was a Sunday morning thing – they did experimental and religious stuff on Sunday mornings. I saw it with my dad, who probably understood it better than I did at the time.
But it always stayed with me. It was a really strange, haunting experience for a kid. My introduction to existentialism, I suppose. I didn’t remember that much of it – only that I had seen it, and felt it had changed me: that the person I had become was informed by this little television film.
At Princeton, more than ten years later, I found out that two of my very best friends – Tom Burka and
Walter Kirn – had been obsessed with this little television show, as well. They, too, felt the drama had somehow warped their entire perspective on life. That perhaps we had even been damaged by this little show – that it was responsible for a sadness and confusion we just couldn’t shake.
I researched the film, and found out that there was only one publically available print left – in a library in a Pennsylvania college. But when I finally got through to a librarian, she told me the print had been destroyed.
Well, thanks to YouTube and a fellow fan/victim of this film, The Cube is back. A good friend emailed me the link, which I immediately emailed to Kirn and Burka. Turns out this film was directed in 1969 by JIM HENSON. That’s right: the Muppets guy.
Which can only make us wonder whether there are threads of this dark existential despair in Sesame Street, winding their way through the psyche of, well, pretty much everybody…