Can anyone help me out here? I’m looking for a lost episode of the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
I’m sure some of you remember, if you’re from the northern part of Virginia, and watched The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog you may have seen this. Some back story first, I saw this when I was eight when I first recall seeing this episode, the number of the said episode 66 of season one (there was only one season) and was only aired in northern Virginia as the broadcasting station had ignored the notice not to play the final episode of the bundle due to its extreme adult content. This was the stations choice as it had purchased the syndication rights in its area but was later sued by concerned parents after several children were diagnosed of light neural hemorrhaging causing severe nightmares and vomiting. Nobody was killed by viewing this episode and older viewers seemed immune to the effects of whatever caused the bleeding, but needless to say a freeze was put on the production of the series and was hushed up on the news, the show was replaced by the series named simply Sonic the Hedgehog.
I started my search for the episode after the nightmares from watching the show returned after 16 years. The nightmare was vivid, it contained vision of people in a long line all of them clutching their faces in despair. The people in this line spread the full length of the street and had seemingly abandoned their cars (leaving the doors open) to join the others waiting. Everyone was deathly thin, naked and when they spoke they did so in what sounded like reverse tongues but not much was said in between the helpless sobs. Everything had a dark red tone to it, like the sun was burning out at sunset but never fully went down. Those that where not in the line littered the street, dead. I can’t recall much from the dream other than that, some other details hinted at looting, things like a line of dead riot police and smashed windows, upturned cars and even a collapsed skyscraper in the distance but those in the line payed no attention to this, they simply sobbed as the line shifted forward. The nightmare ends with one of the members of the line looking directly at me, he says nothing but shifts to an unnatural pose, his arms bent at 45 degree angles and his legs spread into a box over the ground, his mouth agape as he did this the rest of the people in the line did the same, striking a slightly different twisted pose all looking at me. I then awoke with tears in my eyes.
My first logical step to finding this lost episode was the station which originally aired it. There is nothing odd about the station, it’s old management has long since moved on, committed suicide as the new manager pointed out to me. Over a cup of coffee me and the new manager discussed the stations past I intentionally eased into the subject lost episode and as it turned out i was right to do so. When I brought up the subject John (is he will now be known), the manager literally spilled his coffee on his lap. He told me that this subject was a personal one to him and as it turns out John was the original owners son. He was kind enough to explain to me that the legal fees he was receiving in conjunction with the mail he was receiving from children and parents alike had pushed him too far and he hung himself in the family kitchen. I was a little taken back by this news so I figured maybe I was digging too deep and decided to drop this madness and just call it a day, but before I could exit John’s office he told me that he would send me the mail, his reasoning… That he wanted me to know what happened, his curiosity was almost as deep as mine, not surprising considering this episode killed his father. So I told him I’ll take a look deeper into the subject and get back to him on anything I dig up.
The letters where as you would expect, angry mothers asking what kind of station would air this filth, legal fees ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (enough to send any station broke in the 90′s) and of course drawing's from children depicting scenes from the episode. Distinct things like the blood and the unusually dull colors that persisted throughout the episode. Horrible things, things like Robotnik vomiting blood and tails crying over the corpse of a feathered headless bird. But one letter caught my attention specifically, it was a letter from the studio which produced the series: “Thank you for purchasing the rights to air Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Sega 1993-1994 all rights reserved, enclosed is the series list, episode descriptions, Episodes 1-66 the entirety of season 1 and legal information regarding ratings and air times.” In poor hand writing, at the bottom of the page a scrawled note was placed with the words “Episode 66 is not to be aired! This is a database error and contains corrupted material”. The initials JS followed. I set out to find this episode, but to no avail. My second plan was to ask the people who sent the angry letters about the episode about their take on it. Those who had not moved away since then gave me canned “I don’t know” or “Not this again” responses but I did chance upon one man, around my age who remembers and taped the episode he invited me in and showed me his VHS copy of the episode, it was badly decayed from years of neglect in his garage though and the only bits I could make out was Tails screaming at Sonic, with tears in his eyes “How could you Sonic? What have you done!?”and the rest of the episode on the tape was just static, the occasional scream and twisted figures, not animals or people but figures staring at viewer, their circular mouths and open black eyes emitting a slight screech. The tape sent chills up out spine and I asked if I could take the tape for research I was doing into the episode he agreed quite readily and I promised to keep him updated, as well as John.
I took the tape back to John and we watched it up to about 15 minutes where John just jumped back in his seat. He told me he saw the figure with black eyes, but it spoke for brief moment, John claimed that its lips moved, mouthing the word he thought was “eternity” we watched that same one second flash for what must have been thirty times and each time we both attempted to freeze the frame on the figure only to have it disappear when we did so. I called it a day there, we needed a better copy of this episode if we where to find out why this episode ended the entire series and caused me nightmares for much of my childhood.
Short of traveling to France and talking to the animation studio, I gave them a call. They bluntly told me that there was no episode 66 and that 65 was the full season. Knowing this dead end I called again for another phone and asked for the contact information of the voice actors. All of the information was out of date it seemed, the actors for Robotnik, Scratch, Grounder and sonic all giving me “Number not in service” errors however I did manage to contact Christopher Evan Welch (The voice of tails) and hook him for a fake interview about his roles in 90′s Television. Chris turned up as you would expect, casual clothing smile on his face, your average guy in his late 20′s. As he sat down I asked about some of his roles in bands and television and worked my way to Sonic. When I did get there however he got really quite, and evasive. I asked him specifically about episode 66 and halfway through taking a breath he just stopped. His pupils almost retracted into nothing and he looked at me and told me that the episodes only go up to 65. Of course I knew better and asked him about his script talking to sonic and what he had done. He grabbed his face, not in frustration but to wipe back his eyes which were begging to well up. He took a deep breath and told me the episode was written by Jeffrey Scott, he told me the usual that he was always a nice man and was very patient with him as he read the script (Being 11 at the time) but as the first season drew to a close Jeffrey had become very angry with everyone, including 11 year old Chris. The voice actor for Robotnik and Sonic threatened to quit over his behavior but the executive producer paid them both large sums of cash in hand right there to read from the script Jeffrey had written. Apparently Jeffrey had an order from high up, the top of Sega or as far as Chris knew at the time to produce this episode, listed as a business priority.
Chris explained to me how as they read the script he felt great sorrow and terror, as if they had lost a close friend of family member or had seen them die before them, he told me of the scarring to his vocal chords from the screaming that was invoked by reading the script he told me of the blood that leaked from the mouths of the actors of Robotnik and Sonic. The session ended with the security pulling the actors from the studio before they died in the process of recording from blood loss. His mother pulled him from the show the next day, fearing for his safety. I stopped the interview there, I asked for a copy of the episode but a copy was never sent back to the actors.
That is as far as I have come in the Search for episode 66 I’ve heard that there may be a copy in the studio in France but I have no way of getting their on my budget. But I know it exists and I know many more out there must have a VHS copy, so this is why I ask the Internet. Help me in my search.