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“Gone” But Not Forgotten: Exploring the Myth of the Lost Carmen Sandiego, Part 1

“Gone” But Not Forgotten: Exploring the Myth of the Lost Carmen Sandiego, Part 1
Christian Carrion

Thursday, August 13.

Tom Bastek, Mike Jacobs and I had just wrapped up recording the news segment for Tell Them What They’ve Won, a weekly game show podcast with which Buzzerblog began a creative partnership starting this past June. Every episode of the podcast begins with me providing a recap of the latest game show news, as well as some impromptu commentary about the show Tom and Mike happen to be discussing that week.

After watching/studying/obsessing over game shows for the majority of my adult life, I’ve come to develop an ability to extemporaneously drop a “fun fact” concerning just about any game show you throw at me. If the topic were Hollywood Squares, for instance, I might mention how much I cherished my copy of the Nintendo adaptation of the game. If The Joker’s Wild was the game of the week, I’d provide a (hopefully) fascinating description of just how the show’s big magical slot machine worked. Sale of the Century? Did you know Geoff Edwards auditioned to be the host back in 1982? He was great. And so on.

“Alright, Christian,” said Tom, “this week we’re doing ‘Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?’. What’s your take?”

I trotted out the one crazy Carmen Sandiego fact I knew. The one fact I thought I knew.

“This might be creepy. To me, as a person who’s interested in lost media and lost episodes of things, I find it fascinating. There is one unaired episode of Carmen Sandiego sitting in the PBS vault marked ‘Do Not Air’…”

So goes the legend of Auld Lang Gone, the unaired, unedited, un-acknowledged season 2 episode of Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego. Unaired because, among many other problems, a contestant fell on the floor-sized map of Europe and broke her arm during the bonus round, prompting the second-place contestant to be called from the bleachers to finish the game on behalf of the injured participant. Unedited, because the chaos that occurred on the packed Manhattan soundstage in the wake of the accident apparently rendered the footage unsalvageable. Un-acknowledged, because the show was quickly scrapped and hidden in the PBS vault, never to be broadcast—on October 12, 1992, the episode’s intended air date, a rerun of the season 2 premiere (“Disturbing The Heavenly Peace”; Double Trouble attempt to steal Tiananmen Square) was scheduled in its place.

Rumors of the existence of Auld Lang Gone have persisted in various pockets of the internet for at least the past ten years, but no footage has ever surfaced.

“I like it,” Tom said. “I like creepy and I like Carmen, and it’s great.”

Satisfied with the input I provided to the show, we saved our audio and called it a night.

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