Many Gen Z people like me or others might know about Pingu. It was a show about the main penguin named Pingu, a clay penguin who goes on adventures with his family and friends. I started to watch him every single day ever since I was in Kindergarten (ages 4-6), but now, as An 9th grader, I've never seen something so bizarre in my life. This is Amira Alamir, From South Korea writing this, and this is how I found a lost episode of my favorite nostalgic character.
Back in December 2020, I was a quirky 7th grader kid. I loved VHS and VHS cartoons (still do!) and would watch cartoons out of sheer boredom, mainly the reason why I didn’t have that many friends man the time. So one day, I went to my dad's computer to finish my math homework. It was all about circumferences, areas of a circle, stuff like that (It was very boring). After I'd done my handwork, I started to google Pingu episodes that most people had forgotten, but I watched. Some include, Pingu Refuses To Help, Pingu: A Very Special Wedding, Etc. while Googling, I found a strange blog about Pingu (Now searching for it leads to a. The blog title said in cap locks “2020 PYGOS GROUP INTERVIEW GRAPHIC CONTENT SPOKEN WARNING”. I looked at the title weirdly. Why did it say that graphic content was spoken when it was just a kid's show?! Kid's no choice, but to click on it since curiosity killed the cat.
The website had a video and a whole blog about it. I clicked on the video. From what I remember, the video was of a bit of bad quality and the date on the bottom left corner was 1981. I put 2 and 2 together. It's not a new interview and the person who wrote this may have mixed the dates. I continued. It was Ottmar Guttman, having an interview. I was so excited but something was wrong. He said in a disappointed tone that someone in his company has been arrested for murder and arson. Before he was fired, he left a VHS tape with a crying Pingu sticker. I was baffled and wondered what it was. But Ottmar said something disturbing. Ottmar said that the person not only made this VHS, but he made 3 more copies of the tapes by sneaking into a company that made VHSs, for every 3 countries, and that he, already dropped them off by disguising them as normal packages, using Swiss Post and some random coordinates. Now looking back, I didn't know if this was talked about the next day, because no word was coming out about it how lost s was. Ottmar then said “If you see or hear about the tape please report it by sending it or informing the Pygos Group or police immediately.” It then ended with a fade of a black screen, then a blue background with a picture of a cassette, a phone number you could contact and a message that said, “If you see, this cassette please report to anyone or discard by destroying”. I then look at the blog. The author stated that they were 19 at the time and lived in Canada. After the narrator heard about it, he was throwing out garbage and found it, Took it home, and burned it.
“It made a loud hissing noise, some bubbling noises and a smell of burnt plastic so bad I almost puked. It was almost as if the cassette felt enraged when I burned it.” I was surprised. What if I find that tape? Will Ottmar or The Pygos Group take it and keep it as a secret or discard it? I had a lot of anxious thoughts circulating my brain as I tried to sleep.
Alright, New Year has ended and I’m in my uncle's Turkish restaurant (now unfortunately temporarily closed), drawing some doodles. while near me, a cake from A Twosome Place as a present for my dad. Then my dad walked near me and gave me ₩20,000 as a Christmas gift. I hugged him and gave him the funnel cake with chocolate. I told him I'm going to the antique store. He said he's fine with it as long as I don't buy something for 20,000 as a joke.
I laughed while I dashed from the door. As I was running to the antique store, I spotted a poster, so I translated it. It said “Antique Arts Shop Limited Time: Buy a VCR, and get 5 free cassettes! Jan 20 ~ Jan 31”. I was excited and dashed there. There was an old woman who greeted me in Korean, I greeted her back. I asked her about the VCR, She said she had one in stock and if I would like to buy it. I agreed. She said I could choose any VHS I wanted. So I picked Pingu: A Barrel Of Fun!, Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, Pingu: A Very Special Wedding, and Pingu: The Biggest Video Ever! I was fine until I saw the fifth one. I picked it up. The title was “Pingu: An Accidental Purchase”. The front showed Pingu looking surprised at a receipt. Near him was a bag of red salmon, but on the bag, he was holding was a picture of a blue fish.
On the back of the cassette, There was a caption on the VHS that said “4 episodes! Pingu Quarrels With His Mother, Pingu’s Dangerous Joke, Pingu Refuses to Help, and Pingu And The Accident.” I was surprised. I never heard of the 4th episode ever. I looked at the bottom corner. The date on it said it was made in 1981. I thought it was neat, a cassette from a year right even before I was even born! I thought of it as nothing and the cashier registered my VHSs and my VCR. I was heading back to the restaurant until I saw my dad was waiting near the exit with my bag, my sketchbook, his things, and his gift. When we got into the car, he asked me what did I buy. I said it was a VCR and some cassettes. My dad said jokingly that I am an “Antique Person” and it was obvious my love for the 90s. We both laughed as we drove to his office and back home.
When we got home, my sisters were ready to go to dancing class since my mom was taking them and my dad had to go to work. After all of my family left for work and dance classes, I put on y pajamas, which smelled of sweat, and grab a new pajama, which had a cool design and was bought from a flea market. One thing that infuriated me was the fabric. It stained easily. IItwas dark green pants and a grey shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it and it said “Paris” In dark green and cursive. After this, I took my phone, a Dr. Pepper, and a cheese ball baggie from the pantry and grabbed the “Pingu: An Accidental Purchase” cassette from the brown paper bag on my way.
After a quick search, I found out that no episode called “Pingu And The Accident'' existed, only giving you another episode of Pingu, “Little Accidents”, also known as "Pingu's Lavatory Story" and "Pingu and the Avalanche Accident" Is this a new cassette or old cassette? Is this an unreleased episode? Is that r new episode or a bootleg? I grabbed the brown paper bag with the VCR and the cassettes and after some connecting, I finally managed to connect the VCR to the old TV my dad got from his office while cleaning yesterday to the outlets of the back of our modern TV. I took out “the Pingu: An Accidental Purchase” cassette from its box cover and inserted it into the VCR and it worked. I was excited and sat down, eating and drinking my snack and drink.
After watching Pingu quarreling with his mum, Pingu learning a lesson that sometimes jokes can be dangerous, and Pingu learning that ignoring help is not a good solution, I finally got to the last episode, “Pingu And The Accident ''. Before the episode started, There was a warning. Why would there be a warning? I was feeling suspicious. The warning screen was pitch black and the word, Warning, was red and it was followed by a white message. It said. “This is an unreleased episode of Pingu dating June 23, 1980. This episode is released in the future because of its disappearance for a very long time. Please take the tape from the VCR if sensitive.” My chest started to move from the continuous heartbeats. What did it mean by sensitive?
The screen would disappear after some seconds and the intro started. Everything was alright but the quality was looking as if there was a dust storm in the show. The setting was outside the main protagonist's house. Pingu was getting ready for school, Mother was getting Pinga ready for Kindergarten, and Father went to work at his post office. As Pingu ran out the door, he saw Robby, his seal friend.
Then they both went to school together. There was a mild static that should not belong in a Pingu show or a cassette. Then they both were in school. Robby went into a hole of water to hide from his classmates because he was new to them. The scene almost reminded me of the episode, Pingu at School. Pingu’s classmates then greeted Pingu. Pingu then introduced Robby. He made the classic “Noot Noot!” and Robby came out of the hole. His classmates were amused, even the Schoolmaster. The Schoolmaster got out a newspaper from his desk, smiling, and announced in Penguinese that a tour of a whale sculpture takes place near his neighbor’s house, showing the picture. The whole class was abuzz and wanted to go, so they left early according to their teacher and went back to their home. A fade of a black screen appeared and there was a realistically painted sunset, indicating morning. Pingu was packing his bag with a water bottle, a blue fish, and a camera. His Father and Mother were saying goodbye near the door. as Pingu was leaving and going to school, His mother and father were reading one of his comics, giggling.
There was another fade of a black screen and the quality was finally nicer looking than from the start. The whole class was walking near the teacher to the gigantic whale sculpture. The whole class was awed, The Schoolmaster was proud. Suddenly, the tail of the huge whale sculpture cracked. Under the tail, Unfortunately, was a penguin with an exaggeratingly long mustache, a top hat, and a bow tie explaining to the tourists about the statue. The tourists noticed the falling tail, even the class. They both screamed and warned the penguin about the whale’s tail.
He then yelled at them to stop. Unfortunately, it landed on the rich penguin, Crushing him. My eyes would widen. I heard a muffled scream that lasted for a second, sounds of broken bones and squishy noises, and screams and figures of the tourists running and crying. One passed out, one threw up offscreen and one called the sculptor. He came and then looked at the diaster at all angles and fainted, dropping his hat, chisel and hammer. I paused the whole episode. It was gruesome. But what was more gruesome was that it wasn't clay blood, Leaking under the whale tail, as most liquids in Claymation. It was either food coloring, juice, or.. animal because of how viscous it looked.
Pingu's class and Robby started to scream and cry. The camera was now showing Pingu's head. Pingu stood there, face completely paralyzed from what happened. The scene then dissolved to static as it showed a red filtered video of a walrus being pushed by another. There were also scared people/tourists, witnessing the disaster of nature. While the video played, disturbing music was playing in the background. My memory is blurry, so the sound playing was either violin being stroked slightly with a bow in a distorted effect or something from a good horror game. When it landed on the shore, it was engulfed slowly by the shore while its eye socket looked empty and its tusk was broken. it laid there. Dead.
After five seconds, The scene changed to Pingu’s house, now colorful. Pingu's family was quietly having dinner, not talking. Mother was nibbling on the food, Father didn't have an appetite, and Pingu blankly stared at his food, holding a spoon. Pinga was worried about why the family was acting strange but continued eating.
Then it shifted to the rich penguin's house. The wife of the rich penguin, Mrs. Pen-Gold (Founded out when I saw a wedding picture of her and the penguin who was tragically crushed and her name on a tapestry.) was sobbing on a stool. The voice didn't sound like pretend to cry. It was as if the voice actor was in physical/physiological sadness. She then ran out of her house, crying. I wasn't so sure why she did that, but maybe because her husband was dead and she needed actual help on the grieving as I speculated. She ran and ran until she fell into a puddle, even though it looked small, I'm pretty sure it was deep for her to fall into. After 3 seconds, gurgles, slashes, and screams were occurring inside of the water and it turned cartoonish red. Out of the puddle flew out Mrs. Pen-Gold’s skull. It looked like it was covered in Strawberry Jello or something disgusting as my mind interpreted menstrual blood. A mangled seal, that didn’t look like Robby, climbed out with a bloody face, its brown fur all mangled, and it had a scar on his eye, now all white. I paused to go to the kitchen and get some ice from the freezer to calm down because of how uncanny the episode was. I was looking around if anyone or anything was watching me because of how loud the sounds were. What kind of cassette was that?! Was it a banned film of some kind where a Pingu episode is sick and twisted? Is it some kind of animated horror movie?
After calming down, I decided to watch the end. It had the same outro, but then it faded to a black screen. Then text appeared. As I said, I have some blurry memories so that is what I remember from the ending text: "This episode was disturbing, wasn’t it? Well, the world is a cruel place. Have fun with your silly life." The VHS ejected itself from the player. I grabbed the cassette quickly and looked at it. it was skeptical because It had a hand-glued sticker that was almost falling off after putting in the cassette. I ripped it off carefully. My eyes widened. It had the sticker of Sad Pingu. It was then I decided I needed information about this out of atmosphere episode.
After 3 to or 2 days after the viewing, when my whole family went to their routines, I contacted one of the sculptors, Corrie Torres, of The Pygos Group (Now as HiT Entertainment/trickfilmstudio) via Gmail and then on Zoom, pretending it was an interview, asking about basic stuff such as materials for Pingu, How animations are made and stuff like that. Finally, I couldn't be quiet and asked “Have you heard of an episode called “Pingu And The Accident?”. The sculptor looked at me, her smile faded and her eyes big as if they were almost carved out with a spoon. She then told me the thing I'd like to call “The actual incident." When Otmar Gutmann and Carlo Bonomi were alive, there was an animator named Cecil Lopez. He was a confident man with a heart for everyone but he was broke, so he was a new animator. But he liked dark humor. Sometime during Season 2, Cecil received a disturbing VHS. I think it was called "Faces of Death" or something like that according to Corrie. After viewing it, Cecil turned from a loud, confident, and dark-humored individual to a quiet, creepy, scummy, and lunatic animator. He threatened Corrie once, to kill herself because she threw away his documents, containing gory images.
After Cecil found out that Pingu was closing production by Season 4, The team was brainstorming how to make a good episode finale on the What surprised me the most is that she said originally, that the last episode of Season 4 was going to end with the episode “Pingu and the Accident.” That was ruined when Cecil gave his gory plot of the episode to get finalized, But they were already working on another episode candidate, "Pingu and His Cup." Meanwhile, "Pingu and The Accident" had an entirely DIFFERENT plot, Created all by Corrie herself, that was the substitute for Cecil's bad idea. The penguin with the mustache who was squished to death was going to get his foot stuck under the tail and get it sprained, so he gets driven to the hospital. The rich penguin and his wife, seen mid-end of the episode, wished he would get well soon. All of the penguins, even Pingu, then make "get well soon" gifts like cakes, postcards, balloons, drinks, fish, and the list goes on. The idea was also scrapped, stating that there was not much time to make the props and animation for the episode, only for the storyboard. as an average Pingu episode takes approximately 30 weeks to make. After Pingu and His Cup was published, Cecil found out he was going to get fired after the 4th season for reasons not specified but obvious. After the news was broken to him, He was so angry, He packed all of his things out of his desk by slamming them into a box and leaving the studio. He then was spotted by Corrie, sneaking out of his home at midnight, and after some time and effort, he made 4 cassettes of the animation in total, One for the studio as a payback gift for firing him (3 more for the 3 countries he has sent them to) 2 days later, The VHS company he was in making the tapes, was burned to the point everything was incinerated.
Cecil was filed for a police report for arson. Cecil was sentenced to but unfortunately escaped. He was running down a busy road to escape into the woods until he was hit by a truck. He was rushed to a hospital but died due to impact, breaking his bones and his neck.
I had no words to say to this tragic story. I said I will give the tape for them to destroy or keep. Corrie said they might keep it in memory of him or just put it in the archived section in their studio. I packed up the VHS while she was on Zoom. I showed her the cover of the VHS, “Pingu: An Accidental Purchase.” She said that the 3 tapes, One of them that I was holding, were disguised by Cecil as another tape to be authentic, Like an actual Pingu VHS. She said that there is a high chance that Cecil cut the scenes in previous episodes of Pingu on the tape and replaced them with his versions of the episode because he was also seen in the animation room before he was fired and was angry about his idea being declined, either fiddling with black clay or just holding a vial of red liquid, saying it was just a charm for good luck.
The walrus clip didn’t belong there either, They said it was either added in for shock value, thanks to Cecil's mind. After I wrapped up the VHS to mail it, she told me the address to mail the VHS to them. I said thank you and goodbye to Corrie. I went outside, saying I am going to bike around as an excuse to my mom when in reality I went to the post office and sent the VHS with my leftover New Years' money I used to buy the VHS and VCR deal.
My life is normal. I have good education and friends. It's bliss. You may be wondering why I'm not that creeped out by the VHS. You may find it strange, but when I was younger, cartoon gore was a thing. Happy Tree House Friends, Kombat Kids, Smile HD, Etc, anything that would make younger me astonished and not traumatized, thinking they were ACTUAL or deleted cartoons. Now thinking back I just wished that Youtube Kids was made earlier but I don't regret it that much. I put the VCR and the other VHS's in the storage. Sometimes I would take it out and play an episode or two of what was left or buy new tapes. I love Pingu no matter what because he's my childhood he's my Claymation joy. But if I see a cassette with a handmade sticker, I from now on will ask where it came from because who knows? Maybe it was made by a Swedish man who viewed a gore film, went clinically insane, made a disturbing Pingu episode, burned a factory, escaped from jail, ran into a truck and killed or it's just a Dingo Pictures cartoon clone on steroids.