We all know about the 1997 series "King of the Hill". It is still airing on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" block, but I encountered something dark with this series sometime in late 2007. I was in a Goodwill store to buy some N64 games, because that store normally had a good stock of Retro Games.
However, I strolled over to the VHS section in the back, just then remembering that I owned a VCR. One of the first things I saw was the Titanic VHS tapes, the one that came in 2 tapes but it was in one dust cover.
I thought that it would be a good movie for me and the wife, as she had never seen it before. To ensure that the tapes would be functional, I took one of the tapes out of the dual VHS dust cover, only to see something unexpected. It was a VHS tape with a crooked sticker on it. Written in sharpie was "KOTH S1E1NR". I inspected the other tape, and it said "KOTH S1E1NRP2".
I assumed it was part two. I did not know why one 22-23 minute episode took two VHS tapes, but I was curious. I bought the two tapes for $2.22. When I got home, nobody was there but me. Therefore, I had to take up the painstaking process of uncoiling the stiff coax cables and the bulky VCR. I soon tuned the TV to channel 3, and began viewing KOTH S1E1NR.
It had the regular opening of the first episode of King of the Hill, but without the music. It was just a silent camera panning over the city of Arlen. It began normally after that, with Bobby at the baseball game, and Hank yelling at him. As we all know, Bobby did not succeed. This is where everything started getting weird. On the ride home Hank, Peggy and Bobby were completely silent, and this went on for about three minutes. No one was angry; no one had any expression actually.
Abruptly, as the family pulls into the drive way, it cut to a scene inside the house. Hank was yelling at Bobby for not "giving the 110%". Hank then picked up the baseball and got into a throwing position. At this point, the video quality was getting very scraggly, and the volume level was raised roughly 10%. Hank pegged the ball and it hit Bobby's nose. Peggy was seen in the background crying, and Hank simply told her to "shut the hell up." Bobby immediately cupped his nose and ran out of the room, crying the whole way.
As Bobby was in the bathroom checking his nose, a social worker came to the door. Peggy greeted him as Hank sat on the sofa, relaxing as if nothing happened. From this point, the colors began to look more like the real episode. The scene with Hank telling the social worker off played as it did in the real episode. Suddenly, the scene from the officially aired episode cut to another scene, which was not from the real episode. It was a scene with more ragged video, yet the audio remained the same. This scene depicted Peggy sitting on the phone late at night, most likely contacting Child Services to tell them about how Hank purposely threw the baseball at Bobby. Hank suddenly walked through the doorway. He was in a bathrobe, and had no glasses. He grabbed the phone.
"WHO THE HELL IS THIS?!" Hank yelled. "This is the department of Child Services," was the response.
Hank's face quickly turned red, and slammed the phone back on the wall. He grasped Peggy by the neck.
"YOU GONNA GET MORE OF THOSE TWIG BOYS OVER HERE TO PUT ME IN PRISON AND TAKE MY BOY AWAY?!" he howled.
The scene cut to Hank taking Peggy by the back of the neck down the hallway to the backyard. Hank took a propane tank off of the grill, and shoved the valve into Peggy's mouth. The video then went silent for a minute, simply showing the propane valve in Peggy's mouth. When the scene started moving again, Peggy's eyes slowly close, and a voice was heard.
"Buck Strickland, forgive me for using Propane for this."
The only problem was that when Hank said this, Hank did not even sound like Mike Judge, the creator of the show who voiced Hank. It sounded like an older and deeper voice. The screen went black after this. I fast forwarded through the rest of the tape, to make sure there was no more content on it. There was none. I just thought to myself, "Why so much wasted space?", and at this point I was really shaken up. I went to grab a coffee. When I got back, I popped in the second tape. It was just a black screen. I fast forwarded to check for content, and eventually came across some stuff that was really starting to scare me. It was a funeral, but there was very few colors. There was only various forms of gray and black, and the colors of peoples' faces. It just did not seem like a real KOTH episode.
The funeral was for Peggy. Attending it was all of the Hill's neighbors, including some acquaintances such as Cotton and John Redcorn. Even Hank was there, claiming that Peggy had committed suicide. As Peggy's coffin was lowered into the hole, it faded into an overhead view of it being lowered. This part really scared the shit out of me. It was a somewhat highly realistic image of Peggy in the coffin. The reason I say somewhat, is because it looked real, but still appeared to be drawn, and not a real person. It was just a realistic cartoon. The scene then cut to Bobby, Hank, and Ladybird sitting on a porch. Bobby had a queasy face, and Hank had one hand on the propane tank that he used to commit the murder. Bobby turned to his father.
"Why...did you do it dad?" he asked in a humble voice. "I don't know, son," Hank responded. He almost sounded like he was crying. He then stood up and walked inside, leaving Bobby and Ladybird who were still on the porch.
It once again cut to a very dull scene, with nothing but black, gray, and the skin colors. It was a scene that literally made me sick to my stomach. It was Hank, hanging from the ceiling, with a note pinned on him. It just stayed focused on him swinging back and forth for two minutes or so. It then cut to the ending credits, with the normal outro and theme music.
I was actually kind of laughing on the inside at the fact that the show was playing the regular ending credits, after all that stuff happened. I was really more confused and creeped out at it. I went on some forums, but found nothing about this episode. However, I came across someone on Yahoo Answers who had a similar occurrence as me. They received a similar tape at a thrift shop in John's Creek County in North Georgia, a place about 20 miles away from where I got mine. I managed to get on AIM with this person, but I got no answers.
I was really curious at this point, so I drove about 40 miles and went right down to Cartoon Network/Turner Broadcasting HQ. I knew that Fox Broadcasting made the show, but I assumed Cartoon Network had every episode on record, as they aired them all. Beforehand, I did some research and figured out who was in charge of broadcasting KOTH, so I found a receptionist in the studio and demanded to talk to him. Apparently though, I needed a guest pass of some sort. I was completely pissed off at this point, so I drove back home and put on my old sheriff's uniform (I was a sheriff for John's Creek County about three years ago). I went back, and although it is unlawful, I used my badge to talk to him.
When I got into his office, he was just sitting at his desk talking on his phone. I walked up to him, threw the tapes on his desk and demanded answers. He dropped the phone immediately, and grabbed the tapes. I followed him to another office on the other side of the building. There was a small safe in this office. He opened it up, put the tapes in, and locked it. He then told me to leave. I did not want to act like a sheriff anymore because I did not want to get in trouble with the law, so I left. I got home and flipped on the TV. Adult Swim was on, and I was relieved to see a real episode of King of the Hill.
To this day, there are only two copies of this episode on four tapes, that I can find anything about on the internet. One of them I assume is still locked up in Cartoon Network Studios.
You may possibly come across more of them in thrift shops throughout the southeast.