Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sid and Marty Krofft Lived in an Alternate Universe

Alreet, for my last post in my cartoon series I'd like to focus on 70's geniuses Sid & Marty Krofft. Technically, these live-action shows are not cartoons but they're definitely Gods of Saturday morning. Sid & Marty forged a spacey, trippy, wildy imaginative alternate Satuday morning reality for zombie-faced, cereal munchers like myself. If you grew up in the 70's, you were affected by the media onslaught of shows like:
  • H.R. Pufnstuf (1969)
  • The Bugaloos (1970)
  • Lidsville (1971)
  • Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973)
  • Land of the Lost (1974)
  • Dr. Shrinker (1976)
  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976)
  • Kaptain Kool and the Kongs (1976)
  • Wonderbug (1976)
  • Bigfoot and Wildboy (1977)

Not to mention, these guys were the producers of two other 70's cultural forces - The Donnie and Marie Show, and the Bay City Rollers Saturday Morning Show (S-a-t-u-r... d-a-y.... Night!). Krofft shows are all over the interwebs, and well covered. Case in point, sci-fi blog i09 did an excellent and thorough post on them last spring. I'll just cover my two favorites.

H.R. Pufnstuf: The main story here is basically good vs. evil, but H.R. Pufnstuf featured an English lad named Jimmy who owned a talking gold flute named Freddy. He was conned into an adventure on a boat by a flying witch named Witchy Poo who wanted to steal Freddy. His boat washed up on Living Island - where everything is alive (and weird!). Jimmy and Freddy take refuge in the cave of H.R. Pufnstuf, who is the mayor of Living Island. Essentially, the whole series is a battle between Witchy Poo and Jimmy/HR over Freddy. Oh, and there are about 12,000 other trippy characters involved.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters: Sigmund was the runt of a family of sea monsters who cast him out for refusing to scare people. Johnny and Scott were playing on the beach, discovered Sigmund, and let him live in their surprisingly set-like beach fort. The plot was always the same - trying to hide goofball Sigmund from the public, fighting the other sea monters, yada yada. Two interesting casting notes. Sigmund was played by Billy Barty, a Sid & Marty Krofft favorite, and one of the most famous little people in TV and movie history. In addition, Johnny was played by Johnny Whitaker who was originally cast as Jody in the TV hit, "Family Affair". Remember Buffy, Jody, Mrs. Beasley, and Mr. French?

Looking back, these shows were clearly gateway drugs to a much weirder TV. Bionic Man, anyone?

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