Monday, March 3, 2008

A brief tribute to Sid and Marty Krofft

Note: I'm told that the sheer amount of embedded youtube videos in these pages are causing browsers to choke like one of Ron Jeremy's co-starlets, so I'm only going to post links to youtube unless absolutely necessary.
The Mouth from the South.

The Mouth from the South has been singing the theme to H.R. Pufnstuf all morning. He began taunting me in a jealous rage over my younger girlfriend, wondering if I'm going to take her to see Disney on Ice. She's 27, so unless there's a revival of Grease 2 or Newsies on Ice, I think I'm safe. I don't understand the Newsies thing except maybe they were hot for Christian Bale, but it's a known fact that girls raised in the Bible Belt get all their sex ed from the Reproduction song in Grease 2.

But I must thank him for reminding me of how delightfully messed up childhood shows were in the 70's and early 80's. I never watched H.R. Pufnstuf much, for me it was all about Jim Nabors flying around in The Lost Saucer with that freaky Dorse puppet. It was half dog and half horse, thus, Dorse... the agony.
The Lost Saucer
I'm all newfangly and robotic-like!
Let's begin with my all time favorite, The Lost Saucer. Jim Nabors, the original Private Pyle and a fabulous singer, was one of the two robots on the saucer, who picked up a gaggle of little moppets and took them on adventures. I loved when they "flew" across the stock landscapes, by standing in front of a green screen. They didn't even bother hanging them on wires. It was as if they propelled themselves with fart power. Ruth Buzzi kept the show somewhat sane, and she's always welcome. No photos of the Dorse survive, but he sort of looked like a hairy beanbag with Alf's face and some hooves.
Golly!

Sleestacks gave birth to the Geico Gecko.

This show, despite the hilarious special effects in the intro, was terrifying to my little 6 year old brain. Sleestacks were in my closet. Cha-Ka, the cave-kid who seems to have pre-dated Chewbacca by about 3 years by drilling into the Sasquatch zeitgeist that pervaded the 70's, was just so damn creepy. He could show up anywhere. And we all wanted those crystals that they got to play with. I never did find out the secrets of the show's world, which is probably how Lost is going to end. The comparisons are astounding, Ben even kind of looks like a sleestack.
In prehistoric times, they still had 70's hair.

Will Ferrell is of course going to play a loud forest ranger in the remake coming out next year, as Hollywood continues to anally rape our childhood. I'm not the biggest Will Ferrell fan; I like Anchorman and Stranger than Fiction, but his recent spate of "loud obnoxious sports guy who thinks he's a legend" is getting boring. I imagine he'll play a more harried fellow as the ranger, so maybe it will work.

Lidsville
I never actually saw Lidsville, because it came out the year I was born, but it's too bizarre not to mention. Keeping with their successful theme of kids who fall into a drug-addled adult's opium dream, Lidsville is a world full of hat people. More on an exhaustive fansite of the Kroffts, that my nascent blog cannot improve upon.
Someone watched too much Yellow Submarine.


The Banana Splits
la la la, la la la la, la la la, la la la laaaaa!
One banana two banana three banana four, so many bananas I can't take it anymore. Thankfully they were not actual bananas, like Bananas in Pajamas, but rather freaky roller-skating animals in a rock band. Let's see if you can guess the animals. One is obviously an elephant (Snorky), and the one with his tongue out is Fleegle the Beagle. If you pick out the mane behind the sunglasses, that's Droopy the Lion sitting down, but wikipedia tells me that the crazy smiling Shriner is Bingo the gorilla. Now I know this is a few years before the Clint Eastwood Orangutan movies, but what exactly are they trying to pull? An orange gorilla? Maybe he dyed his hair, since he's a rock star and all. I'm not going to argue with the drummer. I imagine if I did, he'd thwack me with his drumsticks and there'd be a comical boinging noise as I fell down, judging from my memory of the show.

The Bugaloos
Benita Bizarre had illicit relations with a featherduster.

Originally touted as a British version of the Monkees, Phil Collins originally auditioned for the band. I guess that explains his solo career. Even though the Beatles had their own cartoon, and the Monkees were a direct ripoff (despite having a few good songs) they decided to start another kid's show, this time punning on the "bugs" connection to the Beatles. Their theme song was pretty good, but by the mid-70's they rarely showed anything this psychedelic, lest we drop our Sean Cassidy records and Six Million Dollar Man figures and shoot acid into our eyeballs. I know that makes no sense, but what do kids know? Hell, I remember thinking that blow jobs involved a hair dryer.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
Proof that the Kroffts once visited the Jersey Shore.

Sigmund was a rotten sea monster reject who wouldn't scare people, so his parents kicked him out. In the 70's that meant he was gay, and he needed a place to stay before he could hitchhike to California and shack up with his boyfriend The Purple People Eater. This is all chronicled in Gus Van Sant's film, My Own Private Idaho.

H.R. Pufnstuf
Look at the bags under his eyes, he's been "puffin'" the "stuff!"

The one that began it all, and spawned a movie that I'd love to see. Much like "Puff the Magic Dragon," the title was imagined to be a marijuana reference, "are you puffin' STUFF?" This from a viewing public who could say "Dick Van Dyke" and "Peter O'Toole" with a straight face? Goes to show you how times have changed. Anyway the plot, what there is, is about Jimmy and his flute, which is craved by Witchie-Poo. He's saved by a talking Dragon named Pufnstuf. It was a valuable lesson for children: if the neighborhood hag wants to blow on your "flute," reefer will cure your ills.

Zoboomafu is dead taxidermist's lemur who torments bad children.

Nowadays kids have Pingu and Zoboomafu. Not to mention Lazytown, which is beyond description.
Come to think of it, times haven't changed much.

2 comments:

sarah said...

Hell I would LOVE to see Newsies on Ice! And Grease 2. Puts a new spin on "Cool Rider."

I remember Land of the Lost. I used to kill time at the Vet School by watching the reruns on a small rabbit ears tv. (not actual rabbits) It was the only thing channel I could pick up.

sarah said...

Hell I would LOVE to see Newsies on Ice! And Grease 2. Puts a new spin on "Cool Rider."

I remember Land of the Lost. I used to kill time at the Vet School by watching the reruns on a small rabbit ears tv. (not actual rabbits) It was the only thing channel I could pick up.

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