Created by Sid and Marty Krofft
Starring: Martha Raye, Butch Patrick, Johnny Whittaker, Billie Hayes, Jack Wild
“He Can’t Do A Little, Cause He Can’t Do Enough”
Lyric from H. R. Pufnstuf theme song
Oh Joy! A collection of trippy Sid and Marty Krofft shows from the seventies! These made me pretty happy when I watched them in syndication as a kid, what do I think of them now?
Just in case you aren’t familiar with the Krofft’s, here is a brief catch up: Sid and Marty Krofft are a sibling team of television producers who were influential in children’s television and variety show programs, particularly throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.
They are largely known for a unique brand of ambitious fantasy programs, often featuring large-headed puppets, high-concept plots, and extensive use of low-budget special effects. The team also dominated the arena of celebrity music/variety programs during the period.
Ok, now that the history lesson is out of the way, let’s take a look at what is offered in this Sid and Marty Krofft collection. There is one episode each of several of the Krofft’s funky seventies offerings.
H.R. Pufnstuf (1969) tells the story of young Jimmy (Jack Wild) who is cast away by the evil Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes) to the land of Living Island. Jimmy has a flute that Witchiepoo covets but his is rescued and befriended by the loving dragon H.R. Pufnstuf. In the episode offered in this collection, Jimmy and Pufnstuf are working on a magical pogo stick to get Jimmy home.
Bugaloos (1970) A musical group that resembles insects lives in a magical forest. They love nothing more than singing and frolicking all the day. However, the evil Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye) is hell-bent to destroy them because she is jealous of their talent. In the episode included, she vows to steal Joy’s voice.
Lidsville (1971) tells the tale of Mark (Butch Patrick) who has fallen into the hat of a magician and awakens in Lidsville, the land of living hats. An evil magician rules in this land by the name of Horatio J. HooDoo (Charles Nelson Reilly). Mark endeavors in each episode to protect the “hats” and find his way back home.
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973) is one of my personal favorites from the Kroffts. Johnny (Johnny Whitaker) befriends a tiny and friendly sea monster named Sigmund. Sigmund has been kicked out of his family home because he isn’t mean enough. Johnny has to keep Sigmund a secret from Zelda (Mary Wickes) and the nosy neighbor Mrs. Eddels (Margaret Hamilton of The Wizard of Oz). In the episode offered, Sigmund is dealing with his family and their obsession with television.
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976) is a live action offering from the duo. Electra Woman (Deirdre Hall) and Dyna Girl (Judy Stangis) fight the infamous Ali Baba in this episode as he tries to turn Dyna Girl into a super villain. Look for a special appearance by the legendary cult actor Sid Haig( House of 1000 Corpses, Devils Rejects) in this episode.
What can I say about Bigfoot and Wild Boy (1977) ? Bigfoot found a young boy as a baby and raised him as his son. In this episode, scientists have released some aliens that Bigfoot imprisoned years earlier. These aliens plan on world domination and finding their former jailor to seek revenge.
Wonderbug (1976) Three teenagers fix up an old buggy. A magical horn transforms the car into Wonderbug and they all enter a life of fighting evil and crime. Yes, you read that right.
While I love the Krofft’s wacky approach and style, I have my favorites from among the shows offered here. I have always had a soft spot for Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and H.R. Pufnstuf. However, I found myself enjoying Bugaloos and Lidsville too, particularly because the villains are so much fun on those shows.
I was less impressed with Bigfoot and Wild Boy and Wonderbug, but they were fun to watch in this collection.
This collection at least deserves an add to the old Netflix queue. But, if you were a fan of these back in the day, this would be a fun addition to the home library.
Presented in the original full frame aspect ratio, these shows look okay, but not great. The colors are fairly vibrant, but it is easy to see damage and flickering at different times. I wished these look better, but I guess you take what you can get on some of the more rare shows offered.
Presented in the original mono mix, the shows all sound clear and mostly free of irritating noise. You will be able to hear every “far out” word spoken in this strange shows.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Presented in a standard amaray case, the artwork suits the material offered.
The only bonus feature offered is a gallery of preproduction art. While that is interesting, I would have loved to see a featurette on the Krofft brothers today and interviews with some of the actors from these shows.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Collection 7/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall ( Not an Average) 7/10