The Nightmarish World of Sid & Marty Krofft


As all 7 of my regular readers already know, I am a child of the 70’s. I came on the scene in the summer of 1968, just as America was beginning its great slide into obscenity and decay, and race riots were burning through our cities, and our souls. As miserable as the 70’s seemed at the time, when viewed from the distance of 35 years people have a way of convincing themselves that it was a idyllic Eden. A simpler time, when our national enemies were clearly identified, boy’s did not wear hair gel, and only sailors and bikers wore tattoo’s.

This is how nostalgia works, and as this blog illustrates, I am nothing if not a junkie for nostalgia. It is the sweetest drug I know, more powerful than heroin, and twice as addictive.

But my childhood wasn’t all Sears tuffskins, and rubber toed Keds. Even now, looking back after 35 years, there are still some things about the 70’s that make my blood run cold. Yes, even in the idyllic confines of 20 Prospect, there were horrors too unspeakable to mention after sunset. I am referring, of course, to Sid and Marty Krofft.

<Shudder>

The name still gives me chills. For those that are too young to remember, Sid & Marty Krofft were the producers of a string of children’s television shows so horrible, and terrifying, that I am reluctant to even list them all here. Like all abominations in my life they too hailed from Canada originally, but somehow made their way into the U.S. Television Industry, where some drug addled executive thought it was a good idea to let them unleash their bloodcurdling dreams on a generation of petrified children.

Nothing in my life has disturbed me more than the world of H.R. Pufnstuf.

This is your brain on drugs

Oh, the horror.

The plot of the show was basically this: A little boy is lured to a sinister island from which he can never escape. Once there, he is pursued by living trees, and an evil witch named “Witchiepoo”. You know, the sort of typically lighthearted plot that plays upon children’s darkest fears, and dresses them up in Day-Glo, psychedelic puppetry.

I am 42 and this picture still gives me the willies

So began my life long fear and hatred of clowns and puppets. Evil creatures that I was convinced would not rest until they had stolen my soul and condemned me to eternal torment at the hands of their foam headed minions.

Welcome to Hell Jimmy!

Was I alone in this pathological fear of H.R. Pufnstuf? Don’t even speak to me of Sigmund the Sea Monster, or Sleestak. At least the children in those shows had other human beings to console and protect them. Poor Jimmy had nothing but a talking, magical hash pipe flute.

Hmm... suck on this Jimmy, and it will all feel better...

I have read that roughly 25% of all Generation Xers have been treated with antidepressants for depression and anxiety disorders. If there were any justice in this world, their medical bills would be paid from the coffers of Sid & Marty Kroftt.

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34 thoughts on “The Nightmarish World of Sid & Marty Krofft

  1. So now I am never going to sleep. I had completely wiped this from my memory. Thank you Tom, thank you very much.

    And just because they added poo to the end of a witches name does not make her sweet and loveable. It’s like calling Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal Lecterpoo. Not cute at all.

    • The flute has nothing to do with natural herbs that are smoked. It has everything to do with,”Merlin” and all ancient lore that tells of troubled humans playing & a musical instrument (flutes are popular) that pacifies èvil/coming torment to the innocent and defenseless when played. When in the hands of a Demi-God/warlock/witch its magic and can create things. Think a bit more when making up conspiracy theory that was weak!

  2. OMJ, the true source of my outlandishly overt fear of clowns! I, like Vapid, had vague memories of Pufnstuff, but had apparently moved all of the specifics to the dark recesses where one stores the trauma of childhood. I’m just going to go sit in the crying corner at the therapists office for a couple of hours. All of your heroic work from yesterday? Yeah, that has been undone in one post. *sigh*

    • There, there, Shawn. It’s going to be OK. Letting the demons out of the closet of your subconscious is the only way to exorcise them. It also makes room for more shoes.

      PS – I’ll be sure to add your name to the list of plaintiffs in our class action lawsuit against Sid & Marty Krofft.

  3. Lady Elaine from Mr. Rogers land of make believe had a sexually confused drunken (remember the red cheeks and nose) type of horrifying quality that left me sad and confused.
    I used to have a recurring dream where HR Pufnstuff, Mayor McCheese and several other large sized puppet type things used to come out of the woods behind my house and start a slow zombie walk towards me.
    Thank you for helping me relive this nightmare.
    http://dufmanno.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/true-evil/

    Can you imagine the room of LSD dropping lunatics that thought this stuff up?
    Dude, lets give it a GIANT ORANGE HEAD!

    • Whoever dreamed them up must have ingested massive quantities of psychotropic drugs, and engaged in satanic black masses. There can be no other explanation for it.

      Not only did these devil worshiping hippie freaks unleash the cast of H.R. Pufnstuf on a generation of impressionable children, they continued to crank out nightmare inducing creations throughout the dark decade of the seventies.

      Like the Bugaloos…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bugaloos

      Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_and_the_Sea_Monsters

      the dastardly Dr. Shrinker

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Shrinker

      and who can forget Bigfoot and Wildboy?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigfoot_and_Wildboy#Bigfoot_and_Wildboy_episodes

      in fact, the more I dig into the past of Sid & Marty Krofft the more I become convinced that they are the root of most of the evils in my life. For instance, Phil Collins actually auditioned to be one of the British Accented members of the Bugaloos. To think that Sid and Marty had a hand in the “genesis” of this insipid musician gives me chills. No amount of mental bleach can remove the stain of Sussudio, Invisible Touch, Against All Odds, Land of Confusion, or Illegal Alien.

      Puppets obviously weren’t their only tool for wreaking evil. They also used pre-fab pop music. Did you know that the Krofft’s also produced “Donnie & Marie”, “Pink Lady & Jeff”, “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour”, and “Barbara Mandrel and the Mandrel Sisters”?

      • Donnie & Marie?
        Please tell me you are joking.
        Phil Collins obviously had some sort of bad reaction to his experiences and not just because he vomited forth those horrible songs.
        The expulsion of the flower costume wearing Peter Gabriel (note how much he resembled a sid and marty K. creation while in some of his stage gear) was clearly caused by some sort of large bright costume wearing backlash against this evil duo.

        The Barbara Mandrel thing I totally get though.

        • Alas, I wish I were joking, but Sid & Marty Krofft are responsible for making me both a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n roll.

  4. Don’t let the Bananna Splits fly under the radar. They may have been produced by Hanna Barbera but the costumes and sets were done by none other than Sid and Marty…

    • One banana, two banana, three banana, four,

      four banana splits, rolling out the door.

      tra-la-la, la-la-la-la, tra-la-la, la-la-la-la…

    • Jim Henson wasn’t innocent either. Why couldn’t anybody but Big Bird see Snuffleupagus? WHY? WHY I ASK YOU????? I still jump up and down in dreams and try to convince Gordon and Maria to believe Big Bird.

      OK, I’m need to go lay down now and go to my happy place.

  5. I like the warm hazy nostalgic way Tom helps me take a walk down memory lane and then he pulls one out from behind him like this.
    It’s like “The Wonder Years” except Winnie gets kidnapped by a huge wild eyed axe wielding puppet with a ravenous appetite and that little Fred kid can’t save her because he’s tied up and surrounded by the cast of Land of the Lost while they dance in unison to some shagtastic early 70’s tune.
    Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.
    I think I just saw Witchie poo.

  6. i just knew you’d nail it. you’re a walking encyclopedia! and i might also add that you and dufmanno did an awful lot of writing before 9:00 am. please send some brain cells this way.

    • Nah, I wrote that on Wednesday night. I just saved it for this morning because I wanted something fun for Friday. I’ll try to keep the melancholy stuff for midweek. Don’t want to bum people out on a Monday or a Friday.

      And all the comments were just me sitting at my desk, drinking coffee and trying to avoid work a little longer.

      PS – I prefer to think of myself as a fount of useless information.

  7. I was born in the Winter of ’68 and although I remember seeing all these characters later on in life, I never experienced their darkness as a child. My mom thought television was evil so we pretty much played outside until it was bedtime. I guess I should have thanked her for sparing me the nightmares.

    • I’m surprised HR Puffnstuff didn’t pull up your street in a white van and throw you all inside.
      Get to a therapist STAT to unearth these painfully repressed memories.
      No one ever escaped a Sid and Marty creation.

  8. I defy many things. Popular culture and basic facts are but two. I just discovered Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year. I kid you not. Of course, I like to think that I’m just living in the moment, my brain only able to hold on to what’s happening NOW. My husband, on the other hand, is wondering if I’m really just stupid.

  9. Geesh…I was in LOVE with Jack Wild…Just had this conversation a bit back. We were talking about Mama Cass she was in an episode. She was a witch Hazel. Goes to show what GREATS were doing back then!

    Your parents should not have let you watch at such a young age.

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