OK....I'm just the right age to have grown up on the bright, benignly psychedelic children’s television shows of Sid & Marty Krofft. Specifically, I'm referring to H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (not Land of the Lost or Lidsville). Were they quirky, off-beat kids' shows that pushed the bounds of the imagination or were they drug-inspired, psychotropic dreams reflective of the off-kilter sensibilities of their time? Its hard to make the final call on their work as brothers and famed puppeteers Sid & Marty Krofft turned their hands to producing television shows and changing television history.
To me, H. R. Pufnstuf was the pinnacle of the Kroffts' productive effluent. Weird? Yes. But any weirder than the Teletubbies? I mean, c'mon: Billy Hayes' Witchiepoo (Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo) was the classic antagonist, riding around on her jet-powered broom (the Vroom Broom!) and forever trying to steal Jimmy's magic flute, Freddy the Flute, a character recently acclaimed by the New York Times as the first gay character on television. Luring the main character, Jimmy into a magical world just to steal his flute...oh, I can't even begin to start the analysis! Thought they only produced 17 episodes (all available on DVD!), H.R. Pufnstuff made an indelible mark on the psyche of my generation.
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters followed, the story of a young sea monster (played my the inimitable Billy Barty) who is kicked out of his family for refusing to scare people and adopted by two young boys who hide him in their clubhouse. For me, Sigmund's older brothers, Blurp and Slurp, made the show.... of course having Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz) and comedienne Mary Wickes (a notable TV character actor) playing regular parts in the show didn't hurt, either. Like H. R. Pufnstuf, the plot lines were simple: always some means of Sigmund trying to do something to call attention to himself and the boys working to keep him hidden.
I suspect that the brief cultural flirtations we've had recently with hair and clothing styles from the 70's will expand...TVLand or the Cartoon Network would be wise to grab some franchise licenses to introduce a new generation of moppets to the weird and wonderful world of Sid & Marty Krofft. I'm off to see what I can find on YouTube...