Sid and Marty Krofft, who started as puppeteers, created many alternate worlds for children to visit during the full duration of the 1970s. If you were a child during this time, you no doubt remember shows like H.R. Pufnstuf, Land of the Lost, The Bugaloos or Lidsville. My personal favorite of all the Krofft creations was Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, which ran on NBC from 9/8/73 until 10/18/75. The complete first season (the best in my opinion) has recently been released by Rhino Entertainment on a 3 DVD set, which includes 17 of the show’s 29 episodes as well as extra features. It totals a respectable 411 minutes.
The premise of the show is that a sea monster named Sigmund Ooze who lives in a cave at “Dead Man’s Point” is exiled by his mean and lunk-headed family, which includes his mother (Sweet Mama), father (Big Daddy) and two brothers (Blurp and Slurp). The sea monster family was modeled after the famous sitcom “All in the Family“. When Sigmund runs away he meets two boys, Johnny and Scott, who keep the lovable monster safe in their clubhouse away from the prying eyes of adults. For some inexplicable reason the boys parents are never seen, but their housekeeper Zelda takes on the role of guardian. Althought the scripts are simplistic at best, they do have moral lessons weaved throughout.
Sigmund is played by the most famous “little person” in the history of film, Billy Barty. Johnny is played by Johnny Whitaker who had previously held the role of Jody on successful television series Family Affair.
The show itself has it’s moments, but will have the most value for those wishing for a nostalgic trip back to their 70s childhood. Children over five will probably find the low-tech production laughable. The costumes are obvious, the acting is not good and the scripts seem “created on the spot”. However, the show is so creative and off-the-wall that it’s a joy to watch. The music is sung by the older child, Johnny Whitaker, to capitalize on the teen idol craze and is pretty catchy stuff despite the horrible production and less-than-stellar singing voice of the young Whitaker.
The special features give a lot of insight into the making of the show through interviews with the child stars Johnny Whitaker and Scott Kolden who explain the experience of being on the set as children. We also learn that Sid Krofft got the idea for Sigmund and the Sea Monsters after seeing a large clump of seaweed washed up on the beach from an interview with the show’s writer, Si Rose. If you have children under five or remember Sigmund and the Sea Monsters from your own childhood, this collection is worth owning.
Select Clips From Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (Real Vcideo):
Clip 1 – “Monster Rock Festival”
Clip 2 – “Johnny’s Video Jukebox”
Robert Burke spends much of his time lovingly crafting thematic music playlists at the Rhapsody Radish.