Tuesday , February 20 2024

Review: Saturday Morning with Sid & Marty Krofft

Saturday Morning with Sid and Marty Kroft is a nostalgic disc that contains pilot episodes from their most memorable television productions.

It beings with a very cute menu sequence of a small girl climbing out of bed and making herself a bowl of cereal before continuing to turn on the TV. It immediately carried me back to that time in my life when kids programming wasn’t available twenty-four seven on several cable channels, but only on Saturday mornings.

With all of the shows contained herein, you have to remember the time they originally aired, and not try and compare them to what is rampant on television today. Production values would fail dreadfully in contrast.

H.R. Pufnstuf is a lovable show and one that was so firmly burnt in my memory from the early seventies.

The show revolved around a young English boy named Jimmy and Freddie, his magic talking golden flute. The pair find themselves trapped on the Enchanted Living Island and pursued by Witchiepoo. The witch is determined to have the magical flute for herself. H.R. Pufnstuf, a lovable yellow dragon in cowboy attire and mayor of the island, is just as determined to help Jimmy escape and find his way home.

When you try to revisit anything in you past, the actuality usually doesn’t live up to the memory. Whether we lose our innocence as we age, or as adults we see that the writing wasn’t as innocent and pure as our child like minds saw, the result is the same. The slang, clothing and humor, is so rooted in the 70’s I can’t say they hold the test of time as much as carry you back to that time in your life.

The Bugaloos is one of the three episodes on the disc that I was watching for the first time. The show is centered around four teenage singing bugs living in the Tranquility Forest. The villain, Benita Bizarre (played by Martha Raye), is out to catch the bugaloos and steal their talent to make herself a star. It also had the star power of Billy Barty playing Sparky, a clumsy fire fly who was afraid to fly.

Again, you have to put the show in context, remembering it aired in the early seventies, but to me this one does stand the test of time. The premise and the conflicts between good and evil, as well as the four teenagers helping the confused and scared firefly are ones that would entertain children of today. It carries it off in an intelligent way that severely lacks in a lot of today’s children’s programming. The show also features music, another plus when programming for kids. With a little updating, this show could be a hit on the airwaves today.

Lidsville featured star power as well. Charles Nelson Riley Played the evil Hoo Doo and Billie Hayes was Weenie the Genie.

The premise is a “curious teen” falls into a magician’s hat and down into a city where everyone is a hat. The show is campy and full of puns, but also brought back many nostalgic memories of sitting in front of the television with my pajamas on.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters ran on NBC from September of 1973 to October of 1975. The cute story line was that of a run away Sea Monster befriended by two young boys. As with most of the Krofft productions, the show is laced with quirky puns and physical humor. It is very innocent, especially by today standards. As with most of their shows, music is an integral part, with the characters breaking into song spontaneously.

Land of the Lost is my personal favorite of all the Krofft productions. I admit that I jumped to this pilot the moment I had the DVD out of the box. The story centers around a father and his two children, who while rafting fell over falls and ended up in prehistoric times. The adventures revolved around the family hiding from the dinosaurs and making friends with the ape like men called Pakuni while trying to find their way back to their own time.

It is hard to overlook how just how far the industry has come in special effects when watching this show. As with the other Krofft productions, the humor is campy but it was still a very fond stroll down memory lane. With dinosaurs being a favorite topic of children, one can only imagine how successful this show would be had it been produced now instead of then.

The Lost Saucer was yet another Krofft production that held major star power for the time. The show featured Jim Nabors and Ruth Buzzi as two androids from the future.

The Krofft’s worked the same formula premise of being lost. In this series they were lost in time, with two young teens from the (then) current 1970’s.

Lovable and fun in the same way that is classic to all the Krofft shows, the show aired in the 75 and 76 seasons.

Far Out Space Nuts reused the Space theme. This time they turned to Bob Denver and Chuck McCann to provide the star power. The duo played two blundering NASA commissary employees who accidentally launch themselves into space.

Using the same theme of their other shows, the episodes revolved around the two trying to get home and were presented with quirky jokes and a lot of physical humor as well.

Bonus features on this disc include an interview with Si Rose, Veteran Krofft producer; the k-sat (Krofft Saturday Aptitude test); and Lidsville commentary by George Lopez.

The entire disc provided a fun-filled stroll down memory lane, one I would recommend to anyone old enough to remember watching these shows while eating a bowl of Cheerios in your pajamas.

About Connie Phillips

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