Professor Ellis D. Trails asks Jonesy: “Is he cool?”
Reruns columnist Emily Nussbaum does a fine job breaking down the (lack of) appeal of Sid and Marty Krofft and their bizarre menagerie of anthropomorphic felt creatures in The Evil Geniuses of Kiddie Schlock in this week’s Times ‘Arts & Leisure’ section.
Nussbaum calls the Kroffts “TV hucksters” (no argument there) and posits that:
They were making shows that kids could watch alone, while severely addled by Cap’n Crunch. In another league entirely from the witty Muppetry of “Sesame Street” or the gentle pleasures of Mr. Rogers and “The Magic Garden,” the Kroffts dished up a swirl of psychedelia, vaudeville and cheesy production values that might be described as brown acid for the toddler soul.
Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Part of me wishes she’d gone a bit further and delved into Sid and Marty’s equally surreal lives, the failed theme park in Atlanta, the treehouses, the illnesses. (It was all covered in H.R. Pufnstuf and the Strange World of Sid and Marty Krofft: The E! True Hollywood Story.) Another part of me knows that these guys, and their dated, schlocky programs don’t deserve it.
What did surprise me, though, was the omission of The Altered States of Druggachusettes, Mr. Show with Bob and David‘s dead-on parody of H.R. Pufnstuf‘s (not-quite) druggy subtext.
Written by Mr. Show‘s own evil genius, Dino Stamatopoulos (who also sang the skit’s theme song) and actor-writer Jay Johnston, it’s a wild journey through the looking glass, just after the looking glass was used to cut some really potent coke (to chase all the LSD and pot, naturally). It’s also, in its own way, the true skeleton key to Sid and Marty Krofft’s insane oeuvre, and well worth the cost of the Mr. Show season 3 DVD.
“Hey, buddy. We’re gonna take you over to the tent now, alright?”
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