austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Just a dream from yesterday

It's a dangerous thing under any circumstances to watch Sid and Marty Krofft shows. They're great children's programming, mind you, and often combine that exhilarating sense of adventure with densely packed whimsy and a surprisingly common storyline about people trying to find their home which it's hard for anyone to not feel some sympathy with. You can fault them -- other than Land of the Lost, which is surprisingly somber while staying adventurous -- for cornball humor and a weirdly over-applied laugh track and a tendency to include segments that look like they were rejected from an Alice in Wonderland fan fiction, but that's also part of the appeal. And there's a heavy reliance on some great voice actors and some pleasant character actors at a time they probably needed the work, and if the sets are goofy and cardboard at least that looks like a deliberate artistic choice and it matches the tapping-into-kids-playing aesthetic of many of the setups.

I'd been borrowing The World of Sid and Marty Krofft DVDs -- sample episodes from each of the shows -- from the library now and then, and today got to the first disc (which was checked out for the longest time). That's the one with H R Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, Lidsville (taking about Alice in Wonderland fan fiction, filtered through ... I'm not even sure whose perspective), and the somehow-escaping-a-plagiarism-suit-for-its-theme-songs Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. And that's what lead me for the first time since Super Retrovision Saturdays to Lidsville, which might be the quintessential Krofft show to watch as an adult and wonder how something like this could ever be made. Pufnstuf is too solidly grounded in plausibility to compete.

If you've forgotten the show, this is the one with the genial but bland kid trying to get back home from a bizarre land of living hats, ruled over by Charles Nelson Reilly as twisted mad magician Horatio J Hoodoo, who's aided by sidekick Raunchy Rabbit (I swear), the henchmen Playing Cards, and the occasional innovative uses of green-screens. In the episode on this sampler, Hoodoo has lost his magic powers to Raunchy Rabbit, and to get them back Hoodoo -- played by Reilley painted green -- decides his best approach to stealing them back is: a female rabbit!

So you have Charles Nelson Reilley, in green makeup, in a rabbit head-covering mask, wearing a full-body white leotard and ballerina skirt, overplaying a sort-of woman and oh, my, but I was not ready for that in this existence.

Trivia: The Swiss patent office granted ten patents on electric clocks in 1902. Source: Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps, Peter Galison.

Currently Reading: Biting The Sun, Tanith Lee.

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