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Before Hannah and Dora, There Was Sid & Marty

from the LA Times

Sid and Marty Krofft are still pulling the strings

Sid, Marty and Jack

Krofft Picture Archive

THEIR HEYDAY: Sid, left, and Marty Krofft with Jack Wild, the young star of “H.R. Pufnstuf,” which premiered in 1969. The show’s premise — a child stumbles upon a hidden fantasy world — turned into a winning formula for the Kroffts, who also created “Lidsville” and “Land of the Lost.” There’s a new appetite for their low-budget shows.

 

Nearly 40 years after the psychedelic splash of ‘H.R. Pufnstuf,’ the bickering puppeteers believe their time has finally come.

By Geoff Boucher, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, July 26, 2008

Hollywood is often described as a dream factory, but really it’s just as often a salvage yard. Anxious studio executives would rather bet their $100-million budgets on nostalgia than on new ideas, which is why, against all odds, Sid and Marty Krofft are back in business.

The Krofft brothers, both now in their 70s, have a showbiz story that dates back to the final days of vaudeville. But for children of the Nixon years, their name is the brand behind some of the era’s strangest TV programming: shows such as “H.R. Pufnstuf,” “Lidsville,” “Land of the Lost” and “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.”

Those low-budget shows had rubber-costumed actors, fluorescent puppets and psychedelic sets that were by the 1980s hopelessly dated; and by the end of that decade, the same could be said of the Kroffts.

Today, though, thanks to the Hollywood appetite for all things kitschy and high-concept, the Kroffts are poised for the biggest payday of their career — unless, of course, they strangle each other first.

“Things did get lean, but we never gave up,” said Sid, 78, the smiling, soft-spoken dreamer of the two.

There are still plenty of young dreamers, oddballs and colorful hucksters in the entertainment industry, but, really, the modern corporate era has wiped away most of its greasepaint charm. In the flashbulb era, big stars were bigger and tall tales were taller.

For example, take the celebrated Krofft family history: Sid and Marty are supposedly fifth-generation puppeteers, dating to the opening of the Krofft Theater in the early 1700s in Athens. It is a truly amazing tale and cited in almost every article every written about them, and it’s the first line of their bio.

[ click to read full article at the LA Times ]

Posted on July 26, 2008 by Editor

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