Far Out SciFi Worlds of Sid and Marty Krofft


Helper Bot
[img2=right]http://io9.com/assets/resources/2008/03/FarOut.jpg[/img2]Brothers Sid and Marty Krofft first came to fame with their touring puppet show "Les Poupées de Paris" in the 1970s which featured topless puppets, and puppet-on-puppet sex long before Avenue Q or Team America. They later made the move to television with the trippy H.R. Pufnstuf in 1969, which they swear was not drug influenced, nor was the Donny & Marie show, which they created as well. But here at io9, we'll always remember their wacky-*** forays into science fiction. Find out everything you wanted to know about the Krofft scifi shows of yesteryear in today's triviagasm.
  • The first attempt by the Kroffts to bring scifi the masses was arguably The Bugaloos. You've got mutant kids with wings, a crazy mad scienctist lady named Benita Bizarre who wanted to capture them, and Billy Barty as a humanoid firefly.
  • Little known fact: Phil Collins actually auditioned to be a Bugaloo in 1970, before later joining Genesis that year. Who knows what would've happened to all those copies of No Jacket Required if he would've become a mutant.
  • While The Bugaloos only lasted one season, the next show with a scifi bent turned out to be Sigmund and the Sea Monsters in 1973. It ran for two seasons, and featured mutant monsters living near the sea. Sigmund was the nice monster, while his family wanted to make a living scaring humans.
  • Little known fact: Sigmund was actually Billy Barty. The Kroffts sure loved this guy.
  • In season two, Rip Taylor played an extremely effeminate genie named Sheldon who lived in a shell and had a penchant for making bad jokes and throwing confetti. Ouch.
  • In 1974, the Kroffts scared thousands of kids by introducing the Sleestaks in Land of the Lost. We've already covered our secret obsession with this show in a triviagasm. In fact, we're waiting on a Pylon to show up any day on Lost.
  • 1975's Far Out Space Nuts was the first Krofft show set in outer space, and it featured Bob "Gilligan" Denver and Chuck McCann as two hapless NASA employees who accidentally blast themselves into space when they hit the "launch" button instead of the "lunch" button. Nice button layout, NASA.
  • Besides featuring a total ripoff on the Skipper/Gilligan dynamic, the show also starred their alien friend Honk who made honking noises instead of talking.
  • Legendary actor John Carradine played an alien on the show, and according to Bob Denver's website his acting ability left Denver speechless.
  • The Lost Saucer also first appeared in 1975, and like Far Out Space Nuts it only ran for one season as well. It featured Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors and Ruth Buzzi as two dingbat androids named Fum and Fi who land on Earth and invite a young boy and his babysitter aboard. However, as onlookers gather and the crowd starts to panic, the androids take off with Jerry and Alice still aboard. The ship, which can also travel through time, becomes damaged, and the series is all about the bumbling idiot-bots trying to return them home.
  • The androids had a pet "dorse" aboard the ship, which was half dog, and half horse.
  • Jim Nabors had a bizarre "elbow laser" that he frequently used to... er, comic effect.
  • 1976 gave us The Krofft Supershow, which was a Saturday morning kid's variety show. It was made up of other shows and musical acts like Kaptain Kool & The Kongs. It introduced the world to my personal favorite Krofft creation, Dr. Shrinker. Three kids crash-land their plane on a mysterious island, and a creepy mad scientist and his assistant (played by Billy Barty, of course) shrink them down as an insidious experiment. For the rest of the show, the "Shrinkies" try to evade the Doctor and figure out how to re-enlarge themselves.
  • Dr. Shrinker wanted to capture the Shrinkies to prove to the world that his shrinking ray worked, because it blew up after he shrunk them down. However, rather than try to repair it, he spent all of his time trying to catch the diminutive teens. What an idiot. As he said himself, "I chase the Shrinkies. I catch the Shrinkies. The Shrinkies escape. It's a vicious cycle and it's driving me mad!"
  • The Krofft Supershow also gave us one season of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, which borrowed heavily from the 1960s Batman television show, as well as Wonder Woman. The show featured two women who were reporters (in their spare time) and who could turn into superheroes with their "Electra-Change". They drove around in an "Electra-Car," had an "Electra-Base," and talked to their scientist buddy Frank via "Electra-Coms." They also had a huge variety of "Electra-Powers", like "Electra-Vision" and "Electra-Beams."
  • The show starred Deidre Hall from Days of Our Lives as Electra Woman, and a new pilot for the show was shot in 2001 starring Markie Post as Electra Woman, but it did not get picked up. If the writer's strike would've lasted longer... who knows?
  • We can't go without mentioning the bizarre Wonderbug show that was part of the Supershow. Three teenagers fight crime and solve mysteries with the help of their jalopy Schlep who could turn into a magical dune buggy when they honked his magic horn. It's not really science fiction, but it was a talking car long before K.I.T.T. ever was. Plus hey, he could fly. Try doing that with Turbo Boost.
  • Sadly, with season two the Krofft Supershow dropped both Dr. Shrinker and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Instead, they added Magic Mongo, about a wacky genie, and Bigfoot and Wildboy, which was all about a boy orphaned in the Pacific Northwest who was raised by Bigfoot. Together they fight people who would do harm to the regions forest.
  • Bigfoot and Wildboy actually got picked up as a standalone show for ABC, and they would edited two 15 minute shows together into one episode. The show featured a lot of 70s style slow-motion, to show how strong Bigfoot was. Kind of like The Six Million Dollar Man. Remember when Bigfoot was on that show? Look for more on that later.
  • Probably the most bizarre thing the Kroffts ever produced (besides Lidsville) was The Krofft Superstar Hour in 1978. It was a reworking of The Krofft Supershow, and they dropped Kaptain Kool & The Kongs, and replaced them with the real life band The Bay City Rollers. They added two skit segments to the show called Horror Hotel, featuring Witchiepoo from Pufnstuf as a *****y hotel owner, and The Lost Island, which is where things truly went wonky.
  • The Lost Island featured cameo appearances by Enik the Sleestak, H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund the Sea Monster, and Dr. Shrinker, now called Dr. Deathray. They'd have bizarre interactions with the Bay City Rollers, and then there'd be a musical scene. True bizarreness. Check out Part One and Part Two of this mindmelting segment.
(Via IO9)
I still refuse to play that there were no psychedelic pharmaceuticals consumed by Sid & Marty during this time period.