I recently watched the H.R. Pufnstuf movie (don’t ask) and for whatever reason (alright, I was stoned), I really enjoyed it. Talk about psychedelic eye candy! Although the two brothers behind this colorful, low budget, live-action puppeteering, Sid and Marty Krofft, have always strenuously denied that drugs—specifically pot and acid—had anything whatsoever to do with the inspiration behind their trippy animist good vs. evil fantasy lands where hats were alive and trees talked like Boris Karloff and Edward G. Robinson (“We’re bizarre, that’s all” as Marty once put it), I mean, COME ON.
And “Pufnstuf”? HOW can that not be taken as a druggy double entendre? Six years after the controversy over Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon,” along comes yet another friendly dragon with a name like “H.R. Pufnstuf” and it’s got nothing at all to do with pot? It could be a coincidence, sure, but I just don’t believe that. Jimmy’s friend Freddy the solid gold diamond-encrusted magic talking flute might as well have been a solid gold diamond-encrusted magic talking bong named “Bongo.” They had to be puffin’ stuff to come up with this stuff. It’s not all that far away from The Mighty Boosh, now is it? What does the “H.R.” stand for anyway? Short for “hand-rolled”?
The thing is, if you read enough about the Kroffts, as much as they tried to act like they were all goody two-shoes in nearly every single interview, they actually did admit that the name of their subsequent kids show Lidsville was in fact a pot reference. A “lid” was hipster-speak for an ounce of cannabis at the time and they got a kick out of passing Lidsville by the network censors. Again, they denied this for a long, long time, but as they were in the business of producing television for young children, they can of course be forgiven for this little white lie. But it does put a different spin on what you were feeding your head with on Saturday mornings, doesn’t it?
This morning my wife told me that Nickelodeon were going to revive H.R. Pufnstuf after 45 years. My immediate reaction was totally negative. Blasphemy! How dare they? It would be like that shitty Tim Burton Willy Wonka movie with Johnny fucking Depp. H.R. Pufnstuf was of its time. And too well remembered. There doesn’t need to be a remake of it. It was also kind of perfect—like Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka—as it was. Certainly there would be no way to improve upon the original, so what would be the point? A bit of a “First World problem,” I suppose, but I was pretty perturbed!
And then I actually read the article and realized that it was Sid and Marty Krofft themselves who were bringing back their own character. Frankly, I’d assumed that they were dead, but this is hardly the case, not only are the Krofft brothers both alive, they are still actively making children’s television.
Via The Wrap:
Nickelodeon is bringing “H.R. Pufnstuf” back for a new televised adventure for the first time in 45 years. The network announced on Tuesday that it has greenlit “H.R. Pufnstuf Comes to Mutt & Stuff!” The special will be part of the network’s order for 20 additional episodes of live-action preschool series “Mutt & Stuff” from Sid and Marty Krofft, the creators of “Pufnstuf.” The beloved character that debuted on NBC in 1969 will return to TV in early 2016, along with friends Cling and Clang, Freddy the Flute and the Rescue Racer. Production on the special is beginning this fall.
As long as that Tim Burton isn’t involved…
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