Saturday, March 14, 2009

H.R. Pufnstuf

He's from San Antonio.

Did you know that?

I'm a regular reader of another local blog called Blogonomicon, and the author there, Alan, is something of a vinylphile. He has many old LP albums that he has been ripping to his computer, and some of them are rare, curious, or strange. As he digitizes some of the more interesting ones, he does blog posts explaining how he got them and what the music means to him. This all makes for fun reading, but I recently learned something new about an old television show I used to watch.

The show was "H.R. Pufnstuf," a strange Saturday morning live-action puppet show featuring a dragon in cowboy boots and a boy with a magic flute. (Read more about it here, if you like.) I barely remember the show, and most of the people I mention it to do not recall it themselves, so it was refreshing to read that Alan remembered it and that I wasn't just some crazy person who made up memories about cowboy dragons. In fact, Alan has the original soundtrack of the album, and he recently ripped it to his computer and wrote a blog post about it.

I enjoyed reading about the album and the show, but imagine my surprise when I read one of the commenters on the post claiming that Pufnstuf had his origins in Hemisfair '68, the world's fair that was held in San Antonio! I was intrigued, so I consulted the vat of all human knowledge known as Wikipedia and discovered that the dragon and his flute-toting friend were indeed a product of the Alamo City!
After creating costumes for characters in the live-action portion of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, Sid and Marty Krofft were asked to develop their own Saturday morning children's series for NBC. The plot was recycled from Kaleidescope, a live puppet show the Kroffts had staged in the Coca-Cola pavilion of the HemisFair '68 world's fair in 1968, including several key characters from this show, such as Luther the dragon and a silly witch[4].
There you go. One more strange thing from San Antonio.


Keith Alan K said...

I was THERE.
The witch was called Witcheypoo if I recall, and she ran up and down the aisles during the live shows @ HemisFair'68.
I had an aisle seat, so the actress got too close for my comfort at age 6--I was still worried about the wicked witch of the west at that age.
Later, I would watch the TV show and glare at her for scaring me.

Dave said...

I used to watch that show Saturday mornings - and it always really creeped me out.

Albatross said...

Remember "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters"? I do believe the same guys that made "H.R. Pufnstuf" also made that strange, creepy show.

AlanDP said...

Was just re-reading this post and needed to add a comment.

They did make Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. They also made Lidsville, do you remember that one? Starring Charles Nelson Reilly and Butch "Eddie Munster" Patrick. I gotta check and see if Netflix has that one on DVD.

Albatross said...

I thought as much about "Sigmund", but I don't remember "Lidsville". I'll have to see if I can find it on Youtube and try to jog the ol' memory.

Albatross said...

Jogged it is! Yes, I remember that strange show, but the strongest memory I have (I was 3-5 years old when "Lidsville" was on) was that of the kid falling into the hat.

And there's another Texas connection. Check out the beginning of the opening theme and credits. Yep, that's Six Flags Over Texas where the magic show takes place.

So, H.R. Pufnstuf in San Antonio, Lidsville in Dallas. Strange given that the Kroffts were not from Texas.

AlanDP said...

They were primarily puppeteers. Before they got into the TV shows they did big puppet shows at the larger amusement parks.