The kid show kings of the 1970s, Sid and Marty Krofft, are back and reviving their classic characters on the Internet, on home video, in toy stores and on the movie screen.
Best remembered for costume and puppet kid shows, such as H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville and Sigmond and the Sea Monsters, the Krofft alumni were recently revived in the U.S. with a marathon screening on cable TV’s Nick-At-Nite. Rhino Video picked up the rights for DVD and video release and have had success marketing the library to kids and their parents, who fondly remember the shows from their youth.
But the big news is the recent deals all over Hollywood for any piece of Krofft family product. Sony Pictures Family Entertainment is preparing a feature-length H.R. Pufnstuf with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (both of Ed Wood) producing, with writers Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (Scary Movie, Spy Hard) hard at work on a screenplay to bring the creatures of Living Island back to life on the big screen. (For the record, Universal released a feature-length Pufnstuf movie with Mama Cass in 1970).
‘It’s all about reinventing-keeping the integrity, but reinventing’ says Randy Pope, senior VP of production at Krofft Pictures, about bringing these funky icons of `70s pop culture into the cutting-edge 2000s. ‘It’s not easy, you’ve got to find that fine line. You can’t only appeal to your old fans, but you can’t turn them off either. We’ll find that happy medium between low-tech and high-tech, so the fans will say `that’s Pufnstuf, and I love him,’ and new kids will say, `that’s a great-looking character,’ and hopefully appeal to everybody.’
The Bugaloos, originally an NBC network series about an insect-sized rock & roll group, is also being prepped at Universal with Danny DeVito’s Jersey Films. And Buffy, Jody, Cissy, Mr. French and Mrs. Beasley could be back as early as next year if Johnny Whittaker (who portrayed Jody and went on to star in Krofft’s `70s series Sigmond and the Sea Monsters) has his way. Whittaker is attached to associate produce a revived Family Affair movie with Krofft Pictures.
The Internet rights to the original Land of the Lost episodes, Krofft’s 1975 low-tech precursor to Jurassic Park, are licensed to Galaxy Online, a sci-fi website offering streaming video of classic fantasy TV series. Krofft’s space comedies-The Lost Saucer with Ruth Buzzi and Jim Nabors, and Far Out Space Nuts with Bob Denver and Chuck McCann-will also join the Galaxy Online sked this fall. Land of the Lost is also slated to debut on the big screen as it is also in development at SPFE.
Meanwhile, toy stores have gotten Krofft-ier with a new a new line of LivingToys-produced action figures and beanie dolls that portray the likes of Pufnstuf and Electra Woman. ‘The Sleestak (the creatures from Land of the Lost) and Freddy The Flute (from Pufnstuf) are our most requested figures that we haven’t released yet. Rest assured they are in production,’ says Pope. ‘Next up is developing projects around superheroes Electra Woman and Dyna Girl and Sigmond and the Sea Monsters. It’s a lot of fun. Everyone we’re in business with is a big fan-and they also make great movies.’