Hollywood is a cool town, and you run into cool people. Just last week I found myself talking to none other than Sid and Marty Krofft, the creators of such classic TV shows as HR Pufnstuf, Land of the Lost (now becoming a movie) and The Bugaloos. They’re not resting on their old laurels, and in fact have lots and lots of things in development beyond Land of the Lost.
Sid and Marty told me that Electra Woman and Dyna Girl may be happening soon – they have a female star interested in the role of Electra Woman. The Bugaloos is being developed as a new TV series, which seems perfect in this current landscape of kid’s shows. Meanwhile, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and HR Pufnstuf may soon be following Marshall, Will and Holly to the big screen.
“Pufnstuf is no piece of cake,” Marty said. “It’s tough. We’ve developed that for
years, and it hasn’t worked. Last time it really didn’t work at Sony,
but that’s another story. It is not… it is very difficult to do
Puffenstuff. Who we have [writing] now I think is going to nail it, because he
just told me ten minutes ago. But he’s not signed yet.”
Of course when you’re talking to Sid and Marty Krofft about HR Pufnstuf you have to broach the topic of… illicit substances. Marty set the record straight on their own drug use: “If we did as many drugs as you think we did, we’d be dead.”
The brothers talked a bit about the origins of the show, which has been popular with stoners for decades thanks to the series’ psychedelic visuals of an island where every single object is alive.
Sid: For the record, the name Pufnstuf… the big song was Puff the
Magic Dragon that year, and that’s where that came from. HR – he was
the mayor, and we didn’t want to call him Mayor Pufnstuf, so he was
Royal Highness. We took the R and H and reversed them. It’s not Hand
Marty: Nobody believes it. They did a survey on the internet to see
what people thought the HR was. 999 people said Hand Rolled. The one
person was him. The network thought it was a sissy title.
Sid: They hated it. Thought it sounded like Powderpuff.
Marty: They didn’t know a drug dealer named it for us.
Of course part of what makes HR Pufnstuf so hard to crack as a film is that it doesn’t have the obvious adventure hooks of Land of the Lost. Sid and Marty know that their audience tends to be people who grew up on the show, so they have to figure out how to branch out to a younger demographic. That work has begun, Marty explained:
Marty: We did 17 episodes and we lost our tail. We lost a million dollars
doing it. Fortunately we were at Six Flags with shows, we made rides
for them, we were able to use Peter to pay Paul. Pufnstuf in this
country, we had 17 episodes, they ran those five years at least 20
times each episode. People talk to me now and think there’s a hundred
episodes. As far as adults watching it, high school kids – we know
right now our main audience is 30 to 45, but we know that under 30
there’s a select audience, and they’re coming. What we did to help that
is we just did a partnership with MySpace… a sharing deal coming up
this month. We’re guaranteed 2 billion impressions on the front page,
at least. It cost $700,000 for that front page, how long do you think
we have that front page? 24 hours. That will send them to the page, and
we’re going to have a store, to build up merchandise.
Sid: Explain what’s going to be on MySpace.
Marty: I am. My brother. You’re seeing what everybody is seeing for 35
years. Sony has minisodes, we have Kroft Kwickies, 4 minute episodes of
Pufnstuf, Land of the Lost, Sigmund. We’re going to premiere with
three episode of each for these Kwickies. So the new kids will go from
the front page to that, hopefully see them all, do their drugs and then
go to the store.