It Seemed Like a Good Idea: Lidsville

No, for the bajillionth time, Sid and Marty Krofft were not on drugs when they made their haunting Saturday morning shows. That's what they claim in interviews, and I have no reason to think otherwise. It just makes their oeuvre that much more impressive.

Like this week's show Lidsville. Instead of a fantastic premise, the Kroffts opted for some true-life inspiration. Young Mark is impressed by a magician's act. In fact, he's so impressed that he sneaks backstage afterward to see his magic hat to see how Merlo the Great pulled a rabbit out of it.

As soon as he picks up the hat, the room begins to glow and the hat grows insanely large. Intrigued, Mark climbs onto the brim of the giant hat to see what's going on. Alas, he falls in, seeing a kaleidoscope of bizarre images before finally landing unharmed in a strange place populated mostly by anthropomorphic hats.

See? That could happen to anyone.

Lidsville starred former Eddie Munster Butch Patrick as Mark, while the legendary Charles Nelson Reilly portrayed the evil Horatio J. Hoodoo, who terrorized the citizens of Lidsville while flying around in his (sigh) hatamaran. Helping Mark try to find a way home was Weenie the Genie, played by Billie Hayes, who was also Witchiepoo in H.R. Pufnstuf.

The show ran from 1971 to 1973, but there were only 17 episodes. That's a lot of chances for repeat viewing.

At its most basic, Lidsville was about a lost boy trying to get home. It might not have been the primary goal of each episode, but that was what Mark wanted. As far as we know, he never returned home, not unlike other beloved TV characters.

In actuality it was like watching a fever dream or acid trip. You can't say the Kroffts didn't have imagination. Most of their shows involve outlandish and colorful sets and characters. But still, I have to wonder how many kids got the crap scared out of them just during the opening credits.

Speaking of the opening credits, you eagle-eyed types might notice that Charles Nelson Reilly also plays Merlo the Great. That always made me wonder if Merlo was a disguise for Hoodoo while in our world.

That's probably overthinking it a bit, but I was a nerdy kid. A shock, I know.

You know the premise for the show is bizarre when you try to explain it to other grown adults. It's like trying to explain old videogames.

"OK, so in Burgertime, you play a chef who's trying to make gigantic burgers while avoiding attacks from people-sized hot dogs, fried eggs and pickle chips. To ward them off, you douse them with pepper. That stops them for a second."

"Riiiiiiiight."

It makes perfect sense until you say it out loud.

If, God help us all, they make a movie version of this, I think it would be interesting if instead of a kid's movie, they made it a dystopian nightmare, as cliche as it might be. Horatio Hoodoo (Johnny Depp?) wants to conquer Lidsville, so he travels to our world to perform magic shows in hopes of finding a kid fascinated by magic. He'd do all the hard work, and if something went wrong, the kid could take the fall for him. The ruler of Lidsville is a giant Kangol (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, naturally), who tries to convert Hoodoo's apprentice and --

Sorry. Still overthinking this. I'm still a nerdy kid, I guess.

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Mar 31, 2009
I, too, was a nerdy kid so I was irritated to no end by the cheezy special effects on this show. Even as a youngster, I knew cheap chromakey when I saw it and Lidsville used it a lot. It was the same thing they used on the local news, where anything inf ront of the blue screen had those ridges all around them. Everytime Hoodoo got in the hat to fly away, little me would point and make fun. Come to think of it, I still do that at cheap effects. LOL
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Mar 31, 2009
The thing I liked about the Krofft shows were that the theme songs explained the premise of the show, which is really helpful the first time you see it.

Of course, it's less helpful on subsequent viewings, but hey, no one's perfect.
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Mar 30, 2009
GOD I barely remember this show, it looks very laughable now but those were the silly shows we were watching as kids back in the '70s.
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Mar 30, 2009
Hoeech - Yes, it does indeed.
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Mar 29, 2009
Wow, talk about how things like pacing have changed. Those opening credits take almost TWO FULL MINUTES!!!! Think about that, in a half hour show they take two full minutes to set up the premise each week. Back then it was probably 23 or 24 minutes of script to commercial times but still. Giving up one/twelfth of your story time for such a leisurely paced expository opening. Most kids today would have reached for the clicker in the first minute.
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Mar 29, 2009
I don't remember Lidsville. I DO have very fond memories of Electra Woman, Dyna Girl, HR Puf n Stuf, and Land of the Lost. It's a shame kids don't get to see more of this stuff. Who cares if the Krofts were stoned or not? Their stuff was not only original, it was entertaining.
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Mar 28, 2009
Of coooouuuurse they weren't stoned out of their gourds when they wrote this. "Lidsville"? "Puff n Stuff"? Where on Earth could anyone get such a ridiculous notion?

Does the sarcasm come through well enough in printed text?
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Mar 28, 2009
Interesting



XO XO



:):)
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Mar 28, 2009
what the frak?! oh those guys were definitely trippin suh'in fantastic!
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Mar 28, 2009
lol, I want to see the full episode now
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Mar 28, 2009
THAT WAS THE SCARIEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN.
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Mar 28, 2009
I want more!
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Mar 28, 2009
Lidsville was Great! Being a kid in the early 70's rocked thanks to the Krofts. I was up at the crack of dawn to watch Lidsville/Land of the Lost/Banana Splits/& Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. I wish Boomerang would bring some of those back.
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Mar 28, 2009
I liked Charles Nelson Reilly......on Match Game.
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Mar 28, 2009
definately one of the worst ideas ever
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