SID & MARTY KROFFT'S SATURDAY MORNING HITS
Review by Michael Jacobson
Creators: Sid & Marty Krofft
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
Features: Photo Gallery
Length: 160 Minutes
Shows *** (on the “I Just Took A Trip Down Memory Lane And What The Hell Was I Thinking?” Scale)
Saturday morning television. What a ritual for a kid growing up in the 1970s. The grownups had their Watergate, their oil shortage, their hostage crisis, their economic calamity...we kids had our sugared cereal, footed pajamas, and tiny 19 inch television screens filling our brains with cartoons galore. It was, to quote Henry Hill, a glorious time.
But it wasn't all about the animation. The duo of Sid & Marty Krofft brought a taste of reality to our weekly rite of passage, and I use the term “reality” in the loosest way possible. Their live action shows were just as much a staple of our youths as were Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, Hong Kong Phooey and more.
For that reason, I couldn't wait to slip the new DVD Sid & Marty Krofft's Saturday Morning Hits into my player. My wife had never HEARD of the Kroffts or these particular shows, and I couldn't wait to share a bit of my childhood with her.
Well, some experiences are better left off lit by the warm glow of youthful nostalgia. These shows were actually pretty bad. I sat somewhat agape at just how ridiculous “Wonderbug” seems now. My friends and I used to pretend to that show all the time. It was pure perfection to a young child in the 70s. Now it's just crap. I think my wife lost a lot of respect for me.
And yet the experience of remembering these shows and realizing for the first time just how cheesy and poorly crafted they were was...well, one of the most fun experiences I've had with the home theatre all year. Dear Lord...what does that say about me?
I mean, I didn't even have to go further than the intro to “Bigfoot and Wildboy” to be in a state of hysterical laughter. The strange part is, I remembered it word for word all these years and never gave it two thoughts, but actually SEEING it for the first time in more than 30 years brought me to tears. Funny tears.
If I had one favorite in my early years, though, it was “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl”. Why? Because it was the best written, best acted, best crafted of the bunch? Hardly. It was because even as a seven year old, I had the most massive crush on Electra Woman imaginable. It's safe to say that tall blonde beauty in the tight red uniform firmly set my sexual identity at a young age. And considering the major future success that actress Diedre Hall would find in later years, my judgment wasn't too bad, was it?
It was probably “H. R. Pufnstuf” that the Kroffts were most famous for, and it was a show I never 'got'. I still don't even after all these years. It was like an acid trip for kids without the sickness. I still wonder if the brains behind the program had been ravaged by a few too many Scooby Snacks.
As the Saturday morning program progressed, some shows would be dropped in favor of new ones. “Bugaboos” had the most memorable song, and a deliciously wicked performance from Martha Raye, but never caught my imagination. I didn't get much into “Lidsville” either. One high point, however, was definitely “Sigmund & the Sea Monsters”, which was cute and funny and brought two legendary actresses together in Margaret Hamilton and Mary Wickes.
That's what you get in this collection, and I assume the debates will begin over what shows weren't included. There's no “Land of the Lost” here, or for that matter, “Magic Mongo”, “The Lost Saucer” with Ruth Buzzi and Jim Nabors, “Far Out Space Nuts” or others. By the way, is it really just sad that I remember all of these shows?
My own addition to the argument will be my disappointment that “Dr. Shrinker” was omitted. Alongside “Wonderbug” and “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl”, it was one of the trio that originally launched The Krofft Supershow. I tried to tell my wife about “Dr. Shrinker”. I even remembered the theme and sang it to her. I think I lost even MORE respect on that one.
All in all, these shows, which captivated me as a kid, gave me endless hysterical giggles as an adult. In one sense, it was sad to realize how much brainpower I possibly irretrievably lost as a youth with these programs rolling before me in the 1970s. In another sense, it was unbelievably fun to remember those days and marvel at how easily amused I was back then.
In other words, if another edition of these shows make their way to disc, I'll be there. Just don't look around in the line to see if my wife is standing beside me.
Pretty poor video quality, but about what I was expecting from 70s Saturday morning video. I doubt there's much demand for restoration of these shows, so just consider it part of your memory lane experience that your super cool modern theatre will remind you of decades old picture tube technology.
No dynamic range, not particularly clean, but you can hear pretty much all the dialogue and sing along to the memorable songs...that's fine.
Features ½ *
Only a small photo gallery.
It was fun to go back to 'camp' for a few hours with Sid & Marty Krofft's Saturday Morning Hits. These unbelievably cheesy shows might make your children or grandchildren cringe, but they'll take you to a place where the weekends were all about fun and where the cereal was bottomless and eternally sweet.