I grew up in the seventies when Saturday mornings belonged to kids. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and run downstairs to turn on the TV just loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to wake my still sleeping parents. There were some wonderfully cheesy programs on Saturday mornings, but my favorite show, the one I’d never miss, was Land of the Lost.
First, it had a fantastic opening sequence, with an earthquake and then a little raft plummeting to it’s near doom. Second, it had a theme song that to this day, I can sing on cue. And lastly, it had Sleestaks, those creepy human-alien-lizard-things-in-rubber-suits-that-hissed. I hated the Sleestaks and they scared me so much that they gave me nightmares, but I still loved that show. At San Diego Comic-Con on Friday I attended a panel with the show’s creators, Sid and Marty Krofft, and I was star-struck.
These two little old men sat at a table on a stage while fans who still remember shows like Banana Splits, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and H.R. Pufnstuf delighted in their every word. We listened as they talked about their early lives selling cars and working in a circus. We heard about how cheaply their shows were made and how they would be impossible to make today.
They made jokes at each other’s expense and were so genuine that it felt like we were all just sitting having coffee, not in the middle of a convention center with thousands of people outside the doors. And yes, they did address the what-are-you-smoking accusations and assured the audience that no drugs were used in the creation of their wild and crazy shows. Amid the stories, the reminiscing, and the brotherly teasing, there was one thing that was perfectly clear. These guys love what they do.
They love it so much that they’ve never stopped. The fans have never stopped loving these shows either and the Krofft brothers are rewarding them with new projects like the September release of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters on DVD and a new version of The Bugaloos. At the end of the panel they encouraged everyone to take a free posters promoting Sigmund and come by their booth later that afternoon for signatures. We all dutifully filed past the little box of posters to grab our treasure and then snapped pictures as H. R. Pufnstuf himself waddled out onto the stage and it was wonderful.
It wasn’t a room filled with two thousand people who’d been waiting in line for a day just to get a seat. There weren’t hundreds of cameras and screaming fans, but these guys, these two brothers with some crazy ideas and a lot of determination reached the hearts of countless kids years ago, and with the release of their new projects are certain to create a whole new generation of devoted fans.