Thursday, June 03, 2010

How acid shaped my childhood

Last night I had dinner at Deano's with some friends to celebrate Michelle LaFleur's "29th" birthday. I was sitting next to Kristen Freitas and overheard her telling someone how she and Felipe recently rented a couple of movies: Precious and Where the Wild Things Are. Choosing those two particular movies at the same time seemed a little...schizophrenic to me but who am I to judge?

Kristen went on to describe how she almost couldn't finish watching one of the movies because she found it so disturbing and frightening.  She said she wanted to turn it off but for some reason just couldn't look away.  She said it was by far the worst, most horrifying movie she's ever seen.  She was talking about Where the Wild Things Are.  Apparently, she loved Precious.

In all fairness, I've never seen Where the Wild Things Are so I really shouldn't judge, but I did read the book and I'm just having trouble finding anything disturbing about it.  Kristen said it was the creatures.  They were big and creepy and when one of them lost an arm and replaced it with a stick she nearly lost it.  Yeah, I'm still not getting the terror of it all but I respect her right to get freaked out over whatever she pleases.  Personally, I think the Burger King King is the most frightening thing I've seen since The Exorcist.  I am not exaggerating.  He is the stuff nightmares are made of.

So after pretending to sympathize with Kristen's peculiar Sendak phobia, I started thinking about some of my favorite Saturday morning shows when I was a kid and I wondered what she would think about them.  I'm pretty sure H.R. Pufnstuf would send her over the edge.  In fact, anything from Sid and Marty Krofft could potentially damage her.

I should explain that Sid and Marty Krofft made kids T.V. shows in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up.  They were my heroes.  My saviors.  My safe escape.  I don't remember a large portion of my childhood but I do remember my Saturday morning television shows.  I LIVED for them.  It was always rumored that the Krofft brothers got all their creative inspiration while they were on acid trips.  All I have to say about that is, "Yay acid!!"

H.R. Pufnstuf was by far one of my favorites. Witchiepoo was a little creepy and Freddy the talking flute was just plain odd, but I had such a crush on Jimmy.  I think I was attracted to him because his British accent made him seem so worldly and sophisticated and...well...I was 5.

Running a close second to Pufnstuf is Sigmund and The Sea Monsters.  Sigmund is a sea monster who makes friends with Johnny and his brother.  The boys spend a lot of time and effort trying to keep Sigmund hidden from all the other humans as well as from his mean sea monster brothers.  I'm sure you can just imagine the wacky shenanigans that went on!

Johnny was played by Johnny Whitaker who played in another one of my favorite childhood shows Family Affair.  It was not a Krofft brothers production so there were no outrageous characters, but none were needed because Family Affair had Mr. French and Uncle Bill and Buffy and Jody and, best of all, Mrs. Beasley!  I had a Mrs. Beasley doll at one time, this must have been before the trauma that caused my mortal fear of dolls, a fear I still have today.  Anyway, I'm not sure I understand the concept.  She's a baby doll.  But she's an old lady.  With glasses.  This is one of those marketing miracles.  It's a poorly conceived product that should have been a complete failure but for some reason it ended up being wildly popular.  I'm telling you, if someone would wrap Mrs. Beasly in a Snuggie, they could make a fortune.

Another Kroft favorite of mine was The Bugaloos.  They were 4 singing insects with British accents.  I always wanted to be Joy, the only girl in the group.  I thought she was so pretty and she had sparkly wings.  All little girls want to have sparkly wings.

I'll give Lidsville a casual nod but not full credit for shaping my childhood since all I can remember about it is Weenie the Genie who was played by the same actor who played Witchiepoo which I found very confusing at such a young age.  And then I grew up to write paragraph long run-on sentences.

Next we have Land of the Lost.  I think this one appealed to me because of the dazzling special effects.  Jurassic Park wishes it was Land of the Lost.  I loved the dinosaurs and all the unusual vegetation, but I did not like the sleestaks.  They were scary scaly lizard people who made this awful hissing sound in my closet at night.  I should confess that I did have a small crush on Will cuz he had that great 70s hair.

I think I'll round out my tribute to Sid and Marty Krofft with Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, which was part of the Krofft Supershow in the mid 70s.  Electra Woman and Dyna Girl were superheros a la Batman and Robin only with more eyeliner.  I don't remember who played Dyna Girl, but Electra Woman was played by Deidre Hall who was Marlena on Days of Our Lives for about 147 years.  I remember being fascinated by their boots and all that spandex and how their hair never moved.

Aahhh, memories.  These are just some of the things that have helped to shape me into the person I am today.  Which explains a lot. 


Anonymous said...

I wonder what ever happened to Jack Wild. I had a huge crush on him back in my Tiger Beat days.
Val MacGyvers

Mayn said...

Oh lordy, you just sent me back to our childhood without my permission! Witchiepoo terrified. Freddy the talking flute was my favorite. Land of the Lost was hands downt he best EVER! I feared/respected the sleestaks. Remember my odd obsession with Flip Wilson???? I have no idea what that was all about!!!

Shannon said...

Oh Val. Tiger Beat. Da Do Ron Ron.

I dunno Mayn, I guess you can identify with a black man who dresses up as a woman and calls himself Geraldine. You're kindred spirits.

Marti Thomas said...

Oh wow, I am old. The only one I remember is Family Affair & I had a crush on Brian Keith, the dad.

donnaj said...

What memories. My sister had Mrs Beasley too-being as you are both the same age, that makes sense. But we had to kill her when she came alive...
Witchiepoo-loved her. and pufnstuff. all those shows, well the ones i watched anyway (no dynagirl for me)i remember when 6 flags even had a pufnstuff show~now i'll be singing that song for the rest of the wkend...H R Pufnstuff ...can't do a little...