Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sleestak in the Closet

Marshall, Will and Holly
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known
High on the rapids
It struck their tiny raft
And plunged them down a thousand feet below
To the Land of the Lost
To the Land of the Lost
To the Land of the Lost

I hated The Land of the Lost. I watched it every goddamn day. It was 1970s children's programming, so I felt that I had to watch it, but it was creepy, scary and poorly produced. It was weird, with a capital W, which in my pre-school book of rules, meant Crappy.

I was placed in front of the flickering jittering lights and sounds of the magic living-room box, and I never took my eyes away. I faithfully watched, but passionately hated, all of them, the entire Kroft line up: the post 60's hippie-palooza, better known as HR Pufnstuf, Sigmund the Sea Monster, Lidsville, the Bugaloos, Wonder Bug, and ElectraWoman and Dyna Girl, just to name a few. Holy Christ, all of that psychological horror, how did I never end up in counseling?

Land of the Lost. Good god, 30 years later and I cannot get the theme song out of my head. You want some insight into your pal, gin-boy, well here it is. Here is the secret to the sum of my dysfunction. It's these saliva-sucking green bastards right here. Crapass Sleestak, sons of motherless-whores... all manner of wicked nameless fear and anxiety take the form of these little green devils, deep in the dark pit of my self despair; right down there next to the Oompa Loompas and the lollipop-freakin-gang. And don't get me started on Chaka, that slobbering nitwit monkey boy!

And then, there is our mushroom-headed friend, Pufnstuf; avatar for the golden age of drug-friendly hallucinogenic elementary school entertainment. The whole premise, the whole cast of characters, the theme song, the shiny clothes, the Yoko Ono-inspired set design, Witchy-poo, the golden freaking flute, should never have seen the light of day. And somebody, please explain why everyone on the show has a crappy British-like accent, except for the Gomer Pile-sounding slack-jawed mushroom-headed title character. Why does the walking salad ingredient sound like he's from South Carolina?

Sigmund sucked because it was a rip off of Pufnstuf. I think they just really took a few extra HRP costumes that were laying around, and slathered some seaweed for effect. I recall that there wasn't anything in the way of plot, just a lot of characters running around in giant mushroom costumes slapping each other's asses with kelp.

And yet, I kept watching...

Lidsville. I cannot find words to describe how loathsome this show is in my memory. Ripped off sets and costumes from Pufnstuf. The stories, if you can call them stories, at best, were surreal visual analogies for the hellish narcotic-driven self-destruction of the producers. I mean, Why Hats? What conceivable purpose could be served by making all but three of the characters hats? What possible message could there have been? Just looking at a still from this show, I felt a wave of nausea wash over me, and an uncontrollable urge to look away. I think this show was produced by Satan.

The Bugaloos. Catchy theme song. Annoying fake accents. I have no strong feelings about this one.

Wonder bug. Here's my beef. It was a rip off of a cartoon, which was in turn a rip off of Scooby Doo. Hannah Barbara, arch nemeses of the Krofts, spun their own version of the devil-possessed crime-fighting dune buggy first, with Speed Buggy, from 1973 to 1974. For those of you who don't remember, the director of genius-ideas over at Hanna Barbera took the characters from Scooby Doo, changed their names, scrapped the Shaggin Wagon, and crammed them all into a sassy-mouthed convertible buggy. Then, in 1976, in response to the over-whelming public demand for Star Wars-grade special effects, and talking VW conversions, the Krofts gave us Wonder Bug. Fortunately, the public soon gave it back.

Lastly. I just wanted to touch on Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. These little ladies were two of the earliest proto-feminist icons on children's television. And let me tell you, they were hot! Inspirational, in that they seemed able to produce entire episodes with no more money that what the collective cast and crew had in their pockets, EW and DG brought a new raw sensuality to nylon stockings and leg warmers. And Dyna Girl, with those pigtails, and the lycra... I'm starting to feel the need to be rescued. Maybe she and her dominant disciplinarian matron can come on over save me from the sleestak.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Bugaloos? Was that the one where they ride around on Bees??? (and thanks now I have that song in my head) Witchy-Poo rocks - how could you not like her!!! And thirdly - really do you need to pick on South Carolina?

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  2. Wow. Reaching into 1975 for topics? A couple weeks in and already the cupboard is bare. By the way, you forgot to mention that creepy guy made of lights on Land of The Lost. If Lucifer had sex with a Lite Brite, it would be him.

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  3. Dear GOD, I hated Land of the Lost too. And yet everyone seemed weirdly devoted to them. I always wanted to punch Holly in her snivelly gob. And when Wesley got out the guitar! Enough! ENOUGH! We must take steps!!!

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Be compelling.

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