Sunday, May 27, 2007

Do not fear PUFNSTUF

A friend said recently that he had gotten the HR Pufnstuf Complete Series on DVD. The Sid and Marty Krofft TV show from the 70s known for it's freaky characters. My friend mentioned that although he's had it for a while, he could not bring himself to watch it. That the show scared him! What's that? Frightened by a Saturday morning kids show? I remember watching reruns of the show but I could not understand what might have affected him so.

I asked if I could borrow the DVD set. I know the show was freaky, but maybe I could figure out what was so frightening.
Yep. I figured it out.

The opening credits show the beautiful young boy Jimmy running around and playing with his flute. A magic flute he calls Freddy. A boat appears on the shore, the boy and his flute climb aboard and the the seas get rough. The boat was really a trap! It seems like there's a witch interested in Jimmy's flute. Witchiepoo is working herself into a frenzy and can wait to put her hands around Freddy! The pair escape the evil boat and are rescued by HR Pufnstuf. HR Pufnstuf is the Mayor of Living Island, A freaky fellow with a strange accent and bags under his eyes.

After jimmy dries his clothes while in Pufnstufs' home, Freddy the Flute cries out, "Jimmy, squeeze the water out of me or I'll go rusty!" The dripping flute is a suggestive visual. Knowing that need help against the aggressive, dramatic Witchiepoo, the threesome head to Doctor Blinky for some protection. At one point in the second episode, there is a shot of the Magic Flute sticking out of Jimmys' pants. Don't you all get the hint?

I'm sure that the Krofft brothers were only trying to create some groovy, early seventies entertainment. But when you look at the subtext of the show, it's scary. Witchiepoo is the only Woman on Living Island. An Island filled with strange Male creatures. The creatures want to befriend Jimmy and his incredible flute, The Crazy old Witchiepoo wants to grab his Freddy and this underage boy only wants to escape this strange Island with his flute in his pants.

If you are a kid watching this show for the first time, you could enjoy the lame jokes and wacky makeup. But if you are an adult you may see the show for what it really is. You could be frightened for poor Jimmy and his Magic Flute.


Steve Buccellato said...

Be afraid...

Allen Gladfelter said...


Don Hudson said...

I will dress as Pufnstuf for next Halloween.

Allen Gladfelter said...

I will dress as Pufnstuf at my ex-girlfriend's wedding.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a drowning flute is just a drowning flute. Okay, that sounded just a tad silly, but look at what's going on in the world today. If Jack Wild could warn his character to stay on or leave Living Island, he'd likely tell him, "Kid, you think Witchiepoo's a problem, try dealing with the hollywood crowd!"

Take a GOOD look at what we're dealing with; wars, climate issues, political upheaval. If it were possible, I'd jump on the first haunted boat I could find! Colorful dragons, gold, talking flutes and and a witch (who would become a WSB agent). Please! Read tomorrow's paper and then tell me how "scary" a 1970's kids show is!