'H.R. Pufnstuf,' the complete 1969 television series

Sid and Marty Krofft brought us some of the best television ever. While we can debate which of their fantastic, trippy, off-beat explosions of color should be regarded as 'best,' H.R. Pufnstuf remains at or near the very top of any list.

Gullible 11 year-old Jimmy ignorantly gets in a strange boat with his magic flute. Lo and behold, who sent that boat his way? None other than that wacky old witch, Witchiepoo, that's who! With a wave of her wand, Jimbo's pleasure cruise is over, and the boat attacks him! Luckily, H.R. Pufnstuf, fashionable Mayor of the Living Island, is on the scene. With his reliable deputies Cling and Clang, Pufnstuf rescues Jimmy and a famous friendship is born.

I am amazed at how good these shows still are! They only made 17 episodes, but that doesn't surprise me. Each story is a just a variation on Witchiepoo trying to grab Jimmy's flute. The storytelling didn't keep up with visual art. The costumes are wonderful! The set design pure Krofft! Billie Hayes' as Witchiepoo is just fantastic. She plays evil so goofily that my daughter and nieces, all of whom are under 10, fell in love with her instantly. Jack Wild is Jimmy, a dancing machine (figuratively, in one episode.) His opening credit jig always makes me smile, but be sure to watch for the episode where he Moonwalks long before Michael Jackson.

As you can tell, I'm a fan. The complete set of videos hold a place of honor in my collection and has also served as a gift to many friends and their kids.

'H.R. Pufnstuf', the complete 1969 television series

Previously on Boing Boing:

'Land of the Lost,' the complete 1974 television series

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  1. Well, that's certainly a subjective and arguable opinion. For movies, one doesn't have to have read Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls to recognize the renaissance of American cinema that gave us things like the first two Godfather films, Jaws, Nashville, Taxi Driver, Chinatown, The French Connection, Shampoo, A Clockwork Orange, The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Network, Deliverance, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, The Conversation, and even Star Wars.

    The music of the era included such popular (and groundbreaking) work as that by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Police, The Ramones, Jim Croce, Black Sabbath, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Cars, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, a whole pile of Motown R&B and disco artists, and the birth of hip-hop. Much of this music is still sought out and listened to by young music fans, to a degree that is not true of artists from the 1950s or even 1990s.

    "Lost its way"? You make it sound like current TV content is actually worse than it was in the 1970s or 1990s. Did you watch any of it then? Sure, we had All in the Family and MASH and Maude and Soap back then, but we had nothing like Deadwood or Orange is the New Black or even The West Wing.

    TV's putting out better stuff than it ever has before. It's also putting out more stuff than it ever has before (how many channels do you get?), and so it's also putting out more crap than ever before.

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