Marty Krofft died the other day.
I wasn’t alive yet back when the shows of Sid and Marty Krofft dominated Saturday morning television. (But I am old enough to remember when Saturday morning kids’ shows were a thing, so I think that still counts as me being old.)
My personal first encounter with the world of Sid and Marty Krofft was in 1995, when Nick at Nite aired a special television block called PUF-A-PALOOZA.(Nick at Nite used to do a LOT of awesome stuff but this is the only event I’ll be enthusing about in this particular article.)
Puf-A-Palooza really introduced me to H.R Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Land of the Lost (Other than the Land of the Lost reboot show from the early 90’s which most people choose to forget about but which was really pretty decent.)
Then, later that year, we got Cartoon Network on my TV, and early Cartoon Network showed a LOT of old Hanna-Barbera shows, one of which was THE BANNANA SPLITS!
The Banna Splits was the first TV show the Krofft Bros did, and there is not enough room on the internet to talk about how sweet that show was. But if you’ve never seen it, imagine the Monkees, but guys in mascot costumes, playing songs written by Barry White. (That is actually a completely accurate description of the show.)
So, I have seen all these amazing retro shows the Krofts were behind and, as I was growing up, I wanted to collect the DVDS and look up interviews on YouTube of the bros. Ultimately, what I came to find was that Sid was the creative guy and Marty was the business guy.
Everyone always thought they were on drugs for coming up with such whacked out shows, but I think really only Sid was.
Marty was the hard-ass. He made sure they were able to actually get these shows on the air.
I can imagine, the day before H.R Pufnstuf being pitched, Marty yealling at Sid. “You call this thing a dragon!? We gotta pitch this to NBC in a couple hours!!”
I mean, a bunch of them were probably a hard sell (LIDSVILLE! IT’S A SHOW ABOUT HAT PEOPLE! JUST TAKE IT!) but after H.R Pfnstuf became a success it probably got easier for him.
The thing is, I think a lot of us creative types wish we had a brother like Marty, someone who could reign us in a bit.
Who knows, maybe if I hadn’t been an only child my life would have turned out differently, and my brother would have been a Marty, and I could have sold Rock ‘N’ Roll Porpoise Man to a major network! (Well, TV is kinda dead now, but still, it’s always good to have someone to reign me in.)
Now, Marty, it will be frustrating for you, but, eventually Sid will meet you in the afterlife, and this whole thing is gonna start over again! So R.I.P until then!
(Update: Also an R.I.P to Norman Lear who died a couple days after I wrote this. Lear really did change the face of television, but I think if I’m going to eulogize a 70’s TV producer, Marty Krofft seems more appropriate for this site.)