Monday, August 31, 2009
Most of the Land of the Lost toys were disappointing to say the least. Never the less, they are fun looking back now.
Unfortunately a Sleestak action figure was not produced. Though the Sleestaks did appear on this odd toy: “Land of the Lost Moon Spinners.” Sadly this toy had very little to do with Sleestaks, the moon, Land of the Lost or the Disney Hayley Mills film of the same name.
Concerning “The Land of the Lost” there is no doubt that the Sleestaks, the weird reptilian race stole the show. They are both nightmarish and yet fascinating, the 70’s generation’s Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Sleestaks are just a masterwork of design. The very name Sleestak was a creation of Sid Kroffts, another feather in his very colorful creative cap.
There were 3 Sleestaks suits made for all three season…no more, no less and the show’s long day production schedules trashed on them. Only two exist today, restored by archivist Rob Klein for Marty Krofft. Where the third one is, no one knows. Perhaps it was trashed after its use on the A-Team. The picture above is from the A-Team, in the show some guy parachutes into Universal's water tank, the one on the tour with the parting of the red-sea. Did they think that this fragile years old costume could survive this strain? Clearly someone did not care about the preservation of a priceless television Krofft artifact.
“The Land of the Lost” was one of the coolest Krofft shows. There is much to explore surrounding the three seasons that “The Land of the Lost” was on the air. Star Trek alumni contributed to writing episodes, no doubt by the suggestion of Sid Krofft. This show had it all, dinosaurs with a cool sci-fi cross-over.
This show technically combined video; the format the live action footage was taped on, with film, the format used to create the dinosaur’s movements. At one time it was thought the entire show would get scrapped vbefore the technitians figured out how to marry the two formats.
Not all of the dinosaurs were stop motion. The Krofft puppet shop made hand puppets for Grumpy and later Big Alice. Each puppet was quite large, constructed of foam, Grumpy seen here, has seen better days as you can see in the photo.
Big Alice is in far better condition, as the staff at Emerald and Hobbit has carefully maintained her. The Big Alice hand puppet can be seen at the end of the season 3 titles, taking Grumpy’s queue for having the final word.
The Big Alice hand puppet may have been built by Wah Ming Chang as grumpy was.
Technically The Big Alice hand Puppet is also Grumpy as she was substituted for Grumpy in one episode. It is unknown whether this was a mistake, or that perhaps they had to use her for some other technical reason. Maybe Grumpy was not available? Interesting whatever the reason may have been.
Photo #3: The Big Alice Hand puppet seen here in the late 80s
Sunday, August 30, 2009
One of the most fun aspects to the Krofft's shows was the opening credits and catchy theme songs. Here is a recent version of the "Dr. Shrinker" theme song recorded by the pop trio "Lady Elaine and the Music Go-Round.”
Also pictured is a classic piece of Krofft memorabilia a "Dr. Shrinker" magnifying glass. Maybe by using this you can find those shrinkies. Notice the placement of where the manufacturer put the hole for where product was supposed to be hung from. Its exactly on Jay Robinson's head. I am not a big one for "punched" and "un-punched" concerning condition, but if this piece were "punched" you would loose the image of the doctor's face.
Sid & Marty Krofft remain to be one of the most unique creative teams in television history. They are known most for their childrens television programming. When you think of childrens television, the first thing you may think of may be The Muppets, or Sesame Street, the result of the creative mind of Jim Henson and those who worked with him. The Krofft’s Legacy shares many similarities to the world of the Muppets; yet their products take a sharp turn into the world of psycadelic and the strange. Perhaps due to their first self-produced hit H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1970). Cloaked as a kids show, Pufnstuff spoke to not just young kids: The teenagers and young adult party goers of the late 60s waking up from a night of "wackiness" no doubt that was common and unique in the fall of the last year in the decade of magic. Waking up to "H.R. Pufnstuf" may just about have made the hang-over worth it. The talking mushrooms, and all the Sgt. Pepper / Magical Mystery Tour colorful sets were unlike anything on television then and now.
Though "H.R. Pufnstuf" only was on their air for one season, a story for another time, what followed was probably the most unique and creative portfolio of shows in television history, each rich with colorful characters and Theme songs that will not ever leave your subconscious…hopefully not! Plus the Kroffts had what very few creators or producers can claim on their resume’: a theme park.
What was once know as “The World of Sid & Marty Krofft” was sadly only open for a short time, but the mystery and majesty of their history still is some what illusive. I must explore more. Though I have had access inside of their world, their empire which they still own outright (they have never sold out) I got to perhaps to see a glimpse at the “men behind the curtain” I still need to learn more and crack the case and discover all the nooks.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
by Rob Klein
There are many 60s records that have been put on to CD since the 60s. There are times when a certain release comes and goes with out anyone every really knowing about it. Two examples of extremely rare CDs are Leonard Nimoy’s “Butterscotch Kisses” and Deforest Kelley’s one and only album “I’m Here for You.”
Here is a copy of De Kelley’s CD autographed by him. When he signed it he commented to me that the cover photo “was taken where we did all those Western pictures.”
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
By Rob Klein
Paul Williams is a special talent on the Earth arriving to public awareness in the later part of the 20th Century. Paul started his songwriting career, in the 60s. He was inked into pop culture when his catchy-lazy-groove-mellow tunes were recorded by The Carpenters and the sounds of Karen’s and Richard’s musical gifts mixed with Paul’s hooks summed up the feel of the early 70s. The post-sixties, tired of all the drugs, burned out counter culture, music lovers of the early 70s needed a sonic break, and the relaxing vibes of the Williams tune was the right medicine. “We’ve only Just Begun” went to the top of the pop charts and many more went straight to "hit" status.
Maybe it should have been titled “Paul has Only Just Begun,” as his career took off into solo LPs and writing complete scores for motion pictures, as was the case in Brian DePalma’s first film Phantom of the Paradise. Paul also wrote the complete score for Bugsy Malone (the one with the kids as gangsters, with Jodi Foster lip-synching along with the child mob-boss Fat Sam) Bugsy Malone featured the prop called the splurge gun. The Tommie-gun styled weapon that fires cream pies effectively messing up the victim’s face and effectively killing them. This is probably the most sought after movie prop by the powerhouse super-duo collecting team of Gary Emerald and Jim Hobbit. The aggressive pop culture collectors have reportedly tracked down the only surviving working prop known to exist, but they were unwilling to relinquish their Charlie Chaplin collection for it as trade.
Paul Williams later got into acting, finally gracing us with his entire person. Appearing in films such as Smokey and the Bandit as Little Enos Burdett, Swan the evil music mogul in Phantom of the Paradise and Virgil the orangutan scientist in the 5th and "best" Planet of the Apes offering: Battle for the Planet of the Apes. In addition to small screen appearances on magical programming like “The Muppet Show” and 70s Saturday were never the same without shows like “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat” and both featured Paul in guest starring roles. Most importantly Paul composed the soothing theme song to the “The Love Boat”…BANG! Paul even had his own show for a time, titled what else: “The Paul Williams Show”…BAM!!!
What's next...collecting Paul Williams merchandise. Paul Williams manufactured mementos are very scarce and there really is not too much that we know of around, with the exception of soundtrack LPs, and 8-tracks, and the occasional movie poster, that he appears on, perhaps other items surrounding his music, such as sheet music and the like.
The late seventies brought about Paul’s most celebrated contribution, writing a song for Kermit the Frog in his first feature film The Muppet Movie. Without over working the word "magic" the song “The Rainbow Connection” truly is. How that song did not receive the Oscar for song of the year is about as annoying as when Raiders of the Lost Ark did not win in 1981 for best picture. Or when Star Wars lost out to Annie Hall in 1977,
At least Paul took home an Oscar for one of his songs in the forgettable film A Star is Born. I prefer the Judy Garland James Mason version, but I support the effort merely on Paul’s involvement.
Today Paul in the president of ASCAP…BANG!!! He occasionally does concerts. I went to one in the early 90s and it was sold out…darn!
Texans are true Paul fans as they have a Phantom of the Paradise concert quite often where Paul comes out and sings his tunes written for the film…Texas is cool.
Paul Williams… Emerald and Hobbit loves you, carry on beautiful man, carry on.
Here are a few of Emerald and Hobbit’s treasures from the vaults pertaining to Paul Williams.
If anyone turns up the satin powder blue suit he wore in Smokey and the Bandit, please contact Emerald and Hobbit immediately.
Perhaps the most unique item that we have found for Paul Williams is a Slurpee cup. This piece is so rare it has been put inside a plexi-box, as no one should ever handle this treasure umless it is by the experts at Emerald & Hobbit.
It may be the only one left on the Earth, as most kids were not aware of his magic until they grew a little and learned more about him. Most kids usually discarded his cup into the gutters where they were crushed by the pea spup green and sparkle brown gas guzzling boat-like automobiles of the 70s.