This is a wonderful article about two of the most beloved producers in TV. And their shows were even better!
Sid & Marty’s Road to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame
by Matt Hurwitz
A happy-go-lucky dragon with a yellow head who talks with a magic flute. Diminutive sea monsters frolicking with a pair of young boys. A world where lifesize hats run things. And presidents in a bar, laughing it up with Saddam Hussein and Barbara Walters. These are the worlds which have been the mainstay of Sid and Marty Krofft for over 50 years, and for which they are being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb.13.
The Kroffts’ craft developed out of several decades of marionette work, including their hugely successful “Les Poupées de Paris,” the first “adults only” puppet show, featuring naked marionettes, which opened in 1962. Its success drew the attention of Six Flags, who brought the brothers onboard as creative heads to install shows at all of their amusement parks.
To produce the many costumes, puppets and props used at the Six Flags parks, the Kroffts built what would be their home base for many years for their many television series, a “creative factory” in North Hollywood. “We had every department,” says Sid Krofft. During its peak, that included nearly 200 employees.
Not long after, Hanna-Barbera’s TV animation studio decided to take a step into live action, featuring life-sized puppets/suited characters, for a new series, “The Banana Splits.” “They had a show they were doing for NBC and Kellogg’s, and they didn’t know how to do it,” says Marty Krofft. The Kroffts built the costumes for the four main characters, based on sketches from Hanna-Barbera’s artists, then hired their own team to refine and develop them, and eventually build them.
After the costumes were delivered, Sid recalls Larry White, then-head of programming at NBC telling them, “You guys are really insane! Why don’t you come up with your own idea for a show?” Centered on a friendly, human sized dragon named Luther, who had first been made as an entry in the HemisFair 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio, “H.R. Pufnstuf” was born….