Sid & Marty Krofft’s Charm Offensive – And Promise Of A Lidsville Movie “Like Tommy Or Hair”

Posted by July 25, 2012 Comment

Kroffts on KatecamKate Kotler writes for Bleeding Cool.

Every year that I cover San Diego Comic Con, I end up walking away with one or two memorable moments which touch my geek girl heart to its core. Earlier this weekend, I had the chance to talk with Luke Skywalker, or at least Mark Hamill, who gently stroked my arm while talking about his upcoming podcast on new Stan Lee World of Heroes YouTube channel.

That was a definite highlight.

Today, I got to sit down with epic television creators and producers Sid & Marty Krofft to chat about… well, everything from their career highlights to Sid’s involvement in the circus sideshow in the 40s, and on to their much anticipated animated Lidsville feature film.

If there is anyone out there who doesn’t know the Kroffts, let me quickly recap their long career in fantasy-musical television.

Their first series, H.R. Pufnstuf, premiered in 1969 – a wacky, trippy live action television show featuring musical numbers and life size puppets, it is only the first in a long career which includes producing the Donnie & Marie Show, The Brady Bunch Hour, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters and Land of the Lost to name just a few.

43 years of television accomplishments don’t even begin to crack the surface of the amazingly rich lives these spry 83 year old and 75 year old brothers have lived. What they’ve seen is fascinating and they still have the goods to charm the pants off of anyone they meet.

Con highlight? Absolutely. And, to be honest, I might be a little in love with the pair of them. Here’s a transcript of our conversation.

How was the panel today?

Sid: Great! You weren’t there?

No, I was in another interview.

Sid: It seemed like they had a good time, they said it was the best panel [of Comic Con].

Do you find it strange to connect with your fans in this kind of medium?

Sid: Oh, no.

Marty: We know that they’re our fans or they wouldn’t all be sitting there. You hear them cheer, they’re our fans – they’re our core audience. We just want them to all send us a dollar [each] and we’ll never have to work again.

I’ll make sure to put that at the top of the article, right at the top.

Marty: You can give them our address.

Sid: TV Guide said a few years ago that today we still have 30 million fans. I just think, my god, that’s amazing – they grew up with our stuff.

Some of the programming you both affected, I didn’t even realize it was [created by] you until I was an adult.

Sid: Like Donny & Marie; like the Brady Bunch [Hour]? People don’t realize that we produced those shows.

Exactly – for us those programs are huge, iconic television programming. Do you each have a favorite project that you worked on?

Sid: For me, my first child, our first child was H.R.Pufnstuf – you know, that’s always your favorite.

Are you guys as whimsical in your day-to-day lives as those shows were?

Marty: Well, I’m very funny.

Yes you are! You’re the most charming man I’ve met this weekend.

Sid: Katie, why did you cross your fingers behind your back when you said that?

Where did those ideas come from?

Sid: Well experiences in life, and in show business – I’ve traveled all over the world, I was the opening act for Judy Garland, that’s probably something you didn’t know, either.

I didn’t know that! That’s really freaking amazing!!

Sid: Yesterday I went to the Ringling Brother’s Circus at The Staples Center. And, I was in the circus, in the sideshow in 1946.

What did you do in the sideshow?

Sid: The World’s Youngest Puppeteer.

I was a professional fire eater for a long time.

Sid: Really?

Marty: That’s a good skill to have.

Sid: [When I was in the circus] it was when the big top sat 15,000 people.

When they were actual big tops and not stadiums?

Sid: Did you know that last night there were six elephants? We had fifty. And, there were like eight horses and we had a hundred and fifty horses.

Marty: There was one lion there [last night] with ten mirrors.

That’s so clever. What was it like going back to the circus?

Sid: It was great, I go every year. You know this, it gets in your blood once you travel with a circus. But, Ringling Brothers in 1946 was a nightmare. Kids want to run away with the circus – no, no, no. It was a very different kind of life.

Would you advise children today to run away with the circus?

Sid: Well, with Cirque du Soleil.

I have some project specific questions I’d like to ask you.

Sid: Please, go ahead.

What is going on with Lidsville?

Sid: Lidsville is at Dreamworks and Alan Menken has been signed.

Marty: Alan Menken is doing the music.

Sid: It’s going to be, of course, animation.

Marty: Conrad Vernon is the director.

Yes – we wanted to know if he’s been working on the script while he’s been working on Madagascar 3?

Marty: He’s finished with Madagascar and he’s working on the story.

Sid: It’s going to be a full blown musical like Tommy or Hair; a 70s kind of feeling musical.

Do you have any talent attached to it yet?

Marty and Sid: No.

Marty: No, this is at a very early stage.

Any idea when you’re going to go into casting for it?

Marty: No idea, this is animation and it moves like an elephant.

Much like comics publication does, right?

Marty: Right. So, that’s it – we have a deal with Dreamworks, they have the rights.

Are you excited to bring an animation project in front of audiences?

Sid: Well we’ve never done [an animation project]. We’re thrilled with Dreamworks, they’re a great studio to work with – they’re on it, daily.

They recognize who they have in their house?

Marty: I go back personally with Katzenberg.

Sid: When he was at Disney.

Marty: Actually, it goes back to when he was at Paramount with Michael Eisner.

I’m excited to see Lidsville, I’m excited to see new work from you.

Marty: I’m excited to see it, too.

Sid: If I’m still alive.

You’re going to still be alive, don’t start with that now! I’m going to track you down next year and follow up with you about this.

Thanks again to Sid and Marty taking time to speak with me during their busy Comic Con schedule. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of Lidsville.

(Last Updated July 25, 2012 12:27 pm )

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