Pufnstuf (1970)

Article 2250 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-14-2007
Posting Date: 10-10-2007
Directed by Hollingsworth Morse
Featuring Jack Wild, Billie Hayes, Martha Raye

A young boy with a magical golden talking flute ends up on Living Island where he is befriended by a dragon and terrorized by a witch.

“H.R. Pufnstuf” and the other Sid and Marty Krofft productions were part of my Saturday morning viewing when I was a child, but (with the marked exception of “Land of the Lost”) not a revered part. I watched them just to be watching something. Maybe that’s why I don’t have fond nostalgic memories of them, and this travesty certainly doesn’t inspire me to revisit them. On the plus side, some of the costumes are bizarre enough to catch my attention, there is a joke here or there that actually amused me, and the cast features Billy Barty and Angelo Rossitto. On the minus side, all but one of the songs are godawful, and the one that isn’t (which has the benefit of being performed by Mama Cass, someone who can actually sing, which is an advantage none of the other songs have) is merely passable and ludicrously out of place. And for the most part, the comedy consists of desperate, loud, screechy, repetitive, twitchy, ham-fisted, obvious, brain-numbing slapstick. In this context, Martha Raye comes off as the most dignified. Incidentally, the movie is directed by the man who gave us all of the Rocky Jones features.

The movie ends with Witchiepoo telling you to go home and have a nightmare. My response is “I’m already home and I just had one.”



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