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Scott C. Kolden,
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A young boy named Jimmy has in his possession a magic flute named Freddie that can talk and play tunes on its own. One day he gets on a magic talking boat that promises to take him on an adventure. The boat happens to belong to a wicked witch named Witchiepoo, who uses the boat to kidnap Jimmy and take him to her home base on Living Island, where she hopes to steal Freddie for her own selfish needs. Fortunately Jimmy is rescued by the island's mayor, a six foot dragon named H.R. Pufnstuf. After Jimmy is rescued by Pufnstuf and his two deputies, Kling and Klang, his adventures begin as well as his attempts to get back home. Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
Anyone who didn't grow up in the 70's who sees this show just sits there in stunned amazement. But, if you saw this show back in its heyday, you probably loved it.
The Kroft shows were a surreal breed. They were puppeteers, but the puppets in these shows were, generally, people in elaborate costumes. The colors were bright and psychedelic. The names were a mixture of puns and silly jokes. There were plenty of songs and hijinxs galore. The stories were silly and lame, but they had a spirit and warmth to them. Loyalty and honesty were always at the heart of the characters and good values always triumphed.
Jack Wild made a name for himself in Oliver and stared as Jimmy. He is marooned on the Living Island by Witchipoo, who covets his Magic Flute. Jimmy is rescued by the mayor of Living Island, H.R. Pufnstuf. Each week, Witchiepoo would concoct another wild scheme to steal Magic Flute; and, each week, her scheme would backfire, thanks to her inept henchmen and her own stupidity.
The one thing that cemented a love of this show, for me, was Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo. Billie was a great comedian and gave her all to Witchiepoo. I was easily scared as a kid, but she was never frightening. Witchiepoo was too much of a screw-up to pose a real threat. She had a charm that made you want to come back. Plus, she had a cool, souped-up broom! And, from all accounts, she was a heck of a nice lady.
I've heard the drug jokes about this and other shows (i.e. H.R. Pufnstuf Hand Rolled Pufnstuf) from the Krofts. Yeah, they're weird and look like the product of a demented or medicated mind, but the writers weren't that young and were pretty straight-laced. Maybe it was just something in the air back then.
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