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Scott C. Kolden,
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Young Jimmy is being pursued by the evil Wilhemina W. Witchiepoo. More specifically, Witchiepoo is after Jimmy's small friend, a small solid gold diamond encrusted talking flute named Freddy. Witchiepoo knows that if she has Freddy in her possession, she will definitely be named Witch of the Year at the upcoming witch's convention. In Witchiepoo's pursuit of them, Jimmy and Freddy escape to Living Island, where Witchiepoo's wicked castle is located. But Living Island is also a fantastical land of among other things talking animals, talking trees and talking winds. The mayor of Living Island is H.R. Pufnstuf, a talking dragon. Pufnstuf and his friends do whatever they need to to protect Jimmy and Freddy from Witchiepoo's evil grip. Pufnstuf and his friends have to get Jimmy and Freddy off the island to their ultimate safety. In the end, Jimmy may have to save Pufnstuf and all the good guys, as another of Witchiepoo's plans is to serve spit-roasted dragon at the convention. Written by
Recently, during the 29th Annual Saturn Awards, presented by Cinescape Magazine, television legends Sid and Marty Krofft were presented with the Living Legend Award, for outstanding career achievement. It's not hard to imagine why. Where Walt Disney had Mickey Mouse as his flagship character, where DIC's Jean Chalopin and Andy Heyward had Inspector Gadget as theirs, so too the Kroffts had beloved H.R. Pufnstuf.
Is it any wonder, then, that long before it became fashionable to make major motion pictures from hit TV series, the Kroffts were light years ahead of their time when they turned their flagship property, H.R. Pufnstuf, into a movie, entitling it simply Pufnstuf. And more, this is the only time we discover the backstory that is briefly described in the regular series' opening sequence. H.R. Pufnstuf ran for only 17 episodes on NBC Saturday mornings, yet Universal Pictures saw enormous potential in Puf, Jimmy, Freddie the Flute, and (naturally!) Witchiepoo to put them on the big screen.
For some weird reason, Pufnstuf the movie is presented largely from Witchiepoo's perspective. Indeed, she it is who opens and closes the film, kicking things off by appearing before us while the screen remains in darkness. She describes all that we're about to witness as a tale of goody-two-shoes "and what they did to poor, sweet, adorable me," according to her. No wonder Billie Hayes remains deeply touched when she recalls how many children flocked as much to her as Witchiepoo as they did to Pufnstuf himself.
I don't have much to say regarding the plot of the film; what I can tell you is, just see this film for yourselves. Bringing Mama Cass Elliott, Martha Raye and the Krofft world together in the same movie was a feat unheard of, even for its time --- 1970. Then again, Krofft was always somehow psychedelic. It still is today. Rock on, Pufnstuf! Rock on, Witchiepoo!
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