In all honesty, folks, each of us probably watched more than a fair amount of nonsense, especially if we're from a certain generation. Children's programming -- at least, of the education variety -- was really only coming into existence when I was a young'un; but -- filling the spot kinda/sorta as a placeholder -- was a great mountain of colorful small morality-play-style storytelling. An awful lot of it was fanciful, and it tried to teach small lessons -- usually the type not so much associated with facts and figures as they were good behaviors -- and it's safe to say that it required a fair amount of imagination to make some of these worlds real ... or, at least, as real as they needed to be. Kids have no trouble filling in those blanks, and this was the stuff of televised magic that was so much of Marty Krofft's resume.
Yes, programs like H.R. Pufnstuf, Land Of The Lost, Sigmund And The Sea Monsters, The Lost Saucer, and Wonderbug get lampooned every now and then by some of the contemporary giants of comedy who obviously tuned in; but that's okay. Krofft and so much of what he purveyed to his young followers wasn't always so much about story as it was about an intoxicating measure of wackiness -- some of which was obviously demonstrated visually by these bigger-than-life characters -- and just as Taylor Swift is real to modern audiences so were Witchiepoo, Cling, Clang, Big Daddy, and Cha-Ka. And -- more importantly -- they never tried to sell us anything ... much like Taylor does. Our relationship with them wasn't predicated on consumerism; they just wanted us to watch.
How influential were his works?
Well, that's probably always going to be a question best answered by those who grew up on the stuff, but kudos to the Academy Of Science Fiction, Fantasy, And Horror Films for presenting the storyteller with a 2003 Life Career Award in recognition of the man's legacy in children's programming. That honor may've come and gone with little fanfare much less major attention from the mainstream press outlets, but for those of us who do follow such developments it was an acknowledgement that simpler entertainment for simpler times did indeed warrant a bit of extra attention. That's why I've always been glad to feature the entries of brothers Sid and Marty Krofft on SciFiHistory.Net: as much as they made me into the man I've come today, their various entities deserve to be rediscovered -- even at the risk of some minor embarassment -- by generations that followed mine.
Alas, none of us lasts forever, and word reached the Internet yesterday of the man's passing.
Our warmest wishes and prayers are extended to the family, friends, and fans of Marty Krofft.
May he forever rest in peace.