My Entire Childhood was Inspired by L.S.D. (And I Had No Idea!!)
I, like most of my generation, grew up watching a lot of television. I was a kid in the Seventies which means we were too early for computers and social media and too late for…working in coal mines or as newsies? Whatever people older than me did as kids.
There was lots of programming geared toward kids back then. It’s only in adulthood that I realized what was truly behind many of my favorite shows: lots and lots of powerful psychedelic drugs.
I’m not saying this because the kids shows reflected the Flower Power ethos of the at-large culture of the day. There were PLENTY of shows that did that to be sure. I’m talking about the really trippy kids shows that ONLY make sense through the filter of powerful hallucinogens. And the trippiest of the lot were all produced by the same team: Sid and Marty Krofft. (LINK TO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_and_Marty_Krofft)
Let me be clear: I’m not saying Sid and Marty themselves were using mind-altering narcotics during the Seventies. Both of these gentlemen are alive today and it would be irresponsible, possibly libelous of me to make such an accusation. But it is clear to me that someone (probably multiple someones) in the creative process were tripping MAJOR balls. It’s the only way you could explain the psychedelic nightmares that are the following programs. I’m going to look at my top three going from “squarest” to “most far out, man”.
1.) H.R. Puffenstuff
The long-standing joke is that the secret of this show is right there in the title. “Why is this show so weird? Because the Krofft team are puffin’ stuff!”.
I don’t think that’s fair, though. Whatever they were on it had to be a lot more potent than simple weed. A pot buzz doesn’t explain THIS …
The first thing you might notice is that the opening theme goes on FOR ALMOST 2 WHOLE MINUTES! That’s because time no longer has any meaning, man, when tripping on California Sunshine, man.
Giant dragon-creature wearing white go-go boots? Check. Talking magical flute? Check. Witch name “Witchiepoo” played by Billie Hayes? Check.
This isn’t a kids show. This is a Hieronymus Bosch painted viewed while on peyote buttons.
This must’ve been my favorite when I was a kid. Not because I actually remember the show but because I distinctly remember that this was my first grade lunch box.
Again, an unbelievably long opening segment that explains the entire show: it’s that age old story of a boy who gets sucked through a giant top hat and ends up in a parallel dimension where everything is a hat. The houses are hats. The vehicles are hats. Every single resident of Lidsville is some kind of hat-being. The chef is a chef’s hat with arms and legs. The Pirate is a pirate hat. The fire-hydrant, for pity sake, is half-hydrant half-fireman’s hat! If that’s not enough to convince you that Lidsville is about LSD, there’s an ACTUAL WHITE RABBIT character. He isn’t a hat, though. He wears a fez. Because acid trips don’t have to make any sense at all.
3.) Land of the Lost
Even if you’re under 35 you might be familiar with the Will Farrell movie version of LOTL that came out in 2009. You may even have heard the original theme song…
So, this series started off relatively un-Acid inspired, as Sid and Marty Krofft shows go. A guy and two kids are rafting…you know…a routine expedition. An earthquake sends them down into a previously undiscovered land full of prehistoric creatures. Some of the most respected science fiction authors (Theodore Sturgeon, Larry Niven, David Gerrold) wrote scripts for the show. Before long, the scripts got weirder. Remember we’re talking about a show with dinosaurs, ape-men and pre-David Icke reptilians. But it was the time travel, magic sleestak crystals and dimensional portals that which side of the blotter the acid was on:
The Krofft’s wouldn’t repeat this level of drug-fueled insanity until they thought it was a good idea to have Richard Pryor host a Saturday Morning kid’s show. And this was POST-crack fire Richard Pryor. Well, I guess not every comedian can be as wholesome as Bill Cosby.