HR Pufn­stuf: “The Magic Path” ( 1969)

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Couch potato -

Time to en­ter the wack­a­zoid world of pro­duc­ers Sid and Marty Krofft, the men be­hind The Ba­nana Splits and all- round pi­o­neers of men­tal kids’ telly. Bil­low­ing from the bong fumes of the ’ 60s, HR Pufn­stuf mixes live ac­tion and pup­petry like an un­wise chem­istry ex­per­i­ment. V: Are we go­ing to be watch­ing any­thing from after I was born? Nick: Think of it as ar­chae­ol­ogy. Ian: “The Magic Path”? It sounds like a leaflet handed to you at a train sta­tion by a crazy- eyed re­li­gious per­son… Jor­dan: I’m guess­ing no­body gets roasted alive in this. Munchkin- sized teen hero Jack Wild is ship­wrecked on Liv­ing Is­land. Look, there’s the mayor, a smi­ley but sad- eyed yel­low dragon by the name of HR Pufn­stuf. Yes, Pufn­stuf. Note: in­sert oblig­a­tory “Were they all on drugs?” com­ment here. Jor­dan: Is that sup­posed to be a dragon? V: That is not a dragon! It’s a re­jected Mup­pet! Ian: He’s an even less con­vinc­ing mayor than Boris John­son. V: His goo­gly eyes don’t quite match up! Too disturbing! And why is this dragon wear­ing go- go dancer boots? Rich: This is just a guess, but I think Pufn­stuf is a man in a suit. Jack Wild proudly shows us “My pal Freddy, the only talk­ing flute in the world.” Nick: I bet he uses that line on all the girls. Cut to the lair of Witchiepoo, the show’s cack­ling, broom- rid­ing vil­lain­ess. Rich: She’s not as scary as the witch in Chorl­ton And The Wheel­ies. Jor­dan: Or Rita Repulsa from Power Rangers. Ian: She’s more Grot­bags. Witchiepoo’s schem­ing with a bunch of tatty hench- monsters named Or­son Vul­ture, Seymour Spi­der and, mag­nif­i­cently, Stupid Bat. They flap and sham­ble with all the men­ace of unloved toys. Ian: Th­ese guys are like rough con­cept sketches for Pa­cific Rim, at the back- of- the- en­ve­lope stage. Adding to the head- trip­ping weird­ness is the fact that ev­ery­thing on Liv­ing Is­land is, well, alive. Walls, chairs, doors… Eyes! Eyes ev­ery­where! Jor­dan: Why has ev­ery­thing got a face? Ian: I hope the toi­let hasn’t got a face. I’d be con­sti­pated for weeks. A talk­ing cas­tle. Creepy trees with glow­ing yel­low peep­ers. A danc­ing frog in gold trousers. It’s like be­ing in­jected into the crum­bling mind of a burned- out hippy. Rich: I’d like to see what this looked like writ­ten down on pa­per. Nick: It was never writ­ten down. It was scraped from Satan’s navel. Ian: Is this the is­land from Lost? It would make sense if we see the Dharma sym­bol… “See you next week!” says Jack Wild, cheer­ily, as pup­pets jig de­ment­edly. No, kids! Save your minds from this mad­ness! Ian: HR Smokin’crack.

Yep, HR Pufn­stuf is a dragon. Ap­par­ently.

There’s no cure for pink­eye, kids.

We’re not even go­ing to try to ex­plain this.

And the less said about this the bet­ter.

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