H.R. Pufnstuf

A blast to the uncanny past with the Krofft Brothers


Elizabeth Nikol Sargsyan, Staff Writer

H.R. Pufnstuf is a long-forgotten and hidden gem of the last century, that aired its first episode on September 6, 1969. The show was created by Sid and Marty Krofft, two brothers who started a production company together and made numerous children’s television shows, namely using puppeteering as a key element. Other shows that they have created include Land of the Lost, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl and Lidsville

H.R. Pufnstuf is one that I used to watch on VHS and still have my cassette tapes, thankfully. However, for newcomers, the original episodes are still available on YouTube and on some websites that can still be outsourced and bought by curious ancient show collectors. They can also be enjoyed by people who just want a new show to watch and would rather buy it as a physical copy. 

H.R. Pufnstuf is a simple story about good versus evil, and it starts off with a 11-year-old boy named Jimmy and a talking flute named Freddy who take a ride on a mysterious boat. However, the boat is owned by the main antagonist of the show, the wicked Witchiepoo.

The ship is lured into her castle on Living Island, where she plans to take Jimmy prisoner and, most importantly, to steal the flute and use it for her own evil deeds.

That is when Jimmy is introduced to the mayor of Living Island, who is an anthropomorphic dragon named H.R. Pufnstuf, and from then on the series divulges into neat episodic prompts, focused on ruining Witchiepoo’s plans and getting Jimmy back home. 

I would recommend this show if you have a hidden love for these types of uncanny children shows, or if you possess a nostalgia for shows that are, in themselves, the epitome of the 1960’s and 70’s in general. 

The Krofft Brothers were a surreal team, whose style was overshadowed by the popularity of the media back then that grew to become the norm. Any people who enjoy watching niche shows, that the general public may consider strange, will definitely enjoy this. 

The show is extremely fun, and in each episode it’s hard to NOT just sing along with some of their songs or laugh to the antics of the characters. 

H.R. Pufnstuf presents many interesting moral messages that are often missing from most kid shows nowadays, that mostly present random humor and no useful messages. 

However, many who were not born during the 1970’s, or have not watched this show, may not enjoy it as they may be creeped out by the uncanny design of some of the anthropomorphic character suits. Also some of the designs may make some of today’s generation of kids a little wary.

For other people, the show just may not be their cup of tea because of the silly humor and the constant laugh track in the show, which to be honest, often drags out for too long and makes the viewer feel conditioned to laugh at only specific parts of the show on command. 

Overall, H.R. Pufnstuf itself is an amazing look into the minds of the Krofft Brothers and just exudes elements of the 1960’s. It’s a timeless classic, and it’s unfairly judged because of the old and weird looking outfits that I’d argue are what complete the show as a whole. 

If you have the time to spare, you should just sit down and watch this show, especially if you just want something silly or stupid to watch to pass the time. Even if you aren’t a kid, it’s just one of those shows that’s so weird that you can’t help BUT to just watch it for an hour. 

Furthermore, if you are interested in similar-looking shows, then don’t miss Lidsville, Land of the Lost, and maybe Animorphs.