H.R. Pufnstuf. The Bugaloos. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. Brothers Sid and Marty Krofft are showbiz legends, thanks to their flair for the bizarre and knack for creating a brand of hit shows that entertained generations of Saturday Morning TV-watchers throughout the ’70s and ’80s. This week, as the septuagenarians see their popular adventure series Land of the Lost adapted for the big screen by director Brad Silberling and star Will Ferrell — both of whom have an obvious nostalgic love for the material — RT sat down with both Kroffts to learn not only what movies they love, but which ones influenced some of their most famous whimsical creations. As you can see below, Sid (pictured on the left) and Marty (on the right) still enjoy a back-and-forth brotherly banter; they each picked two favorite films and agreed on their final pick.
Marty (addressing Sid): The one with cocaine in Cuba, with your neighbor… Pacino. I’ve seen that twenty times. Scarface! It’s compelling; it’s hard to not see it. The whole picture was interesting.
Do you think your fans might expect such a hardcore, violent film among your favorites?
Marty: Well, I also like Dr. Doolittle. [Smiles]
Sid: I, on opening day, saw The Wizard of Oz — 1939, in Providence, Rhode Island. I even remember the theater, the Majestic Theater. Our dad [took us] and we slept in the street that night to wait for the first showing of it. And of course, just like everybody else on this planet, it’s made a lifetime impression on me. As a matter of fact, I think that H.R. Pufnstuft, which was our first television show, the whole feeling came from The Wizard of Oz. It wasn’t like it, but the story — with a boy instead of a girl, and all the characters and the trees and the witch — but we went in a whole other direction with ours. As a matter of fact, when the first Pufnstuft movie came out a year after we did the series, Time Magazine said it was “the next Wizard of Oz.” That was quite a statement.
What else? Margaret Hamilton — as a matter of fact, I think the very last job that she had before she left us was in Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. She played the crazy lady next door who kept seeing the little monster and nobody believed her. She did two or three episodes for us. And the reason she wanted to do it? She wanted to meet Billie Hayes, who was Witchiepoo. She said Witchiepoo is the best witch; as a matter of fact, Billie Hayes met her at the airport and they became great friends.
And the reason for being of Land of the Lost? In 1940 there was a movie called One Million B.C. Marty was just a couple of years old, and I was eleven. I had never seen a dinosaur moving; no one had. Only in our schoolbooks. I would take him to see One Million B.C. with Victor Mature… wow. That made a huge impression. It scared the hell out of me. Because, like I said, we had never seen a dinosaur moving before! And that idea gave us the idea to do Land of the Lost.
Marty: Ok, my other favorite film was Step Brothers. It was funny! That was a funny movie. That was the hardest I’ve laughed in the theater in a long time. I thought it was a great movie.
Did you already know Will Ferrell at the time?
Marty: Of course, we’d been [working with Ferrell] for three and a half years on Land of the Lost.
Sid: So he’s a little prejudiced. [Smiles]
Marty: No, I’m not prejudiced at all. That movie I liked over other movies he did.
Did any of Step Brothers remind you two of your own relationship growing up?
Marty: No — our relationship lasted through almost every marriage! You can’t fire your brother —
Sid: — and you can’t divorce your brother.
Were there any hijinks in the Krofft household growing up?
Marty: Well, I didn’t grow up with him. He was older than me, he was out doing his thing. I was a baby; I was an only child.
Sid: I was the opening act for Judy Garland, so I was on tour. And then Marty joined me at the end with Judy Garland’s tour, and the snowball started…
Sid: Another film that I saw that just blew me away was the very first Star Wars. I saw it almost two months before it opened at the Academy, and the theater was half full! No one had ever heard of it; I had a hard time inviting someone — “Star Wars? I’m not interested in that.” When the movie was over, they cleared the audience out of the theater because everyone just sat. They were paralyzed. They had to ask us all to leave because they wanted to lock up the theater. Everybody in the theater was out on the street, sitting on the curb, in a daze. I’ll never, ever forget that.
Marty: Land of the Lost is my favorite movie. I know I’m not objective, but it’s my favorite movie and all the fans that we entertained for all those years — we did them a turn, now they’ve got to do us one. Come on June 5!
What was your reaction to the film adaptation? It’s got a similar look and feel, but it’s much raunchier and some elements have been changed to suit the big screen.
Marty: Well, we were part of it all. This was going to be a different tone. Comedy, Will Ferrell, adventure, action, jeopardy…
Sid: We’re in the year 2009! A couple of weeks ago, Will Ferrell said to Marty and myself, “you guys are so cool and this is the coolest project.” I said, it’s great that you say that, because all these years we’ve been accused of being hip and trippy. So now we’re cool, hip, and trippy. This movie is all those three things.
Marty: Everybody always said we were 30 years ahead of the time. Now we’re only one year ahead of the time.
See how the combined comedic forces of Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, and Anna Friel bring Sid and Marty Krofft’s strange and fantastic lore into the 21st century in the Sleestastic Land of the Lost, in theaters Friday.
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