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1969: 'H.R. Pufnstuf' Debuts on NBC
September 6, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1969, NBC introduced the live-action children's television series, H.R. Pufnstuf. Created by brothers Sid and Marty Krofft, the show paired actors with costumed characters and life-size puppets to tell the tale of Jimmy, a young English boy shipwrecked on a magical island and pursued by an evil witch.

The Kroffts were given a shot at producing their own show after creating the costumes for the Hanna-Barbera The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. Lionel Bart, who wrote the book, music and lyrics for the film Oliver!, recommended young "Artful Dodger" Jack Wild for the lead role. Stage actress Billie Hayes played Witchiepoo, and series writer Lennie Weinrib provided the voice for the title character and Jimmy's protector, the dragon-like mayor of Living Island, H.R. Pufnstuf.

The series ran three seasons.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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