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A Look Back at ‘Donny & Marie’ and More

For anyone who is a fan of Classic TV, there must be strong memories of Saturday morning TV back in the days when the arrival of new shows — at least insofar as kids were concerned — were as big an event as the start of the fall TV season. Two producers who played an important role in transitioning those Saturday mornings from just cartoons to live action adventures, were Sid and Marty Krofft. One of the specialties of the Kroffts was their ability to transport the viewer to faraway places, like the Living Island of H.R. Pufnstuf, the land of Lidsville, and a world where dinosaurs still ruled in Land of the Lost. And beyond that, they gave us great escapism in the form of Donny & Marie and The Brady Bunch Hour.

Both were recently recognized for their efforts with the unveiling of their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ana Martinez, producer of the event, comments, “Many of us have grown up with the popular shows of Sid and Marty Krofft. The bothers have made memories for many kids of all ages and will continue to do so for years to come. We are proud to add these memory-makers to our Walk of Fame family.”

Adds director and actor Anson Williams, who attended the event, “Sid and Marty Krofft are evergreen, their genius entertaining families for generations to come. Their star on the Walk Of Fame is a forever, hugely deserved symbol for their making our world a happier place.”

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David Arquette, who starred in a remake of the Kroffts’ Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, offers, “I can not think of two people more deserving to receive a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. Little known fact… at any given time of day you can always find a Sid and Marty character wandering the streets of Hollywood.”

Charles Fox, composer of music for their shows H.R. Pufnstuf and The Bugaloos, concurs: “At long last, Sid and Marty Krofft have their spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  They created so many wonderfully weird but endearing and enduring characters for their many series.  It’s great to see them get their place in Hollywood history.”

The Kroffts’ heyday was the 1970s, when they supervised more than a dozen shows for Saturday morning and prime time, but their journey before that was a long one. They were creative directors for Six Flags and produced live shows in parks across American before they embarked on their television career. In fact, by the time he was a teenager, Sid was a show business veteran, having joined the Ringling Brothers Circus sideshow, where he was billed as the world’s youngest puppeteer. After a year of that he moved on and found himself touring the world, serving as an opening act for people like Liberace and Judy Garland. But he was more interested in mounting even bigger, more fantastic puppet shows. Which is where Marty entered the picture.

Marty had been working puppets off and on with Sid for years, but in the meantime had been gaining experience in the business world. Together, they realized they needed their own company and they created one, armed with the vision of taking puppets out of the realm of just being children’s entertainment and building a slightly adult-oriented puppet show called Les Poupees De Paris, which was loosely based on the cabarets of Paris. Scoring a success, they began taking the show around the United States, from the Seattle World’s Fair to New York’s World’s Fair, literally playing to millions of people along the way.

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Stewart Cook/Shutterstock

The shift to television began in 1969 when they were asked by Hannah-Barbera to help create The Banana Splits, which led to the brothers also creating their own shot, the previously-mentioned H.R. Pufnstuf. Things, of course, went on from there.

Please scroll down to check out the different shows of Sid & Marty Krofft.

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