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H.R. Pufnstuf: Complete Series Collector's Edition - children's television series DVD / family and children DVD review
H.R. PUFNSTUF: COMPLETE SERIES COLLECTOR'S EDITION Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Featuring: Jack Wild, Billie Hays, Lennie Weinrib, Sharon Baird, Roberto Gamonet, Johnny Silver
Creators: Sid and Marty Krofft   Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
DVD release: 12 April 2011   Runtime: 374 minutes
(3 discs)
Format: Animated, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, DVD, Full Screen, NTSC
Features: Audio tracks (Mono - English), Interviews (Sid and Marty Krofft; Billie Hayes; Jack Wild; Hal Erickson), Here's Irving pilot

*H.R. Pufnstuf: Complete Series Collector's Edition*H.R. Pufnstuf leaves me conflicted. The nostalgia factor is certainly there, and for that I say YAY! It makes me want to get a bowl of Cocoa Krispies and sit in front of the 14-inch solid state TV my folks got from Sears and put on their makeshift entertainment center made of bare wooden planks and breeze block (if I'm not mistaken, several macrame owls adorned the wall in that home).

The show would come on and flash its bright colors and assault me with its laugh track. When the kids shows ran out, I'd leave my spot in front of the tube and maybe put on my Toughskins and go ride my bike. That's the kind of stuff H.R. Pufnstuf dredges forth the depths of my memories: the early '70s and a much simpler life.

On the other hand, I'm really chagrined at the kind of crap I used to watch when I could have been doing more productive things. H.R. Pufnstuf is the story of young Jimmy (Jack Wild), who owns a magic flute. One summer day, Jimmy is asked by a boat to go for a ride (this was before the days of stranger danger after-school specials and such, but I still don't think my mother would have wanted me to get on a strange boat just because it asked me). The boat turns wicked and leaves Jimmy washed up on shore of a magical island.

It turns out the boat was sent by Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes), an evil witch who was after Jimmy's flute (I swear there's no hidden meaning in this) and who constantly tries to nab it. Witchiepoo, who bears more than just a passing resemblance to Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West, is thwarted by Jimmy and H.R. Pufnstuf (Lennie Weinrib), the mayor of this strange place, and all the other puppet-friendlies.

As I said, H.R. Pufnstuf is a brightly-colored piece of nostalgia with an obvious and awful laugh track used to tell us that it's time to guffaw. It doesn't play well today, but I don't think you'll buy it for your children; you'll buy it for the child you used to be. Don't forget to stop at the store for your favorite sugared cereal. They're selling Quisp again.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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