Today, 9 April, Marty Krofft is 83 years old. He is the younger of the Krofft brothers — creators of about half of my childhood television entertainment with shows like HR Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and above all, Land of the Lost.
Recently, a friend gave me the complete Land of the Lost on DVD and so I’ve revisited it. And it’s weird. I can see why I liked it at ten. It’s an exciting adventure to a 10-year-old. And it’s smart and generally rips off the right people.
Krofft Art: Then and Now
Watching it now, I see what it always was: the result of an extremely limited budget but an abundance of creativity. The brilliance of their shows was how they worked with their limitations.
Some time ago, I saw an interview with the Krofft brothers and they said the reason the Sleestak moved so slowly was that they had limited space on their sets so in order to create action, they had to be slow. This is what most creative work is: problem-solving.
Despite all the low-budget special effects, their stories could be performed on a middle-school cafeteria stage. And it’s amazing that they don’t seem like that. In fact, if you had asked me as a kid, I would have said that they were epic.
Thirty-five years later, Land of the Lost was produced as a big-budget film. I liked it, but it wasn’t at all like the series. Most important, the series took its premise seriously. The film constantly winks at the audience, “Yeah, we know this is silly!”
But that’s the beauty of the work of the Krofft brothers: they were brave. They used all the tools they had available to tell wonderful stories for a particular audience that loved them for it.