In the 1970s kids shows became totally far out in both style and subject matter, full of psychedelic characters and imagery that must've felt just right to the offspring of the Flower Power generation.
Here's a collection of ten kid oriented TV shows from the 70s, which is nowhere near exhaustive and is purposely lacking obvious shows like Sesame Street and The Elecric Company.
As you peruse the list you’ll see the name of two siblings come up on this list many times with good reason- Sid & Marty Krofft have cornered the market on strange kid’s TV shows ever since they brought their own brand of psychedelic TV magic to the small screen with H.R. Pufnstuf (1969).
1. The Bugaloos (1970-72)-
The Bugaloos flew right into the hearts of kids who loved fantasy when they made their television debut in 1970. Starring a cast of British teens (who were also conveniently a four piece band) the Bugaloos were able to fly in their stylish insectoid outfits, and constantly avoided being captured by the evil Benita Bizarre.
2. The Wombles (1973-75)-
The Wombles are the original puppet environmentalists, little pointy nosed critters who collected and recycled trash dumped by humans in order to help keep the environment clean.
This British oddity is based on a series of novels by Elisabeth Beresford, and the Wombles encouraged kids to be more environmentally friendly, thereby becoming the original spokespuppets for going green!
3. The Secrets Of Isis (1975-77)-
Before Linda Carter brought Wonder Woman to life on the small screen there was a mighty cool show called The Secrets Of Isis, about a science teacher turned superhero.
Using the power of the Isiac Amulet mild mannered teacher Andrea Thomas transformed into the Egyptian goddess Isis, giving her "the powers of the animals and the elements".
The Secrets Of Isis brought superheroic action into the lives of young girls, and the show also brought them a line of action figures so they could battle their brothers!
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is another Krofft show that brought a cast of surreal costumed characters to the small screen on Saturday morning, but unlike previous Krofft shows Sigmund is set in the real world.
Sigmund was played by Billy Barty (don'tcha recognize him under all those tentacles?!) and a cast of silly looking monsters that make kids squeal with delight at the sight of 'em to this day!
5. Hot Fudge (1976-80)-
There have been many puppet bands in TV land, but few can hold a torch to the smokin’ grooves played by Electric Fuzz on The Hot Fudge Show, as voiced by the show's creator Larry Santos (no relation).
Larry was trying to add some adult appeal to the show by parodying popular TV game shows of the day, and the show's music was so good The Electric Fuzz actually released an album in the early 80s.
6. The Krofft Supershow (1976-78)-
Saturday mornings became totally surreal when The Krofft Supershow brought the duo’s brand of kiddie psychedelia to the masses in hour long doses. The Krofft Supershow was like six shows in one- "Wonderbug," about a dune buggy brought to life by a magic horn:
"Kaptain Kool and the Kongs," the Supershow's super cool band:
"Magic Mongo," the story of teens who discover a magic bottle containing the wacky genie Mongo, who tries to fit in with the human world by dressing like a tourist:
"Dr. Shrinker," an evil scientist who shrinks a group of innocent teens down to micro size:
"Bigfoot and Wildboy," the orphan raised by Bigfoot who helps his adoptive father battle those who threaten the forests in the Pacific Northwest:
And last, but certainly not least, "Electra Woman and Dyna Girl," a show about two intrepid reporters who become crime fighting superheroines:
7. Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp (1970-71)-
Animal acting reached its peak in the 1970s thanks to Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp, a campy comedy show with an all chimp cast. Lancelot is a private detective who speaks with a Bogart inspired drawl and works for A.P.E., the Agency to Prevent Evil.
The show was heavily inspired by Get Smart, and if you love animals and stupid funny shows you'll absolutely go bananas for Lancelot Link!
8. Lidsville (1971-73)-
Kids truly must have flipped their lids when the surreal Krofft show Lidsville landed on the air in 1971, and even though it was predated by The Bugaloos, Lidsville is the true successor to the H.R. Pufnstuf throne.
Lidsville is about a boy named Mark (played by Butch Patrick) who is trapped in a surreal world trying to battle the evil magician HooDoo (played by Charles Nelson Reilly) who zaps the world’s surreal denizens and forces them to pay him their Hat Checks.
9. Here Come The Double Deckers (1970-71)-
With an all kid cast and far out themes like invading Martians and hovercrafts, Here Come The Double Deckers was a jointly American and British show about a group of kids who live in an old double decker bus in the junk yard.
10. Vegetable Soup (1975-78)-
The public broadcasting show Vegetable Soup was heavily laced with psychedelic strangeness, and just watching the totally mind blowing cartoons will make you feel like you're on drugs! The show was produced in Detroit, and featured messages of racial harmony and togetherness, with Bette Midler as the voice of Woody The Spoon and James Earl Jones as the voice of Long John Spoilsport.
The puppets definitely reside in the uncanny valley, and would probably scare the short pants off kids these days, but kids in the 70s thought of them as friends, featureless, expressionless friends...
I hope you've enjoyed this long, strange trip back to the psychedelic wonderland that awaited kids on their TV sets in the 1970s.
For some readers this list will bring back memories, while others will watch these oddball shows with fresh eyeballs, and yet all will surely agree- these shows are about as far out as they come!
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