Sometimes we get random here at PopCult, and you can’t get much more random than presenting the 1974 NBC Saturday Morning Preview Special. This half-hour look at the then-upcoming Fall Saturday morning line-up features both Jimmy Osmond AND Johnny Whitaker, plus The World of Sid and Marty Krofft. Not only do we get to see the mind-altering H.R. Pufnstuf (which is spelled about five different ways on the internet), but we also get to see some repurposed “risque” puppets from back in the days when Sid and Marty Krofft did an adult nightclub act, before they did really trippy kids shows.
This was the year that NBC debuted Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Run Joe Run (a live-action adventure show starring a dog), Land of the Lost and the second season of the animated Star Trek cartoon. Much of the show is taken up by surreally-horrible song-and-dance numbers featuring Osmond and the Krofft puppets. The audience is mostly made up of costumed cast members from Krofft shows like H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, The Bugaloos and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. Many fans of these shows grew up to develop serious drug habits and require therapy.
For the younger PopCult readers, back in the days before cable television, when there were only three or four commercial channels in most cities, Saturday morning was reserved for cartoons and other kids programming. Every year there’d be ads in the comic books, and a half-hour special that usually aired the Friday night before the new programming season kicked off.
This is a particularly twisted one of those.