Marty Krofft, producer of children’s TV shows including ‘H.R. Pufnstuf,’ dead at 86

He and his older brother Sid created and produced memorable Saturday television shows for children.

LOS ANGELES — Marty Krofft, who produced memorable Saturday morning shows for children with his older brother including “H.R. Pufnstuf,” “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” and “Land of the Lost,” died Saturday. He was 86.

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Krofft died of kidney failure in Los Angeles, a family representative told Variety.

Krofft was known to many as the “King of Saturday Mornings,” KABC-TV reported. He and his brother Sid helped create and produce “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” and “D.C. Follies.” They also produced several variety shows, including “Donnie and Marie” and “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.”

“There’s nobody better on this planet,” Sid Krofft said of his brother in a 2000 interview for the Archive of American Television website. “I get a dream, and Marty gets it done.”

The brothers were already well-known as theatrical puppeteers when they were hired in 1968 to design the costumes for the live-action portion of “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The show was an immediate hit, running from Sept. 7, 1968, to Sept. 5, 1970, and then in reruns over the following decades, the entertainment news website reported.

In 1969, NBC asked the brothers to create their own series. “H.R. Pufnstuf” was a live-action show that featured Jimmy, a shipwrecked boy (played actor Jack Wild) on a magical island. The title character, voiced by Lennie Weinrib, was a dragon, and they were often challenged by the villainous Witchiepoo, played by Billie Hayes, according to Variety.

In 2007, TV Guide named “H.R. Pufnstuf” No. 27 on its list of the top cult shows, Variety reported.

The Kroffts followed “H.R. Pufnstuf” “The Bugaloos” (1970-72), “Lidsville” (1971-73), “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” (1973-75) and “Land of the Lost” (1974-76), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“We screwed with every kid’s mind,” Marty Krofft told The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a Krofft look -- the colors. There’s an edge. Disney doesn’t have an edge.”

The Krofft brothers were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020.

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