Monday, February 15, 2010

World of Sid & Marty Krofft speaks again

I'm a Krofft fan... have been since I was a kid. For those of you who don't know what I mean, "Krofft" refers to the brothers Sid and Marty Krofft, television and movie producers who had a string of hits through the 1970s. Sid was the visionary... the dreamer... the idea man. Marty was the business end of the family... for him it was all about the bottom line. Together they complimented each other... a "ying" to the other's "yang".

The 70s were a time when Sid & Marty Krofft dominated children's programming. They brought us such classics as Land of the Lost, H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund & the Sea Monsters and Lidsville. To say they dominated is not an understatement... at one point they actually had their shows on two different networks, at the same time... competing with each other. Somewhere between creating those classic programs (and some utterly forgettable ones as well), Sid and Marty concocted the idea to build The World of Sid & Marty Krofft, in indoor renaissance theme park, with mimes, story tellers, artists and rides.

Okay, hindsight is 20/20, an indoor theme park in a rundown section of Atlanta? But in 1975 nobody was willing to bet against them... They owned children's television and they were about to embark on a bold cross-marketing move to tie the new park with their latest Krofft TV venture... The Krofft Super Show.

Unfortunately Sid's vision could not sustain itself and the park folded after 6 months of poor attendance. The closing left a lot of bad blood between the Kroffts, their employees and the investors. Lawsuits caused the park to sit empty for years, home to only the rats and homeless who were able to sneak in. Eventually the courts allowed the investors to sell the salvage rights to recoup some of their loss. Most of the park was trashed and what was salvageable was sold off to collectors... Crystal Carousel pieces, costumes, games, props, etc. Little of anything is left except vague memories and the occasional souvenir that pops up on Ebay from time to time.

As I said earlier, I'm a Krofft fan and I have been fascinated with the park for many years. In 2006, almost 30 years to the day the World of Sid & Marty Krofft theme park closed, I received a package from an acquaintance in Georgia that contained long lost audio cartridges from the fabled Pinball Ride... rescued from a trash heap way back in 1980. The tapes, old Fidelipak cartridges (, were labeled with plain stickers but enticing names like "fuses", "Mirror Room", and "Pinball Waiting Room". Unfortunately the Fidelipak system is mostly a dead technology, so finding a working player turned out to be more of a chore than I expected. With persistence I finally managed to get them converted and for the first time in more than 30 years, here are a couple excerpts from those nearly lost tapes (along with some rare images from the park)... sounds from the World of Sid & Marty Krofft…

The first two audio clips are from the Pinball ride waiting room, the third and fourth clips are from two different tunnels on the Pinball ride, and the last one is from the mirror room.