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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidelipac), 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.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey! I got to ride that fabled pinball ride. Vague memories indeed, I was only7 or so. We went for someone's birthday... The pinball ride was cool but don't forget you got to ride the world's longest freestanding escalator just to get up to the park!

mcyeager said...

Where are the mp3s? my ipod is dying for them.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the same composer who did the ''Land of the Lost'' music.

Their theme park's architecture seems to have inspired a very low budget knock off in Opryland. Funny that the Krofts' aesthetic would be on the high end of poplar culture in the realm of design influence.

Jon Waterhouse said...

Would like to get in touch with you about the park. Wrote an article about it a while back. jonwaterhouse@comcast.net

Thanks!

julia said...

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Anonymous said...

You can still ride the escalator. The CNN center has a tour and thats how you start it!

smallerdemon said...

I can't believe you were sent these audio tapes. It's astonishing. I showed up literally just months after it closed as a kid not knowing it had closed and was devastated. Thanks for sharing the sound files, though, it let's my 45 year old's imagination kind of run wild at what I missed. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! its absolutely great that you posted those sound files. Awesome.

I'm a costumer and about 12 years ago I made a replica Pufnstuf costume and a replica Dr. Blinky costume for myself and my wife to wear to a costume contest. I eventually needed the space, so I sold it at the Kane County Toy Show in Illinois.

Imagine my surprise when, several years later, I saw it for sale on eBay as "a Krofft parade costume". I wrote to the seller and told them that it was NOT an official Krofft piece and that I could easily identify all the materials used as well as that I still owned the molds I used to make the eyes! I have multiple pictures of my wife and I in those costumes as well as video of our appearance in the masquerade.

They wrote back and told me (basically) to stop trying to interfere with their auction and then they set it to "private" so I couldn't do anything about it. I wrote to eBay, but of course, they wouldn't do anything about it. It eventually sold for $3500.

I feel sorry for whoever bought that. They got taken.

Perry Bush said...

Here's footage of the krofft theme park in atlanta omni from the movie "Love's Dark Ride" 1978" - Jane Seymour. https://youtu.be/Nz69hZyymBU?t=1h14m50s

If you cannot see the youtube link, then do a search in youtube for the movie ... the scene starts at 1hr 15min.