Marty Krofft, renowned co-producer of beloved children’s television series such as H.R. Pufnstuf and Land of the Lost, breathed his last on Saturday afternoon in California. The legendary producer succumbed to kidney failure at the age of 86, surrounded by family and friends in Los Angeles.
Marty Krofft, along with his brother Sid, left an indelible mark on the world of children’s television in the 1970s, creating iconic shows that became a cherished part of multiple generations. The dynamic duo initially ventured into puppet shows before NBC approached them to produce a Saturday morning children’s series, leading to the birth of the beloved H.R. Pufnstuf. The success of the show extended to a feature film produced in collaboration with Universal Pictures.
Born on April 9, 1937, in Montreal, Marty was the youngest of four brothers born to Peter and Mary Krofft. His partnership with brother Sid would revolutionize the entertainment industry, leaving an indelible mark on generations of viewers.
Sid, having learned puppetry from their father, was already touring professionally by the time Marty took his first steps. The duo officially joined forces in 1959, debuting their signature production, Les Poupées de Paris, in 1960. This risqué extravaganza featured 240 marionettes operated by 12 puppeteers and ran alongside the New York World’s Fair in 1964 and ’65. The success of Les Poupées de Paris caught the attention of Angus Wynne, owner of the Six Flags amusement park chain, leading to the Kroffts creating puppet shows for the parks.
Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures became a household name in the 1970s, propelling them into a career of creating and producing family and kids’ shows that spanned over five decades. Marty Krofft earned the title of the “King of Saturday Mornings” for his significant contributions.
The Krofft brothers’ imaginative creations included The Bugaloos, Lidsville, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Pryor’s Place, Far Out Space Nuts, The Lost Saucer, The Krofft Supershow, Wonderbug, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Dr. Shrinker, and Bigfoot & Wildboy. Take a look below and some of the intros:
In the late 1980s, the Krofft brothers ventured into satire with D.C. Follies,a series featuring life-size puppets portraying prominent figures, which gained popularity among both politicians and the public.
Their illustrious career also saw contributions to prime-time shows such as Donny & Marie on ABC, The Brady Bunch Hour, and Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.
In addition to their puppetry work, the Krofft brothers designed puppets, costumes, and props for various clients, including the Jackson 5, Ringling Brothers Circus, and the Ice Capades. Operating out of a former airplane hangar in Southern California, they showcased their creativity across diverse entertainment platforms.
The brothers’ influence extended beyond puppetry, and in later years, they briefly opened their own theme park, The World of Sid and Marty Krofft, at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta. Marty Krofft’s innovative and imaginative contributions to the entertainment industry made a lasting impact, shaping the landscape of children’s television and bringing joy to audiences worldwide.
The Krofft brothers received the Lifetime Career Award at the Saturn Awards in 2003 for their iconic contributions to fantastical television. In 2018, they were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, and in 2020, they were bestowed with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His legacy in the realm of children’s entertainment and television endures, leaving behind a treasure trove of beloved shows that have become timeless classics. He is survived by his brothers, Harry and Sid; daughters Deanna Krofft-Pope, Kristina, and Kendra Krofft; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.