Few people made a more profound impact on the Saturday mornings of the 70s than the creative duo of Sid and Marty Krofft. They whisked us off to one magical locale after another with such offerings as H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos and Lidsville. In 1973, a floating piece of seaweed inspired the pair to create a series a little closer to home. Breaking with their surrealistic style, they set their new show at a southern California beach, and called it Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.
After being exiled from his undersea family, due to his inability to terrorize humans, the shy and lovable Sigmund makes his way to shore and befriends two brothers, Johnny and Scott. Far from being frightened, the young beach bums give the green guy a home in their secret clubhouse, away from the suspicious eyes of their caregiver, Zelda, her boyfriend, Sheriff Evans and their nosy neighbor, Mrs. Eldels (portrayed by former Wicked Witch of the North, Margaret Hamilton).
If these human adversaries weren’t enough, poor Sigmund also had to contend with his former family, who were intent on kidnapping their kelp-laden kin and returning him to his rightful place at sea. Leading the posse were his parental units, Big Daddy and Sweet Mama Ooz, and his equally-menacing brothers, Burp and Slurp.
Prolific character actor Billy Barty donned the costume of Sigmund for the series, and one of the young brothers was none other than Johnny Whitaker, who had charmed television audiences of the 60s as Jody on Family Affair. The young star frequently sang on the show, and these performances were later compiled into his debut album Friends (Music from the Television Series “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters). Comic actor Rip Taylor joined the cast in the second (and final) season of the series, playing a magical (yet bumbling) sea genie named Sheldon.
Although only 29 episodes were ever produced, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters remains one of the more beloved Saturday morning series of the era, fondly remembered by millions of kids who plopped themselves in front of the TV each week to watch the lighthearted comic adventures of a friendly sea monster. If you were one of these young viewers, we welcome your thoughts and recollections of this quirky show in our comments section, as we tip our hats to Sid and Marty for keeping us thoroughly entertained during the 70s.