Friday, August 04, 2017

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

I remember when the original show of "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" aired, not the first episode, but the preview for NBC's new Saturday morning line-up the Friday night before it officially debuted.  I don't just miss Saturday morning kids TV, but also those preview specials, both for the kids shows and the prime time line-ups as well.  I watched the preview and I watched the first episode the next morning, along with the first version of "Super Friends" and the animated "Star Trek."

And yeah, I watched Sigmund regularly, probably mostly because everyone else did - it was popular.  Comics were twenty cents a piece, you could ride your banana seat bike just about everywhere, and "Delta Dawn" and "Brother Louie" were on the AM radio all day, why not watch Sigmund?  It was wild and vivid (I can't say colorful, we didn't have a color TV yet), and even though we weren't old enough to know about drugs yet, we knew the guys who came up with this stuff were a bit out of their heads. 

The premise of the show, developed by Sid and Marty Krofft, the then-kings of live-action Saturday morning, who swear no drugs were involved in any of their shows, was that two boys had found a sea monster at the beach and kept him in their clubhouse, hilarity ensues.  In the title role was Billy Barty in a leafy seaweed covered rubber suit, supported by Johnny and Scott, having misadventures running from Sigmund's family while the boys kept him a secret from their domineering housekeeper (the parents never seemed to be around). 

Beyond its popularity, I might have also watched because of lead actor Johnny Whittaker.  As Jody on "Family Affair," he was a kid of roughly the same age growing up just like us.  The show had its moments, especially in the all the puns of the sea monster world.  They watched shellavision, and Sigmund's father was a bit of an Archie Bunker type, good fun. 

The show had its flaws as well in the boys' absentee parents, the weird genie character Rip Taylor played in the last season, and Johnny Whittaker trying start a singing career.  I guess he thought if the Patridges and the Bradys could do it, so could he.  The show lasted three seasons then fell into the obscurity of syndication. 

Sigmund lives on in the memories of those who watched however, my wife among them.  The Bride is a huge Sid and Marty Krofft fan.  We own all of their varied TV projects, on VHS, and DVD.  I know hardcore.  The popularity beyond the 1970s and Saturday morning are probably what spurred Amazon to produce a reboot.  The first episode is available now, with more to come. 

The new series has essentially the same premise.  The kids have a Disney channel vibe, David Arquette plays a creepy sea captain who believes in sea monsters, and the monsters themselves have been given a bit of an upgrade, slightly.  Let's face it they still look like rubber suits, but with a bit more life and more abilities.  Johnny Whittaker, looking every bit of four decades wear, even makes a cameo.  And to be honest, Arquette's not looking so great either. 

Like the original, it's not bad, and it's probably doing just what Amazon hoped it would - be great for fans of the 1970s version who are now sharing it with another generation.  Even The Bride didn't mind it, wanting to see another episode before giving a final opinion.  I kinda dug it.  What did you all think who've seen it? 

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