Where is the Land of the Lost?
In the world of Sid & Marty Krofft
Through the dark green jungle, the three walk slowly, staying close together, keeping watch for anything that moves in the tangled trees and shrubs. The sounds are not familiar. The sky is not the sky of home. Suddenly, there is an inhuman cry — a roar of anger! Now the family must run for their lives from the furious dinosaur that chases them! Where is the path to safety? They do not know. This is not their land. This is the LAND OF THE LOST!
Where is the land of the lost? Where did the people, creatures, and strange places of this super-popular TV show begin? They all came from the minds of two men, Sid and Marty Krofft.
Dynamite visited the Krofft workshop in California and talked to Sid Krofft. We found out that the Land of the Lost is just one corner of what they call “The World of Sid and Marty Krofft”!
Creating a land where giant dinosaurs roam the earth is a very complicated business. For Land of the Lost, the Kroffts used a process that had never been tried before. Basically, this is how the show is done: The dinosaurs are rubber models — about 8 to 10 inches tall.
The camera films them one frame at a time. That means they shoot a picture, then move the model and shoot again. This makes it look as if the dinosaur is moving. Then the background — the jungle, let’s say — must be filmed.
Next, all of that is transferred to tape — because when you see Land of the Lost on TV, it is a taped show. Then they put the human actors on a blue set — the walls and everything are blue. Then they tape that in a special way so that everything that is blue doesn’t show up. Finally, they put the two tapes together.
We wondered how the Kroffts got the idea for this show.
Dinosaurs are really exciting,” Sid Krofft told Dynamite. “That’s why we were thinking of doing something that had to do with dinosaurs. Then I went camping in the Grand Canyon. I suddenly thought, ‘What a terrible place to be in an earthquake.’ At that moment, I saw a park ranger and that sparked me. I thought what if a ranger and his son and daughter were in the canyon and one of those gigantic rocks split open and they found themselves in a world that time forgot and . . . well, that’s the show.
“The truth is, I live in a world of fantasy,” Sid said with a smile. “All day long and even while I sleep, I’m thinking of new things to do. I’m always interested in making people smile.”
The Kroffts started making people smile as puppeteers. It was no surprise that they became puppeteers — their father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather were all puppeteers. Today, Sid and Marty Krofft’s interests have spread so far that the title “The World of Sid and Marty Krofft” is not an exaggeration.
Krofft’s theme park
As a matter of fact, all the artists and craftspeople at the factory are busy building a world right now. It’s The World of Sid and Marty Krofft, the world’s first indoor amusement park, and it will open in Atlanta, Georgia, next winter.
Sid took us on a tour of the factory and told us about the project. “The park is going to be right in the middle of the city,” he explained. “The whole thing will be covered with a glass roof. You’ll take a nine-story escalator to get to the entrance of the park.”
We walked into a workroom where some carpenters were hammering away at what looked like part of a big pipe. “That’s part of the tunnel for the pinball machine ride,” Sid explained. He showed us a model of the ride and explained what it will be like.
“The idea is that you are inside the ball as it gets bounced around during a pinball game. The ride starts when a giant robot pulls back a plunger, hits the ball, and starts you rolling. The robot should be very interesting, because you can talk to him, and he’ll answer, but when you look into his face, you’ll see your own face on a huge TV screen in his head.
“The great thing about the ride is that while you’re in the ball, you’ll get the idea that people are playing the game over you. Giant coins will fall down a chute. Lights will flash, bells will ring! One room is all mirrors, another room is all lights. There will even be a big TILT sign. It should be terrific.”
Before we had a chance to agree, Sid had whisked us into another workshop where a sculptor was making a beautiful clay model of a horse. “This is for the crystal carousel. We wanted to do a different kind of carousel — don’t you think people will come from all over to see this?” Sid asked.
The park is an unbelievable undertaking -especially since it’s being made piece by piece in California and then shipped off to Atlanta.
When it’s finished, the park will have other rides and a whole area of shops all made in the shape of hats like the Krofft show Lidsville. There will be a midway with mechanical animated sword swallowers, fire eaters, etc. There will be several puppet theaters and special theaters for pantomime shows. Then you’ll take a giant mine shaft elevator to the basement and you’re ready for the really big attraction!
The entire basement of the park will be taken over with the Living Island ride. As all loyal Pufnstuf fans know, Living Island is the place where everything is alive — trees, the wind, books, houses, chimneys, etc. On this ride, you will get your chance to experience Living Island and to meet all the Pufnstuf characters.
“You’ll get a chance to visit Witchie Poo’s castle and to meet Orson and all the other characters. Then at the end, there’s going to be an incredible show. It will be like one of those big movie musicals with lots of singers and dancers — only all the performers will be midgets, and they’ll be in the Pufnstuf costumes!”
Brothers with crazy ideas
Marty and I have a good thing,” Sid explained. “I handle most of the crazy ideas, and he handles all the business. We’re brothers, so we get along like brothers — we fight!”
It’s hard to imagine fighting with Sid. You’d say: “Go jump in the lake!” and he’d say: “Lake, hey that’s a great idea. We’ll build a lake — only the bottom will be glass and the fish could sing and…”
As we found out, almost anything is possible in the World of Sid and Marty Krofft!