• Sigmund and the Sea Monsters – Season One



    Released by: Vivendi Enterrtainment
    Released on: September 6, 2011.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Johnny Whitaker, Scott C. Kolden
    Year: 1973
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    The Series:

    Bring on the nostalgia! The newest release (09/06/11) from The World of Sid and Marty Krofft, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, ran for two seasons from 1973 until 1975. Included in this 3-disc set are the thirteen original episodes from season one, starring Johnny Whitaker, Scott Kolden and Mary Wickes. Back from the era when kids’ programming was full of original music mimicking what was popular at the time, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters seems to have picked up where H.R. Pufnstuf left off in that regard- pop style music, dancing, and comedy- in the same vein as The Monkees’ television hit. It worked with H.R. Pufnstuf, it worked with The Banana Splits, why not Sigmund and the Sea Monsters! Even The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family had that same kind of feel to it. Had Sigmund and the Sea Monsters come out a few years earlier at the height of the pop music comedy craze it might have lasted more than two seasons. Still, it was the Krofft’s most successful series to date.

    Johnny (Whitaker) and Scott (Kolden) play pre-teen brothers living near the beach at Dead Man’s Point where they’re cared for by Aunt Zelda (Wickes). Kicked out by his Sea Monster family for being too nice, little Sigmund meets Johnny and Scott on the beach and they invite him to live in their clubhouse. The three become best friends, but Siggy still struggles with the fact that he has to stay hidden from humans and often wishes he could engage in all the fun things Johnny and Scott get to do, so naturally he’s always finding ways to sneak away in hopes of interacting with humans. Add to that, Sigmund’s family- Big Daddy Ooze, Sweet Mama Ooze and siblings Blurp and Slurp Ooze, wanting to kidnap him and bring him back home or getting into some sort of trouble that Siggy has to save them from, and we have a show full of ridiculous plot lines, big googly-eyed costumes, outdated music and a terrible laugh track. Like I said, the Kroffts were masters at all of it.

    As a kid, I was big into a lot of the Krofft shows in reruns and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters was one of my favorites, along with Land of the Lost. Having been released on DVD years back, I’ve seen Land of the Lost more recently and despite the primitive effects, I felt it really held up well even if it was a little corny. I watched the entire set, think of it often and would gladly watch it again whenever. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, however, doesn’t seem to have survived the jump to the twenty-first century the way Land of the Lost did. In the world of special effects, cheesiness works with horror and sci-fi but, unfortunately for Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, not necessarily with straight comedy. Still we got twenty-nine episodes out of the series and the Kroffts were able to add it to their resume and move on to bigger and better things.

    Included in season one:
    • The Monster Who Came to Dinner
    • Puppy Love
    • Frankenstein Drops In
    • Is There a Doctor in the House?
    • Happy Birthday
    • The Nasty Nephew
    • Monster Rock Festival
    • Ghoul School Days
    • The Curfew Shall Ring Tonight
    • Sweet Mama Redecorates
    • Make Room For Big Daddy
    • It’s Your Move
    • Trick of Treat
    • Uncle Siggy Swings
    • The Dinosaur Show
    • The Wild Weekend
    • Boy For a Day

    Season one highlights include The Wild Weekend which features H.R. Pufnstuf star, Jack Wild; Trick or Treat in which Sigmund pretends to be in costume to enjoy Halloween and wreak havoc on the neighborhood (nobody explained to him that the “trick” part shouldn’t be taken literally); and Monster Rock Festival… when Sigmund enters and wins a radio contest, Johnny and Scott have to find a way for him to be able to accept his prize in person from the deejay.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    As is the case with most of these TV shows that come to DVD, this series is displayed in its original full frame aspect ratio. No remastering, so picture quality is pretty much what you’d expect. Colors are a bit soft but otherwise fine… no fluttering or any distortion. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters – Season One is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio format. Sound is loud and clear throughout. English audio track, no subs.

    Special features on this set include an exclusive look at the “H.R. Pufnstuf American Cinematheque” event in Los Angeles on November 20, 2010 and a downloadable folder of mp3s of all of Johnny’s songs including:

    • Can’t Get You Off My Mind
    • Day and Night
    • Friends
    • It’s Up to You
    • Keep It a Secret
    • Lovin’ Ain’t Easy
    • Monster Rock
    • Running Around in Circles
    • Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
    • Stealing Home
    • The Magician

    This release contains commentaries on three episodes, one per disc. “The Monster Who Came to Dinner” has commentary with creator Sid Krofft, and episodes “Make Room For Big Daddy” and “Boy For a Day” have commentaries with stars Johnny Whitaker and Scott Kolden. The Sid Krofft commentary is the most interesting of the three. Sid reminisces on the origin of the show… it’s pretty weird to say the least, but what would you expect from the Krofts?!... the success and the cast of the show, and many of the other ideas involved in character and storyline development. The Johnny and Scott commentaries are fun but more so just MST3K style with more joking than real info. Still, the three are all enjoyable and compliment this set well.

    Also included, though not listed on the packaging is a twenty- minute interview with Whitaker and Kolden on disc three in which they discuss how they got this awesome gig; their memories of the Krofft brothers; working with and learning from Billy Barty (the renowned actor in the Sigmund costume) and Mary Wickes; and what it was like being a child star and the fun they had on the set.

    The Final Word:

    Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, sadly, won’t be as entertaining to the adults that grew up watching the show nowadays, nor will it likely gain many new fans, but hopefully sales will do well enough from people with enough of a DVD allowance to buy something they will likely only watch once and then keep on the shelf simply as a memory of yesteryear. Although I might not dig Sigmund and the Sea Monsters as a grown-up, I’m still always happy to be able to relive these moments of childhood.