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Feature Film

Dreamworks animating Kroft’s “Lidsville”

Hollywood has been taking classic animated cartoons and converting them to live action features for years. Now, The New York Times is reporting that Conrad Vernon (Monsters Vs. Aliens) will direct an animated version of Sid and Marty Kroft’s 1973 live-action Saturday morning show Lidsville, for Dreamworks.

I love the Kroft shows and Lidsville was one of the stranger ones (if that can be imagined). According to the Times piece, Vernon says:

“When I talk to a lot of adults about this, they look back and go ‘Oh, that show was great but it was so weird.’ And that’s what made me want to watch every single day.”

As anyone who still knows the “Lidsville” theme song by heart can tell you, the original series centered on a boy named Mark (played by Butch Patrick of “The Munsters”) who discovers a world of anthropomorphized hats, headpieces and chapeaus. There he befriends characters like Rah-Rah the football helmet and Nursie the nurse’s cap, and is pursued by a green-skinned magician named Horatio J. HooDoo (played with scenery-chewing zest by Charles Nelson Reilly).

  • I always hear Dreamworks announce production on a new feature, and now it seems like their coming out with a new project every week now.
    Why aren’t the other studios doing this?

    • Add me to the list of people asking “WHY?”

      Out of all the Kroft shows available to adapt into feature films, who was it that said “Let’s do the one where the hats are alive”?

      I really can’t imagine what anyone who isn’t already familiar with the show would make of “Lidsville.” I’m guessing that most people who look back on it fondly do so because it was just so bizarre, and I’m not holding out hope that DreamWorks will be able to keep up that level of weirdness in the face of executives demanding that the film appeal to the widest possible audience.

      I watched about half of the first episode of the original show before deciding that it wasn’t a good way to spend my time, so I’m probably not the best person to say whether it could make a great movie. But just the premise alone makes me very worried.

  • Liam Scanlan

    What next?

    Dreamworks Animation making a movie based Curiosity Shop?

    I know that show, executive produced by Chuck Jones, aired on ABC along with Lidsville:


    now is a great time to be working in animation! you have scaredy cat executives who will only greenlight something if it is an established intellectual property (no matter how lame or unrealistic it might seem) and then you have the generation of fanboys who grew up and are now able to embrace their childhood nostalgia and butcher it in the process. It’s really a win-win, because who wants to make original content anyway? That would involve risk and drawing on life experience instead of blatantly copying or rehashing old ideas.

    i love this business.

  • There’s no way it will be as cluelessly weird as the original.,1503/

    • swac

      It’s true, I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to escape Krofft show-based nightmares. To this day Charles Nelson Reilly haunts my dreams.

  • Jay Sabicer

    And Lidsville has made a return to LA TV screens! KCET, who just broke away from PBS (but still is a commercial-free public station) has Lidsville and H.R. Pufnstuf on their weekend schedule. Get an hour of 70’s Kroft oddness every Saturday and Sunday morning.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Now I wish my public TV station would follow suit and pick up some interesting shows for us. Needs to be a new trend these days!

  • Mad Hatter

    Beautiful, I loved lidsville as a kid because it had hats and I love to collect hats. With this idea how could they muck it up? The original show was weird and I can only imagine this new one will be odd as well. I’d like to see the character in dreamworks style, maybe it’ll be an improvement :)

  • Sandypants

    I’ve only seen the show recently (I AM JUST A KID!) but what I’ve seen… it is one really clever, whip-smart subversive show. There are people who often see something where there isn’t anything but Lidsville really WAS being sly.

  • eeteed

    h.r. pufnstuf would be a much better choice for a project like this.

    has somebody else already optioned it?

    • Chris Matie

      I’ve picked up leads where it was on a yo-yo between Disney and Nickelodeon. Oh well, I’m holding my breath, though. Most of the major studios are already doing horrible crappy sendups of the original classic TV shows and cartoons(i.e., Yogi Bear, the Grinch).

      At least THANK GOD for YouTube and

  • Justin Delbert

    I’ve never heard of this show until now. So why bring these chaacters back when they are (unfortinatly) dead property? I feel like an average fan living in the real world and not the world we live in. In Dreamworks’ defense I can’t critisize if it’s a good or bad idea and if it recreates the charm of the original. I’ll wait and give it a chance.

    • Mad Hatter

      Well that’s the great thing about it, if it does bad then they’ll say “Oh well the original show was bad so it got it* but if it does good then it’s like “They’ve inproved it, I love it!” it’s pretty much win-win long as they don’t use the racial stereotypes in the old show

  • sigh

    They’ve gone past the bottom of the barrel. Now they’re re-filming the stuff we scraped off our shoes. Anything the Kroffts did was hilarious, but never because they designed it as such.
    I hear Disney’s optioned Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution. Who’ll do the voice-over for “Bananas” Marmoset?

  • Scarabim

    Lidsville was awful. At least its predecessor, H.R. Pufnstuf, had a spark of whimsy. Why isn’t a movie being made out of it, or, as I suggested earlier, why not a movie based on Beany and Cecil? Why Lidsville?

    But I agree with one of the above posters…what’s with all the rehashes? Aren’t there any decent *modern* books or characters to develop into movies?

  • Keith McCaffety

    RE: Jay Sabicer
    There’s a renegade PBS station playing Lidsville??? THAT! IS! AWESOME!
    I hope they can survive without Sesame Street.

  • Bob

    Is DreamWorks going to continue releasing three films a year, as they did in 2010? Just seems the studio is announcing a lot of projects.

  • Chris Matie

    OMG, out of all the Krofft shows, I cannot believe it.

    Besides, just why did the Kroffts decide to do Lidsville in the first place?? I don’t know whether or not they or Butch Patrick (aka Eddie Munster, who also had the human lead in this) are reading any of this, but strangely and curiously enough, Lidsville looks VERY reminiscent of the 1968 Chuck Jones feature film “The Phantom Tollbooth”, with how they recycled the color scheme from the animation sequence in the latter (in which Patrick also had the human lead, too).

  • Chris Matie

    Oops, and I also forgot to add, Phantom Tollbooth (even though the anim. sequence got off to a slow start), was also WAY more entertaining than this!!! Plus, the animation is great eye candy!!!

  • Great, an animated feature about talking hats. I can hardly wait.

  • The sensibility of MONSTERS VS ALIENS and MEGAMIND could do great things within the empty framework of the absently repulsive LIDSVILLE.

  • Juan Alfonso

    Maybe a competing studio can do a CGI version of “Hattietown Tales”-a british stop-motion show also based on “living” hats(except for Sancho the donkey).

  • Christopher Cook

    Conrad Vernon says the weirdness is what made him watch every day. Were that to be possible–it aired once a week. And those are comic book covers up there, not posters.

    The show’s audience was primarily pre-teen girls who glomped Butch Patrick, who went from Eddie Munster to Tiger Beat poster-toyboy. Who’s gonna voice his character in the movie, Justin Bieber?

  • Was my face red.

    There really doesn’t seem any great value in reviving such an obscure little show unless you’ve somehow become convinced that a land of talking hats really is a great concept to hang a whole movie around.


  • Man, for years as an adult I never knew anyone else who watched that show and if I described it they all thought I was having fever dreams. (I also had the comic book with the knight on the cover.)

    Kinda surprised with all the popularity of tweener pop that they didn’t option THE BUGALOOS instead.

    • The Gee

      “Kinda surprised with all the popularity of tweener pop that they didn’t option THE BUGALOOS instead.”

      Hush, little darlin’
      don’t you cry;
      Some studio will
      by and buy.

      I vaguely remember the show. And, even after they existed Saturday mornings, surely there was some form of syndication after-life for those Kroft shows, weren’t there? Even pre-cable? So someone watching it daily isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

      To continue off of the (gentle) Mockingbird riff:

      All of those properties will see time on feature adaptations. “The Land of the Lost” was just testing the waters.

      As for why…?

      hell, after years of lowering my expectations, I don’t even bother trying to keep jumping to conclusions. The bar is just that low that you can roll over it and get to the other side. The only certainty is that when it comes to overall creativity:
      that cliched notion that There Are No New Ideas sits on the tips of the brains of many writers, directors and producers.

      Oy. It reminds me of something a reality TV show producer used to explain ripping off an idea…..but that is an anecdote for another time, another place.

      • If the “Land of the Lost” film is an example of what’s going to be done to Lidsville, I’ll pass thankyouverymuch.

      • The Gee

        What I meant is the fact it was made in the first place.

        personally, it is neither here nor there for me. I don’t care and I’m one who’s fairly secure with my fake childhood memories that had commercial sponsors!
        In fact, they were not that important, it just was, or wasn’t, fun stuff.

        If you all expect the moon for these kinds of adaptations then don’t wait for them, go make something about the moon.

  • Jessica Britton

    So long as they get Billie Hayes to voice Weenie, I’m in!

  • Brian Kidd

    There was a time when LIDSVILLE was broadcast on a daily basis. TBS played it for a while back in the early 1980s. I used to watch it when I would get home from school. Most of the Krofft shows weren’t great choices for daily syndication because there were so few episodes made. Feel free to correct me, but I’m pretty sure that the only series that had multiple seasons were Land of the Lost and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. The others had maybe twelve or thirteen episodes and were simply rerun for years on Saturday mornings.

    I adore the early Krofft shows for their amazingly-strange production design and off-kilter timing. They were just dark enough to make them interesting. I don’t know that there’s enough of a framework to LIDSVILLE to make a film. Plus, if they don’t have designs that emulate the Early-70’s trippiness of the original series, then I don’t see much that will interest me about the project. I don’t think it will turn out well, but I’ve been surprised before. When Dreamworks has the right people in charge of a project, they have the skill to deliver fine films. KUNG-FU PANDA and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON are still the exceptions to the rule, however.

    • Chris Matie

      You left out “The Krofft Supershow”, which ran for two seasons (1976-78), until they were replaced by the Krofft Superstar Hour, which ran for only one season (1978-79), and were hosted by the Bay City Rollers (BIG miscast! The Krofft Supershow still reigns as one of my all-time faves, even if I am 38). =)

      Anyways, I do know that in the mid-90’s, the Family Channel (before Disney took it over, becoming ABC Family) used to air the Kroffts’ early shows (Pufnstuf, Bugaloos, Lidsville, and Sigmund) and I would only watch Sigmund, which got HUGE laughs out of me. Even TV Land/Nick-at-Nite at the time did a marathon of Krofft shows called Pufapalooza.

      Even if Lidsville gets the big screen treatment, either way, I honestly DON’T CARE ’cause it’s just going to end up being a wash, like with most other sitcoms and cartoons already. So, having said that, along with the Kroffts’ early stuff, what can I say? 60’s and 70’s TV shows and cartoons still ROCK!!!

      Thank God for YouTube and =)

  • Steve Gattuso

    I grew up with Sid & Marty Kroft in the 70’s. And I hated every damned minute of it. Between their junk and the lousy HB material of the decade, it was more entertaining to mow the lawn every Saturday morning. I would rather see a crossover between Hammerman and Paddy the Pelican directed by Michael Bay with music by The Shaggs and animated in India by Klasky-Csupo before I would ever watch this.*

    *With voices by Bobcat Goldthwaite, Gilbert Gottfried, Judy Tenuta, Fran Drescher, Carrot Top, Justin Bieber, and Snooky.

  • Baron Lego

    What, no love for “The Bugaloos”? Haw!

    Well, maybe Wonderbug will make a cameo appearance in this thing.

  • Darkblader

    Not sounding rude here, but just HOW MANY movies is Dreamworks making right about now?

  • Bruce Wright

    It was called Lidsville because that’s how much you had to smoke to be able to sit through a whole episode of that crap.

  • Krofft shows are the children’s teevee market’s equivalent of Russ Meyer movies (especially his later stuff): lots of (ugly) production value but no taste whatsoever. I loathed the Kroffts’ shows when they first aired (I was already in college, but as an emerging cartoonist, I still kept tabs on SatAM teevee), but after later working a bit with their company*, came to “get” how their shows came to be. I still can’t enjoy ’em, but at least they’re now kinda interesting. Why Dreamworks has coughed up the dough to license such an obscure and grotesque property is anyone’s guess.

    *On development art with Mike (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) Sekowsky, no less, for TWO ON THE ISLE, a never-sold comedy show starring Sonny Bono, Tommy Smothers and a whole bunch of Sleestaks, I kid you not.

    • The Gee

      The genesis of that idea was that danged “caveman vest” Bono wore, wasn’t it?
      I forget what the childhood equivalent of “Trippy” was, but that is what those shows where back then. Like most of those kids live action Sat AM shows, they were oddly out of place.

      All of those shows just never seemed like they should exist and that’s what most people I know- original fans or not–appreciate about them now.

      It seemed like the hippies took over a production studio and no one stopped them for years.

      (Unfortunately, none of the shows ever had The Muppet Show level of excellence though….)

  • dr. truth

    On one hand, “Lidsville” is by far the most bizarre and awful kroft show ever, and I cannot imagine why they chose this over H.R, But on the other hand, it might be oddly cute if it didn’t feature midgets in horrible costumes.

  • Pedro Nakama

    This might not be a good idea. While reading the Oinion today I found this…,1503/

  • geez people, it’s not like they’re remaking another hanna-barbara cartoon that everyone’s seen a million times before. this is something that is actually creative and cool. if they do a good job, it’ll introduce a new generation to a classic.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I think this is a very weird idea. When I was a kid,the Sid & Marty Kroft shows scared the shit out of me! Whenever ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’ or ‘Lidsville’ came on tv,I ran out of the room! The whole concept of a live-action show with those bizarre costumes and puppets didn’t appeal to me at the time.

    I have mixed feelings about the Dreamworks 3-d animated movie version. Besides,I always liked the H.R. Pufnstuf theme more than the Lidsville one.

  • Marc Baker

    I guess it’s safe to say that Dreamworks is now scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

  • swac

    Hopefully they get Tom Kenny to voice Hoodoo:

  • Giovanni Jones

    They should take Lidsville to Broadway with Nathan Lane as Hoodoo, Bebe Neuwirth as Weenie, Neil Patrick Harris as Mark and Mike Bloomberg as Mayor Hat.

  • Dave

    If I read anything about Sigmund and the Sea Monsters being in development, my shriek will shatter every window in America.

  • Joshua

    I’m 38 years old, and I know of “Lidsville” only from nostalgic comments on the Internet by other people. It’s not something that I ever saw on television or remember seeing listed in TV Guide, nor is it something any of my friends or family members ever talked about.

    There may be some value in the “Lidville” property for somebody, but it doesn’t mean a lot to me, nor, I suspect, to many people younger than me.