TV puppet masters Sid & Marty Krofft go digital with Fullscreen and Amazon pilot

Marty Krofft and Sid Krofft attend the 7th Annual TV Land Awards held at Gibson Amphitheatre on April 19, 2009 in Universal City, California.
Image: FilmMagic

LOS ANGELES Sid Krofft, 86, got his first computer last year. His brother Marty, 79, is still trying to figure out how to get free shipping from Amazon.

But the veteran puppeteering and TV-producing duo and the minds behindsuch beloved series asH.R. Pufnstuf, the original Land of the Lost, andThe Bugaloos decided 2016 was the year to go digital.

First, they partnered up with digital entertainment company Fullscreen and Legendary Digital Studios to reboot their classic Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. (Ask Marty about it, though, and he’ll point out that he’s still never met anyone from Fullscreen IRL).

Then, last week, the duo launched anAmazonpilot for a Sigmund and the Sea Monsters reboot. Now viewers get todecide whether or not it gets picked up.

These projects may have familiar titles, but their digital facelift represents completely uncharted territory for the duo.

“I’ve never had this happen before,” Marty told Mashable, regardingthe Amazon pilot voting process. “But I emailed like 3 million people and told them to vote.”

The sibling team has been in the TV business for more than 45 years their first show launched in 1969 and have witnessed the evolution of television from rabbit ears to cable to digital platforms.

Still, “nothing’s easy to get made,” Marty said.

Recently, the duo’s Lidsville movie (with DreamWorks) and theirPufnstuf project (with Sony) both fell through. And it took two full years to put the Amazon deal together.

But Marty isn’t discouraged especially since he and Sid have “sold almost everything” they have ever created, including the recent daytime-Emmy-nominated Nick Jr. series Mutt & Stuff.

TV platforms and viewing habits have changed, but viewers still gravitate toward quality content.

“Its always a culture shock when you have your classic show that are trying to reboot,” Marty said. “You try not to mess it up and turn off the adult audience. But the kids still watch, because its new to them… Once you have a great story and great characters and great casting, its the same.”

“Its always a culture shock when you have your classic show that are trying to reboot.”

The process of making a show has remained pretty much the same. Just the technology and talent pool available to star has evolved.For example, the new version of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters was given the CGI treatment, and the sea monster costumes were all upgraded.

But, Marty says, “We didn’t change it too much because we didn’t want to piss off the fans.”

Image: John P. Fleenor/Amazon Studios

Similarly, theElectra Woman & Dyna Girlreboot brings a classic concept to a fresh audience with title charactersplayed by YouTube comedians Grace Helbig (The Grace Helbig Show) and Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen).

“What I liked about them is they were already together as friends. They had a rhythm,” Marty said.

The Kroffts are riding the momentum of these newly redesigned shows, and they aim to continue making the best content they can for new young fans and nostalgic adults alike.

“Someone asked me, Oh are you still working?'” Marty recalled. “And I said, ‘Let me tell you, I will always be working.’We aren’t interested in selling out… We want to stay in the thing.”

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