Charles Nelson Reilly
|Voices of||Lennie Weinrib
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||17|
|Producer(s)||Sid and Marty Krofft|
|Running time||0:25 (per episode)|
|Original run||September 11, 1971 – September 2, 1973|
Lidsville is Sid and Marty Krofft's third television show following H.R. Pufnstuf (1969) and The Bugaloos (1970). As did its predecessors, the series combined two types of characters: conventional actors in makeup filmed alongside performers in full mascot costumes, whose voices were dubbed in post-production. Seventeen episodes aired on Saturday mornings for two seasons, 1971–1973. The opening was shot at Six Flags Over Texas.
Lidsville resembles an earlier British series, Hattytown Tales, produced by Hattyland Enterprises & FilmFair Ltd. in 1969, which used an almost identical concept but different characters and was produced in claymation.
Like predecessors H.R. Pufnstuf and The Bugaloos, Lidsville ran for only one season (1971–1972), with reruns airing the following year (1972–1973). Also like H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville's title and subject matter were often interpreted as references to drug use: the word "lid" is slang for a hat or cap (as in "flip your lid"), but "lid" is also early-1970s slang for 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis (marijuana).
Like most children's television shows of the era, Lidsville contained a laugh track.
The show involved a teenage boy named Mark (Butch Patrick) who fell into the hat of Merlo the Magician (Charles Nelson Reilly) and arrived in Lidsville, a land of living hats. The hats on the show are depicted as having the same characteristics as the humans who would normally wear them. For example, a cowboy hat would act and speak like a cowboy. The characters' houses were also hat-shaped.
The villain of the show was a magician named Horatio J. HooDoo (also played by Charles Nelson Reilly in a magician's costume and make-up). The vain, short-tempered, but somewhat naive HooDoo flew around in his Hatamaran, blasting the good citizens of Lidsville with bolts of magic (referred to as "zapping") and keeping them in fear, demanding that they pay him their Hat Checks. Mark helped the good hats resist as he attempted to find a way back home. HooDoo, trying to reclaim control of the androgynous Weenie from Mark, often enlisted the services of four Bad Hats.
In his high hat home, HooDoo was besieged by the taunting music of the Hat Band, as well as all of his talking knicknacks (the parrot, Mr. Skull, the mounted alligator head, the sawed-in-half lady, etc.). HooDoo also experienced further aggravation at the hands of his aides, the dim Raunchy Rabbit and his two-faced card guard Jack of Clubs. HooDoo watched the action going on in downtown Lidsville from his hat home by using his Evil Eye, a device similar to a TV set, but resembling an eyeball. He also had a hot hatline phone. The show relied on an endless array of puns based on hats. One such pun was "Derby" Dunes, an area which sand dunes were shaped like derby hats. Mark, a suspected spy against HooDoo on behalf of the good hat people, was captured at Derby Dunes by the Bad Hats the moment he had fallen into the world of Lidsville.
Many of the episodes were about Mark trying to get back home, but the evil HooDoo prevented him from leaving. Weenie, being a nervous bumbler, was, in fact, a genie, but many of the tricks and spells didn't work right anymore after being a slave to HooDoo for so long. In the show's final episode, scenes from some of the past episodes were featured, as HooDoo's mother (played by Muriel Landers, but not listed in the closing credits) had paid a visit to find out what has been going on in Lidsville, Unfortunately for Mark, he did not return home at the end.
Music was also a part of the show, with songs being performed by the characters in several episodes.
- Mark (played by Butch Patrick) - A teenage boy who serves as the main protagonist of the series. He fell into the hat of Merlo the Magician and ended up in Lidsville.
- Weenie the Genie (played by Billie Hayes) - An androgynous genie (referred to as a male) who befriends Mark.
- Horatio J. HooDoo (played by Charles Nelson Reilly) - An evil magician who serves as the primary antagonist of the series.
- Raunchy Rabbit (performed by Sharon Baird in mascot, but voiced by Walker Edmiston) - A dimwitted rabbit who serves as Horatio J. HooDoo's henchman. Wears a fez.
- Jack of Clubs (voiced by Walker Edmiston) - A walking deck of playing cards With a Jack-of Clubs as the face card. Wears a clubbed crown. Both top and bottom heads can talk.
- The Bad Hats - A group of four hats who work for Horatio J. HoDoo.
- Mr. Big (performed by Angelo Rossitto, voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - A gangster fedora who is the leader of the Bad Hats. despite his name, he is one of the shortest members of the cast.
- Captain Hooknose (voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - A pirate hat. Literally has a hook in place of a nose.
- Bela (voiced by Walker Edmiston impersonating Béla Lugosi) - A vampire hat. A bat-eared top hat with a fanged brim on top of a Cowl-like body.
- Boris - An executioner's hood. Has a voice like Peter Lorre. Usually carries an ax.
- Rah-Rah (portrayed by Jerry Maren, voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - An football helmet. "Dumb Jock" persona, but often comes thru in a pinch.
- Madame Ring-a-Ding (voiced by Joan Gerber) - A party hat with a party favor nose. Lidsville's social director.
- Mother Wheels (voiced by Joan Gerber) - A elderly, grey-haired motorcycle helmet dressed in black leather and usually on a motorcycle. Her catchphrase is "Hiya, Hon-ees".
- Nursie (voiced by Joan Gerber) - A bespectacled nurse's hat. The closest thing Lidsville has to a doctor.
- Twirly (voiced by Joan Gerber) - A beanie hat. Apparently the youngest member of the cast, he speaks with a little boy voice and can use his propellor to fly.
- Colonel Poom (performed by Felix Silla, voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - A pith helmet. The unofficial leader of the good hats, an old hunter/explorer with a British accent.
- Mr. Chow (voiced by Lennie Weinrib in a Chinese accent) - A chef's pinafore with a long Machurian moustache. Lidsville's top cook/baker.
- Pierre LeSewer (voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - One of the few good hat cast members who WEARS a hat rather than IS a hat. Lives in the Lidsville sewers, and pops his head out from under the manhole covers, which resemble French berets. It was never explained in the series why he can't leave the sewers.
- Scorchy (voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - A talking, walking, fire hydrant with a long hose for a nose who wears a firefighter's hat. Serves as Lidsville's warning system.
- Tonsilini (performed by Van Snowden, voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - An opera-singing hat. Sings EVERY line of his dialogue.
- Hiram (voiced by Walker Edmiston) - A farmer's straw hat, usually carries Little Ben (voiced by Joan Gerber), a talking piglet.
- Admiral Scuttlebutt (voiced by Walker Edmiston) - A green Admiral's bicorne. Talks in old naval cliches.
- Big Chief Sitting Duck (voiced by Walker Edmiston) - A feathered Indian chief's hat. His body is covered by a thick Indian blanket.
Season 1 & 2: 1971-1973
|1||"World in a Hat"||September 11, 1971|
|After falling into the magician's hat and discovering a magical world, Mark is mistaken for a spy by the tyrannical Hoo Doo and his cohorts, including Weenie the good-natured genie.|
|2||"Show Me the Way to Go Home"|
|Colonel Poom navigates Mark and Weenie the Genie through the Hair Forest, the Shampoo River and other exotic locales on their way to find The Golden Ladder. Hoo Doo and associates scramble to stop them and ultimately unleash Big Daddy Hoo Doo.|
|3||"Fly Now, Vacuum Later"|
|When Mark attempts a getaway by magic carpet, Hoo Doo summons a giant vacuum cleaner to swallow the boy, leaving it up to Weenie to mount a rescue.|
|4||"Weenie, Weenie, Where's Our Genie?"|
|When Weenie runs away, Hoo Doo kidnaps Nursie and Scorchy and holds them for ransom until the genie is returned.|
|5||"Let's Hear it for Whizzo"|
|Hoo Doo evicts the residents of Lidsville, so Mark disguises himself as a rival wizard and challenges Hoo Doo to a duel.|
|6||"Is There a Mayor in the House?"|
|Mark suggests the citizens elect a mayor, so Hoo Doo goes out of his way to rig the election.|
|7||"Take Me to Your Rabbit"|
|Raunchy Rabbit takes control of Hoo Doo's magical powers after they're struck by lightning.|
|8||"Have I Got a Girl For Hoo Doo"|
|Hoo Doo uses a Lonely Hearts Club to land a date with Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, so Mark summons his feminine wiles and tries to break them up.|
|9||"Mark and the BeanStalk"|
|When a magic bean stalk sprouts in Lidsville, Hoo Doo disguises himself as Mark and attempts to escape to the real world.|
|10||"Turn in Your Turban, You're Through"|
|Hoo Doo gives Mark Weenie's magic powers and uses the boy as his personal servant.|
|11||"Alias, the Imperial Wizard"|
|Hoo Doo crashes Weenie's birthday party and kidnaps several good hat people to plan a party for the Imperial Wizard.|
|12||"A Little Hoo Doo Goes a Long Way"|
|The evil hats plot to overthrow Hoo Doo. Meanwhile, Weenie comes down with the Ali Baba Virus.|
|Hoo Doo's good-natured twin brother Bruce arrives while he's away and causes great confusion in Lidsville.|
|14||"Hoo Doo Who?"|
|The bad hats run amok when Hoo Doo comes down with amnesia.|
|15||"The Old Hat Home"|
|Hoo Doo crashes the good hat people's charity event and turns them all into senior citizens.|
|16||"The Great Brain Robbery"|
|Hoo Doo plays the pied piper and lures the good hat people into his Brain Wash machine to create an army to conquer The Imperial Wizard.|
|17||"Mommy Hoo Doo"|
|In this clip episode, Hoo Doo's mother comes to Lidsville while her son is away, and all of the inhabitants try to convince her that Hoo Doo is still as bad as he ever was.|
A three-disc complete series set was released on DVD in the United States in January 2005 by Rhino Entertainment. The set contained all seventeen episodes plus interviews with Charles Nelson Reilly, Butch Patrick, and Billie Hayes. They and the Krofft brothers also provided audio commentary on some of the episodes.
- Butch Patrick - Mark
- Billie Hayes - Weenie the Genie
- Charles Nelson Reilly - Horatio J. HooDoo
- Sharon Baird - Raunchy Rabbit
- Joy Campbell -
- Buddy Douglas -
- Jerry Maren - Rah-Rah the Football Helmet
- Angelo Rossitto - Mr. Big
- Hommy Stewart -
- Van Snowden - Tonsilini
- Felix Silla - Colonel Poom
- The Hermine Midgets -
- Walker Edmiston - Admiral Scuttlebutt, Bela the Vampire's Cowl, Big Chief Sitting Duck, Boris the Executioner's Hood, Hiram the Farmer's Hat, Hoo Doo's Parrot, Raunchy Rabbit, Jack of Clubs
- Joan Gerber - Madame Ring-a-Ding, Mother Wheels, Nursie, Sawed-in-Half Lady, Twirly
- Lennie Weinrib - Colonel Poom, Captain Hooknose, Mr. Big, Mr. Chow, Pierre LeSewer, Rah-Rah the Football Helmet, Scorchy the Fireman's Hat, Tex, Tonsilini
Gold Key Comics published five issues of a Lidsville comic book. The books were a mix of new stories as well as re-workings of some of the television episodes. Although the comics were faithful to the TV series, there were some major differences:
- Weenie the Genie was made less of a bumbler. In the comic, it was strictly stated that he could not work any magic unless Mark first rubbed the ring.
- Boris the Executioner's hood made NO appearances in the comics at all outside of cover photos, although the rest of the Bad Hats appeared regularly.
- HooDoo's flunky, Jack of Clubs, was only regulated to cameo appearances and never drawn the same way each issue.He was also depicted as a single card, rather than a deck.
- Mommy HooDoo, who appeared in the show as a plump, matronly woman, was depicted in the comics as an emaciated hag with steel wool hair.
- Lidsville's population was expanded on a bit, as new characters were introduced. Most notably a bird named Hooty Hatowl, a Town Crier hat, Toulouse the artistic painter's beret,The Cap people, an armored Knight named Sir Rip Van Helmet, and the Red-Hooded Hatpeckers.
- Characters from Lidsville were featured in the Ice Capades during the early 1970s.
- Several audio samples from Lidsville can be heard in the song "Dope Hat" on Marilyn Manson's 1994 album Portrait of an American Family.
- At the beginning of "Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense'", an episode of Millennium, the writer Chung (played by Charles Nelson Reilly), mentions that he had a part in a "brilliant, award-winning film" as a small clip of HooDoo is played on-screen.
On January 31, 2011, it was announced that DreamWorks Animation is adapting Lidsville to make a 3-D animated musical. The feature will be directed by Conrad Vernon, the co-director of Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and the music will be composed by Alan Menken, the person famous for composing many of Disney's greatest animated features. Menken stated that, "The songs will be an homage to '60s psychedelic concept-album rock." In January 2013, he posted on Twitter that "Lidsville is underway... Finally." The lyrics will be written by Glenn Slater, a frequent Menken collaborator.
- Itzkoff, Dave (2011-01-31). "Hold On to Your Hats: ‘Lidsville’ to Become Animated Movie for DreamWorks". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Menken, Alan (2011-05-18). "Off to LA for BMI awards and LIDSVILLE meeting. Excited to be doing my first non-Disney animated musical. Hello DreamWorks!". Twitter. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
- Menken, Alan (October 23, 2011). "LIDSVILLE starting to take shape. The songs will be an homage to '60s psychedelic concept-album rock. It'll be fun doing our "research".". Twitter. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- Menken, Alan (January 16, 2013). "LIDSVILLE is underway...FINALLY. Back to the 60's. Peace, love and psychedelia! And DreamWorks is pretty great. So many old friends there.". Twitter. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- "The Creative Team". Dead or Alive The Musical. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
Additional projects include: copyist/transcriber for the new Dreamworks animated film, LIDSVILLE (lyrics by Glenn Slater, music by Alan Menken), and for the new musical, BLACK BEAUTY (Harman & Sommer).
- Operation Space Nut - Audio: Clips (WAV)
- Stuck in the '70s - Audio: Butch Patrick Interview (Embedded in page WAV)