July 30, 1929
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sid Krofft (born July 30, 1929) is a Canadian/American puppeteer and television producer. He created and produced a wide array of shows and TV series and specials with his brother, Marty, beginning in the 1960s.
Cydus Yolas (later to be known as Sid Krofft) was born in 1929 in Montreal to Peter, a clock salesman, and his wife Mary. Cydus took an interest in puppeteering at an early age. The family moved from Canada to Rhode Island to New York. By 1937, Sid was staging puppet shows in the family's backyard with paper puppets, and the boy planned to charge peers a penny to view it. When his parents forbade that idea, Sid instead charged friends a button to see the show (decades later, buttons became the standard currency on Living Island of the Krofft TV show H.R. Pufnstuf).
Encouraged by his family, Sid took his act on the road, starring in circuses such as Ringling Brothers at age 15, carnivals and burlesque shows, and he was soon joined by his father, who worked as Sid's apprentice.
By the 1950s, Sid was touring as the opening act for numerous celebrities, including Judy Garland, Liberace, Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin. Sid was in dire need of another puppeteer when he opened for Judy Garland at the Flamingo Hotel, so he asked his younger brother Marty to assist. The two have been business partners ever since, forming Sid and Marty Krofft Productions.
Soon after, Sid got the idea to do an adults-only puppet show, which ultimately came to be known as Les Poupées de Paris. The show was an instant success, and led the Kroffts to the Texas amusement park Six Flags, where a (seemingly) permanent Krofft puppet attraction was erected. Their Six Flags shows caught the attention of Hanna-Barbera, who recruited the Kroffts to design costumes for their latest show, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
The Banana Splits was a huge success for NBC, so the Krofft brothers were asked to develop their own series. The result was H.R. Pufnstuf, a short-lived television series that became a cult phenomenon. Sid continued to churn out outlandish ideas throughout the '70s, and brother Marty was commissioned to bring Sid's weird and wacky ideas to life on the television screen. The duo's children's shows were wildly popular and paved the way for the Kroffts to invade primetime with television variety shows and specials showcasing celebrities (The Donny and Marie Show, The Brady Bunch Hour, and Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, as examples). Sid continued steadily developing ideas for TV shows until the early '90s, but the Kroffts' popularity began to wane as ratings for variety shows and live-action children's shows began to decline.
Interest in the Krofft's empire was renewed in October 1995 when Nick at Nite aired Pufapalooza, a marathon of the Kroffts' television shows. Around this time, Sid noticed that his skin was bleeding. In December 1995, he was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. Sid began a vigorous regimen of alternative medicine and his cancer went into remission several months later.
In the years since, Krofft has tried to breathe new life into several of his early projects, such as Electra Woman and Dyna Girl and Land of the Lost, and he has continuously mentioned plans to recreate H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters as feature films, though to date, the latter two projects have continuously been stalled before production began.
False family history
For most of Krofft's life, he and his family's history was publicly presented as true when it was actually concocted by a publicity agent in the 1940s. In a Los Angeles Times article in 2008, Sid and his brother Marty admitted the deception, mentioning that even young family members possessed incorrect information, believing some of the fiction as fact. Most authoritative sources before 2008 considered the agent's fiction as fact. For example, Krofft's family was reportedly five generations of puppeteers in Greece, and Sid's birthplace was originally Athens. Sid's original name was designated Cydus Yolas.