October 07, 2023



(NBC, September 8, 1973-November 23, 1974)
Sid and Marty Krofft Television Productions



Billy Barty – Sigmund Ooze (body)
Walker Edmiston – Sigmund Ooze (voice), Big Daddy Ooze (voice), Blurp Ooze (voice), Slurp Ooze (voice), various
Johnny Whitaker – Johnny Stuart
Scott Kolden – Scott Stuart
Mary Wickes – Zelda Marshall
Van Snowden – Sweet Mama Ooze (body), various
Sidney Miller – Sweet Mama Ooze (voice), various
Joe A. Giamalva & Sharon Baird (body) – Big Daddy Ooze
Bill Germaine (body, season 1) & Larry Larsen (body, season 2) – Blurp Ooze
Fred Spencer (body, season 1) & Paul Gale (body, season 2) – Slurp Ooze
Rip Taylor – Sheldon (season 2)
Sparky Marcus – Shelby (season 2)


Sigmund and the Sea Monsters followed the titular sea monster Sigmund Ooze (Billy Barty & Walker Edmiston) as he was kicked out of his family’s cave at Dead Man’s Point for his lack of desire to put any effort into being scary. He took up residence in the beachside clubhouse of Johnny (Johnny Whittaker) and Scott Stuart (Scott Kolden) and befriended the two boys. They tried to keep Sigmund sheltered and his presence a secret from other humans while Sigmund’s family continually tried to find a way to bring him back to use him to their own ends.

Scott, Johnny and Sigmund in the clubhouse.

The creation of the series began when Sid Krofft spotted some sea life among the kelp on a San Diego beach. His brother, Marty, and producer Si Rose would, with the help of their technical staff, mold Sid’s idea into what would become the series. While very much a traditional Kroff production, it flipped the script on their formula a bit. For the first time, there were two young boys as the series protagonists. Rather than their being lost in a land full of strange beings, it was the strange being who had come to the land of humans. Instead of a snarling, heavily made-up adult nemesis, the human adult figures were genuine human beings with pleasant demeanors. There was also a reliance on frequent guest stars appearing, including stage and screen actor Pamelyn Ferdin, The Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb, Peggy Mondo, H.R. Pufnstuf’s Jack Wild and H.R. Pufnstuf (Van Snowden), and even series voice performers Edmiston and Sidney Miller in on-screen roles.

The Oozes: Sweet Mama, Slurp, Big Daddy and Blurp.

As opposed to taking place in a fantastical technicolor world of pure imagination, there was a split focus between the world of the sea monsters and the human world with stories that would often run concurrently and contrast with each other. You would see the difference between the strict but fair, caring and nurturing environment of the Stuart household under the leadership of their sharp-witted Aunt Zelda (Mary Wickes) to the selfish, abusive and mean environment that was the Ooze cave, populated by Big Daddy (Joe A. Giamalva, Sharon Baird & Edmiston taking inspiration from Archie Bunker from All in the Family), Sweet Mama (Snowden & Miller loosely imitating Phyllis Diller), brothers Blurp (Bill Germaine, Larry Larsen & Edmiston) and Slurp (Fred Spencer, Paul Gale & Edmiston), and their dog-like pet lobster, Prince (portrayed by a puppet or a marionette). The Stuart children were diligent in their responsibilities at home, while also frequently collecting recyclable items from around the neighborhood for an extra pro-social dab. The Ooze family sought ways to bring Sigmund back to the cave to shove theirs onto, or take the blame for their shortcomings while being as kid-friendly menacing as possible. Other characters included bumbling local sheriff Chuck Bevans (Joe Higgins, playing a variation on a role he was frequently typecast in), and elderly busybody neighbor Mrs. Edels (Margaret Hamilton) who frequently spotted Sigmund but was unable to convince others of his existence.

Mrs. Edels poking around.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters debuted on NBC on September 8, 1973. Like other Krofft productions, the series heavily featured songs that had very little to do with the plot and served as a showcase for Whitaker’s talents (he also performed all versions of the series’ theme). Whitaker and Sigmund would actually perform the first season’s theme for an audience for the taping of The World of Sid & Marty Krofft at the Hollywood Bowl several weeks before the series’ debut (although it didn’t air on television until Thanksgiving). These songs were composed by Bobby Hart and Danny Janssen and scored by Wes Farrell, who also provided the background music for the season. The series was written by Rose, Rita Sedran Rose, Jack Raymond, Warren Murray, Milt Rosen, Donald A. Ramsey, John Fenton Murray, Fred S. Fox and Seaman Jacobs. The characters were designed by Marty Strudler with costumes by Oliver Soublette, Rolf Roediger served as the puppet fabricator and Cheryal Kearney handled the set designs.

With Sigmund’s lead-in being the acclaimed Star Trek: The Animated Series and its timeslot competition being The Brady Kids and Speed Buggy, the series easily won its ratings as well as a heap of praise from reviewers. NBC commissioned a second season--a first for a Krofft production--which came with a number of changes for the show. Whitaker’s songs were cut out due to his voice changing during production, making him unable to get through an entire song without squeaks and cracks. There was also the addition of Sheldon (Rip Taylor), a magical sea genie found in a shell whose enthusiasm often led him to overthink the spells he cast to grant a request (such as sending Sigmund to Waikiki when he asked to simply go to the beach), and his nephew, Sehlby (Sparky Marcus), whose inexperienced often caused him to foul up his spell-casting. Season 1 director Richard Dunlap moved on to other projects, and was replaced by Dick Darley, Murray Golden and Bob Lally. Mike McGuinness would also take over scoring duties, and Earle Doud and Chuck McCann would contribute to a script.

Sigmund with Sheldon, Shelby and Shelby's mother.

Unfortunately, only 12 of the 15 planned new episodes ended up being filmed. Just as work on the season began, a fire due to faulty electrical equipment broke out at Samuel Goldwyn Studios (now The Lot) where they filmed. Among the $2 million in casualties were all of the Sigmund sets and most of the costumes. Production relocated to General Service Studios (now Sunset Las Palmas Studios) where they spent several weeks rebuilding the sets and remaking the costumes and altering the scripts to reduce their scope as much as possible. This delay had caused a schedule conflict with Wickes, resulting in her only being able to film a few scenes for the season. Her character was explained as having to depart for a brief time and she was replaced by housekeeper Gertrude Gouche (Fran Ryan), a former Marine drill sergeant who tended to treat the boys as if they were in boot camp.

Gertrude and the sheriff investigating some strange goings on.

The second season ended up being the last for the series. Despite the Krofft’s next multi-season series, Land of the Lost, serving as the lead-in program, Sigmund faced stronger competition on the other networks with Shazam! and Korg: 70,000 B.C. and the ratings suffered as a result. As part of the merchandising and promotion of the show, eleven songs were released on the album Friends (Music from the Television Series “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters”) from Chelsea Records. The season 1 theme, “Friends”, was released as a single with “You You” as its B-Side. The episode “Paul Revere Rides Again” was turned into a regular and talking View-Master reel. Aladdin produced a lunchbox depicting the various characters from the series, Milton Bradley a board game, and Saalfield Publishing released coloring books. “Friends”, re-recorded by Tripping Daisy, was included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits from MCA Records. In 2000, Living Toyz released a Sigmund figure as part of their The Krofft Superstars Series line, and Funko would release one in their Pop! line of vinyl figures in 2019. The first season was released to DVD by Rhino Entertainment in 2005, and was re-released by Vivendi Entertainment in 2011. Plans for the second season were scrapped due to low sales. In Australia, the complete series was released by Beyond Home Entertainment.

In 2015, the Kroffts announced they were partnering with Amazon to produce a reboot of the series. A pilot was released in 2016, leading to the first season being produced early in 2017. A teaser trailer was released at that year’s San Diego Comic-Con before the season was made available to stream on Prime Video. While fundamentally the same, the reboot saw brothers Johnny (Solomon Stewart) and Scott (Kyle Harrison Bretikopf) visiting their Aunt Maxine (Eileen O’Connell) and cousin Robyn (Rebecca Bloom) at Dead Man’s Cove where they found Sigmund (Mark Povinelli & Drew Massey) caught in a net on the beach. They freed and befriended him, and had to keep him protected from a monster-hunting sea captain named Barnabus (David Arquette). Whitaker appeared as a seaman named Zach, and a new recording of “Friends” was used as the theme song. The revival only ran a single season of 7 episodes.


Season 1:
“The Monster Who Came to Dinner” (9/8/73) – Sigmund gets kicked out of his home for not being scary enough and takes up residence in the Stuarts’ clubhouse.
“Puppy Love” (9/15/73) – Sigmund falls in love with a dog while Big Daddy has Slurp disguise himself as Sigmund’s favorite pin-up monster to lure him back to do all the housework.
“Frankenstein Drops In” (9/22/73) – Johnny disguises himself as the Frankenstein monster to rescue Scott from the Ooze cave.
“Is There a Doctor in the Cave?” (9/29/73) – The only cure for a sick Sigmund is the food found in Sweet Mama’s fridge—which his brother also needs.
“Happy Birthdaze” (10/6/73) – Sigmund secretly cleans up Sheriff Bevan’s house for this birthday, but his brothers ruin it when they arrive to take him back to prepare for Big Daddy’s birthday.
“The Nasty Nephew” (10/13/73) – Zelda’s obnoxious nephew is visiting and ends up kidnapped by the Oozes who need an extra dependent for their income tax.
“Monster Rock Festival” (10/20/73) – While Sigmund wins a songwriting contest, his family tries to get him back to help them win a concert competition.
“Ghoul School Days” (10/27/73) – The Oozes need to get at least one of their kids to attend school while the Stuarts’ school is checking into their slipping grades.
“The Curfew Shall Ring Tonight” (11/3/73) – A curfew is in place in both worlds, but Sigmund breaks it to raise money to pay for a dish he broke.
“Sweet Mama Redecorates” (11/10/73) – The Oozes exchange furniture with the Stuarts.
“Make Room for Big Daddy” (11/17/73) – Sigmund’s brothers move in with him to avoid getting in trouble for breaking the shellivision.
“It’s Your Move” (11/24/73) – When the boys’ parents return, Sigmund returns home only to find it evacuated for an impending tidal wave.
“Trick or Treat” (12/1/73) – Sigmund pretends he’s wearing a costume so he can go trick-or-treating.
“Uncle Siggy Swings” (12/8/73) – Sigmund’s uncle comes for a visit and ends up falling in love with Zelda.
“The Dinosaur Show” (12/15/73) – A thawed-out caveman and his pet dinosaur take over the Ooze’s cave.
“The Wild Weekend” (12/22/73) – Movie star Jack Wild comes to the beach looking for quiet but ends up running afoul of Sweet Mama.
“Boy for a Day” (12/29/73) – The Oozes can’t go to Uncle Siggy’s luau without Sigmund, who’s currently suffering from amnesia and believes himself to be the boys’ brother.
Season 2:
“A Genie for Sigmund” (7/7/74) – Sigmund unleashes a genie from a sea shell he found in his old cave.
“Paul Revere Rides Again” (9/14/74) – To settle an argument about American history, Sheldon brings Paul Revere to the clubhouse.
“Now You See ‘Em, Now You Don’t” (9/21/74) – Sheldon turns the boys invisible so they avoid Zelda’s “ugly” niece while Big Daddy runs for mayor.
“The Great Johnny-O” (9/28/74) – While the boys entertain at Zelda’s charity bazar with Sheldon’s help, Sigmund is abducted by his family to force him to enlist in the army.
“Super Sigmund” (10/5/74) – Sigmund asks Sheldon for powers to teach his brothers a lesson.
“Pufnstuf Drops In” (10/12/74) – Sheldon accidentally brings H.R. Pufnstuf to the clubhouse.
“Sheldon the Nephew Sitter” (10/19/74) – Sheldon is tasked with babysitting his precocious nephew, Shelby.
“One Way Whammy to Tahiti” (10/26/74) – Shelby accidentally sends Johnny and his girlfriend to Tahiti while Sheldon is captured by the oozes for display in the zoo.
“Cry Uncle” (11/2/74) – The Oozes plan to marry Sigmund off to a wealthy girl while the boys get a new guardian while Zelda’s out of town.
“The Haunted House” (11/9/74) – While Gertrude and Bevans are at the movies, the Oozes sneak into the Stuart house.
“Mother Makes Ten” (11/16/74) – Shelby’s mother comes to the rescue when Sigmund’s brothers try forcing the boys into helping them find jobs.
“You Can’t Beat a Magic Carpet” (11/23/74) – Shelby and Sigmund get lost on a magic carpet ride while the Ooze brothers try to cheat on their scouting test.

No comments: