DVD Review: Pufnstuf

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pufnstuf-dvdI hadn’t seen the Pufnstuf movie in many years. The only time I did see it was a very fuzzy copy I’d obtained from Australia, where it had shown on television. I don’t remember it much, so my review of this DVD was fresh. I also haven’t watched any of the series in a few years.

The Story:
The movie begins showing how Jimmy landed in Living Island, being an outcast from his middle school band. Subsequently, Pufnstuf and the gang take him in and protect him from the Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo. The B-story is Witchiepoo hosting the Witches Convention for Boss Witch (Martha Raye). The movie can somewhat be considered a combination of the pilot and “The Visiting Witch” S1E14.

The Good:
Pufnstuf still holds up. My 9 year old son watched it with me and really enjoyed it. It felt bigger than a TV episode, while still retaining the Krofft TV feel. Even my wife (not a huge Krofft fan) found the movie enjoyable. In all, its good for it’s time.

This movie is another example of how much Billie Hayes contributed to the success of Sid and Marty Krofft. She shines as Witchiepoo. Her performance in the movie is what makes it fun to watch.

The Bad:
I have nothing bad to say about the movie, but plenty bad to say about the DVD. First of all, there was NO remastering done. None at all. In several scenes the lip-sync was visibly off, and it wasn’t fixed. I don’t understand that, it is a simple task. Why wouldn’t they fix it? There were many other things that could have been remastered, that weren’t, but the audio syncing was distracting. No excuse.

Secondly, there were no extras on the DVD. Only the theatrical trailer could be counted as an “extra”. No interviews? No nostalgic look back by the cast? I hope that when the new Pufnstuf movie debuts in a few years that this DVD is updated with those extras. Krofft fans are very loyal and would pay almost any price for a peek into the Krofft archives. Why won’t they give it to us?

Lastly, was Pufnstuf’s voice. It was incredibly distracting. It was like someone was trying to impersonate Pufnstuf. I do not believe it was Lennie Weinrib who was doing the voice. My 8 year old son and my wife also noticed it (without me mentioning it). I’d use modern technology and change the voice to more closely match.

Conclusion:
Even though the DVD release is nothing special, it’s worth the $10.49.