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Top 25 Weirdest Kid Shows Of The 60′s, 70′s and 80′s Part 3

This is the conclusion to the Top 25 Weirdest Kid Shows Of The 60′s, 70′s and 80′s!

Click here to read Part One,  or Click here to read Part Two to see previous entries.

I’ll have Amazon links (where available) under the titles if you’d like to revisit these retro oddities.

8. Davey and Goliath (1960-1964)

This religious themed kids show always seemed excessively somber; Davey’s childhood looked devoid of joy, but filled with guilt. And he had the worst luck.

Take this episode where he’s trapped in a railroad car. The moral of the show? He’s never truly alone with God at his side. But hearing God whispering “all alone, all alone, God is everywhere”  (at the 10:00 minute mark) is more ominous than comforting. He sounds like a surly hobo, not the voice of salvation.

 

Davey carries the weight of the world on his little shoulders, and is always getting lost in caves or mine shafts. Self loathing always follows.

There were some episodes removed from syndication. They were perceived as too violent, inappropriate or culturally insensitive. But it’s also one of the first kid shows featuring ethnic diversity. It’s one big claymation contradiction.

But you gotta love his talking dog Goliath, who was the main appeal for kids.

"Oh Davey"...

“Oh Davey”…

 

7. Jot (1965-1974)

jot-weirdest-70's-kid-show

Jot was a Baptist-based religious cartoon created in my hometown of Ft. Worth, TX. It was their take on Davey and Goliath. What made it weird was the fusion of religious teachings and psychedelic animation. Jot was an abstract fellow, whose environment would change colors based on his mood.

It makes me think that they either had a secular hippie doing the artwork or some Baptists were flying their freak flag:

Trivia: Jot first appeared on another local show, Mr. Peppermint’s Place, which had its own odd note; ‘Mr Peppermint’ aka Jerry Haynes, was the father of Butthole Surfer’s Gibby Haynes.

 

6. The Banana Splits (1968-1970)

<img src=Banana-Splits-weirdest-60's-70's-kids-show" alt="Banana Splits weirdest 60's 70's kids show" />

The Banana Splits were a band of odd creatures playing groovy tunes in-between variety segments.

Any kid who grew up on this madness will remember the candy-colored opening titles, and the pied piper anthem of lunacy:

Trivia: Sid and Marty Krofft didn’t produce this, but they did design the costumes…

 

5. Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Show (1980?-??)

"Happy Nightmares!!"

“Happy Nightmares!!”

I didn’t see this growing up, but discovered it online. I’m glad I didn’t see it as a kid because I’d need a straitjacket. Seriously.

This was a cable access show created by David Liebe Hart, recently featured in Tim and Eric’s Awesome Movie.  He’s insane.

I’m not sure how to describe these clips, but here goes. How about a Martian singing about God? Brace yourself:

 

Or an anti-drug PSA that makes you feel like you’re actually on them?

And here’s the single worst impressionist EVER:

*Just realized I made a glaring omission for weird, religious, kid shows! Check out a clip from Nana Puddin :-/.

 

4. Lidsville (1971-1973)

This Krofft show’s about Mark, a kid who falls into a magician’s hat and lands in Lidsville, a world populated by living hats. He’s threatened by Horatio J. Hoodoo, who resides in a flying Hatamaran which shoots bolts of magic into the town.

But it gets weirder! Mark is befriended by a Genie named Weenie. And Hoodoo has a henchman named Raunchy Rabbit. And I’m just scratching the surface…

The crazymeter for Lidsville is off the charts. It’s also has a trippy seemingly endless theme song:

And speaking of trippy, does anyone remember these scary Mr. Yuck PSA’s from the 70’s?

 

 

3. Pee Wee’s Playhouse (1986-1990)

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse was the hippest kid show ever. Paul Reubens built on the surreal world he created with Tim Burton in Pee wee’s Big Adventure (Speaking of Burton and kid shows, check out my Frankenweenie review).

<img src=pee-wee's-playhouse-weirdest-best-80's-kids-showe" alt=pee wee's playhouse weirdest best 80's kids show" />

Between the King Of Cartoons, the talking chair (Chairee), Genie, and Conkie the Robot (to name but a few), the playhouse was a dream you’d be happy never waking up from.

It’s the coolest kids show ever, weirdest in the best sense. Reubens prepared a whole generation of kids for a more diverse world through his lessons of tolerance and reciprocity.

 Click here for my list of the Most Underrated TV Shows Of All Time.

 

2. Legends Of The Super Heroes (1979)

This 2-part live-action special featured a bunch of DC comics characters from the Justice League of America and the Legion Of Doom. I was an 8 year-old comic book afficianado, so I was ecstatic. Plus Adam West and Burt Ward were reprising their roles as Batman and Robin!

<img src=Challenge-of-the-Superheroes-weirdest-kid-show-ever" alt=Challenge-of the Superheroes weirdest kid show ever" />

Superman and Wonder Woman boycotted the event.

It aired only once, just like the Star Wars Holiday Special.  And like that special, I thought I’d dreamt it up. No one else remembered it, so I questioned my sanity.

Years later I got a bootleg at a Comic Convention. I was overjoyed….until I watched it again.

When you’re that young, satire doesn’t register. And this was so amazingly wretched it numbed the senses.

The first special  (“The Challenge“) involved the search for a bomb, and boy was that a metaphor. Check out some of this magic:

The next special was a Superhero Roast, which was even worse!

It was a tacky 70’s variety show, bad costumes and worse jokes; a format thankfully extinct today.

The Roast was hosted by Ed McMahon. He never turned down a paycheck.

<img src=Challenge-of-the-Superheroes-Ed-McMahon" alt=Challenge-of the Superheroes Ed McMahon" />

“Hiyoooooooooo!!!!!”

Click here for a scene featuring jokes by Super Villain Weather Wizard on YouTube.

<img src=Weather_Wizard_Jeff_Altman" alt=Weather Wizard Jeff Altman" />

Wah wah wah wah…..

A sample of the Wizard’s (Jeff Altman) jokes: “How cold was it”? “Down on the Mission On Skid Row, they were serving soup on a stick“.

Bah-dump-bump-ksshhhhh…..

And then McMahon introduces an inner city hero. His name? Ghetto Man!!

No, this wasn’t a South Park satire; it was an earnest attempt at diversity in the 70’s. Yikes.

<img src=Ghettoman-Challenge-of-the-Superheroes-Roast" alt=Ghettoman Challenge of the Superheroes Roast" />

“Holy Stereotypes Batman!”

His jokes are real groaners:

“The Weather Wizard man, y’all think he’s a big deal…”, “a real weather wizard is a cat that can make it through a Chicago winter with no heat“!

And there’s the Flash over there. Oh no, he’s over here. They all look alike to me.

“And dig Captain Marvel; When he wants to use his powers he says Shazam!, when we want to use our’s we say Kareem!”

Just watch his YouTube clip and prepare to be mortified.

Since it’s been officially released on DVD, DC comic fans can satiate their morbid curiosity like I did. It has to be seen to be believed.

 

1.H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1971)

Sid and Marty Krofft’s piece de acidic resistance.

Also available on Netflix Streaming. Click Here  for a free month-long trial.

Pufnstuf was a friendly dragon, but he looked more like a sentient pancake. He befriends a human boy named Jimmie. There’s also a talking flute named Freddy, tree people, and a villain named Witchie Poo.

<img src=hr pufnstuff-weirdest-kids-show-of-all-time" alt=hr pufnstuff-weirdest kids show of all time" />

This is the show most often cited when accusing the Krofft’s of being under the influence. All I know is if you watch it, you’re gonna feel like you’re under the influence. And consider the name…and what about the lyrics to the theme song?

“H.R. Pufnstuff,
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuff
Can’t do a little cause he can’t do enough.”

Check out the opening titles:

You kinda left the earth for a few minutes didn’t you?

Mr. Show parodied the suspect nature of Krofft’s creative process with this hilarious skit:

Some trivia; the Krofft Brothers were hired to do an Atlanta, GA  theme park. I can only imagine how awesome that was! Sadly it closed. But guess who moved in to the space? CNN!

Alright, that wraps up the Top 25 Weirdest Kid Shows Of The 60′s, 70′s and 80′s! Now it’s time for you to chime in with your favorite weird kid shows in the comments section. And make sure to read about my list of best kids toy’s from the 70’s/80′s, and The Top 10 Best MST3k episodes.


About SLIS

Middle Aged Gen-Exer obsessed with Alternative rock, metal, cult movies, comic books and cable TV.

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31 Responses to Top 25 Weirdest Kid Shows Of The 60′s, 70′s and 80′s Part 3

  1. Jack Sommersby January 28, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Pufnstuf gae me nightmares as a kid! And I’m sure that character on the very right with the sunglasses of The Banana Splits would’ve!

    • SLIS January 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Yeah, that thing on the right has a really creepy mouth! Pufnstuf just takes the cake. And that Junior Christian Science show is pretty frightening, huh?

  2. lenore July 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    LOVED the Banana Splits and Lancelot Link (oh Lance), liked HRPuffNStuff, Bugaloos, Zoom, etc..Freaked out by Davey and Goliath and Zot as a kid. Where’s Gumby??

    • SLIS July 18, 2013 at 1:47 am #

      Lenore, Gumby almost made the list, but since he was created in 1950’s I kept him off the list. But given Art Clokey also animated Davey and Goliath, I figured his style was still covered :-).

  3. john melton September 1, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    Liddsvile. I believe the name was Mark, not, Mike as stated in the article

    • SLIS September 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks for the info, Fixed! Just remember there’s only one ‘d’ in Lidsville 😉

  4. Amanda August 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Zoobilee Zoo had some weird costumes

  5. bmommyx2 November 5, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Some of these I don’t remember, but again I loved all of the Krofft shows. The Banana Splits were one of my favorites & my brother & I loved Davey & Goliath even though it was sort of a Christian show. I was a Teen when Peewee’s Playhouse was on, but I loved to watch it.

  6. Ross Lagasse April 19, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    I think “The Flying Nun” should be an honorable mention on this list… That show was weird weird weird!

    • SLIS April 22, 2015 at 10:16 am #

      Yeah that show was definitely strange! I tried to keep it limited to shows strictly aimed at kids, but I think you’ve inspired me to do a list of weird sitcoms :)!

  7. lenore April 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    love to see that list of weird sitcoms!

  8. Richard June 8, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Thanks for the great article, made my day to remember all these shows.

  9. amy June 24, 2015 at 1:37 am #

    I love land of the lost and h.r Pufnstuf even today I still watch it

    • SLIS June 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

      Definitely some original, wacky stuff. Gotta love it.

  10. Mrcook June 27, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    I still get the Heebie Jeebies when I think about witchy-poo. I have tried confronting my fears but after 40 years- I’m still scared!!

  11. Heather August 16, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    Should have had at least one nod for a show aimed at girls. One of the better live action kid shows in the ’70’s was ‘Secrets of Isis’ which had adventure for the kids, empowered girls, & Dad could admire the legs of Miss Isis! I nominate to add it to the ‘most underrated ’70’s kid shows’ (for girls) List. 😀

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnSU2AalfKg

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072516/

    • SLIS August 16, 2015 at 1:51 am #

      Heather, I totally remember Isis! Esp. her catchphrase:”Oh mighty Isis.” If I recall they aired that side by side with Shazam back in the day. They even made an action figure of her! Too bad that name has such a menacing meaning now :-(.

  12. Johnnie December 20, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Since you put “Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Show” which I never heard of but there was a show every Sunday morning in the Chicago area that was on from 1960s-1980s called “The Magic Door” with Tiny Tov. The opening he sang a song and the lyrics went like this “Ah room zoom zoom, ah room zoom zoom, gily gily gily gily gily a sa sa. Come through The Magic Door with me, just say these words and wondrous things you’ll see”

    • SLIS December 21, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

      I’m going to have to seek this out on youtube!

  13. Diane January 13, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Growing up in NJ in the 60’s/70’s, I use to watch a kids program and it was young adults (I think 3 or 4) that sang and played instruments but I remember they played “different” kinds of instruments like the jug.. Does anyone know what they were called?

  14. Sammy April 5, 2016 at 4:26 am #

    I used to watch kids shows when I was young. We all did, but… I wasn’t allowed to watch most shows because some of the scenes were too creepy, but I did get a lot of weird shows…

    Take Wizbit for an example… A yellow talking wizard hat that lives with a killer rabbit.. Do I need to say anything more?

    And Teletubbies, Everyone knows them so I don’t need to explain what it is

    But, as a 4 year old I didn’t care how weird or creepy shows were back then

  15. MarQ July 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    And don’t forget Tim and Eric also used James Quall from the “Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Show”

    Anybody remember from, probably the 80s, a live-action Japanese robot team show that was dubbed into English as a comedy? Kind of like MST3K where the riffers were in the show itself. Could have been a one-off special.

    I remember one part where the robots were being given out to the team (blue, red, green, yellow of course) and the old mentor says to the token girl group member, “Girls like pink” and the girl responds “I HATE pink!”. The mentor says, “That’s too bad because it’s the only color I have left so you will be pink robot”

    Hilarious stuff to an adolescent

  16. Sandi September 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

    What about The great Space Coaster? That was a pretty weird show about people who live in a place called coasterville and ride a space coaster ran by puppeteers. Catchy tune though 😊

    • SLIS September 25, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Oh yeah! I totally “spaced” on the Great Space Coaster. That was a fun show.

  17. Shell September 20, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and I remember a show when I was 5 in 1965. It was called “Time for School”. It started a young woman who played instruments. She also drew on a big pad with a Sharpie. This inspired me to become an artist. I have tried to find info on it as the instrumental theme song will still randomly play in my head. It came on after Kaptain Kangaroo. Have you heard of it? We also had a local show that was called “Skipper Chuck”. I was in the live audience once as a kid.

    • Shell September 20, 2016 at 9:51 am #

      *starred not started.

  18. Lisa haley January 15, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    Does anyone remember a show whose theme song “we’re the kids from kasem”? They were crime fighters i think?!?!?

    • SLIS January 18, 2017 at 12:25 am #

      Drawing a blank on that one!

  19. Clutch May 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    I timber some show where the host was in an attic? It had a puppet segment too. They may have been rabbits? One time the boy rabbit had a toy robot that moved and it broke something so he modified it to walk backwards. Ah the weird things we hold in our brains.

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