Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Lidsville: "A Little Hoodoo Goes A Long Way."

In “A Little Hoo-Doo Goes a Long Way,” Weenie (Billie Hayes) falls ill with the dreaded Ali-Baba virus.

Meanwhile, the Bad Hats mutiny against Hoo-Doo (Charles Nelson Reilly) when he demands they clean his house for him. 

The Bad Hats steal Hoo-Doo’s hat vehicle, the Hataram, and head for the real world. But the Hataram ends up in Mark’s (Butch Patrick) hands, ultimately.

He can’t leave for home, however, because he is worried about the sick Weenie. He and the other Good Hats come up with a plan to heal Weenie, and it involves a shrink ray that will get Nursie into Weenie’s ring.

Lidsville (1971-1973) sticks rigorously to format this week, featuring a story in which Mark could – again -- get home, using Hoo-Doo’s hat vehicle, but must stay in Lidsville because of his friendship with the “goodie-goodies” (as Hoo-Doo calls them), namely Weenie.

What this means, essentially is that the hat-a-ram (motorized flying hat) is the key to escaping Lidsville. It seems like Mark would set his sights, each week, on getting it again.  But, of course, he doesn’t do that.  Because that would end the series real quick.

It is surprising, however, that the Bad Hats rebel against Hoo-Doo here. However, I suppose that being asked to clean house is a mutiny-worthy offense, especially to a child watching this program on a Saturday morning. It’s one thing to lord it over the Good Hats, or collect back taxes. But having to clean up? That’s the worst.

In terms of series mythology, we see in “A Little Hoo-Doo Goes a Long Way” that the genie ring is actually permeable. By that, I mean you can just step through the gem into Weenie’s world inside. Nursie is able to, after being shrunk, walk right inside it. Inside, the sick Weenie is there, shrunken, but bed-ridden in her own little universe.

The gimmick of the week is a shrinking potion, used first by Nursie, and then used against Hoo-Doo to limit his threatening nature. The shrinking scenes are accomplished using the chroma-key, which was a frequently-used tool for the Kroffts in the 1970’s.

Next week: “Oh Brother.”

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