Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Bugaloos: "Circus Time at Benita's"

In “Circus Time at Benita’s,” the Bugaloos are disappointed when a traveling circus cancels its engagement in Tranquility Forest. 

Actually, Benita (Martha Raye) paid all the performers not to show up, so she can put on her own circus. She plans to draw attention to her own singing career before the equivalent of a captive audience.

Meanwhile, a magician hypnotizes Sparky (Billy Barty) to make him feel brave, and he uses his new skills to go on the attack against Benita.

This gives Benita her own bad idea. She wants to be hypnotized to be the best singer in the world.

With just two episodes left to go, The Bugaloos (1970) tells another very familiar story.

This one falls under the category of “Sparky Saves the Day,” and involves the timid firefly overcoming some key character flaw and defeating (at least temporarily) Benita Bizarre.  I realize that before arc storytelling, there was a lot of repetition in stand-alone shows, and especially in children's programming of the 1970's.

Still, you know the series is getting desperate when the plot of the week involves a frog magician hypnotizing one of the main characters. Throw in a bad James Cagney imitation (on Sparky’s part), and that’s all you need to have a thoroughly uninteresting 22 minutes.

There's not even a new song performed, to enjoy.

Next week: “The Uptown 500” livens up the old formula a bit with car race.


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