One of the horror genre's "most widely read critics" (Rue Morgue # 68), "an accomplished film journalist" (Comic Buyer's Guide #1535), and the award-winning author of Horror Films of the 1980s (2007), The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia (2007) and Horror Films of the 1970s (2002), John Kenneth Muir, presents his blog on film, television and nostalgia, named one of the Top 100 Film Studies Blog on the Net.
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging; Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (1973-1975): "The Monster Who Came to Dinner" (September 8,1973)
and the Sea Monsters
(1973-1975) is the first live-action Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning
series to run more than one season. The program ran for two seasons and nearly
thirty episodes on NBC, though its record for broadcast was soon usurped by Land
of the Lost (1974-1977), which ran three years and forty three episodes.
and the Sea Monsters
remains beloved by young and old alike, and was recently re-booted for a six
episode run on Amazon Prime. The original seventies series follows the
adventures of two young brothers, Johnny (Johnny Whitaker) and Scott (Scott
Kolden), who live near a beach, and discover a friendly, diminutive sea monster named Sigmund (Billy Barty) near “Dead
boys bring him back home to their clubhouse. Notably, Sigmund is unlike the
other sea monsters of his kind, because he doesn’t want to frighten people.
Having run away from his family of origin, he finds a new family with Johnny
and Scott, though he must stay hidden from the family housekeeper, the stern
Zelda (Mary Wickes).Johnny and Scott’s
parents are “away” and never seen throughout the series.
the weeks and seasons, Sigmund’s sea monster family tries again and again to bring
him back home (in part so the family’s rich uncle Siggy, Sigmund’s namesake,
will leave the family his inheritance when he dies), and fail repeatedly.
first episode of the series, “The Monster Who Came to Dinner,” establishes much
of this premise. It begins with the boys carrying Sigmund home to their
clubhouse on a surf-board, and nearly being run-over at a road intersection (a
scene in the opening montage)
Sigmund’s sea monster world is simultaneously established back in his family’s
cave. The gruff, insulting Big Daddy (Sharon Baird) is voiced by Walker
Edmiston, and is an obvious knock-off of All in the Family’s(1972 -1979) bigot-in-residence, Archie
Bunker, right down to his memorable catchphrases “Dingbat,” “stifle” and (in
the episode “Puppy Love,”) even the put-down “Meathead.”One of the brothers, meanwhile, sounds
exactly like Jim Nabor’s beloved Gomer Pyle, from the series of the same name
learn in this episode of the Krofft series that the monsters have “Shellovision”
(instead of television) and watch their favorite channel: MBC (Monster
Broadcasting Company.)The series they
watch in this episode is a knock-off of Sanford and Son (1972-1977) called “Serpent
and Son.”Since Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
aired in 1973, both the Sanford andAll in the Family references would
have been considered very timely and relevant when the series first aired.
Monster Who Came to Dinner” may be Sigmund, himself, who nearly ruins a home-cooked
dinner between Zelda and her beau, the local sheriff, Bevins (Jim Higgins), or
it may be his namesake, Uncle Siggy, who comes to the family cave and is upset
that his favorite sea monster, Sigmund, is nowhere to be found.
episode, like so many episodes of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters ends
with a song, sung by the boys.In this
case, the song is “Friends.” Next
week, episode two: “Puppy Love,” but in the meantime, here’s a look at one series theme song: