Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Sigmund and the Sea Monster: "Frankenstein Drops In"



In “Frankenstein Drops In,” Sigmund’s brothers -- Blurp and Slurp -- along with his father, Big Daddy, lament that there is no one left to clean up the cave for them, since Sigmund left. When they see Scott (Scott Kolden) on the beach, they decide to capture him and make the boy their servant.

When Johnny (Johnny Whitaker) and Sigmund learn what has occurred, they sneak into the cave and realize it will be impossible to rescue Scott without a distraction. When they see the sea monsters watching The Monday Night Super Monster Movie, “Frankenstein Goes Ape,” they get an idea. Johnny dresses up like the Frankenstein Monster, Big Daddy’s idol, visits the cave as a friend, and asks to take Scott back as his slave.

Unfortunately, the sea monsters soon realize the gambit, and try to capture Johnny too.  Johnny, Scott, and Sigmund are able to make a quick escape together.



As is often the case with Krofft series of the 1970s’, this series is getting weirder the longer it goes. 

In this episode, Scott is made a slave by Sigmund’s family, and the monster-loving sea monsters get a visit from a being they presume to be the Frankenstein Monster, though he is constantly referred to as Frankenstein by the episode writers.

The insertion of “famous” monsters into the series mix is an odd choice, to say the least. After all, this is a series about sea monsters living in a cave at the beach. But in this episode and the next one, two Universal Monsters appear: the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man. The Creature of The Black Lagoon might have made more sense, given the aquatic nature of Sigmund’s family.

Most of the humor this week derives from the sea-monster-flavored entertainment on the cave “Shellovision” as reported by the brothers.  Big Daddy sits down to watch his favorite series, “Ghoul in the Family,” And later, the sea monsters complain to the Frankenstein Monster about the quality of one of his films: “Frankenstein Meets Gidget.”  

One genuinely funny moment sees Scott express surprise about being captured by Sigmund’s family, and Big Daddy notes, “Well, we ain’t the Partridge Family.”  Of all the early 1970’s Krofft shows, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is the one that appears most obsessed with disco decade pop-culture. Today, this quality of the series makes it a kind of time capsule for early 70’s generational touchstones.

The overall narrative here, not surprisingly, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Scott is captured right off the beach, and dragged to the monster cave, to be a slave. After escaping the cave together, Scott, Johnny and Sigmund go right back to the exact point he was captured, and linger there long enough to sing a song.  If I were them, I would have waited to sing that song, until getting back to the clubhouse.  At any minute, the monsters could have reappeared from their (nearby) cave and grabbed them again.  

The sea monsters are a dangerous threat only until the writers decide they are not.

Next week: “Is There a Doctor in the Cave?”

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