Sid Kroft has had many milestones in his long career. He was the opening act for Judy Garland and Liberace, had his own amusement park, joined the circus and appeared on Broadway.
Not to mention, he was the brains of his brother Marty behind TV and movies HR Pufnstuf, Land of the Lost, Sigmund and the Sea Monster, Sideshow, and The Middle Ages are crazy. Most were so out there that the producers were accused of drug inspiration in their creation.
Now, at the age of 92 and after 82 years in the show business, Kroft is hitting yet another brand. Tomorrow (Sunday, October 3) he returns to Instagram Live with the 75th episode of Sundays with Sid, an online variety show featuring celebrity guests, live puppets, viewer “parties” and lots of memories.
This Sunday’s guests include David Copperfield, Beverly D’Angelo, Paul Reubens, Debbie Allen and Donny Osmond.
Kroft answered a few questions from Deadline about this new venture and his extensive career.
DEADLINE: Why do you do Instagram Live?
SIDE POWER: After my 12-minute speech at the Hollywood Walk of Fame tribute, where over 900 people showed up, on my trip home, my assistant Kelly Killian told me I should be on Instagram and share my stories. It fascinated me that I could relive my life because there were 28 years where I was a performer before HR Pufnstuf and everything else. I share my stories, and possibly the listener may be able to use some of my experiences for their own journey.
DEADLINE: How far can this go?
SK: I will continue as long as people watch. On April Fools Day 2021, I announced that this was my last show. I was bombarded from all over the world with tearful messages that they watch my Instagram Live every single Sunday and look forward to it and beg me not to stop. April Fool’s Day!
DEADLINE: What is your view on the use of CGI in today’s production, versus the costume you used to create your fantasies?
SK: With CGI, you are able to get facial expressions that we could not do with a costume. What blew my audience away in the 60s, though, was the realistic dimension of my characters. This was something they had never seen before. These were mostly little people inside costume signs. I have done this for so many years before HR Pufnstuf in all my puppet shows at Six Flags, Kings Island and Busch Gardens with theaters that seated 1,200 people. In all my puppet shows, I mix little people on strings to fool the audience. They never knew. So I’ve been putting little people in costumes since the early 60s and it worked like hell in our shows.
DEADLINE: Stories of other worldly dimensions have grown up (The Matrix, Stranger Things, The Magicians). Do you think your concepts played a role in inspiring any of them?
SK: Yes. I’m aware that they did. Our shows were so out of the box that people today still question whether I took medication or not. Ten years after I created Sigmund and the sea monsters, that ONE the film became a classic. The land of the lost, which was our most successful show, had dinosaurs. The idea came to me from the second movie I’ve ever seen, One million BC. with Victor Mature. Twenty years later The land of the lost came Jurassic Park with CGI dinosaurs where ours was stop motion. Today, nothing in the world is original, and that’s the way you creatively approach it.
DEADLINE: Does it appeal to you to work in today’s version of Hollywood? Or was it more fun in the 70s and 80s?
SK: That appeals to me, of course. I always work, think and create. On my 82-year journey in the show business, I have always tried to move with the times. Everything I create today, I try to be as original as possible. I have always gone left in my career and had fun every single decade.
DEADLINE: What was the craziest thing you had ever looked up?
SK: I was always warned by my legal team never to look at other lanes. I was the creative force and did not want outside influence.