Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Lidsville: "Alias, The Imperial Wizard"

Hoo-Doo (Charles Nelson Reilly) is disturbed to learn that his superior, the Imperial Wizard, has decided to visit Lidsville for a surprise inspection tour.

Meanwhile, Weenie (Billie Hayes) is sad that no one has remembered his 1600th birthday.

Hoo-Doo decides to capture some of Lidsville’s Good Hats to plan a party for the Imperial Wizard.  

To rescue them from captivity, Mark (Butch Patrick) decides to disguise himself as the Wizard, and pay an unexpected visit on Hoo-Doo.

Eleven episodes into Lidsville (1971-1973), I feel I can see well the series’ virtues, and deficits.  

In terms of the latter, I’ve got to focus on “The Good Hats,” the pantomime hat characters who live in the titular town.  They are basically one-note characters, discernible only by accents or dialects (Charlie Chan, John Wayne) and by choice of hat (football helmet, nurse’s hat, etc).  They aren’t really very well-developed characters, and are pretty much superficial jokes. It doesn’t help that they all tend to appear in the same scenes together.

Basically, a whole bunch of hats shout, talk, and gesticulate at once, and it’s all a bit of a din.

Also, Weenie is an extremely sensitive genie, always getting his feelings hurt at the slightest provocation. This is the third episode in the series with the genie down in the dumps over some perceived hurt or slight, and it’s getting irritating. This week, he's sad that no one remembers his birthday.

Also, there have been several episodes so far in which the solution of the day is for Mark to dress up as another character (Mae West, Alias the Wizard,) and try to fool Hoo-Doo in disguise. At this point, the whole format has become predictable.

In terms of virtues, I keep returning to the one-and-only Charles Nelson Reilly as Hoo-Doo. He doesn’t treat the material as beneath him, and seems to take genuine joy in in the scenery chewing.

Next week: "A Little Hoo-Doo goes a long way."

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