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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The World of Sid & Marty Krofft - The Bugaloos Complete Series
The World of Sid & Marty Krofft - The Bugaloos Complete Series
Rhino // Unrated // May 23, 2006
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted May 12, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

One of Sid and Marty Kroft's less beloved creations, The Bugaloos never the less has a cult following all its own and like the rest of the Kroft creations, the series has found its way on to DVD. While a while ago a single disc was released with a paltry three episodes on it, this new three disc set compiles the entire short lived series into one handy-dandy boxed set complete with a few decent supplements as an added bonus.

So who or what are The Bugaloos? Good question. In short, they're three guys and a girl – I.Q. (John McIndoe), Harmony (Wayne Laryea), Courage (John Philpot) and Joy (Caroline Ellis) – all of whom have wings and antennae and a talent for writing and performing cute little pop songs. When they're not flying around Tranquility Forest, where they live, they're hanging out with their friend, Sparky (Billy Barty), a clumsy firefly. Unfortunately for these five friends, life isn't as simple as just hanging out, flying around and making music together. On the outskirts of the forest lives a cruel woman who wants a music career of her own to rival the one that The Bugaloos have worked so hard to build for themselves, and her name is Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye who was the Boss With in the Pufnstuf movie). Benita lives with her chauffeur and right hand man, Funky Rat, and two twin brothers named Woofer and Tweeter, all three of whom are at her beck and call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

Week after week, in half hour episodes, Benita would do her best to ruin things for the Bugaloos and Sparky in order to try to further her own career and somehow manage to break into the big time. Whether it be worming her way into the radio station to appear on Peter Platter's popular radio show or kidnapping someone to force someone else to do her bidding, she was always up to no good but each and every time she got up to something, the friends would stop her.

Here's a brief run down of the seventeen episodes that made up the complete series which ran from 1970 until 1971:

Firefly, Light My Life: This first episode of the series introduces us to all of the main characters as the Bugaboos head out to help a Firefly named Sparky who has been run off the road by Benita, who is in the midst of trying to launch her recording career. She holds Joy hostage in hopes of forcing the Bugaloos to be her back up band after her first band, the Mop Tops, don't work out.

Our Home Is Our Hassle: When Benita hears the Bugaloos rocking out, she decides to that it must be the forest that they live in that gives them the inspiration they need to write such great music. As such, she moves into Tranquility Forest herself much to the Bugaloos' dismay.

The Great Voice Of Robbery: No longer happy with the sound of her own voice, Benita builds a voice replacement device and kidnaps Joy again, hoping to swap Joy's voice for her own. The Bugaloos try to fix the problem but they don't know how to use the machine and it only makes matters worse.

Courage Come Home: Benita fires her entire crew of minions and later that same day Courage falls down and wakes his head which results in some serious memory loss for the poor guy. Benita tells Courage that she's his aunt and convinces him to act as her new butler.

If I Had The Wings Of A Bugaloo: Benita sees the Bugaloos flying everywhere and soon figures if they can do it, so can she. Funky's little sister fashions her a pair of wings and soon enough Benita is trying it herself but it's just not working. She knows that they only way to really fly is to kidnap a Bugaloo and steal his or her wings for herself!

Now You See'em, Now You Don't: Trying to find that hot new sound, The Bugaloos decide to give Sparky a shot in the band. Benita doesn't like that idea at all and so she sets out to stop Sparky from joining their band by forging documents proving that she is his legal guardian.

Today I Am A Firefly: Sparky heads out to try out his wings while Benita's cronies accidentally break her music box. The bad guys shrink the Bugaloos down and put them in the box to play for Benita so she won't know it's broken but Sparky is still out there and when he realizes what has happened he sets an escape plan into motion.

Benita's Double Trouble: Peter Platter has to travel to a disc jockey convention and so he gets the Bugaloos to fill in for him while he's gone. Benita captures Peter while he's on his way out and she forces him to tell the Bugaloos that he changed his mind and he wants her to do the show for him instead. The Bugaloos figure something is up and so they set out to save Peter from Benita by using their powers of disguise.

Help Wanted - Firefly: Peter Platter hires Sparky to work for him at the radio station but his clumsiness proves to be annoying. Benita is still trying to get some air time for her music but no one wants to play it, so she decides to highjack the channel and take over the radio herself.

Circus Time At Benita's: Magico uses his powers of hypnosis to convince Sparky that he's no longer cowardly but is in fact a man of great bravery. This inspires Sparky to rush out and challenge Benita to a fight which gives Benita the idea to have Magico hypnotize her to improve her music.

The Uptown 500: There's a race on, and the winner gets to sing a song for a new commercial. Benita wants the prize for herself and so she sabotages the Bugaloos and kidnaps Sparky.

The Love Bugaloos: Gina Lola Wattage has come in to town to be a guest on Peter's radio show and Sparky falls head over heels in love with her. Joy convinces Gina to come by the Bugaloo house and visit Sparky but of course, Benita interferes and kidnaps Gina so that she can take her place on the radio.

Lady, You Don't Look Eighty: When Joy's sixteenth birthday comes around, the guys throw her a big party and convince Sparky that she's not really sixteen, but eighty years old. Benita is eavesdropping and believes them when they tell him that, and she figures that the Bugaloos must have a fountain of youth so she kidnaps Sparky and holds him for ransom.

On A Clear Day: Peter Platter plans a rock and roll festival in the forest and everyone gets invited except for Benita. She hears of this and decides to plan her own competing festival and decides to shut down the forest and cancel Peter's event.

The Bugaloos Bugaboo: Sparky is feeling down in the dumps and so the Bugaloos decide to write a song with him to cheer him up. Benita thinks that Sparky is the genius behind their new song and so she impersonates a famous agent and hires Sparky to write her some songs which she then uses in a talent contest.

Benita The Beautiful: Peter Platter is hosting the 'Miss Out Of This World' contest and it looks like Gina is a sure fire winner until Benita kidnaps her so that she can win the prize, which is a starring role in an upcoming musical production.

The Good Old Days: The final episode brings the series out with a bang as Benita buys the property rights to Tranquility Forest and gives the Bugaloos exactly twenty-four hours to get off of her land.

A quick glance will show you that the stories for this series get pretty repetitive. IT seems that more often than not the plots would revolve around Benita kidnapping someone and someone else trying to save them. There wasn't a whole lot of variation in terms of character development or story but thankfully the show did have a few things going in its favor that made it worth while – namely, the music. Each of the episodes had a song or two contained in its quick running time, the best ones were often sung by the way too cute Caroline Ellis, and compared to most of the music that appeared on kids' shows, this stuff was way ahead of its time. One night even say that The Bugaloos was the basis for a few popular kids shows of today.

A lot of the Kroft staples are here – human actors in strange costumes, psychedelic lighting and visuals, strange superimposed backgrounds and the like, but the adventure that made shows like Land Of The Lost so great has been watered down a lot this time around. The show isn't vintage Kroft material, but it's worth a look for the music and for some of the set and costume design, which is pretty inventive and plenty weird.

The DVD

The fullframe 1.33.1 image is merely adequate, and hardly spectacular. The opening credits looks pretty rough showing some serious wear and tear and print damage. Once you get to the actual episodes, things do improve a bit, but still aren't exactly reference quality. The show was shot on tape and it shows, as the image is quite soft and slightly faded and there are a few drop outs noticeable throughout the set. Thankfully the print damage that plagues the opening credits isn't a problem on the actual episodes proper. The colors look like they could have been bumped up a bit in the brightness department and sometimes they look off. Skin tones look just a tad too pale pretty much throughout but part of that could be from the washed out nature of the old master tapes.

Sound:

The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is of average quality for an older television show. There are no closed captioning, alternate language or subtitle options but the English track, which is the original mix, sounds good enough for what it is. There is some background hiss noticeable in a few spots but it's only minor even when it is there. The musical score and musical numbers do come through with a little bit of punch and fidelity but the dialogue is pretty flat as are most of the sound effects and foley effects used throughout the series.

Extras:

The extras in this set are spread out across the three discs as follows:

Disc One:

Firefly, Light My Life has a commentary track with Sid Kroft and director Tony Charmoli, while The Great Voice Robbery has a commentary with stars John Philpot and Caroline Ellis as does Courage, Come Home. The commentary track on If I Had The Wing's Of A Bugaloo finds Philpot flying solo. Fans of the series will probably get more out of the commentary tracks than the average viewers as they really capitalize on the nostalgia factor and the participants do spend a fair amount of time reminiscing about the era in which the show was made and the vibe that existed on the set. There isn't a whole lot of 'cold hard facts' type material, but they are fun discussions regardless. Of the four tracks on the first disc, the track with Kroft and Charmoli is the most interesting of the three in that they actually cover where some of the ideas for the show came from and how they went about creating the world that existed within the series.

An interactive Bugaloos trivia game, hosted by John McIndoe, rounds out the first disc. There are ten questions presented in total throughout this game, all in multiple choice format.

Disc Two:

Benita The Beautiful features commentary from Ellis and Philpot, Again, this is decent, if not remarkable. The two participants have a good chemistry together and seem to be enjoying their trip down memory lane. Also included on this disc is the Bugaloos Video Jukebox (which gives you the option to check out some of the musical performances from the show on their own) and a decent photo gallery.

Disc Three:

John McIndoe provides his only commentary track for Benita's Double Trouble, and like the others he has found memories of the series. He doesn't add much that hasn't been covered already by this point but it is nice to hear of him speak of the series and his co-stars with the affection he does on this track.. This disc also includes video interviews with Ellis, John McIndoe and Philpot and these are a little more interesting than some of the commentary tracks were as they seem slightly more focused. They talk about their characters, the sets, some of their co-stars and the effects of the series on their lives, and again, they're quite amicable about the whole affair, and they all come across as genuinely happy with their work on the show.

Final Thoughts:

While this short lived series is hardly essential Kroft material, it isn't without its charm and the music raises it up a notch or two. Rhino's set looks and sounds about as good as we can probably hope for, which sadly isn't that great but the commentary tracks and interviews are enjoyable supplements making The Bugaloos – The Complete Series recommended for Kroft fans and worth a rental for everyone else.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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