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People walking by Orinda Theatre on Saturday took a moment to see what was happening at the local movie house.
Derek Zemrak, the owner of the theater, organized the first ever Krofft Kon, celebrating the works of brothers and puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft — known for creating children’s television shows including “H.R. Pufnstuf” (1969), “The Bugaloos” (1970), “Lidsville” (1971), “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” (1973-1975), “Land of the Lost” (1974-1976) and more.
The cinema’s exterior was transformed into Living Island, the main setting for “H.R. Pufnstuf,” and excited adults dressed in bright outfits took pictures while sitting on a replica of Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo’s Vroom Broom. Nearby, people wearing life jackets sat in a replica of SS Frisco Sailing Raft from “Land of the Lost” screaming “Cheese!” while taking pictures with a backdrop of waterfalls and a dinosaur.
For those on the outside, it was an interesting sight — perhaps an unfamiliar one but nonetheless one that they would want to be a part of. As for those who were attending the Krofft Kon, it was the 1970s, they were no longer adults and the theater was their playground.
“I love it. I feel like a little kid on a Saturday morning in front of the TV with cereal in my hand … and I am in my jammies,” said Frank Jones, who flew in from Spokane, Washington, for the convention. The 53-year-old grew up admiring “Land of the Lost” and said he would camp in front of the TV on Saturday mornings for the show.
And the feeling was mutual for the stars celebrating their shows at the con. “I’ve been able to play all day long,” said Kathy Coleman, who starred on “Land of the Lost.” Her co-star Welsey Eure exclaimed, “We are in a playground!”
“We are in a playground, and there are no bullies here,” Eure continued.
Also at Krofft Kon were Sid and Marty Krofft themselves, ages 92 and 85 respectively; Sharon Baird from “H.R. Pufnstuf,” “Land of the Lost,” “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” and “Lidsville”; Butch Patrick from “Lidsville”; and Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch.” Caroline Ellis from “The Bugaloos” joined them from Spain via Zoom.
“It feels wonderful to be here … to see old people — I mean, we have become old — but to see people that you have worked with many years ago and you are still like a family,” Baird said.
Responding to the outpouring of love that he was receiving from his fans, Marty Krofft said, “If I could get $1 dollar for every fan, they would never see me again; I would be in the south of France.”