Until some kind soul reissues The Bugaloos, or an eBay seller goes off the algorithm grid and sells a copy of the DVD set for a reasonable price, we’re stepping away from Tranquility Forest after this, our third little bootleg outing. But I had to leave on the remarkable high note – if that’s the right phrase at all – of Martha Raye bellowing a song – if indeed “song” is the right word – called “Nature Girl.”
The great comedy of Benita Bizarre is that the character is almost entirely unaware that she’s a talentless loudmouth, and yet she’s played by somebody like Martha Raye, who was phenomenally talented. All of Benita’s songs are horrible, but “Nature Girl” sounds like a foghorn and she pulls the most amazing faces as she sings it. All those Jim Nabors records from the time all almost subtle in comparison. You can almost hear the director egging her on. “Go bad, Martha baby. No, go real bad.”
The Bugaloos’ own song of the episode, “Sparky,” is completely forgettable in the ear-popping wake of “Nature Girl,” but Daniel enjoyed the heck out of it at the time, and drummed on his legs to the beat. He really loved the episode, and howled with laughter all through the climax. It’s a slight take on the same premise used for the end of the Pufnstuf movie. There, the good guys convinced the bad guys that the castle is infested with angels, while here, the Bugaloos drive Benita and her gang from their own home, which Benita’s forced herself into, by disguising themselves as ghosts. Our son loved it and laughed and yelled at the villains.
And speaking of villains, I’ll have quite a lot to say about the next entry in the Krofft Khronology… and not much of it very loving. But next time, more Batman.