The Bugaloos 1.9 – Now You See ’em – Now You Don’t

The invisible episode, in which the Kroffts employ the still-new technology of chromakey to make people vanish, or half vanish. Of course it’s primitive, but it’s done with such flair that the results really are funny. By the end of the episode, the wand has made Funky’s head and torso disappear, before they turn it on Benita to zap away her legs. Our kid was howling; it’s the same sort of comedy that children’s programming has been doing for sixty or seventy years, and although the results certainly rely a lot less on actors standing absolutely still when you do it on a cartoon, if you’re just relaxing and enjoying the lunacy, it works just fine.

Also, this is the episode that introduces Sparky’s song, “Gna Gna Gna Gna Gna.” I told our son that I didn’t know whether he’ll love it or he’ll hate it, but if he lives to be a hundred, he’ll have it stuck in his head for the next ninety-two years. Upstairs, he’s doing a bit of straightening in advance of tomorrow’s big Spring Cleaning project, and I can hear that he’s singing it to himself. It’s a catchy tune. It was the B-side of a Venezuelan release of “If You Become a Bugaloo” in 1970.

The Bugaloos 1.8 – Benita, the Beautiful?

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the astonishing Bugaloos Buggy? It was designed by George Barris and built in 1969 and I think it’s the finest of all of his “kustoms.” I’d give my left pinky to own this car, and I wouldn’t even say that about the Batmobile or even the mighty Drag-u-la.

There were a couple of great, great moments in this story that our son howled through. There’s a magical bit where Benita fixes her eyes on the camera and tells all the kids in the audience to scram, because she doesn’t want us blabbing her plans to those bratty Bugaloos. And there’s a “new” puppet character onscreen! Magico the Magnificent is a redressed version of the Judy Frog costume from H.R. Pufnstuf, and the voice is Walker Edmiston doing the Ed Wynn voice that he’d done for that show’s Dr. Blinky.