Flipping for Lidsville

April 26, 2011 by Brad McElhinny

Did you ever have a fleeting memory a some figment of popular culture from when you were a child? That happened to me today. I was thinking about magic hats, as I often do, and I vaguely remembered a weird show from THE GREATEST DECADE OF ALL TIME, the 1970s, about a boy who actually fell into a magic hat to a strange, scary world from which he could never seem to escape.

Through the magic of Google, I figured out what I was talking about. I think my keywords were “boy,” “magic hat” and “TV.” And  up popped “Lidsville.”

That would seem like a terrific name for a hat store. Instead, it was the freakiest show mankind has ever known. I quote here from those deadpan jokesters at Wikipedia: “The word ‘lid’ is slang for a hat or cap (as in ‘flip your lid’), but ‘lid’ is also early-1970s slang for an ounce of marijuana.”

Ha-ha! We have a great idea for a kids show! And we can sell LOTS of lunch boxes!

Like my hazy memory, the premise is that a boy goes to a magician’s performance, is intrigued, sneaks backstage and checks out the magician’s black hat. The hat grows to an enormous size and the boy climbs up to its brim to peer inside. And he falls in. To another world. Where almost everyone is wearing a theme park costume. And he can’t escape.

Naturally, this sprang from The World of Sid and Marty Krofft.

And, naturally, the boy in the show was played by Butch Patrick, best known as Eddie Munster.

The villain of the show was named Horatio J. Hoodoo, voiced by Charles Nelson Reilly. As a valuable aside, “Horatio J. Hoodoo” would be a great name for a family dog. For that matter, so would “Charles Nelson Reilly.”

The DVD collection of the 1971-73 series came out a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, poor Mark, the kid who falls into the hat, doesn’t return home in the end. But there’s still a chance! (Kinda.) Earlier this year, there was a report that Dreamworks is considering a remake of Lidsville.

I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Unless I had an ounce or two of lid. (* See my humiliating terminology error — and resulting loss of street cred — in the comments below. Also, discuss: if you don’t have street cred, can you lose it?)

Anyhow, check out the opening for “Lidsville.” And prepare to freak:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/btpd8zg5VWA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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7 Responses to “Flipping for Lidsville”

  1. Tony Pierro says:

    One of the great things about growing up in the 70s is that whenever an adult would ask, “What is wrong with you kids?” We had any number of things to point to by way of explanation. On the other hand, as an adult of 40, I’d really love to complain about the weirdness of children’s shows today, and … I can’t, I just can’t.

  2. Tony Pierro says:

    Speaking of weirdness, what the heck is my avatar? Is that a protazoan or something?

  3. bradmc says:

    I like how once it’s decided what your avatar is, it sticks with it. That looks like it could be a resident of Lidsville, actually.

    I wish some of the stars of the Disney Channel would drop into a freaky magic hat.

  4. Karan I. says:

    I think it’s so cute how, in misusing the slang “lid”, you reinforced the “nerd” in nerd living. Not that it’s cool to smoke pot. Or that nerds DON’T smoke pot. But, it’s a little nerdy to say “I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Unless I had an ounce or two of lid.”

    See… a lid is a unit of measurement as it relates to marijuana. One might say “if I had a lid or two” and then follow that with whatever term you wanted to use: Mary Jane, grass, weed, pot, smoke, etc. But, an ounce or two of lid is idiomatically incorrect.

    Just looking out for you in case someone in a leather jacket corners you in an isolated corner of the playground. I want you to have your wits about you.

  5. bradmc says:

    Dang. I’d never heard the term until I read it on Wikipedia.


  6. bradmc says:

    Updating Jeff Foxworthy for the Year 2011: “If you learned it on Wikipedia, you just might be a Nerd.”

  7. duanemaddy says:

    Ashlee and I have an episode (with original commercials, I might add) that somebody recorded for us of The Krofft Superstar Hour with the Bay City Rollers. It’s impossible to watch without thinking someone spiked your drink, but it’s still incredible to think that someone actually had the imagination to create it.

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