Lidsville was the third live-action puppet show (in a string of many) produced by Sid and Marty Krofft. It ran on ABC from September 1971 to September 1973, and then on NBC from September 1973 to September 1974. It spanned seventeen episodes.
This show was inspired by a magic show that Sid Krofft attended in 1970, in which the magician described the magical world inside his hat, from which he pulled a rabbit, among other things. This got the imagination of the Krofft brothers working, and soon they had a follow up to their hit shows H.R. Pufnstuf and The Bugaloos revolving around that premise.
The show's story was told in the extended and (like every Krofft production) surreal opening sequence, which showed through song and brightly colored visuals the tale of a young boy named Mark who went to see a magic show at Six Flags over Texas. After being amazed at the over-the-top antics of Merlino the Magician, Mark went backstage to meet the magician, but when he arrived at Merlino's dressing room, the magician was gone. Mark snooped about for a bit and discovered Merlino's hat, which grew to an immense size right before Mark's eyes; Mark proceeded to climb into the hat and fall down, landing in the land of Lidsville, a land populated by hats. Yes, most of the characters of this show were people dressed in hat costumes.
The plots of the individual shows were all about how the "good-hats" of Lidsville, along with Weenie the Geenie (a good-natured but bumbling djinn who befriends Mark on the first episode), try to help Mark get back home, while the evil Hoo Doo (an evil magician who inhabited the outskirts of Lidsville) and his bad-hats try to stop them. Imagine this in extremely bright colors with lots of people dressed up as hats running around, and you have some idea of the visual experience that is Lidsville.
The show starred Butch Patrick as the teenaged Mark (best known for playing Eddie Munster on The Munsters), Billie Hayes as Weenie, Charles Nelson Reilly as Hoo Doo, and Van Snowden, Sharon Baird, Joy Campbell, Angelo Rossitto, Lennie Weinrib, Joan Gerber, and Walker Edmiston as the wide variety of hats running about Lidsville.
This show was perhaps too surreal, and wasn't nearly the success that the earlier Krofft shows were. It lasted one season on ABC, then was repeated for a second season on ABC. When the Krofft brothers entered into an exclusive agreement with NBC in 1973, the show went there and ran for another season of repeats, finally disappearing for good in 1974.
Other Sid and Marty Krofft shows of interest include H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, and Sigmund and the Seamonsters; all are live action shows from the late 1960s and early 1970s involving human sized puppets, bright colors, and a strong fantasy theme.
Lidsville is probably best remembered as a symbol of its time and as one of the most bizarre Saturday morning television programs ever concocted.