H.R. Pufnstuf is the eponymous
star of the underground children's television classic of the early 1970s.
Created by puppeteer brothers Sid and Marty Krofft in 1969, and running across seventeen episodes until it's conclusion in 1971, the series is based on a "shipwrecked on a desert island" and a "stranger in a strange land" theme.
Young Jimmy, an English boy of perhaps 14 years, accompanied by his sentient flute, Freddy, is drawn to a strange colourful island on a boat which is actually an evil plot sent by the wicked witch Witchiepoo. The cackling and scary Witchiepoo is madly obsessed with adding the spunky Jimmy and the magical flute Freddy to her menagerie on Living Island (so named as almost every thing on the island is alive)...
Just in the nick of time, Jimmy has the prescience to jump overboard where he washes up on the island, and is found/rescued by the jovial huge-headed orange felt mayor of Living Island, H.R. Pufnstuf. And so Jimmy's adventures begin.
Once upon a summertime
Just a dream from yesterday
A boy and his magic golden flute
Heard a boat from off the bay.
The major characters of the trippy series are:
H.R. Pufnstuf (the benevolent orange Mayor of Living Island, voiced by Lennie Weinrib)
Jimmy (English boy, seeking his fortune abroad, played by Jack Wild)
Witchiepoo (cackling evil witch with warts all over her nose, played by Billie Hayes)
Freddy the Magic Flute (role model for Michael Jackson, a decade later, voiced by Joan Gerber)
Orson (Witchiepoo's hapless vulture hench-thing)
Sigmund the Sea Monster (Witchiepoo's second hench-thing, an orange sea-spider, to be the namesake for the Oracle-driven internet banner ad serving engine invented by Sabela several decades later)
Cling & Clang (Living Island's constabulary)
The Scary Trees (really scary trees)
I was five years old when this series was on TV. It scared the crap out of me, and continues to be a common theme in nightmares about being trapped or held against my will.