Don’t put it in your mouth!
July 13, 2008 11:18 AM   Subscribe

8 Forgotten Kids Shows Sure to Give You Nightmares

Although I have to say I have never forgotten New Zoo Revue. Because... how could you? (And apparently Freddy and Charlie were hiding a lot of latent homosexual rage... who knew?). Man, it's hard to believe that show was on for 27 years.

Also: Dusty's Treehouse (Couldn't find any clips, but that marionette spider used to seriously creep me out. As did Dusty.), Ben Vereen in Zoobilee Zoo, Christian kids' show Joy Junction discusses dirty pictures, Pinky and Perky twist, the Wiggles point their fingers and twist (twisting is popular, apparently), and the double entendres of Britain's Rainbow.
posted by miss lynnster (51 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man. New Zoo Revue? I thought the brain cells containing that memory had passed on long ago. Now I'll never get that damn theme music out of my head.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:27 AM on July 13, 2008

New Zoo Revue really creeped me out as a kid, and as I got older it just kept getting more surreal. I never got the appeal of that one, and I never knew any kids that watched it (or at least admitted that they did). And that was in the era of limited TV options when kids watched ANYTHING. I even watched Magic Door and that dumb ass theme song STILL runs through my head.

Dusty's Treehouse was actually a fave of mine along with Marlo and the Magic Movie Machine. The others on that list don't even ring a bell with me.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:31 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Put it your mouth.
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on July 13, 2008

The only remotely frightening one is the adaptation of "The Mysterious Stranger." The others are just very badly done.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:32 AM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Holy Crap!!! I was subjected to a lot of Wiggles a few years ago whole visiting a friend with a youngster, and "Point Your Finger and Twist" was bizarrely captivating to me. It's like the Residents on a bender. I'm gonna have to say I actually like that video - thanks.

There was a puppet show called Hot Fudge in the early to mid 70's that was at times surreal like this. I remember hating the parts with the creepy kid puppets, but loving the segements with the monsters. Seeing that clip again now, it's weird how "hip" they were trying to be. And I remembered it as abeing a bit smarter - boy was I wrong there. But that show was the first place I remember hearing "Wipe Out" and falling in love with the sound of manic rock guitars.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:43 AM on July 13, 2008

This is good! The dark haired puppet in the first video has a strangely prognathic face, and so moves like the apes in Planet of the Apes. Why would they make a puppet like that?

Years ago I was over at Kim Thayil's house with a bunch of guys watching TV. Kim tells me about this new show called "Teletubbies" which he claims is impressively cool. I remember watching a scene of a dark haired male guitarist playing a tune for some kids. No biggie, but then they start repeating the scene over and over again. This begins to creep me out, as it reminds me of porn. Then the little baby in the sun...

Honest to God, I begin to have a panic attack. Thankfully Kim had plenty of beer on hand. With a death-grip on the can, I began to chug mine. A somewhat effective anxiolytic in the short run, but bad news for long term treatment.

Thankfully now I can watch Teletubbies without it becoming an anxiety trigger. Polar Express in 3D though...
posted by Tube at 11:53 AM on July 13, 2008

My theory is that as you see more and more robots, CG, etc, the uncanny valley starts to flatten out.
posted by delmoi at 12:03 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, but what about Outerscope 1 all jammin its thumb into your third eye?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:13 PM on July 13, 2008

Outerscope 1 I mean.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:14 PM on July 13, 2008

A more disturbing Noseybonk. WTF?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:20 PM on July 13, 2008

I will never - NEVER - be able to erase the "New Zoo Revue" theme song from my head. It's been lodged in there since the 70s, and damned if I can get it out.

I seem to recall thinking that Emmy Jo was hot - from an 8 y/o perspective, anyway.
posted by davidmsc at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2008

Nothing can beat Gimme, Gimme Octopus for its insane perversity.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2008

Sure wish I had a TV set growing up.
posted by Dizzy at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2008

"Remember kids, ask someone you love before you put something in your mouth." "Ick!"

I simply can't for the life of me see what's so "easy to mock" about this.

Not getting it...
posted by Navelgazer at 1:31 PM on July 13, 2008

Is this something you'd need a childhood to know about?

*Sobs softly in the corner*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:39 PM on July 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

I used to watch Jigsaw, and had forgotten about Noseybonk. That thing really was scary. I seem to remember that a lot of things were very creepy about Jigsaw, but can't remember any specifics. But I didn't stop watching, so I can't have been that scared.
posted by WPW at 2:15 PM on July 13, 2008

This is so weird. Last night my wife and I watched The Bank Job and they made a reference to Pinky and Perky. Neither of us had ever, ever heard of Pinky and Perky before. And lo, the very next day, here they are. Thanks!
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 2:21 PM on July 13, 2008

They forgot The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. Gives me nightmares to this day.
posted by dobbs at 2:22 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I know that it is not a "show" per se, but in fact a special....Put One Foot in Front of the Other
posted by Durruti at 2:41 PM on July 13, 2008

Sorry, but Animal Kwackers owns the lot.
posted by scruss at 2:44 PM on July 13, 2008

I guess I'm a product of the 80s... when I think of Put One Foot In Front Of The Other, I think of this song, not the Rankin-Bass stuff.
posted by crapmatic at 2:52 PM on July 13, 2008

I'm sorry but Animal Kwackers was at least decent musically. I see you one Banana Splits and raise you one Bugaloos. Yikes.

Speaking of which... Sid and Marty Krofft are on MySpace now. All HR, Sigmund & Lidsville fans rejoice. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 3:03 PM on July 13, 2008

This creepily-claymated rendition of Mark Twain’s classic story “The Mysterious Stranger” has a group of kids meeting Satan … with results so unsettling, this episode was apparently banned from TV.

posted by autodidact at 3:08 PM on July 13, 2008

The Mysterious Stranger was beautifully done, and quite haunting.
posted by treepour at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2008

There was a 70s variety show -- I think it was Donnie and Marie -- that, at random times, would have this huge muppet-like thing (or Syd and Marty Kroft) that would come up to a person on stage and eat him. It had this oversized mouth and some kind of compartment for someone to crawl inside. It was all very haha, that's wacky, but as a kid this terrified me. I've looked for it online but can't find a clip. Ring a bell with anyone?
posted by zardoz at 3:16 PM on July 13, 2008

zardoz, I seem to remember a chair that ate people on some male/female variety-ish show. I don't remember exactly which. (Sonny & Cher? Donnie and Marie?)
It scared the shit out of me everytime, because it looked like the chair we had in front of the TV at the time.
posted by Busithoth at 3:40 PM on July 13, 2008

Jesus, I saw "The Mysterious Stranger" as a kid and had forgotten all about it. What an amazing bit of animation. Seeing it again now, I feel like it may have been responsible for a lot of my recreational drug use in high school.
posted by saladin at 3:44 PM on July 13, 2008

Zoobilee Zoo not only gave me nightmares, it was the terrifying flashback I got in my head when I blacked out in 11th grade history.

Thanks, guys!
posted by Madamina at 3:48 PM on July 13, 2008

la la laaaa la la laaaa
posted by klausness at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I only watched The New Zoo Revue because the female host wore a mini-skirt.
posted by doctorschlock at 3:57 PM on July 13, 2008

Chocky always gave me the creeps.

posted by Neale at 4:47 PM on July 13, 2008

Lidsville always scared me. There's just something wrong with Charles Nelson Reilly.
posted by nyxxxx at 5:44 PM on July 13, 2008

nyxxxx, I understand that Charles Nelson Reilly downed a daily bottle of vodka at the time he was playing Hoodoo, and one time he got angry and stomped out the door, into the street, in full costume. I don't know where I heard this. (I LIKE CHARLES NELSON REILLY /brak)

I wonder what the kids these days will say "gave them nightmares" when they're older? It seems hard to imagine any nightmares evoked by Elmo, Dora, or Blue's Clues. Sometimes I think that too much knowledge of developmental psychology is no good for children's entertainment. Everything's so soft and gentle and prechewed on kids' TV these days. (Oh, and also: uphill, both ways.)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:26 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Okay, after some searching I discovered the nightmare, more-than-lifesized puppets from my earlier post are likely from the Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters variety show, which was produced by the Krofft brothers. I've yet to find a pic of those people-eating monsters, but I'll be sure to share that horror with you all presently.
posted by zardoz at 6:32 PM on July 13, 2008

A tiny bit off topic, but funny... When I was a kid, I loved Sesame Street MUCH more than anything else on TV. One day my poor (trapped in the country with a young kid and no car and crazy neighbors -- can you imagine?) mother changed to Mr. Rogers just for a change of pace. So I say, with my white blonde hair and innocent little face, perfectly calmly: "Mr. Rogers is an asshole."

She changed the channel back to Sesame Street.

I'm with Countess Elena, though -- the stuff today is so freaking bland, it's a wonder kids know the difference between any of the shows.
posted by at 6:34 PM on July 13, 2008

Chocky always gave me the creeps.

For me, it was and will always be the sleeeeeeeeeesssssttaaaaaaaaaaaakkkksssssssss.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:39 PM on July 13, 2008

Children of the Stones
posted by doogyrev at 7:46 PM on July 13, 2008

See, makes the Kroffts seem really normal, doesn't it?

Also, New Zoo Revue was great!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:20 PM on July 13, 2008

Don't Forget Hobo Kelly.
posted by and for no one at 10:10 PM on July 13, 2008

Wait. Marty Krofft is working on a new Land of the Lost Movie, out in 2009? Starring Will Ferrell?

ack, my brain!
posted by oonh at 10:17 PM on July 13, 2008

I cannot speak coherently about The Gigglesnort Hotel.

The blob, the insane, depressed, Charlie-Brown-Adult-Talking Blob. I had to watch because I didn't understand.

Someone come carve a smiley mouth on my clay face, and put some happy cardboard cartoon eyes on my clay forehead.

Then lets watch The Magic Door.
posted by Reverend John at 8:54 AM on July 14, 2008

I wonder what the kids these days will say "gave them nightmares" when they're older?

posted by bibliowench at 9:17 AM on July 14, 2008

The boohbahs arrive like a little icbm of nitrous oxide and shifty glances. Upon arrival, they oscillate between goodtrip and badtrip modes at an epilepsy-friendly 16 fps. Make it stop! Do it again!
posted by Pliskie at 10:44 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I cannot speak coherently about The Gigglesnort Hotel. The blob, the insane, depressed, Charlie-Brown-Adult-Talking Blob. I had to watch because I didn't understand.

I had no clue what you were describing and I had to know. So then I found this. Oh my GOD. That grey lump of clay... the paper eyes... that voice... it's like Mr. Magoo possessed by Satan. I... I... just... oh my GOD.

And he's DATING?
posted by miss lynnster at 11:50 AM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Gigglesnort Hotel! There's a memory that was firmly and fully locked in my subconscious, one I haven't accessed in probably 20 years. It was definitely weird, but as a kid I guess it was disturbing only in a really subtle way. It must've been--I kept watching it. I think the mustache/main guy was so smiley and happy-go-lucky that it took the edge off the creepy, creepy puppets. And that clay creature! WTF was that? The 70s were an anomaly in all of human history.

BTW, I still haven't found footage or a pic of those Donnie & Marie/Mandrell Sisters-variety-show-people-eater puppets. I cannot rest until this source of childhood terror is found and purged.
posted by zardoz at 6:21 PM on July 14, 2008

Are you sure the people-eaters weren't Muppets? I believe Sweetums was known to eat a performing guest or two.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:47 PM on July 14, 2008

I think Jay Jay The Jet Plane could be the most nightmarish of the current generation's kids' shows. It certainly has the creepiest cast of anthropomorphic characters I've ever seen (and I usually think that sort of thing is cute)!
posted by Mael Oui at 10:25 PM on July 14, 2008

Did the Gigglesnort sculptor / date coach have a clay toupee?
posted by Pronoiac at 9:30 PM on July 15, 2008

Zoobilee Zoo was awesome! Man- no one ever remembers it!

Also- if you guys liked that Mysterious Stranger adaption you should watch "The Adventures of Mark Twain," the first ever Claymation feature length.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 3:27 AM on July 17, 2008

« Older Food and Beverages in Hungary   |   China's plan to tame Tibet Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments