Lennie Weinrib, the voice of H.R. Pufnstuf has died.

    "H.R. Pufnstuf", the 1970s live-action Saturday morning kids show created by Sid 'n Marty Krofft, put the surreal in our breakfast cereal (especially if you had been up the night before thanks to some Orange Sunshine). Because The Brothers Krofft were notoriously 'with it', there has been much speculation about whether the title was a thinly veiled drug reference. (A theory hilariously played out on the HBO series Mr. Show in their Pufnstuff/Lidsville parody "Drugachusettes".) Such speculation continues today as you can see from this exchange lifted from one of the show's opening-credit-videos posted on YouTube:

philipcool9 (2 weeks ago)
H.R. PufNStuf is a reference to drugs! Think about the name. PufnStuf=Puffing stuff (marijuana). Who's your friend when things get rough? Smoke Marijuana when you're having tough times. You can't do a little cause you can't do enough? You can't do enough marijuana, cause you can never get enough of it. Plus this show aired from 1969-1971. Coincidence? I think not... Although I still think H.R. PufnStuf is awesome
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angelorichetti (2 weeks ago)
dude go away only an ass hole like you would think this crap up. your problem is you play with your self wat to much it's afecting your thinking.
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getouttatheway (1 week ago)
No it's actually true. Sid and Marty Croft basically admitted it. The charactors are drug references. I don't know which ones are which but if I've ever seen the show I'd probably know. Have you ever SEEN Sid and Marty Croft? They were total deadheads.
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The theme song to the show about a lost boy with a magic flute who ends up on a fantstical island ruled by a kindly dragon-mayor but also terrorized by wacko witch named Witchipoo is still stuck in the heads of many of us overgrown kids who loved the show. The Murmurs were apparantly two of them. And as you can see from their video Drew Barrymore would appear to be another Pufnstuf fan. Were you?

From the LA Times obit of Lennie Weinrib:

Known as warm, funny and full of gusto, Weinrib had a varied career that included working as a stand-up comic, appearing in the "Billy Barnes Revue" on Broadway in 1959 and co-writing the 1963 joke classic "The Elephant Book."

As a character actor, he appeared on such TV series as "My Favorite Martian," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Twilight Zone," "The Munsters" and the "Dick Van Dyke Show," including an episode in which he played an insult comic who asks the bald Mel Cooley (played by Richard Deacon), "Do you pluck your scalp?"

He also provided voices for numerous TV cartoon series, including "The Flintstones," "The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show," "The New Tom & Jerry Show," "Garfield and Friends," and "Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo" (on which he did the original voice of Scrappy-Doo).

"Made a quarter of a million every year for years," Weinrib said in a 1995 interview with The Times. "Spent it on Rolls-Royces, boats, first editions, guns, knives. Never thought about money. Did about 100 cartoons, Olympia beer, McDonald's commercials. I was Mr. Pringle of Pringle's potato chips."

"This guy is one of the all-time great talents, between his voices and writing," Marty Krofft told The Times on Friday. "Mel Blanc was the Joe DiMaggio of voices, and Lennie was the Ted Williams."

"Nobody ever captured H.R. Pufnstuf like this guy, " (said Kroft)

The Bronx-born Weinrib moved to Los Angeles with his family as a child. After graduating from Fairfax High School, he went to UCLA.

His father, a traveling salesman, wanted him to become a dentist. But his daughter said he made up his own mind on a career after running into fellow student Carol Burnett, who invited him to see her in a campus production.

"He went to see her," said Linda Weinrib, "and he told me he had an epiphany that night: 'I don't want to be a doctor. I want to make people laugh; I want to entertain.' "

Thanks Lennie. You did!
(Thanks to Carol too! See? You never know who you're gonna inspire when you're doing college theater!)

For more on the "too freaky for kids' Krofft show "Lidsville' read these comments {sample:  My husband recently saw a rerun episode of this show and had a horrible flashback of childhood trauma. This show is too freaky for any kid to watch. The idea of a teenage Eddie Munster talking to giant hats and a sinister (and gay) magician is more than any innocent mind should have to deal with!}
    

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