Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (NBC 1973, Billy Barty, Mary Wickes)

The inspiration behind Sigmund and the Sea Monsters is almost as unbelievable as the show itself. On a day at the beach in La Jolla, California, Sid Krofft saw some seaweed floating up from a cave. Sid thought the seaweed appeared to be alive. Later, Sid would indeed bring that seaweed to life…as Sigmund, the loveable Sea Monster.

Sigmund did for sea monsters what Casper did for ghosts. He was loveable and affectionate, and for that, Sigmund’s family insisted he leave their cave and not return until he had scared some humans. Wandering the beaches alone, Sigmund was found by brothers Johnny and Scott Stuart while they were out surfing. They took him back home to live in their clubhouse and became fast friends.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters followed the misadventures of Johnny, Scott, and Sigmund as they tried to avoid Sigmund’s evil sea monster family, the Oozes. Big Daddy, Sweet Mama, and brothers Burp and Slurp Ooz repeatedly attempted to kidnap Sigmund and take him back to their cave. Johnny and Scott also worked hard to keep Sigmund out of sight from Zelda, their housekeeper and guardian (in the second season, Zelda was replaced by a new housekeeper, USMC drill sergeant Gertrude). Nosy neighbor Miss Eddels and Zelda’s boyfriend Sheriff Chuck Bevins rounded out the first season’s cast.

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In the second season, Sigmund found a shell that summoned Sheldon, a bumbling, magical sea genie who couldn’t seem to whammy a spell properly. Sheldon’s nephew Shelby soon joined in on the fun.

Billy Barty, who had a role in nearly every Krofft series produced, played Sigmund in costume and provided the character’s voice. The show’s stellar cast also included Margaret Hamilton (the original Wicked Witch of the West), Mary Wickes, Scott Kolden, and the inimitable Rip Taylor as Sheldon.

Johnny Whitaker, who played Johnny, gained popularity in 1966 as Jody on CBS’s Family Affair. He also played the title role in a Disney musical version of Tom Sawyer. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters served as a showcase for Whitaker’s singing career, which spawned one full-length record, Friends, which featured the show’s theme song. When the Krofft brothers initially approached Johnny about starring on the show, he said he would agree, but only if he could sing and surf. Sid and Marty certainly kept their word.
Creators and Executive Producers: Sid and Marty Krofft

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production details
USA | NBC – Sid and Marty Krofft | 29×25 minutes | Broadcast 8 September 1973 – 18 October 1975

Creators and Executive Producers: Marty Krofft, Sid Krofft,

Mary Wickes as Aunt Zelda
Rip Taylor as Sheldon the Sea Genie
Fran Ryan as Gertrude
Sparky Marcus as Shelby
Billy Barty as Sigmund Ooze
Paul Gale as Slurp Ooze
Sharon Baird as Big Daddy Ooze
Walker Edmiston as Big Daddy Ooze
Pamelyn Ferdin as Peggy
Margaret Hamilton as Mrs. Eddels
Van Snowden as Sweet Mama Ooze
Sidney Miller as Sweet Mama Ooze
Johnny Whitaker as Johnny Stuart

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.