One of the horror genre's "most widely read critics" (Rue Morgue # 68), "an accomplished film journalist" (Comic Buyer's Guide #1535), and the award-winning author of Horror Films of the 1980s (2007), The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia (2007) and Horror Films of the 1970s (2002), John Kenneth Muir, presents his blog on film, television and nostalgia, named one of the Top 100 Film Studies Blog on the Net.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Bugaloos: "If I Had the Wings of a Bugaloo (October 17, 1970)
“If I Had the Wings of a Bugaloo,” Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye) becomes
obsessed with the act that the Bugaloos possess wings, and can fly.
hires Funky Rat’s sister, Brumhilda, to make her bat wings, but they fail to
give the diva the lift she wants. She
realizes that she must steal the wings of a bugaloo if she wishes to fly.
goes to Tranquility Forest, pretending to be Heddy Ho-Down, and tricks I.Q. (John
McIndoe) into coming with her back Uptown to her jukebox. The other Bugaloos attempt to rescue him, but
are trapped in Fly Paper!
(1970-1971) crosses a threshold this week that Lidsville (1971-1972)
also crossed at about the same point during its run. Specifically, the villain
here officially becomes the most intriguing personality on the series, and the
most-utilized character too.
Martha Raye’s Benita Bizarre motivates all the action, and appears in virtually
every scene. The Bugaloos are a practical after-thought, appearing only for the
routine (and weekly) capture/rescue business.
intriguing about Benita is that she is not an out-and-out monster, like
Witchiepoo or Hoo-Doo. Instead, she’s a (fairly-typical) “D” list celebrity.
She’s self-obsessed, narcissistic, and a bit pathetic. She’s a diva, a Norma
Desmond-type, who cares only about her own self-glorification. This week, she motivates the action because
she wants wings, and wants to fly.
desire just hits her, and because she is rich, and infamous, ostensibly -- and surrounded by yes-men -- she tries
to get them.
this way, The Bugaloos is actually about something more than bug-people
on a sub-textual level: the quest for
continuing fame, and the way that some people can’t let it go. Last week, I
mentioned Sunset Boulevard (1950), and yes, The Bugaloos is a
Saturday morning version of that story, as seen through the unique eyes of Sid
and Marty Krofft.
week, however, Benita goes from being merely misguided and narcissistic to
monstrous, as she tries to cut off I.Q.’s wings, an act which can’t be undone.
scene of surgery is actually fairly gruesome. I.Q. lays stomach down on a
table, wriggling to break free from restraints, while Funky Rat reads from an
instruction manual (Do It Yourself Surgery) and takes a giant clipper to the Bugaloo. Fortunately, the surgery is never completed.
week, there are two songs to make note of. Benita -- as Heddy-Ho-Down -- sings one
for I.Q. before capturing him.
The Bugaloos sing about “friends…if you
need someone to help you…”