Posts from the ‘Lidsville’ Category

Lidsville – Part 2: Show Me The Way to Go Home

The following are the only known recorded history to survive Lidsville. No one knows their origin, but intelligent individuals know not to ask.

 

(An entry from Mark’s Journal)

 

Day 9

 

Today Colonel Poom came charging into town screaming at the top of his lungs about some ancient map he discovered while cleaning his house. He claims the map was retrieved from the “newbie newbie tribe” and that the map allegedly leads to a golden ladder in the sky. I’m pretty sure that if such a ladder exists, we’d probably be able to see it from anywhere in Lidsville, and the rest of his story makes even less sense, but after spending over a week in this horrible place, I’ll take any opportunity I can to get out of here.

 

I managed to convince Poom to take us to the location on the map, but he insisted that we gather supplies in his unnecessarily obtuse safari idioms. Weenie wanted us to leave right away, claiming that gathering supplies would “take too long, because we’re in a hurry”. Screw you, Weenie, not all of us can survive on literally nothing for hundreds of years, and I certainly don’t plan on dying in this living nightmare.

 

We followed Poom for a while, until I was worried he had gotten us lost. He took out the map to verify out route, but as he did he said the Newbie Newbie tribe was notoriously unreliable and that the map might be complete balderdash.

 

Gee, thanks. Thanks for leading us through the desert via the most circuitous path possible to lead us all on a wild goose chase!

 

No. No, I can’t be negative. As dumb as it is, this map just has to be authentic…it’s just go to! I don’t want to think about the alternative…

 

Leave it to a hat person to completely fail at the one role he was born to perform: not only had Poom gotten us lost, but he completely failed to notice that we were being followed and even surrounded by Hoodoo’s bad hats! I warned them that I learned karate at summer camp, hoping that these monsters who didn’t believe in Earth with find my strange words threatening.

 

Of course, then I remembered that despite their hideous features all hat people have a common weakness: general incompetence.

 

Though for all we know this is some strange, uncomfortable ritual for raising one's spirits after a disappointment in hat culture.

The degree of incompetence with which Hoodoo's minions are described seems to transcend talent and reach all the way to gift.

I stomped on each of the Bad Hats’ feet, giving us enough time to escape. Plenty of time, in fact. I glanced over my shoulder as we ran and saw that they had managed to collapse into a giant heap of hats that was so pathetic it had to be deliberate.

 

As I said, they have a common weakness.

 

We continued on our path and…I swear I heard the strangest thing. At one point I’m sure Colonel Poom muttered to himself something about a tax never being around when you need one. Sure it’s a common enough joke…on Earth! The only vehicles I’ve seen in this dreadful place are the Hatamaran and that unsettling motorcycle. Why would a hat person know what a taxi was? They don’t believe in a world outside Lidsville.

 

I must be imagining things. All the stress from Hoodoo.

 

Right, it wasn’t too long before Hoodoo himself began to chase us in the Hatamaran. We took cover in a nearby forest and lost him. I almost wish we hadn’t, for this was no ordinary forest, it was the most horrid forest imaginable. It was…the hair forest!

 

The trees of the hair forest have creepy, lifeless faces carved in their trunks, like horrible, hostile masks. Making matters even more nauseating, they don’t have leaves or palms or any ordinary type of foliage, they’re crowned with long, flowing human hair.

 

This place will never cease to terrify me.

 

Despite Poom’s warnings, we had managed to navigate much of the forest without incident, but as soon as I’d finally grown complacent and almost comfortable in that evil place, the trees revealed one last horrifying secret: they could move.

 

I feel like fire or hedge clippers would have been at least as effective.

For poor Mark's sake I'm glad that the hair spray kept the hair trees at bay, but they seem to grab people with their branches, not their hair. I wonder why they're so susceptible to the hair spray.

The trees grabbed me and Poom, leaving only Weenie to save us…it goes without saying the situation seemed essentially hopeless. Miraculously, though, Weenie’s moronic idea of fending off the trees with hair spray inexplicably worked! We escape the forest as quick as we could, and continued to the spot marked on the Newbie Newbie map.

 

Poom led us to the top of a mountain, from which we should be able to see the golden ladder. As I tried to spot it, though, Weenie tried to get my attention with another inane tangent.

 

“Look Master, you can almost see Downtown Lidsville from here!”

 

I humored him, knowing that we would not drop the issue if I didn’t I turned my telescope towards the town.

 

“You sure can, I can even see the hat people.”

 

It's incredible that in the time it took Mark and the others to return to Lidsville, that Big Daddy Hoodoo had caused no damage at all.

A curious account indeed! How does one manage not to see a Godzilla-sized creature rampaging through the town, yet make out its buildings and inhabitants perfectly?

Then another strange thing happened. You know how when you read something and the letters are scrambled your brain can sometimes read the word it’s supposed to be because your brain WANTS the letters to spell a word? Well I think my brain WANTED to see all the hat people crushed, because I managed to completely ignore a 50 foot tall Hoodoo rampaging through the city (a sight my brain probably didn’t want to acknowledge).

 

“Hey what’s going on?” I asked rhetorically as I finally began processing the scene, “It looks like a giant’s chasing ‘em!”

 

Weenie seemed even more intent on getting to Earth than I did, but I could clearly see that there was no ladder, and as horrible as living with the hat people was, it still had to be better than tossing my hat in the ring with Hoodoo’s gang…damn it!

 

It’s strange though, this hulking Hoodoo double had ample time to destroy the town and the hats in it before we arrived, but he only managed to destroy one statue. It even made a very deliberate show of not killing Weenie when it had the chance. I wonder why that was…

 

Anyway I snatched Chief Sitting Duck’s bow and arrow, knowing that he was likely to miss a giant 4 times the size of any building in town and punctured the beast…or should I say balloon?

 

It turned out that the giant Hoodoo had simply been a large balloon all along, even though it was incredibly articulate, and had an appearance completely unlike a balloon in every way. I’m not sure why a giant balloon monster even seemed like a good idea, in theory it may not have had the mass to crush anything, attempting to do so could have been enough to puncture and destroy it.

 

Note to self: do not overestimate Hoodoo.

 

One also wonders why a wizard couldn't simply control such a golem with his magical powers.

Curious, I see no reason why Hoodoo would have to operate his contraption in his underwear, perhaps he's just a pervert.

My self destructive instincts, which are definitely heightened by this backdrop of terror, kicked in as Hoodoo revealed himself from inside the deflated balloon. On some level I surely hoped the powerful, evil wizard would destroy me, because I taunted him for being in his underwear and lead the whole town in spiteful laughter.

 

(Un)fortunately, he merely ran off back to his hat home.

 

The hats expressed condolences at my failure to escape. I tried to put on a brave face as I choked back some tears and said maybe I’d have better luck next time I try. I hope I’m not just kidding myself.

 

 

(Included in our limited archives is a relevant excerpt From Raunchy Rabbit’s Mission Report)

 

Mission Report

 

Author: Raunchy Rabbit

 

Mission: Operation Dirty Pool/Big Daddy Hoodoo

 

Mission Outline: Operation Dirty Pool was another of the boss’ clever names for just getting the bad hats to catch someone.

 

Big Daddy Hoodoo was the boss’ plan to go to Downtown Lidsville and to crush all the hat people for not paying their taxes.

 

Notes:  I might as well get this over with, Hoodoo’s been very insistent that I make a note of his schemes ever since that Mark brat showed up. He wants to “archive his awesome achievements” and “monitor his minor mishaps”. I’ve been working for this blowhard for as long as I can remember, so I know him well enough to know he won’t ever read these…even if he does I’ll have to read them for him.

 

Still, I don’t like to argue with an evil wizard.

 

Here is Hoodoo's magical "zapper" in action, allowing him to launch destructive magic from his fingertips. It could probably destroy a human, but the gradual abuse from their master has made Hoodoo's minions resiliant.

It seems even Hoodoo's minions aren't safe from his wrath. Is there truly no safe place in all of Lidsville!?

Of course if Hoodoo had to work by himself, he’d be even less good at his job. He can’t even figure out when Mark is trying to leave with his genie without my help. And what do I get for my service? A zap to my sorry cotton tail!

 

And the first thing he does once he knows Mark’s escaping is to try and get someone else to catch him: the bad hats. He calls them on the stupid Hot Hatline, which he NEVER remembers that he told me to heat to an irresponsible temperature for the sake of a bad joke.

 

He declares that there is a “meanie alert” and that Mr. Big should use “Operation Dirty Pool”. Of course none of that means anything, the boss just likes to hear himself talk, but the bad hats have been around for a while themselves and know that they should pretty much always try to catch someone leaving the safety of Downtown Lidsville.

 

Since the bad hats couldn’t catch him last time, I don’t know why Hoodoo thought they could now. He was wrong though, and decided to go zap Mark for himself. His chase lead Mark into the hair forest so Hoodoo, like a lazy bum, just assumes he’s dead and starts planning revenge against the “good hats”.

 

He shouts that there will be haberdashery homicide and plans to crush the hats since it’s “the worst thing you can do to a hat”. At least it makes more sense than the time he wanted to destroy them with the weather bureau…

 

Sadly his big ego was deflated just like the balloon he modeled after himself. Maybe he should make his giant crushing machine out something more durable than rubber and hot air next time, but hot air is his specialty.

 

 

Memorable Quotes: Yes, Hoodoo loves to revel in his terrible puns and jokes, and asks me to write down some exchanges with each mission.

 

Mr. Big: We can’t stop! If we let them punks get away, Hoodoo’s going to rub us out!

Hoodoo: Shall I start rubbing?

Mr. Big: Hoodoo!

Hoodoo: You were expecting perhaps Mary Poppins?

 

(…whoever “Mary Poppins” is, he’s probably better than Hoodoo.)

 

Hoodoo: What is the worst thing you can do to a hat? CRUSH IT!

 

Hoodoo (controlling Big Daddy): Hi there! Big Daddy Hoodoo’s the name and stomping is my game!

 

Hoodoo: I want my mommy, I want my mommy Hoodoo!

 

(Heh heh, that last one was just for me.)

 

Lidsville – Part 1: World in a Hat

The following are the only known recorded history to survive Lidsville. No one knows their origin, but intelligent individuals know not to ask.

 

 

A lesser man than Mark surely could not have survived the first night surrounded by waking nightmares.

What little knowledge we do have about Lidsville comes mostly from the writings of Mark, the only known human to step foot into the world of living hats.

(An entry from Mark’s Journal)

 

Day 1

 

Why did I go in the hat? The second it began to grow, I knew it was trouble. I was terrified! But it was like a train wreck…in that once it hits you, you die and are sent to a place of unimaginable suffering.

 

Before the horror of this place could even truly set in, I was captured by a band of bad hats. Oh lord, I’m already making hat puns. Lord have mercy on my soul. After accusing me of being a spy, the pirate, vampire, gangster and executioner dragged me to an enormous top hat, and introduced me to Raunchy Rabbit. Raunchy seems to have difficulty communicating without the use of puns, pratfalls and generally bad jokes. Can’t say I blame him, this place could easily warp a fragile mind.

 

Then a gaudy, green-skinned Wizard of Oz reject arrived in a flying hat, complaining about “the hat people” and complaining that he didn’t even collect one hat check.

 

I already hated that man.

 

His name, which I would come to both know and fear, was Horatio J. Hoodoo. Just like his bad hats, Hoodoo accused me of being a spy. I tried to explain that I didn’t know any hat people, thinking this was some jive talk I hadn’t heard before. Hoodoo was skeptical and brought me into his lair, seating me in the most comfortable chair he could find in order to interrogate me. I thought it was a joke at first, until the torture began.

 

Mark Wasn't Expecting the Bloody Spanish Inquisition from Hoodoo.

This historian notes a similar methodology between Hoodoo's torture methods and those of Monty Python's portrayal of the Spanish Inquisition.

Living behind a curtain in the dark wizard’s home live a band of singing hats, known as the Hat Band. Of all the terrors in this world of living hats, they will be the thing to haunt my dreams forever.

 

Using the Evil Eye, some sort of magical television, Hoodoo showed me these hat people he talked about earlier. Half human, half hat…they truly were hat people. I resisted the urge to be physically ill.

 

The multitude of minions who live around Hoodoo’s lair suggested he employ physical torture on me to learn my secrets. Instead he summoned Weenie the Geenie from his magical ring. When I first learned this I was incredulous. What does a wizard even need with a genie anyway? Surely that’s overkill! Making matters more confusing, Weenie was merely instructed to take me to the cellar, a task that clearly didn’t require magic.

The backhanded compliments with which this genie exalted his master made me think I could trust him…or her. To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what Weenie is. I explained to Weenie that I was merely lost, I wanted to return to the world in the sky; the world that I came from; the REAL world.

 

At first, Weenie didn’t even believe that such a place could exist. What a wretched life it must be, thinking that Lidsville is all there is! Eventually, though, I convinced him to join my quest to go back to the real world…so long as I could retrieve his ring.

 

This plan probably explains why Hoodoo, even being an evil wizard, makes for a very ineffectual landlord.

For someone who lives in a magical world of hats, Hoodoo seems surprisingly uninformed about how hats work...and surprisingly well-informed about Earth-based puns.

Luckily for me, at that exact moment Hoodoo was hatching the worst revenge plot in the history of the universe. “What do hats fear the most?” he asked his minions, rhetorically, “They fear bad weather!” Aren’t hats specifically made to endure weather conditions? Either way, Hoodoo conjured a magical chest of drawers which can alter the weather, known as the Weather Bureau.

 

For some reason, using the bureau prompted Hoodoo to remove the magical genie ring. For the first time since stumbling into this awful place, fate smiled on me, as that ridiculous rabbit from earlier accidentally caused a snowstorm inside, giving me a chance to grab the ring and escape with Weenie. Well, in theory.

 

It seems Weenie’s confidence has been shaken after years working as one of Hoodoo’s minions, so his ability to perform magic is miserable…at best. He wanted to use magic to get away from Hoodoo’s hat home, but he couldn’t remember the magic word. I wanted to just run. We had the time, why not put some distance between ourselves and Hoodoo? Unfortunately I couldn’t, it was if Weenie were emanating some aura of incompetence that affected me, quickly ridding me of my common sense.

 

Since we were mere steps outside Hoodoo’s door, he quickly caught up to us, and threatened to zap us with his dark powers. Luckily Weenie remembered a word that would transport us magically and save the day! Again, in theory.

To say this would be the only time Weenie's magic caused problems would be a bald-faced lie.

From the sounds of this "Lidsville" place, Mark may have been better off taking his chances in the deadly suds of the Shampoo River.

 

Weenie’s spell actually dropped us onto a tree branch suspended above the “Shampoo River”, leaving us hanging on for dear life. At least that’s the impression Weenie gave me, claiming that the river would “suds us to death”, should we fall in.

 

I already hated that genie.

It turned out we were close to Downtown Lidsville, where the hat people reside. Hearing our cries for help, they dispatched a beanie hat named Tiwrly, whose propeller actually allowed him to fly.

 

I thanked the hats for their help, but had no intention of staying in this horrible place. I had no plan, and no clue where I was going, but I had to go somewhere else. They insisted that there was no world outside of Lidsville, but they filled a sack with “supplies” (which seemed to be a collection of whatever was within arms reach) and got a motorcycle-riding motorcycle helmet named Mother Wheels to give us a lift out of town.

 

Turns out Hoodoo was ready for us, as his Bad Hats set up a detour sign and the most pathetic ambush I’ve ever heard of. The worst part is that it worked! It’s like being in proximity to Weenie is making me dumber! If I just had the sense to run from these slow and awkward villains I’d be free and clear. Once again Weenie barely got us out of trouble by creating a smokescreen whose effectiveness was a perfect match for their ambush. Sadly there was no place to go but Downtown Lidsville.

 

For example, Hoodoo can create lighting from his fingertips. Surely that's all the incentive he would need to collect his precious taxes, so how is he such a failure?

Judging by Mark's descriptions, it seems the laws of physics and even logic may work differently in Lidsville. Perhaps ONLY terrible plans have a chance of success there.

It wasn’t long before Hoodoo showed up in his hat-themed aircraft known as the Hatamaran and started trying to zap all of the residents of Downtown Lidsville. The hat people responded to Hoodoo’s attack by throwing fruit, sporting equipment, cookware…pretty much the same garbage they gave me as supplies earlier, at Hoodoo. Clearly that Hatamaran is a shoddy piece of engineering, as it malfunctioned from this pathetic assault, and caused Hoodoo to bail into the shampoo river.

 

I can’t help but notice that Hoodoo survived his plight with the river. Along with all of his mistakes before, I have to wonder if I can trust that Genie. Weenie used to work for Hoodoo after all. Perhaps he’s a double agent.

 

With Hoodoo out of the way for the time being, the hats offered to let me stay and town and help me find a way home. I begrudgingly accepted the generosity of these monsters. When I did, I even said “I’d take my hat off, if I had one”, assuming that this must surely be offensive to hat people. They didn’t notice.

 

I hope this place doesn’t make me mad as a hatter…damn it! It may already be too late.

What Is Lidsville?

On the bright side, if I ever need a cursed object I know where to go.

Here's something of a cast photo that comes from a vintage Lidsville lunchbox...which I now own, thanks to my friend Chas' dark sense of humor.

“What is Lidsville?” is a very dangerous question.

 

This is a question with many answers, however the English language lacks the ability to fully and adequately answer this question. Before I make the futile attempt to answer what should be a simple question, let me begin by explaining how Lidsville came into my life.

 

There is an event that my friends and I sometimes attend in the basement of a building tucked in an alleyway in Chinatown, an event known as secret karaoke. Apparently it is a tradition at secret karaoke to project weird, cult television series on the wall behind where the lyrics are projected for singers. I’m not sure why, maybe because the people who run the thing got sick of all the clip art accompanying the bad midi files, but whatever the reason this was a fateful decision, for it introduced my friends and I to this forbidden series.

 

I was mesmerized by the indescribable nonsense casually and silently playing behind the karaoke. Everyone else was busy singing, getting drunk or socializing, but since I’m pretty bad at all of those things, my focus was on what was familiar to me: television. I watched in complete confusion as a green-skinned magician flew around in a crushed top hat, shooting lighting bolts from his fingertips at a boy and his living hat companions. And that was just the tip of the iceberg! There was no sound to accompany the plethora of confounding images, so after a while I had to drag someone down with me, just to make sure I hadn’t gone crazy.

 

Enter my friend Chas, who is a much more accomplished writer than I am. He, like most people in attendance, was having a good time, enjoying the atmosphere, when I brought the moving pictures to his attention. It wasn’t long before we were both shouting indignant questions about what on Earth could possibly be happening, why this was playing, and even whether it was a real television show. A fellow karaoke-goer filled us in, explaining this was an old children’s show from the 70’s.

 

A normal person would have left well enough alone, but sadly I am not normal.

 

Weenie, on the other hand, is a male geenie played by a woman, so he's always cross-dressing in a way.

Mark and Weenie, involved in one of their few plans that doesn't involve Mark putting on a silly costume and/or women's clothing.

My well-documented tolerance for all things TV beckoned me down a dark path, and I was already in too deep. I investigated the show, finding its theme song online, and even gaining access to a full episode. I conned my then-girlfriend into watching the episode, as no one else would do it. Luckily fate intervened at this point. I couldn’t find any more episodes utilizing the amount of effort I was willing to invest.

 

That could have been the end of it. That SHOULD have been the end of it. It was truly only the beginning.

 

Skip ahead to this past summer, when I was browsing the TV schedule with the help of my TiVo one Saturday morning when I discovered something I wouldn’t have believed possible. PBS was airing episodes of Lidsville! I couldn’t keep myself from switching the channel out of pure morbid curiosity, and then like with a train wreck I couldn’t avert my eyes.

 

That day I joined Chas and his girlfriend for dinner before seeing a movie, and I endeavored to use my talents as a storyteller to recount the terrors to which I had subjected myself. Whatever I said worked, to a degree. Chas was similarly intrigued, but his girlfriend was simply horrified.

 

And rightly so.

 

Over the next few weeks a plan was hatched. Our mutual friend Mike was getting married soon, so his fiancé and several of our friends were heading out of town for a Vegas bachelorette party. Normal guys would probably have a guys night out, but somehow I lured my friends into a horrifying challenge instead.

 

The villainous HooDoo answers the Hat Hotline, a phone line so hot he needs a potholder to hold it. I hope you liked that pun, because there will be a lot of it. To be clear, a lot of this specific pun.

At first it was to be a competition: Starting at 9 PM, we would determine who could endure the most straight Lidsville without break. We quickly realized this was too great a challenge for anyone but possibly myself to endure, so instead it was to be a bonding experience. We would band together against the nightmare within a hat within a TV screen, and struggle to endure the entire series in one night.

 

Long story short, while we nearly lost Mike in the middle to a survival instinct-induced sleep, the three of us accomplished what we set out to do.

 

We now know our enemy. Now it is time for me to warn you of a land from which there is no escape. A world of talking hats: some racist stereotypes, some that defy any logical description. A world filled with the magic of a malicious green-skinned wizard and the absolute worst genie I’ve ever seen in my life. A world populated by puns, costumes and…the hat band.

 

Lidsville.

 

Premise:

 

Probably the easiest and most direct way to explain the premise of the show is for you to watch the show’s intro. The theme song is basically a man just telling you what the show is about in a sing-song tone.

 

 

For those of you unable to watch videos while reading this, or simply too terrified by the notion of watching that, I will summarize. A boy named Mark sees a magic show at a six flags, and is so entranced that he decides to sneak back stage to learn more about the magic. When he arrives in the magician’s dressing room he stumbles onto his top hat. Somehow he triggers the hat to magically grow to enormous size, then he climbs in and falls into the world within a hat, Lidsville.

 

Mark’s goal, and understandably so, is to find a way out of Lidsville and back home. After a while, this goal takes a certain, notable shift, but that’s an issue for later. It’s a simple premise for a show inexplicably targeted to children, especially when you consider that the way out of Lidsville is simply to go up, since Mark fell down to get there.

 

Side note though, can anyone reading this explain to me what the curious frog is up with the theme song’s abrupt transitions? We go from this weird sort of monotonous drone to this psychedelic interlude. Next the video makes it clear that Mark is being chased by an evil wizard, yet all of a sudden Mark and the hats are like laughing and dancing. Why build all that tension just to suddenly have everyone celebrating Mark being trapped inside the world of hats?

 

Characters:

 

Mark (Butch Patrick, of Munsters fame) – The tragic protagonist of the tale. Mark simply believed in magic and wanted to unravel some of its wonder. His is certainly a case of “be careful what you wish for”, since he did in fact find an entire magical world, but for him, there would be no escape. As a kid’s show from before writers really gave children any credit, Mark and the other characters are pretty two dimensional. In fact, his most defining feature would probably be his knack for solving problems by dressing in costumes (sometimes cross-dressing).

 

Hooratio J. HooDoo (Charles Nelson Reilly, primarily of Match Game Fame to my knowledge) – The unfathomably campy villain of the piece. This green-skinned magician is really more of a wizard. Chief among the magic at his disposal is his magic lightning zapper hands and his hat which converts into a flying vehicle known as the Hatamaran. He also had a magical ring that could summon a genie until it was stolen by Mark, which proves to be the main source of contention through much of the series.

 

Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes, of H.R. Pufnstuf fame) – Weenie is the somewhat androgynous Genie whose power is linked to the ring Mark stole from HooDoo. To say that Weenie is an unhelpful companion would be an understatement, to say that he is the worst genie would not. Weenie rarely, if ever, accomplishes what he sets out to do, and often makes things worse. It makes me wonder why Mark never tried to trade Weenie back to HooDoo in exchange for help escaping this horrible place.

 

It's hard to say what the worst fate to befall someone is within Lidsville, but getting captured by the bad hats is at least embarassing.

Pictured is Mark being captured by the so-called "bad hats". This band of thugs consists of a ganster fedora, an executioner's hood, a pirate hat and a...vampire...hat.

And the rest – There’s a pretty big, largely pointless ensemble cast on the show. This includes a plethora of magical puppets that populate HooDoo’s hat home (yes, he lives in a hat within a world of hats that exists inside a larger hat), HooDoo’s bumbling sidekick Raunchy Rabbit, a gang of lesser villains known as the bad hats and of course the “good hats” that inhabit Lidsville proper. It’s actually unclear as to whether lidsville is the entire world, some sort of county or province or merely just the town where most of the hats live. There’s a rather horrifying revelation down the line that clarifies things a little, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

 

At some point I will venture back through the terrible world of Lidsville, as something of a public service. In case you ever find yourself in the same situation as poor, star-crossed Mark, you need to know what you’re up against. Of course, there’s no guarantee that I will survive another trip there, but I will find a way to send you whatever warnings I can to you from the other side. Really the best advice I can give you is what a wise man once told me, “DON’T GO IN THE HAT!”