Question: OK, T-man, I was raised on a steady diet of H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville and other Saturday-morning masterpieces from the brothers Krofft. So I think I'm old enough to hear the truth now. Were their shows the result of a lot of drugs? — Big Alice

Televisionary: Well, let's look at the evidence, here, Alice (and don't think I missed the Land of the Lost reference in your name): A main character with a "puff" in its name (sure, he was a dragon, but still...), Charles Nelson Reilly, a land of talking hats and a lovable sea monster with a green and leafy appearance. Survey says?

Survey says I'm not about to go on the record either way, since nobody but the creators know for sure and my momma raised me with enough smarts to stay away from lawsuits.

For what it's worth, I asked Marty Krofft that exact question in an interview a while back and he in no uncertain terms denied that the shows and characters created by he and brother SidThe Bugaloos, Dr. Shrinker, Far Out Space Nuts, etc. — had anything to do with recreational pharmaceuticals. They weren't inspired by them and didn't hide any sly references to them, he insisted.

Is that true? It depends. On one hand, you've got to take the man at his word. On the other, what the heck is he supposed to say? He's a grandfather now and he certainly doesn't want to ruin any chances of parents who grew up with his characters trying to get their own kids hooked on Krofft videos or recently released action figures. Who can blame him?

Hordes of fans and theorists believe the references are blatant and I can't say for sure they're wrong. But who knows? The kids biz is rife with adult themes and influences ranging from the smoking caterpillar encountered by Alice to the phallic castle tower snuck onto the first home video release of The Little Mermaid. It happens — and for the most part no kid notices unless some well-meaning adult points it out.

I will say that I, too, grew up with the Krofft characters, so I revel in their utter strangeness and "so bad it's good" lovability factor, so I couldn't care less where the inspiration came from. It worked for me.