Lidsville was Sid and Marty Krofft’s third television show following H.R. Pufnstuf (1969) and The Bugaloos (1970). Like their first two shows, the series combined two types of characters. Actors in makeup filmed alongside performers in full mascot costumes. It was a very memorable show because of this. Sadly only seventeen episodes were aired on Saturday mornings during two seasons from 1971 to 1973. The main villain of the show was a magician named Horatio J. HooDoo, played by Charles Nelson Reilly in a magician’s costume and make-up.
Reilly also played the role of Merlo the Magician. He was a gifted comic character actor. So adding him to Lidsville was a coup and adds some silly legitimacy to this wonderfully goofy show. I watched Lidsville in reruns growing up. While I was familiar with Charles Nelson Reilly from his other works, I did not realize at the time that he was the person behind the costume. Watching it now, it seems very obvious.
This interview, where Charles Nelson Reilly talks about his work on Lidsville, was filmed in 2005. It was included on the Lidsville DVD set from Rhino Home Video, which is sadly no longer available.