Area 36-Year-Old Still Has Occasional Lidsville Nightmare

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Vol 36 Issue 08

Real-Life Family Feud Offers No Fabulous Cash Prizes

LAS CRUCES, NM–Unlike the popular, long-running game show Family Feud, the real-life family feud among members of Las Cruces' DeCinces family does not offer contestants the chance to win exciting cash prizes. "When the hell are you gonna stop undermining every goddamn thing I say in front of the kids?" said Thomas DeCinces, 47, facing off against wife Brenda in the long-running feud, hosted neither by Richard Dawson nor the late Ray Combs. "Kevin and Amy think their father's a fucking joke, thanks to you. And you wonder why I'm out with the guys almost every night." Asked to name something her husband has given her during their 14-year marriage, Brenda said "heartache and misery." The response was the third most popular on the board behind "an alcohol problem" and "that six-inch scar on my throat."

Football Fan Disappointed By 'Super Tuesday'

ROCHESTER, NY–Robert Wychorski, a Rochester-area football fan, expressed disappointment in Super Tuesday, calling it "a pale shadow of Super Sunday." "Man, that completely blew," said Wychorski after watching four hours of Super Tuesday election coverage on CNN. "Where was the spectacular halftime show? Where were the clutch plays? And it wasn't even a close contest." Wychorski, who invited 15 friends over for a Super Tuesday party, said the biggest letdown was the commercials. "I was expecting to see some awesome new ads with special effects, but it was just the same old stuff," he said.

Ex-Marine Says This Rain Nothing

BESSEMER CITY, NC–According to area resident Larry Bohannon, 33, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years, this rain is nothing. "You call this rain? This ain't rain," Bohannon said to coworker Jeff Smalley, looking out the window of the Jiffy Lube where he now works. "I was stationed in the Philippines back in '93–they had tsunamis that ripped the palm trees right out of the ground." Continued Bohannon: "We'd do 400 push-ups every morning, even at the height of monsoon season. There'd be 50-foot waves crashing over us, but Sgt. Culpepper would make us keep going. Believe me, Jeff, you've never seen rain like that."

Fox Voluntarily Removes Reality From Programming

LOS ANGELES–Responding to public outcry over its controversial reality-based shows, Fox announced Monday that it is removing all reality from its programming. "We have heard the American TV viewer's dissatisfaction with reality and pledge never again to air any content that reflects it whatsoever," said Jonathan Quinlan, vice-president of programming for the embattled network. "From now on, Fox dramas and sitcoms will not contain any plotlines that are the least bit realistic, and such reality-based shows as Fox News At Nine will be canceled altogether." Quinlan noted that Ally McBeal will continue unchanged.

The Diallo Verdict

On Feb. 25, four NYPD officers were acquitted in the shooting of Amadou Diallo, a West African immigrant who died a year ago when he was shot 19 times after police mistook his wallet for a gun. What do you think of this controversial acquittal?

My Employees Of The Month

As an Onion reader, you know God-damned well that I did not rise to the position of Publisher by relying on you barely literate, gape-jawed Judases. Nor did I raise this news-paper to its present position as the finest in the Republic by leaning on the back-stabbing pack of boars that makes up my editorial staff. No, I did it with a special blend of low animal cunning, scandalous petticoats above the front-page fold, and the inherited millions that are my birth-right. T. Herman Zweibel needs no-one but him-self, and don't you forget it!
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Area 36-Year-Old Still Has Occasional Lidsville Nightmare

BOWLING GREEN, KY–Though their frequency has decreased since childhood, 36-year-old graphic designer Pete Meijer still suffers from occasional nightmares related to Lidsville, the early-'70s Sid and Marty Krofft-produced Saturday-morning program featuring Charles Nelson Reilly cavorting with a frightening assemblage of sentient headgear.

Evil magician Hoo-Doo, played by Charles Nelson Reilly, hatches a scheme with a giant foam gangster hat.

"It happened again last night," Meijer said. "I dreamed I was driving to work, in my father's car for some reason, and the sky started getting darker and darker. Then, from out of nowhere, the giant cowboy hat that talked like John Wayne jumped in front of my windshield and started peering into the car with a look of murderous hate."

"That was when I woke up with a jolt," Meijer continued. "I never got back to sleep."

The still-creeped-out Meijer.

In the program, a boy named Mark becomes trapped in a nightmarish, Technicolor parallel universe populated by anthropomorphic talking hats. The central villain is Hoo-Doo, an evil magician played by Reilly in horrifying makeup and facial prosthetics. Poor puppetry and cheap special effects contributed to the show's queasy, disorienting feel, as did the presence of dwarf actors inside the hat costumes.

Though still haunted by images from the program, Meijer has made great progress since childhood.

"From about 1972 to 1978, I had Lidsville nightmares pretty much every night," Meijer said. "In one of the more frequent ones, I'd go downstairs for breakfast, but my mother wouldn't be in the kitchen. Instead, that cone-shaped party hat with the giggly voice would be there, as though she had replaced my mother. I also had a lot of dreams where the football helmet locks me in a cage and pushes it into the ocean. And, needless to say, I often dreamed I was falling into the giant hat in the opening credits."

Pete Meijer's <i>Lidsville</i> Nightmares, 1972-2000

Eventually, through therapy and medication, Meijer was able to largely control the traumatizing effects of the program. But the nightmares return from time to time.

"I still have one or two a year," Meijer said. "A few months ago, I dreamed that Hoo-Doo was chasing me around, trying to tie me down and give me an enema. Still, I'm much better than before. Almost normal."

"You know," he added, "there were supposedly good hats and evil hats on the show, but in my dreams they're all equally disturbing."

Plaguing Meijer perhaps worst of all is the character "Weenie Genie," a boy genie inexplicably played by middle-aged actress Billie Burke–the woman who played Witchiepoo in the equally traumatic Krofft series H.R. Pufnstuf–wearing ghoulish makeup.

"I'd definitely say Weenie Genie is in my nightmares more than any of the others," Meijer said. "Weenie's supposed to be a boy, but he's played by someone who's obviously a woman. I think seeing that as an 8-year-old boy seriously damaged my still-developing sense of gender identity."

According to psychologist Dr. Deborah Kreutz, Meijer is far from alone in his fear of Lidsville.

"To this day, the scars of Lidsville run deep through American society," Kreutz said. "Remember, approximately 40 million Americans were exposed to this show as children, so we're talking about a mass, televised trauma whose psychological ramifications continue to weigh heavily on our collective national psyche."

In 1999, a team of UCLA psychologists compiled a ranking of lingering childhood traumas among Americans between the ages of 30 and 40. Lidsville ranked second overall, just ahead of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Sigmund & The Sea Monsters, another Krofft program. Ranked first were the Oompa-Loompas from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

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