‘Land of the Lost’ creator Sid Krofft Says That Bette Davis Once Dropped an F-Bomb & Hung Up on Him

Sid Krofft and Bette Davis collage
Everett Collection

On June 7 and 8, the cast of Land of the Lost reunited at The Hollywood Show in Los Angeles, California just a few months ahead of their big 50th anniversary coming up this September. Also in attendance was creator Sid Krofft who took to the stage for an hour-long panel discussion with Land of the Lost alumni Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure, Sharon Baird, Joe A. Giamalva, and Bill Boyd. Energetic, witty, and as sharp as ever, the soon-to-be 95-year-old Krofft (he turns 95 next month) dominated the discussion with heartfelt stories about the creation of his many beloved television shows and detailed memories about getting them off the ground.

'Land of the Lost' reunion at The Hollywood Show

From left to right: Sid Krofft, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Sharon Baird, Joe A. Giamalva, and Bill Boyd attend The Hollywood Show on June 8, 2024 in Los Angeles.

One story he shared that brought the packed audience to uproarious laughter wasn’t even about Land of the Lost at all. It was about the making of his feature-length Pufnstuf movie released by Universal Pictures in 1970 (the film was based on his 1969 H.R. Pufnstuf TV series). In that film, the character of Boss Witch was played by Martha Raye. But did you know that he originally offered the part to the great Bette Davis? Well, the two-time Oscar-winning actress also known for her sharp tongue didn’t respond so kindly to Krofft’s offer.

“In my whole career, I only ever had two people who — not only hung up — but before they hung up, they used the F word and hung up on me,” Krofft told his Hollywood Show audience. “And one was Bette Davis.”

THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE, Bette Davis, aired February 20, 1965

Everett Collection

He continues, “Bette Davis was living in Connecticut and I wanted her to play Boss Witch for the Pufnstuf movie. She was my first choice. And she said, ‘What is the name of the show? I never heard of it.’ I said, ‘It’s on television. It’s a big hit. We’re doing a movie at Universal and we only have a million-dollar budget.’ She said, ‘Well, what’s the part?’ And I said, ‘It’s Boss Witch,’ and she said, ‘You want me to do a witch? Go fuck yourself!’”

PUFNSTUF, from left, Billie Hayes, Martha Raye, 1970

Everett Collection

Davis wasn’t the only actress who got foul-mouthed with Krofft either. The other was a little actress who starred in a very famous 1982 horror film produced by Steven Spielberg. Without spoiling who it is, we’ll let Sid Krofft tell the story himself. “I needed [to cast] as many little people as I could find on the planet and [actor] Billy Barty found 36 of them,” says Krofft as he sets up the story about the second actress to ever drop an F-bomb and hang up on him. “We flew them in from Germany and Russia and Billy Barty cast everybody because he knew all the little people. He was the president of the Little People of America Club. And so he gave me a phone number [of an actress] and I called her and she was in San Francisco. And I said we were already shooting, but I needed more little people. And she said, ‘What do you want me to play, a mushroom? Fuck you!’ And you know who that was? From Poltergeist, Zelda Rubinstein! She said, ‘I’m an actress and you want me to be a mushroom?’”

POLTERGEIST, Zelda Rubinstein

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Via MoviestillsDB

Rubinstein is best known for playing the soft-spoken Tangina Barrons in Poltergeist, the clairvoyant who helps the Freeling family save their daughter Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke) from the clutches of the supernatural forces in their home. One of the most famous lines from Rubinstein’s career also comes from the climax of that film and it’s when she says, “This house is clean.” Apparently, the language the actress used during her exchange with Mr. Krofft was not.


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June 2018

Unleash your inner child by reliving your favorite kids TV shows, cartoons, toys and more!

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