Billie Hayes Has Died

For BBers of a certain age and cultural cohort, Billie Hayes was a regular Saturday morning fixture. With her witchy cackle and her goofy-evil attempts to get the magic flute and thwart the fun-loving H.R. Pufnstuf and Jimmie, Billie Hayes’ Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo brought a certain “something” to the Saturday morning psychedelia.

A Broadway veteran by the time she reached national fame as the flute-stealing nemesis to a psychedelic dragon, Hayes had starred as Mammy Yokum in both the Broadway and film versions of the popular late-1950s musical Lil’ Abner. She’d made her Broadway debut in New Faces of 1956 along with an ensemble that included actress Maggie Smith.

Following a couple of guest appearances on episodic TV in 1967 – including a Mammy Yokum-type matriarch in the “Hillbilly Honeymoon” episode of The Monkees – Hayes endeared herself to a generation of glued-to-the-tube Saturday morning viewers in 1969 as the eccentrically costumed, ever-cackling and always bumbling Witchiepoo (full name: Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo).

Here’s to you, Witchipoo!


Don’t forget her run on Lidsville, the least problematic (?) character on the show.


Anything Krofft was MY JAM in the 70’s, so Billie’s passing hits me in the feels.


Yeah, it’s probably going to be the same when Johnny Whitaker croaks.


I grew up on Sid and Marty Kroft.


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