I recently picked up the entire original series on disc from the cheapie bin at Best Buy - paid six bucks for it. Always check the cheapie bin, there's alot of crap in it, but occasionally you'll find something that you would like to have but wouldn't want to (or couldn't afford to) pay full price for.

 

I happened to already own a disc that is comprised of first episodes of a variety of first episodes of various Krofft Brothers shows, most of which I had watched quite faithfully as a child.  However, when I watched the disc a few years ago, the only show that I found even remotely watchable as an adult was Land of the Lost, so now that I've had a chance to pick up the show on the cheap, I've decided to give it a re-look.

 

NOTE: While I have seen all of these, it's been over thirty-five years since I saw them last, so there's probably alot of details in these that I won't remember. Not to be too "controlling" about it, but I'm asking that folks not get ahead of me in having extensive discussions of stories I haven't looked at yet.

 

Thank you, drive through.

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That was one of the few shows that my sister and I both liked. On a 9 inch black and white screen the special effects looked pretty good.

Cha-Ka: Written by David Gerrold.

1)I always liked the theme song. I love a good "set up the premsie of the show" theme song.

 

2)Will is played by Wesley Eure, here credited simply as "Wesley". I remember that as a kid I was bemused by the fact that he didn't appear to have a last name. As I recall, he was in some soap opera that my grandmother used to watch, and she was amused to see him in this.

 

3)Holly is played by Kathy Coleman. She's kind of shrill and whiny, but I suppose that's to be expected, what with dinosaurs chasing after her, and all.

 

4)Rick is played by Spencer Milligan, who is vaguely Robert Reed-ish.

 

5)The first dinosaur we meet is a tyrannosaur named "Grumpy", who scared the bejibbers out of me when I was eleven. He's still more convincing than the dinosaurs Doctor Who was doing around the same time.  This was back before Jurassic Park showed us the rexes could run up to thirty miles per hour, so one wonders how Grumpy survives, he never seems to catch much.  Perhaps he noms lots of dinosaurs, and chasing the humans is merely a hobby for him. We also see that the Marshalls have already developed the technique of jamming a big stick in Grumpy's mouth, which strikes me as something that could go very wrong very quickly if Grumpy ever once behaves unpredictably.  We also meet Spot, a coelophysis, whose ilk I suspect forms the mainstay of Grumpy's diet.

 

6)"Last night, I saw three moons in the sky."  It's established fairly early that wherever they are, it's not Earth.

 

7)We also see our first pylon, though it's not yet called that.  It's very reminiscent of the Monolith from 2001.

 

8)We meet Cha-Ka and the Pakuni.  Never liked them much, but I find it interesting how they seemed to have put some effort into creating a language for them.

 

Overall:  Good stuff, but I would have expected as much from Gerrold.



Mark S. Ogilvie said:

That was one of the few shows that my sister and I both liked. On a 9 inch black and white screen the special effects looked pretty good.

 

 

Yes, that's an important thing to remember when critiquing these old shows. We see them alot more clearly watching them on modern TVs than we would have on our old VHF b/w sets back in the 70's.



The Baron said:


Mark S. Ogilvie said:

That was one of the few shows that my sister and I both liked. On a 9 inch black and white screen the special effects looked pretty good.

 

 

Yes, that's an important thing to remember when critiquing these old shows. We see them alot more clearly watching them on modern TVs than we would have on our old VHF b/w sets back in the 70's.

Especially when sometimes the local station didn't run and them and you had to try to jimmie the antenna to get them on stations farther away. And the UHF stations could be even worse!

Yeah, I can remember trying to watch the Providence stations when the Boston stations were pre-empted for one reason or another.

I watched this as a kid growing up, but I wouldn't say I was a huge fan. I though the special effects were decent at the time, but I did get to watch on a color TV.

I did enjoy learning about 10 years ago learning that future NBA star Bill Laimbeer played a Sleestak on the show. No idea which episode(s), but he was listed in the credits

When this show debuted I was right on the cusp of outgrowing Saturday morning cartoons. Because it was live action, I gave it a bit more leeway. I was also right on the cusp of wanting to sleep in on weekends, and Land of the Lost aired late morning rather than early morning. I wouldn’t have been aware of who David Gerrold (or any of the other top flight TV and sci-fi writers he tapped to write episodes) was at the time, but good writing is good writing, and he incorporated lots of hard science along with the fantasy into the show, and he did it in such a way that kids didn’t feel as if they were being lectured. If you have the version of the DVDs featuring his commentary, they are definitely worth listening to.

The stop-motion animation pioneered a new technique and new equipment as well. Stop-motion photography goes back to the early days of film, but it was Land of the Lost which developed the particular technique for integrating live actors alongside the clay dinosaurs. Good ear for the Pakuni language, Bob! Gerrold did hire a professional linguist to develop it's grammar and syntax, a detail a kid wouldn’t notice but an adult can appreciate. Like Ultraman, this is a show that can be appreciated on a whole other level as an adult.

"Not to be too "controlling" about it, but I'm asking that folks not get ahead of me in having extensive discussions of stories I haven't looked at yet."

No S***.  The Moderator already got on my case for doing so at one of your other threads.

Another "coincidence" connected with my video collection.  I just saw Spencer Milligan 2 nights ago watching an episode of MIKE HAMMER!!  2 coincidences connected with the same show in 2 nights-- that's really wild.  The other was-- get this-- I'm going thru my entire "surf" music collection, and am now into the "various artists comps"   Last night, I got halfway thru one of those before I stopped to watch TV.  The comp was SHOTS IN THE DARK, which is a Henry Mancini tribute album, with photos all over it of Rose McGowan (this was years before I first saw her on CHARMED).  10 minutes after I shut off the CD player, I put on another MIKE HAMMER.  The name of the episode?  SHOTS IN THE DARK.  I mean, really... WHAT ARE THE ODDS?????

I think Milligan usually played shady characters. Her role as the father on LAND OF THE LOST was a notable exception.

Jeff of Earth-J:

"When this show debuted I was right on the cusp of outgrowing Saturday morning cartoons."

Same here.

Another thing to remember... the lunatic censorship crowd had all but DESTROYED Saturday mornings by 1970.  No violence. No action. No excitement of any kind. And insistence on "educational values" in the shows. KIDS DON'T WANT THAT CRAP!!!

So at the time, there was almost nothing worth watching on Saturday mornings, especially if you'd reached early-teen years.  The notable exceptions were STAR TREK-- and LAND OF THE LOST. And here's a connction for you.  Larry Niven wrote probaby my favorite STAR TREK cartoon.  He also wrote 3 episodes of LAND OF THE LOST!

By the time the show aired, most Saturday morning shows had been cut back to 13 episodes at the most, which allowed the networks to run them 4 times in one year (when they used to only run them twice, or 2-1/2 times).  LOTL had 17 episodes-- exactly enough to run 3 times. This is important, as, while each episode works on its own, there is a "BIG STORY" that continues to grow and evolve. And it reaches a climax in episode 17. I have ALWAYS felt that the 17th episode was the SERIES FINALE.  They brought the story to a CLOSE!!!  This was unheard of on Saturday mornings, except for the "Danger Island" segments on THE BANANA SPLITS ADVENTURE HOUR

I watched every episode of this show all 3 times that year.  I never missed it.  It was THAT good.

But the following year, they started a 2nd season. The 18th episode... SUCKED.  BAD.  I never watched again. They never should have done a 2nd season (and I understand they did at least 4.)

Those Danger Island segments were fun to watch.

Actually, they only did three seasons of  the original Land of the Lost. I recall not liking the third season so much, I'll see if that still holds true when I get to it.   I recall that they did a re-make of the show in the 90's - I only ever saw part of one episode. More recently, there was a motion picture as well, but everything I heard about it made my shy away from it.

 

The way they credited Spencer Milligan made me think he was some kind of a big deal that I had just never seen before. The IMDB tells me that he appeared in a number of things I've seen over the years - the only one I've got on disc is Police Squad! I'll have to break that out and look at ti.

 

Also according to the IMDB, Kathy Coleman had done one Adam-12 before this, and never worked in showbiz again after LoTL.

 

Looking up Wesley Eure, it would appear that Days of Our Lives is the soap that Grandma knew him from. 

David Gerrold was no longer associated with the show the second season, but it was still pretty good nevertheless. I stopped watching after that (told you I was on the cusp) and didn'ty see the third season until I bought the DVD set. You're right: it's not nearly as good. As far as the movie is concerned, they made it a spoof like the recent Dark Shadows movie. the special effects were good, but it wasn't taken seriously.

I'm unfamiliar with this series. Was it live-action or animated cartoon?  And when was it on?

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