This series, from the famous Sid & Marty Krofft team, featured the adventures of Will, Holly and their father Rick Marshall trapped an alternate world of dinosaurs, troglodytes, and sleestak. Though charming in it's time, the years have not been kind.
Have you ever been looking forward to something so much that it gave you a thrill you could almost taste? Have you ever built in your mind the beauty and splendor that awaits you?
When I saw a copy of the first season of "Land of the Lost" on the shelf, my heart near skipped a beat. I couldn't believe that I had almost forgotten this beautiful series. I dashed home with my purchase, and set down to relive those glorious days of youth.
Was I ever so young that I thought this was the pinnacle of my day? Yes, there is a sweet charm to the stories. Yes, some of the stories were written by David Gerrold of "The Trouble with Tribbles" fame. Yes, some the angst and loneliness of childhood shone thru. And, yes, I began to have a crush on Holly all over again, as I remembered fondly how cute I thought she was when I was her age.
But I distinctly remember the sleestak being terrifying, not silly. I remember the dinosaurs interacting flawlessly with the actors, not the blatant blue-screening that was here before me. I KNOW that the sleestak caves were a dark and foreboding place, not the obviously quickly thrown together set I was seeing. And worse of all, I felt betrayed by my mind. For the stories I was in awe of, seemed stale and tired.
I realized that I was having fun. Despite all of the stilted acting by two young children, despite how poorly the special effects stood up against the "Star Wars" extravaganzas of today, despite the silly stories, despite all of this and more, I was having FUN.
I wouldn't recommend this to those of you are too young to remember it. But if you're old enough, like me, then I've found a place where they haven't yet "...put up the new Wal-Mart".
wasn't peter brady in this show, as the oldest kid? maybe not, i really cannot remember much. i remember the sleestacks, and the super corny theme song. the special effects were pretty good considering the show was a child of the late seventies. i thought the remake during the ninties sucked though.
I used to watch this show all the time, but of course on saturday i would get hopped up on eggoes, syrup and sugar sugar sugar frosted flakes or sugar smacks, (now known as honey smacks).... anyhow, i loved the blonde holly, the storyline was intruiging, sort of a rip off of journey to the center of the earth meets the 3 stooges except moe is a cave monkey named cha'ka and it has a slight 7th heaven (ok not that bad, but usually there is a moral to the tale) i remember a crummy episode with medusa, but wanted to always kiss little swiss miss holley. sigh.
ps. didnt they, in the early 90\'s remake this show? didnt they? yes, yes they did, wwith some brown haired girl in glasses as holley, and cha\'ka still rode the little bus to one million bc.
This show was probably one of the first great shows of my childhood. Possibly the best of the Sid and Marty Kroft shows, watching it today is like reliving my childhood if but for the very cheesy special affects and acting that went into it. Unlike the modern series "Lost," the writers idn't seem to have any set definition as to where the Marshalls were; every writer added something new and there was no attempt to really link or solve any of the numerous riddles of what the dinos were doing there or who created the civilizations the Marshalls created. If the Pakuni were relatives of Bigfoot, I can only assume the Sleestak were humanoid-evolved raptors. They couldn't shoot straight nor were they very good in fighting or keeping prisoners. Hard to believe I was scared of those things as a kid. Still, despite a grown-up look at the series today, it remains a childhood favorite of mine. The earlier episodes were much more likeable before the dad left the series.
To appreciate this, you have to put it in perspective...it's a teleplay and some of the most influential sci-fi writers of the 70's helped. I'm sure that many of us of the TV generation were influenced by its moral compass and mystery.
Now that the entire series is available on DVD, I've had the chance to revisit this blast from the past. (Now, if they'd just get Wonderbug digital.)
Yes, it's true, by almost any standard, the special effects are low budget...and they were. The target audience was kids on Saturday morning. But I've come to realize that "Land of the Lost" belongs in the 'teleplay' class of programming. If you've ever seen a video of "Into The Woods" the musical or other stage work, you know what I'm talking about. If you watch it as if it were a performance of a story rather than the actual representation of something that happened (reality tv generation I'm talking to you) then it's much more palatable.
In the pilot episode, it becomes evident that one of the aims of the show is to teach kids:
- a positive attitude about the nature of discovery
- being level-headed and resourceful when you are in a dire situation
- respect for other creatures in the world (Rick tells Holly about Cha-ka "people don't own people")
The teleplay example is ever evident in Rod Serling's delivery pre and post-story during the "Twilight Zone" and "Night Gallery" and while it takes a more literal approach, I believe that the modern viewer must understand that treasures like "Land of the Lost" requires you to suspend your disbelief on such a level that your imagination must fill in the gaps, much the way you must do when reading a book.
This classic series should be updated, no doubt, but I don't believe that the story should be butchered the way it was during the brief remake a few years back (the truck never ran out of gas? c'mon...that's just silly.) I respect the storytelling of the original series and wish that up-and-coming sci-fi writers could be tapped for a similar series which would interest kids today in much the same way we were as kids. The show was a vehicle, the same way Star Trek was, to ask questions about the world around us, veiled in interesting fiction. In these ways I believe "Land of the Lost" was way ahead of its time and while I am not a big fan of some of the pyschelic product of Krofft, even "Sigmund the Sea Monster" has its place. Whether as a commentary on the prevalent drug culture of the 70's (Puff N Stuff, Magic Flute, Lidsville) or as a time capsule (when was THAT hair or those jeans actually cool?), we can learn from the archive of the television culture...it's made many of us who we are today.
Sid and Marty Kroft created a number of memorable children's shows. "Land of the Lost" is no doubt their greatest achievement. Following the Marshalls as the struggle to survive and make their way home was great entertainment every time. The terrific supporting characters are another thing that made this show worth while. The Sleestak were terrific (and even scary) villains while allies like Cha-Ka and Enik (A decendant of the Sleestak) were interesting and well written characters as well. There was a revival of this series in the ninties, and a terrible 2009 film, but the original can't be matched.
First off..I must reiterate that there was no trap door. The Marshall family ended up in the Land of the Lost by traveling down a waterfall.Secondly, I must stress that this show may have been the most entertaining and original of all time. Where else do you get to see pea sized boulders being hurled at the main characters? Where else to you get to see mini wok befriending anyone other than Han Solo? There is also something I need to bring up...I find a striking, almost shocking similarity between Jamie (the brother from Small Wonder) and Chaka the hairy little beast that has a schoolgirl crush on Holly?
a small family is stranded in a strange land with talking lizards, a space alien, dinosaur's and strange obelisks that control everything. They struggle in day to day life to find a way home and along the way make some great friends and enemies.
I was just a little girl, but this show rocked on the Saturday morning line-up. I loved the adventures of the dad and kids, and all the dinosaurs. I don't remember much about it except for the caves, Holly's blonde braids that I coveted and the baby dinosaurs that made cute baby dinosaur noises. Oh, yeah, and everybody ran a lot. It was so much fun to watch!
Call me a strange child but, I prefered this show over the animated cartoons that were on the other channels. I am not sure now as I write this at the ripe ole' age of 44, why I liked it but, I did. I think I had a crush on Will...lol
While on a routine rafting trip the Marshall family, Rick Marshall and his two children, Will and Holly, fall through a time portal into a world inhabited by prehistoric creatures and misplaced beings. Forced to learn to survive in a world turned upside down the Marshall's would have to rely on some help from unexpected places. Living day by day and running from dinosaurs or evil sleestack, a race of lizard-like humanoids, the family grew closer together. Eventually the family would be able to return home only to have another Marshall family from another rift in time enter the dimension. Land of the Lost was an intelligent show that didn't take children for granted. The shows episodes were written by some of the top names in science fiction of the time. Walter Koenig, of Star Trek fame, wrote what may be the shows best episode, The Stranger, which introduced Enik a more evolved Sleestak from an earlier time who ultimately aided in the Marshall family returning home.
The shows cast would be lead by veteran TV actor Spenser Milligan (Gunsmoke, Quincy, and The Dukes of Hazard) who brought a heart felt touch to the role of the father Rick Marshall. A character who even today could be the poster boy for a perfect parent who was always willing to listen to his children, who was slow to anger and maybe the world's greatest teacher. Milligan filled the role to perfection and a generation of children grew up to think of his character as the father they never had. Young soap opera star Wesley Eure (Days of our Lives) would be cast as the adventurous teenage boy Will Marshall. Again TV experience would lend to a another memorable character. Will was always exploring his boundaries, often with catastrophic consequences, but was always on hand to look after his younger sister. Eure was great at coming across as someone who couldn't accept his situation and was willing to try anything to get his family home. Unknown child actress Kathy Coleman was cast as the ever complaining younger sister Holly. For someone with little TV experience Coleman did a remarkable job. Holly was always wanting to hold on to her older brother's shirt tales and mess up any plan he would come up with. It is obvious that Coleman drew upon her own innocence and awkwardness in her porayal of a child becoming a young woman under the worst of situations. Despite everything the show had going for it Land of the Lost would only survive three seasons on Saturday morning. Several changes in both story and cast would ultimately become the shows downfall. Milligan would be replaced in the third season by another veteran actor Ron Harper who would play the family's Uncle Jack who had been searching for them. He would enter the dimension just as Rick Marshall exited. The shows decline couldn't be blamed on Harper. A gaff by the network in "dumbing down" the stories and firing most of the shows original writers ultimately spelled the end for the show. New dinosaurs were brought in (including a fire breathing Dimetradon) to keep children interested, but nothing could replace the mind expanding scripts of the first two seasons. Land of the Lost was something unique to television. Never had such detail been added to a children's show. The dinosaurs were, for the time, excellent stop motion models. The vocabulary of the primitive Paku was developed by a UCLA professor . The scripts were written by the best in the business. Never before or after has such a production been attempted in children's programing. It is for these reasons that Land of the Lost is still remembered fondly by those old enough to have watched it in it's original airing.
From Original Posting on Monster Island News (http://monstermovieblog.blogspot.com/2007/02/land-of-lost-tv-1974-1977.html)
Land of the Lost is a generational thing. Depending on how old you are, perhaps the thing you thrilled to as a child was the Tarzan stories. Or the John Carter of Mars tales. Or perhaps the radio serials (What evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows...). Maybe you watched the early tv science fiction programs from the 1950s.
For many children in the 1970s, Land of the Lost was the single most impressive non-animated show on Saturday mornings.
Let me pick one episode as an example. Holly, Will and Rick are on the top of a mountain. A pilot from their future has ended up in the Land. He's got binoculars, and he takes a look through them. Turns out that he can see the backs of the four of them as they stand on the mountain looking into the binoculars.
Rick says something about how the Land of the Lost is a closed universe.
Think about that! Einsteinian physics slipped into a children's tv show.
Sure, the sets were terribly cheap. And the special effects probably only look good to someone on drugs. This was back in the 1970s. Special effects didn't exist. Computers were giant boxes that ran tape reels. And here was a program aimed at children about a cul-de-sac in space-time where dinosaurs, lizard-men, and hominids existed.
I wonder sometimes what the Krofft brothers would have been able to whip up if they'd come along in the late 1990s and convinced someone to give them a science-fiction program to aim at children.
Kathy Coleman will be appearing along with her "Land Of The Lost" Co Star, Wesley Eure at Steel City Con in Pittsburgh, March 2012. It's a "Krofft Superstars Reunion" and it will be a show you will NOT want to miss. It's been a LONG time since Kathy and Wesley have been at the same show together! Here is a link
this is without question the greatest childrens show of all time and one of the all time great television shows. people today who werent familiar with the show in the 70s are sadly unable for the most part to appreciate the show because of its campy special effects. what most see as the shows biggest weakness I personally see as its greatest strength. if the effects had been better the creators wouldnt have needed to write such intelligent stories and work on character development. this theroy proves true if u have ever seen the attempt to recreate the magic in the 90s verson of the show. they tried to make great looking effects but didnt write good stories or create characters anyone cared about.
i was 2 when the show first aired and I grew up watching shows about time travel , alternate dimensions and a family who really loved each other while most children my age were watching scooby bring chased by a real estate developer in a werewolf costume or some other show where the writers assumed children were stupid. land of the lost challenged us to think while bringing exciting and memorable shows. few people today will get excited to hear the mention of thundar the barbarion or grape ape. but go into a bar and mention the sleestak and many people will get suddenly excited and nastalgic in a way ive never seen at the mention of any other show.
the most important thing about this show ( i only see this now as a 35yo father of 2 ) is the family development. lotl is really about a single father trying to raise his childern to be good people even in a difficult situation. my wife just bought me the series on dvd for valentines day ( wonderful woman. loves me even though I am a dork ) and i like the show even more now than i did as a kid its nastalgic , campy , brillant , and stands up even today.
if you cant get past the special effects to see the wonderful stories , then u are missing out on a very magical show from a very special time.
a note on my score this score applies to the first two seasons the third season gets a 1 all of the episodes were GREAT spencer milligan and cast were the perfect combo grumpy alice spike emily and OF COURSE dopey (makes a sound like dopey would) cha ka and ta and sa wow entertaining sid and marty kroft even came up with the time loop idea between season two and the third season which got the show canceled a perfect show for the first two seasons it was a great show. too bad the new movie is gonna shame it .
Adventure, Action, Dinosaurs, Scary bug-eyed creatures and a Beautiful Blonde to come to the rescue of every week. How could you go wrong??.. Answer is you can't it was ahead of it's time certainly but classic sci-fi/adventure full of imagination, and about as heart pounding edge of your seat entertainment as saturday morning television has ever dared to be, before or since. All of this done with the aid of the incredibly deep blue eyes, freckles and those braids, those unforgettable blonde braids, the plaid shirt..the blue jeans the hiking boots, and that eternally sweet caring smile that were all part of the one and only true Holly Marshall (Kathy Coleman), not the later pretender to the throne in the wannabe remake, it was good, but lacked so much feeling and intensity
A truly great sci-fi adventure series. As is normal with good television shows, this one did not last long enough. This is a show that I would suggest watching if you get the chance. Check the bargain bins at Wal-Mart, the online movies sites (Amazon.com and such) and all of the cable channels that run old shows. Nick at Nite and TV Land are great for theses kind of shows. They will even do a week long spot for shows that only had 6 or so episodes. Then you have your super stations. They run a bunch of old shows too. All in all a pretty good show that did not get a good enough chance. Sometimes it is a simple as the show it is up against. Look at Law & Order. It is one of the longest running shows on TV. They moved it to go up against Lost. After about 2 weeks of getting pounded in the ratings it was moved back to it's original time slot. Shows like this should be given more of an opportunity.
I have neer seen this show before, but it looks like something worth watching if the Sleestack is level forty one here on tv.com. If it is on DVD, i might buy it and see what it looks like. I guess i will just have to wait until i see it myself before a full judgement.
This show has plenty left in the timeline and could easily be revived for a slightly older audience. Modern special effects, and slightly better acting wouldn't hurt either. You won't be left wondering how much would could a wood chuck really chuck if wood chucking was on the wood chuck's mind.
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