Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)

Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Land of the Lost

caption = "Land of the Lost" title screen
format = Children's television series
runtime = approx. 0:22 (per episode)
creator = Sid and Marty Krofft
starring = Spencer Milligan
as Rick Marshall
(Seasons 1 and 2)

Wesley Eure
as Will Marshall
Kathy Coleman
as Holly Marshall
Philip Paley
as Cha-Ka
Ron Harper
as Uncle Jack Marshall (Season 3)

country = USA
network = NBC
first_aired = September 7, 1974
last_aired = December 4, 1976
num_episodes = 43
list_episodes = List of Land of the Lost episodes
imdb_id = 0071005
tv_com_id = 1254

"Land of the Lost" (19741976) is a children's television series created and produced by Sid and Marty Krofft. During its original run, it was broadcast on the NBC television network. It has since become a cult classic and is now available on DVD.Tim Clodfelter. "Kids vids" (review of "Land of the Lost: The Complete First Season"), "Winston-Salem Journal", August 5 2004, "relish" section, page 33.] Mark Rahner. "Nicole Kidman and Jude Law sure are purty" (DVD review column), "Seattle Times", July 2 2004, MovieTimes section, page H22.] [ "Land of the Lost"] at 70sLiveKidVid] Krofft Productions remade the series in 1991, also titled "Land of the Lost", and a big budget film adaptation is currently in development. It was shot in Los Angeles, California.


"Land of the Lost" details the adventures of a family of three (father Rick Marshall, son Will — around 18 yrs old — and younger daughter Holly-around 12 years old) who are trapped in an alien world inhabited by dinosaurs, chimpanzee-like cavemen called Pakuni, and aggressive, humanoid/lizard creatures called Sleestak that have a mix of insectoid and reptilian characteristics. The episode plots focus on the family's efforts to survive and find a way back to their own world, but the exploration of the exotic features of the Land of the Lost are also an ongoing part of the story.

The series is notable for having a much darker and serious tone than most children's series, and for having a grander and more epic storytelling vision than most shows. The relatively complex plots, unique internal mythology, and ambitious special effects (generally considered unrealistic and even campy today, but advanced for Saturday morning TV in the 1970s) have earned the show a large popular following, particularly among adults who watched the show and other Krofft productions as children. An article on renewed studio interest in feature film versions of "Land of the Lost" and "H.R. Pufnstuf" commented that "decision-makers in Hollywood, and some big-name stars, have personal recollections of plopping down on the family-room wall-to-wall shag sometime between 1969 and 1974 to tune in to multiple reruns of the Kroffts' Saturday morning live-action hits," and quoting Marty Krofft as saying that the head of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer, and leaders at Sony Pictures all had been fans of Krofft programs.Valerie Kuklenski. "If Witchiepoo, Horation J. Hoodoo ring a bell with you,"Daily News of Los Angeles", March 20 2005, page U8.]

A number of well-respected writers in the science fiction field contributed scripts to the series, including Larry Niven,Chris Ball. "Epic drama follows lovers separated by the Civil War" (Home Video column), "The Plain Dealer" (Cleveland, Ohio), July 2 2004, page E4.] Theodore Sturgeon, Ben Bova, and a number of people involved with "", such as Dorothy "D.C." Fontana, Walter Koenig,Eric Deggans. "'Star Trek' actor finds another frontier," "St. Petersburg Times", January 21 1998, page 1D.] Jessica Davis. "'Cartoon' is best when it's simple," "Seattle Post-Intelligencer", March 9 2004, page D5.] and David Gerrold. Gerrold, Niven, and Fontana also contributed commentaries to the DVD of the first season.

The prolific Krofft team was influential in children's television, producing many oddly formatted, highly energetic, and special-effects heavy programs. Many Krofft shows involved similar plots, involving children accidentally trapped in other worlds, but "Land of the Lost" is the Kroffts' most serious treatment of the premise.Tim Clodfelter. "Revival: the fantastic worlds of Sid and Marty Krofft are back in vogue again," "Winston-Salem Journal" (Winston-Salem, NC), August 17 2000, page E1.]

Plot and format

The Marshalls are brought to the mysterious world by means of a dimensional portal, [cite episode|title=Circle| series=Land of the Lost| number=17| season=1] a device used frequently throughout the series and a major part of its internal mythology.

Outfitted only for a short camping trip, the resourceful family takes shelter in a natural cave and improvises the provisions and tools that they need to survive. Their most common and dangerous encounters are with dinosaurs, particularly a "Tyrannosaurus rex" they nickname "Grumpy" who frequents the location of their cave. However, many of the dinosaurs are herbivorous, posing no threat to the Marshalls. One is a particularly tame "Brontosaurus" whom Holly nicknames "Dopey", and whom the family looks upon as a pet.

They also tangle with menacing Sleestak and morally ambiguous "cave men" called Pakuni (one of whom, Cha-Ka, they befriend), as well as a variety of other dangerous creatures, mysterious technology, and strange geography.

The main goal of the three is to find a way to return home. They are occasionally aided in this by the Altrusian castaway Enik. At the start of the third season Rick Marshall is accidentally returned to Earth alone, leaving his children behind, and is replaced by his brother Jack. Spencer Milligan's absence was explained by having Rick Marshall disappear after he was trying to use one of the pylons to get home, and that Jack had stumbled upon his niece and nephew after he embarked on a search of his own to find them.

Though the term "time doorway" is used throughout the series, "Land of the Lost" is not meant to portray an era in Earth's history, but rather an enigmatic zone whose place and time are unknown. The original creators of these time portals were thought to be the ancestors of the Sleestak, called Altrusians, though later episodes raised some questions about this.

Many aspects of the "Land of the Lost", including the time doorways and environmental processes, were controlled by the Pylons, metallic obelisk-shaped booths that were larger on the inside than the outside and housed matrix tables — stone tables studded with a grid of colored crystals. Uncontrolled time doorways result in the arrival of a variety of visitors and castaways in the Land.

Although they came close to returning to their own time in several episodes, at the time the series was canceled they had never successfully returned home.


"Land of the Lost" is notable for its epic-scale concept, which suggested an expansive world with many fantastic forms of life and mysterious technology, all created on a children's series' limited production budget. To support the internal mythology, linguist Victoria Fromkin was even commissioned to create a special language for the Pakuni, which she based on the sounds of West African speech and attempted to build into the show in a gradual way that would allow viewers to learn the language over the course of many episodes.Kevin Walker. "Masters of puppets - New videos. Movies deals on the table. Suddenly, former Saturday morning television kings Sid and Marty krofft are hot again," "The Tampa Tribune, June 18 1999, Friday Extra! section, page 20.] The series' intention was to create a realistic fantasy world, albeit relying heavily on children's acceptance of minor inconsistencies.

The show played effectively to children and was an ambitious narrative project, introducing an unusually complex fantasy storyline thanks largely to first-season story editor and writer David Gerrold. It was a marked departure from the Krofft team's previous work, which mostly featured extremely stylized puppets and sets such as those in "H.R. Pufnstuf" and "Lidsville".

The series was shot on a modular indoor soundstage, which made economical use of a small number of sets and scenic props which were rearranged frequently to suggest the ostensibly vast jungles, ancient cities and cave systems. Additional locations were often rendered using scale miniatures.fact|date=February 2008 During the final season, the Marshalls and Cha-ka moved from their cave to a Sleestak temple. A popular myth for the reason of this set-change is tied into the fire that destroyed the cave sets for another Krofft show "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters". However, this fire took place during the second season of "Sigmund", at which time "Land of the Lost" would have been in production of only its first season. The first two seasons of "Land of the Lost" were taped at a different studio entirely from that of "Sigmund". The show then moved to Goldwyn Studios for its third season. This was the studio where the fire did occur two years prior that destroyed the "Sigmund" sets. Fact|date=November 2007

Non-human characters were portrayed by actors in latex rubber suits, or with heavy creature make-up. Dinosaurs in the series were created using a combination of stop motion animation miniatures, rear projection film effects and occasional hand puppets for close-ups of dinosaur heads. (On a commentary track for "Land of the Lost"'s first-season DVD, Wesley Eure points out that the Grumpy hand puppet has no hole in the back of its throat, even though it is often seen opening its mouth wide to roar.) Fact|date=November 2007

Special effects footage was frequently re-used. Additional visual effects were achieved using manual film overlay techniques, the low-tech ancestor to current motion control photography. Fact|date=November 2007

ee also

*List of "Land of the Lost" episodes
*"Land of the Lost" characters and species
*"Land of the Lost" geography and technology


*Rick Marshall (Seasons 1 and 2) - Spencer Milligan
*Uncle Jack Marshall (Season 3) - Ron Harper
*Will Marshall - Wesley Eure
*Holly Marshall - Kathy Coleman
*Cha-Ka - Philip Paley
*Sa - Sharon Baird (Seasons 1 and 2)
*Ta - Joe Giamalva (Season 1) and Scutter McKay (Season 2)
*Enik - Walker Edmiston
*The Zarn - Marvin Miller (voice) and Van Snowden (body) (Season 2)
*Malak - Richard Kiel (Season 3)
*Sleestak Leader - Jon Locke (Season 3)
*Sleestak - Dave Greenwood, Bill Laimbeer, John Lambert, Cleveland Porter, Jack Tingley, Scott Fullerton, Mike Westra, Bill Boyd, David Harris, Clarke Roberts

Film adaptation

A feature film based on the 1974 TV series is currently in production. The film is directed by Brad Silberling and stars Will Ferrell.


External links

* [ "Tyrannosaurus lex" Devoted to both the 70's and 90's versions of the series]
* [ "Land of the Lost Online" Fan Fiction, Wallpapers and Series Info Site]
* [ "Land of the Lost" (unofficial) homepage]
* [ Tavis Smiley - Sid & Marty Krofft Interview (Transcript and Real Player Audio)]
* [ World of Krofft - Krofft Kollectibles Museum]
* [ Jesse Thorn/The Sound of Young America - Marty Krofft Interview (Podcast)]

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