Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Discuss: Land of the Giants

Karen: Another Irwin Allen production, how many of you recall this minor sci fi series with Earth men trapped on a world of giants? The show was on from 1968-1970 and had a total of 51 episodes. Honestly, Lost in Space just looks better and better the more I see of Allen's other shows.


William said...

I remember the show being on, but I don't remember anything about it. It came and went before I was even 5 years old. So I probably didn't watch too much of it. My attention span isn't too long now, it must have been nearly non-existent then.

Edo Bosnar said...

I remember this show, but like William, not too well. It was on in syndication where I lived in the mid-'70s, and my older sister and brother used to watch it sometimes, mainly to laugh at how silly it was. One thing I seem to recall is that almost everyone on the "giant world" had these little boxes or cages that were perfect for holding doll-sized people captive.

david_b said...


LIS 'looks better and better'..??

I nearly spit up my coffee. We are discussing LOTG.., correct?

It's probably Irwin's best production, besides the first year of LIS. LIS's third year was a personal favorite of mine, but in terms of silliness and fantasy, LIS took the cake by the time it was over.

LOTG probably had the most interesting group dynamics of any of Irwin's shows lead actors. Except for the obvious Fitzhugh, Barry and the dog sequences obligatorily mimicing the Smith/Will/Robot shitck from LIS, this show had the best-drawn characters, with good drama and character tension. I loved how every so often they'd get into some good scrapes and brawls with each other, especially Matheson and Conway knockin' each other around, both actors good at keeping the action and suspense going.

(Never saw that with the leads of any other Allen production..)

The first season had some great abrasiveness in terms of stark action, noteably 'The Crash' in the distant future of 1983 (too funny..), and 'The Lost Ones' with a young hoodlum punk Zalman King (future Hollywood director), whose bouts with Conway resulted in some broke ribs for Conway. It was by in large, the most physical show Allen had produced, calling for most of the leads to do their own stunts. Apparently it was strongly considered that Matheson and Deanna Lund get married in a proposed 3rd year, but cancellation happened (they got married in real life..).

Some silliness did creep into the 2nd Season, but by this time Allen was moving the giants into a more 'secret police state' world, to keep the tension up. I know early on the Giants were to have their own language, but smartly that proved not to be practical for a sustained series. Like reusing props between other Allen productions, we got to see my favorite LIS Space Pod in LOTG's 2nd year in a couple of episodes.

The show did have it's dumb episodes, like any other Allen effort. The Spindrift isn't my idea of a flight-worthy spacecraft, but, meh, it looked great with the slowly-pulsing red-grided lights to represent it's power. Keeping up with just how advanced the 'giants world' would give you headaches, but not as bad as most of the LIS episodes. And seeing Bruce Dern and Yvonne Craig guest-star in one of their final episodes was pretty cool, as was some of the more psychedelic/paranoic stories like 'The Unsuspected' and 'Nightmare'.

Edo, the issue of cages was specifically for catching the elusive little people for supposidly huge rewards. Made perfect sense.

All in all, an expensive and pretty cool show, being Irwin's last '60s action-adventure show.

david_b said...

Another nice tidbit for LOTG..,

That Aurora LOTG Snake plastic model kit was one of the coolest '60s models ever made. My brother had that when I was growing up.

William Preston said...

I watched it as a kid, but probably remember it more because I had the View Master set for "Crash." I had a View Master projector, and the disks came with a script, so I could put on my own show (over and over and over). I also owned one of these sets for UFO and Lost in Space (the prison-in-space episode, sadly).

Dr. Oyola said...

Another one of those shows I've heard of, but never watched. Pretty sure my older brother watched it and he was the one who told me about it.

Anonymous said...

My memories of this one are even more vague than usual, partly because (unlike Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Star Trek) I only saw it in its original run, when I was ten or eleven, and never saw it in syndicated reruns. In fact, until I read Edo's comment today, I didn't know that it ever was rerun after 1970.

I never had the model kits (there was the one with the snake, and another with the spacecraft), but I remember seeing ads for them in comic books and monster movie magazines. I did have the View Master reel with the first episode (and also the ones with the VTTBOTS episode "Deadly Creature Below" and the LIS episode with the prison satellite).

The similarities to LIS are obvious, but LOTG seemed to have more diversity, maybe because four of the seven characters were civilian passengers, instead of crew members. As I recall, Fitzhugh was usually more sympathetic than Dr. Smith, e.g., in the episode where he played an elf to entertain the kids in an orphanage.

I do remember that either the planet, or maybe just the country where the Spindrift was stranded, was ruled by a dictatorship, and some episodes had the Earth people involved with dissidents. It seems like the show was cancelled before that theme was fully developed, though.

And I remember the LIS Space Pod turning up at least twice, as the time travelers' vehicle.

IIRC, LOTG was usually played straight; by 1968, the Batman/camp fad was obviously passing. The campiest episode that I recall was the one with the Pied Piper, and I suppose that was to be expected, since Jonathan Harris played the part.

Anonymous said...

I think it still has great potential for a remake though, set in our modern times, the special effects and storylines would be great.
Maybe a movie version?

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