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Cha-Ka

Land Of The LostOn a rafting trip, the Marshall family is deposited into another world after a huge earthquake sends them over an uncharted waterfall. The presence of three moons in the night sky is their first clue that they’re no longer on Earth, and yet the jungle world is populated by dinosaurs straight out of Earth’s prehistoric age.

On the run from a tyrannosaurus rex, Will and Penny Marshall stop to help a chimp-like Paku named Cha-Ka. In his own flight from the T-rex, Cha-Ka has broken his leg. Will and Penny’s father, Rich Marshall, reluctantly allows them to offer shelter to their new friend. Cha-Ka is fascinated by the humans’ ability to create fire seemingly from nothing, and sneaks out of the Marshalls’ “home” cave with a lighter. The Marshalls follow him, only to find themselves at the mercy of the dreaded T-rex once more. But will Cha-Ka lead them to safety or sacrifice his new friends to make his own escape?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by David Gerrold
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell / theme music by Linda Laurie

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Sharon Baird (Paku), Joe Giamalva (Paku), Philip Paley (Cha-Ka)

Notes: A fondly-remembered cornerstone of NBC’s Saturday morning children’s lineup for three years, Land Of The Lost is populated – at least behind the scenes – by veterans of the original Star Trek. David Gerrold wrote the pilot and numerous other Land Of The Lostinstallments, as well as script-editing the series (and, in interviews for the DVD release of the series, Gerrold says he was responsible for nailing down the series concepts into a coherent writers’ bible, although Allan Foshko and executive producers Sid and Marty Krofft are credited with creating the series). Art director Herman Zimmerman would be later be involved with Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and virtually all of the Star Trek feature films that were released during those two series’ run. Original series prop and monster-maker Wah Chang created the detailed animated dinosaur models, which were truly impressive for a television show in the early ’70s, and Michael Westmore – credited as “Mike” – handled the series’ creature makeup. Other Trek veterans crop up during the series’ run – see if you can spot them all!

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Sleestak God

Land Of The LostA routine trip to fill their canteens with water turns frightening thanks to Will’s insistence on taking a “shortcut,” which seems to be Will’s shorthand for “getting lost and bumping into Cha-Ka.” But that route leads the two to an ancient temple of some sort – and, on a nearby rock, in plain English, is written a warning: BEWARE THE SLEESTAK. Cha-Ka panics and flees, and large, hissing humanoid lizards corner Will and Holly and capture them. Cha-Ka races to tell Rick Marshall what’s happened to his children, and brings Will back to the Sleestak temple. Will discovers that the Sleestaks fear fire, and he’s able to free his kids… but it would seem the Marshall family has made a new enemy.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by David Gerrold
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Land Of The LostCast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), David Greenwood (Sleestak), William Laimbeer (Sleestak), John Lambert (Sleestak), Philip Paley (Cha-Ka)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Dopey

Land Of The LostWill and Holly struggle to maneuver their newly-built cart through the forest, at least until they find a good reason to get it moving: giant berries, each bigger than their heads. But someone else wants to feast on those too, and soon they find themselves being followed by a clumsy brontosaurus hatchling. Holly names the baby dinosaur Dopey and thinks she can keep him as a pet and teach him to do tricks; it’s only when she also teaches Dopey to pull the heavy cart that her father is convinced that Dopey has a use. But this relatively small “pet” is also defenseless compared to the other dinosaurs, and he could be attracting the wrong kind of attention to the Marshalls’ cave hideout.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Margaret Armen
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Land Of The LostCast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Downstream

Land Of The LostRick decides it’s time for the Marshall family to seek newer pastures by following the nearby swamp to a river, which he hopes will lead them to other signs of civilization. But when the river begins running a little too fast for them to navigate safely, Rick realizes that their raft is moments away from a waterfall. The Marshalls bail out before they go over with it, climbing into a cave next to the river. They find signs of another human being there, and then they see him: an old-time gold prospector who thought he was the only human here. It appears that he’s been here much longer than the Marshalls – possibly since the American Civil War – and the isolation has taken its toll on his mind. But this prospector has hit a motherlode of glowing crystals, in a cave where Holly finds the skeleton of a long-dead Sleestak. With that find, the Marshalls are ready to leave, but their new neighbor refuses to show them how to leave the caves – and he still keeps the escape route to himself even when more Sleestaks appear.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Larry Niven
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Walker Edmiston (Jefferson Davis Collie), David Greenwood (Sleestak), William Laimbeer (Sleestak), John Lambert (Sleestak)

Land Of The LostNotes: This is Walker Edmiston‘s (1925-2007) first appearance in Land Of The Lost, but not in his more familiar recurring role of Enik. He had worked on several earlier projects for the Krofft brothers, providing voices in H.R. Pufnstuf, The Lost Saucer and Sigmund The Sea Monster. Other appearances include the final Buck Rogers episode (The Dorian Secret), the dubbed voice of Balok in the Star Trek episode The Corbomite Maneuver, numerous voices in the original Planet Of The Apes pentalogy, and Inferno in the original Transformers series. Writer Larry Niven is best known for his Known Space novels chronicling the Man-Kzin Wars, though he was no stranger to Saturday morning science fiction: he wrote an episode of the animated Star Trek series which integrated his warlike Kzinti into the Star Trek timeline (at least for one episode). Amusingly enough for a show aimed at a juvenile audience, the prospector offers Holly a drink that will “put hair on your chest” (presumably alcohol); she politely declines. It seems he’s been too busy drinking to notice that there are dinosaurs on ground level, as he doesn’t know what a tyrannosaurus rex looks like.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Tag-Team

Land Of The LostA food-gathering expedition is brought to a crawl thanks to the use of Dopey as a beast of burden. Rick Marshall sets the baby dinosaur loose and gives Will and Penny news they don’t want to hear: they’ll have to roll the wagon back to their cave themselves. Worse yet, when they turn their backs to harvest giant turnips, someone has stolen food from the wagon – a trio of Pakuni, including Cha-Ka. Before a fight over the stolen food can take place, all of them are pursued by two tyrannosaurs. Will, Holly and Cha-Ka fall into a crevasse and are trapped. Now Rick has to try to communicate to Cha-Ka’s fellow Pakuni to get their help to free his kids – without ending up as the dinosaurs’ dinner himself.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Norman Spinrad
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Land Of The LostCast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Philip Paley (Cha-Ka), Sharon Baird (Paku), Joe Giamalva (Paku)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Stranger

Land Of The LostWill and Holly wander into a cave, discovering a large crystal suspended inside a pyramid-like frame. When Rick finds them in the cave, Sleestaks attack, only to be driven back by another of their kind, an intelligent Sleestak known as Enik. Enik tells the Marshalls that the crystal is a dimensional doorway that could help return them to their own place in time and space… but Enik is also here by accident, having tumbled back in time from the future. Or so he claims; when the Marshalls lead him to the Sleestak city ruins, he recognizes the city well: the savage, primitive Sleestaks aren’t his ancestors, but rather his descendants. Claiming the crystal for himself, will Enik prove to be friend or foe when the Sleestaks return?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Walter Koenig
directed by Bob Lally
music by Jimmie Haskell

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Walker Edmiston Land Of The Lost(Enik), David Greenwood (Sleestak), William Laimbeer (Sleestak), John Lambert (Sleestak)

Notes: Writer Walter Koenig is best known to genre audiences as the original Star Trek’s Chekov, and his first on-screen writing credit was an episode of that show’s animated revival; he had also recently appeared in two episodes of The Starlost as Oro. The dilapidated Sleestak city was first explored in The Sleestak God. Walker Edmiston previously appeared in Downstream, but not as Enik. This is Enik’s first appearance in the series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Album

Land Of The LostWill is awakened late at night by a strange sound, but when he next hears the sound while working outside in broad daylight, he can’t ignore it. He follows it, like a siren song, to the Sleestak ruins where he sees an image of his mother. He then snaps out of it and returns home. This continues until Holly notices his strange behavior and follows him to the ruins; by touching a particular crystal that Will picks up in the ruins, she can see her mother too. But something is stopping both of them from saying anything to Rick, and it isn’t until he follows his children’s latest trance-like trek to the ruins that he realizes who is luring them there.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Dick Morgan
directed by Bob Lally
music by Jimmie Haskell

Land Of The LostCast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Erica Hagen (Mother), David Greenwood (Sleestak), William Laimbeer (Sleestak), John Lambert (Sleestak)

Notes: Despite Enik’s claims in the previous episode that the Sleestaks in the ruins are his descendants, reduced to primitive savagery, the Sleestaks seem to have some understanding of what the crystal and the cave do to the Marshalls, as they’re lying in wait for their victims.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Skylons

Land Of The LostWill and Holly embark on another unauthorized expedition into the jungle, following a trio of flying structures similar to the pylons they’ve spotted in Sleestak territory. Although the Marshall siblings agree to call the flying objects “skylons,” they can’t agree on what to do next. Will finds a pylon near where the skylons are hovering, and barges in and begins changing the positions of the crystals inside. The weather immediately turns against them, forcing them to take shelter in the pylon until Rick finds them. As his father lectures him about tampering with the forces of nature, Will has to backtrack, trying to remember how to set the crystals back into the positions where they were originally, as the weather outside grows more severe. What no one realizes is that the skylons themselves are trying to help.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Dick Morgan
directed by Bob Lally
music by Jimmie Haskell

Land Of The LostCast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Philip Paley (Cha-Ka)

Notes: Although Philip Paley is credited as Cha-Ka, the character does not appear in this episode.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Hole

Land Of The LostRick and Will revisit the Sleestak city ruins to get another look at the time portal, leaving Holly at home to clean house; instead she gets a return visit from Dopey. Once inside the city, Rick and Will discover that they’ve come calling while there are still Sleestaks in the city. Rick tackles a Sleestak, giving Will a chance to escape, but Rick is hurled into a pit. He finds himself alone with an unusually talkative Sleestak who warns that they will soon be devoured by the Sleestaks’ god. Will escapes the city and immediately finds himself on the run from “Big Alice,” a hungry allosaurus who hunts near the ruins.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Wina Sturgeon
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Land Of The LostCast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Scott Fullerton (Sleestak), Jack Tingley (Sleestak), Mike Westra (Sleestak)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Paku Who Came To Dinner

Land Of The LostMonths after becoming stranded in the prehistoric wilderness, the Marshalls reflect on the changes that their presence has brought to the environment, and to the lives of Cha-Ka, Dopey and the other creatures they’ve met. Holly continues trying to make friends with Cha-Ka and the Paku, but her overtures of friendship meet with mixed results when Cha-Ka’s people kidnap her.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Barry Blitzer
directed by Bob Lally
music by Jimmie Haskell

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Sharon Baird (Paku), Joe Giamalva (Paku), Philip Paley (Cha-Ka)

Land Of The LostNotes: Only ten episodes into its first season, Land Of The Lost was already so far over budget that a “clip show” – an unfortunately common practice where a money-strapped show films a few framing scenes of a story in which the characters “remember” clips of their past exploits – was necessary. Episodes “remembered” by the Marshalls include Cha-Ka, Dopey, and others, with all new scenes shot using existing sets, costumes, and dinosaur miniature scenes, and no guest stars aside from the usual Paku suspects (whose costumes and makeup had already been made for previous episodes).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Elsewhen

Land Of The LostThe Marshalls once again sneak into the Sleestak city to try to work out the operation of the time portal. Growing bored as Rick admits that the number of combinations of colored crystals could be infinite, Holly wanders off; before she is found again, she encounters a woman named Rani who seems to know a great deal about her, including her fear of heights. Rani insists that this fear must be overcome soon if Holly is to save the lives of her family. But can Rani be trusted, or will this latest attempt to investigate the time portal end with another Sleestak attack?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by D.C. Fontana
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Erica Hagen (Rani), Scott Fullerton (Sleestak), Jack Tingley (Sleestak), Mike Westra (Sleestak)

Land Of The LostNotes: Guest star Erica Hagen had a small role in 1973’s Soylent Green, and guest-starred in a two-part episode of Wonder Woman. She had previously appeared in Land Of The Lost as an illusion of Will and Holly’s mother. The time doorway was introduced in The Stranger, and we explored further in The Hole. The plot twist of Rani’s origin is an element that would be borrowed by the 1990s version of Land Of The Lost.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Hurricane

Land Of The LostWill and Holly find themselves cornered by unusually active dinosaurs. Surrounded on all sides, they’re left with no choice but to climb up a rocky mountainside to escape. They’re surprised to find a pylon atop the mountain, and when Will disturbs the controls, glowing lights appear in the sky, and one of them disgorges a parachutist. Will and Holly rush to help, since any new arrivals are unlikely to be prepared for the abundance of dinosaurs. The parachutist is wayward astronaut Beauregard Jackson, and Will worries that he is responsible for the man’s predicament. Worse yet, the time portal that brought Jackson here is still open, allowing hurricane-force winds to build up.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by David Gerrold and Larry Niven
directed by Bob Lally
music by Jimmie Haskell

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Ron Masak (Beauregard Jackson)

Land Of The LostNotes: Actor Ron Masak has appeared in The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, Wonder Woman, and Starman, with movie roles in Ice Station Zebra, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and as the hapless sheriff in the MST3K-worthy sci-fi B-movie Laserblast. Jackson notices that the pylons are bigger inside than outside; as Doctor Who had only premiered in the United States a couple of years earlier in a handful of markets, it is very unlikely that the popular British series with its bigger-inside-than-out time machine was an influence. As the Marshalls take shelter just before Jackson’s escape, the actors’ shadows can clearly be seen on the “sky” behind them on set.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Circle

Land Of The LostWhen Will dives underwater at a watering hole not far from the Marshalls’ makeshift residence, he finds an exit to a dry chamber, full of hibernating Sleestaks. Enik is also there, trapped in this time just like the Marshalls are, but he has a disturbing theory that the Marshalls shouldn’t be here. For anyone to leave through a time portal, someone else must arrive through a time portal, and Enik feels that the Marshalls’ arrival triggered a time paradox, one that only the Marshalls can resolve. But if Enik’s escape depends on getting the Marshalls out of this dimension by any means necessary, can they trust him?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Larry Niven and David Gerrold
directed by Dennis Steinmetz
music by Jimmie Haskell

Cast: Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Penny Marshall), Walker Edmiston (Enik), Scott Fullerton (Sleestak), Jack Tingley (Sleestak), Mike Westra (Sleestak)

Land Of The LostNotes: This episode basically loops around to the beginning of the series, implying either a time loop, or at the very least that the Marshalls will experience the same events again before their adventures continue (in the second season, of course).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Tasha

Land Of The LostExploring while on vacation, the Porter family is deposited into another world after their truck plunges into a rift in the ground during a huge earthquake. The presence of three moons in the night sky is their first clue that they’re no longer on Earth, and yet the jungle world is populated by dinosaurs straight out of Earth’s prehistoric age.

The Porter family, safe in their newly built treehouse, is awakened by the sound of dinosaurs battling it out nearby. In the morning, Annie and Kevin go to collect water, finding a nest of destroyed dinosaur eggs, and a dead dinosaur – the mother who laid the eggs died trying to protect her young from a tyrannousaurus. Annie finds an intact egg in the nearby brush and they take it back to the treehouse. It hatches overnight, and Annie christens the baby dino Tasha: much to Kevin’s chagrin, Tasha is here to stay. When the same tyrannosaurus attacks the Porter family, they’ve got a defense plan inspired by Tasha… and no guarantee that it’ll work.

Land Of The Lostwritten by Len Janson & Chuck Menville
directed by Ernest Farino
music by Kevin Kiner

Cast: Timothy Bottoms (Tom Porter), Jennifer Drugan (Annie Porter), Robert Gavin (Kevin Porter), Ed Gale (Tasha), Danny Mann (voice of Tasha)

Notes: The baby dinosaur is named Natasha after the kids’ mother; it’s implied in dialogue that Natasha Porter is deceased. Composer Kevin Kiner would go on to co-compose the scores for several episodes of Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek: Enterprise with Dennis McCarthy, before moving on to the computer-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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