In the 25th century, centuries of human progress have taken their toll. Pollution and war have left the Earth a desolate wasteland. The scientific community, reduced to a small enclave hiding away from the scavengers and savages that roam the planet’s surface, puts all of its hopes into a mobile laboratory called Ark II, commanded by Jonah and crewed by young scientists Ruth and Samuel, and the sentient chimpanzee Adam.
Word reaches the Ark II crew of a marauding band of orphaned children pillaging weaker communities and preying on travelers. The only group in the area that wields more power is a group of well-armed warlords. Jonah ventures out on his own, discovering that an adult named Fagon is guiding the Flies, and he discovers something else even more disturbing: the Flies’ most recent looting “find” includes at least one canister of a poisonous gas. With the children willing to do whatever Fagon says, Jonah knows time is running out to keep the Flies from stepping up from petty crime to something far deadlier – to themselves and to the warlords.
written by Martin Roth
directed by Ted Post
music by Yvette Blais & Jeff Michael and Horta-Mahana
Cast: Terry Lester (Jonah), Jean Marie Hon (Ruth), Jose Flores (Samuel), Jonathan Harris (Fagon),Tierre Turner (Tick), Malachi Throne (War Lord Brack), Lou Scheimer (voice of Adam)
Notes: Filmation Associates, famous for its numerous early ’70s cartoons (including Star Trek: The Animated Series), took a bold step into live-action SF with Ark II. The centerpiece and home base of the show was Ark II itself, a custom-built vehicle on an existing truck chassis; contrary to urban legend, Ark II was a new vehicle, and was not the same vehicle as the Landmaster from Damnation Alley. Another new vehicle making an appearance here was the very real jetpack, developed and then abandoned by Bell Helicopter, which wound up in the hands of a hi-tech Hollywood prop rental service. It could only fly for thirty seconds before its fuel ran out, sending its pilot (a costumed stuntman, not actor Terry Lester) plummeting to the ground on at least one occasion. The production rented the jetpack for only eight of these brief flights, each of which was filmed by four cameras at the same time, ensuring a variety of stock footage. Ark II’s smaller “convertible SUV” vehicle was called the Roamer.
Actor Jonathan Harris – famous for his role as the villainous (but hardly competent) Dr. Smith on Lost In Space, is the episode’s main guest star, but Filmation would hire him as the adult star of their next live-action genre show, Space Academy (which later morphed into Jason Of Star Command). Malachi Throne (a veteran of ’60s and ’70s TV fondly remembered for his appearances in early episodes of Star Trek) also guest stars.
LogBook entry by Earl Green