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Land of the Giants (1968-1970)
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Casey62
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:32 am    Post subject: Land of the Giants (1968-1970) Reply with quote



A sub-orbital spaceflight in the year 1983 is en-route from Los Angeles to London when it passes through a dimensional space warp and crash lands on a planet inhabited by 70 foot giants. The crew and passengers must work together if they hope to survive, repair their spaceship, and some day return to Earth. In the process they learn that the giants have a totalitarian form of government in which the Earthlings are sought out as enemy aliens whose advanced technology poses a threat to the giants.

LAND OF THE GIANTS is a classic that still holds up well today. Among the popular Irwin Allen TV shows of the 1960's - VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, LOST IN SPACE, and THE TIME TUNNEL - LOTG was the most ambitious and stands out as the best of the lot. It was the most expensive series up to that time, employing production values and special effects usually reserved for feature films. The high cost was the reason it was cancelled after only two seasons, but the show remained popular in syndication over the years and has gained new generations of fans. It all speaks for the high quality of LOTG.

The attractive cast performs engagingly; each member approaches their role with a sincere earnestness that makes them easily likeable. The crew of the "Spindrift" consists of pilot Steve Burton (Gary Conway), co-pilot Dan Erickson (Don Marshall) and stewardess Betty Hamilton (Heather Young). Passengers include tycoon/engineer Mark Wilson (Don Matheson) on his way to close a business deal in London, jetsetter/heiress Valerie Scott (Deanna Lund) off on a pleasure trip, orphan Barry Lockridge (Stefan Arngrim) going to live with some cousins in England, and con-man Alexander Fitzhugh (Kurt Kaszner) who is fleeing from the police after embezzling a million dollars. There is a lot more ad-libbing than in Allen's other shows which makes the dialogue feel natural and spontaneous. Several episodes deal with the ongoing conflict between the pressed upon Captain Burton and hot-headed Wilson who wants things to go his way. There is also the relationship between Fitzhugh and Barry that echos Dr. Smith and Will Robinson in LOST IN SPACE. While Fitzhugh is a cowardly guy, he isn't the conniving perpetrator that we get in Dr. Smith. All the characters contain an adequate measure of depth that is in keeping within the framework of what is essentially an action based series.

Obviously in a sci-fi show, special effects play a prominent role and LOTG is a veritable visual feast with lush, Technicolor photography and expertly constructed props twelve times larger than normal. The extreme low angle shots of the giants required sets with ceilings built into them, while the extreme high angle shots of the "little people" needed a very wide soundstage that was often an artificial, oversized forest or bottom portion of an office room furnished with enormous props. To further simulate gigantic proportions, various in-camera techniques were utilized such as large and miniature rear projection, split screen photography, travelling mattes, and forced perspective. Even in our CGI era the expertise of L.B. Abbott and the 20th Century Fox special effects department still impresses, especially since such high standards had to be maintained on a weekly basis.

Music was always an integral factor to the quality of Irwin Allen's TV shows, and the score for LOTG is exemplary thanks to the contribution of composer John Williams. Full bodied and vibrant, the music matches the impact of the visuals and heightens the feeling of suspense. The dominant horns give the show a genuine, giant-like ambience. This comes off particularly well in the opening title theme for the first season and in the pilot episode, "The Crash."

Something else that greatly works to LOTG's advantage is that it sticks to its basic premise and doesn't try to get too topical in the STAR TREK vein. It never resorts to silliness like LOST IN SPACE often does. LOTG is a bit darker in tone with a distinctly paranoid feel. Whenever it does address an 'issue' it is never in an overt or pretentious way. Themes that deal with time travel or cloning are always handled intelligently. Mostly the episodes, usually directed by Allen regulars Harry Harris and Sobey Martin, are about the difficulties and dangers one would encounter in a hostile world of giants. This served the show well, giving it a universal appeal that hasn't dated. Indeed, LOTG is a cult favorite in several European countries with a substantial fanbase in England.


Last edited by Casey62 on Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Pye-Rate
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the first episode a giant picks up the Spindrift and looks in it, that is Butch.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Fantastic first post, Casey! This is just the kind of good stuff I expected when I invited you to join us. (Boy, am I smart. Very Happy )

I've never seen a single episode of this famous show. I did manage to get a fair download of the pilot — The Crash — from Gorillavid, but I got a virus alert when I tried to download episode two.

Netflix doesn't have the series, dang it. Sad

But from what I've seen of the pilot I downloaded, I'm in for a treat when I finally get to watch it. Maybe I'll just buy the box set from Amazon. After all it's only . . .

Yike! $229.98!




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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:05 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the episode "Panic" there is a device that is a teleporter.

It was one of the coolest props that I have ever seen constructed for a sf TV show.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pye-Rate wrote:
In the first episode a giant picks up the Spindrift and looks in it, that is Butch.

No, I'm afraid that is not Butch. IMDB says that was Pat Michenaud, and it gives this trivia item on his bio page.
______________________________________

Although uncredited, he was the first actor to portray the very first giant character in the series "Land of the Giants" (1968) that the Spindrift crew encountered as he portrayed the giant little boy who picked up the ship and whose eyes were staring through the window of the Spindrift spacecraft as the 7 castaways of the series saw in horror as they started flying off after their very first landing on the giants' planet.
______________________________________

If Butch told you that was him . . . he was joking.




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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Casey62
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Bud - it's good to be aboard. With me, it was a no-brainer to pick up the entire series when it was released in '07. Loved it ever since I tuned in when it debuted back in '68. But then, I was a sucker for all of Irwin Allen's shows. After being bred on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, LOST IN SPACE, and THE TIME TUNNEL, I was fully primed for LOTG. It seemed to epitomize all the things I liked about the other shows packed into this gigantic package. I even thought VOYAGE's Flying Sub looked a lot like the Spindrift - well, kind of.

Another notable thing about LOTG is that it featured an African-American (Don Marshall) in a major role in a prime-time series when this was a rarity. None of Allen's other shows did this.
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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
No, I'm afraid that is not Butch. IMDB says that was Pat Michenaud, and it gives this trivia item on his bio page.

CORRECT, Sir! The picture of me holding the Spindrift is a side shot that was released as a publicity photo to ABC affiliates before the pilot was even finished.
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
The picture of me holding the Spindrift is a side shot that was released as a publicity photo to ABC affiliates before the pilot was even finished.

Wait... What publicity photo?

Pye-Rate wrote:
In the first episode a giant picks up the Spindrift and looks in it, that is Butch.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
Bud Brewster wrote:
No, I'm afraid that is not Butch. IMDB says that was Pat Michenaud, and it gives this trivia item on his bio page.

CORRECT, Sir! The picture of me holding the Spindrift is a side shot that was released as a publicity photo to ABC affiliates before the pilot was even finished.

We all know Butch has a fertile imagination, and sometimes he gets his real facts mixed up with his imaginary facts.

That's the problem with having a fertile imagination. Sometimes it just creates a lot of fertilizer . . . Rolling Eyes

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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
The picture of me holding the Spindrift is a side shot that was released as a publicity photo to ABC affiliates before the pilot was even finished.

This one?


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

orzel-w wrote:
Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
The picture of me holding the Spindrift is a side shot that was released as a publicity photo to ABC affiliates before the pilot was even finished.

This one?

Great Scott! That MUST be the picture Butch referred to! And guess what I found out about the picture at this website?



It has the picture above and another one of the same boy with the Spindrift, and here's what it says about the young man!

The boy shown here was in a promotional shot for the show, in which Irwin Allen used his nephew.

Wayne, do you realize what this means! Shocked

Not only is Butch the personal friend of Bill Malone (the owner of Robby), good buddies with Dragon Dronet (Hollywood special effects man: see IMDB for details), an acquaintance of Bob Aucutt (of Bob's Toy Box Studio, makers of the Forbidden Planet action figures), and the grandson of Robert Heinlein (legendary science fiction author) . . .

. . . .Butch is also Irwin Allen's nephew!

My God! Is there no end to the list of famous people Butch hob-knobs with? Laughing

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
uncleodiescollectibles wrote:
The boy shown here was in a promotional shot for the show, in which Irwin Allen used his nephew.

Wayne, do you realize what this means! Shocked

I'll let Butch speak for himself...

Robert (Butch) Day wrote:
"Uncle" Irwin (as he preferred to have his 'family' call him — when he wasn't angry)...

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Hey, I'd forgotten about that!

Now if those other folks I mentioned will confess they lied and really do know Butch, I'll have egg all over my face! Embarassed

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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take solace in his liberal application of quote marks. Wink
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I loved to know what Murray Leinster did in the novelization which addressed the problem that (for example) a giant who is 10 times taller than a normal person is also 10 times wider and 10 times deeper. 10 X 10 X 10 = 1,000

So, a 60 foot giant (10 times taller than a 6 foot man) who weighed 200 pound would weight 200,000 pounds!


Quote:
Often dismissed by science-fiction "purists" such as 'Harlan Ellison' due to the sheer physical impossibility of such "giants" existing. Purists believed the giants' mass (which would increase geometrically while their strength only increased proportionately) would crush them. Murray Leinster's novelization of the show attempted to account for this, but no such explanation is ever given in the series.

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