Land of the Lost 2.7 – The Longest Day

Forty years on, and it remains absolutely astonishing that “The Longest Day” was broadcast on Saturday mornings with the rest of the television for children. This is the episode where Rick inhales a roomful of Sleestak smoke in order to have a telepathic conference with the Sleestak leader, and has to come down via a boatload of freaky hallucinations. In these, his children recede into the distance, they become cavemen, and Kathy Coleman briefly plays a young lass from the 1760s who will not be born “for two hundred years hence.” Will becomes a football player tackled by two ungainly fellows in green uniforms, and a weird swirly video effect makes a silent bargain with the human.

Joyce Perry’s script is obviously playing on a couple of archetype, folk notions. This story is effectively about climbing to the top of a mesa and ingesting your weight in peyote and mushrooms and communing with spirits in order to understand them and your enemies better. No, I’m somehow not surprised that something like this was made by Sid and Marty Krofft, but I am amazed that the snickering chuckleheads who insist that H.R. Pufnstuf stands for “Hand Rolled” aren’t watching this with their jaws on the floor, and I’m absolutely astonished that NBC broadcast it.

Naturally, this was unsettling and weird for Daniel; heck, it’s weird for everybody, but it’s really the visceral shocks of Sleestak jumping out from behind people in dark corridors that provided the real punches.

In an earlier entry, I mentioned that the Kroffts invested in some new sound effects and music and seem to have split the cost between this show and Far Out Space Nuts, which was made at the same time and shown on CBS. About half the aliens in that series spoke through some kind of vocoder or processor which must have sounded insanely weird in 1975, and in this episode, Walker Edmiston got to use it to play the disembodied voices of some of the ancestral skulls. We’ll be hearing more from them later.

Land of the Lost 1.14 – Stone Soup

I suppose that I could make the argument that “Stone Soup” is the weakest episode of Land of the Lost‘s first season, but it’s still pretty entertaining. What’s weirdest is that it feels like it didn’t have any second or third drafts before they taped it, and so the continuity of Joyce Perry’s script – Perry was another veteran from the Star Trek cartoon – jars against the previous episodes. Sa is twice referred to as “he,” when the character is generally assumed to be female, but it’s the pylon business that really doesn’t make any sense.

In the first place, Will and Holly are completely unsurprised to find that a pylon’s door is open, and remains so. They take shelter in it when the local apatosaur, Emily, gets angry with them, and comment that it is really dark, but they don’t actually note that the matrix table doesn’t have any crystals in it. Then there’s the bizarre wrap-up, after they refill the table with crystals that the Pakuni have pilfered in what must be random order – the Skylons, introduced in episode eight, bizarrely do not appear, though we will see them again soon – and step outside, and Rick closes the pylon door. Will and Holly react with a ridiculous “WOW!” like they’ve never seen that before.

It’s really kind of unfortunate that everything does jar so badly, because so much of LOTL was very meticulous about telling a structured story across many weeks, but this isn’t structured in line with what we’ve seen before at all. Still, the actual story is quite entertaining, and it’s always nice to see the Marshalls completely pull a fast one on Ta. This time, they trade him a stone for soup-making in return for all the crystals that he’d stolen. I approve.