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LAND OF THE GIANTS-Ghost Town, Framed
AIRED-9-29-1968--I WAS THERE--SECOND
WRITERS-GIL RALSTON, WILLIAM WELCH
At night, Barry, Fitzhugh, and Valerie run from a giant tramp who is sadistic and out to get them, panting horribly. Barry chases a running Chipper and is electrified by a forcefield which kills the giant tramp who reached down for the unconscious boy. The other two humans cannot reach the boy but Chipper who went through the forcefield okay is with him. Val tosses a rock to show Fitzhugh the field is still on, then pulls him back to camp to go tell the others. Chipper whimpers around Barry's still form.
No titles yet. Steve calls to Betty through the open (?) viewport to get Dan. Val, then Fitzhugh, arrive back at camp, warning the others. They bring the others back to the dead giant. Now we see the titles amid a great one shot of the group around the dead giant. Steve checks the giant's pulse--dead. He also checks the area for the forcefield using a branch. The others follow and they are imprisoned on the other side of the field. Fitzhugh tries to get out and is electrified down. Steve orders a protesting Mark and Fitzhugh not to look for Barry---no one moves out until daylight. They sleep where they are overnight. When the sun rises, Val finds a normal sized tree and calls the others awake. Betty hands Steve back his jacket; Fitzhugh finds real grass. Dan thinks they passed through a space warp to get back to Earth. Steve stops Fitzhugh from going back through the forcefield to get his suitcase on the ship which he tells Steve contains a million dollars. Mark finds a normal sized sign--MIDBURY, BIGGEST LITTLE TOWN IN THE STATES. Fitzhugh wanders off into an Earth sized town. Mark and Steve find a long time emptied doctor's office (a Dr. Webster). Val says, "I've seen some dead towns in my time but this is ridiculous." They find Main Street deserted and a church empty. Betty claims, "Even God would be lonely in a place like this." The six hear a beeping truck; Steve tries to shield them from it but suggests they try to flag him down. The horn beeps continually and the truck drives by, almost hitting them. Betty is not sure she saw a driver in the truck. When Mark mentions Barry's name, Val says, "Barry's dead," agonizing over this and going to a pole to steady herself. The boy was missing when the others came back to search. All they found was the dead tramp which Val tells Steve, "He was in the same explosion that killed the giant tramp." Betty feels awful and Steve tries to comfort Val, joined by Mark, both feeling the boy may still be alive. Steve tells them they won't give up hope until they know for sure. Fitzhugh finds what appears to be a man reading a newspaper and knocks him over accidentally after he seems unresponsive to questioning about Barry. Fitzhugh tries to call for help in a phone booth. A laughing giant girl towers over the buildings and picks up the booth with Fitzhugh in it. She brings him to her grandfather, Akman, who is checking the toy truck. Fitzhugh tells Akman he doesn't drive. Akman makes her let Fitzhugh go; Fitzhugh overhears that Barry is in the saloon. The girl, who cannot get Akman to play with her, calls after Fitzhugh, "I'll get you for this, you little insect, and I'll get you good!"
Val finds a shop with an antique dress, dirty and yet new. Steve finds a fake fire hydrant; Dan finds a grocery store with no groceries. When Mark returns to the three, he asks if there's been any sign of the lad. Betty's scream brings them all to what she found--the fallen man--which is a toy doll and it makes Betty feel like a fool. Steve tells her he was fooled too. Fitzhugh arrives, warning them about the fake town and the surrounding forcefield. He leads them down the block to the saloon where the girls and Steve find Barry behind the bar. They put him on it. Val says, "He's alive." Betty says, "Surprised, aren't you?" Chipper is here too. The two giants arrive overhead--the roof is off the building--and talk to them. Akman tells them he will not hurt them but he will not let them out. His forcefield kills small animals and if the little people try to pass through it, it will kill them. He explains years ago, an Earth airship passed through and entered "our dimension lock" and all the little people on it died. From the info in the wreckage, Akman built this toy town. The girl asks to stay and "enjoy looking at these lovely little people." After Akman leaves, she spits at them, "Poor little people! It's a pity you're going to have such short lives! Nah!" She sticks her tongue at them and goes. Dan, Steve, and Mark dig a hole under the forcefield, having left Fitzhugh in charge. Fitzhugh comes to check on it; Mark hands him a tool and Dan tells him to use it, Steve smiles. The girl turns off the forcefield, only switching it on as Fitzhugh runs past. Steve pulls him off and both fall down, shocked. Dan runs to him and Mark to Fitzhugh. The girl says, "Hah, I got you."
The girl stamps out their hole---not realizing Barry is inside (not that it would have mattered to her). Chipper ran out of her way at the last moment. Chipper alerts the men and they dig him out, Fitzhugh and the little dog helping. Barry was just barely alive. Steve pulls him out. Akman delivers a stew via the truck. As the others eat it, Fitzhugh tests its safety by giving Chipper some. Steve spies on the giant man as the giant leaves--the only way out is through the forcefield when the giants turn it off to go out themselves--a few seconds. The others didn't wait for Steve and apologize but he says to enjoy it. He didn't mind and he sits to eat, too. The girl arrives, telling them the stew was her idea. Barry thanks her but she pours a bucket of dirt on them. Steve runs outside aware she is pouring gasoline over the street. She hurls matches at him and starts a fire that nearly kills Steve and then Dan, who jumps at the fire to pull Steve out. They get out, leaving Steve's burning jacket which Mark puts out. Steve and Dan go to the church to "send out a call for allies." Fitzhugh calls him mad, "What allies do we have in this terrible place." In the church, the two men grab hold of the bell ring and ring it, bringing Akman to them. They all tell him what happened despite the girl's former threats not to--"If you tell my grandfather, I'll get you for it!" Akman yells at her and then promptly leaves for town to get more supplies! Val and Fitz wonder what good this has done--they are now alone with her at her mercy. Steve says, "Exactly."
Steve has everyone build a bon fire in the saloon, hoping the girl will put down the control box to the forcefield. He and Mark stay behind and see her tell a tarantula in a jar, "Hungry, soon you'll eat." Fitzhugh rings the bell, Dan starts the fire. The two join Barry and the girls to wait in the forest near the area where Barry was hit and for some sign it is safe to go. Mark and Steve short out the control box which carried a voltage of 3 but which Mark says, "On a giant scale, that's enough to knock us off permanently. Insulate yourself with that rope." They ride the toy truck--which only goes forward--the imperfection Akman told them about---through town. The girl, who puts out the fire, shoots the fire extinguisher at them. Emptying it, she hurls it down at them, then drops boulders at the truck. When all else fails, she tears a roof off a building and drops the entire thing, wall and all, on top of the truck! It overturns, Mark hurt and almost unconscious. The truck sparking.
Steve gets Mark up. The girl is about to grab the recovering man but they run as Akman returns. Mark says, "You know, I don't think she likes us." Akman arrives, mad at what she did to his town, and he spanks her over one of his toy houses. She blames the little people. Mark and Steve rush to the others. Steve turns back to look, "Too bad we won't be coming back to this place. We have a real good reputation with the head man." The others call to them and they rush to the area.
NOTE: Steve must be blind not to see that Akman only really cared about his toy town and not the "little people." I still have a problem with the air order. I prefer the production order. Production order makes sense out of some of the inconsistency the air order presents. I understand the reasoning behind the air order--to get the best episodes aired first and in sweeps months; however on hindsight, the production order make more sense within the storyline. Would Mark, Steve, and Dan have trusted the Fitzhugh of THE WEIRD WORLD with being in charge of the girls and Barry as they did in GHOST TOWN so soon after THE CRASH. Only by THE TRAP did Fitzhugh really prove himself to be "on their side" and THE TRAP, production four, was aired much later in the season. Even aired tenth, THE WERID WORLD makes little sense--why would Fitzhugh after 10 adventures with the others, THE CREED included--where he saves Barry's life and is very sympathetic, betray the others like he did in WERID WORLD. The answer is simple: WEIRD WORLD was the second adventure made and it fits in the overall story that way, not in the aired order at all. There are other inconsistencies that only pop up as glaring in the air order.
MUSIC-LEITH STEVENS, JOHN WILLIAMS
Steve alerts Dan, Mark, and Val at Spindrift that the others have turned up a camera with lenses that could be used to start the solar batteries in the spaceship. They meet up with Fitzhugh, Betty, and Barry. Fitzhugh and Steve go to check the frisky giant photographer and his female model while the others struggle to get the lens out of the giant camera. The two Earth men witness the photographer fool around with the unwilling model. She slaps him and he pushes her. She falls and hits her head on a rock. The photographer didn't mean this but finds blood on her head. Fitzhugh moves in closer to see more but snaps a twig on a leaf--the giant hears this and leans forward at them, "Little people!"
Freeze frame: the photographer moves at them, then chases them to a gopher hole and looks in at them--a giant eye. He can't grab them with his hand so he uses fire and smoke to get them out. A hobo comes along, scaring the photographer away and stamping out the fire. The hobo sees the two little men, drops his liquor bottle, and runs off, too. Steve laughs, "That's the first time we ever scared a giant." The hobo falls asleep on a park bench near the camera while the killer arrives and plants evidence to make the hobo look like the killer! The men throw rocks to awaken the hobo but it doesn't work. Mark and Dan protest Steve's plan to take a photo of the murderer planting his evidence. Val volunteers--she knows how to develop pictures. With on way to awaken the hung over hobo, Steve and Val take a picture of the photographer planting his evidence. He hears the click of the shutter of the camera and moves toward Val and Steve, who hide behind the camera.
The murderer doesn't investigate further (why not?). He runs off for the police. Mark, Dan, and Fitzhugh protest the idea that Val and Steve will ride inside the camera to the photographer's darkroom to develop the film! Steve tells the others, "We've had enough of a go around on this. Unless I'm way wrong, that guy's gone for the police and he'll back to make sure the hobo's arrested for the crime." Dan asks Steve if he's sure about this. On watch for the police and photographer giants, Barry asks Betty questions about the captain plans to develop the pictures. She doesn't know. The two warn the others, "Giants! Giants are coming!" The police arrive, the killer putting on a good show that the hobo did it. The police take the hobo and the photographer to the police station, Val and Steve already hidden in the camera. The others follow, barely able to keep up. At night in front of the police station, Fitzhugh leaves the girls and Barry to come running to an equally restless Mark and Dan at a pole. It has been hours. Dan, running toward the station, stops short as the photographer comes out, lights a match, and throws away the empty matchbook. Dan hides behind it. Fitzhugh worries for Dan; Mark does too but also notes, "There's something else. That killer doesn't have his camera." The photographer almost steps on the matchbook and Dan but doesn't because a policeman comes out of the doors and gives him his camera. This allows Dan time to run off and then the photographer steps on the matchbook. The others follow the killer back to his studio apartment. There, the giant drinks, then destroys photos he made of the dead girl. He brings the camera into the darkroom and starts to develop film in the other camera. Barry tells Steve that the others said there is no way into the house, no mouse hole, no rat hole. This panics Valerie. Steve has to cover her mouth to keep her quiet and tells her, "We've been through worse than this." They can watch the killer through the lens. Val wonders what will happen to them when the killer opens their camera--the one they are hiding in.
Fitzhugh tells Betty and Barry the captain should have turned his back on that hobo today--Val and the captain wouldn't be in this mess if he had. Betty responds, "Mr. Fitzhugh, you don't mean that, at least I hope you don't. Steve and Valerie will be all right. We'll get them out." Dan climbs up a garden vine holder and rings the doorbell--just as the killer starts to open the camera Val and Steve are in. He puts it down and goes to answer the door. The pair get out but Dan and Mark cannot get past the giant at the door (nice mix shot of the giant, Dan and Mark near the bricks). Betty tells Fitzhugh to send Chipper---to a waiting and whistling Barry on the other side. Chipper distracts the giant outside long enough to allow Dan and Mark time to get in. Betty tells Fitzhugh to score one for Barry, Chipper, and him...not just him, giving some credit to Barry and the dog, too, not grabbing all for just Fitzhugh. Val and Steve hide behind a tray as the giant returns and begins developing the film. The giant destroys the negatives.
Dan distracts the giant out of the room. Mark helps Val and Steve get the print down from the table. The killer calls the police who think he is making it up. Ever since the government posted a reward on little people they've been doing nothing but tracking down bad tips from people who think they have or wanted to have seen little people. Once the killer finds the print he made of the photo gone and the pin and rope, he starts looking everywhere, throwing items all over the house. Dan throws a light bulb to distract him while the other three join Dan at the hanger--with the lens and the photo. The police arrive, leaving the door open. The killer tells them it is little people, even though they are skeptical. He says, "They're this high." Mark wants to take off through it with the lens. Steve tosses the photo to the police.
The police see the photo and arrest the photographer. The real killer tells them, "It was the little people! It wasn't me--it was the little people!" He says this over and over as they drag him out. The four have to leave without the lens--it is too heavy for them to get away as the place will soon by swarming with police and investigators. In the park the next morning, the little people try to use glass but it doesn't reflect light. The hobo leaves a box camera as a thank you to the little people for clearing him. It has no lens--unknown to the hobo that is what they needed. It probably won't even take good pictures.
REVIEW: A tense episode with little action but a great deal of nerve wracking situations. Add to that the excellent acting of Paul Carr as the conniving, nervous, guilt ridden, giant with flare. We believe his every move. The music is majestic for this one, even though it was in previous episodes (production wise), here it's accentuated among the quiet whisperings of the Earth group. The gang still refer to Steve as Captain or as Capt. Burton; to Fitzhugh as Mr. Fitzhugh, mixed in with references using Steve and Fitzhugh without the titles. The gang are more comfortable with itself and the special effects are outstanding in this one; the mixing of giants and humans in one shot is above anything ever done before it. The sequence with Dan hiding behind the matchbook is flawless as well as when he and Mark sneak past the murderer to get inside the doorway. The camera set up was appropriately claustrophobic while the reddish glowing darkroom was a factor to the episode's tenseness. It is also nice, plot-wise, that, for once, the little people couldn't find an easy way inside--nothing. In truth, this would be. Other places might have cracks, garage doors, etc. On the series, we found they used under the door and mouse holes a bit too much, hence the need for a electric gun which would enable them to torch their way into a home without starting a fire, mind you. This episode continued the "reward for capture" theme begun in THE TRAP and THE BOUNTY HUNTER, production wise. Air order-wise, FRAMED is the first to mention a reward for capture. This is the first time the show mentions the giants' government. Betty is eternally optimistic (although this is not true of her character in the three Murray Leinster novels). Regular bird sound effects were used in the forest rather than the standard 20th Century Fox jungle sound effects (used in DOCTOR DOLITTLE and other movies--such as jungle war films--and tv shows--VOYAGE, LOST, AND TIME TUNNEL). Paul Carr played a semi regular role in the second season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY.