LAND OF THE GIANTS-episode Land of the Lost
LAND OF THE LOST
Airdate-12-14-69 (39th made)
Writer: William Welch
Dir: Sobey Martin, Nathan Juran
Night at a giant amusement park Valerie and Barry drag giant firecrackers. Barry says, “Oh, these are heavy, how’d you ever lift it alone?” She makes a fist and flexes her bicep, “I eat the right kind of breakfast cereal.” A giant boy arrives so they hide under a trash can. He lights some fireworks near them, leaves a giant balloon with a firecracker in it, and takes all the other fireworks. Val tells Barry to be grateful he didn’t get them. Against Val’s orders, Barry races to the balloon to get the firecracker. A shower of sparks from other fireworks rains down on him, causing him to fall and sprain his ankle. Val runs in to help him, scolding him. The balloon ties break and it starts to float upward. Steve, Mark and Dan spot this and drop the fireworks they are carrying and climb up to help the pair but only Steve and Mark are pulled in by Valerie and Barry. Dan falls but is safe. Fitzhugh asks him, “How are they ever going to get out of that balloon?” “I don’t know.” Val gets frantic and starts yelling at Steve to do something. Steve grabs her to calm her down.
Steve has to calm a frantic Valerie but the balloon is heading through fireworks. Dan and Fitzhugh head back to camp with the firecrackers, believing the balloon to be heading that way, for that is the way the wind is blowing. The balloon passes through the firework display show, which Steve calls a “Chinese New Year.” He and Dan communicate via walkie talkie. Steve lets air out of the balloon to get it down but he falls as the wind knocks him out of the air. He clings to the side until Mark and Val can pull him up and in. The balloon moves east toward Spindrift but suddenly heads west against the wind. Steve lets more air out but Barry points and warns them that they are heading for an ocean. Dan uses the cockpit control room radio to try to reach the balloon, which is getting out of range of his radio. Mark figures the balloon traveled about two hours off the giant map he and Steve saw once. It has traveled 1000 miles in two hours or 500 miles an hour. It feels as if they are being pulled Barry tells them. Steve asks Dan to patch into a flight controller at Central Airport. The Flight Controller tells Dan that “every schoolboy knows about the sea of storms. No one that has ever crossed that ocean has ever come back.” As lightning and wind continue and the balloon rocks, Val watches over a sleeping Barry. The others spot land; Val sees huge mountains ahead, coming at them. Steve grabs the balloon ropes, “Brace you!” Mark calls him crazy but Steve yells, “Hold tight.” They pass over the mountains. Dan tells Fitzhugh that some outside force is cutting off all transmission. A different, strange, robed giant watches the balloon on a scanner in a scientific room. He seems to be a giant but he may not be. Barry awakens as the balloon hovers over clouds, free of that odd pulling wind or power that pushed them against the normal wind. They see hundreds of lights indicating a city. Barry ponders as to whether or not the people there are Earth size. Steve puffs, “Let’s hope so.” They hold on, coming down very hard. The entire city seems dark like in a blackout. Two doors open allowing two men, who at first, seem normal sized, to come out and walk toward them out of the blackness. Upon approach, the humans realize the two men are giants. They are taken to the strange, robed giant who looks in at the balloon and laughs at them manically.
They are in the odd scientific computer room which is lined with huge banks of computers. A third guard brings in a rebel named Andres. The robed giant asks questions about thimbles and firecrackers. He tells them his name is Titus, the absolute ruler. Mark puts his jacket back on as Titus test the firecracker near them. He doesn’t believe all their explanations and needs proof and tests. The foursome hides as he blows the firecracker near them. Steve doesn’t want to tell him anything. Titus has Andros fitted with a neck collar of pain which deactivates when he cooperates and answers questions and is obedient. Titus tells Andros his family will not be punished…maybe. He also uses a fore to raise Steve up into the air. At camp, Fitzhugh places walkie talkies in various spots to lure a balloon vendor away from his stand. This allows the con artist to steal a new balloon. Titus drops Steve, threatening to raise him higher in the air next time. They begin to answer his questions. Mark tells him about eyeglasses. Steve tells Titus about their planet but he doesn’t believe them and threatens to either get the truth or kill them one by one. He lowers the birdcage over them while a guard stays overnight. Fitzhugh cannot get Dan to help him blow up the second balloon. The others use the thimble and nail to raise the cage set off the firecracker to frighten the guard, and then escape down the rope. They slip into a three hole vent into a power source room. Their watches stop. Mark advises that they get out: the room could be lethal with radiation of some kind. They climb out but alarms have brought Titus and his guards.
Dan has given into hot air expert Fitz and rigged up a hose to blow up the balloon. It almost flies away but Dan stops it. He warns Fitz not to give it more air; Fitz doesn’t listen and it collapses on top of him. Dan tries to help him out, fearing Fitz was hurt but when he sees Fitz is safe, he says, “Well, you did it again.” Steve tells Titus the people across the sea are more advanced in some respects. Titus uses a sand/hour glass t time Steve’s balloon trip both ways. Steve is to obtain proof that the land across the sea is as they say it is or the other three will be killed. Steve calls ahead to get Dan started on this and a bomb. Titus questions Val. Mark tells Barry, “She wont’ tell him anything she doesn’t want him t know.” Val tells Titus that “even little women talk.” Dan and Fitz go to SID HQ, blow a safe open and get photos of the giant land, including one of Dan and Mark near giant feet (THE FLIGHT PLAN). Are there surveillance devices in this land? If so, how come no one stopped and caught them in that episode? Titus next questions Barry, who claims, “Mark is a genius. If one of us had to die, I’d be the one who’d be missed least.” He tells Titus that Mark is a great scientist and maybe he can even help Titus. Titus orders Andros to take Mark out to be fitted for a collar. Mark says, “I thought you were a man who didn’t take orders, Andros.” Mark is returned with a tiny collar on, and he is pained into unconsciousness. Titus claims they have a plan to trick him and wants to know it. Mark refuses to say anything. Titus says, “I wouldn’t think one so small could be so stubborn.” He looks at the other two, “As for you two, much as I’ve grown to respect you, it will be necessary to kill you.” Steve arrives in his balloon. Fitz tosses the photos into the carriage and he puts the parachutes in by throwing them in, too. He almost throws the explosives in, too but Dan stops him. The balloon, with all three men in it, rises up and then…blows up!
Fitz knows where there are many more balloons and leads the other two men back to the amusement park which is alive with rides and laughter from a funhouse ride. They steal another fully blown up balloon using a rock as a counter weight balance. Titus reads his instruments (but for some reason can’t see them on the scanner screen now!). The powerful force pulls them like a wind and nearly pulls the photos out of the balloon. Mark tells Titus that if he knows Steve is already on the way back, he can let Val and Barry live, no matter what the hour glass sands read. Titus is going by the hour glass deadline. If Steve gets back before it runs out, Val and Barry will be spared. If not, they die. Titus answers Mark, “I have taken an oath. My whole kingdom has been built on obedience. There can be no exceptions.” Dan and a lingering Fitz parachute down after the balloon hovers. Steve arrives just as Titus was about to kill Valerie and Barry, using a guard to punch them with a huge fist. Steve shows Titus photos. One is of Dan and Mark near steps that a giant sits on. Another is of the pair at a giant trash can. How did SID get these? Spy cameras? Steve also shows Titus photos of missiles. Titus wants Mark to build missiles for him. Dan and Fitz plant bombs in the power source room but upon leaving it, are spotted and picked up---each in a fist of the guard who holds them up to Titus!
Fitz and Dan are dropped to their friends on the counter top. Titus prepares to kill all of them except Mark. Andros interferes, even the other slave guard refuses to obey Titus now. Andros fights Titus, destroys his devices, and gets the balloon, with all six little Earth people on board, outside. Steve warns Andros about the bomb but as Andros and Titus fight, the explosion triggers. In the balloon, which flies again, the others lament over the death of both Titus and Andros (they suppose both died) . Barry laments that they are going to have to spend a whole day stuck in this balloon. Val smiles, “You’re complaining?” They all laugh. What does that mean?
Review: An important episode, flawed, but important. First, the flaws: why did Titus have the ability to view the balloon in flight as he pulled it during the first trip but didn’t have either the ability or the sense to view it when Dan and Fitz were aboard on the way back. Also: what was his force attraction power? Wind? Magnetic? It is never explained. Just where did the SID get photos of Dan and Mark from THE FLIGHT PLAN? If Dan and Mark were monitored, why weren’t they captured? Did the giants want to lure the others out too? This also happened in GENIUS AT WORK when Kobick revealed he had a photo of Steve, Betty and Dan running in the forest. Why was there a blackout when the balloon landed and why did Mark think the balloon caused a blackout? Did the power needed to bring them there cause the blackout? And a flaw to a few episodes: no Betty. Andros talks very little, reducing the drama to that part of the episode. Character stuff: Fitzhugh is very comical here and keeps the grimness balanced. He is funny when with Dan---trying hard to help yet hiding before Dan’s setting off the blast at the safe, climbing up higher on the balloon’s outer ridge before he jumps (Steve says, “It’s no safer from up there, Fitzhugh.”), and claiming to be an expert in hot air (to which Dan just smiles) and an expert in flying. Yet he is an asset to the rescue. Barry seemed a little stiff in the first few scenes with Titus but he had quite a lot of good lines and characterization. Nathan Juran directed and wrote an early 60s film called FLIGHT OF THE LOST BALLOON so he possibly directed the excellent balloon rides which were laden with good effects and action filled moments. Brian Nash was in the early 70s show PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISES. The rest is pure fun filled fantasy with the little folk in conflict with a strange despot. Titus was an odd enemy for this show---respecting them yet willing to kill for disobedience and to keep his own word. It is too bad we did not learn more about his kingdom or his city. In all, an entertaining and surprising episode. This is the last time we see the Spindrift cockpit control room. Titus’s power room was seen in THE TIME TUNNEL’S TOWN OF TERROR (which also starred Heather Young, ironic since she’s not in this episode of LAND OF THE GIANTS).