Monday, April 24, 2017

Land Of The Giants

This must watch tv shows classic Sci Fi series actually started airing in the US in 1968, but the original transmission carried on into 1970, so just meets our criteria for being a 70s Tv classic, infact the final nine episodes ran from January to March 1970 in the US. The programme follows the crew of Spindrift a ship that is taken off  its journey in 1983, to land in, a place that looks like it could be Earth, although its never really ever said for sure. Everybody and everything is Earth like, but so massive, that our crew and passengers struggle to survive in "The Land Of The Giants".

See The Land Of The Giants opening titles

This Irwin Allen production was a massive undertaking for the studios at the time, as there was no such thing as computer graphics, so everything was made  and built up in the studios, the  production costs broke records at the time, and the series was popular across the whole world, and spawned huge merchandising too, I remeber collecting my "Land Of The Giants" picture cards, and I think I also got a model of the spaceship from a cereal packet.

The cast really did have to climb, jump and more during the series, and  because of the huge costs involved, many of the sets and props were used repeatedly during the series as it was just impossible to keep costs in check. Watch Tv shows like this online, just check your browser, normally only available in the US.

The main cast.
Gary Conway, born in 1936, played the handsome Captain Stephen Burton in his immaculate red uniform, before that he starred in sixties TV thriller "Burkes Law". After the series, he appeared in a few made for TV films, and in odd episodes of Columbo in 1973, and Police Story in 1974 but from the public's point of view, that's the last we saw of him. 

Don Marshall, again born in 1936, played the co-pilot  Dan Erikson, a very athletic man, and a black character, that in one of the stories actually was on screen with Sugar Ray Robinson the boxer. After the show  he was in a handful of films, and again nothing on screenwise, but he did appear in episodes of "The Incredible Hulk" and "Buck Rogers In The 25th century".

Don Matheson, born 1929, played  Mark Wilson, Don himself was a Korean war veteran, he was super fit for the action man hero he played in the series. After the series ended he appeared in many 70s TV show including  "Emergency","Shaft , "Quest" and "The Waltons".

Kurt Kasznar, born 1913 in Austria, DEAD 1979, played the baddie with a soft heart, Alexander Fitzhugh who in real life became a firm friend of Stefan (Barry) from the series, Kurt was the real actor and had even earned a Golden globe nomination, and appeared in many blockbuster films through the 1950s and 1960s.
The actor was always in demand and played in classics during the 1970s like "The Virginian","McMillan and Wife","The FBI","Heres Lucy" and 2barnaby Jones". His last TV performance was in "Suddenly,Love" in 1978.

Stefan Arngrim, born in 1955, he played Barry Lockridge who was Alexanders friend in real life and in the TV series, Stefan was the "WILL ROBINSON" of the series.He went on to star in a handful of series in 1970s, but was more in work in 80s and 90s including "X Files".

Deanna Lund, born 1937, played Valerie Scott, and all the boys in my school thought she was so FAB.She went on to marry her co star Don Matheson, she also dated Larry King in the nineties!!! In the 1970s she also starred in "The Incredible Hulk", and "The Waltons" amongst a few others.

Heather Young,born as Patricia Paterson, played Betty Hamilton, but strangely in some episodes she never appeared and it was never explained where she was, it was infact because she was pregnant. Heather gave up acting, although did make a little come back in 1980.

See more clips of Land Of The Giants.

Jeff's Star Talk pay's Tribute to the Land of the Giants Interview with Don Matheson Part 1

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