Will Ferrell stars in ‘Land of the Lost

I didn’t see this one coming. Will Ferrell’s next movie is a takeoff of “Land of the Lost”.

The original Land of the Lost television series was filmed in the 1970s. I remember watching it after school and I had a crush on Kathy Coleman, the cute girl who played Holly.

A second television show was launched in 1991. I did not have a crush on anyone in that show and I don’t remember much about it, except I think they dumbed down the whole concept.

The original Land of the Lost starred Wesley Eure as Will Marshall (the son/brother) for 43 episodes (according to IMDB). Philip Paley played Cha-ka the Paku for 43 episodes alongside Wesley and Kathy.

Spencer Milligan played Dad, Rick Marshall, for 30 episodes. He was then replaced by Ron Harper, who came in as Rick’s brother Jack for the last 13 episodes.

Land of the Lost was probably Sid and Marty Krofft’s biggest success for “kiddie” television — it actually appealed to older kids and young adults. The stories were actually interesting and the special effects were produced through a mix of costumes, puppetry, clamation, and video.

The show was ahead of its time in several ways. Sid and Marty were trying to show people they had more up their sleeves than H.R. Puff’n’Stuff and Witchy-poo. Unfortunately, television studios and networks seem to feel that children cannot handle interesting, well-made shows any more.

The original show changed its venue, moving the Marshalls out of their cave and into a temple. Wesley Eure performed songs for the end credits on some (or all) of the episodes.

The “land” that was lost had some interesting anomalies. When the Marshalls meet Enik, the advanced Sleestak, he tells them the Sleestak are his ancestors. In fact, Enik comes to realize they are the last remnants of his people. Enik’s civilization has backslid and he is the last of his kind.

In one episode, Rick, Will, and Holly look out from a cliff with binoculars and they see themselves from the rear, looking out from a cliff with binoculars.

The IMDB has a dialogue snippet in which Enik shows the Marshalls they must have died when they entered his world.

There were all sorts of neat things about the land of the lost: the pylons, the lost city, Dopey the white dinosaur, the Marshalls’ crude devices (somewhat reminiscent of the Professor’s inventions on Gilligan’s Island almost a decade earlier), and the fact that Earth-like dinosaurs were living side-by-side with Sleestak and Pakuni.

Timothy Bottoms starred as Tom Porter in the 1991 version of the show. Jennie Drugan and Robert Gavin played the Porter kids, Annie and Kevin. Unlike the first show, which lasted three seasons, this show only lasted two seasons.

The 1991 show was not nearly as well-done as the original show. It lacked the maturity and depth that veteran science fiction writer David Gerrold had brought to the original production.

But now we’re about to see the third incarnation of the concept in the upcoming Will Ferrell movie. I’ve never been a big Ferrell fan but he has occasionally shown he can act and be funny on a more mature level. He has probably been niche-cast so much he’ll never get to do anything serious again (or maybe he just doesn’t want to).

That said, the trailer for the movie (available on this Subway promo site) made me laugh in a couple of spots. It does look like they’ve managed to dumb down the concept even more, but the special effects look like they may have more of budget behind them this time around.

I’m not expecting much from the movie, so maybe I’ll be able to enjoy it.

I just won’t be able to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the original series.

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