|Marshall, Will, and Holly,
On a routine expedition,
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids, it struck their tiny raft,
And plunged them down a thousand feet below,
To the Land of the Lost.”
As the theme song explained, single father and forest ranger Rick Marshall and his two children, Will and Holly, plunged into the Land of the Lost: a prehistoric dimension where dinosaurs ruled the earth and the cave-dwelling, nocturnal Sleestaks were the most advanced race known. The stranded family eked out a “Swiss Family Robinson” existence, trying to make the best of their new environment while attempting to find their way back home.
Along the way, the Marshalls built relationships with some of the indigenous beings in the Land of the Lost. Holly attracted the attentions of Cha-ka, a good-natured and helpful Pakuni boy who was well down on the evolution ladder, and Dopey, a sweet baby dinosaur whom she rode periodically. Ranger Rick was befriended by the talking Sleestak elder, Enik, who showed the Marshalls how to manipulate the crystals of the mysterious gold pylons that popped up from time to time, opening doors to other dimensions.
However, danger waited around every corner. Among the troublemakers were carnivorous dinosaurs Big Alice and Grumpy, who continually sent Rick, Will and Holly running for the shelter of their cave. And for every Cha-ka and Enik, there were scores of evil, zombie-like warrior Sleestaks waiting in the wings. Lastly, there were Cha-Ka’s siblings, the incorrigible Sa and Ta, to deal with.
“Will and Holly Marshall, as the earth beneath them trembled,
Lost their father through the door of time.
Uncle Jack went searching, and found those kids at last,
Looking for a way to escape,
From the Land of the Lost.”
At the opening of the third season, Rick’s brother Jack got caught in a time vortex and wound up in the Land of the Lost while out searching for his missing kin. The vortex simultaneously removed Ranger Rick, leaving Uncle Jack to find Will and Holly and work on escaping back to their own time.
Land of the Lost was the most successful of all the Krofft Saturday morning productions. Forty-three episodes were produced, in contrast with the seventeen episodes each that were made of its predecessors, H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos and Lidsville.
“Oganza bi sasa!”
Sid and Marty Krofft always liked to do something educational with their programs, and Land of the Lost was no exception. The brothers hired a UCLA linguistics professor to develop an actual language for the Pakuni tribe to speak. The hope was that this language would become popular among young viewers, but that didn’t happen beyond a few words.
In 1991, a new Land of the Lost was created and aired on ABC. Tom Porter and kids Annie and Kevin were the new accidental visitors, dropping in when their Jeep fell through a crevice during an earthquake. Annie got a new dinosaur friend, Tasha, and the family found another human girl, Christa, who had arrived several years before but had no memory of her previous life. The Sleestaks were still the enemy, now led by the wicked Shung. The new series ran another three seasons.
“When I look, all around,
I can't believe the things I've found,
Now I need to find my way,
I'm lost, I'm lost, find me,
Living in the Land of the Lost!
Living in the Land of the Lost!“