Question: Do you have any info about a show from the '60s called Land of the Giants? I think it ran on ABC, and I think one of the actors in it was Kurt Kasznar. Could you tell me who some of the other actors were and how long it ran? Thanks. Pete
Televisionary: Do I have any information? Now Pete, would they pay me the big money if I didn't? (Of course not they don't when I do.)
Nevertheless, Land of the Giants
, a series from producer giant Irwin Allen
(Lost in Space
, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
, The Time Tunnel
), ran on ABC for two years beginning in September 1968. In it, a 1983 rocketship flight from the States to London (boy, remember those?) goes awry, stranding its crew (Gary Conway
, Don Marshall
, Heather Young
), its passengers (Don Matheson
, Stefen Arngrim
, Deanna Lund
, the aforementioned Mr. Kasznar) and a cute little dog on a planet just like Earth... except for the fact that all things, animals and people were 12 times bigger.
Of course, it wasn't enough that the characters couldn't get home why, that would be too much like Lost in Space
. The giant denizens of the mystery planet, as a rule, wanted to exploit, eat and otherwise harm our heroes. And the menacing Inspector Kobrick (Kevin Hagen
) wanted to catch them for his own sinister reasons.
Silly? Well, yeah. But it was sort of schlockily lovable, too. Even sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov
paid enough attention to pen a 1969 TV Guide
column pointing out that if people were 12 times bigger in earth's normal gravity their thigh bones would snap like twigs, while humans who were 12 times smaller under the same conditions would be able to jump 12 times higher and would squeak like mice when they spoke. (His daughter, 13 at the time, couldn't be bothered to watch, however, and dismissed the whole concept with the observation that "obviously... the program is produced, through trick photography, by people who are scientific illiterates and who lack the slightest knowledge of the square-cube law that regulates the relationship of properties to size." Kids really are
Even the show's stars could muster only back-handed praise when explaining their work on the series. "I know it is hard for Gary and Don. They are stuck with being the leaders," the theater veteran Kasznar told TV Guide
. "I respect the show. I am reaching a public I never reached before. I agree with Emlyn Williams
. Never get billed on top of the title. Then you're not the one responsible... Let's say this: If I hadn't done other things in life I would climb the walls."
Conway, for his part, performed a series of observational gymnastics to defend the show. "[T]here are elements in the show which are really classical," he said in another TV Guide
story the same year. "Land of the Giants
has not only the outer trappings of Gulliver's Travels
but a lot of the same themes. It has I don't mean to be pretentious, but it has a whole lot of primal fascination, people love the whole idea of it. The same way that The Fugitive
was really like [Victor] Hugo
's Les Miserables
, or that The Beverly Hillbillies
is like I don't know, but those novels about class differences, and the problems that newcomers have in an established society. People like
thought it was just about people hiding behind pencil holders and film cans.