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      by Bill Harry

The space vehicle Spindrift sets off on its suborbital flight to London. The year is 1983. Pilot Steve Burton (Gary Conway) and his co-pilot Dan Erickson (Don Marshall) encounter extreme turbulence when they pass through a mysterious white cloud and struggle to control their craft.
In the meantime stewardess Betty Hamilton (Heather Young) calms con-man Alexander Fitzhugh (Kurt Kaznar), tycoon Mark Wilson (Don Matheson) does his paperwork, jetset heiress Valerie Scott (Deanna Lund) naps and recently orphaned Barry Lockridge (Stephan Amgrim) holds his little dog Chipper.

On landing at what they think is London Airport, Steve and Dan leave the ship to investigate and are nearly run down by a giant car. Returning to their ship, they realise that they’ve not got enough power to return to orbit. Fitzhugh leaves the ship followed by Barry and Chipper, only to be chased by a huge cat.

When Steve and Valerie go to search for them, they are captured by giant entomologists and taken as specimens to a laboratory. Dan and Mark mount a rescue attempt which succeeds with the help of Fitzhugh’s gun. Finally returning to the ship, they set up camp and start to make repairs. Chipper digs up a tape recorder with a message which indicates that others like them have tried to survive in this land of giants.

So began what was the most expensive series in TV history at the time in 1968, with each episode budgeted at more than a quarter of a million dollars. There were 51 x 60-minute full colour episodes made between 1968 and 1970 and it was to be Irwin Allen’s fourth and last major sci-fi series for television, although he made some further pilot shows before turning to big budget disaster movies such as ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ and ‘The Towering Inferno.’
His previous television series were ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’, ‘The Time Tunnel’ and ‘Lost In Space.’

Allen commented: “To begin with, ‘Land of the Giants’ is exactly what the title states: It is a land inhabited by giants, people twelve times the size of the seven Earth people who land in their midst. The new arrivals are passengers aboard a rocketship in suborbital flight in the year 1983 when they pass through a space time warp and are thrust onto this strange planet."
“Their puzzlement turns to horror when a mere boy on this new world picks up their craft. To him it’s a toy! The boy is the humans’ first contact with this unknown world’s giant inhabitants. A burst of rocket power tears the ‘toy’ from the boy’s hands. A brief, wild flight ensues and the terrified travellers land in a forest.”
The special effects were enhanced by the camerawork, with scenes photographed from angles which increased the effect of the heroes being lost in a land of giants.

As with most of Allen’s sci-fi TV shows, it has an inconclusive ending: just as the scientists trapped in ‘The Time Tunnel’ never return to their own time and as the Robinson Family remained 'lost in space', so the Spindrift passengers are fated to be trapped forever in the land of the giants. During one episode they actually return to Earth, but end up back on the unknown planet. They also discover other terrestrials who have been trapped there, including a mad survivor of an earlier flight who has been living in a gopher hole for years. Special 'guest stars' included Lee Meriwether, who was Catwoman in the ‘Batman’ series and Yvonne Craig who was Batgirl. Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, Broderick Crawford - star of ‘Highway Patrol’ and John Carradine as a faded horror movie star also appear. Of note to Allen fans is the episode featuring Jonathan Harris, Dr. Zachary Smith from ‘Lost In Space’ who, in the guise of a piper, guarantees to the giants that he can rid them of their 'pests'.

Season 1 episodes:
The Crash; Ghost Town; Framed; Underground; Terror-Go-Round; The Flight Plan; Manhunt; The Trap; The Creed; Double-Cross; The Weird World; The Golden Cage; The Lost Ones; Brainwash; The Bounty Hunter; On A Clear Day You Can See Earth; Deadly Lodestone; Night of Thrombeldinbar; Seven Little Indians; Target: Earth; Genius At Work; Return of Inidu; Rescue; Sabotage; Shell Game; The Chase.
Season 2 episodes:
The Mechanical Man; Six Hours To Live; The Inside Rail; Deadly Pawn; The Unsuspected; Giants and All That Jazz; Collector's Item; Every Dog Needs A Boy; Chamber Of Fear; Comeback; The Clones; A Place Called Earth; Land Of The Lost; Home Sweet Home; Our Man O'Reilly; Nightmare; Pay The Piper; The Secret City Of Limbo; Panic; The Deadly Dart; Doomsday; A Small War; The Marionettes; Wild Journey; Graveyard Of Fools

Also see Sixties City: Television

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