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Updated: July 12, 2021

Land of the Giants: "The Crash"

Season One, Episode #1

First aired: September 22, 1968

By Jason Warren:

Irwin Allen produced four science fiction/fantasy adventure series this was his fourth and last effort. Quite a bit of money went to producing the huge sets and special effects that dominated this series much of which is quite outstanding for the time and era.

Irwin Allen's shows are often criticized for not being very accurate and not paying attention to fact but really those who say that miss the whole point of his programs these shows weren't meant to be taken too seriously. What we have here folks is juvenile adventure the kind in which almost anything can happen similar to the imaginary worlds a child's imagination might produce. I feel this is true of almost all of Allen's TV efforts. Not paying too much attention to detail and letting yourself be lost in the fun and adventure is key to enjoying shows such as "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "Lost In Space", and particularly "Land of the Giants" which is probably the most juvenile-minded of them all.

As our story opens, it's June 12, 1983, and the spaceship Spindrift is just about to complete its sub-orbital flight from California to London when suddenly they hit strange turbulence and encounter a mysterious cloud. After passing through the weird-looking white cloud (which we later learn was actually a "dimensional lock"), our brave crew and flight 612's passengers find themselves suddenly thrust into and lost amongst a world of giants where everything is 12 times as large as things on Earth. Soon they are threatened by all kinds of things quite small and unthreatening on our world but here quite deadly and dangerous such as a cat (which strangely roars just like a lion here:) and a dog. Most menacing and frightening of all are the giant scientists whose intentions are not at all clear and look upon our heroes with frightening, foreboding curiousity.

The crew conisists of Captain Steve Burton (played by Gary Conway) our square-jawed leader, brave and ready for anything; Dan Erickson (Don Marshall) co-pilot and essentially second in command and vastly loyal to the Captain; stewardess Betty Hamilton (Heather Young); and a crew of four: Mark Wilson (Don Matheson), who just happens "conveniently enough" to be an engineer; Miss Valerie Scott (Deanna Lund) curious and a bit too adventurous for her own good; Commander Fitzhugh (Kurt Kasznar) a cowardly frightened man who frequently leads our heroes into all kinds of trouble similar to Jonathan Harris's Doctor Smith in "Lost In Space" but Fitzhugh is not as memorably played; and finally Barry Lockridge (Stefan Angrim) who befriends Fitzhugh and embraces him as a father figure and role model (again similar to Will Robinson's relationship with Dr. Smith on "Lost In Space").

This episode works to set up who each character is, but only Fitzhugh, Barry, Burton, and Erickson are really given any real characterization. The rest feel like window dressing although Ms. Scott is the one who lands our cast of heroes into trouble when she doesn't listen to the Captain.

This episode was based upon a story by and directed by Irwin Allen. The teleplay was written by Anthony Wilson. While quite simply told, there are great moments of adventure and suspense presented here. The sets are very impressive and the music (by John Williams no less!) adds immensely to this episode's enjoyment.

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