Land of the Giants
Land of the Giants is an American television show of the late
1960s and early Super70s which tells the tale of the crew and passengers
of a sub-orbital transport plane which is accidentally transported to a
world in which all life forms are huge in comparison to them.
These giants are in form entirely human, but their society is a
dictatorship of which not too many details are given, and which employs no
symbols. Episodes often have the plot of giant scientists capturing one of
the passengers or crew, with the rest having to rescue them.
It was created by Irwin Allen on the template of his Lost in Space.
There is a foolish, greedy traitor in an American uniform who continually
tries to deceive the boy in the cast, just like Doctor Zachary Smith. The
co-pilot is notably an African-American.
With a $250,000 budget per episode Land of the Giants set a new record.
The actors had to be in top shape, as they had to do many stunts
themselves, such as climbing giant curbs, phone cords, ropes and such. The
series ran from September 1968 to September 1970 on ABC.
Land of the Giants
No name has ever been established for the mysterious planet (code named
Arret for this article), but the inhabitants of Arret seem to know
of Earth, Venus and Mars, referring to them by name in one episode.
Exactly where Arret is located is never made clear, but it can be
supposed that Arret is a natural part of the Earth's solar system,
but is also, by some quirk of nature, unknown to Earth. The inhabitants of
Arret do not possess manned space flight, and so Earth is spared an
The only established method by which Earth people may reach Arret
is some sort of high-altitude aircraft, interacting with a poorly-defined
"time warp" which seems to act more as a space warp or wormhole.
However, if one postulates the notion that Arret is in the same
orbit as Earth, and if the time warp operates coincidentally to propel
objects forward or backward six months, Arret and Earth would have
exchanged positions. Although several episodes show that at least two
other flights have landed on Arret, no episode shows that anyone
ever successfully returned to Earth.
One continent or hemisphere is wholly dominated by an authoritarian
government which, however, tolerates broad freedoms for entrepreneurs and
businessmen, a capitalist system. It simply does not tolerate any effort
to effect political change. Exactly what the political situation is on
other continents is not known, although at least one overseas land has a
despotic ruler. The Air Traffic Control will tell those who venture far
out to sea that they should turn back, that nothing beyond that sea has
been explored nor is there current contact; whether this is an official
government line or the truth is not known.
In spite of the authoritarian government, there are several dissident
movements at work that either help other dissenters (such as the Earth
people) or are actively working to unseat the government. The government
has established the SID, Special Investigations Department, to deal with
assorted dissidence, but it also has taken the lead in dealing with the
The technology largely resembles 1950s and 1960s Earth, slightly more
advanced in some respects (e.g. cloning, radio controlled toys, small
nuclear reactors) and slightly behind in others (does not have
microelectronics or manned space flight).
Culturally, the society resembles the United States. The Earth people
find themselves able to cope at a cultural level, dealing with movie
studios, musicians, hobos, nuclear families, orphanages, folklore (like
Thrombeldinbar), jealousies and rivalries, law-breakers and patriots,
criminals and honest people, poor and rich, sympathetic and hostile. Their
efforts to get around are facilitated by the ubiquity of large drains
directly from interior rooms to the pavement level at an outside wall of
most buildings. The fact that English is the local language no doubt adds
to these conveniences.
The Earth people's objectives are: (1) survival, by obtaining food and
by avoiding capture by the native people or menace from small animals like
cats and dogs; (2) repair of their spacecraft so they may take off and
attempt a return to Earth. They largely manage survival with the help of
sympathizers and the stealth of their small size, and ingenuity using the
They do not achieve the second objective, however, since the primary
systems of their craft, the Spindrift, are heavily damaged. The secondary
systems are insufficient to allow take-off and the sub-orbital flight
required. They are unable to successfully integrate Arret
technology as it is bulky and less advanced; in one episode, an
experimental nuclear reactor provided by an engineering student produces
dangerous side effects and is prone to overload. They also cannot
implicitly trust the Arret natives who might be able to offer the
Earth people a ride home in exchange for technical assistance.
- Captain Steve Burton - Gary Conway
- Dan Erikson - Don Marshall
- Mark Wilson - Don Matheson
- Cdr. Alexander Fitzhugh - Kurt Kasznar
- Barry Lockridge - Stefan Arngrim
- Valerie Scott - Deanna Lund
- Betty Hamilton - Heather Young
Inspector Kobrick - Kevin Hagen