Thursday, November 18, 2010

Family Toons: Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974)

It's not easy determining who had the idea first, but Hanna-Barbera's Valley of the Dinosaurs came along the same year that Sid & Marty Krofft's Land of the Lost did, in 1974. Valley aired on CBS, which put Shazam! directly opposite Land over on NBC, if my memory serves me correctly.

Here's the intro:

It's worth noting that Fred Freiberger, whose sci-fi cred includes writing and/or producing for Star Trek and Space: 1999, and who also created, produced and served as principal writer for another H-B frosh in '74, Korg: 70,000 B. C., which aired on ABC, was a writer on Valley. Freiberger would leave H-B to work on Space: 1999, ending a short but productive run with the studio. Alert viewers will recognize the voices of Mike Road (Jonny Quest, Herculoids) and Shannon Farnon (Super Friends) as John Butler and his wife. Don Markstein, in writing an entry on Valley for his Toonopedia site a week ago, got the mistaken notion that Jackie Earle Haley ("Watchmen", "Nightmare on Elm Street", Human Target) voiced John Butler. Impossible, considering Haley was just a kid back then, 2 years away from the original "Bad News Bears". Maybe if they remade the show today, or if they'd done a parody on Robot Chicken, but definitely not in 1974.

As for which was the most successful dinosaur show of the period? That's easy. It was Land of the Lost (previously reviewed), which lasted 3 seasons in its initial run, and 2 more when ABC revived it in the 90's. Korg and Valley were both cancelled after 1 season.

Rating: B.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Jackie Earle Haley, IMDB has him credited (as Jack E. Haley) as the voice of Greg Butler, not John. Never seen it, but if Greg is one of the children this makes sense -- Haley was born in July '61 so that would make him 12-13 at the time of this show.

hobbyfan said...

Then Markstein wasn't too far off the mark. Yes, Greg is the son on the show. Valley of the Dinosaurs is from 1974, so Haley would be 13 by the time the series debuted in September. Thanks for the help.

magicdog said...

I loved this show! If it had dinosaurs I was there!

Having seen the show on Boomerang a while back, I really appreciated two things: first, the tight knit families. Both Gorok and John Butler knew how to keep things together and learned from each other. Second, the real life science that John and his family used in each episode (John's character as I recall was a science teacher back home) added a nice touch.

I know lots of fans of this show think it's linked to the 60s series, "Dino Boy" and that Todd was living in another part of the Lost Valley. I don't think HB originally planned that but I think it would have really been cool if a teenaged Todd stumbled across the Butler family and found that he wasn't the only one stranded there.

hobbyfan said...

By then, Tod (Dino Boy) was long forgotten by the H-B staff, such that such a crossover was never considered. Also, back in those days, a plotline like that would've required 2 episodes, not the done in one format favored back then.