Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reinventing Valley of the Dinosaurs: Can it be done?

Continuing our series on the Hanna-Barbera freshman class of 1974.

Valley of the Dinosaurs was sold to CBS and was the studio's animated response, if you will, to Sid & Marty Krofft's Land of the Lost, which bowed the same year on NBC. The concepts were the same as far as how each of the two families (The Butlers on Valley and the Marshalls on Land) ended up in prehistoric times, but that's where the similarities end.

Science teacher John Butler (Mike Road, ex-Jonny Quest, Herculoids) and his family were sent through a whirlpool into the prehistoric land and befriended a family of cave dwellers. However, H-B missed the boat by not linking this series to an earlier series with a similarly lost protagonist, Dino Boy, the backup feature to Space Ghost, eight years earlier. Road worked on that series as well, which would've helped the creative process immensely, since none of the writers ever considered bringing Dino Boy back to continue his story, as he could've been found and adopted by the Butlers or Gorok and his family.

And, yes, over at ToonZone a ways back, I came up with the idea of merging the two series together in a TV-movie, one that won't ever see the light of day at Cartoon Network any time soon, since it won't fit their lame schematic.

Sadly, Valley, along with stablemate Korg: 70,000 B. C. over at ABC, was cancelled after one season, leaving the Butlers' tale unfinished. It was also one of the first series where Frank Welker (Scooby-Doo, Super Friends) was doing the animal voices instead of Don Messick, who instead was the narrator.

Could it be done in 2014? Maybe, as long as WB pitches it to be a DTV movie or puts together a completely new series that would be ticketed for either CW's Vortexx block, which could stand some oriignal, made-for-the-network material, or another network (i.e. The Hub). Valley boasted a terrific ensemble cast, which, in addition to Welker & Road, also included Alan Oppenheimer in one of his first toon roles (Gorok), Shannon Farnon (Super Friends), Kathy Gori (Hong Kong Phooey), and future film star Jackie Earle Haley.

To refresh memories, here's the intro:


magicdog said...

I wouldn't mind a new version of "Valley.." if done properly. Hopefully thee would be a satisfying end to the series the original never had.

I agree the Dino Boy character could have crossed over onto Valley, but back then, even HB writers weren't so prescient of such things. Since in real time, Dino Boy (aka Todd) would have been the same age as Katie and Lok and could have been a rival of sorts for her attention. Plus the Butlers could have remembered a plane going down several years earlier and figure out who "Todd" really was.

hobbyfan said...

Back in those days, they didn't consider it important enough to bring Tod (Dino Boy) back for even a 1-shot. Since the original Dino Boy shorts have aired on Boomerang over the years, you'd think there might be at least a smattering of interest.....