Saturday Morning Cartoons #3: Valley of the Dinosaurs
What kid didn't love Valley of the Dinosaurs? As a kid, I didn't pick up its similarities to Land of the Lost. In many ways the shows were identical. Here's just a few similarities:
1. Both families (the Butlers in VOTD and the Marshalls in LOTL) were river rafting when they were mysteriously transported to another time/space
2. Both families consisted of a straight laced dad and his two kids - a boy and a girl. The only difference was VOTD also had the mother with them (who was voiced by the same lady who did Wonder Woman on Superfriends).
3. Both families encounter a primitive tribe and ally themselves with them; the youngster of the primitive tribe (Tan in VOTD and Chaka in LOTL) then becomes very close to the family, a good friend to the children.
Initially, I was inclined to think VOTD was a cheap knock off of the brilliant LOTL, but these two shows actually both premiered on the same day in 1974!
I found it interesting to learn that Greg Butler (the boy in the red shirt above) was voiced by Jackie Earle Haley. He was a popular child actor in the 70s (The Bad News Bears). According to IMDb, he was friends with Johnny Depp who went with him for an audition for Nightmare on Elm Street - the passed on Haley and chose his buddy Depp instead. In a strange twist of fate, Haley will be playing Freddie Kreuger in the 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street.
One thing that bothered the shit out of me was that the cavemen spoke perfect English. At least on LOTL, the Pakuni spoke their own dialect - these cavemen speak every bit as fluently as the Butler family! No comprende.
One of the cavemen, Lok, was voiced by Frank Welker (Fred from Scooby Doo), one of the most prolific voice actors in Saturday morning history. Evidently, he was sort of a love interest for the daughter, Katie. No on screen sex, but lots of implied heat.
Katie, by the way, was voiced by Kathy Gori - the same lady who voiced Rosemary the telephone operator on Hong Kong Phooey.
Every single Hanna Barbera cartoon in the 70s always featured some sort of pet to provide comic relief. Perhaps, Scooby Doo is to blame, I don't know. But VOTD was no exception. There was a comical and "cute" stegosaurus and a dog named Digger.... who looks remarkably like Scoob, even his collar is the same color.
All in all, it's not a bad show. My four year old son was transfixed by VOTD - it wasn't intended for males over 40. Thus, the stories are not anywhere near as complex and interesting as LOTL, but I would still easily recommend it for both the young and the young at heart.