Saturday Morning TV #4: Danger Island
Long before Richard Donner directed The Omen and Superman, he directed Danger Island, a 10 minute serial that appeared on The Banana Splits. It basically was like Johnny Quest but live action. There was also one other difference - it scared the living shit out of me.
You see, some of the scenes got to be quite gritty and realistic. When pirates came aboard the ship, you wondered what horrible things these ugly bastards would do to the trio of explorers. There were scenes featuring realsitic dead bodies, and scenes with half-naked cannibalistic natives (called The Skeleton Men) torturing and trying to eat the explorers. It always seemed so out of place on The Banana Splits sandwiched between The Three Musketeers and The Arabian Knights cartoons.
The explorers consisted of a scientist who reminds me of Dr. Benton C. Quest, a young stud "Link" played by Jan Michael Vincent, and the stone cold fox, "Leslie" (played by the daughter of the guy who wrote "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66". They basically travelled around looking for archaeological treasure and running into adventure.
That adventure usually consisted of being captured and tortured by vile looking villains, I didn't know what "rape" was back in my pre-school days, but there was definitely an air of horrible violence when Leslie was captured by various baddies - they'd kiss her hand, throw her around, etc..... I was a sensitive child.
Fortunately, the suspense never led to a dismemberment, cannibal holocaust, or gang rape..... quite the contrary. One of the strangest things about Danger Island was that the fight scenes were often slapstick - Three Stooges style (sometimes with pies being thrown!). This was especially true when the fights involved Chongo - a super spastic idiot who spawned the wildly popular 70s catchphrase "Uh-oh, Chongo!".
Sadly, this is one of the many shows still not released on DVD. One episode is on a compilation of Saturday morning TV shows; the rest of the episodes are MIA. They're currently on YouTube, but the picture quality is horrible, and I refuse to watch them.