ROAAAARR!!! How many of you grew up adoring those extinct walkers from history?? You know, those dinosaurs?! When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist & discover dinosaur species never before found, (Indiana Jones style, of course!) Now-a-days, my nephew is the supreme dino-lover of our clan, so this week we’re celebrating everyone’s favourite primeval predators & docile dino’s from history! Since today is Monday, let’s take a trip down memory lane & see how many of you recall the geek-tastic programs many children loved & adored featuring some of these wonderful creatures.
First up, let’s pop back to the 1970’s for a look at one of the most popular children’s television shows, with it’s own remake & now a movie based on it: Land of the Lost!
Created by Sid and Marty Krofft — best known for their extravegant puppets of other children’s shows like H.R. Pufnstuf — Land of the Lost was set in an expansive under-world (think middle Earth scenario) with many living creatures, ranging from Dinosaurs to a race of lizard-bug-like humanoids called the Sleestak. Our heroes of the show include explorer Rick Marshall & his two children, Will & Holly, who’ve been teleported in to this world by a paradox!
Sid & Marty Krofft over-saw the remake of this classic series in 1991, & eventually a film adaptation was made in 2009 starring Will Ferrel (though Will & Holly are not the character Rick’s children — they are a tour guide & an assistant to Dr. Marshall, respectively.)
Regarding the many dinosaurs encountered during this show, there are a few particularly unique ones throughout the show — there’s even a fire-breathing, dragon-like one! — but the two notable ones I’d like to show you guys are my two favourites: “Grumpy” (the T-Rex who stalked the family & caused nothing but trouble) & the family’s adopted pet, “Dopey” (a baby Brontosaurus).
Geeks beware: If you loved the television shows & have yet to see the movie, it is very different from the shows! You have been warned. 😛
Next up, let’s take a spin to the 1990’s with one of my favourite shows ever, created by the magician Jim Henson: Dinosaurs. (Warning! ** Spoilers!)
For a children’s show, this had a surprisingly depressing ending to the series, where the Dinosaur population was wiped out due to their reckless disregard for the environment (remind you of another species, hmm?) This was one of the last project Henson himself worked on, having dreamed it up many years before, he never got to see it’s release, but worked on “dinosaur things” even in the few months before he passed away.
Despite the grim ending, the show itself was filled with humour & jokes at the expense of television shows all around. The puppets were amazingly created (of course) with facial features being controlled much like other Muppet Studio creations — as a child I was utterly fascinated with how life-like these puppets looked! There seemed to be no limit to how realistic their facial expressions could get!!
Even though I could go on all day about how much I loved this show then, the truth is that watching it with fresh eyes as an adult really makes me love it all the more. It’s basically a family sitcom, where a middle-class family lives their lives, led by a bumbling father figure, the two kids who learn lessons each episode, the stereotypical “actually in charge” mother, and the comic relief (played by Baby dinosaur), but there’s so much more to it. Besides the environmental warnings, it’s loaded with pop-culture references, breaks ground on the stereotypical family unit (albeit hesitantly), and more. (Check out this awesome article by Amanda Dobbins featured on Vulture regarding revisiting this series as an adult.)
Lastly, I want to point out some other awesome Dinosaur’s from TV-land that weren’t necessarily a prominent piece of whichever show or movie they were in, but were still pretty friggin’ awesome in my book.
For example, does anyone remember the coolest little Dinosaur Family from PeeWee’s Playhouse?
For a stop-motion family of dino’s, they were hilarious & very well done. I still love watching them chomp on that dradle during one Christmas episode. xD
Much like the strange inhabitants of the Dinosaur’s world, Dino lived in a world where there were creatures living in the trash can, eating the trash… Of course, there were a lot more than just trash creatures in the Flintstones! Every one loves Dino (save Fred when he comes home, of course) — he’s so friendly, barking & getting in to EVERYTHING! 😀
Lastly, one of my favourites from the 90s: Recycle Rex!
— Elise M. Gross