Saturday, August 01, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Valley of the Dinosaurs: "Test Flight" (December 7, 1974)

In “Test Flight,” the Butlers construct an “aerodynamically-sound” glider, and hope to fly it over the valley to pinpoint an exit from the prehistoric land.  

Gara worries, however, that to “fly in the air is to anger the great birds.”  

When Ardock, a pteranodon, attacks the glider in flight, her superstitions prove correct. Fortunately, John is an accomplished pilot and able to defeat the flying dinosaur in a dogfight.

Meanwhile, Greg and Tana must head into the Great Swamp to evade a giant sloth.  The Butlers use the glider to pinpoint their location from the air.  They also attempt to find them from a boat in the river.

In the ensuing rescue, the glider is destroyed, but all is not lost.  Mr. Butler believes he saw a hiking trail out of the valley, some sixty or seventy miles from the family cave...

In “Test Flight,” the Butlers and Gorak’s family again join forces to solve a problem, in this case the rescue of the children, Greg and Tana.  A 20th century glider comes in handy in that regard, though it doesn't survive the half-hour.

The series’ episodes always features some scientific principle or invention, and “Test Flight” is no exception. While lost, Greg creates a make-shift compass that can help him find the way out of the swamp

The episode also suggests there may yet be an escape from the valley: a hiking trail.  An early episode also featured this possibility.  The biggest question, however, involves the glider.  Why not just build another?

The other question about the glider, the episode does address.  The glider can't be used for an escape from the valley (though it can pinpoint an exit...) because of the powerful winds in the air above the prehistoric terrain.

Next episode: "The Big Toothache."


  1. John nice review of the good episode. I still remember, as a young boy, enjoying Saturday mornings in the '70s watching both Valley Of The Dinosaurs and Land Of The Lost.


  2. They must have not re broadcast this one in my area as I have no memory of the show. Perhaps it was on here first run but I would have been four when it was made. I'm certain I would have remembered a show with an episode involving a glider as I've been aviation mad as long as I can remember with a particular soft spot for soaring flight. Now I want to know if the episode went so far as to explain circling in thermals or flying in ridge lift to gain altitude! Actually, if the upper level winds are supposed to be extremely strong there would likely be a mountain wave set up on the lee side mountains enclosing the valley which would keep you climbing up into the stratosphere.