Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Valley of the Dinosaurs: "Torch" (December 21, 1974)

In “Torch,” the Tamoor – the Camel People – prepare to invade the lands of Gorak’s people in the village. These raiders have come frequently, stealing and attacking by nightfall.  Always, before, Gorak’s people have let them succeed in their campaigns because there are so many of them.

John Butler, however, has a different idea this time.  The Tamoor will have to pass through a narrow canyon path, one where he has set up a natural gas drilling platform.  If he can strike natural gas, a fire will block the Camel People’s path to the village.

The Villagers are reluctant to take on the Tamoor, but Gorak realizes John’s plan is the only way.  

But before the Tamoor can be stopped, the Butlers and Gorak must tame a baby styracosaurus to turn their over-sized drill.

The final episode of Valley of the Dinosaurs (1974), the CBS Saturday morning cartoon, introduces another enemy of Gorak’s people. A few episodes back, we were introduced to the nomads, interlopers who would come in and steal food and supplies (as well as tools). This week, we meet the “Tamoor,” proto-Viking, Conan-the-Barbarian-esque warriors who invade the Villagers’ territory, and so astride camels.  They seem significantly more advanced than Gorak’s culture.

Once more, the Butlers come to the rescue.  

John has conveniently been working on a drilling rig in the very canyon that the Tamoor must traverse so as to conquer Gorak’s land.  He still needs a drill bit, however, and the episode suggests that the Valley of the Dinosaurs is rich in “akara” stones, which we know as diamonds.  

Of course, diamonds are worthless as currency or wealth in this land, but very valuable as a resource for the drill.

“Torch” ends happily -- exactly as the nomad episode did -- with the Tamoors agreeing to make peace with the Villagers, and stop their evil, conquering ways.  Again, one must wonder how long such an accommodation will last. The Tamoor must be aggressive and violent because they lack something vital, food or land.  Declaring friendship without redressing those needs is not a long-term solution.  

But heck, it’s a kid’s show, right?

Next week, I’ll look at an episode of Sid and Marty Krofft’s The Lost Saucer (1975).

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