Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Land of the Lost: "The Test" (October 4, 1975)

This week on Land of the Lost’s second season, Chaka (Philip Paley) undergoes a rite of passage or “test of manhood.”

In “The Test,” the Pakuni youngster must steal one of Big Alice’s eggs at the Lost City, and bring it back to Ta and Sa in the jungle.  The problem occurs, however, when the egg hatches, and little Junior -- an Allosaurus -- thinks Holly (Kathy Coleman) is his Mom.

There’s a lot of running around in this episode, and not much in terms of plot development.  Will (Wesley Eure) and Holly try to help Chaka any way they can, whether reflecting blind sun-light in Big Alice’s eyes or helping him roll her over-sized egg into an abandoned Sleestak temple.

The big story, perhaps, is the sheer number of special effects and miniatures that appear here.  There are some terrific shots of Big Alice on the prowl and on the attack, for instance.  When Will, Holly and Chaka get the egg safely into the old temple (a beautiful miniature), Big Alice’s head just right at them (and us) through the structure’s pillars.  It’s one of the best effects shots so far this season.  Also, we’ll see this temple again in a later episode involving Chaka.

“The Test” also gives Land of the Lost a memorble new “creature,” the squeaking and generally adorable baby Allosaur named Junior.

These are all pluses to this particular episode but -- as we saw in an earlier episode -- there’s an ingrained sense of sexism on the programs in regards to Holly.  Twice in “The Test,” she is dismissed as being just a “little girl” and therefore unable to understand rites of passage/manhood.

It’s an extremely narrow view of sex roles, alas, and a bit insulting too.  At the end of the show, Chaka gives Will the “mark,” of “Big Man Magic” for his help in securing the egg.  Yet Holly is just as much a help to him as Will is during the crisis, and she gets no props or medals whatsoever.. 

Next week on Land of the Lost: “Gravity Storm.”


  1. I love your coverage of land of the lost John. I have to get back to it myself. I just love these wonderfully self contained stories.

    Regarding the sexism, I would only say that it certainly existed to degree back in the day, but also that you can certainly see how young girls might have been perceived by an immature minded brother. Perceptions by parents of their daughters were definitely still evolving. I'm only thinking back to my personal experiences as I write this.

    Cheers... Great stuff.

  2. Anonymous5:18 PM

    John nice review of LOTL "The Test". I remember watching this episode as a boy in 1975 because my younger sister was annoyed by the way Holly was often treated.