Saturday, June 06, 2015

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Valley of the Dinosaurs: "Sabertooth Kids" (October 19, 1974)

In the Valley of the Dinosaurs (1972) episode “Sabertooth Kids,” the cave man family’s pet, Glump -- a baby stegosaurus -- falls into a cave at approximately the same time that a carnivorous dinosaur, Zonda, attacks.

While the children go in search of the missing pet, the adults in both families must contend with the predator nearby.

But the kids settle on using a saber-tooth tiger pelt to help Glump, who is now endangered by a pack of wolves…

“Sabertooth Kids” is all about the children -- prehistoric and modern -- accepting responsibility for the care of a family pet.  

Greg and Tana must prove not only resourceful, but effective in handling the crisis of the week while their parents are tending to our science lesson of the week: using geothermal energy (and steam), and pumping it through bamboo pipes.

Pets are a key element of many Saturday morning series of the 1970s, and for good reason.  Children and pets develop a strong emotional bond.  Episodes like “Dopey” on Land of the Lost (1974 – 1977) and “Yesteryear” on Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974) contend with his relationship.  

This episode of Valley of the Dinosaurs is not as affecting as either of those examples, but by contrast, this is the only one of the three series in which the pets are regular players. The Butlers have Digger, their dog, and the prehistoric family has the imperiled Glump.

Unlike either Star Trek or Land of the Lost, the focus in Valley of the Dinosaurs is clearly action. 

The episodes move at a fast clip, this one included, and feature peril-after-peril in a bid to maintain attention and excitement.

Next week: “After Shock.”

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