Jump to content

Land of the Giants

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Land of the Giants
Title screen from season 1
GenreScience fiction
Created byIrwin Allen
Directed by
Theme music composerJohn Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes51 (list of episodes)
Executive producerIrwin Allen[1]
  • Irwin Allen
  • Bruce Fowler Jr.
  • Jerry Briskin
Running time60 minutes (including commercials)
Production companiesIrwin Allen Productions
in association with Kent Productions Inc. and 20th Century-Fox Television[2]
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 22, 1968 (1968-09-22) –
March 22, 1970 (1970-03-22)

Land of the Giants is a one-hour American science fiction television series that aired on ABC for two seasons, beginning on September 22, 1968, and ending on March 22, 1970. The show was created and produced by Irwin Allen. Land of the Giants was Allen's fourth science-fiction TV series. The show was released by 20th Century Fox Television. The series was filmed entirely in color and ran for 51 episodes. The show starred Gary Conway and special guest star Kurt Kasznar.

Five novels based on the television series, including three written by acclaimed science-fiction author Murray Leinster, were published in 1968 and 1969.[3]

Series overview[edit]

The travelers are trapped in a giant zoo.

Set in 1983 (at that time, 15 years in the future), the series concerns the passenger aircraft Spindrift, which is lost during a suborbital spaceflight from Los Angeles to London. Just beyond Earth's boundary with space, the ship is dragged through a "dimension lock" and crashes on a planet which is similar to Earth, except that everything is twelve times larger in size. The shipwreck is hidden in the woods outside of a city, inhabited by a humanoid race which the Earthlings refer to as "Giants."

Aside from their size, the Giants are indistinguishable from Earthlings. Culturally, their society resembles the United States of 1968--the Giants speak English, drive American automobiles, etc. The series is primarily set in a region controlled by an authoritarian government, which tolerates full freedoms within a capitalist system, but represses any effort to effect political change. A special investigations department (SID) is responsible for thwarting the efforts of several dissident movements seeking to unseat the ruling party.

The Giants are familiar with the planet Earth and the "little people" who inhabit it, due to the arrivals of other ill-fated ships prior to the Spindrift. However, while some of the Giants' technology exceeds that of 20th century Earth, they lag behind in other areas, notably human spaceflight. As such, the Earthlings cannot easily use the Giants' resources to return to the dimension lock, and the Giants have no way to study the little people except by capturing those that become stranded on their planet.

The Spindrift crew and passengers spend the series in search of supplies and the means to return to Earth, while avoiding capture. However, the ship's captain, Steve Burton, places a higher priorty on preventing the Giants from obtaining the means to travel to Earth. The Giant government offers a reward for the Earthlings, who at times receive assistance from the dissident movement and other sympathizers. The Giants cannot easily be trusted, though, as some offer help only to later double-cross the Earthlings.

The show had no proper conclusion resolving the Earthlings' efforts to return home. The final episode, "Graveyard of Fools", was not designed to serve as a series finale. The penultimate episode, "Wild Journey," presents a time-travel plot in which the Earthlings go back into the past to prevent the Spindrift flight, but instead create the circumstances that cause the ship to be lost. The first season comprised a regular 26 episodes, but season two was left one episode short. The show thus comprises only 51 episodes (or 52 episodes including the unaired pilot).


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
126September 22, 1968 (1968-09-22)April 20, 1969 (1969-04-20)
225September 21, 1969 (1969-09-21)March 22, 1970 (1970-03-22)


  • Gary Conway as Captain Steve Burton, pilot of the Spindrift
  • Don Matheson as Mark Wilson, a multimillionaire engineer
  • Stefan Arngrim as Barry Lockridge, a recently orphaned boy traveling with his dog Chipper to London to live with cousins.
  • Don Marshall as Dan Erickson, co-pilot of the Spindrift
  • Deanna Lund as Valerie Scott, a wealthy heiress
  • Heather Young as Betty Hamilton, flight attendant on the Spindrift
  • Kurt Kasznar as Commander Alexander Fitzhugh, who had stolen $1 million and was trying to flee to London, where he did not know police were waiting to arrest him.
  • Kevin Hagen as Inspector Kobick (recurring character)

Land of the Giants guest stars included many familiar faces from other 1950s and 1960s sci-fi/fantasy and adventure series, including Jack Albertson, Michael Ansara, John Carradine, Yvonne Craig, Charles Drake, Alan Hale Jr, Jonathan Harris, Lee Meriwether, Larry Pennell, Warren Stevens, Glenn Corbett and Ron Howard.


The show was created by Irwin Allen. With a budget of US$250,000 per episode, Land of the Giants set a new record.[1] The actors had to be physically fit, as they had to do many stunts, such as climbing giant curbs, phone cords, and ropes. Don Marshall, who played the part of Dan Ericson, credited his previous football, track, and pole-vaulting work for helping him with the stunts required.[4]

Elements of Allen's Lost in Space series recur in Land of the Giants, notably the relationship between foolish, greedy, on-the-run bank robber Commander Alexander Fitzhugh (Kurt Kasznar) and the young boy Barry Lockridge (Stefan Arngrim), paralleling the relationship on Lost in Space between Doctor Smith and the young Will Robinson. Also, for main-cast billing, Kasznar was treated contractually in the same manner as Jonathan Harris had been on Lost in Space - billed in last place on the opening credit sequence, but billed as "Special Guest Star" (though he was a series regular). Apart from this, Gary Conway received solo star billing in the opening credits, with the other regulars all receiving "also starring" billing.

The show was originally intended to premiere as a midseason replacement in the spring of 1968, and the first 12 episodes were shot in the fall of 1967. This was changed and Giants premiered in September 1968 for a full season. The network screened the episodes in a significantly different order from the production sequence. This caused disconcerting lapses in continuity, since in the first 12 episodes filmed (but not in later episodes) the Giants moved slowly and hardly spoke. For example, "Ghost Town" was the 14th episode filmed (i.e. was not one of the original 12 episodes), but was the second episode aired.

The cost of production was immense, partly because of the special optical effects needed to matte the little people into shots also showing the giants, and partly because of the oversize sets and physical props needed for the Earth people to interact with in shots depicting the giant-sized world, and the futuristic spacecraft sets that were needed to represent the Spindrift. Because of the enormous cost, filming episodes in pairs using the same sets was more efficient and cost-effective, so writers were informed about what giant-sized props were available, which they could incorporate into their storylines. These episodes were filmed back-to-back.[5]

To save on production costs, Allen was not above using the same device he had employed on The Time Tunnel – reusing stock footage from 20th Century Fox's film library. For instance, in the episode "Collector's Item", footage of Wayne Manor from Batman is recycled as the luxury mansion home of a rich giant.

Large hand in a scene from the second season, which featured Stefan Arngrim as Barry Lockridge.

The original unaired pilot, with story by and directed by Irwin Allen, featured more scenes focusing on the backstories and character traits of the main characters. Upon receiving confirmation that the show had been picked up by the network, the pilot was reworked and production began on succeeding episodes. Some original scenes were cut and others condensed for the broadcast pilot in favor of new effects scenes featuring encounters with giant animals to better pique audience interest. A break in production occurred after 12 episodes were in the can (enough for a short run as a midseason replacement), until the show received the green light on the decision to launch it as a full season the following fall.


Like Allen's previous series Lost in Space and The Time Tunnel, the theme music for the series was composed by John Williams. As with Lost in Space, Williams composed two different themes (in this case one for each season). The unaired pilot featured a theme by Alexander Courage and relied heavily on stock incidental music from Lost in Space, but the broadcast pilot, "The Crash", was rescored by Williams before the show's premiere. He was the third composer to be attached to the project. Joseph Mullendore had composed a second theme that was also thrown out.[6] Mullendore later scored five episodes and Courage did one, with other episodes scored by Richard LaSalle (seven episodes), Leith Stevens (five), Harry Geller (four), Irving Gertz, Paul Sawtell, and Robert Prince (one each).


GNP Crescendo released an album as part of The Fantasy Worlds Of Irwin Allen, featuring both themes, Williams' replacement score (tracks 2–6) and Courage's thrown-out score (tracks 9 and 10) for "The Crash".

  1. Land Of The Giants Main Title – Season 1 (1:02)
  2. Off Course/The Landing/Dense Fog (6:01)
  3. Giant Eyes/Hidden Gun/The Big Cat/Bug Box (8:45)
  4. Fitzhugh's Gun/Hiding Place (6:57)
  5. Giants Probing/The Rescue (3:35) (note: most copies are actually missing most of Giants Probing)
  6. Water Drain/More Garbage (2:44)
  7. Land Of The Giants End Title – Season 1 (:31)
  8. Land Of The Giants Main Title – Season 2 (1:01)
  9. Space Storm/Through The Thing/Crash Landing/Giant Ford (6:08)
  10. The Sniveling Sneak (6:45)
  11. Land Of The Giants End Title – Season 2 (:30)

LaLaLand Records subsequently released "Land of the Giants - 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection: Limited Edition, a deluxe 4-CD box set featuring the original music from the series.

Home media[edit]

All 51 episodes were released on DVD in Region 1 in a limited-edition 9-disc Complete Series on July 24, 2007, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. This includes the unaired original pilot and interviews with cast members.[7]

In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the entire series on DVD in the UK. Season one and two were released on March 28 and June 13, 2011, respectively. They also released a complete series set on March 12, 2012.[8]

In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released season one on DVD in Australia on August 20, 2014.[9] They released season two on November 12 of the same year.[10]

Merchandise and licensing[edit]

The pilot episode was the subject of a View-Master reel and booklet set in 1968 (GAF Packet # B494).[11] One notable difference between the aired episode and the reel set is an image of the Spindrift flying through the giant forest in apparent daylight. In the aired episode, the Spindrift arrives on the Giants' planet during the night, and its flight through the forest also occurs that same night. Though the following is unconfirmed, either the daylight shot was a special-effects sequence cut from the aired pilot, or a special setup for the View Master photographers.

In 1968, Pyramid Books published an extended novel adaptation of the pilot (Land of the Giants, Pyramid Books, X-1846), written by famed author Murray Leinster. Among notable changes or inventions is that the Spindrift is still an operational, flying ship after the initial crash, with enough "atomic power" to last as much as several months. Another invention for the novel is the knowledge that two other ships, the Anne and Marintha, disappeared by the same mysterious phenomenon that sends the Spindrift to the Giants' planet. The Spindrift castaways encounter a female survivor of the Anne, named Marjorie, who joins the castaways in this novel. Although the television series featured three episodes with other on-screen survivors from previously lost Earth flights, the novel's character Marjorie and the ships Anne and Marintha do not appear and are not mentioned in the series.[12]

Two further novels were penned by Leinster — The Hot Spot[13] and Unknown Danger[14] (Pyramid, 1969). The first two Leinster books were reprinted in 1969 in the United Kingdom by World Distributors, the eponymous novel retitled The Trap.[15] Unknown Danger was not published in the UK, but World Distributors also published two United Kingdom-only novels the same year, Slingshot for a David[16] and The Mean City;[17] both were credited to James Bradwell, a pseudonym for Arthur William Charles Kent.

A hardback novel for children, Flight of Fear by Carl Henry Rathjen (1969), was published in the United States by Whitman.[18]

Also in 1968, Gold Key Comics published a comic-book version of Land of the Giants,[19] which ran to five issues.[20] In 2010, all five issues were reprinted together as a hardcover book by Hermes Press.

In 1968, Aurora Plastics Corporation produced two plastic model kits based on the series: Land of the Giants was the title of a diorama depicting a giant snake attacking characters Steve Burton, Betty Hamilton, and Dan Erickson, who uses a giant safety pin as a spear.[21] The second kit was a model of the Spindrift, released as Land of the Giants Space Ship, instead of using the proper name for the vehicle.[22]

In 1975, Aurora reissued the kit (now renamed Rocket Transport Spindrift), with new box art and photos of the assembled kit.[23] It had a front, top section that could be lifted off, revealing a full interior that had to be constructed by the builder, as well as a working door. Most of the model kit was molded in the same bright red-orange as the ship itself, while the interior was molded in a light green, which could be painted.

In 1969, Aladdin Industries released a metal, embossed lunch box based on the series. The artist, Elmer Lenhardt, used his own likeness for a giant scientist taunting the little people. A reproduction of the lunch box was later released by Fab Gear USA in a limited edition of 5000.[24]

Deanna Lund (Valerie Scott) co-wrote a series of short stories based on the series, under the collective title "Valerie in Giant Land".[25]

MeTV began airing Land of the Giants in September 2016 to complement its Saturday-night sci-fi line-up of other Irwin Allen series: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and The Time Tunnel. Prior to debuting on MeTV, Land of the Giants had aired only sporadically in syndication in recent years. The Horror Channel in the UK aired the series in full from September 19 of the same year,[26] showing one episode a day on weekdays, for 10 weeks.


  1. ^ a b Alex McNeil. "Land of the Giants", Total Television. New York: Penguin, 1996. p. 402
  2. ^ "Land of the Giants Outro Short..." YouTube: AJ Orendain. 2 October 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.
  3. ^ Leinster, Murray (1968). Land of the Giants. New York: Pyramid Books.
  4. ^ Actor Database Interview with Don Marshall
  5. ^ Abbott, Jon (2009). Irwin Allen Television Productions, 1964–1970: A Critical History of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, the Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants. McFarland. p. 284. ISBN 9780786486625.
  6. ^ Jon Burlingame, pg. 115, TV's Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes From "Dragnet" To "Friends", Schirmer Books, 1996, ISBN 0-02-870324-3
  7. ^ TV Shows on dvd.com Land Of The Giants, Complete Series Press Release Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Land Of The Giants – The Complete Collection [DVD]". amazon.co.uk.
  9. ^ "Land of the Giants: The Complete First Season". Madman Entertainment.
  10. ^ "Land of the Giants: The Complete Second Season". Madman Entertainment.
  11. ^ "Land of the Giants – ViewMaster 3 Reel Packet: ViewMaster, 3D Glasses, 3D Stereo Photography". 3dstereo.com. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  12. ^ Murray Leinster. "Land of the Giants (Pyramid SF X-1846): Murray Leinster: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  13. ^ Leinster, Murray (9 December 1969). "Land of the Giants The Hot Spot". World Distributors. Retrieved 9 December 2018 – via Amazon.
  14. ^ Murray Leinster (2018-08-26). "Unknown Danger (Land of the Giants #3): Murray LEINSTER: 9780515021059: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  15. ^ Your name here. "Trap: Murray Leinster: 9780723544104: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  16. ^ Your name here. Land of the Giants SLINGSHOT FOR A DAVID: James Bradwell: 9780723544081: Amazon.com: Books. ISBN 0723544085.
  17. ^ lynda (2017-03-07). The Mean City (Land of the Giants): Amazon.co.uk: James Bradwell: 9780723544098: Books. ASIN 0723544093.
  18. ^ Carl Henry Rathjen. "Land Of The Giants – Flight Of Fear (Land of the Giants): Carl Henry Rathjen: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  19. ^ "GCD: Issue: Land of the Giants #1". comics.org. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  20. ^ Comics, Beach Bum (1 October 2014). "BEACH BUM COMICS: WHAT'S HAPPENING TO US? GOLD KEY'S LAND OF THE GIANTS !!!". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Tony Hardy's Land Of The Giants Snake – CultTVman's Fantastic Modeling". culttvman.com. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Spindrift – CultTVman's Fantastic Modeling". Culttvman.com. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  23. ^ Motion, Monsters in. "Land of the Giants Spindrift Aurora Re-Issue Model Kit". monstersinmotion.com. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Land of the Giants Lunchbox Reproduction". fabgearusa.com. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Valerie in Giantland". deannalund.com. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  26. ^ "on Horror (horrorchannel)". horrorchannel.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2018.

External links[edit]