Monday, March 21, 2011

News: VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS (1974) on DVD This Week

According to TV Shows on DVD, the 1974 Hanna-Barbara animated Saturday morning series, Valley of the Dinosaurs, will be released this week by Warner Archives as a 2-disc, MOD set containing all 16 episodes.

The science fiction/adventure cartoon, which aired on CBS from September 7, 1974 to September 4, 1976, chronicled the adventures of the Butler family - father John, his wife Kim, children Katie & Greg, and dog, Digger - who (like the Marshalls on Land of the Lost, which began the same year on rival network NBC) experienced an unusual whitewater rafting trip that left them trapped in a lost world populated by prehistoric reptiles and proto-humans. They befriended the English-speaking caveman Gorak and his family, and together they struggled to survive in the dangerous valley while continually searching for a way back to their own world.

The show was popular enough to spawn some limited merchandise and a short-lived Charlton comic book series, but even as a sci-fi/dinosaur-loving kid, I found it pretty mundane compared to the wildly imaginative universe of its live-action, Sid & Marty Krofft rival, Land Of The Lost.

Here's a link to Warner Archive's Hanna-Barbara "Store;" Valley of the Dinosaurs isn't listed yet, but there's a lot of other 70s Saturday morning favorites there.

1 comment:

    I LOVE this series, and although I DVR'd it off Boomerang, I was always hoping for a DVD release (hopefully a little better quality than home-burned stuff). It's amazing to me how many people have the misconception that the Butlers were thrown back in time; as you pointed out, they became stranded in the area, cut off from the modern world (except for one episode that had a wayward passenger plane fly overhead... I'll not reveal the story for those unfamiliar with the series).
    As an adult, I have to agree with your note that it's a bit more 'mundane' than Land of the Lost (which for its first two seasons had an interesting continuity building up), but it's still a fun show for younger audiences, and--gasp--has characters thinking their way out of situations. I won't say it was educational like modern tv documentaries with guys showing survival techniques, but in a way it had that wilderness survival feel to it. Think of a Boy Scout trip on an extreme level, with prehistoric animals thrown in to make things difficult.

    By the way, dinosaurs weren't the only creatures in the valley, and "valley" is too small for the vast area in which they were all stranded, but "Basin of the Prehistoric Animals" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Valley of the Dinosaurs," does it?

    I have those Charlton comic books, and they usually maintained the feel of the tv series, and even had a recurring original character over a couple of issues, which was surprising for the subject matter. I believe the artist was Fred Himes, and the art was very similar to/faithful to the orignal series. There was also a one-shot children's book based on the series, and though very simple plot-wise, the artwork was consistent with the series. CR