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Nov 202012

When I found Sid & Marty Kroffts Saturday Morning Hits DVD awhile back, I discovered that the studio produced more than just Land of the Lost, H.R. Pufnstuf, and The Bugaloos. It also produced quite a few other shows I never knew about before. One such series was Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976-1977).

Like caped crusaders Batman and Robin, Electra Woman (Deidre Hall) and young sidekick Dyna Girl (Judy Strangis) are superheroes who fight crime with technically advanced gadgets and go up against colorful super villains. It’s hard to believe that I never heard about this show before because it sounds too good to pass up.

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl’s identities are Lori and Judy, who are reporters for Newsmakers Magazine. Whenever on the trail of a hot scoop, they always end up finding trouble, which requires the aid of their superhero alter egos. Very little focuses on that part, which is good because it spares us the drama about the difficulties of leading double lives.

The superheroines’ only ally is scientist Frank Heflin (Norman Alden), who stays at the reclusive Electra Base and always keeps in contact to back them up. Since there are no back-stories revealed on any of the characters on this show, it’s hard to say how Frank got involved with the crime-fighting duo. On the other hand, every Batman needs an Alfred.

Since the series is not available on DVD or Netflix, I only managed to see a couple of episodes, each from a separate Best of Sid and Marty Krofft DVD/VHS release.

However, I did discover that Electra Woman and Dyna Girl have six archenemies, which include The Sorcerer (Michael Constantine), Empress of Evil (Claudette Nevins), Glitter Rock (John Mark Robinson), Spider Lady (Tiffany Bolling), The Pharaoh (Peter Mark Richman), and Ali Baba (Malachi Throne).

They each have a partner in crime to match his or her image. Did you know that Sid Haig played the Genie, who works with Ali Baba?

I met Sid Haig at Cult Fiction Drive-In 2011.

One thing that concerns me about this show is that there are no actual fight scenes. The superhero action is completely confined to the heroines shooting laser beams from their ElectroComs, or using their gravity control to either float upward or land smoothly. I realize that stunts for fight scenes were different for women back in the old days, but come on. In the Batman series from the 60s, Batgirl was allowed to kick bad guys in the head. Couldn’t these ladies have at least been given that opportunity?

It’s not a total loss though. Electra Woman and Dyna Girl often end up in creative traps set up by the villain(s), but manage to find a way to escape at the last moment. On top of that, a Narrator (Marvin Miller) provides commentary to make things appear more exciting. However, it’s very brief and has hardly any personality behind it.

This was an interesting series. Despite the lack of actual crime fighting action, who wouldn’t find a couple of hot super heroines in tights interesting?

Aug 242011

Land of the Lost, based on the TV series, stars Will Ferrell as Dr. Rick Marshall. This characterization is much more different than before. Not only does Dr. Marshall go into food comas after nervously eating too much, he also spent millions on researching time warps, which causes a feud with Matt Lauer. That’s just hilarious.

Dr. Marshall goes on a routine expedition with his research assistant Holly (Anna Friel) and their tour guide Will (Danny McBride). Soon his invention the takeon capacitor, which also plays show tunes, sends them to a parallel world called the Land of the Lost. It’s not just a prehistoric world. It’s got many time periods combined.

This adventure is along the lines of Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008 version). You just never know what you’ll encounter. Whether it’s a T-Rex with a brain the size of a very large walnut to alien Sleestaks that use pylons. I’ll tell ya, those Sleestaks are much more amazing than they used to be. Their basic look is the same, but they now look like they have two sets of sharp teeth.

Soon Dr. Marshall, Will, and Holly meet Cha-Ka, a Pakuni, and he leads them to an area where all sorts of random large items drop in, right where the raptors hang out. When an ice cream truck arrives, those raptors become very pushy. They must love ice cream as well as the ice cream man inside.

Dr. Marshall sings The Land of the Lost theme song on a banjo while getting his blood drained by a monster mosquito and performs the show tunes from the device when it ends up in a pterodactyl nest. This adventure keeps getting funnier and funnier.

Then it becomes more exciting when Dr. Marshall, Will, Holly, and Cha-Ka fight off the army of Sleestak, like they were a group of zombies as they try to get through them and get back home.

This was a great funny film based on the old series. I couldn’t help but notice how accurate the similarities were with a modern twist. All that was missing was Dopey the baby brontosaurus.

Apr 152011

Sid and Marty Krofft have produced quite a few TV shows during the 1970s. One of the most popular was Land of the Lost: The Complete Series (1974-1977). I remember seeing this show on Saturday mornings in syndication, but never really understood it. What I do remember most was that the main characters Dr. Rick Marshall (Spencer Milligan), his son Will (Wesley Eure), and his pretty pigtailed daughter Holly (Kathy Coleman) lived in a cave with their Pakuni friend Cha-Ka. (No, not Chaka Khan).

Now I understand that the Marshall family has adventures after ending up in a parallel dimension much like the dinosaur age, but with a sci-fi twist. Large devices called pylons are all over the place, along with green aliens called Sleestak and a glittery creature called the Zarn.

The animation is neat. It may appear tame compared to today’s standards, but seeing those dinosaurs, as well as the Zarn’s android dinosaur Fred, sure reminds me of the stop motion animation that’s much like the old claymation specials I used to watch when I was little.

The pylons sometimes bring people and items from other time periods to the Land of the Lost. The hard part is figuring out how to go back through them.

This series also makes me think of Valley of the Dinosaurs, a cartoon series from the 70s. A “modern day” family is stranded in a primitive time period while struggling to survive dangerous dinosaurs. The main ones Dr. Marshall, Will, and Holly face are a triceratops named Spike, a female alosaurus named Big Alice, and a T-Rex named Grumpy. Very suitable names for these creatures.

When Grumpy decides to trespass at the cave, the Marshalls fend him off with a giant stick they call a flyswatter by stabbing him in the tongue. That’s a resourceful way to teach Grumpy not to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong, literally speaking, but will he ever learn? However, not all of the dinosaurs are dangerous. Holly finds a friendly baby brontosaurus and names him Dopey. Dopey is a screamer, like a cat, but he is a helpful ally at times.

It’s a real exciting series filled with great adventure. Dinosaurs, aliens, ape creatures, natural disasters, a catchy theme song, it’s got it all.