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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

'Korg: 70,000 B.C.:" Thinking Person's 'Land of the Lost'


WB Archives' assertion "Hanna-Barbera's other stone-age family" on the back cover of the recently released complete series DVD set of "Korg: 70,000 B.C." sums up this little known 1974 live-action Saturday morning show well. The neanderthal clan is hardly modern, and there is nary a dinosaur (talking or not) or wooly mammoth shower in sight.

For my part, I told the good folks at WB that they had me at Hanna-Barbera. Watching the episodes motivated having my cats endure shouts of "CAPTAIN CAVEMAN," a really funny mash-up between Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones that I hope is on WB Archives' short list to release. 

The fact that Korg is highly educational does not detract from its entertainment value. These tales of the titular character, his spouse, three kids, and uncle Bok depict what is believed to be the daily life of a cave-dwelling human and his clan. Consultants from the New York's American Museum of Natural History and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County contributed to the show.

Any physical resemblance to the Baldwin clan is coincidental.

Although series narrator Burgess Meredith provided a disclaimer at the end of each episode that the plots were based on theories derived from artifacts from the period, the depiction of Korg's et al daily lives may not have been accurate, I considered the overall tone reasonably accurate.

The pilot episode was a very good depiction of a prehistoric version of "MacGyver." The family used physics and the materials at hand to rescue some of its members after a small earthquake caused rocks to block the entrance to the cave.

Less impressive (but inadvertently funnier) elements of the pilot were the family's sons inventing the teeter-tooter, and setting the record that Bobby and Cindy Brady strived to beat several thousand years later, and really cheesy effects. I also laughed when a rock wall rippled when a character touched it, and a narrated bat attack did not show one single such winged creature. Additionally, the family did not venture very far in that offering.

The production values dramatically improved in the second episode. That one addressed the necessity of hunting and respectfully showed the family's logic-based superstitions. 

Another early episode in which a blinded hunter from another clan forced Korg's teen son to guide him home provided a good kid-friendly story about the challenges of living to see another day in that truly survival of the fittest world.

This show really is one that kids from three to ninety-three can enjoy. It also meets my long-abandoned criteria for buying DVDs of being a good show that is not heavily syndicated.

Anyone with questions regarding "Korg" or "Captain Caveman" is welcome to email me.