Any time I see construction equipment it takes me back to watching Land Of The Lost, the Sid & Marty Krofft adventure show, on Saturday mornings. I think I was too young to watch it from the very start and I’m a little surprised it ended in 1976—it seemed like it went on longer than that, thanks to the telescoping effects of time when you’re young. And for some reason I remember Sigmund & The Sea Monsters coming later, when it was really on at the same time. There was also Wonderbug, about a dilapidated dune buggy that, with the aid of a magical horn, turned into a flying super car.
There were so many other Krofft shows on so I don’t know why Sigmund and Wonderbug are so memorable to me, but I do know why Land Of The Lost has stayed with me: dinosaurs. There only seemed to be two: a T-Rex named “Grumpy”, who was a persistent threat, and a baby brontosaurus named “Dopey”. And there were also the Sleestaks and the ape-like creatures, especially Cha-Ka. There was a kid in my neighborhood who had a dog named Cha-Ka and it’s very funny to me that the dog outlived the series by at least ten years.
I was really only interested in the dinosaurs, though. Plots characters, setting—none of it mattered. I don’t think I’d even seen Star Trek at that point so it wouldn’t have meant anything to me that Land Of The Lost was created by David Gerrold who’d also written “The Trouble With Tribbles”. Even though the dinosaurs were obviously either puppets or stop-motion animation it was really cool to me to see dinosaurs moving around and interacting with people.
That brings me back to the construction equipment. About the same time I was watching Land Of The Lost there was a house being built across the street from where I lived. There was some serious construction equipment brought in: an excavator and also something smaller. It seems like it was a steamroller but with two seats facing in both directions.
Not that it really mattered to me what they were. To me they were Grumpy and Dopey. I played around them, making up my own dinosaur adventures. All it took was a little imagination and I was transported to another world.