Albeit with varying degrees of success, a great many of the television programs I grew up with have made it to the big screen.
A few of the hits: The Adams Family, The Brady Bunch Mission Impossible, Star Trek, The Fugitive.
A few of the misses: Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, Lost in Space, The Mod Squad.
By and large, these were TV shows from the 60s & 70s, then intended for literal or figurative children, now retooled for the big screen by the originality-challenged brains in Hollywood in an effort to coax nostalgia-prone boomers out of their homes, away from Nick at Night and their complete episode DVD collections. Nothing really wrong with that. Especially if clever casting or thoughtful reimagining results in a rejuvenated franchise for a new generation of fans.
However, with Hollywood having plundered the near entirety of retro broadcast programming — although there are still threats of an “Alf” movie — I’m left feeling the only thing left for them is to begin developing movies based on the commercials that accompanied them (the 2000 death of Jim Varney and his execrable “Ernest” comedies left a void in Hollywood’s TV-commercials-adapted-to-film niche, so perhaps someone will seize the opportunity to make a film about Madge the manicurist, Josephine the Plumber, or Flo, the Progressive Insurance lady).
One particular childhood fave TV show of mine of mine that has always seemed tailor-made for a CGI /3-D / IMAX movie reboot, yet conspicuous in its absence from any discussion of in-the-works projects, is Land of the Giants. Land of the Giants, an Irwin Allen-produced sci-fi series about the crew and passengers of a sub-orbital transport plane that crash lands on a planet inhabited by giants, ran on ABC-TV from 1968 – 1970. It starred Gary Conway, Don Marshall, Deanna Lund, Don Matheson, Kurt Kasznar, Stefan Arngrim, and Heather Young, and featured all the requisite adventure show tropes of the day (a little boy, a dog, camp-mod fashions, a self-interested pseudo-villain) , and was highlighted by terrific oversized props and low-tech “giant” special effects.
When the show was canceled, many of the giant-sized props from the show were placed in the Prop Plaza at Universal Studios, becoming popular photo-op attractions on the Universal Studios Tour. You can see the props HERE.
Everything about Land of the Giants is ready-made for today’s audiences, complete with its merchandising-friendly brand and its potential for endless franchising. Yet somehow this now 45 year-old TV program has yet to materialize on the big screen. I’ve heard news that the show’s copyrights are a jumbled mess, preventing it from being made into a motion picture, but if there was ever a show that could get me to weather the dreaded multiplex these days, it would be a movie version of Land of the Giants.