Land of the Giants: Season 2, Episode 4

Deadly Pawn (12 Oct. 1969)

TV Episode  -   -  Sci-Fi
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 11 users  
Reviews: 1 user

The Earthlings are forced to compete in a life-and-death chess game with a Giant chess expert. The little people find themselves bound to the chess pieces.

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Title: Deadly Pawn (12 Oct 1969)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Gary Conway ...
Don Matheson ...
...
Don Marshall ...
Deanna Lund ...
Heather Young ...
...
...
Kronig
John Zaremba ...
Dr. Lalor
Charlie Briggs ...
Guard
...
Technician (as Steve Marlo)
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Storyline

A giant industrialist named Kronig, who happens to not only be one of the richest men on the planet of the giants but is also champion chess player as well, captures Val, Dan, Barry and Fitzhugh in order to use them as pawns in his chess game. Steve and Mark attempt a rescue, but they are also captured. Kronig later challenges them to a game of chess and if they win he will set them free, but if they lose he will turn them in to the SID. However, the best player among the castaways is Barry. Barry takes up the challenge and now must take on the giant, who has a history of mental instability. Written by Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>

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Sci-Fi

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12 October 1969 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.33 : 1
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Definitely One of the Better Episodes
11 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

Starts out a bit clunky and kind of drives home the 'they're not on Earth, but it looks like Earth' bit, but overall, this is a well-done and interesting episode.

Observed short-cutting across his land by an eccentric millionaire, we'll say (brilliantly played by Alex Dreier), who wants to play an odd game of chess with the little people and with trap doors beneath chess pieces, the wee ones (sans Betty once more) are abducted and forced to play this game of death.

Barry, showing know-how with the game, is selected to play the millionaire (much to his chagrin at having to compete with a child), and enraged, he has the other little people tied to the chess pieces.

At this moment, it isn't clear why, as there has been no hint or indication that the trap doors (which we had already seen in use) would be used now, but for some odd reason (again, perhaps because of Dreier's portrayal), it doesn't matter.

The plan was hatched beforehand that Mark would escape back to the Spendrift and use the ship's computer (he had once programmed a computer to play chess, but he wasn't a chess master) to aid Barry, via walkie-talkie.

Betty, it turns out, is still back at the Spendrift, sitting at the desk to conceal her pregnancy.

For once, her omission from the episode rather works, and isn't too contrived as others where she simply wakes up out in the woods.

But to work on this escape, it is necessary for Barry to lose the chess pieces that Steve, Mark and Don are tied to, bishops and rooks.

It is even noted that they hope this doesn't put Barry at too much of a disadvantage by losing these pieces.

So of course, this leaves dear Valerie and Fitzugh as the endangered chess pieces.

Alas, the millionaire, by this time we have been told he had a breakdown in the past, realizes Barry has been using a walkie talkie and receiving assistance and, enraged, hurls all the chess pieces into his trapdoor inferno, Barry, Fitzugh and Valerie included.

The cost of the show definitely shines in this one, with giant size chess pieces for the little people and then extravagantly large chess pieces for the giants.

Based on the attempt at futuristic costumes for Steve, Valerie and Betty and the rest, I've always felt it would have been easier to simply say the Spendrift was from another planet and had crash-landed on Earth.

Deadly Pawn is definitely one of the better developed episodes.


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