This weekend in Seattle Washington, Galacticon 4 will host the Second Annul Sci Fi Pulse Awards with awards for Outstanding Achievement in Science Fiction being given to three cast members from Land of the Lost; Kathy Coleman (Holly), Wesley Eure (Will) and Phil Paley (Chaka).
As such, the editors at Sci Fi Pulse thought it would be nice to get the thoughts and well wishes of some celebrities who had either watched the show or perhaps worked on Land of the Lost. Sci Fi Pulse was able to catch up with Warehouse 13’s Eddie McClintock, who is an admitted Land of the Lost fan, as well as two very well known industry and behind the scenes personalities whom are quite respected within their fields and happened to have worked on the show, Herman Zimmerman and Michael Westmore respectively.
When Land of the Lost was the number one rated show on Saturday morning television, among those younger viewers was a young man who would one day also be an actor in a well known science fiction show, Eddie McClintock from Warehouse 13. Upon sending the actor a Facebook message, McClintock was more than happy to respond to the Land of the Lost inquiry and had the following to say about the very special Sid and Marty Krofft show,
“Loved LOTL as a kid. My favorite guest star was Richard Kiel, favorite cast regular was “Grumpy” (sorry, humans). And I nostalgically compared my hairstyle in Season 5 of Warehouse 13, to Chaka’s. Finally, the nun who used to send me to the office when I was in 7th grade, was a bit of a sleestak.”
Any Land of the Lost fan could most definitely relate to McClintock’s loving and fond memories pertaining to LOTL, including the seventh grade nun; mine was Sister Dominic and thank you for that mutual sleestak memory Eddie! Regardless however, that was a great sentiment and way to help prepare for the cast’s upcoming Sci Fi Pulse Awards.
Next, Sci Fi Pulse had the pleasure of catching up with Herman Zimmerman, the Art Director for the first two seasons of Land of the Lost, along with many other great shows whose look Zimmerman helped create. Zmmerman’s credits include shows such as Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Donnie and Marie, Cheers and others before going onto intergalactic fame helping to create the look and feel of a great deal of the Star Trek universe on Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise as well as many of the Trek movies.
Speaking with the show’s former Art Director over the phone, Zimmerman was very pleasant and kind and also quick to point out that while he was very fond of the show and equally happy for all three cast members being awarded for their contributions to science fiction, he admitted to not really knowing the actors personally. So instead he offered a memory of the show to go along with his well wishes to the cast.
Zimmerman recalled getting a phone call from Marty Krofft, in which Krofft asked him if he would help rebuild the Sigmund and the Seamonster’s sets, which were destroyed in a fire. Zimmerman then began working on Sid & Marty Krofft’s, Sigmund and the Seamonster show for over three years, while also staying on board to help create the Land of the Lost sets, on the very same sound stage #5, which had seen the previous destructive fire.
Zimmerman was very proud to say how long all of the Land of the Lost sets he created had lasted without any incident or fire before having to come down some six years later. But interestingly, it was precisely the process of rebuilding the sets that Zimmerman’s story was focusing on as the entire Land of the Lost set was built with a specific kind of plaster, which the then construction coordinator for the Krofft production company indicated would be quite easy to take down with little more than an electric saw once the show was over.
Zimmerman however laughed as he recalled that the Land of the Lost sets stayed up for roughly six years and that by the time it had been decided to take down the plaster sets, the sets had gotten so hard, that rather than saws, the production company had to bring in a wrecking ball to take down what were apparently very strong and well built Land of the Lost sets.
While communicating with Eddie McClintock and talking with Herman Zimmerman were in and of themselves quite pleasant experiences for a professional geek, speaking with Michael Westmore, the Make Up Supervisor for the Land of the Lost, along with other amazing shows and movies such as Bosom Buddies, Hart to Hart, Charlie’s Angels and Highway to Heaven, along with Capricorn One, Rocky, Raging Bull, was nothing short of amazing.
If the body of work mentioned above along with Westmore’s remaining credits not mentioned herein was not enough, it is of course Westmore’s Academy Award for The Mask, as well as his Make up design and work on Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, along with many other Star Trek movies that places him in a class all of his own.
Michael Westmore was simply gracious and humble with a great sense of humor who had nothing but nice things to say about Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure and Phil Paley. One of the first things he mentioned was that he has never forgotten Land of the Lost and has even devoted a number of pages in his memoirs, which he is writing now, to the show.
Westmore then began to speak of catching up with both Kathy Coleman and Wesley Eure at the yearly Star Trek Las Vegas show run by Creation Entertainment, but admitted to not having spoken to Phil Paley in years and eagerly inquired about him, while recalling that he seemed to recall Phil being a very young black belt in karate after Land of the Lost. As I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting Phil Paley and do not know him personally, I was unable to fill in more details of Paley’s life after Land of the Lost, but promised to give the actor Westmore’s phone number so as to allow the two to catch up after the award ceremony this coming weekend. This prompted a hearty laugh through the phone from Westmore, before he began to speak about his time on Land of the Lost with more specificity.
Westmore indicated that around the time of LOTL, he happened to be in between shows and Marty Krofft, with Marty Krofft asking if he were interested in working on the prehistoric Saturday morning show. So before he knew it, Westmore was doing the make up for Land of the Lost, and also happened to make both the sleestak and pakuni costumes in his garage.
The sleestak costumes he made out of wet suits which he acquired from a movie he was working on with Burt Reynolds, to which he glued fish scales on top of, along with the pakuni suits which were made out of real human hair.
“I still have an original sleestak mask from the show.” said Westmore, with the fan in me getting quietly giddy as I spoke to the man who created one of the very monsters which used to keep me awake at night as a small child.
Both suits he indicated were not only very hot to wear, but he also recalls Phil Paley never really complaining and always being quite pleasant in the make up chair every morning for the lengthy amount of time it would take to transform the young actor into Chaka.
“He was a very nice boy and not a typical kid actor and he was always quite pleasant. Everyone was really just nice people to work with. The kids and the Dad as well,” referring to Spencer Milligan who played Rick Marshall in the first two seasons of Land of the Lost.
“There were no divas on that show, just nice people.” as the now retired Hollywood make up legend continued reminiscing about his time behind the scenes on what was one of the most popular Sid and Marty Krofft shows of all time, Land of the Lost. “The kids would come in and see me in the mornings and there would be small talk and it was just nice being with them.”
Westmore continued talking about Kathy Coleman, Wesley Eure and Phil Paley in a very familiar and endearing manner and finished off by saying, “There were no distractions on the set and because of their personalities it all worked well on Land of the Lost. It wasn’t like many other shows in that regard and I am very fond of all of them. I love them!“
Westmore also reminded me of and spoke a bit about Face Off, a reality based make up and effects show on the Sy Fy Channel, which is hosted by his daughter, McKenzie Westmore, and debuted for its ninth season later on the very same day in which we spoke, Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 at 9:00 p.m.