Fred Flintstone has it made.
July 6, 2012 7:43 AM   Subscribe

"Dinosaurs welcome us along our highways, and infiltrate the most private domains of our home..."

In 1985 CBS aired a documentary hosted by Superman himself, Christopher Reeve. With the use of go-motion animation, a variant of stop motion animation, special effects supervisor Phil Tippett - who later went on to use this technique in the long shots for Jurassic Park - brought the world of dinosaurs vividly to life for me and many other kids of the 80's (back when networks allowed nerds on camera and documentaries took their time.) These scenes have haunted my imagination all my life, and occasionally my mind will drift to a half-remembered forest, where a T-rex stalks a horned dinosaur under a full moon, while the most menacing meteor ever visualized drifts slowly towards Earth...

You may smile at the affectionate references to the Brontosaurus, but watch, and enjoy, the world of the Dinosaur!
posted by Sayuri. (12 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you thank you thank you! Just two days ago I was trying to remember what this thing was called so I could find it for my kids. I think it was the first thing I ever videotaped as a kid, but no one has a VCR any more even if I could find the tape.

The dinosaur sequences are indeed as awesome as you say. I don't think any of the other "show them alive" documentaries have come close to this.

That's a monoclonius, by the way.
posted by BeeDo at 8:22 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

BeeDo I completely wore out the VCS of this growing up.
posted by karmiolz at 8:48 AM on July 6, 2012

Heh, you know, it's funny, the three parts of this that I can clearly recall are the:

1. Tyrannosaurus vs. Monoclonius
2. Hadrosaurs vs. Tyrannosaurus
3. The McDonalds commercials that played during the breaks. It was like a 80s rap remake of the "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickled onions on a sesame seed bun" jingle. I think there was one every commercial break.
posted by BeeDo at 8:55 AM on July 6, 2012

I only finally found this a couple days ago myself, BeeDo, and had been trying to remember what it was called for years! I don't remember if I had it taped... it's possible that just the one watching had such a huge impact (also likely seeing as, in spite of loving Christopher Reeve ever since I was capable of it, I sadly didn't remember he hosted this. [although now it's all the more epic!])
Clearly remembered: Struthiomimus rooting around in that egg, and the moonlit stalking, with shots of the T-rex that reminded me a lot like the first glimpses of the Stay Puft marshmallow man.
Duck-billed dinosaurs instantly became my favorites after this. The emotional investment in that family. That baby! I had also misremembered the monoclonius as a trike this whole time. Maybe 2 extra horns would have helped...

I hadn't thought about Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (which they reference, also 1985) for YEARS. I adored that movie.
posted by Sayuri. at 9:24 AM on July 6, 2012

I like to think there are Brontosaurus living on the planet Pluto.
posted by drezdn at 9:27 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think there's actually any go-motion in the final cut of Jurassic Park. It's all either big practical puppets or CG.

Maybe some survived in the wide shot of the lake? I'm not finding a reference to that anywhere though.
posted by balistic at 10:20 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

balistic: "I don't think there's actually any go-motion in the final cut of Jurassic Park. It's all either big practical puppets or CG."

He started out working on go-motion for the film, but I believe they made the switch to CG before any final shots were completed. They ended up building DIDs (Dinosaur Input Devices)(pdf) so Tippet and the other stop motion animators could make the transition.
posted by brundlefly at 10:41 AM on July 6, 2012

Ah, thanks for the clarification, brundlefly! (awesome name) I was a bit confused when I read that in the Jurassic Park wiki, and didn't recall that effect from the movie. You're right, he hired him to do go-motion, but they eventually went to CG.
posted by Sayuri. at 11:20 AM on July 6, 2012

(Vestron Video!)
posted by maxwelton at 1:24 PM on July 6, 2012

This documentary is incomplete; it makes no mention of the infamous Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dinosaur Sex Experts Concur That Animals Mated Front To Back (SLIDESHOW)

posted by Sayuri. at 8:28 PM on July 13, 2012

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