Debuting on the same day as Sid and Marty Krofft’s Land of the Lost, Hanna-Barbera’s animated Valley of the Dinosaurs told the story of a family unwittingly transported back to the Stone Age. While rafting on the Amazon, John Butler, his wife Kim and their two children, Katie and Greg, were sucked into a whirlpool, only to emerge in a strange, prehistoric world.
The Butlers were taken under the wing of a Neanderthal family—Gorak, Gera, Tana and Lok—whose ages closely paralleled their own. Even the Butler’s dog, Digger, found a counterpart in Lok’s pet Stegosaurus, Glomb.
The episodes dealt largely with the relationship between the two clans. At first both families were reluctant to trust each other, but they finally came to accept and ultimately learn from one another. The cave family had to shed its distrust of others and learn to use common sense, while John had to learn patience and respect before he could teach the cave family what he knew about civilization.
While Valley of the Dinosaurs didn’t have the staying power of Land of the Lost, it did outlast Hanna-Barbera’s other 1974 prehistoric program, the live-action Korg: 70,000 B.C.
USA / CBS – Hanna Barbera / 16×20 minute episodes / Broadcast from 7 September 1974
Producer: Iwao Takomoto
Mike Road as Jim Butler
Shannon Farnon as Kim Butler
Margene Fudenna as Katie Butler
Jackie Earle Haley as Greg Butler
Alan Oppenheimer as Gorak
Joan Gardner as Gera
Melanie Baker as Tana
Steacy Bertheau as Lok