1957 Universal Studios trailer for “The Land Unknown” (cropped to the 16×9/1.77:1 aspect ratio).
“The Land Unknown” was directed by Virgil Vogel, who also directed “The Mole People” for the studio in 1956 (which was also previously showcased by Sven). That same year, Vogel also directed the final film in Universal’s “Ma and Pa Kettle” comedy series, “The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm.”
Who was in “The Land Unknown?”
The players who appeared in “The Land Unknown” were Jock Mahoney (as Cmndr. Harold Roberts), Shawn Smith (a.k.a. Shirley Robertson, as Margaret Hathaway), William Reynolds (as Lt. Jack Carmen), Henry Brandon (as Dr. Carl Hunter), Douglas Kennedy (as Capt. Burnham) and Phil Harvey (as Steve Miller).
Original plans for the film
According to IMDB’s trivia portal on the film, Universal originally planned on filming “The Land Unknown” as an “A-movie” science fiction entry in color. Veteran studio director Jack Arnold (who directed 1954’s “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” which aired on Sven’s show last Sat.) was set to direct the film.
The studio decided to reduce production costs on “The Land Unknown,” making the film into a “B-movie” production that was shot in black and white. Arnold stepped down from directing “The Land Unknown” and Virgil Vogel was chosen to direct.
Notable stock footage elements
Several stock footage elements from Rear Adm. Richard Byrd’s 1947 expedition to the South Pole were used in “The Land Unknown.” The footage was licensed from the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the American Film Institute’s database entry on Vogel’s fantasy adventure feature.
Filmed in CinemaScope
The widescreen process was invented by Henri Chrétien and was introduced by Universal’s rival studio, Twentieth Century Fox in 1953 (according to Encyclopædia Britannica). Fox licensed the widescreen system to Universal for productions beginning in 1954, according to a 1953 CinemaScope press release.
Be sure to watch Svengoolie and “The Land Unknown” (1957) this Sat. on Me-TV!
Escape with Svengoolie, Doug Graves and Kerywn this Sat. to “The Land Unknown “ (1957) on Me-TV! With an ensemble cast, Clifford Stine’s special visual effects and Bud Westmore’s make-up designs, you will not be disappointed!
Sat., July 22 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Comcast 196/Verizon 489
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Comcast 208 (“Svengoolie” is time-delayed to 11 p.m. due to TV-11’s 10 p.m. newscast on their Me-TV sub-channel)
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Comcast 248 (Sven is also time-delayed on WGAL-TV 8 due to their 10 p.m. newscast on their Me-TV sub-channel)
Be sure to live-tweet with fellow fans of Sven from coast-to-coast on Sat. evenings! Use “#Svengoolie” (via Twitter) during Sven’s “big broadcast” of vintage Universal monster/horror/sci-fi films on Me-TV! On behalf of all fellow Sven fans from coast-to-coast, join us on our fun live-tweeting sessions! -C.H.
In relation to “The Land Unknown” (1957):
“The Land Unknown” is also available on DVD (via Universal’s “Choice” series of classic films).
All rights acknowledged.