Prehistoric Flashback…

21 09 2007

Many years ago, I can’t remember exactly when, I spent the majority of a wonderful Thanksgiving Day watching a marathon of dinosaur documentaries on PBS. I do not remember what the series was called, I don’t remember how many of episodes there were, nor do I remember the year they were aired, but I do remember the dinosaur animation. Someone has been kind enough to put some of the paleo-vignettes up on YouTube and it’s definitely a bittersweet experience seeing them again. One the one hand, I loved the show as a kid (my parents had to tear me away from it so the annual consumption of the dino-descendant carcass could begin), but seeing them now nearly resulted on me rolling on the floor laughing. I won’t specifically go into what’s wrong with each of these videos (at least not yet), but it seems to me that the dinosaurs are both new and very old. They’re not waddling about, dragging their tails; they seem very active and dynamic, yet they’re exhibiting behaviors that were in vogue during the Charles R. Knight era (in fact the Tyrannosaurus/Triceratops fight seems to play up the whole “eternal enemies” narrative). I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw Stegosaurus menacingly flattening its plates at the offending Ceratosaurus, but I will leave a fuller discussion of stegosaurs and their armor for another day.

Knight rex triceratops
Charles R. Knight’s famous painting of a “duel” between Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. It is one of the most well-known (if not the most well-known) images in all of paleo-imagery.



8 responses

21 09 2007
Michael Barton

Hi Brian – The series was, I believe:

The Dinosaurs!, 1991, 4/one hour episodes, PBS Home Video, PBS #1035, Narrated by Barbara Felton, Part One: The Monsters Emerge, Part Two: Flesh on the Bones, Part Three: The Nature of the Beast, Part Four: The Death of the Dinosaur

I seriously just gave away the set I had…

21 09 2007

I still have the set! All 4 episodes on VHS in my room stashed away. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. Thanks for sharing us the video! 🙂

21 09 2007
Zach Miller

Anyone remember the awesome claymation cartoonish dinosaur show? I first saw it at Tyrrell (go figure), but later saw it many times on PBS.
Oh, but my favorite dinosaur show of all time has got to be the DINOSAURS! PBS show with Christopher Reeve. It had incredible stop-motion sequences by…I want to say Phil Tippet…in which (1) a pair of Deinonychus chased and killed a Struthiomimus; (2) a baby Maiasaurus is confronted by a Tyrannosaurus, who is knocked over by a parent; (3) Monoclonius has a fight with the same tyrannosaur, and ends up stabbing him in the leg. IT WAS SO AWESOME!

21 09 2007
Hyper Cutter

Holy crap, I remember these…

5 10 2007
Why do I bother? « Laelaps

[…] And while we’re at it, here’s another video that’ll probably bring back memories for some readers, and see this previous post for even more; […]

28 04 2009
Faces of Death « microecos

[…] Not all porn is so literate though.  Books, television, film and, most especially the internet abound with visual artworks that operate in the same vein.  One well-worn style adopts a “dinosaur-eye view,” typically peppering the foreground with a tyrannosaur, hadrosaur or ceratopsian or some combination thereof.  A few enterprising artists even manage a nod to Charles Knight. […]

15 07 2009
Robert Hill

For those of you who have the entire series of these documentaries, could you please upload them to youtube in their entirety. These little minute and a half video snippets have made me all nostalgic.

8 02 2012
the pilatesbiz

If anyone is interested there are links and it can be googled.

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