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Land of the Lost
Season 1, Episode 1
Air date September 7, 1974
Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Dennis Steinmetz
Episode Guide
The Sleestak God

Cha-Ka was the First Episode of the First Season of the Land of the Lost. It was written by David Gerrold.


The Marshalls care for an injured hominid and gain an ally in their dangerous new home.


Hiding in the jungle, the Marshalls are watching the dinosaurs when (Holly declares one of them "cute" and says she will name him "Spot." When a T-rex approaches, they scramble for cover, but it soon chooses to chase Spot. Holly asks her father why the tyrannosaur is so "grumpy," and Rick mentions that it must eat in order to survive. He then adds that he thinks they are in "another world" because the previous night, he saw three moons. He believes that they must have entered this world when their raft went over the waterfall, which "never seemed to end," and seemed to "fall through a hole in space." Rick tells the children he believes there must be a way out, but it "might take us a while to find it."

The family keeps moving to avoid the T-rex. Rick scouts for a safe route back to the cave, having instructed his children to remain where they are, but Holly hears chanting and decides to investigate over the protestations of her brother, Will. They find a tall, narrow pyramid that makes a humming noise. Will notes "it looks like it was made by intelligent beings" and that touching it feels "like touching nothing." Holly notes that it's "so cold" and wonders aloud over "what it was used for."

They continue to follow the sound of voices, where they see three naked, hairy hominids chanting and banging rocks together. The T-rex appears and menaces them, but the smallest of the three falls while attempting to flee and injures his leg. The T-rex chases after the other two hominids, apparently ignorant of the slower, injured prey which Will and Holly are able to rescue by carrying him away. Now pursuing them, the T-rex is delayed when he becomes stuck between two trees, allowing Will (carrying the hominid) and Holly to escape. The T-Rex soon escapes the trap by walking backwards out of the narrow path, and rejoins its chase after other larger hominids.

The children give the injured hominid water from their canteen and attempt to communicate with him. He is able to somewhat imitate their names and gives his own as "Cha-Ka,", soon indicating that he is one of the "Pakuni," the race of hominids of the Land of the Lost. Rick eventually arrives, and the Marshalls take Cha-Ka back to their cave, where they attempt to hoist him up with a basket attached to a rope and pulley, which it seems they have previously built.

As they hoist Cha-Ka to the mouth of the cave, the T-rex (which by now even Rick is calling "Grumpy") arrives and approaches. Rick and Holly lower Cha-Ka back to the ground and rush into the cave. Will assists Cha-Ka from the basket and carries him behind a rock to hide while Grumpy bites through the rope and chomps on the basket. Up above, Grumpy can see Will and Cha-Ka, but he cannot reach them. Rick and Holly get the "fly-swatter," a long sharpened stick used to fight the T-rex, and carry it at speed out the cave, letting it go to fly forward to lodge in Grumpy's gullet, as he wanders away in distress with the stick hanging from his mouth like a toothpick, unable to remove it. Eventually, he dislodges it by shaking his head. Rick says they'll have to tie a loop in the rope to get Cha-Ka into the cave.

Once Chaka is in the cave, Rick is tending to Cha-Ka's injuries, having Holly boil some water so that he can clean Cha-Ka's leg wound. Holly lights a fire using Rick's lighter and Cha-ka stares , eyes wide in fascination. After the kids bicker over Holly's cooking abilities, Rick assigns the next few days' worth of cooking duty to Will.

Later, the water has apparently boiled and then cooled enough to clean the wound on Cha-Ka's leg. Rick Marshall sets and splints the injured leg. That night, as the Marshalls sleep, Cha-Ka steals Rick's lighter and limps out of the cave, now able to climb and jump down the natural stone steps beneath the cave entrance without pain, and slips off into the jungle. All three of the Marshalls quietly follow the limping hominid into the night. In the jungle, Cha-Ka encounters Grumpy, who apparently sleeps while standing. Cha-Ka backs away slowly and the Marshalls catch him. They discover that he has taken the lighter. The other two Pakuni now come down from an overhead branch and threaten the Marshalls with some barely sharpened spears, naturally assuming that they have taken Cha-ka against his will. Rick Marshall frightens them away with the "great magic" of the tiny flame from his lighter.

Woken from his sleep, Grumpy now discovers them and tries to eat them all. They all scatter with Grumpy chasing the Marshalls all the way back to their cave, but as he approaches the cave mouth, he quickly gives up, apparently having remembering the lesson from the "flyswatter" just as the Marshalls get prepared. Despite Grumpy wandering off, Holly is disappointed that Cha-Ka does not seem to be their friend.

The following morning in the cave, Will discovers that Cha-Ka has left them a feast of giant fruits, and figures that Chaka "wants to be friends with us after all." From a distance, Cha-Ka watches them from the brush and disappears back into the jungle as the Marshalls begin eating.


  • "Kindness Begets kindness."
  • "It takes a lot of trust to make a friend."




  • Coming Up


  • Although Emily the Brontosaurs appears in this episode, she's not "officially" named Emily until the Dopey episode.
  • Cha-ka falls and injures his leg despite an absence of any obstacles in his way.
  • Grumpy bites the basket, visibly damaging it, but in next scene the basket appears undamaged.
  • The toothpick stuck in Grumpy's mouth switches from left to right.
  • Rick says that Cha-Ka's leg "shouldn't hurt anymore," that he "had to set it," and that it was "only a slight fracture." He and Will make a pointless splint from 3 flimsy twigs loosely tied with 2 bandanas.
  • The Marshalls sleep fully dressed, shoes and all, in what is apparently their only set of clothing.
  • When the Marshalls leave the cave to follow Cha-Ka, the basket, rope and pulley are nowhere to be seen. But when Grumpy attacks them they are all visible in the mouth of the cave.]]