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During the morning, Fitzhugh goes to the waterfront village to get shrimp for eating. Talf and Osla Eckorp are two giant parents who run a stand, selling fish, crabs, lobster, and shells. Their deaf son, Dal, surprises Fitzhugh from behind a giant wood crate and scoops the tiny man into his hand.



Act One

Fitz defends himself with a fishing hook and runs off, literally from the boy's hand. A Mr. Derg from the bank tells Talf that unless he pays his first loan payment, the bank will foreclose. Fitz returns to Spindrift and tells Betty and Val his tale. This inspires the girls to return for the shrimp because everyone is hungry--they will prepare a seafood banquet--which Steve scoffs at when he and the others return and Fitz tells them. Steve, Dan, and Mark take off to find them. When Betty slips on the boy's toy wooden ship, the girls notice Dal didn't hear them. The boy takes out a giant lobster from a trap and carries over shells he's found. As he does, the lobster moves at the girls--with Val getting her foot tangled in a net. The men arrive to the rescue--Steve frees Val's foot and to avoid the returning Dal, carries her into the giant shell, Betty following. Dan and Mark try to distract the boy who doesn't see any of them. He does, however, pick up the giant shell the girls and Steve are in, tilting it wildly.



Act Two

Dal doesn't hear a yelling Dan, who is trying to get him to put the shell down. Dal, without realizing, kicks a box Dan is very close to. Dan deduces Dal is deaf. Dal plays a shell game with Talf, showing him the biggest shell he ever found. Dal runs to the house holding the girls and Steve, who directs the women to "hold on." He puts the shell on a table in the house. Talf tells Osla about the loss of their stand if they can't pay the loans---and that Dal won't be able to go to the special school for the deaf. Despite their current trouble and Talf's doubts, the two praise each other as parents. They go outside to finish their talk, leaving Dal to clean out the big shell--with a pointed, long branch. Mark and Dan, arriving at the leg of the table, watch. Mark looks up, "He'll kill them with that thing!" Steve has to push it away before it skewers Val's neck. Dal tips the shell over and the three tumble out. They hide as the boy runs out and brings his parents inside. They know Dal doesn't lie and Talf finds the trio behind a can. Dal wants to know if he can keep them. Talf has other plans: to get the reward for their capture from the government. He calls them hostile aliens from another planet, which Val disclaims. Steve tells him he's heard a lot of propaganda--they are here by accident and only want their freedom to return home. Steve tells Talf he didn't expect him to believe that. With his parents, Steve, Val and Betty (in the shell), Dal follows Fitz's tracks. Dan and Mark follow to try to reach the ship before the giants but a titanic weasel attacks them. They make it to a gopher hole but it digs in after them. The giants find the Spindrift and Talf picks it up.



Act Three

The two men use a rag and stick, lighting it on fire to escape, only to be depressed by the sight of the giants, Talf carrying the Spindrift. Mark tells Dan, "Ah, you know there have been times since we crashed here if I never saw any of you again, it would be too soon, but now with the spaceship gone...well there was always some hope before." When Dan suggests they go after them all, Mark says, "With what, our bare hands...forget it." But the arrival of Fitz and Barry, warned to abandon ship by Steve before the giants got to it, cheers them up. Fitzhugh has a walkie talkie which Dan uses to call Steve. Mark calls Dan an optimist. Talf puts the spaceship on a shelf in a large closet. Osla wants to call City Hall but Talf goes to find out how to go about turning them in. Betty thinks it is sad that the boy is deaf, Val figures it is good that the reward money will be put to good use. Steve calls the others from the radio room with a plan: Mark will build a giant hearing aide for their release and the release of the ship. Dan and Mark slip under the door, ignoring Fitzhugh's desire to tell what he thinks they should do. They get the mother to open the door to talk to Steve, "the captain of their spaceship." She looks at Steve, who calls the girls out to calm her fears and doubts about trusting them, "Take a look at us. We're exactly what you see. We're little people. We want to help your son so that we can help ourselves. Now does it look like...like we could harm you?" Osla exchanges the two men for the girls. The women run to a worrying Barry and Fitzhugh outside. Osla seems to pray to God that it will work. The first hearing aide doesn't work. Talf returns just as they discover it doesn't.



Act Four

Steve figures they need more power for "that big ear." Talf will not let them try again. Steve suggests to Mark that they use a shell to make the aide work. Mark tells him he should have been the engineer--one of the smaller shells would do the job. It will amplify the sound. Fitz lures Talf outside and the foursome outside divert the giant father, Steve figuring Talf does love his son. Steve and Mark plead with Osla to let them try again. She agrees and puts them into the small shell. Talf captures Barry and returns to the house, dropping the small boy into the spaceship. They tell him they are not insincere about helping his son but they also want their freedom. Talf says, "They never quit trying." He will not let them use the shell-hearing aide on Dal. When Mark calls him a fool, Talf asks his wife if he is. She apologizes for going behind his back twice. As they talk, Dal picks up the shell, unnoticed. He can hear them. They rejoice over it. Mark tells them, "Believe it or not, it was our pleasure." Steve tells Talf he will make a lot of money off the patent. Talf tells him he cannot go against the law--people in town will know the little people made the hearing aide and put him in jail. Osla tells them she is sorry. She follows Talf outside to talk to him about all of this. Steve ushers Barry, Dan, and Mark back into the ship, commenting on Talf, "He's as stubborn as he is big." Dal picks up the Spindrift, takes it out of the closet, opens the door to the home, and exits with the ship.



Tag

Dal takes the ship through town, heading for the forest. The girls and Fitzhugh roll a can into his path and he falls, landing near them. He is about to grab them up but Osla intervenes. She explains that he can tell them Dal didn't understand--they won't blame him if Dal did it. He lets the trio go, "How are they going to know there are three more little people?" Fitz waves to him, thanking him. Dal puts the Spindrift in a new spot in the forest. Mark comments, "It's almost the same as the other place." They thank Dal but Dan worries that he knows their hiding spot. Steve tells him not to worry, Dal is their friend. Barry tells them, "Thanks to Mark." Steve and Dan thank Mark also, patting him on the back.





Review: This is the probably the best LAND OF THE GIANTS episode. The dialogue and script is superb, involving, human, and interesting without being too overly sentimental. Jan Shepard is believable as the mother, ably portraying caring. Larry Ward (of LOST IN SPACE'S ALL THAT GLITTERS) is almost always good, here a father harried and law abiding, if propaganda believing. The news scares from SABOTAGE must have affected him, as well as other propaganda. During times of war and even peace, propaganda causes decent people to believe untruths about others without real reason but a distorted view of the truth. Dal's actions and movements seem to bring back some of the giantism and alien-ness of previous giants in the early episodes, only because, he, like those past giants, does not talk much. The only difference is he hasn't learned yet. Unlike those giants, he has a good, warm nature. Indicative of the whole episode, Mullendore's score is sentimental but not overly so. It is completely original--dramatic and almost exotic and beautiful to listen to. It is the best of the non-traditional scores. The waterfront set looks like a location with plenty of passerby giants, large boats leaning against walls. Added to this is the sounds of gulls and the ocean. It all adds together to make a change of pace for the series. The house of the giant family is just as refreshing inside and out. It is sparsely decorated with objects and paintings relating to the sea and fishermen. The giant shell interiors and the exteriors used when we see the full scale matched to the little people look exactly like the giant shell used in the 20th Century Fox movie DOCTOR DOLITTLE for the giant snail (a great fun film by the way; also notice the jungle sound effects in it are the ones used in early GIANTS episodes and some VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA installments). In SHELL GAME, The character interplay is very good between both groups as well as each group interacts with themselves. Fitzhugh complained a bit but again, helped out when the chips were down. For once, Dan and Mark remain filthy after their encounter with the giant animal and are dirty to the end of the show. The only complaint can be the ever present gopher hole. Spindrift is featured more prominently and it was nice to have it moved to a new location even if it is the woods again. Still, the camp set was changed--the flora and fauna as well as rocks would be different. Also--at the end of the episode, the ship does not have its step stool on it and there is more foliage and dirt on the hull of the craft. Welch wrote some far out episodes for all Allen's series but this one, written also by Bob and Esther Mitchell, is a most touching, splendid one. All of the elements of LAND OF THE GIANTS came together here to make an outstanding, dramatic presentation--we even had not one, but two giant animal menaces as well as the wonderful conflict between the family and the Earthlings. SHELL GAME is an exceptional episode, worthy of the best accolades.

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