Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Mega Dungeons Of 'Journey To the Center of The Earth' Cartoon 1967 Episode 'The Living City'

When I've been going over some of the ideas for my 'New Hartford  Beta Max Black Edition Pellucidar' campaign setting including going over classic D&D and AD&D materials as well as OSR resources. But I started looking even further afield and going with classic cartoon resources including Filmation studios.  Way back in '67 Filmation studios produced Journey To The Center of The Earth cartoon. The program was bought by and picked up for cable networks cartoon line up way back in the early Eighties over here;

"Journey to the Center of the Earth is an American science fiction Saturday morning cartoon, consisting of 17 episodes, each running 30 minutes. Produced by Filmation in association with 20th Century Fox, it aired from September 9, 1967 to September 6, 1969 on ABC Saturday Morning. It featured the voice of Ted Knight as Professor Lindenbrook. It was later shown in reruns on Sci Fi Channel's Cartoon Quest.
It appears to have taken the 1959 film, Journey to the Center of the Earth, as its starting point rather than Jules Verne's original novel, e.g. including the character of Count Saknussen and Gertrude the duck. However it moved even further away from Verne's novel than the 1959 film."

This is one of those Sixties Filmation cartoons with no real beginning, or ending episode. For All I know the party of adventurers are still down there trying to get home.What does all of this have to do with classic D&D? One episode in particular has haunted me, this was the 'Living City' episode of  this Filmation cartoon classic.  There were a few things that stood out about Journey To The Center of the Earth as fodder for D&D all of the hostile races of the cartoon knew each other, there were treaties and trade between them as implied in the seventeen episodes of the series and all of them bowed to or had trade with Atlantis. Which was the central plot axis around which everything revolved.

"The Living City"  episode aired in  November 4, 1967 & we find our heroes in a vast cavern desert where they built an improptu wind vessel to sail through the desert only to be randomly attacked by flying beetles. Don't worry the insects will be very important in a moment, they're craft is wrecked and they find themselves in front of a vast Greco Egyptian ruined city. Professor Oliver Lindenbrook mumbles something about the city being such and such from mythology but you can tell he's no idea. The ruin has one important feature and that's a pure water source that the duck finds. That duck is the real brains of the party and the joining character with the classic 1959 film, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Everything in the city from statues to mummies attacks the party! There are tons of well preserved relics & such that turn on the characters. Lars(scout 6th level with animal companion)  is separated & attacked by mummies! The professor finally cottons onto the idea that the bugs that attacked them earlier are actually inhabiting the walls, statutes, etc. in the city.

The characters of course run across the scarab queen and killing  her after running for their lives as they seem to do in every single episode and continue their journey to Atlantis which is at the center of the Earth.The city is cast into ruins supposedly right after the queen's death. I don't buy it at all. The fact is that this is a multi leveled city in the middle of an isolated vast cavern with its own desert like ecosystem. I think the beetle colony simply reproduced another queen & continued to create ambushes for any fools they run across. Why? Well because they use humans, near humans, and the like for reproduction and they'd been created way back in Atlantis way back about in pre-cataclysmic Atlantis c. 100,000 BC. They were uncovered during the travels of Alexander The Great & used as a part of some of the inner mystery cult rites and rituals. But something went very wrong & the entire minor city state was taken by the gods the population devoured by the insects or perhaps they are the insects!? They're souls trapped for all eternity within the confines of the city along with all of its riches.

So how would this play out in D&D terms pick a monster, statue or your favorite undead then let the bugs animate the whole works and no turning undead. The queen of course is a giant beetle with a telepathic ability to control her animating swarm. The city state's ruins are just sitting in a cavern waiting for some poor party to stumble upon it and pay with their lives or worse!

If you want to watch the episode of this forgotten gonzo classic there a few episodes on Youtube and you can see this one here.  According to Wiki; "There are currently no plans to release the series on DVD and/or Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment." All rights are reserved to their respective owners and this blog entry is meant for entertainment & educational purposes only not as a violation of the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. All opinions and ideas are the writers only.

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