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"Tar Pit"

Episode 18

Airdate: 1975/09/06
Writer: Margaret Armen
Director: Gordon Wiles

Will regroups with his family at the base of High Bluff, where he reports that Cha-Ka is painting a fine picture of Ta on the face of a large rock down by the tar pit. Will's wardrobe has changed this season; he wears a home-made leather vest, as well as a tan long-sleeve shirt (last season he wore a blue long-sleeve shirt). Dad and Holly are busy making what appears to be a heavy home-made rope. When Holly asks her brother if he had seen Dopey, Will lets her know that the baby brontosaur was down there as well, trying to coax Spot into playing with him.

Down by the tar pit, Cha-Ka paints Ta's portrait; Sa holds a small bowl, made from a gourd, holding the oils. Ta is impatient to see Cha-Ka's progress on the work, but when the elder Paku relaxes his pose to take a quick peek, Cha-Ka scolds him to remain still. However, Ta's posing is interrupted anyway, when Spot comes along squawking, startling the Pakuni into taking cover behind the rock. They quickly realize that Spot is no serious threat, and after shooing the beast off, they all return to the project. (For humorous reasons, Ta hams it up by posing in profile, with one knee up and one arm out, as if he were a valiant knight or someone commanding great power. It seems unlikely however, without exposure to Western Renaissance art, that he would decide to pose this way.)

While fleeing from the Pakuni, Spot had the unfortunate luck of getting stuck up to his thighs in the tar pit. Dopey happens to be grazing nearby, and in his curiosity, he goes over to see what Spot's squawking is all about. The little brontosaur walks out onto a stone ledge bordering the tar pit and tries to get Spot to play. The coelophysis is not interested, and after being provoked, takes a little nip at Dopey's nose. Dopey jumps after being startled by Spot's nip, and when his front legs land, the force breaks off the stone ledge. Dopey's left front leg plunges into the tar, and to his surprise, he finds he can't get it out.

Cha-Ka is distracted from his painting by the dinosaur's squawking, and decides to go see what is wrong with Dopey. Sa and Ta yell for Cha-Ka to keep painting, but the Pakuni artist simply tells them that he is sorry. Ta then threatens Cha-Ka with a clenched fist, forcing the little Paku to get back to his work. After hearing more of Dopey's whining, however, Cha-Ka refuses to stand by, so he dumps out the bowl of paint, angering Ta and Sa. Cha-Ka rushes over to Dopey, who has now gotten all of his legs stuck, so the Paku quickly heads over to the Marshall's cave for help. Spot manages to struggle his way out of the tar, leaving poor Dopey whining behind.

Cha-Ka arrives at the base of High Bluff, shouting to the Marshalls something about "danger". The family questions him in his own Pakuni language, and manage to find out that something has happened to Dopey. Cha-Ka leads the Marshalls down to the tar pit where Dopey stands whining knee-deep in the muck. Holly walks over to her mischievous little dinosaur friend, but Dad warns her not to get too close. She asks how then are they ever to get Dopey out, prompting Will to suggest that they pull him out with a rope. Dad believes it is possible if Dopey doesn't sink too deep; he proposes that they try and lasso the baby brontosaur. Dad instructs his children to go quickly to fetch strong vines from the jungle, and in no time at all the kids return with plenty. While they tie them together, Dad explains to Cha-Ka their plan to lasso and pull Dopey out. Unfortunately, they run into difficulty when Dopey won't stay still each time Dad tosses the rope out to lasso his neck. They need a way to distract Dopey momentarily, so Holly proposes to feed Dopey a fresh leafy branch. Again she is scolded for getting too close to the tar pit, so Will, whose arms are longer, leans out to feed the baby. As Dopey munches happily on the leaves, Dad finally manages to get the lasso around his neck. Cha-Ka and the Marshalls tug away at the rope, but Dopey doesn't budge and inch out of the muck. They then try to get a running start, but the vines just snap when they are yanked tight. Meanwhile, the baby brontosaur sinks deeper.

Dad realizes that they are going need a stronger rope, should get it around Dopey's body, and need some heavy wooden stakes to use as leverage. Will points out the new rope they have made, but Holly is quick to note that it is back at their cave. Dad volunteers to run back with his son to get the rope, since he saw some wood by their cave that they can use for the stakes. He asks his daughter and Cha-Ka to stay behind, warning her a third time to stay clear of the tar pit. Holly desperately calls for Will and Dad to hurry, since Dopey has now sunk up to his belly. She assures the little brontosaur that they won't leave him, and then comforts weeping Cha-Ka, who believes he is responsible for Dopey's plight. He explains to Holly that while painting a picture of Ta, he shooed Spot away, where Spot fell into the tar pit; Dopey then came over to Spot, where he himself fell in to the black sticky stuff. Holly assures Cha-Ka that it is not his fault; Dopey got stuck because of his own curiosity. She tries pleading with the little brontosaur to stop squirming around, whereupon she gets the idea to keep him still by feeding him. She and Cha-Ka toss plum-sized berries to the tacky prop of Dopey's head (another precious but pathetic moment of sad and sorry special effects). Dad and Will return with the stake and strong rope; the kids and Cha-Ka anchor the stake while Dad tries again to lasso Dopey. The mischievous little brontosaur must think that he is still being fed, because he chomps down on the rope when Dad tosses it toward him. After Dad fights with Dopey to get him to let go of the rope, Holly tempts him with more berries, giving Dad the chance to lasso him. After the rope is wrapped around the anchored stake, the family tries once more in vain to pull Dopey out. Will grumbles that their new rope has the strength, but they do not, and mentions that they could use some help. Cha-Ka asks Will what he means by "help", so Will excitedly asks the Paku to go get Ta and Sa. As Cha-Ka scurries off into the jungle, Dad admits that they are going to need some real leverage, such as that from using a block and tackle. Will suggests the pulleys that they have set up above their cave, but his father points out that their new rope is too thick. Dad believes that they can make pulleys out of bamboo (hey, it could have been more far-fetched -- the Professor on Gilligan's Island once made a geiger counter out of bamboo!) so once more Dad and Will run back to High Bluff.

Sa tries to finish Cha-Ka's painting, but Ta yells at her to leave it alone. Cha-Ka arrives, whereupon he asks them to help pull Dopey out of the tar pit. Sa understands, and offers to help, but Ta stubbornly refuses. Cha-Ka warns Ta that he will not finish the painting unless Ta helps them pull Dopey out. The elder Paku tries sweet-talking to Cha-Ka; meanwhile, at the tar pit, Holly tries to keep Dopey calm. When Cha-Ka makes his stand clear by dumping out the bowl of paint, Ta reluctantly agrees to help pull. Cha-Ka leads the way for Ta and Sa to the tar pit.

When Ta arrives to find baby the brontosaur stuck, he bids Dopey goodbye and begins to head back. Holly pleads with Ta that they can get him out, they just have to work together to do it. Cha-Ka reminds Ta that he must help pull before Cha-Ka will resume painting his portrait. When Ta asks what they will use to pull Dopey out, Holly promises that her family will soon return with the tools. Meanwhile, at High Bluff, Will and Dad create a pulley by taking a strong stake and using it to hammer out the core of a thicker bamboo shaft. The stake fits tightly inside the bamboo sleeve, so Dad suggests that they use mud as lubrication. Back at the tar pit, Holly begs Ta and Sa not to leave, when just then Dad and Will finally return with the home-made block and tackle. Will and Dad set it up, and they all begin to pull, but soon the front bamboo pulley breaks apart. Ta once again hams it up when he bids Dopey goodbye, which starts another argument with Cha-Ka about the painting. Dad tells Cha-Ka that he should go with the other Pakuni, saying that there is nothing more that he can do to help. As the Pakuni leave, Dad picks up the rope, concluding that there is nothing more that anyone can do. Holly stands near Dopey, now sunk half-way up his body; the little brontosaur squawks with a questioning tone.

Night has fallen, and the tar is nearly up to Dopey's back; Holly tries to comfort him by letting him know they are still there. The Marshalls have built a fire nearby, apparently since Holly won't leave him until the end. Holly wishes that Dopey had been a rabbit, since then they could pull him out without any problem. Will points out, however, that then he probably would never have gotten stuck, since the only the heavier animals seem to sink far enough in. Holly is still whiny, wishing it had happened to Grumpy instead, prompting Dad to voices his feelings that he would not wish it upon anything. All seems hopeless, when suddenly they hear the roar of a giant brontosaur that lumbers slowly toward them; they stand to turn and see that Cha-Ka is leading Emily to Dopey. With the largest full moon backdropped behind them, Emily nuzzles her adopted baby son. Cha-Ka explains that Emily could pull Dopey out, a simple idea that amazes Dad and Will. One end of their strong rope is still tied around Dopey's neck, so Dad throws the loose end around Emily's neck, creates a lasso knot, and pulls the lasso tight. Everyone tries to shoo Emily into backing up, but Emily does not want to leave her baby. Dad and Will then try shooing her back with torches, and when she slowly backs up, Dopey is pulled free from the tar pit. The mood turns joyous with Emily nuzzling Dopey and Will letting out a rowdy hoot, exclaiming "we did it!". Holly feels that Cha-Ka and Emily deserve the credit, while Will also gives credit to their strong new rope; Dad wisely believes that they all did it together. Holly gives Cha-Ka a kiss on the cheek, but the baffled little Paku just shakes her hand in return.

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