World of Giants Complete Series BD Review

3 Stars An interesting Cold War mix of science fiction and espionage intrigue in this short lived series created in 1958.
World of Giants Review

World of Giants stars Marshall Thompson(Daktari) and Arthur Franz(The Caine Mutiny) as secret agents with a science fiction spin.

World of Giants Screenshot

World of Giants (1959)
Released: 05 Sep 1959
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 30 min
Director: N/A
Genre: Sci-Fi
Cast: Marshall Thompson, Arthur Franz, Marcia Henderson
Writer(s): N/A
Plot: Marshal Thompson plays a secret agent who is approximately 6 inches tall. He's carried around from one mission to another in a briefcase with a small chair inside.
IMDB rating: 7.8
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Other
Distributed By: ClassicFlix
Video Resolution: 480P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: None
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 5 Hrs. 38 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Amaray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 11/07/2023
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 3/5

A stentorian voice booms:  “WOG! … World… of… Giants!

“You are about to see one of the most closely guarded secrets and one of the most fantastic series of events ever recorded in the annals of counterespionage.  This is my story, the story of Mel Hunter who lives in your world, a World of Giants!”

World of Giants Screenshot

Mel Hunter(Marshall Thompson) is an American secret agent involved in a freak scientific accident behind the Iron Curtain with the result that he is shrunken down to the size of 6 inches.  Mel’s partner Bill Fisher(Arthur Franz) teams up with Mel to take advantage of his unique situation to accomplish missions that would be impossible to complete for a normal size person.  Of course, Mel’s advantage in size is offset by the dangers of diminutive size as well;  consider that a gentle household cat might present mortal peril to a person who is only the size of a mouse.

World of Giants Screenshot

World of Giants was produced by ZIV TV Productions(Sea Hunt) in 1958 and 1959 at the behest of the CBS television network.  The series never obtained a sponsor on the network, or else it might have premiered on the same network around the same time as The Twilight Zone.    Or perhaps The Twilght Zone beat out World of Giants for a place on the fall schedule.  In any event, after production wrapped on 13 episodes, World of Giants premiered first on television in Australia in 1959, and appeared in syndication in North America in 1961.

World of Giants Screenshot

The 13 episodes on a single disc are as follows:

Special Agent(26:04)Time Bomb(26:03)Teeth of the Watchdog(26::02)Death Trap(26:02)Gambling Story(25:55)Chemical Story(25:59)Feathered Foe(25:53)The Pool(25:54)Rainbow of Fire(26:00)The Smugglers(25:58)Off Beat(26:00)Unexpected Murder(25:56)Panic in 3-B(25:55)

World of Giants Screenshot

World of Giants is a slick creation with very high production values for its time.   A tiny person was not necessarily a novel concept in science fiction even in 1959, but it is interesting to see how World of Giants has many elements in common with later TV series that combined espionage with science fiction, like Land of the Giants, Gemini Man and The Six Million Dollar Man.  Guest stars in this series included Peggie Castle(I, The Jury), Gavin McLeod(The Love Boat), and Allison Hayes(Attack of the 50 Foot Woman).  Directors included such sci-fi luminaries as Jack Arnold(Creature From The Black Lagoon), Byron Haskin(The War of the Worlds), and Nathan Juran(Twenty Million Miles to Earth).

World of Giants Screenshot

World of Giants is a fun and entertaining confection from 1959.   The writing is fairly pedestrian, and not allegorical like The Twilight Zone,  but it is worthwhile viewing for anyone who appreciates the Golden Age of Television.

World of Giants Screenshot

Video: 3/5

3D Rating: NA

World of Giants Screenshot

All 13 episodes of World of Giants appear on a single blu-ray disc.  The episodes are presented in 480p in their original 1.33:1 screen aspect ratio.

World of Giants Screenshot

The transfers for this disc were derived from a complete set of 16mm prints housed at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.  The episodes show emulsion scratches and occasional dirt and debris, but the video quality is more than adequate given the source materials.  The episodes do not appear to be artificially sharpened for clarity, but shadow detail and gray scale are very good.

Audio: 4/5

World of Giants Screenshot

Audio is in English 2.0 DTS-HDMA.  The audio presentation is more than adequate with fine clarity of dialogue with a good mix of music and sound effects that do not intrude on one another.

 

Special Features: 2/5

World of Giants Screenshot

Special features include the following:

Image Gallery(5:38):  This gallery includes a surprising number of surviving publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photographs from production.  This gallery includes the option of advancing or returning with the arrows on your remoted control.  This is an interesting feature since it demonstrates, even moreso than watching the episodes. the high production values behind the scenes.

World of Giants Screenshot

21 Beacon Street clip(3:44):  Footage from the first episode of this late 1950s series also released by Classic Flix, which is an interesting precursor to Mission: Impossible.

World of Giants Screenshot

Overall: 3/5

World of Giants Screenshot

World of Giants is an interesting and entertaining science fiction TV show from the Golden Age of Television.  The video and audio presentation, derived from surviving 16mm prints, is merely average for the materials used for these transfers.  The Image Gallery in Special Features is actually recommended viewing if you enjoy the series, as the production photographs from behind the scenes give you a better sense of scale of the giant props used in this series.  If you are halfway interested in television shows from the 1950s, and you appreciate a blend of science fiction and espionage intrigue, World of Giants may be a wonderful new discovery for you.

Credit where credit is due to Classic Flix for rescuing this series from obscurity.  I hope that support of releases like this will lead to other series being released as well in their Rare Television line.

Timothy has worked background in theatrical features and television, just for the fun of it, in films directed by Peter Segal and Christopher Nolan. His favorite film star is Bugs Bunny, and Timothy has discovered that most of the problems in life can be solved successfully (strangely enough) by asking “What would Bugs Bunny do?” Timothy has been involved with the Home Theater Forum since 2007 and has reported from Comic Con, interviewed Bruce Campbell and Danny Trejo, and reviewed classic animation and new theatrical releases on disc.

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smithbrad

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Aug 12, 2013
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Brad
The review is technically incorrect when stating the episodes are 480p when in fact they are 1080p. From my recollection, the original elements were 16mm prints. Unfortunately, while being 1080p they can easily be confused for 480p in that they don't have the detail one comes to expect with a 1080p release. The print is soft and can easily be confused with a quality 480p print. The advantage of the blu-ray is the much higher bitrate available when housing 13 episodes across a single blu-ray disk vs. doing the same with 480p video across a single DVD.
 

LouA

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
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Location
New jersey
Real Name
Lou Antonicello
Doesn’t seem to be a lot of activity here regarding this great show. If you are a fan of classic vintage Sci fi , you should check thus out . Great quality on the Blu-ray, and a very enjoyable and entertaining program!
 
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