To Altrusia and Back: Adventures of a Sleestak Hunter
As a kid in the 1970s, I loved Land of the Lost and as far back as I can remember I have always wanted an original Sleestak prop from the show. As a collector, I have spent the last twenty-five years tracking down props and costumes from my favorite TV shows but Sleestak artifacts from Land of the Lost have always eluded me. In 1982 at the age of thirteen, I placed my very first call to the Krofft office to ask if I could buy one of their Sleestak masks but they said no. Since that day, I have been on the hunt of that elusive mythical beast known as Sleestak!
Over the next two and a half decades, I sent numerous letters, emails and placed even more phone calls to both Sid, Marty and other Land of the Lost cast & crew personnel looking for something, anything from my favorite Krofft show but the answer was always the same, nothing for sale. In the early 1990s, I was able to track down the man who designed and created all of the Sleestak suits, masks and skulls for the show, make-up master, Mike Westmore. Mr. Westmore filled me in on how they were constructed, what they were made out of and how many were made but sadly, he too had nothing to sell.
When the Krofft’s held their first public auction in 1998, I didn’t know about it until a month after it ended. When the second Krofft auction took place in 2003, another diehard fan had won all of the Sleestak props offered that day. In 2005, my wife and I were in Hollywood, CA for a vacation and I called the Krofft office and told them I was in town and asked if I could stop by. Marty agreed and we had a very pleasant meeting. Marty and his staff were top notch. I told them of my life long interest in their show and asked again, if there was anything I could buy, and as always they said sorry, not at this time.
In 2006, I made contact with the current owner of the Enik suit but the talks went nowhere. That same year, I also tracked down the guy who bought the prop Sleestak Skull from the first Krofft auction. Lars Larsen was his name and he and his wife Catherine were wonderful. We talked about Land of the Lost, the auction and his skull with great enthusiasm but unfortunately they declined my offer. About a year (and several calls, emails and offers) later, I got lucky. In 2007, the Larsen’s had finally decided to part with their prop. After twenty-five years of diligent detective work, follow through and persistence, I was finally the proud owner of an original screen used Sleestak Skull. I felt like a big game hunter who had just bagged his greatest beast!
The Larsen’s had taken meticulous care of this rare prop while in their possession and for its age, it held up very well. The neat thing about this prop is not only was it used in all of the Library of Skulls sequences, it was also the skull from the Downstream episode! It just goes to show, if you want something bad enough and you make the effort, it will come to you. So, without any further ado, here is the most prized possession in my prop collection.