''Land of the Lost,'' was a 1970s children's show that became famous (or infamous?) for its cheesy charms and lower-budget special effects.
The most memorable of those hirsute Pakunis was Cha-Ka, played by young Phillip Paley. Like so many child actors, Paley's odyssey shows how ephemeral fame can be. His face was on lunch boxes in the 1970s, but his memorable spot in pop culture history is still one that requires a bit of explaining.
Born in Los Angeles, Paley was discovered by a talent agent at 11 months old when his mother was pushing him down the street in a stroller, and he appeared in a national television spot for Gerber baby food.
Paley's tumbling skills won him a role on the quirky ''Land of the Lost,'' which was one of the many surreal Saturday morning creations churned out by Sid and Marty Krofft, the brothers behind ''H.R. Pufnstuf'' and ''The Bugaloos.'' The original ''Land of the Lost'' lasted 43 episodes, and it endures as a campy classic in large part because of its lizard-men and the agile little monkey-boy who befriends the wayward explorers and learns to communicate with them.
Paley's Cha-Ka was an innocent but impish little ape-boy and he spoke an invented language.
After the show ended, Paley got another Hollywood job as the star of a raunchy 1988 teen comedy called ''Beach Balls.''
He is also working on a book about his child-acting career, and while it will have some tell-all aspects to it, it's more upbeat and sprinkled with odd trivia, such as the fact that Bill Laimbeer and other basketball stars were brought in to play the towering Sleestaks.
Paley reflects, ''I wish I could have kept that costume. At the time it wasn't always fun to wear it, but I'm sure glad I got the chance.''
-edited from latimes.com June 5, 2009 by Geoff Boucher and revised by ALL-CON 2018