There are times you come across a story that should be completely shocking, but for some reason isn’t. Even though I had never heard this piece of news before, I didn’t bat an eye when I found out that Bill Laimbeer played a Sleestak on the original Land of the Lost. Of course he did.
Not just a Sleestak, but the Sleestak; the costume was molded from his body. I guess we should have known from Episode 15A, in which the Sleestak takes out Will and Holly with a wicked elbow.
Laimbeer played the reptilian humanoid beasties on the show, which ran from 1974-76, while a high schooler at Palos Verdes High School.
“It was a great summer job,” Laimbeer told the Free Press in 2004. “The entertainment business pays a lot of money. It was fun. You know, like I said, it paid well and you got residual checks, too.”
His fellow Sleestaks included future NBAers David Greenwood and John Lambert.
“They were looking for people who were close to 7 feet to play a Sleestak,” he said. “And also the entertainment business is intertwined with the colleges there in many ways, and we were recruits.”
Though he says fans still approach him to ask about his role on the TV show, Laimbeer says he wasn’t approached to reprise his role in the movie version. Which is a pity, because standing around in a stifling hot costume for days on end sounds preferable to coaching in the WNBA.