Lost in Space


Lost in Space
Lost in Space
Lost In Space.jpg
Publicity photo (1967) for Lost in Space: shows cast members: Angela Cartwright, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Bob May (Robot), Jonathan Harris, June Lockhart, Guy Williams & Billy Mumy.
Genre Science fiction
Created by Irwin Allen
Directed by

Irwin Allen
Robert Douglas
Alvin Ganzer
Harry Harris
Leonard Horn
Nathan H. Juran
Sobey Martin
Irving J. Moore
Leo Penn
Don Richardson
Seymour Robbie
Sutton Roley
Alexander Singer
Paul Stanley
Ezra Stone

Peter Packer
Starring (See article)
Narrated by Dick Tufeld
Theme music composer John Williams
Composer(s) John Williams
Herman Stein
Richard LaSalle
Leith Stevens
Joseph Mullendore
Cyril Mockridge
Alexander Courage
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 83 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Guy Della Cioppa (for Van Bernard Productions)
Producer(s) Irwin Allen
Camera setup Clyde Taylor
Winton Hoch
Running time 1 hour
Production company(s) Irwin Allen Productions
Van Bernard Productions
Jodi Productions
20th Century-Fox Television
CBS
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format black and white (1965-1966)
color (1966-1968)
Audio format mono
Original run September 15, 1965 – March 6, 1968
Chronology
Related shows Lost in Space (film)

Lost in Space is a science fiction TV series created and produced by Irwin Allen, filmed by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965, and March 6, 1968 (the unaired pilot "No Place To Hide" and the 1998 reunion "Lost In Space Forever" bring the total number of episodes to 85). Their first TV season was filmed in black and white, but the rest were filmed in color. In 1998, a Lost in Space movie, based on the TV series, was released.

Though the TV series concept centered on the Robinson family, many storylines focused primarily on Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), originally an utterly evil would-be killer who became a sympathetic anti-hero by the end of the first season, providing comic relief to the TV show (and causing most of the episodic conflict).

Contents

Production

The first appearance of a space-faring Robinson family (unrelated to the series' Robinsons) was in a comic book published by Gold Key " The Space Family Robinson" December 1962[1] The TV series is an adaptation of the novel The Swiss Family Robinson. The astronaut family of Dr. John Robinson, accompanied by an air force pilot and also a robot, set out from an overpopulated Earth in the spaceship Jupiter 2 to visit a planet circling the star Alpha Centauri with hopes of colonizing it. Their mission in 1997 (the official launch date of the Jupiter 2 was October 16, 1997) is immediately sabotaged by Dr. Zachary Smith, who slips aboard their spaceship and reprograms the robot to destroy the ship and crew. Smith is trapped aboard, saving himself by prematurely reviving the crew from suspended animation. They save the ship, but consequent damage leaves them lost in space. Eventually they crash on an alien world, later identified as Priplanis, where they must survive a host of adventures. Smith (whom Allen originally intended to kill off) remains through the series as a source of comedic cowardice and villainy, exploiting the forgiving (or forgetful) nature of the Robinsons.

At the start of the second season, the repaired Jupiter 2 launches again, but after two episodes the Robinsons crash on another planet and spend the season there. This replicated the feel of the first season, although by this time the focus of the series was more on humor than straight action/adventure.

In the third season, the Robinson Family wasn't restricted to one world. The now mobile Jupiter-2 would travel to other worlds in an attempt to return to Earth or to settle on their originally desired planet in the Alpha Centauri system. The Space Pod was added as a means of transportation between the ship and planets. This season had a dramatically different opening credits sequence.

Following the format of Allen's first TV series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, fantasy-oriented adventure stories were emphasized. The show delivered a visual assault of special effects, explosions, monstrous aliens, spaceships, and exotic sets and costumes drenched in the bright, primary colors that were typical of early color television.

Plot

It is October 16, 1997 and the United States is proceeding towards the launch of one of history's great adventures: man's colonization of deep space. The Jupiter 2 (called Gemini 12 in the pilot episode), a futuristic saucer-shaped spaceship, stands on its launch pad undergoing final preparations. Its mission is to take a single family on a five-and-a-half-year journey (stated as 98 years in the pilot episode) to a planet of the nearby star Alpha Centauri (the pilot episode refers to the planet itself as Alpha Centauri), which space probes reveal possesses ideal conditions for human life. The Robinson family was selected from among two million volunteers for this mission. The family includes Professor John Robinson (Guy Williams), his wife, Maureen (June Lockhart), their children, Judy (Marta Kristen), Penny (Angela Cartwright), and Will (Billy Mumy). They will be accompanied by their pilot, US Space Corps Major Donald West (Mark Goddard), who is trained to fly the ship in the unlikely event that its sophisticated automatic guidance system malfunctions.

Other nations are racing the United States in the effort to colonize space, and they would stop at nothing, even sabotage, to stop the US effort. Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), a medical doctor and environmental control expert, is actually a foreign secret agent. He reprograms the Jupiter 2's B-9 environmental control robot (voiced by Dick Tufeld) to destroy critical systems on the spaceship eight hours after launch. Smith is trapped aboard at launch and his extra weight throws the Jupiter 2 off course, causing it to encounter a meteor storm. This plus the robot's rampage causes the ship to become lost.

The Robinsons are often placed in danger by Smith, whose self-centered actions and laziness endanger the family. In the second and third seasons, Smith's role assumes a less evil overtone – although he continues to display many character defects. In "The Time Merchant", Smith travels back in time to the day of the Jupiter 2 launch, with hope of changing his fate. He learns that without his weight altering the ship's course, it would be destroyed by an uncharted asteroid. In an act of redemption, Smith elects to re-board the ship, thus saving the Robinsons' lives.

Characters

  • Dr. John Robinson: (Guy Williams) The expedition commander, a pilot, and the father of the Robinson children. He is an astrophysicist who also specializes in applied planetary geology.
  • Dr. Maureen Robinson: (June Lockhart) John's biochemist wife. Her role in the series is often to prepare meals, tend the garden and help with light construction, while adding a voice of compassion. Her status as a doctor is mentioned only in the first episode.
  • Major Don West: (Mark Goddard) The military pilot of the Jupiter 2, he is Dr. Smith's intemperate and intolerant adversary. His mutual romantic interest with Judy was not developed beyond the first few episodes. In the un-aired pilot, "Doctor Donald West" was a graduate student astrophysicist and expert in interplanetary geology, rather than a military man.
  • Judy Robinson: (Marta Kristen) The oldest child, about 19 years old at the outset of the series. She planned a career in musical theater but went with her family instead.
  • Penny Robinson: (Angela Cartwright) An 11-year-old in the first season, she loves animals and classical music. She acquires a chimpanzee-like alien pet that made one sound, "Bloop". While it is sometimes remembered by that name,[2] Penny had named the creature Debbie. Most of Penny's adventures have a fairy-tale quality, underscoring her innocence.
  • Will Robinson: (Billy Mumy) A 9-year-old child prodigy in electronics. Often, he is a friend to Smith when no one else is. Will is also the member of the family closest to the Robot.
  • Dr. Zachary Smith: (Jonathan Harris) A Doctor of interstellar environmental psychology,[3] expert in Cybernetics and an enemy agent, roles that are rarely mentioned after the initial episodes. In the pilot episode, he is shown in uniform with colonel's eagles but is almost invariably addressed by his academic, as opposed to military, rank. His attempt to sabotage the mission strands him aboard the Jupiter 2 and results in its becoming lost. By the end of the first season the character becomes permanently established as a foolish, self-serving, impulsive, scheming coward but not at the degree displayed in the latter two seasons. His maudlin ways and clever dialogue add a unique dimension. His best lines are in response to the "straight man" Robot.
Despite Harris being credited as a "Special Guest Star" for every episode, Smith is the pivotal character of the series.[4] Harris was the last actor cast, with the others having been in the pilot episode. He was informed that he would "have to be in last position" in the credits. Harris voiced discomfort at this, and suggested appearing in the last position as "Special Guest Star". After having "screamed and howled", Allen agreed.[5] The show's writers expected that Smith would be a temporary villain that would only appear in early episodes. Harris hoped to stay on the show but found his character very boring; encouraged by Allen, the actor "began rewriting his lines and redefining his character" by playing Smith in an attention-getting, flamboyant style. Mumy recalls how, after he had learned his own lines, Harris would ask to rehearse with him using his own dialogue.[4][5]
  • The Robot: The Robot is a Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot, which had no given name. Although a machine endowed with superhuman strength and futuristic weaponry, he often displayed human characteristics such as laughter, sadness, and mockery as well as singing and playing the guitar. The Robot was performed by Bob May in a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series' narrator. The Robot was designed by Robert Kinoshita, whose other cybernetic claim to fame is as the designer of Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot. Robby appears in LIS #20 "War of the Robots", and the first episode of season three; "Condemned of Space".

Episodes

Technology and equipment

General Utility Non-theorizing Environmental Control Robot, Model B9 (Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, Seattle)

The crew had a variety of methods of transportation. First, their primary vehicle for space travel was the two-deck, nuclear powered Jupiter 2 flying saucer spacecraft. (In the original pilot, the ship was named "Gemini 12", and consisted of a single deck.) On the lower level were the "atomic motors" (which use "deutronium" for fuel), living quarters, galley, laboratory, and the robot's compartment. On the upper level were the guidance control system and suspended animation "freezing tubes" necessary for non-relativistic interstellar travel. The two levels were connected by an electronic elevator and a fixed ladder. The Jupiter 2 explicitly had artificial gravity.

Second, the "Pod" – a small spacecraft first shown in the third and final season and modeled on the Apollo Lunar Module — was used to travel from its bay in the Jupiter 2 to destinations either on land or in space. The Pod apparently had artificial gravity too.

Third, the "Chariot" was an amphibious tracked vehicle the crew used when they were on a planet. Since most body panels were clear — including the roof and its dome-shaped "gun hatch" — the Chariot had retractable mylar curtains for privacy. Both a roof rack for luggage and roof mounted solar batteries were accessible by exterior fixed ladders on either side of the vehicle. The roof also had a swivel-mounted, interior controllable spot light near each front corner. The Chariot had six bucket seats (three rows of two seats) for passengers. The interior featured a seismograph, a scanner with infrared capability, a radio transceiver, a public address system, and a rifle rack that held four laser rifles vertically against the inside of the left rear body panel.

Fourth and last, the then exciting new invention called a jet pack was used occasionally by Prof. Robinson or Major West.

One of the most vital pieces of equipment was their environmental control robot B-9. The Robot ran air and soil tests, was extremely strong, able to discharge strong electrostatic charges from his claws, could detect threats with his scanner, produce a defensive smoke screen, produce exact duplicates of small objects like a pair of gloves, and could even detect faint smells (in "One of Our Dogs is Missing"). He could both understand speech as well as speak. In episode 8 ("Invaders From The Fifth Dimension") the Robot claims the ability to read human minds by translating emitted thought waves back into words.

For self-defense, the crew of the Jupiter 2 (including Will Robinson on occasion against his parents' wishes) had an arsenal of laser guns at their disposal, both long guns and handguns, which they openly carried. The crew employed a force field around the Jupiter 2 for protection while on alien planets.

For communication, the crew used small transceivers to communicate with each other when away from the ship. On one occasion, Will improvised several rockoons in an attempt to send an interstellar "message in a bottle" distress signal.

The Jupiter 2 had advanced technology that simplified or did away with mundane tasks. The "auto-matic laundry" took seconds to clean, fold, and package clothes in plastic bags. Similarly the "dishwasher" would clean, wash, and dry dishes in just seconds. The ship had no light bulbs. Maureen said the lights were "transistorized", perhaps meaning they were electroluminescent or built from arrays of light emitting diodes. "Protein pills" (a complete nutritional emergency substitute for whole foods) were featured in "The Hungry Sea" (air date: Oct 13, 1965) and "The Space Trader" (air date: March 9, 1966). In this, Lost in Space was ahead of NASA and Pillsbury, which later developed "Space Food Sticks".[6] Silver reflective space blankets, a then new invention developed by NASA in 1964, were used in "The Hungry Sea" (air date: Oct 13, 1965) and "Attack of the Monster Plants" (air date: Dec 15, 1965). The crew's spacesuits were made with mylar and had Velcro fasteners, both of which were first used in NASA spacesuits in the early 1960s.

On the other hand, sound and voice recording was less advanced, for example, using reel-to-reel tape recorders, and Prof. Robinson often put pen to paper to write journal entries in early episodes.

Series history

Allen produced a series pilot, "No Place to Hide." After CBS accepted the series the characters Smith and the Robot were added. The ship was redesigned with a second deck, and named the Jupiter 2. (It had been the Gemini 12.) For budget considerations, a good part of the pilot episode was reworked into the early series episodes. CBS was also offered Star Trek at around the same time, but it was turned down in favor of Lost In Space.

The Lost in Space TV series was originally named Space Family Robinson. Allen was apparently unaware of the Gold Key comic of the same name and similar theme. His series was, as was the comic, a space version of "Swiss Family Robinson" hence the title similarity. Gold Key Comics had the opportunity to sue Allen's production company and the 20th Century Fox studio for copyright infringement but as Allen was expected to win the rights to other Gold Key licenses and had already produced their Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series, a deal was arranged. Not only was the name changed to Lost in Space but two extra characters, Doctor Zachary Smith, and the Robot, were added to ensure a greater difference between the comic and series.

The first season emphasized adventure. It chronicled the daily adventures that a pioneer family might well experience if marooned on an alien world. These included dealing with dangerous native plants and animals, and off-world visitors. In the first season, only the special effects shots were filmed in color, in anticipation of reusing shots in color seasons.

The second season aired in the same time slot as ABC's Batman. To compete, Lost in Space imitated its campy style, using "bright outfits, over-the-top action, outrageous bad guys".[4] There was a growing emphasis on Smith, Will, and the Robot at the expense of the other characters. Smith's change in character was not appreciated by the other actors. According to Billy Mumy, Mark Goddard and Guy Williams disliked the shift from serious science fiction.[7]

The third season had more adventure, but episodes like "The Great Vegetable Rebellion"—with actor Stanley Adams as Tybo, the talking carrot—still demonstrated humorous fantasy. (Called "the most insipid and bizarre episode in television history", Kristen recalls that Goddard complained that "seven years of Stanislavski" method acting had led to his talking to a carrot.)[4] Other episodes were whimsical and emphasized humor, including fanciful space cowboys, space hippies, pirates, and a beauty pageant.

During the first two seasons, episodes concluded in a "live action freeze" anticipating the following week, with the cliff-hanger, "To be continued Next Week! Same Time- Same Channel!" There was little ongoing plot continuity between episodes, except in larger goals; for example, to get enough fuel to leave the planet. For the third season, the episode would conclude, and then a "teaser" for viewers to "Stay tuned for scenes from next week's exciting adventure!" would show highlights from the next episode just before the closing credits began.

After cancellation, the show was successful in reruns and in syndication for many years, most recently on FX, Sci-Fi Channel, and ALN.

Stylistically, the series was of high quality, featuring what was expected for space travel at the time; eye-catching silver, tapered space-suits, laser guns and spectacular props and sets.

Ratings and popularity

Although it retains a following, the science-fiction community often points to Lost in Space as an example of early television's perceived poor record at producing science-fiction.[8] The series' deliberate fantasy elements, a trademark of Irwin Allen productions, were perhaps overlooked as it drew comparisons it to its supposed rival, Star Trek. However, Lost In Space was a mild ratings success, unlike Star Trek, which received very poor ratings during its original network TV run. The more "cerebral" Star Trek never averaged higher than 52nd in the ratings during its three seasons,[9][10] while Lost in Space finished season one with a rating of 32nd, season two in 35th place, and the third and final season in 33rd place.

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenbery insisted that the two shows could not be compared. He was more of a philosopher, while understanding that Irwin Allen was a storyteller. When asked about Lost in Space, Roddenberry acknowledged: "That show accomplishes what it sets out to do. Star Trek is not the same thing".

While Lost in Space was still reasonably successful, the show was unexpectedly canceled in 1968 after 83 episodes. The final primetime episode to be broadcast across the USA was a cast and crew favorite, a repeat from the second season, "A Visit to Hades," on September 11, 1968.

Lost In Space is remembered, at least, from oft-repeated lines of the Robot, such as "Warning! Warning!", "That does not compute" and "Danger, Will Robinson!". Smith's frequent put-downs of the Robot are also still popular ("You bubble-headed booby!") as are his trademark lines: "Oh, the pain... the pain!" and "Never fear, Smith is here!". One of Jonathan Harris's last roles was providing the voice of the illusionist praying mantis "Manny" in Disney's "A Bug's Life", where Harris used "Oh, the pain... the pain!" near the end of the film.

Lost In Space was the favorite show of John F. Kennedy, Jr. while growing up in the 1960s.[11]

Cancellation

Although CBS programming executives failed to offer any reasons as to why Lost in Space was cancelled, there are five suggested reasons offered by series executives, critics and fans, any one of which could be considered sufficient justification for cancellation given the state of the broadcast network television industry at the time:

Budget too high

The show had sufficient ratings to support a fourth season, but it was expensive. The budget per episode for Season One was $130,980, and for Season Three, $164,788. In that time, the actors' salaries increased; in the case of Harris, Kristen and Cartwright, their salaries nearly doubled. Part of the cost problems may have been the actors themselves: director Richardson saying of Williams' demanding closeups of himself:

"This costs a fortune in time, it's a lot of lighting and a lot of trouble and Irwin succumbed to it. It got to be that bad."[12]

The interior of the Jupiter II was the most expensive TV set for its time, about $350,000.[13] (More than the set of the U.S.S. Enterprise a couple of years later.)

Budget was cut

According to Mumy and other sources, the show was initially picked up for a fourth season, but with a cut budget. Reportedly, 20th Century Fox was still recovering from the legendary budget overruns of Cleopatra, and thus slashed budgets across the board in its film and TV productions.[14] Allen claimed the series could not continue with a reduced budget. While negotiating during a conference regarding the series direction for the fourth season with CBS chief executive Bill Paley, Allen stormed out of the meeting when told that the budget was being cut 15% from Season Three, his action thereby sealing the show's cancellation.[15]

Show disliked by an executive

Robert Hamner, one of the show's writers, states (in Starlog, #220, November 1995) that Paley despised the show so much that the budget dispute was used as an excuse to terminate the series. Years later, Paley stated this was incorrect and that he was a fan of "the Robot."

Declining ratings and escalating costs

The Lost in Space Forever DVD cites declining ratings and escalating costs as the reasons for cancellation.[16]

Diminishing interest among cast and crew

A contributing factor, at least, was that June Lockhart and director Don Richardson were no longer excited about the show. Lockhart said in response to being told about cancellation by Perry Lafferty, the head of CBS programming, "I think that's for the best at this point" (although she goes on to say that she would have stayed if there had been a fourth season); Lockhart immediately joined the cast of CBS' Petticoat Junction upon Lost in Space's cancellation. Richardson had been tipped off that the show was likely to be cancelled, was looking for another series, and had decided not to return to Lost in Space, even if it continued.

Harris and Bob May (the man inside the Robot) had started as friends to begin with – but by the time the series ended, it got to the point where Harris would not let May into his dressing room.[17]

It was also no secret that Guy Williams had grown embittered with his role on the show, as it became increasingly "campy" in Seasons 2 and 3 while centering squarely on the antics of Harris' Dr. Smith character. Whether Williams would have returned for a fourth season or not wasn't revealed, but he never acted again after the series, choosing instead to retire to Argentina.[18]

Music

Album cover of Lost in Space Original Television Soundtrack, Volume 1 CD, with music by John Williams (ASIN B000001P1R).

The theme music for the opening and closing credits was written by John Williams,the composer behind the Star Wars theme music who was listed in the credits as "Johnny Williams."

The original pilot and much of season one reused Bernard Herrmann's eerie score from the 1951 classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

For season three, the opening theme was revised (again by Williams) to a more exciting and faster tempo score, accompanied by live action shots of the cast, featuring a pumped-up countdown from seven to one to launch each week's episode. Seasons 1 and 2 had animated figures "life-roped" together drifting "hopelessly lost in space" and set to a dizzy and comical score.

Much of the incidental music in the series was written by Williams (who scored four episodes) and other notable film and television composers including Alexander Courage (composer of the Star Trek theme) who contributed six scores to the series. His most recognizable ("Wild Adventure") included his key theme for "Lorelei" composed for organ, woodwinds, and harp – thus cementing this highly recognizable theme with Williams' own "Chariot" and main theme for the series.

A series of soundtrack CDs were released containing only background and incidental music from the original TV series.

Legal questions

In 1962 Gold Key comics (formerly Dell Comics), a division of Western Publishing Company, began publishing a series of comic books under the title, Space Family Robinson. The story was largely inspired by The Swiss Family Robinson but with a space-age twist. The movie and television rights to the comic book were then purchased by noted television writer Hilda Bohem (The Cisco Kid), who created a treatment under the title, Space Family 3000.

In July 1964, science fiction writer and filmmaker Ib Melchior began pitching a treatment for a feature film, also under the title Space Family Robinson. There is debate as to whether or not Allen was aware of the Melchior treatment. It is also unknown whether Allen was aware of the comic book or the Hilda Bohem treatment.

As copyright law only protects the actual expression of a work, and not titles, general ideas or concepts, in 1964 Allen moved forward with his own take on Space Family Robinson, with characters and situations notably different from either the Bohem or the Melchior treatments (It is interesting to note that none of these versions contained the characters of Smith or the Robot, but then neither did the original Allen pilot).

Intended as a follow up to his first successful television venture, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Allen quickly sold his concept for a television series to CBS. Concerned about confusion with the Gold Key comic book, CBS requested that Allen come up with a new title. Nevertheless, Hilda Bohem filed a claim against Allen and CBS Television shortly before the series premiered in 1965.

A compromise was struck as part of a legal settlement. In addition to an undisclosed sum of money, Western Publishing would be allowed to change the name of its comic book to Lost in Space.

There were no other legal challenges to the title until 1995, when New Line Cinema announced their intention to turn Lost in Space into a big budget motion picture. New Line had purchased the screen rights from Prelude Pictures (which had acquired the screen rights from the Irwin Allen Estate in 1993). At that time, Melchior contacted Prelude Pictures and insisted that Lost in Space was directly based upon his 1964 treatment. Melchior was aided in his efforts by Ed Shifres, a fan who had written a book entitled Space Family Robinson: The True Story. (Later reprinted with the title, Lost in Space: The True Story). The book attempts to show how Allen allegedly plagiarized Melchior's concept, with two outlines presented side-by-side.

To satisfy Melchior, Prelude Pictures hired the 78-year-old filmmaker as a consultant on their feature film adaptation. This accommodation was made without the knowledge or consent of the Irwin Allen Estate or Space Productions, the original copyright holder of Lost in Space. Melchior's contract with Prelude also guaranteed him 2% of the producer's gross receipts, a provision that was later the subject of a suit between Melchior and Mark Koch of Prelude Pictures. Although an Appellate Court ruled partly[19] in Melchior's favor, on November 17, 2004, the Supreme Court of California[20] denied a petition by Melchior to further review the case.

It is significant that no further claim was made and that Space Productions now contends that Allen was the sole creator of the TV series Lost in Space.

Guest stars

During its three season run, many actors made guest appearances, including familiar actors and/or actors who went on to become well-known. Among those appearing in Lost In Space episodes: Joe E. Tata, Alan Hewitt, Warren Oates, Don Matheson, Kurt Russell, Ford Rainey, Wally Cox, Norman Levitt, Tommy Farrell, Mercedes McCambridge, Lyle Waggoner, Albert Salmi, Royal Dano, Strother Martin, Michael J. Pollard, Byron Morrow, Arte Johnson, Fritz Feld, John Carradine, Al Lewis, Hans Conried, Dennis Patrick, Michael Rennie among many others. Future Hill Street Blues stars, Daniel J. Travanti (billed as "Danny Travanty") and Michael Conrad, made guest appearances on separate episodes. While Mark Goddard was playing Maj. West, he had a guest-appearance as well. Jonathan Harris, although a permanent cast member, was listed in the opening credits as "Special Guest Star" of every episode of Lost in Space.

Syndication

Despite the fact that it never reached the magic number of 100 episodes desired for daily stripping in syndication, Lost in Space was nonetheless picked up for such syndication in most major U.S. markets. By 1969, the show was declared to be the #1 syndicated program (or close to it) in markets such as Houston, Milwaukee, Miami and even New York City, where it was said that the only competition to Lost in Space was I Love Lucy.[21] But the program didn't have the staying power throughout the 1970s of its supposed rival, Star Trek. By 1975, many markets began removing Lost in Space from daily schedules or moving it to less desirable time slots. But the series experienced a revival when Ted Turner acquired it for his growing TBS "superstation" in 1979. Viewer response was highly positive, and it became a TBS mainstay for the next five years.[22]

Spin-offs

Comics

Bill Mumy scripted an authorized Lost in Space comic book for Innovation Comics. The company continued the series for some time, at one point focusing on a time many years after the end of series, the children having long ago grown up. The theme of an adult Will Robinson was also explored in the film and in the song "Ballad of Will Robinson" -- written and recorded by Mumy.

Prior to the appearance of the TV series, a comic book named Space Family Robinson was published by Gold Key Comics, written by Gaylord Du Bois and illustrated by Dan Spiegle. (Du Bois did not create the series, but he became the sole writer of the series once he began chronicling the Robinsons' adventures with Peril on Planet Four in issue #8, and he had already written the Captain Venture second feature beginning with Situation Survival in issue #6). Due to a deal worked out with Gold Key, the title of the comic later incorporated the "Lost in Space" sub-title. The comic book is not a spinoff of the TV series but was in print prior to the conception of the show, with different characters and a unique H-shaped spacecraft rather than one of Jupiter II's saucer shape.

Also, there is an unlicensed comic in which Will Robinson meets up with Friday the 13th character Jason Voorhees.

In 1998, a TV special called "Lost In Space Forever" featured Mumy as a grown-up Will and Harris as Smith. Though most of this special is a documentary about the show, the last 5 minutes is a reunion with Smith, Will and the Robot. This final segment brings the series to a close with the three realizing they are "Lost In Space ... Forever!"

Cartoon

In the 1972–73 television season, ABC produced The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, a weekly collection of 60-minute animated movies, pilots and specials from various production companies, such as Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and Rankin-Bass – Hanna-Barbera Productions contributed animated work based on such TV series as Gidget, Yogi Bear, Tabitha, Oliver Twist, Nanny and the Professor, The Banana Splits, and Lost in Space. Dr. Smith (voiced by Jonathan Harris) was the only character from the original program to appear in the special, along with the Robot (who was named Robon and employed in flight control rather than a support activity). The spacecraft was launched vertically by rocket, and Smith was a passenger rather than a saboteur. The pilot for the animated Lost in Space series was not picked up as a series, and only this episode was produced.

Feature film

In 1998, New Line Cinema produced a Lost in Space feature film. It included numerous nods, homages and cameos related to the series, including:

  • Dick Tufeld as The Robot's voice;
  • Mark Goddard played the General who gives Major West his orders for the mission.
  • June Lockhart played the principal of Will Robinson's school.
  • Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen appeared as reporters.
  • A CG animated alien primate character, in homage to the original Debbie "the Bloop" space-ape pet;
  • The film's Jupiter II was launched into orbit by a vehicle called the Jupiter I, which closely mimics the series' spacecraft, complete with rotating propulsion lights.
  • Reference is made to the Chariot and Space Pod, both of which are reported wrecked.

Additional cameo appearances from the original series were considered, but did not make it to the film: Harris was offered a cameo appearance (as the Global Sedition businessman who hires, then betrays, Smith). He turned down the role (which eventually went to Edward Fox), and is even reported to have said "I play Smith or I don't play." Harris appeared on an episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien mentioning that he was offered a role: "Yes, they offered me a part in the new movie—six lines!"

It has been suggested that Bill Mumy was offered a key role in the film, that of an aged Will Robinson who appears in the "Spider Smith" sequences, but due to a scheduling conflict, Jared Harris was cast instead.[citation needed]

However, in the Special Features on the DVD, the producer comments that Mumy was only briefly considered, then the idea discarded because viewers would say "There's Bill Mumy" and not see the "Will Robinson" character. As Mumy's primary adult role had been as Lennier on the popular Babylon 5 TV series (which was still running at the time), this would have indeed been a consideration.

Novel

In 1967, a novel based on the series with significant changes to the personalities of the characters, and a redesign of the Jupiter 2 was published by Pyramid Books. Written by Dave Van Arnam and Ron Archer (as Ted White), the book was three short stories woven together. In one scene, where a character is randomly speaking English to provide data for translation, the book correctly predicted Richard Nixon winning the presidency after Lyndon Johnson (but also predicted a Kennedy winning after Nixon).

Second TV series

The cast of the unaired 2003 pilot.

In late 2003, a new TV series, with a somewhat changed format, was in development in the U.S. It originally was intended to be closer to the original pilot with no Smith, but including a robot. The pilot (entitled, The Robinsons: Lost in Space) was commissioned by The WB Television Network. It was directed by John Woo and produced by Synthesis Entertainment, Irwin Allen Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Regency Television.

The Jupiter 2 interstellar flying-saucer spacecraft of the original series was changed to a non-saucer planet-landing craft, deployed from a larger inter-stellar mothership.

The pilot featured the characters of John and Maureen, but an elder son, David, was added, as well as Judy, an 'infant' Penny, and ten-year-old Will. There was no Dr. Smith character, but the character of Don West was described as a "dangerous, lone wolf type."

The cast included Brad Johnson as John Robinson, Jayne Brook as Maureen Robinson, Adrianne Palicki as Judy Robinson, Ryan Malgarini as Will Robinson and Mike Erwin as Don West.

It was not among the network's series pick-ups confirmed later that year.

The producers of the new Battlestar Galactica show bought the show's sets. They were redesigned the next year and used for scenes on the Battlestar Pegasus.

DVD releases

20th Century Fox has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1. Several of the releases contain bonus features including interviews, episodic promos, video stills and the original un-aired pilot episode.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
Season 1 30 January 13, 2004
Season 2 Volume 1 16 September 14, 2004
Season 2 Volume 2 14 November 30, 2004
Season 3 Volume 1 15 March 1, 2005
Season 3 Volume 2 9 July 19, 2005

Title in other languages

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Perdidos no Espaço
  • Croatian: Izgubljeni u svemiru
  • Finnish: Matkalla avaruuteen
  • French: Perdus dans l'espace
  • Israel: אבודים בחלל
  • Japanese: 宇宙家族ロビンソン (Uchuu Kazoku Robinson = Space Family Robinson)
  • Korean: 우주가족 로빈슨 (Uju Gajok Robinseun = Space Family Robinson)
  • Polish: Zagubieni w kosmosie
  • Romanian: Pierduţi în spaţiu
  • Spanish: Perdidos en el espacio

References

  1. ^ Gold Key "Space Family Robinson" December 1962
  2. ^ The Dumbing Down of America – the Bloop
  3. ^ So mentioned in the third season episode, "The Kidnapped of Space"
  4. ^ a b c d "Science Fiction". Pioneers of Television, 18 January 2011.
  5. ^ a b Jonathon Harris interview (Lost In Space). YouTube video clip. See 1:45 to 3:27 for his description of the billing and the character. Further description regarding the character also follows this section of the video clip. Accessed 28 October 2011
  6. ^ Space Food Sticks
  7. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, Lost in Space Forever, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  8. ^ "Science Fiction Programming" at the Museum of Broadcast Communications online [1]
  9. ^ Gowran, Clay. “Nielsen Ratings Are Dim on New Shows.” Chicago Tribune. 11 Oct. 1966: B10.
  10. ^ Gould, Jack. “How Does Your Favorite Rate? Maybe Higher Than You Think.” New York Times. 16 Oct. 1966: 129.
  11. ^ Source: Starlog magazine
  12. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, "Lost in Space Forever," p. 279, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  13. ^ "Lost in Space" (1965) at IMDB.com
  14. ^ Lost in Space at tv.pop-cult.com
  15. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, Lost in Space Forever, p. 280, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  16. ^ Lost in Space Forever, DVD, Twentieth Century Fox, 1998.
  17. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, Lost in Space Forever, p. 279, p. 281, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  18. ^ "12 Fun Facts about Lost in Space at www.neatorama.com
  19. ^ Microsoft Word – B153239.DOC
  20. ^ http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/minutes/documents/SNOV1704.DOC
  21. ^ "A Brief History of Lost in Space Fandom at lisfanpress.com.[2]
  22. ^ "History of TV's Lost in Space" [3]

External links


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  • Lost in Space (disambiguation) — Lost in Space can refer to: * Lost in Space , a TV series that ran on CBS from 1965 to 1968. ** Lost in Space (film), a 1998 film based on the TV series. ** Lost in Space (comic), a 1991 comic book series scripted by Bill Mumy. * Lost in Space… …   Wikipedia