Lost in Space

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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
Gerard Ervin
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 Characters)
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
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 83 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Irwin Allen
Cinematography Frank G. Carson
Gene Polito
Winton Hoch
Running time 1 hour
Production company(s) Irwin Allen Productions
Van Bernard Productions
Jodi Productions
20th Century-Fox Television
CBS
Distributor Fox Television Studios
Release
Original channel CBS
Picture format black and white (1965-1966)
color (1966-1968)
Audio format mono
Original release September 15, 1965 – March 6, 1968
Chronology
Related shows Lost in Space (film)

Lost in Space is an American science fiction television 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 first television season was filmed in black and white, with the second and third seasons filmed in color. In 1972 a pilot for a cartoon version was made. Two documentaries were released in the 1990s. In 1998, a Lost in Space movie, based on the television series, was released. In 2003 a pilot for a new live action reboot of the series was produced and in late 2014 plans for the development of a brand new series was announced.

In the unaired original pilot, the ship, named Gemini 12 in this early version without Smith or the Robot, was going slow enough that the crew wondered if they were on Mars, while in the first aired episode, just seconds of hyper-drive caused them to be lost, unknown light-years from Earth. The possible distance and location varied between episodes and authors. As an example, Penny asks Will if they could be on Mars in one of the early episodes. The ability of the Jupiter 2 to quickly cover vast distances allowed the ship to pass through an entire galaxy overnight in one later episode although this was more likely the writers confusion between what solar systems and galaxies actually were. There were two versions of the pilot, a complete version with the credits at the very beginning and a 2nd shorter version minus John and Don's initial encounter with "One-Eye the Cyclops" and with the credits appearing between Alpha Control's statement that the Gemini 12 was hopelessly Lost in Space and the crash landing sequence.

Though the original television series concept centered on the Robinson family, many later story lines focused primarily on Dr. Zachary Smith, played by Jonathan Harris. Smith, along with the Robot, was absent from the pilot as the addition of their characters were decided once the series had been commissioned for production. Originally written as an utterly evil but careless saboteur, Smith gradually becomes the troublesome, self-centered, incompetent foil who provides the comic relief for the show and causes most of the episodic conflict and misadventures.[1] In the unaired pilot, what causes the group to become lost in space is a chance encounter with a meteor storm, but in the first aired episode, it is Smith's sabotage and unplanned presence on the ship that sets the ship off course into the meteor field. Smith is thus the key to the story.

Production[edit]

In 1962 the first appearance of a space-faring Robinson family was in a comic book published by Gold Key Comics. The Space Family Robinson who were scientists aboard Earth's "Space Station One" became Lost in Space in the comic's second issue due to being swept away in a cosmic storm. These Robinsons were: scientist father Craig, scientist mother June, early teens Tim (son) and Tam (daughter), along with pets Clancy (dog) and Yakker (parrot). Space Station One also boasted two spacemobiles for ship to planet travel.

The television show came three years later, and during its run, CBS and 20th Century Fox reached an agreement with Gold Key Comics that allowed the usage of the name 'Robinson' for the show while the TV show may have propelled subsequent sales of the comic in return.

After that, the television series, which was an adaptation of the Johann David Wyss novel The Swiss Family Robinson, went ahead with stories separate from the comic book series.

The astronaut family of Dr. John Robinson, accompanied by an Air Force pilot and 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.

The official launch date of the Jupiter 2 is confused by the fact that the opening scene was lifted directly from the pilot edit along with the caption "October 16, 1997". However this was an error on the editor's part as the series updated script had in fact revised the launch date to October 20, 1997. This was shown by 2 references in the 2nd episode "The Derelict" 24 hours after launch, in both a summary of the mission status by the news anchorman reporting from Alpha Control and again in John Robinson's log entry in deep space, clearly stating the date was now October 21.

The Jupiter mission is immediately sabotaged by Dr. Zachary Smith — an apparent agent for a foreign government — 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. The ship is saved but consequent damage caused by Smith's sabotage of the robot leaves them lost in space. In the third episode the Jupiter 2 crash lands on an alien world, later named by the Robinsons as Priplanis, where they spend the rest of the season and had to survive a host of adventures. Smith, whom Allen allegedly had originally intended to write out, remains through the series as a source of comedic cowardice and villainy, exploiting the forgiving nature of the Robinsons. Smith was liked by the trusting Will Robinson, but he was disliked by both the Robot and the equally-suspicious Major Don West.

At the start of the second season the repaired Jupiter 2 launches into space once more to escape the destruction of Priplanis following a series of cataclysmic earthquakes, but in the fourth episode the Robinsons crash land again on another planet to become ground-locked for another season. 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 as evidenced by the now extreme silliness of Dr Smith amidst a plethora of unlikely aliens visiting the planet who were often of a whimsical fantasy oriented nature. One of these colorful visitors even turned out to be Smith's own cousin out to do him out of a family inheritance with the assistance of a hostile gambling machine. Enough said! There was a new theme tune by Warren Barker recorded for season two but it was decided to keep the original most likely because it was too whimsical in nature. The fact it was recorded after season two began suggests it was an aborted attempt to adapt to the now fantasy orientated direction the series has suddenly taken.

In the third season, a format change designed to bring the series back to its adventuresome roots allowed the Robinson Family to travel to more planets. The Jupiter 2 was able to now freely travel to other worlds in an attempt to return to Earth or to settle on their originally-desired planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. An apparently newly built 'Space Pod', that mysteriously appeared as though it was always there, allowed both a means of transportation between the ship and planets as well as a plot device to launch various escapades. This season had a dramatically-different opening credits sequence and a new theme song, which, like the original, was composed by John Williams as part of the show's intended new direction.

Following the format of Allen's first television series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, unlikely fantasy-oriented adventure stories were dreamt up with little emphasis on any kind of serious science fiction. The show still delivered a spectacular visual assault of special effects, explosions, monstrous aliens, spaceships, and during seasons two and three, exotic sets and costumes drenched in the bright, primary colors that were typical of early color television.

Props for the show were regularly recycled between Irwin's series as a matter of budgetary convention and it was fun to anticipate which would end up where next and as what. A sea monster outfit would do its tour of duty on Voyage, get a spray job for its Lost in Space appearance and so-on back and forth in this manner. The clear round plastic pen / pencil holder used as a control surface in 'The Derelict' turned up regularly throughout the shows entire run. The foreboding derelict ship from season 1 was redressed to become the "Vera Castle" in season 3 which was itself reused in several episodes and flipped upside down for one of them. The Fuel Barge from Season 2 became a Space Lighthouse in season 3 in a direct lift of footage from the earlier story. The derelict ship was itself used again in season 3 after being color tinted and the same for the alien pursuer's ship in the "Sky Pirate" used again for "Deadliest of the Species". Meanwhile Hapgood's ship lifting off in episode 6 was shown for almost every subsequent ship launch no matter what shape the ship was on the ground. Perhaps the most striking alien ship used in the show was the stunning "Huge Eye in Tree Bark" ship that the "Invaders from the 5th Dimension" used to get around the cosmos in while on their "Humanoid Brain Quest" missions. This prop was never used again, a move which undoubtedly afforded that episode its outstanding eerie uniqueness amongst the other stories.

Plot[edit]

In October 1997, 32 years into the future from the perspective of viewers in 1965, the United States is about to launch 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 – updated from 98 years in the pilot episode – to a planet orbiting the nearby star Alpha Centauri. The pilot episode had referred to the planet itself as Alpha Centauri, which space probes reveal possesses ideal conditions for human life. The Robinson family, allegedly selected from among two million volunteers for this mission, consisted of Professor John Robinson, played by Guy Williams, his wife, Maureen, played by June Lockhart, their children, Judy (Marta Kristen), Penny (Angela Cartwright), and Will (Billy Mumy). They are accompanied by their pilot, U.S. Space Corps Major Donald West (Mark Goddard), who is trained to fly the ship when the time comes for the eventual landing. Initially the Robinsons and West will be in freezing tubes for the voyage with the tubes set to open when the spacecraft approached its destination. Unless there was a problem with the ship's navigation or guidance system during the voyage, West was only to take the controls during the final approach to and landing on the destination planet while the Robinsons were to strap themselves into contour couches on the lower deck for the landing.

Other nations are racing to colonize space, and they would stop at nothing, not even sabotage, to thwart the United States effort. It turns out that Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), Alpha Control's doctor, and later supposedly a psychologist and environmental control expert, is moonlighting as a foreign secret agent for one of those competing nations. After killing a guard who catches him onboard after hours, Smith 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, however, unintentionally traps himself 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 Smith-programmed rampage causing the ship to prematurely engage its hyperdrive, causes the expedition to become hopelessly lost in the infinite depths of outer space.

The Robinsons are often placed in danger by Smith, whose self-centered actions and laziness endanger the family on many occasions. After the first half of the first season Smith's role assumes a less evil overtone although he continues to display many character defects. In "The Time Merchant" Smith shows he actually does care about the Robinsons after he travels back in time to the day of the Jupiter 2 launch with the hope of changing his fate by not boarding the ship and allowing the Robinsons start their mission as originally planned. However, once he learns that without his weight altering the ship's course the Jupiter 2 would be destroyed by an uncharted asteroid, he sacrifices his chance to stay on his beloved Earth by electing to re-board the ship, thus saving the lives of those he really does care about and continuing his position amongst them as a reluctant stowaway.

The fate of the Robinsons, Don West and Dr Smith is never resolved as the series unexpected cancellation leaves the Jupiter 2 and her crew literally on the junk-pile at the end of season three.

Characters[edit]

  • 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 and in the second season episode "The Astral Traveler."
  • 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 of the Robinsons. She is about 19 years old at the outset of the series. In the unaired pilot, she is described as having given up a promising career in musical theater to go with her family instead.
  • Penny Robinson (Angela Cartwright): The middle child. A 13-year-old in the first season, she loves animals and classical music. Early in the series, she acquires a chimpanzee-like alien pet with pointy ears that made one sound, "Bloop". While it is sometimes remembered by that name,[2] Penny named the creature "Debbie." Most of Penny's adventures have a fairy-tale quality, underscoring her innocence. She is described in the pilot, "No Place To Hide", as having an IQ of 147 and an interest in zoology.
  • Will Robinson (Billy Mumy): The youngest child. A precocious 9-year-old in the first season, he is a child prodigy in electronics and computer technology. 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): Acting as Alpha Control's flight surgeon in the first episode, he is later referred to as a Doctor of Intergalactic 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 a colonel's rank and eagles insignia, but is almost invariably addressed by his medical, rather than his military, rank. His attempt to sabotage the mission strands him aboard the Jupiter 2 and results in it becoming lost. By the end of the first season, the character becomes permanently established as a bungling, self-serving, greedy and manipulative coward. These character traits are magnified in subsequent seasons. His haughty bearing and ever-present alliterative repartee were staples of the character. While he and Major West repeatedly clashed over his goldbricking or because of some villainy he had perpetrated, the Robot was usually the preferred victim of his barbed and acerbic wit.
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 who would only appear in early episodes. Harris, on the other hand, hoped to stay on the show, but he 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. "He truly, truly single-handledly created the character of Dr. Zachary Smith that we know," said Mumy. "This man we love-to-hate, a snivelling coward who would cower behind the little boy, 'Oh, the pain! Save me, William!' That's all him!" [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 a 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, who was also the designer of the iconic Robby the Robot for Forbidden Planet.[6] Robby appears in LIS #20 "War of the Robots", and the first episode of season three; "Condemned of Space".

Episodes[edit]

Technology and equipment[edit]

"Jupiter 2" redirects here. For the second discovered satellite of Jupiter with this codename, see Europa (moon).

Transportation[edit]

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 un-aired 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 (featuring Murphy beds), 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 both an electric elevator and a fixed ladder. The Jupiter 2 explicitly had artificial gravity. Entrances / exits to the ship were via the main air-lock, via the landing struts and, according to one season 2 episode, a back door. The spacecraft was also intended to serve as home to the Robinsons once it landed on the destination planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. In one third season tale the power core of the Jupiter 2 is shown as absolutely enormous however this may have been due to the plot of the episode involving the travelers fears being amplified in order to supply nourishment for an alien fear-vampire entity that caused the crew to both lose touch with reality and be propelled into fantasy locations that they perceived of as real at the time.

Second, used only in episode 3, a rocket belt allowed its user to descend to a planet from the orbiting spaceship and, presumably, back again to the ship.

Third, "The Chariot", was an all-terrain, amphibious tracked vehicle the crew used for ground transport when they were on a planet. As stated in episode 3 the chariot existed in a dis-assembled state during flight to be re-assembled once on the ground. The Chariot was actually an operational cannibalized version of the Thiokol Snowcat Spryte,[7] with a Ford 170-cubic-inch (3 L) inline-6, 101 horsepower engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission including reverse. Test footage filmed of the Chariot for the first season of the series can be seen here on YouTube.[8]

Most of the Chariot's body panels were clear - including the roof and its dome-shaped "gun hatch". Both a roof rack for luggage and roof mounted "solar batteries" were accessible by exterior fixed ladders on either side of the vehicle. It had dual headlights and dual auxiliary area lights beneath the front and rear bumpers. The roof also had swivel-mounted, interior controllable spotlights located near each front corner with a small parabolic antenna mounted between them. The Chariot had six bucket seats (three rows of two seats) for passengers. The interior featured retractable metallised fabric curtains for privacy, a seismograph, a scanner with infrared capability, a radio transceiver, a public address system and a rifle rack that held four laser rifles vertically near the inside of the left rear corner body panel ("Island in the Sky").

Fourth, the then new and exciting invention called a jet pack (specifically, a Bell Rocket Belt) was used occasionally by Prof. Robinson or Major West.

Fifth, the "Space Pod" was a small mini-spacecraft first shown in the third and final season and modeled on the Apollo Lunar Module . The Pod was used to travel from its bay in the Jupiter 2 to destinations either on land or in space and apparently also had artificial gravity and an auto-return mechanism.

Weapons and defense[edit]

For self-defense, the crew of the Jupiter 2 — including Will on occasion — had an arsenal of laser guns at their disposal, both rifles carried with slings and pistols carried openly in holsters. (The first season's personal issue laser gun was a film prop modified from a toy semi-automatic pistol made by Remco.[9]) Prof. Robinson used a type of hand grenade against a monster in "The Keeper" (part 2).

Major West had a large, fixed bladed "hunting knife" carried in a belt sheath ("The Magic Mirror" cliffhanger, "The Challenge"), Dr. Smith carried a folding pocket knife ("There Were Giants in the Earth"), and Will carried a Swiss Army knife ("The Raft", "Follow the Leader").

In one season 3 episode the Robinsons were able to assemble a blaster which "was the most powerful concentration of lasers we could get together" in order to protect themselves from one alien attack.

An electrified "Ground Grid", which was apparently one of the components of the Jupiter 2's propulsion system that was being repaired at the time and not specifically a weapon, also proved useful in vaporizing both cyborgs and evil space robots.

The crew also employed a force field around the Jupiter 2 for protection while on alien planets. The force shield generator was able to protect the campsite but in one season 3 episode was able to shield the entire planet. This, however, was most likely due to the writers not being equally versed with the limitations of the show's various phlebotinum.

Communication[edit]

For communication, the crew used small transceivers to communicate with each other, the Chariot, and the ship. In "The Raft," Will improvised several miniature rockoons in an attempt to send an interstellar "message in a bottle" distress signal. In season 2 a set of relay stations was built to further extend communications while planet-bound.

Other Technology[edit]

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 and could produce a defensive smoke screen. In a few season 2 episodes the Robot even had the ability to produce exact duplicates of small objects like a pair of gloves, anticipating Star Trek TNG's replicators. This, however, may have been supplied by Sesmar, a visiting scientist who was shown to have a wrist mounted replicator, when he gave the group useful gifts in "the Dream Monster". The Robot could even detect faint smells (in "One of Our Dogs is Missing") and 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 which may also have accounted for his uncanny ability to sense alien presences much like the Deanna Troi character was able to do in the later Star Trek TNG series.

The Jupiter 2 had advanced technology that simplified or did away with mundane tasks. The "auto-matic laundry" took seconds to clean, iron, fold, and package clothes in clear 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, light emitting diodes, OLED panels or another solid-state electrical lighting technology. The crew used Dynalite lantern flashlights with 6 D cells.

Earlier episodes had a strikingly designed water conversion unit while the Robinson women had "Jetsons Technology" at their disposal in order to dial up creative hairdos to impress their men.

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 aluminum-coated fabric, like NASA's Mercury spacesuits, and had Velcro fasteners which NASA first used during the Apollo program (1961-1972).[10]

Various other spaced age gizmos made their appearance as scripts demanded, such as the weather station, suggesting the Jupiter Two utilized "Time Lord Technology" as to be able to store all these items, such as the wheelchair that an aged Smith required in a later season 1 tale.

While the crew normally grew a hydroponic garden on a planet as an intermediate step prior to cultivating the soil of a planet, they also had "protein pills" (a complete nutritional substitute for whole foods) in cases of emergency ("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 the nutrient dense Space Food Sticks.[11]

On the other hand, sound and voice recording appeared 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.

Some of the depression era styled equipment, such as a bathing tub Will once used, had a steampunk look amidst the high tech appearance of the other devices.

Series history[edit]

Allen produced a series pilot known as "No Place to Hide" although this title never actually appeared in it. After CBS accepted the series the characters Smith and the Robot were added. The ship, originally "Gemini 12" was redesigned with a second deck, had inner equipment and consoles slightly changed and was rechristened the Jupiter 2. 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 television 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 20th Century Fox for copyright infringement, but as Allen was expected to license the rights for comic book adaptations of his various properties as he already had with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series, they decided to not sue, but instead changed the title of the comic to Lost in Space to take advantage of the series' prominence.

The first season emphasized adventure and chronicled the daily adventures that a pioneer family might well experience if marooned on an alien world. The first half of season 1 included dealing with the planet's unusual orbit resulting in extremes of cold and heat and the Robinson party trekking around the rocky terrain and stormy inland oceans of Priplanis in the Chariot to avoid the extremes, dangerous native plants and animals, and a few reasonably plausible off-world visitors. However, midway through the first season and following the "The Keeper" 2 parter, the format changed to a "Monster / alien of the week style and the stories slipped, almost un-noticably, from straight adventure to stories based on fantasy and fairy tales, with Will even awakening a sleeping princess with a kiss in a latter season entry. Excepting special effect shots (which were reused in later seasons) the first season was filmed in black and white, while the second and third seasons were filmed in color.

Beginning in January 1966, ABC scheduled Batman in the same time period. To compete, Lost in Space Season 2 allegedly imitated Batman's campy style in order to capitalize on that show's success. Bright outfits, over-the-top action, outrageous bad guys like Space Cowboys, Pirates, Knights, Vikings, Wooden Dragons, Amazon Feministas and even Bespectacled Beagles came to the fore in the most outlandish stories in television history. The Robinsons were cloned by one colorful critter in a interestingly plodding story and even attacked by a civilization of "Little Mechanical Men" resembling their Robot who wanted him for their leader in another far-out tale. All this possibly made viewers wonder whether the writers were now utilizing psycheledic substances for inspiration.[4] To make matters worse stories giving all characters focus were sacrificed in favor of a growing emphasis on Smith, Will, and the Robot and Smith's change in character was also not appreciated by the other actors. According to Billy Mumy, Mark Goddard and Guy Williams disliked the shift from serious science fiction.[12]

The third season had more adventure with the Jupiter II now functional and hopping from planet to planet but the episodes still became whimsical and emphasized humor, including fanciful space hippies, more pirates, off-beat inter-galactic zoos, ice princesses and yes, Lost in Space's very own beauty pageant.

One of the very last episodes "The Great Vegetable Rebellion"—with actor Stanley Adams as Tybo, the talking carrot, took the show out of its high orbit directly into another universe altogether. (Called "the most insipid and bizarre episode in television history", Kristen recalls that Goddard complained that "seven years of Stanislavski" method acting had culminated in his talking to a carrot.)[4] Tybo's attempt to assimilate the Robinsons into the "Vegetable Collective" could be seen to foreshadow Star Trek TNG's infamous "Borg" aliens. A writer Irwin had employed to script a planned crossover between 'Lost in Space' and 'Land of the Giants' noted that Irwin seemed scared of the vegetable story as it got pushed further and further to the back of the schedule as the filming of season 3 progressed. The episode's writer, Peter Packer, who was one of the most prolific writers for Lost in Space and had penned some of the series best episodes, had apologized to Harris for the script stating he hadn't another idea in his head. During filming Guy Williams and June Lockhart were written out of the next two episodes, at full pay, for laughing so much during the production. Astute viewers will notice the smirks as the actors, notably Mark Goddard, tried to contain themselves during the filming of the story. It's possibly no wonder the show ended up on the Junk Planet a few episodes later. Interestingly an earlier draft had a much more sensible storyline and an attempt to film a Llama in the episode was obviously made as Jonathan Harris once stated in an interview that he was unable to work with it because of its spitting. This seems verified by the listing of "Willoughby the llama" in the credits so Irwin may have actually attempted to introduce his new series 4 regular here (see below). Incredibly, 'The Great Vegetable Rebellion' appears to have directly inspired the "Rules of Luton" episode of Space 1999's year 2. Ironically, in 1977, TV Guide listed "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" no #76 out of the 100 Best Episodes of All Time, outranking "City on the Edge of Forever" from Star Trek.

The planned Season 4 may have kept up the fantasy trip as it intended to introduce a telepathic purple alien llama called Willoughby (see above) as a new character which apparently was to speak with an educated British accent, going by a script that was written for season 4 called "Malice in Wonderspace".

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!" For the third season, the episode would conclude, immediately followed with a vocal "teaser" from the Robot (Dick Tufeld) warning viewers to "Stay tuned for scenes from next week's exciting adventure!" which would highlight the next episode, followed by the closing credits.

There was little ongoing plot continuity between episodes except in larger goals, for example, to get enough fuel to leave the planet. However there were some arcs in the show that allowed a small amount of continuity... occasionally. The first half of the first season had an overall arc sense as the Robinsons slowly got used to Smith and the robot began his journey to being a thinking aware character.

There were only 4 true sets of arc stories

  • The initial 5 episode "Mini-series"
  • The Keeper 2 parter.
  • The Blast off into Space / Wild adventure duo.
  • The Ghost Planet / Forbidden World duo.

Additionally there were two arcs of "Linked" stories.

  • 'My Friend Mr Nobody', 'Invaders from the 5th Dimension' and 'The Oasis' all directly linked together in narrative flow.
  • 'Attack of the Monster Plants' and 'Return From Outer Space' were linked through Smiths comments in the latter about John having revenge on him for his actions in the former.

There were also sequels to some episodes ('Return from Outer Space' following events in 'The Sky is falling") and recurring characters such as Space Pirate Tucker, the android Verda, Green Dimension girl Athena, Farnum B (all with 2 episodes each) and Zumdish (3 episodes) throughout the show's run.

In an odd moment of referential continuity 'Two Weeks in Space' re-used the "Space Music" angle first shown in 'Kidnapped in Space' while the "Celestial Department Store Ordering Machine" appeared in two episodes.

After cancellation, the show was successful in reruns and in syndication for many years, most recently on FX, Sci-Fi Channel, and ALN. It is currently available on Hulu streaming video, and is seen Saturday nights on Me-TV.

There are fan clubs in honor of the series and cast all around the world and many Facebook group pages connecting fans of the show to each other and the show's stars.

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, awards (nominations) and popularity[edit]

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.[13] The series' deliberate fantasy elements, a trademark of Irwin Allen productions, were perhaps overlooked as it drew comparisons 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 television run. The more cerebral Star Trek never averaged higher than 52nd in the ratings during its three seasons,[14][15] 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.

Lost in Space also ranked third as one of the top five favorite new shows for the 1965-1966 season in a viewer TVQ poll (the others were The Big Valley, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie and F Troop).

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 cancelled in 1968 after 83 episodes. The final prime-time episode to be broadcast over CBS was a cast and crew favorite, a repeat from the second season, "A Visit to Hades", on September 11, 1968.

Lost in Space received a 1966 Emmy award nomination for "Cinematography-Special photographic effects" but did not win, and again in 1968 for "Achievement in visual arts & makeup" but did not win. In 2005 LIS was nominated for a Saturn Award "Best DVD Retro Television Release", but did not win. In 2008 TVLand nominated and awarded the series for "Awesomest Robot."

Lost in Space is remembered, at least, from oft-repeated lines of the Robot, such as "Warning! Warning!" and "That does not compute". The line "Danger, Will Robinson!" became the catch-phrase for the 1998 Movie yet was only ever used once in the show. Smith's frequent put-downs of the Robot are also still popular and Jonathan Harris was always proud to talk about how he used to lay in bed at night dreaming them up for use on the show. "You Bubble-headed Booby!" "Cackling Cacaphony" "Tin Plated Traitor" "Blithering Blatherskyte" "Traitorous Transistorized Toad" are but a few alongside 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.[16] and it has been said that some astronauts were inspired to the heavens in real life by the show.

Cancellation[edit]

In early 1968, while the final third season episode "Junkyard in Space" was in production, the cast and crew were informally made to believe the series would return for a fourth season. Allen had ordered new scripts for the coming season. A few weeks later, however, CBS announced the television series they were renewing for the 1968-69 season, and Lost in Space was not included. Although CBS programming executives failed to offer any reasons why Lost in Space was cancelled, there are at least 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. As there was no official final episode, the exploring pioneers never made it to Alpha Centauri nor found their way back to Earth.

Budget too high[edit]

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."[17]

The interior of the Jupiter II was the most expensive set for a television show at the time, about $350,000.[18] (More than the set of the U.S.S. Enterprise a couple of years later.)[citation needed]

Budget was cut[edit]

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 television productions.[19] Allen claimed the series could not continue with a reduced budget. During a negotiating 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.[20]

Show disliked by an executive[edit]

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[edit]

The Lost in Space Forever DVD cites declining ratings and escalating costs as the reasons for cancellation.[21] Even Irwin Allen admitted that the Season 3 ratings showed an increasing percentage of children among the total viewers, meaning a drop in the "quality audience" that advertisers preferred.[22]

Diminishing interest among cast and crew[edit]

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.

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.[23]

Music[edit]

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

The open and closing theme music 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 classic sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

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 that Bill Mumy once described in a magazine interview as "sounding like a circuit board".

Much of the incidental music in the series was written by Williams who scored his four TV episodes with the movie soundtrack quality that not only helped him gain credibility and a boost towards his later success but also gave Lost in Space its distinctive musical style that is instantly recognizable by all of the shows fans. 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. The dramatic music of the show served the serious drama episodes well while highlighting the whimsy of later episodes when the deadly serious tunes were used to underscore comical and laughable fantasy threats.

Lost In Space Vol. 1[edit]

GNP Crescendo released the first album in 1997 as part of The Fantasy Worlds Of Irwin Allen, featuring music from "The Reluctant Stowaway" (tracks 2-5), "Island In The Sky" (tracks 6 and 7) and "The Hungry Sea" (tracks 8-10).

All music composed by John Williams.

  1. Lost In Space Main Title (:56)
  2. Smith's Evening/Judo Chop/On The Pad/Countdown (8:54)
  3. Escape Velocity/Robot Control/Meteor Storm/Defrosting (7:58)
  4. The Weightless Waltz (2:30)
  5. The Monster Rebels/A Walk In Space/Finale (7:49)
  6. Suiting Up/Stranglehold/The Landing/Search For John (12:20)
  7. Tractor Play-on/Electric Sagebrush/Will Is Threatened (2:30)
  8. The Earthquake (2:44)
  9. Chariot Titles/Fahrenheit A Go-Go/The Chariot Continues/Sunstorm (3:41)
  10. Morning After/The Inland Sea/Land Ho/Strange Visitor (7:54)
  11. Lost In Space End Title (:50)

Lost In Space Vol. 2[edit]

GNP Crescendo released the second album in 1997 as part of the abovementioned set, featuring music from "Wild Adventure" (tracks 2-4), "The Haunted Lighthouse" (tracks 5 and 6) and "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" (tracks 7 and 8).

Tracks in bold contain themes composed by John Williams.

  1. Lost In Space Main Title: Season 3 - John Williams (1:03)
  2. Million Miles/Dust Ball/Episode Titles - Alexander Courage (2:36)
  3. Pushy Fellow - Alexander Courage (2:40)
  4. Flying "A" Statin/Floating Lady/The Big Whew/Irwin Van Belt - Alexander Courage (8:48)
  5. Opening Scene/J-5/Take-Off/F-12/Colonel Fogey/Penny And J-5/A Zaybo For Smith/Turkey Dinner/Act-Out on J-5 - Joseph Mullendore (10:30)
  6. J-5 Listens to Penny/J-5 to the Rescue/Last Scene - Joseph Mullendore (4:22)
  7. A Plant Planet - Alexander Courage (2:39)
  8. Episode Titles/Howling Hyacinths/The Vegetable/Sprouting Smith/Vic's Smithy/Judy's Goat/The Dry Boys/Caught by a Carrot - Alexander Courage (11:43)
  9. Lost In Space End Title: Season 3 - John Williams (:51)

Lost In Space Vol. 3[edit]

GNP Crescendo released the third album in 2000, featuring music from "The Derelict" by Richard LaSalle, Herman Stein and Hans J. Salter (tracks 1 and 3-11) and "My Friend Mr. Nobody" by John Williams (tracks 12-17).

Single-asterisked cues by Richard LaSalle. **by Herman Stein. ***by Hans J. Salter.

Tracks in bold contain themes composed by John Williams.

  1. Rescued From Space*/The Comet Cometh** (8:36)
  2. Lost In Space Main Title: Season 1 - John Williams (:58)
  3. Derelict Title**/Don Rescues John and Maureen* (5:30)
  4. The Road Performs* (1:19)
  5. Writing In The Log*/Family** (1:58)
  6. The Treatment*/Swallowed** (4:18)
  7. Flashing Lights***/Frontal Robotomy*** (:39)
  8. Filmy Spider Web***/Crystalline Power Source*** (3:30)
  9. Smart Kid***/Bubble Monster* (5:30)
  10. Lift Off*** (4:21)
  11. New Planet*/Continued Next Week** (01:34)
  12. Wonderland Discovery (2:58)
  13. Hairstyle Book/Penny's Friend/Diamonds/Penny/Diamond Play Off (4:13)
  14. Penny's Cave/To The Cave/Gathering Wild Flowers/Moving Rocks (5:44)
  15. Mother & Daughter/Penny's Problem (5:54)
  16. Storm Coming Up/A New Galaxy (3:57)
  17. Lost In Space End Credits: Season 1 - John Williams (:53)
  18. Lost In Space Unused 2nd Season Main Title - Warren Barker (:48)

Lost In Space 40th Anniversary Edition[edit]

In 2005 La-La Land Records released a two-disc set covering many of the series' composers. Cues in bold are previously unreleased.

Disc 1: "The Reluctant Stowaway" (tracks 2-7), "Island In The Sky" (tracks 8-15), "The Hungry Sea" (tracks 16-19) and "My Friend Mr. Nobody" (tracks 20-21); all music by John Williams. Although all four episodes were represented on the previous albums, not all of the music is replicated here.

  1. Lost In Space Season 1 Main Title (:53)
  2. Smith’s Entrance (2:45)
  3. Final Countdown (4:33)
  4. Escape Velocity/Meteor Storm (5:41)
  5. Weightless Waltz (3:37)
  6. Monster Rebels (3:40)
  7. Walk In Space/To Be Continued (7:35)
  8. Strange Planet/John’s Descent (1:30)
  9. Helmet It (1:19)
  10. Strangle Hold/Landing (6:24)
  11. Lil’ Will And The Robot (1:29)
  12. Search For John (4:13)
  13. Monkey’s Doo (4:52)
  14. Operation Rescue (1:16)
  15. Personal Chauffeur/Electric Sagebrush/Will Is Threatened (2:34)
  16. Earthquake (2:45)
  17. Temperature Rising/Boring Company/Don’s Rays (4:08)
  18. Warming Rays/Sun Storm (3:00)
  19. Land Ho/Kid’s Play-Off (2:36)
  20. Wonderland Discovery/Penny’s Problem/Gathering Wild Flowers (9:33)
  21. New Galaxy (2:26)
  22. Lost In Space Season 1 End Title (:50)

Disc 2

  1. “CBS Presents This Special Program In Color” (:08)
  2. Lost In Space Season 3 Main Title - John Williams (1:02)
  3. "The Derelict": Derelict Title (Herman Stein)/Frontal Robotomy (Hans J. Salter)/Family (Herman Stein)(2:00)
  4. "There Were Giants In The Earth": Microscope/Pod Almighty - Herman Stein (1:49)
  5. "Welcome Stranger": Stranger/Friend Or Foe/Permission/Spore Sprayer/The Robinsons/Upper-Ration/Hapgood/Star Charts (Frank Comstock)/Tall Tail/Blast Off (Frank Comstock) - Herman Stein except where indicated (17:33)
  6. Lost In Space Season 3 Bumper - John Williams (:05)
  7. "Blast Off Into Space": The Family/Quake/Mine Entrance/Galaxies Wins/Spilled Cosmonium/It’s Alive/Cosmonium Fiend/One Last Check/Family/Blast Off/Thruster Control Short/Thruster Control Continued/Freeze Frame - Leith Stevens (15:58)
  8. "The Curse Of Cousin Smith": Mississippi Shuffle - Robert Drasnin (1:28)
  9. "The Curse Of Cousin Smith": Little Joe’s Yes - Robert Drasnin (1:22)
  10. "Girl From The Green Dimension": Mulberry Bush/What A Knight - Alexander Courage (4:26)
  11. "Cave Of The Wizards": Mummy’s Boy/Draconian Anthem/King Queen - Alexander Courage (5:16)
  12. "Collision Of Planets": The Aliens/Sampson March/1st Blast - Gerald Fried (3:27)
  13. "The Promised Planet": Space-A-Delic - Pete Rugolo (3:50)
  14. Senior - from "The Sky Pirate" (Leigh Harline)/Introduction - from "Ghost In Space" (Leigh Harline)/The Search - from "The Sky Pirate" (Lionel Newman) (3:58)
  15. "The Sky Pirate": A Nice Little Bank/Investigation (Cyril Mockridge) (2:52)
  16. "Space Circus": Terror Stinger/Another World/Ominous Signs/Awful Monster/Silly Monster - Fred Steiner (8:02)
  17. "Forbidden World": Space Walk - Robert Drasnin (:39)
  18. Lost In Space Season 2 Main Title (unused) - Warren Barker (:58)
  19. Lost In Space Season 3 End Title - John Williams (1:09)

La La Land Records 50th anniversary 10 CD soundtrack release upcoming[edit]

Date of Release unconfirmed, most likely timed to coincide with the Blu-ray set

While the actual content is at yet undisclosed, in following with La-La land Records recent full set of Star Trek TOS soundtracks, this is likely to be a full set of all extant Lost In Space soundtrack material

It was claimed that several cues from "The Reluctant Stowaway" by John Williams were lost or damaged and thus couldn't be released but some were replaced by different takes of the original cues. Apparently previously undiscovered material for Lost in Space has been recently unearthed and it could be hoped that this may include copies of those missing cues, however, this is speculation at this time.

Aside from the soundtrack scores themselves, tracks are often recorded again, with changes, to add to a library of music recorded for generic use throughout a series as well as bumpers and stings usually comprising short versions of the main theme music.

The Episodes of Lost in Space that have original music and are likely to be included in this release are as follows.

  • 1.01 The Reluctant Stowaway [John Williams]
  • 1.02 The Derelict [Richard LaSalle, Herman Stein, Hans J Salter]
  • 1.03 Island in the Sky [John Williams]
  • 1.04 There Were Giants in the Earth [Herman Stein]
  • 1.05 The Hungry Sea [John Williams]
  • 1.06 Welcome Stranger [Herman Stein, Frank Comstock]
  • 1.07 My Friend, Mr. Nobody [John Williams]
  • 2.01 Blast Off into Space [Leith Stevens]
  • 2.02 Wild Adventure [Alexander Courage]
  • 2.04 Forbidden World [Robert Drasnin]
  • 2.05 Space Circus [Herman Stein]
  • 2.09 The Thief from Outer Space [Robert Drasnin]
  • 2.10 Curse of Cousin Smith [Robert Drasnin]
  • 2.11 West of Mars [Robert Drasnin]
  • 2.16 The Girl From the Green Dimension [Alexander Courage]
  • 2.17 The Questing Beast [Cyril Mockridge]
  • 2.22 The Cave of the Wizards [Alexander Courage]
  • 2.28 The Mechanical Men [Alexander Courage]
  • 3.02 Visit to a Hostile Planet [Cyril Mockridge]
  • 3.05 The Space Primevals [Fred Steiner]
  • 3.07 The Haunted Lighthouse [Joseph Mullendore]
  • 3.09 Collision of Planets [Gerald Fried]
  • 3.12 A Day at the Zoo [Alexander Courage]
  • 3.14 Castles in Space [Gerald Fried]
  • 3.19 The Promised Planet [Pete Rugolo]
  • 3.21 Space Beauty [Joseph Mullendore]
  • 3.23 The Great Vegetable Rebellion [Alexander Courage]
  • 3.24 Junkyard in Space [Joseph Mullendore]

Legal questions[edit]

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 (none of the three treatments contained the characters of Smith or the Robot).

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[24] in Melchior's favor, on November 17, 2004, the Supreme Court of California[25] denied a petition by Melchior to further review the case.

No further claim was made and Space Productions now contends that Allen was the sole creator of the television series Lost in Space.

Melchior died on March 14, 2015 at the age of 97.

Guest stars[edit]

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, Kevin Hagen, Alan Hewitt, Warren Oates, Don Matheson, Kurt Russell, Ford Rainey, Wally Cox, Grant Sullivan, Norman Leavitt, 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[edit]

Despite never reaching the 100 episodes desired for daily stripping in syndication, Lost in Space was picked up for 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.[26] The program didn't have the staying power throughout the 1970s of its supposed rival, Star Trek. Part of the blame was placed on the first season of Lost in Space being in black-and-white, while a majority of American households at the time had at least one color television receiver. By 1975, many markets began removing Lost in Space from daily schedules or moving it to less desirable time slots. 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]

Documentaries[edit]

In the 1990s Kevin Burns, a long time fan of Irwin Allen's works, produced two documentaries.

The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen[edit]

In 1995, Kevin produced a documentary showcasing the career of Irwin Allen. Hosted by Bill Mumy and June Lockhart, in a recreation of the Jupiter 2 exterior set and utilizing the "Celestial Department Store Ordering Machine" (from two season 2 episodes) as a temporal conduit to show information and clips on Irwin's history, clips from Irwin's various productions, and also his pilots for unproduced series, were presented along with new interviews with cast members of Irwin's shows. As a nod to Lost in Space, Bill and June complete their presentation and enter the Jupiter 2 following which Jonathan Harris appears in character as Smith, and instructs the Robot once again to destroy the ship as per his original instructions "...and this time get it right, you bubble-headed booby" which brings the retrospective to a close in traditional Lost in Space cliffhanger style.

Lost in Space Forever[edit]

In 1998, Kevin produced a television special, hosted by John Larroquette, who is a huge fan of the series, and Robot B-9 (performed by the original actor Bob May with Dick Tufeld once again providing the iconic robotian voice), which was a documentary about the show. The special was hosted within a recreation of the Jupiter 2 upper deck set. As a very special treat for the fans, the last five minutes comprises a reunion with Smith, Will and the Robot. As John mockingly presses a button on the Amulet from "the Galaxy Gift" episode, he pops out and an older Will and Smith pop in to find themselves reunited with the Robot and, once again, on board the lost Jupiter 2. Will is sure he can regain the path home but the consequence of his attempt to do so brings the series to a close, in the last ever cliffhanger scene, with the famous trio realizing they are "Lost in Space... Forever!" As Jonathan Harris passed away in 2002, Bob May in 2009 and Dick Tufeld in 2012, this final segment marks the very last time Smith, Will and the Robot ever appeared together as they did in the original series.

Spin-offs[edit]

Comics[edit]

Prior to the appearance of the television 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 featured different characters and a unique H-shaped spacecraft rather than one of a saucer shape.

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

In 1991 Bill Mumy provided "Alpha Control Guidance" for a Lost in Space revival in comic book form Lost in Space comic book for Innovation Comics which became its best title and Bill even wrote 6 of the stories. Set several years after the show the kids were now teen-agers, with Will at 16 yrs old, and the stories attempted to return the series to its straight adventure roots with one story even explaining the camp / farce episodes of the series as fanciful entries in Penny's Space Diary. Complex adult themed story concepts were introduced and even included a love triangle developing between Penny, Judy and Don. Mark Goddard wrote a "Don" story, something he never had in the original series (with the possible exception of "the Flaming Planet" which might qualify as a "Don" episode). The Jupiter 2 had various interior designs in the first year as artists were obviously not familiar with the original layout of the ship while Michal Dutkiewicz got it 'spot-on'. The first year had an arc ultimately leading the travelers to Alpha Centauri with Smith contacting his former alien masters along the way. Aeolis 14 Umbra were furious with Smith for not having succeeded in his mission to prevent the Jupiter 2, built with technology from a crashed ship of their race, from reaching the star system they had claimed as their own. The year ended with Smith caught out for his traitorous associations and imprisoned in a freezing tube for the Jupiter's final journey to the Promised Planet. Year two was to be Bill's own full season story of a complex adventure following the Robinson's arrival at their destination and capture by the Aoleans. Sadly Innovation folded in 1993 after the story was merely half way through and it wasn't until 2005 that Bill was able to present his story to Lost in Space fandom as a complete graphic novel via "Bubblehead Publishing". 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.

In 1998 Dark Horse Comics published a three part story chronicling the Robinson Clan as depicted in the Movie.

In 2006 Bill Mumy and Peter David co-wrote Star Trek: The Return of the Worthy, a 3 part story that was essentially a crossover between Lost in Space and Star Trek with the Enterprise crew encountering a Robinson like expedition amongst the stars. There were more obvious references to the Jupiter 2 Crew on the covers but these were caught out and altered by the powers that be.

Novel[edit]

In 1967, a novel based on the series, with significant changes to the personalities of the characters and the design of the ship, was published by Pyramid Books. Written by Dave Van Arnam and Ted White (as "Ron Archer"), the book interwove three short stories that, unlike the tales from the series, were heavily intellectual in nature and very well written. A scene in the book correctly predicts Richard Nixon winning the Presidency after Lyndon Johnson, but incorrectly predicted a Kennedy winning after Nixon.

Cartoon[edit]

In the 1972–1973 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 television 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. This cartoon will be included in the Blu-ray release on September 15, 2015.

Feature film[edit]

Main article: Lost in Space (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 military 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 leader 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!"

The film used a number of ideas familiar to viewers from the original show. Smith reprogramming the robot and its subsequent rampage (Reluctant Stowaway), near miss with the sun (Wild adventure), the derelict spaceship (The Derelict), discovery of the Blawp and the crash (island in the Sky) and an attempt to change history by returning to the beginning (The Time Merchant). Also a scene stealing 'Goodnight' homage to the Waltons was included. Something fans of the original always wanted to see happen was finally realized when Don gives Smith a crack at the end of the movie "That felt Good!"

Second television series[edit]

The cast of the unaired 2003 pilot.

In late 2003, a new television 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, had an additional older Robinson child called David and Penny was a mere baby. The pilot (titled, 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 still featured the characters of John and Maureen, as well as Judy, Penny, and ten-year-old Will. However the elder son, David, was added, and Penny was now an infant. 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.

In this adaptation John Robinson was a retiring war hero of an alien invasion and had decided to take his family to another colony elsewhere in space. However the ship is attacked by the aliens, David is lost amidst it all and the Robinsons, along with Don, are forced to escape in the small Jupiter 2 "Space Pod" of the mothership. The series, presumably, would have revolved around the family trying to recover David from the aliens. The one surviving performer from the original series was Dick Tufeld, once again reprising his role as voice of the robot for the 3rd time, in Lost in Space's 3rd live-action incarnation after the original pilot.

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.

Third television series version in development[edit]

On October 10, 2014, it was announced that "Legendary TV" is developing a new reboot of Lost in Space and they have hired "Dracula Unborn" screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless to pen the new epic. As of April 2015 no further word has been officially released regarding the project, however as Kevin Burns of Synthesis entertainment is involved it can definitely be considered a serious project. Fans are hoping that this time the show will be serious "hard" sci-fi in approach and that the main features, such as the overall look of the characters, the design of the Jupiter 2 and other hardware, as well as adherence to the original musical style, will remain as faithful to the original apart from relevant upgraded detailing.

DVD releases[edit]

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

2015 Upcoming Blu-Ray Release[edit]

On 15 September 2015 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT will release a 50th anniversary edition of all three seasons and many extras in Blu-ray.[27]

Produced with Space Productions, Inc. and Synthesis Entertainment, this 18-disc set contains all 83 episodes remastered in high definition, and many hours of exciting extras with recently discovered content.

- Highlights include:

  • new commentaries on classic episodes with the original cast
  • 50th Anniversary interviews and hours of archival footage
  • incredible and unprecedented access into Allen’s personal archives
  • an exclusive cast performance of Bill Mumy’s unproduced 1980 epilogue script, featuring Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen, Mark Goddard and more!

- Newly Created Special Features Include:

  • New On-Camera Original Cast Interviews Featuring Bill Mumy, Mark Goddard, Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen, Guy Williams Jr. and Toni Williams
  • Original Cast Audio Commentaries on eight episodes: “No Place to Hide,” “My Friend, Mr. Nobody,” “Attack of the Monster Plants,” “Return From Outer Space,” “The Phantom Family,” “The Anti-Matter Man,” “The Promised Planet” and “The Great Vegetable Rebellion.”
  • “Lost in Space: The Epilogue” – Special Cast Reunion Performance of Bill Mumy’s 1980 Unproduced Script with Mum, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright, Veronica Cartwright, Guy Williams Jr., Toni Williams, Kevin Burns and Robot B-9

- Plus, Archive Material:

  • “No Place to Hide” – Original Unaired Pilot (Version #1/Long Version)
  • “No Place to Hide” – Original Unaired Pilot (Version #2/Short Version)
  • Guy Williams Screen Test
  • Bob May’s Home Movies
  • “Lost in Space” 1965 CBS Advertisers and Affiliates Presentation
  • “Seven Wonderful Nights” Lost in Space Excerpt (1965/66 CBS Promo w/ Dick Van Dyke)
  • CBS Network Season One Television Spots
  • CBS Network Season Two Television Spots
  • CBS Network Preemption Bumpers w/ Jonathan Harris and the Robot (Season Two)
  • “Lost in Space” Season Two / Main Title (with alternate/unused theme music by Warren Barker)
  • “Lost in Space” Special FX Outtakes (1965–68) (w/ “Lost in Space” Rare Music Outtakes)
  • Original Dick Strout Fox Promotional Interview with June Lockhart and Guy Williams (1966)
  • Original Dick Strout Fox Promotional Interview with Jonathan Harris (1966)
  • “Lost in Space” Animated Special (1973)
  • Syndication TV Spots (1970s)
  • Syndication TV Spots (1983)
  • “Studs in Space” Promo #1 (Radio Promo for STUDS) (“Classic TV”) (1992)
  • “Studs in Space” Promo #2 (Radio Promo for STUDS) (“I’m Thinking”) (1992)
  • Never Before Released 20th Anniversary Interview with Irwin Allen (1985)
  • “The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen” (1996)
  • “Lost in Space Memories” (Program Interstitals for “The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen”) (1996)
  • “Lost in Space Forever” (1998)
  • “Lost in Space” Animated Series Pitch (2005) (by Scott O’Brien)
  • “The Ballad of William Robinson” (Music Video by Bill Mumy)
  • Jonathan Harris and Al Lewis on MANCOW (Chicago Radio Show)
  • Original CBS Network Versions of Original Episodes “The Reluctant Stowaway,” “The Derelict,” “The Magic Mirror,” “Follow the Leader,” “Blast Off Into Space,” and “Target Earth”
  • Photo Galleries including Publicity Stills, Episodic Stills, Behind-the-Scenes Stills, Vintage Merchandise, Props and Artwork

[28]

Title in other languages[edit]

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Perdidos no Espaço
  • Croatian: Izgubljeni u svemiru
  • Finnish: Matkalla avaruuteen
  • French: Perdus dans l'espace
  • German: Verschollen zwischen fremden Welten (= Lost/Missing between strange worlds)
  • Greek: Χαμένοι στο διάστημα
  • Hebrew: 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
  • Slovenian: Izgubljeni v vesolju

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frederick S. Clarke Cinefantastique - Volume 29, N o 12 -1998 Page 27 "The cast of characters In the original, unaired pilot for LOST IN SPACE (entitled "No Place to Hide") Included neither the robot nor Dr. Zachary Smith. The Robinsons load the Chariot to move to a better. "
  2. ^ Val Patterson. "The Bloop from Lost in Space". rockypatterson.com. 
  3. ^ in the third season episode, "The Kidnapped of Space"
  4. ^ a b c d "Science Fiction." Pioneers of Television, January 18, 2011.
  5. ^ a b YouTube. youtube.com. 
  6. ^ Jon Abbott (3 October 2006). Irwin Allen Television Productions, 1964-1970: A Critical History of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants. McFarland. pp. 114–. ISBN 978-0-7864-8662-5. 
  7. ^ ""The Chariot" from Lost In Space". Car Lust. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "First Season Chariot COLOR Footage". YouTube. 26 May 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "RacProps Issue 1 - Lost In Space". racprops.com. 
  10. ^ "Spinoff Frequently Asked Questions". NASA.gov. 
  11. ^ "Space Food Sticks and Astronaut Food". spacefoodsticks.com. 
  12. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, Lost in Space Forever, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  13. ^ "Science Fiction Programming" at the Museum of Broadcast Communications online [1]
  14. ^ Gowran, Clay. “Nielsen Ratings Are Dim on New Shows.” Chicago Tribune. Oct. 11, 1966: B10.
  15. ^ Gould, Jack. “How Does Your Favorite Rate? Maybe Higher Than You Think.” New York Times. Oct. 16, 1966: 129.
  16. ^ Source: Starlog magazine
  17. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, "Lost in Space Forever," p. 279, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  18. ^ "Lost in Space" (1965) at IMDB.com
  19. ^ Lost in Space at tv.pop-cult.com
  20. ^ Eisner, Joel, and Magen, Barry, Lost in Space Forever, p. 280, Windsong Publishing, Inc., 1992.
  21. ^ Lost in Space Forever, DVD, Twentieth Century Fox, 1998.
  22. ^ a b "Galaxy Beings Maveric Lions: The History of TVs Lost in Space". galaxybeingsmavericlions.blogspot.com. 
  23. ^ "12 Fun Facts about Lost in Space at www.neatorama.com
  24. ^ Microsoft Word – B153239.DOC
  25. ^ "California Courts - Home". ca.gov. 
  26. ^ "A Brief History of Lost in Space Fandom at lisfanpress.com
  27. ^ "OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FOR BLU-RAYS" at the Lost in Space 50th Anniversary Facebook page [2]
  28. ^ "WonderCon: Lost in Space - The Complete Series Blu-ray Arrives September 15 - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. 

External links[edit]