Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - Lost in Space

Lost in Space is a science fiction TV series created and produced by Irwin Allen, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for 3 seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965 and March 6, 1968. The first season was shot with black and white film, the rest in color.

(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 & Bill Mumy.)

This series was like a space-age version of the Swiss Family Robinson (another favorite from my childhood) about a family heading into outer space to colonize a planet called Alpha Centauri. The reason for sending the scientific family into space is because the Earth has become overpopulated (sound familiar). The Robinson family includes:

Dr. John and Dr. Maureen Robinson (the parents) - are both scientist - he is an astrophysicist and she is a biochemist

Judy Robinson (19 yo daughter) - the only family member without a scientific background, she was interested in a musical career.

Penny Robinson (11 yo daughter) - interested in zoology

Will Robinson (9 yo son) - a child prodigy in electronics

The other members of the crew were Major Don West, the military pilot of the spaceship, Jupiter 2, and the Robot, a Model B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot.

Also aboard the Jupiter 2 was Dr. Zachary Smith, a specialist in environmental and intergalactic psychology who tried to sabotage the space mission. He ended up being trapped aboard the Jupiter 2 when it lifted off from Earth. Although the first few episodes portray Dr. Smith as the evil villain, he soon turns into the comic relief for the show.

(Photo from the pilot episode - Robinson's in the suspended animation tubes)

In early 1965, Irwin Allen produced the pilot for the series, "No Place to Hide." After CBS accepted the series, the characters Smith and the Robot were added. It is fun to go back and watch the pilot episode because it seems strange to not have Dr. Smith or the Robot in the show. The first ten minutes of the first show are almost identical to the pilot episode. Many of the later sequences of the pilot episode were reworked into a later episode, "There Were Giants in the Earth."

I don't remember watching this show when it was on in primetime, but I do have vivid memories of watching in the afternoons. Reruns were usually on at 4 or 5 each afternoon and I was a faithful watcher. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it because it was a science fiction story, or because I had such a crush on Will Robinson (Billy Mumy)! He was my first TV crush ... ah, those were the days!

Over the past year, I've watched most of the series again, thanks to DVDs and Hulu, and it is surprising how much I remember from my childhood days. This show is still campy and fun, no matter how old I get.

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