Episode 19 (S2) – Mutiny in Space

This episode begins with Dr Smith being ostracized by members of the Robinson family for accidentally blowing up the family’s weather station. On a solitary walk with the robot, Smith comes upon an alien spaceship. Soon Will joins him and enters the ship where they meet a Captain Bligh-style character named Admiral Zahrk.

The spaceship blasts off with Will, Smith and the robot onboard. Admiral Zahrk promotes Will to Midshipman, the robot to Quartermaster and insists on referring to Dr Smith as “Mr Spindle Legs”. Admiral Zahrk is also for some reason all the time referring to his unseen arch enemy “Mr Kidnoh”.

Meanwhile, Don and John use a reverse magnetic beam to pull the Admiral’s spaceship back to the planet. Once the ship has landed, Will, the Robot and Smith disembark, but Admiral Zahrk blasts off immediately to continue his search for the elusive Mr. Kidnoh and the rest of his original mutinous crew.

MUTINY ON THE BUNNY was a 1950 Bugs Bunny animated short released by Warner Brothers. This brief excerpt will give you some idea of the tone and idea being aimed for in this 48th episode of LOST in SPACE.

American writer Marc Cushman remarked in Volume two of his three part biography series of IRWIN ALLEN’S LOST IN SPACE “MUTINY IN SPACE” gets this author’s “award” as the worst Lost In Space episode made.”

Despite my professed life-long love of this show, with zero tension, a paper-thin plot and minute to minute silliness, I am at pains to disagree.

Episode 18 (S2) – The Toymaker

Will and Dr Smith discover an intergalactic mail-order catalog machine. While in the process of pushing it’s many buttons they are both transported into the machine and become trapped. Inside they meet the Toymaker, an old man who assumes they are both animate toys ready to be shipped out on order.

Smith and Will try to escape but the Toymaker lets loose his wind-up monster to track them down. John and Don enter the vending machine to rescue Will and Dr Smith. When the Toymaker witnesses Will place himself in harm’s way to protect Dr Smith he realizes he has a heart and is not a toy.

John offers the Toymaker an unlimited supply of solar batteries so his toys will never run out of power if he consents to release Will and Dr Smith. The Toymaker agrees and decides to leave the confines of the machine with the Robinsons. Once outside they meet up with Zumdish, the Celestial Department Store’s manager who agrees to employ the Toymaker in his new factory.

The script for this episode was penned by husband and wife writing team Bob (1927 – 1999) and Wanda (1925 – 2007) Duncan. Together they penned a total of five scripts for LOST IN SPACE.

Episode 17 (S2) – The Questing Beast

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Will and Dr Smith meet a clumsy medieval knight named Sir Sagramonte.  He says he’s on a quest to find and destroy Gundemar, a fire-breathing dragon. He agrees to take Will on as his page and in return teach him values of chivalry, courtesy and good deeds.

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Dr Smith meanwhile is more interested in how the old knight arrived on the planet, believing him to have a spaceship. Sagramonte denys he has a craft and says he has been transported to this location in the solar system by ‘enchantment’. Smith describes the old man’s quest as ‘babbling nonsense’. Will on the other hand firmly believes in it’s virtue.

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Penny meets the dragon and discovers it is female and can speak. Gundemar starts to cry as she confides she has been pursued by the knight for 40 years, merely so he can boast of heroic deeds that have never actually taken place.

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Will becomes disillusioned with the old man, believing some of his tales of bravery and facing danger in battle may be embroided with exaggeration and untruths. When pressed by Smith, Sir Sagramonte confesses he lied to both Will and himself so that he “might win the worship of his fellows”.

In a personal epiphany, he reveals he can no longer keep up the false facade of being a brave knight when clearly he is not. Sagramonte declares his quest over, resolving to go home and “be an old man by the fire”.

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Later, he changes his mind and decides to battle the dragon in one last grasp for glory. Penny intervenes and explains the ‘lady’ dragon doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Penny adds she senses neither does Sagramonte. At Penny’s suggestion, both the dragon and the old knight teleport back to their respective planets. Personal truth with honor has been restored once more.

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The part of the ageing, over-confident knight reluctant to face the truth about himself was played by American actor Hans Conried (1917 – 1982). In addition to a substantial body of work in theatre, television and film, Conried lent his voice to a great many cartoon characters, among them Dr Seuss’s THE GRINCH.

This video compares the work of different actors who have voiced the Grinch over the years. The fourth segment is Hans Conried’s.

Episode 16 (S2) – The Girl from the Green Dimension

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During a solar gale, Will and Dr Smith spot Athena – the ‘Girl from the Green Dimension’ – while looking through a space telescope. Later she appears at the Robinson’s camp where she is again suspected of being after the Jupiter 2’s deutronium supply – just like she was in the other Season Two episode in which she featured – WILD ADVENTURE.

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Soon Athena’s brutish, green-skinned ‘boyfriend’ Urso turns up. He becomes enraged when he hears Athena repeating the phrase “Hansom, pretty Dr Smith.Smith discovers Athena has the ability to see into the future. He hopes she will share the secret of how it can be made possible with him.

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When Urso meets Will he touches him on the head. Will is immediately transformed into a green-skinned, green haired boy in the likeness of Athena and Urso. Athena describes Will as ‘beautiful’. When Will objects, pointing out that ‘beautiful’ is not a term used to describe boys, Athena replies “Me not know much word. Dr Smith teach I more plenty soon.”

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John demands Athena ‘de-green’ his son but she insists only Urso can do that. Dr Smith pleads with Urso to change Will back but his attempts fall on deaf ears. Smith is forced to challenge Urso to a duel. At the last moment Will convinces Athena to ensure Urso  spares Smith’s life. With a wave of his hand Urso also returns Will back to normal.

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The actress that played the part of Athena was Vitina Marcus. She was an acting student of Lee Strasburg (1901 – 1982), considered the father of method acting in America. After bowing out of film and television work in the early seventies, she went on to have a career as a successful real estate agent.

In an interesting alignment of the stars, seven years before this LOST IN SPACE episode was made, Vitina Marcus named her only daughter, born in 1959, Athena.

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Episode 15 (S2) – The Golden Man

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Penny and Dr Smith encounter a frog-like alien who appears unfriendly and says he wants to be left alone. The next morning, mysteriously, a gift-wrapped box is delivered to the Jupiter 2. Inside are delicacies including perfume, caviar and ham.

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While the Robinsons (John and Don are away and will be back ‘in a few days’) are wondering who has sent the present, a Golden Man arrives on their doorstep. He introduces himself as Mr Keema and says he is the gift giver.

Mr Keema advises he is on the planet to fight a war against his arch enemy – the frog-like creature Penny and Dr Smith met the day before. The Golden Man paints the frog creature – a member of a race known as Zeetans – as an evil and treacherous being who cannot be trusted nor reasoned with.

The family is charmed by the handsome Mr Keema but Penny says she doesn’t like or trust him. Maureen advises there are two sides to every story. She says the family should stay neutral until they have heard the frog creature’s viewpoint about the conflict.

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Penny visits the not so attractive frog creatures’ camp. She tells him she much prefers him to the handsome Mr Keema. Meanwhile Dr Smith strikes a deal with the Golden Man. In return for a promised safe passage back to Earth Smith delivers all the Robinson’s weapons to Mr Keema so that he may gain an advantage in his war with the Zeetan.

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Don’t bother adjusting your eyes. Those ‘mines’ really are beach balls.

In a scene deliberately staged by Mr Keema, he ‘rescues’ Judy from a minefield that he created for the purpose of gaining the Robinson’s trust. Later, in a visit to Mr Keema’s camp, the robot overhears the Golden Man pledging to kill all the Robinsons with their own weapons once he has defeated his enemy the frogman.

Smith pays one more visit to Mr Keema’s camp and has a nasty surprise. He meets the real Mr Keema – a repulsive looking creature who looks nothing like the spruce and suave Golden Man the alien assumed the form of in order to deceive and gain the trust of the Robinsons.  Dr Smith realizes he has been tricked.

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The war between the now grotesque-looking Golden Man and the Zeetan commences. Explosions and rockets fire back and forth. The frogman is severely injured. The Golden Man moves in for the kill  but Dr Smith (believe it or not) picks up a grenade lobbed at the Zeetan and throws it back at the Golden Man, killing him instantly.

In the final scene the Zeetan changes his appearance from an unsightly frog to a handsome looking man so that Penny may remember him more fondly.

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The actor who played the dashing Mr Keema was Dennis Patrick (1918 -2002). Patrick logged over 1800 guest roles on tv programs during his four decade career.  For the period of the 1960’s and 70’s it’s an easier task to list the shows he was NOT in rather than those he was.

Of note also is the fact he was television’s first vampire in a 1950 episode of Stage 13 .

Dennis Patrick died tragically in a house fire in the Hollywood Hills, California at the age of 84.

 

 

Episode 14 (S2) – The Dream Monster

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This episode begins with a voiceover –

“Last week, as you recall, we left our space family suffering in the grip of a blistering solar heat wave. All were unaware that an alien Dr Frankenstein, with his golden monster, was soon to disrupt their peaceful world.”

While out watering plants, Penny meets Sesmar and his android creation Raddion. Penny explains to the man Sesmar what feelings are. Sesmar says it would be good if he could inject some of them into his creation Raddion. He begins plotting how he can transfer some of Penny’s human emotions and nice character traits into golden automaton.

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Meanwhile on the Jupiter 2 John and Don are repairing the ship’s air-conditioning unit. Feeling irritable from the heat, Don and Dr Smith not for the first time have an argument. Dr Smith then leaves camp. While out reading on his sleeping bag, Dr Smith is captured by Sesmar’s two dwarf lab assistants and transported to his headquarters.

Describing himself as a biophysicist, Sesmar begins to ‘operate’ on Smith to remove his feelings and transfer them to his android Raddion. However he halts the procedure, realizing that Dr Smith may not be the best subject to draw character traits from. Instead Sesmar tasks Smith with the job of capturing good human qualities from members of the Robinson family with use of a camera-like ‘transporator’ device.

Smith is instructed to focus the ‘transporator’ on each member of the Robinson family without them being aware of what he is doing. He returns to the Jupiter 2 and one by one goes about ‘capturing’ the human qualities from each of the Robinsons.

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Smith returns to Sesmar with his job now completed. Sesmar inserts the ‘character transporation plates’ captured by Dr Smith into Raddion. Sesmar then convinces the family to come back with him to his lab where they will meet his life’s work.

Raddion shakes each member of the Robinson’s hand and in doing so further ‘sucks out’ their characters.  The next day back at the Jupiter 2 all the members of the family are very listless and unwilling to perform any of their regular work tasks. They are mere shells of their former selves.

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Meanwhile Raddion is acting completely childlike, skipping rope and admiring the loveliness of flowers. Sesmar realizes his mistake has been to transplant only good qualities into his creation. Understanding he will need to give Raddion cunning and aggressiveness to overcome his enemies, Sesmar then recaptures Don and Dr Smith to get those qualities for Raddion.

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Don and Smith uncharacteristically work together to trick Raddion. They remove and destroy all his transporation plates. The moment this happens the Robinsons ‘revive’ and assume their normal personalities.

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Ps.

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THE DREAM MONSTER was directed by Don Richardson (1918 – 1996).  He was a director and acting coach for more than fifty years. His directing credits extend to helming over 800 episodes of a great many tv shows.

These include 26 episodes of LOST IN SPACE (easily the most by any one individual, with Sobey Martin coming in 2nd with 14 episodes) as well as two episodes of GET SMART.

Richardson had a two-year relationship with one of his acting students, Grace Kelly which began in the Autumn of 1948, despite the disapproval of her parents.

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Episode 13 (S2) – Wreck of the Robot

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Will, Dr Smith and the robot follow a golden ball that rolls into a cave. Inside they meet a group of aliens known as Saticons. The Saticons announce they want the robot. Don and John also go to the cave. The Saticons offer great riches in exchange for the robot. Their offer is refused.

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That night while the Robinsons are sleeping, the Saticons enter the Jupiter 2. They persuade the robot to come with them. They take the robot back to their cave and dismantle him. Later, Don and John come looking for the robot. The Saticons say they are finished examining the head and they may take that part only if they wish.

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The next day the Saticons return the rest of the robot in many pieces. Don and John go about the task of putting him back together. At the same time strange occurrences begin happening to all the Robinson’s electronic gadgetry.

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A drill John is using seemingly develops a mind of its own and won’t switch off. The food storage units cease working and Dr Smith rides an exercise bike (really!) that refuses to shut off.  Penny claims to receive a mild electric shock every time she switches on a light in her room and Don suddenly has trouble operating the chariot’s ignition switch. The Jupiter 2 then loses all power and climate control systems.

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Once reconstructed, the robot reveals the Saticons plan to rule Earth by controlling all machines. Don and John go to the Saticons cave and attempt to destroy their device that can control and corrupt all machines but their lasers refuse to fire. In the end, in an act of high-stakes irony, it is left to another machine, the robot, to fell the Saticons malevolent thingamabob.

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Nathan Juran (1907 – 2002) was the director of WRECK OF THE ROBOT. He helmed a total of 13 (out of 83) episodes of LOST IN SPACE. Before entering the film industry he worked as a professional architect. He also directed 29 episodes of the tv series DANIEL BOONE and 5 episodes of the series MY FRIEND FLICKA among a host of other film and television credits.

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Episode 12 (S2) – A Visit to Hades

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Dr Smith discovers an enchanted harp. When he plucks the strings he is transported to a fiery underground cave. There he is greeted by a man in a red suit who asks him “Where in the devil do you think you are?”

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The Lucifer-like character says his name is Morbus. He shows Dr Smith a massive book that lists his name. Morbus compels him to watch a video screen that takes Smith back to his own childhood days. The young Dr Smith is shown to be a ‘snitch’, a thief, a liar and a ‘cake stealer’.

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His ‘Infernal Majesty’ asks Smith to destroy the harp. If he does this Morbus will grant him a second chance. Dr Smith agrees and promises to turn over a new leaf. Meanwhile Morbus transports himself down to the planet the Robinsons are living on. Smith realizes if he plays certain notes on the harp in a particular sequence Morbus feels pain and can be controlled.

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Morbus transports himself and Judy back to his cave. He reveals he is a prisoner there and only when the harp is destroyed will he be free. John and Don go in search of Judy. During a fight between Morbus and Don the harp is broken. Morbus’s prison doors open and he is set free to continue his mischief in regions (car-parks included) throughout the galaxy.

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Ps. The actor that played the devil character Morbus was Gerald Mohr. He died at the age of 54, less then two years after filming the LOST IN SPACE episode. He made more than 500 appearances in radio roles throughout the 1930s, ’40s, and early ’50s. Mohr also featured in many films including –

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Gerald Mohr also lent his voice to characters in these late sixties animated television series –

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Episode 11 (S2) – West of Mars

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An intergalactic gun-slinging outlaw going by the name of Zeno is pursued by a bounty hunter called the Space Enforcer. Zeno happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to Dr Smith.

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At gun point, Zeno forces Dr Smith to change clothes with him so he can avoid capture. The bounty hunter arrests Dr Smith, dressed as Zeno, instead. He takes him and Will off in his spaceship.

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The reward for Zeno’s capture is 10 000 space credits. Dr Smith offers the Space Enforcer 20 000 (money he doesn’t have) to release him but is refused. Meanwhile, back on the planet, Zeno, masquerading as Dr Smith, tries to blend in with the Robinsons. He also entertains them with a few tricks.

Eventually the real Dr Smith and Will return to the planet. No one can work out which is the real Zeno and which is the real Dr Smith. When the Enforcer arrives, Zeno escapes and hops into a spaceship, flying away. The Space Enforcer leaves to give chase.

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Jonathan Harris (1914 – 2002), the actor who played Dr Smith, considered WEST OF MARS his favourite episode due to the twin roles he played.

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Episode 10 (S2) – Curse of Cousin Smith

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A trunk attached to a parachute falls from the sky together with an intergalactic traveler. He says his name is Jeremiah Smith and reveals he is the cousin of Dr Smith. Quickly it becomes clear the two cousins have much in common including a large appetite, greediness, untrustworthiness, harboring a sizable aversion to work, possessing rat cunning and maintaining an extremely loose association with the truth – to name a handful.

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Cousin Jeremiah entertains the Robinson family with some magic tricks. One is the ‘ol ‘shells game’ – a small object is placed under one of three identical plastic cups, then the positions of the cups are shifted around in a deliberately confusing fashion. An onlooker is then invited to guess which cup the object is under.

Cousin Jeremiah arranges a computer controlled gambling machine to be delivered to the planet. His aim is to ensnare Dr Smith. Jeremiah invites his cousin to play the machine but Dr Smith says he has no money. Jeremiah assures him his credit is good.

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Dr Smith keeps losing but plays on till he has no credit left. In one final desperate wager he bets with the Robinson’s spaceship… and loses. The machine comes after him when he admits he is unable to pay his debts.

Professor Robinson steps in and offers to play the machine. He proposes that if he wins, Smith’s debt be wiped clean. The machine agrees. John produces the plastic cups and after rearranging their position invites the machine to guess which cup has the plastic ball.

The machine chooses one of the cups but the ball is not under it. ‘It’ leaves in defeat. Will and Dr Smith press John to reveal which cup the ball was under. It is strongly implied the ball was never placed under any cup.

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Ps.

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The actor who played Dr Smith’s cousin Jeremiah was Henry Jones (1912 – 1999). He appeared in more than 300 episodes of various television shows as well as 40 films, these among them –

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