Episode 3 – Island in the Sky

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Episode 3 begins with yet more repairs under pressure to the outer hull of the Jupiter 2. Later we witness Smith playing chess with the robot during which the Michelin Man (official mascot since 1894 of the Michelin tyre company) -shaped machine quotes both Shakespeare (1564 – 16016) and Samuel Butler (1835 -1902).

Smith is accused of tampering with the para jets which causes Professor Robinson to run out of fuel and crash land on a barren planet. Don places Dr Smith in cold storage inside one of the freezing tubes (suspended animation) for his trouble. Will again imitates Smith’s voice to control the robot who is still programmed to take commands only from Dr Smith.

Revealing the full depth of his sinister, mega-bad intentions, Smith gives voice to plans to eliminate each member of the Robinson family plus Major West one by one, making each death look like an accident. At this early point in the series, besides knowing he’s working as a saboteur for a foreign goverment, we’re not exactly sure what Smith’s problem is. But we can bet its hard to pronounce.

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  • First appearance of the chariot
  • Debut of the Robinson’s winter gear – fur-lined hoodie parkers (used to admire these greatly as a kid)
  • Penny adopts her pet chimp with the huge, upright ears (known as The Bloop after the only sound it ever made) and names her ‘Debbie’
  • The jet pack gets its first work out
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That’s my wife and daughter in the far left frame. Just need to put them both front seat of an all- terrain space chariot (with over-sized tracking guidance radar thingy positioned in the centre console) and they’ve got the look down pretty much perfect. If I really put my mind to it guess I could give it a go one weekend using something suitably low-tech like a toilet roll sticking out of a cardboard box atop of the middle armrest of our Mazda CX-5?  Let’s see what the neighbours think of that one..

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DID YOU KNOW? 

The interior of the Jupiter 2 spaceship was the most expensive set for a television show at the time, costing about $350,000. This was more expensive than the set of the USS Enterprise in STAR TREK (which came a year later).

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Episode 2 – The Derelict

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This episode begins with a spacewalk by Professor John Robinson to again effect repairs on the outer hull of the spaceship. An approaching comet adds extra danger to this situation. Later in his read-aloud journal entry, we hear the head of the Robinson family  reference the “increasingly annoying extra passenger Dr Smith”. Regular viewers might no doubt be tempted to add, “Sorry, but when it comes to the good Doctor you ain’t BEGUN to know annoying yet.”

The Jupiter 2 then encounters its first (of many) alien spaceships. It  promptly gets sucked into the guts of it accompanied by evil sounding organ music and howling wind (in space?) effects. Will and Dr Smith (still on at least one occasion referred to in this episode as ‘Colonel Smith’) encounter a creature that communicates via a series of crackling electrical signals. Will is having an engrossing ‘conversation’ with it before Smith grows impatient and zaps the paper-mached thing set on wheels with a lazer gun. The Robinsons are forced to make a hasty retreat from the Planet having now earned the ire of the friends and relatives of this incensed paper-mache creature.

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Episode 2 features the first use of what is surely the must-have item for every space travelling pioneering family – a force field! Dr Smith is asked if he would like to lend a hand assembling it. He politely declines, proving for the first of what will turn out to be a great many times throughout the series he is the human equivalent of a blister – only appearing after the work is finished.

“The Derelict” also features a shortened version of what will go onto become Dr Smith’s most recited catchphrase – “Never fear. Smith is here.” On this occasion we are treated to the more concise and less memorable “Never fear.”

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LOST IN SPACE ran for 3 seasons. Although it never made it to a 4th Season it came close. 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 4th season.

Producer and show creator Irwin Allen had ordered new scripts for the coming 4th Season. A few weeks later, however,  host network CBS announced a list of television series they were renewing for the 1968–69 season, and LOST IN SPACE was not included. The show had sufficient ratings to support a 4th Season but it was expensive to make. The budget per episode for Season One was $130 980 but by Season Three had risen to $164 788.

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Wanna see what if feels like to get sucked in and then spat out from an alien space ship? No? Then definitely don’t go clickety click below –

Episode One -The Reluctant Stowaway

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“This is the beginning.

This is the day.

You are watching the unfolding of one of history’s great adventures: man’s colonization of space – beyond the stars!”

And with those resonating voice-overed words, one of the greatest TV series of the 1960’s  of all time made its glorious black and white debut. I was there to cheer it on from the beginning. Well, maybe not the beginning beginning. By the time I started watching in the mid seventies, it was already on re-run in Australia, shown at 5pm Mon to Fri. But I still count myself as one of the near-original fans of this truly wonderful, virtuoso show.

This episode sets up the initial premise as well as introducing the character’s that will propel the series forward for a total of 83 instalments across three seasons.

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The Jupiter 2 spacecraft, powered by atomic motors, is launched from Earth on October 16, 1997 on a $30 billion mission to colonize a planet lying within Alpha Centauri – the real life star system four light years away. On board are the Robinson family – consisting of Professor John Robinson, his wife Maureen, daughters Judy and Penny and son Will – as well as Major Don West. We are told via voice-over the Robinsons have been selected from over two million applicants for the mission for their “unique combination of scientific achievement, emotional stability and pioneering resourcefulness”. Prior to lift off the crew tune into a special address from the President.

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The uncredited part of The President was played by classic character actor Ford Rainey (1908 – 2005). Rainey also played Presidents in episodes of other 1960’s TV series THE TIME TUNNEL and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Ford Rainey continued to act into his nineties and had a reoccuring role in the early 2000’s on another one of my favourite television series THE KING OF QUEENS.

Trapped on board after takeoff is the Robinson’s pre-flight medical doctor Colonel Smith (later to become known as Dr Smith) who is really a double agent working for a foreign government. Smith’s intent is to sabotage the mission. His extra weight on board throws the ship off course and, not helped by a battering meteor shower, they all become ‘hopelessly lost in space’.

This episode features –

  • the ‘environmental control robot’ attempting to kill everyone on board courtesy of tampering by Smith
  • an extended sequence where all aboard experience anti-gravity for the first time
  • a hazardous space-walk by John Robinson to repair a sensor on the outer hull Capture

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  • Shiny Silver Bling Spacesuits

  • Dr Smith being addressed as ‘Colonel Smith’ (it won’t last long)

  • Smith’s gender-bending eye-shadow

  • Dr Smith’s heart symbol ringCaptureDid you know?

  • Guy Williams, who played the role of Professor John Robinson for all three seasons of LOST IN SPACE  never acted again after the series finished at the end of 1968. He chose instead to retire to Argentina.
  • Check out Guy’s original 4 minute screen test for LOST IN SPACE