The Planet the Robinson’s are on is being rocked by a series of earthquakes. Amid this turmoil Dr Smith conducts a ceremony to unveil a statue dedicated to himself. He names the “noble monument” – ‘Spirit of Space’.
Will: “But Dr Smith, it doesn’t even look like you!”
Smith: “It is the abstract artistic concept of my inner self self”.
Will: “Now can we leave?”
While this is taking place, out of a massive crater in the background steps what looks to be a miner clutching a chipping tool. The man introduces himself as Nerim (an anagram of the word ‘miner’). He informs Will and Smith that what they thought were earthquakes was actually him “blastin”.
When Dr Smith asks what he is blasting for, Nerim mentions “cosmonium“. He describes it as being the essence of the universe and “like little bits of sun”. The two then follow the old timer down into his underground mine site. Smith discovers the cavern is filled with diamonds. Nerim sweeps them to one side with a broom and says he finds them “a darn nuisance”.
Don and John believe the planet’s core is but hours away from from the point of rupturing due to Nerim’s drilling. They make a deadline to lift off early the next morning. In preparation, Smith is given the task of driving the chariot to the other side of the planet to retrieve some drilling equipment. Along the way he sings the song “Old My Darling Clementine”.
He pays a visit to Nerim on the way and says he’d “like to be partners” with him. Nerim replies he’s been a loner most of his life and is too old now to change. He then admits to having a need for a thruster control device for his spaceship, so he too can blast off from the doomed planet. He emphasizes he’d do just about anything – including sharing his precious cosmonium – to get his hands on one.
Smith returns to the Jupiter 2 and steals the ship’s thruster control. He delivers it to Nerim. The two play a game of cards – winner takes all. The prize stakes are two bottles of cosmonium and the thruster control. The cards are not marked with hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. Instead they are named Galaxies – Planets – Satellites – and Asteroids.
Smith reveals he has a pair of Galaxies. When explaining the rules at the beginning of the game, Nerim has told him this is the highest value winning hand. Nerim however produces a Supernova card and explains this trumps everything else. The intergalactic miner takes off in his spaceship. He leaves two bottles of cosmonium behind.
Meanwhile the planet has become increasingly unstable and during one of the seismic tremors Smith’s statue topples to the ground. In the process of lifting the heavy stone monument one of the bottles of cosmonium is shattered. A chemical reaction takes place and Smith’s statue comes alive. John arrives on his jet-backpack just in time to blast the creature with his lazer.
Ps. The actor who played the part of old-time miner Nerim was Strother Martin (1919 -1980).
At 17, he won the United States National Junior Springboard Diving Championship and then served as a swimming instructor in the U.S Navy during WW2. Among a long and distinguished acting career he appeared in classic films such as A STAR IS BORN (1954) – KISS ME DEADLY (1955) – THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962) – THE WILD BUNCH (1969) – BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) and SLAPSHOT (1977).