Episode 8 (S3) – Flight into the Future

Will and Dr Smith accidentally launch the space-pod while they are inspecting the controls. They land on a planet where strange events are the norm. The first sign that all is not as it seems is when they hear the sound of rain but nothing is wet. Later a fruit that looks like a peach drops off the branch of a tree and explodes.

John and Don land the Jupiter 2 on the planet in search of Will and Smith who have by this time decided to take a nap. When they wake up they discover the robot has aged dramatically. They also come across the landed Jupiter 2 but it now resembles an abandoned wreck covered in cobwebs.

The pair then stumble upon a statue erected ‘in memory’ of the robot. At this point they come to the realization that their ‘little nap’ has lasted more than two hundred years.

Next, a woman wearing a red cape and fancy headwear who looks a lot like Judy appears. She claims she is not Judy but that Judy was her great, great, great grandmother. The robot points out that in their current environment they have reason to doubt everything.

Two astronauts (one who bears a resemblance to a middle-aged Kevin Costner) then arrive on the planet. They say they are ‘archeological historians’ and are part of a research team. One of them claims he is the great, great, great grandson of Dr Smith. He adds he believes Dr Smith has blackened the Smith family name for generations.

John concludes that everything they see, hear and touch on the planet is imaginary. He advises you are only fooled if you believe it. The strange happenings continue. Rock monsters, giant lizards and bizarre weather patterns all appear. But as soon as Don and John say they don’t believe it, the apparitions disappear.

Finally, a sentient machine on the planet is revealed as the originator of all the illusions. The machine says it creates the terrifying illusions to scare intruders away from the planet. The machine admits it cannot understand why Will and his family are still there. Finally, the robot blasts the machine and everything is restored back to normal.

Some LOST IN SPACE fans consider this episode derived it’s inspiration from a 1962 movie titled JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET, filmed five years before FLIGHT INTO THE FUTURE.

Watching the first 50 seconds of this trailer that’s not immediately clear but from what follows after, it is possible to make a connection between the two.

Episode 7 (S3) – The Haunted Lighthouse

Penny enters a cave and encounters a boy with pointed ears. He says his name is J5. The boy tells Penny he is the only person left from a now extinct colony on the planet. The Robinsons blast off from the planet taking J5 with them. During the flight a series of incidents occur indicating J5 is no ordinary boy. This includes J5 harboring an invisible kitten he calls a ‘Zaybo’.

What? You still can’t see it? Look more closely… it’s there! Well, in J5′s imagination anyway.

The Jupiter 2 is then sucked into a massive spaceship. The Robinsons are greeted by an old man who says he is a former Air Force Colonel. He runs what he tells them is a space lighthouse. The inside is cluttered full of odd things including many old newspapers. The colonel says he doesn’t get many visitors so “the place is a bit messy.

Colonel Fogey invites the Robinsons to dinner. He also promises them a store of much-needed fuel, which he calculates will power them all the way back to Earth. Colonel Fogey admits there won’t be enough fuel however to power them all the way back to J5’s home planet. J5 mentions to Dr Smith that his home planet is covered in diamonds and rubies. Smith is immediately interested.

Meanwhile evidence of J5’s ‘unusual scientific aptitude’ becomes clearer when he instantly recognizes where an electrical fault lies in complex circuitry despite John and Don having just spent hours trying to locate it themselves. It appears also J5 has the ability to make others imagine things that are not real.

In a surprise twist, which admittedly there were clues to along the way, Colonel Fogey admits he is not a real Colonel, but rather a humble cook who took over after the real Colonel “took off years ago”.

The old man admits after eleven years he still doesn’t know how to run the lighthouse ship properly. He says he has lied about everything, including the promise of fuel back to Earth. He adds he can’t stand being alone and had plans to stow-away aboard the Jupiter 2 when the Robinson’s departed.

J5 has a confession of his own. He admits he’s been so lonely all these years he’s not only taken refuge in his own imagination but used his powerful mind to make others imagine things for him. However with the light house now restored to full working order, the Robinsons prepare to leave in their own ship.

‘Colonel’ Fogey agrees to look after J5 until a repair ship arrives in three years time. The old man and J5 have finally found the companionship they both craved.

The role of the young alien boy J5 is probably my # 1 favorite individual performance from a guest starring actor across the entire series of LOST IN SPACE. Lou Wagner (now aged 72) played the role to perfection, with a unique energy coupled with an impressive range of emotions and mannerisms.

Among a wide-ranging career, he had re-occurring roles in the tv series RAISING HOPE (2010 – 2014) as Attorney Wally Phipps and as Mr Booms in the television series THE MILLERS (2013 – 2014).

Episode 6 (S3) – Space Destructors

Dr Smith and Will venture into a cave which is home to some type of factory machinery. The robot warns “Do not activate the controls. I detect danger.” Dr Smith cannot help himself however. With the push of a button he begins a conveyor belt process with many stages. For a while it looks like a lump of bread is being made but at the end out pops a fully-alive humanoid-looking creature.

When the creature acts aggressively towards Dr Smith, he explains he is it’s creator and ‘master’ but the humanoid pursues Smith in an attempt to kill him. Dr Smith runs back to the Robinson’s campsite where Don and John intercept the alien and destroy it.

The next day, Dr Smith sneaks back to the cave to see if he can create a more obedient creature. In no time he manufactures a virtual army of mindless cyborgs in his own likeness all eager to do his bidding. When Will enters the cave in search of Dr Smith he is taken prisoner by two of Smith’s newly created guards.

Smith then walks back to the Jupiter 2 accompanied by some of his cyborg servants. He informs the Robinson’s they are now under his control. As a demonstration of his powers he instructs one of his creatures to fight Professor Robinson.

When John destroys the cyborg, Smith heads back to the cave to produce more. He is able to quantify the ingredients to his own specifications when producing his manufactured soldiers. “Give me the bravery of Alexander the Great; the cunning and ingenuity of Napoleon; the leadership of Julius Caesar; the ferocity of Genghis Khan; and the strength of Hercules”.

Meanwhile Will escapes his ‘protective custody’ but somehow in the process of talking to Dr Smith gets caught on the moving conveyor belt. He passes through the cyborg-manufacturing machine. He emerges at the other end still the same height but in the likeness of Dr Smith.

John enters the cave to rescue Will. In one of the most imaginative action sequences of any Lost in Space episode, Professor Robinson uses his well-honed ‘Zorro’ fencing skills to take on, one-by-one, a never-ending array of newly created soldier cyborgs hot off the factory presses.

Those nasty Smith-lookalike cyborgs had no chance against someone who played Zorro in all 78 episodes of the original 1950’s titled Tv series.

John then instructs the robot to destroy the cave and its contents. He takes the cyborg-version of his son Will over his shoulder and forcibly removes him from the factory. Once outside Will returns to his normal self.

For his sins Dr Smith is forced to pack his bags and is evicted from the Robinson’s camp. Smith says he’ll change and begs for another chance, before finally admitting, “I’ll always be a menace. I know it.”

As a parting gesture, Smith asks the Professor to tell the others “He knows he does bad things from time to time, but he doesn’t mean it. It’s just that, well… I can’t control myself.” John agrees, saying, “Alright, I’ll tell them. But I think they already know that.”

In a final scene, as Smith walks off, he drops a water bottle from the pile of belongings he is carrying. John goes to pick it up, pausing for a moment to reflect on the harsh reality that awaits Smith trying to survive by himself on an alien planet. Professor Robinson then calls after Smith who comes running back.

John: “Alright, we’ll give it one more try.”

Smith: “You won’t be sorry.”

John: “I better not be.”

If SPACE DESTRUCTORS isn’t my favourite episode of the entire series, then it comes mighty close.

The conveyor-belt style props used to create the factory look in this episode came from a real-life bakery that had gone out of business.

Episode 5 (S3) – The Space Primevals

The Robinsons discover that the planet they are on harbors an active volcano. Don and Smith travel in the chariot to plug it with a depth charge. En-route they are captured by a caveman-like tribe who, ironically, are technologically advanced.

The tribespeople believe the volcano is their friend and must not be interfered with. They worship a computer-like machine they have named The Great Protineus. The cavemen think that Don and Smith have contaminated them with their very presence. They place them both in captive quarantine in an underground enclosure.

Don and Smith try to blast their way out but only end up entombing themselves. With dwindling oxygen supplies they believe they have very little time left. In hilarious scenes, especially for viewers who have endured the non-stop animosity between these two characters since pretty much the first episode of Season One, Dr Smith and Don pledge to put all their mutual grievances behind them and emerge as lifelong friends if they can make it out of the collapsed cave deep underground alive.

The robot and The Great Protineus then engage in a series of contests to determine who has the superior powers. When it appears the robot is able to conjure the more impressive feats, the tribes people begin worshipping him instead of The Great Protineus.

While the tribe’s attention is focused on the duel between the two machines, John rescues Smith and Don from the cave. When the volcano threatens to erupt again, John and Will cap it just in time. When the leader of the tribe witnesses the robot’s powers to be superior to those of The Great Protineus, he realizes, after observing the Robinson’s relationship to their robot, machines are designed to serve – not to be worshipped.

Character actor Arthur Batanides (1923 – 2000) played the role of chief of the tribes people, Rongah. Batanides got into acting after performing stand-up routines in front of fellow GI’s in Europe during World War II. He appeared in uncredited roles in both THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) and SPARTICUS (1960).

Later in his career he played the reoccurring role of ‘Mr Kirkland’ in four of the POLICE ACADEMY movies, including POLICE ACADEMY 6: CITY UNDER SIEGE (1989) which was his final film role.

Episode 4 (S3) – Hunter’s Moon

Professor Robinson uses the space-pod to recon down to an unknown planet before the Jupiter 2 makes an emergency landing for repairs. He encounters an alien who informs him “You are trespassing on a private killing preserve, Earthling”.

The alien says his name is Megazor and that he is the future ruler of the planet Zon. He explains he is here to undergo special tests to determine his suitability to be a ruler of his civilization. He needs one final kill of importance and he will have the required total of points to assure his ascendancy as ruler of all of Zon.

After determining that Professor Robinson has the necessary qualities to pose a challenge, Megazor decides he has found his final ‘kill of importance’. He unfurls a scroll he says are the ‘Rules of the Hunt’. These include the time limit for the hunt being 60 Earth minutes and the hunted being given a choice of weapons as well as five minutes head start.

He beckons John to a table where an array of weapons are laid out. He invites the Professor to make his choice but adds “I am required to warn you that each of these weapons may have a small defect”. Professor Robinson chooses an anti-blast Zon protective suit.

During the hunt, Megazor observes Will’s protective feelings for his father. Megazor dismisses such feelings as being mere defects. This prompts Will to remark, “There’s nothing wrong with caring. Haven’t you ever been close to someone? What about your parents? You must have felt something for them?

Megazor then reveals – “I was created by a synthesis incubator Mark 3 advanced model. I have seen your Earthly love and affection. They are useless instincts for survival.”

The hunt begins. Patiently Megazor tracks John and eventually corners him when the Professor becomes seemingly stuck in quicksand. At the last moment John frees himself and kills Megazor. Megazor’s robot offers John a chance to try for ruler of Zon himself. Professor Robinson declines however, saying he has too many what would be considered, ‘Earthly defects’.

American tv actor of the 1960’s and 70’s Vincent Beck (1924 – 1984) played the role of the ambitious Megazor. Because of his deep voice, height and overall look, Beck was often cast in the role of villains.

His feature film debut came in the improbably titled SANTA CLAUSE CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (1964). In the year before his death Beck was vice-president of the American Actor’s Equity Guild.

Episode 3 (S3) – Kidnapped in Space

The Jupiter 2 receives a radio transmission from the Zenian Galaxy. It’s a call for help asking if there is a doctor available. Dr Smith responds, using the ship’s spacepod vehicle to travel down to the planet.

Smith introduces himself to the aliens on the planet as “Dr Zachery Smith” and the robot as his male nurse. The aliens explain their leader requires brain surgery. Dr Smith explains he is not a medical doctor but rather a doctor of ‘Intergalactic Environmental Psychology”.

The aliens insist he goes ahead and operates anyway, warning that if their leader dies, Smith’s “time will also be ended”. When Dr Smith protests, saying he faints at the sight of blood, he is ordered simply to “Scrub up”.

The Robinsons land the Jupiter 2 on the planet in order to retrieve Smith. They are immediately attacked and captured. When told that Dr Smith is about to operate on their leader, Don remarks – “Smith couldn’t cut an overgrown toe-nail let alone operate on anyone”.

When Smith is shown the patient he must operate on, it turns out it is a machine. The aliens claim it is not a machine but “the greatest brain in the Universe”. When the time comes, Smith runs away, saying “I can’t do it”. He is placed in the same prison cell as Don, John, Will and the robot.

It soon comes to light that the robot has the skill and knowledge to proceed with the operation on the alien’s leader. He refuses to operate however, claiming he knows the machine’s brain will be used by the aliens for evil.

The aliens force the robot’s hand by threatening the life of Will. The robot reluctantly agrees to operate. Before he does he receives a pledge from the evil brain that it will ‘mend its ways if repaired’.

Prior to the operation, Smith tampers with a device the aliens use to control time. He is reverted back to being 9 years old again. Following the successful operation, the newly restored mechanical leader of the aliens uses it’s power to restore Dr Smith back to his old self.

Actor Grant Sullivan (1924 – 2011) played the role of the head alien, identified only by the number on his silver uniform, #764. Sullivan was a meteorologist in the United States Navy during WW2. He appeared on Broadway in AUNTIE MAME in 1956 before moving to television roles.

Grant Sullivan’s big break came when he was cast in the starring role as investigator Brett Clark in the television series PONY EXPRESS (35 episodes/ 1959 – 1960). For the role he trained to ride horses. Sullivan left acting in the early 1970s and worked in real estate until retirement.

Episode 2 (S3) – Visit to a Hostile Planet

The Jupiter 2 enters a space time warp and is transported back to Earth. To their surprise the Robinson’s discover however, it is Earth from an earlier time period – 1947 to be exact. They have travelled back in time 50 years!

The locals they meet back on Earth regard them suspiciously. They are treated as alien invaders and referred to as ‘Voltones’. Professor Robinson gives a deadline to liftoff from the planet. Dr Smith cannot bring himself to leave Earth – even if it is Earth from an earlier time. He believes “one world in the hand is worth two in the bush”.

Smith sheds his silver spacesuit and dresses in a fireman’s uniform he finds in a shed. So he can blend in with the locals he poses as the local firechief, saying he is from the nearby township of ‘Chickasaw Falls’.

Just as the Robinsons are about to leave in their spaceship (without Dr Smith), a vigilante party headed by Dr Smith posing as the firechief threatens to destroy the Jupiter 2 with a canon if they do not surrender.

Will bargains with Dr Smith and says he will stay with him – so he has some company in this 1947 version of Earth – if he allows the rest of his family to leave. At the last moment Don and John seize back their lasers which have been taken by the vigilante group and head back into the safety of their ship.

Before leaving John addresses the assembled locals, telling them – “Let’s just say that we came here and when we found out we didn’t belong, we left.” Just prior to the fold-down stairs of the Jupiter 2 being pulled up prior to take-off, Dr Smith throws off his firechief hat and coat and scrambles aboard.

In this episode the Robinsons return to their home planet, but in the Earth year 1947. By no coincidence the term ‘flying saucer’ was popularly coined in this same year.

In June 1947, U.S pilot Kenneth Arnold (1915 – 1984) created a media sensation after reporting a remarkable ‘UFO’ experience over Mount Rainer in Washington State. Word spread, and his account, to use a modern-day expression, went viral.

This led to the formation of Project Sign (also known as Project Saucer) at the end of 1947, the first public Air Force UFO study. The term “flying saucer” quickly became ingrained in the English vernacular. A U.S. Gallup poll from August 1947 found that 90% of respondents were familiar with the term ‘flying saucers’.

Episode 1 (S3) – Condemned of Space

The Robinsons hurriedly lift off in the Jupiter 2 after having become aware a huge comet is hurtling towards the planet. Once in space they find themselves pulled magnetically into the interior of another spaceship.

Don and John board the vessel. They discover they are now inside a fully automated prison colony. The warden is a computer and all the prisoners aboard have been frozen. When they don’t return, Smith, Will and the robot go in search of them.

Don is mistaken for a prisoner by a robot guard and frozen. Dr Smith accidentally unfreezes a prisoner known as Mr Phanzig who in turn unfreezes other prisoners. Together they stage a mass break-out.

Meanwhile John discovers that the clock that measures the time of each alien felon’s sentence stopped working two hundred years ago. John repairs the clock and the computer announces the men have all served their sentences and are now free.

The role of lead prisoner Mr Phanzig was played by German-born character actor Marcel Hillaire (1908 -1988). For a time he was a real-life prisoner in Nazi Germany when it was revealed he came from Jewish heritage.

He went on to have a successful career in American films and television including featuring as a film director in Woody Allen’s second movie TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969).

Episode 30 (S2) – The Galaxy Gift

An alien named ‘Mr Arcon’ shows up suffering ill health. He is being pursued by beings called ‘Saticons’ who are after an amulet he wears on his belt. The Robinsons harbour Mr Arcon in the Jupiter 2. Arcon gives the amulet-belt to Penny and then leaves, so as not to bring more danger to the Robinsons.

Believing Arcon is still inside the Robinsons ship, the Saticons reduce the outside air temperature to below freezing in a bid to force the family to surrender him. Dr Smith travels to the Saticons camp to negotiate a deal with them. After the Saticons show him a key-operated ‘molecular transporter’ machine, Smith agrees to deliver them the amulet in return for transportation back to Earth.

Dr Smith attempts to deceive the Saticons by making a facsimile of the amulet and passing this off as the real one. Likewise the Saticons begin planning a deception of their own. They scan Dr Smith’s memory cells, and based on his recollection of Earth, create an artificial scene of Chinatown. They believe this will fool Smith into thinking he has been transported back to Earth.

When the time comes to test the transportation machine, Smith first decides to send Penny’s pet chimp ‘Debbie’ back to see if it works. When Debbie returns holding a hotdog and an L.A Dodgers baseball pennant, he is convinced the machine has the power to return him to Earth.

Smith and Will return to the recreated Chinatown in San Francisco via the machine, but when they see a fly the size of an albatross they realize they have been tricked and are not really back on Earth. The Saticons realize they have got the dimensions of the fly and other details wrong because they based the Earth copy on Smith’s exaggeration-prone memories.

Possibly those weird Sati’s should have checked out fly DNA a little more closely – like maybe with a clunky 1980’s-era ‘box’ computer?

At the same time the Saticons realize they too have been deceived when they uncover the fake amulet. Will, Penny and Dr Smith are preparing to feel their full wrath when Arcon shows up. In a final battle the Saticons are destroyed. Will, Penny and Smith use the transporter to safely return back to the Jupiter 2.

That only leaves one thing to say…

Episode 29 (S2) -The Astral Traveler

When a huge storm hits, Will and Dr Smith seek shelter inside a cave. The storm dislodges some rocks outside and the two become trapped. Inside the cave they discover a revolving door to another world.

Meanwhile, Don, Judy and Maureen attempt rescue from outside the cave. They eventually make their way through where they find Dr Smith. He explains Will has disappeared into a mysterious space-continuum passage to another dimension.

By reading a plaque on a wall, Will realizes he is back on Earth in Scotland during the Middle Ages. He witnesses a series of strange events while inside a castle. Will meets a ghost named Hamish who plays the bagpipes. Whenever Hamish plays the bagpipes a ghastly creature named Angus emerges from a swamp near the castle grounds.

Will comes back to the cave via the space-time continuum doorway. When he returns no one believes he has returned to Earth. Will says he he brought back with him a sample of a weed that was growing all over the Scottish castle wall and can only be found back on Earth. Dr Smith examines the weed under a microscope while at the same time consulting a plant textbook. He confirms it is a type of indigenous ivy found only in Scotland, back on Earth.

Now that they know the portal leads back to Earth, the Robinsons believe they can go home at last. The portal is limited, though, so only one person, Dr. Smith, is to return. The plan is for Smith to contact Alpha Control in order to effect the Robinsons’ rescue. Once he reaches Earth however, Dr Smith abandons the idea to pursue his own motives.

Smith’s subterfuge is foiled by both the ghost Hamish and the swamp creature Angus. Eventually he too returns back to the cave.

Irish-born actor Sean McClory (1924 – 2003) played the role of the bag-pipe playing ghost Hamish. Among hundreds of film and television appearances, he had parts in these movies –

And for no other reason than this episode features some genuine nut-cracking bagpipe solos, there’s this – though it may not be half as funny as the inflated laughter track would have you believe –