Episode 16 – Target Earth

Dr Smith accidentally launches the space-pod down to an unknown planet. The Jupiter 2 plots a course to retrieve it. The robot is sent out first to detect atmospheric conditions but he is captured by aliens.

The clay-model style creatures board the Jupiter 2. During this time the family members are frozen in suspended animation. The aliens somehow capture a ‘blue-print’ of the Robinsons genetic makeup. When the space family ‘awaken’ again, the aliens have left, but taken with them the information they sought.

Their plan is to duplicate the Robinsons, appropriate their vehicle, then set a course for Earth. The Robinson look-alikes are to be the advance party for a full-scale invasion of the planet.

With the real Robinsons now tied up and out of the way, the duplicates board the Jupiter 2. At the last moment, Will and Dr Smith break free of their binds, knock out their duplicates and take their place on board the ship.

Will manages to secretly make an emergency transmission to Alpha Control warning them not to allow the Earth-bound Jupiter 2 to land. Shortly after, the aliens are forced to take evasive action to avoid the missiles directed at the ship from Earth.

The aliens make the decision to turn back. Their plans to dispatch an advance party for a planned invasion of Earth are at an end.

The alien leader reflects – “We who are alike and uniform in all our ways still have much to learn about the ways of those who are different from each other. What we are we must remain, until a change comes within our selves – and not at the expense of others.”

The voice actor inside the lead alien’s grey blob suit was Jim Gosa (1931 -1989). Apart from acting credits that included appearing in the 1973 Clint Eastwood movie HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, Gosa was a popular jazz disc jockey for Los Angeles radio station KKGO-FM for 21 years.

He began studying law at night in 1982. Gosa achieved a life-long ambition of passing the California State Bar exam in June 1988 and worked for an L.A law firm until his death the following year.

Episode 15 (S3) – The Anti-Matter Man

Professor Robinson and the Robot are effecting repairs on an atomizing unit. In the process of doing this a duplicate John Robinson briefly appears and then disappears.

We next see Professor Robinson chained and being dragged through the dirt amidst some kind of dark netherworld by a tough-talking, malevolent duplicate of himself. The ‘Opposite’, who is dressed in black and white, forces Professor Robinson to swap clothes with him.

Meanwhile the Robot again activates the atomizer and he and Will pass through to the alternate world. The Robot calculates they are ‘between’ dimensions. Later he refers to it as “the anti-matter world where opposites exist.” He also warns “This world is out of balance”.

Will and the Robot meet up with the evil imposter Professor Robinson. Together the three travel back to the normal dimension via a mist-shrouded celestial bridge that overlooks the vast nothingness of space. Will and the robot are threatened that if they let on they know his true identity, harm will befall the real John Robinson back in the anti-matter world.

Maureen, the girls and Don all welcome back the man purporting to be John. However, it is not long before they begin to notice subtle changes in his personality.

During a dinner to welcome him back, ‘John’ loses his temper first with Dr Smith (understandable!) but also with Don and then Maureen. He then insists they move ahead at double-speed for plans to lift off from the planet.

Don and Will soon notice their watches are now running backwards. Penny also complains that her tape recorder is playing tapes backwards. Everything seems out of whack. The robot then whispers he has noticed that the man claiming to be John Robinson doesn’t cast a shadow in daylight.

Will uses the atomizer to transport himself back to the anti-matter world to find his real father. The evil John Robinson follows him. In this netherworld there are non-stop electrical storms. This is particularly so since the two worlds are out of balance now that both John Robinsons are present in the anti-matter dimension.

The duplicate John Robinson catches up with Will and prepares to forcibly take him back to the real world. The true Professor Robinson escapes from his cage and comes after his opposite. A final confrontation takes place between the two on the celestial bridge, resulting in the evil Professor Robinson plunging over the side into the nothingness of space.

Will and his real father return to the waiting arms of the rest of the Robinsons back at the Jupiter 2.

Unlike the idea of equally proportioned opposite type energies proposed in this LOST IN SPACE episode, there is strong evidence that the observable universe is composed ALMOST ENTIRELY of ordinary matter, as opposed to an equal mixture of matter and antimatter.

Apparently this disproportionate imbalance of matter vs anti-matter in the visible universe is one of the great unsolved problems of physics.

Scientists claim that antimatter is the costliest material to make. In 1999, NASA gave a figure of $62.5 trillion per gram of antihydrogen. According to CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research based in Switzerland) it has cost a few hundred million Swiss Francs to produce about 1 billionth of a gram of anti-matter.

Studies funded by NASA are exploring whether it might be possible to use magnetic scoops to collect the antimatter that occurs naturally in the Van Allen belt of the Earth, hopefully at a lower cost per gram.

Also of interest – scientists on CERN’s ACE project have studied antimatter as a potential candidate for cancer therapy. 

Episode 13 (S3) – Two Weeks in Space

An alien spaceship identifying itself as EARTHSHIP VENUS 5 instructs the Jupiter 2 to activate its landing beam. At first they are refused, but in the absence of John, Don and Maureen, the craft is eventually allowed to touch down on the planet, under the guise they are space tourists looking to enjoy a short-term vacation.

Dr Smith senses a lucrative business deal in the making. He negotiates with the aliens representative Mr Zumdish to host the alien holidaymakers in return for cannisters of deutronium.

In short time, Smith converts the Jupiter 2 into a holiday resort. He names it HAPPY ACRES HOTEL. Its motto is – “A happy guest is a paying guest”. Attempting to talk-up the fun times that await guests, Smith gushes to Zumdish –“This is the gayest resort in the galaxy”.

Dr Smith begins referring to the Jupiter 2’s rooms as suites and enlists Will to serve as a dutiful bellboy. The robot and Will do all the work – tending to the guests, feeding them, making sure they are entertained and their every need is met. Dr Smith gives the orders, including this classic for the breakfast menu, “Remember, plenty of water in the fruit juice and no seconds for anyone”.

The next night, on a full moon. the holiday makers transform into their more frightening alien form. Fearful they will be discovered, they make plans to do away with their hosts. But at dawn they revert to their human form. The next night the same thing happens.

Smith is seduced into wearing a ring by one of the female aliens. When the sun goes down, still wearing the ring, he too briefly transforms into a werewolf type creature.

When Don, John and Maureen return they are shocked to discover the Jupiter 2 has been transformed into the holiday resort HAPPY ACRES. Don and John overpower the aliens. Zumdish departs accompanied by one female ‘holiday maker’.

Actor Richard Krishner (1938 – 2000) played the role of one of the transforming male aliens, identified in the credits as MXR‘.

He is one of a number of guest actors across the series who took up a career in real estate once their acting days concluded. Krishner found his feet in real estate, receiving a number of Realtor of the Year awards while working in Los Angeles in the 1980’s.
He also had an interesting start to his professional life. Krishner was a self-taught typing prodigy who toured the country giving presentations of his skill typing 160 words per minute under the sponsorship of the Royal Typewriter Company.
A Royal typewriter was a large story element in Stephen King‘s 1987 novel Misery.

Episode 14 (S3) – Castles in Space

Dr Smith comes upon a frozen crypt that contains some type of living organism. He and Don take it in turns to guard it. Smith falls asleep on his shift while accidentally leaving a thermal electric blanket too close to the crypt. This has the effect of melting the crypt overnight. An alien ice princess emerges.

By the next morning, Don, Judy, Smith and Will discover the remains of the melted crypt and silver footprints in the dirt leading away from the site. Meanwhile a meteor-like object flashes through the sky and crash lands on the planet. The ice Princess seems scared.

A Mexican styled silver-skinned gunslinger called Chavo appears. He says he is looking for the Ice Princess. He announces he wishes to return her to her Mother and Father on her home planet. But Will suspects he intends to claim her for a ransom. Will is then taken hostage. In an equal parts amusing and bizarre scene, Chavo gets the robot ‘drunk’ by feeding him tequila.

The Princess flees. Chavo comes nosing around the campsite again looking for her. Don and Chavo engage in a knife fight. The robot and Chavo then partake in a mock bull/bullfighter battle before the robot finally zaps Chavo.

Chavo feels shamed by his defeat and decides to retire. He gives up his kidnapping plans and leaves. Moments later, the Ice Princess appears long enough to transport herself back to her own world.

Three years before she played the role of the Ice Princess, Corina Tsopei (now aged 76) won the 1964 Miss Universe contest.

Episode 12 (S3) – A Day at the Zoo

While Penny is looking for plant and mineral samples she is startled by a strange cave boy. She tries to run away but becomes ensnared in a net. A man who is dressed like a circus ringmaster and says his name is Farnum B. appears. He informs Penny she is going to be an exhibit in his travelling zoo.

One by one, Don, Judy, Will, Dr Smith and even the robot are captured and placed in cells. Will and Penny manage to escape and they go to find the cave boy Oggo. Penny begs him to help them get out and he agrees to show Will the exit. The alarm bells ring and Farnum B. runs to stop them. He and Will fall through a dimensional door and end up stranded on an odd, prehistoric world—Oggo’s home planet.

Dr Smith escapes from his cage and when he discovers that Farnum B. is gone, he decides to run the zoo himself. It soon emerges that Mr Farnum has not been so kind to Oggo over the years. Penny begs Oggo to assist Will and Mr Farnum to return to their world. Oggo is reluctant and sees his opportunity to be rid of Mr Farnum and enact revenge for the years of perceived mis-treatment.

At this point, Penny launches into one of the most touching speeches delivered by any Lost In Space character across the entire series in an effort to convince Oggo to act.

“Don’t you care about anything except that silly, shiny coat? Have you really been having so much fun since Mr Farnum disappeared?” (Oggo goes to leave.) “No! You wait a minute! We all love Will but if anything awful happened to him… Do you want that?”

“Mr Farnum would never do anything to really hurt you. I know he wouldn’t. He told me so. Oggo, please! Maybe he is awful. But he did raise you didn’t he? Even if he can’t understand about boys, doesn’t mean you can’t try to understand about men… about fathers. Please Oggo. Please help us!”

Oggo eventually does accompany Don to bring back Will and Mr Farnum. Farnum is overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude – “After all the horrid, stupid things I taught you. You still came!” The episode ends with Mr Farnum calling Oggo his son and Oggo finally uttering two words – “Goodbye Penny”.

The role of Oggo the cave boy was played by actor Gary Tigerman (1947 – ). He spent a year in jail for his refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War.

His last film role was in the 1991 Kathleen Turner movie V.I. WARSHAWSKI. He is the author of the 2004 novel THE ORION PROTOCOL. Tigerman’s work in radio and television advertising has won him four Clio Awards, the world’s most recognizable international advertising honors.

Episode 11 (S3) – Deadliest of the Species

The Zeta Galaxy Law Enforcement Bureau is hot on the trail of renegade space capsule ALPHA 784. The escapee capsule crash-lands on the planet the Robinsons are on. At first Will and the robot think it is merely space junk. Then a female voice says to the robot “Don’t go. Stay with me.”

The Law Enforcement Agency dispatches two android space marshals to retrieve the capsule. They commence attacking the Jupiter 2, believing the Robinsons are harboring the unit. Meanwhile the ALPHA 784 by this time has fully assembled itself and is now holed up in a cave.

When the Robinson’s robot visits ‘her’ he confesses – “I know you are evil but I had to come back. You are the only one of my kind I have seen in so long.” The ALPHA 784 informs the robot there is just one thing she needs to be fully functional – a sub atomic energizer. The robot tells her there is only one of those on the planet they are on and it is needed for the Jupiter 2’s forcefield.

The robot travels to the Robinsons camp to ask Professor Robinson for the sub-atomic energizer. The robot says Will is being held captive and will only be released by the ALPHA 784 when she has been given the sub-atomic energizer. John reluctantly hands over the vital part.

The robot confesses to Will he is in love with the ALPHA 784. “You have your family. Everyone has someone. Except for me. I was all alone until I found her. I will never be lonely again.”

The leader of the Zeta Galaxy Law Enforcement Bureau arrives. He reveals to John what was in the capsule. “It contained a marvelously superior robot. It was evil incarnate contaminating everyone and everything that came within its reach. It nearly destroyed an entire world before we caught it. And even its parts were so superior they could not be destroyed.

Our only choice was to disassembly it and place it in this space prison and orbit it into outer space where it would be for all time to come. Those parts must be recovered and orbited back into outer space before its reassembled and spreads death and destruction from one end of the universe to another.”

The robot uses the sub-atomic energizer to fully empower the evil ALPHA 784. Will arrives and tries to convince the robot he is just being used. Will takes the sub-atomic energizer and runs out of the cave. When the ALPHA 784 attempts to destroy Will the robot intervenes but is then zapped by the ALPHA 784.

Will escapes and runs back to the Jupiter 2. John and Don set up an ionic particle grid to short circuit the ALPHA 784. But first they must lure the malevolent machine on to the grid. They use the robot as ‘love bait’ for this purpose, getting him to pretend he is still on her side.

At this moment Dr Smith is heard to quote English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling’s famous 1911 poem THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES“The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.”

The ALPHA 784 is incapacitated in a blaze of sparks and smoke the moment it connects with the grid. The robot cannot hide his mixed ‘feelings’. “I did think she was something special but she turned out to be just another pretty face.”

In an upbeat twist at the end, some days later a version of the ALPHA 784 is fully restored and brought back to life by the robot, after he has taken care to “rework her micro-mechanisms and remove all the evil orientations.” The robot announces proudly, “I did it because I only wished to prove there is no such thing as a bad robot”.

The uber-sultry voice of the ALPHA 784 was provided by actress Sue England. Among a great many film roles she appeared in Funny Face (1957), Teen-Age Crime Wave (1955) and Broken Arrow (1956). England stood only 5′ 1″ tall. She passed away three years ago, aged 89.

Episode 10 (S3) – Space Creature

While in orbit around a planet, the Jupiter 2 becomes infiltrated with a mysterious vapor. The robot names it as “Unidentified gas comprising 50% of the planet’s atmosphere. But it is more than a gas. It is a living organism. A highly dangerous one. It is evil and hungry.” When asked, “Hungry for what?”, the robot replies “Still computing that.”

The ‘voice’ of the fumes/miasma speaks to both Dr Smith and Will. ‘It’ says they can have whatever they want. Will, who’s been getting a hard time of late because he’s been neglecting his studies, wishes for everyone to just leave him alone.

As if on cue, the Robinsons, beginning with Maureen, start disappearing. Penny, Judy and their mother are together in the galley one minute, the next Maureen is suddenly not there. Later Judy vanishes mid-journey on the ship’s elevator (‘glide-tube’). Will is then instructed by his father to search the Jupiter 2 top to bottom – including the lower deck Power Core – in an effort to find Maureen and Judy.

Later the malevolent mist descends again outside the viewport. The robot announces it has finally computed what the organism is hungry for. “Fear. It feeds on fear and hatred. Therefore no one must be afraid.” This time Penny is the one ‘removed’ when Will has his back turned.

We then see Penny, Judy and Maureen and the fog-shrouded, purgatory-type netherworld they have been transported to. They are huddled protectively together as a voice Penny describes as ‘creepy’ speaks to them about what their fate will be as well as the ‘game’ they are currently forced players in.

Dr Smith proposes the idea the malignant fog only causes females to disappear. This theory is proven false when Don vanishes while at the controls of the space pod.

Professor Robinson attaches a rope to Will so they are always connected. They go looking for Smith. John shares his theory that each person who has disappeared was in contact with a machine that had a built-in oscillator. His guess is if they reverse the polarity on one of those oscillators, everyone will be brought back.

Even though they are now connected by rope, John still disappears, followed by the robot. Will reverses the polarity of one of the machines and one by one the Robinsons reappear on the ship. When Dr Smith returns, he is not himself but rather is inhabited by the evil force responsible for all the disappearances.

Smith pursues Will, who runs to the Power Core – the place where the ship’s nuclear reactor is housed. When Will shows he is not afraid of Dr Smith, the evil presence leaves Smith’s body and assumes a ghostly form. When Will declares he is not afraid of the spirit apparition, it grows weaker and eventually falls back into the fiery furnace of the Jupiter 2’s nuclear reactor.

This episode, along with two others – Season Three’s SPACE DESTRUCTORS and Season Two’s REVOLT OF THE ANDROIDS – would be my equal favorite episodes of the entire series. Big call eh?

Episode 9 (S3) – Collision of Planets

A group of space hippies – ‘lazy misfits’ – are instructed to head to the planet Chroma to oversee it’s total destruction. They are informed the reason is Chroma has developed an irregular orbital path which threatens to send it on a collision course with the planet they are on. Chroma just happens to be the planet the Robinsons are currently calling home.

The Robinsons are ordered by an unseen voice to evacuate the planet. However they can’t take off since their fuel supply is practically zero and their propulsion unit is not working. The hippies land their Harley-Davidson style space bikes and begin preparations for detonating the Planet. John tells them he’ll need 6-7 days to effect repairs to the Jupiter 2. His pleas fall on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, a mysterious box dropped by parachute lands on the planet. When Dr Smith opens it, an unknown gas is released which renders him unconscious. When he wakes up his hair color has turned apple green. He now also has the strength of 20 men. He begins calling himself “Smith Almighty”. However his new-found powers come and go.

The female space hippy seduces Smith. She then clips his hair. Samson-like, this renders Dr Smith powerless, with all his strength removed. Dr Smith gets his powers back when he starts deep breathing exercises. This activates the alien gases which are still trapped in his lungs.

Professor Robinson then lasers the space hippies bikes. This is plenty incentive to force them to stop drilling and blasting. The Robinsons then have enough time to repair their ship and lift off from the planet.

The actress who played the female space hippy was Linda Gay Scott. Among other roles from this era she also played The Moth, a close associate of The Riddler in the 1960’s television series BATMAN.

She retired from acting in 1983 and began a career as a real estate agent. She is now 78 years of age.

Along with ‘J5‘ from the Season Three episode THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE, the ‘Space Hippies’ are probably my favorite ‘guest aliens’ from the entire series.

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).