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’.