Episode 22

The Flaming Planet

Will discovers Dr Smith watering an ‘orange plant’ in his cabin. He reminds Smith that Professor Robinson has specified no alien vegetation of any kind is allowed on board the ship. “Space radiation can affect any plant’s photosynthesis process. We don’t know what it might turn into.” Dr Smith promises he will get rid of the plant.

The Jupiter 2 passes through a cosmic radiation belt after which Smith’s orange plant grows disproportionally huge. Dr Smith is instructed to expel the plant through the ship’s jet exhaust port. Instead he jettisons it through the escape hatch.

As a result the plant continues to cling to the outside of the ship. The robot calculates the plant believes Dr Smith is it’s mother. They head for the nearest planet, hoping that entering it’s atmosphere will cause the plant to burn up.

Landing on the planet, they encounter an alien warlord who says he is the last of a mighty race called the Sobrams. He requests Professor Robinson take over stewardship of the planet after he is gone. The warlord also seeks to experience the thrill of one last battle.

Dr Smith begins training man-size plants as soldiers for the upcoming war games. Eventually the aging general is persuaded to allow the Robinsons to leave and instead use the army of soldier plants as his adversary in the military engagements he so desires.

The role of the ageing warlord Sobram was played by Burmese-born British actor Abraham Sofaer (1896 -1988). He began his acting career on the London stage in 1921, and also appeared on television from its earliest days in the late 1930s and on radio.

Initially however Sofaer worked as a school teacher in Rangoon and later in London. He may be best remembered for his recurring role as Haji, the master of all genies, on the 1960’s television series I Dream of Jeannie (1965 – 1970).