Lost in Space is an American science
fiction television series, created and produced by Irwin Allen, which
originally aired between 1965 and 1968. The series was inspired by
the 1812 novel The Swiss Family Robinson and a comic book published
by Gold Key Comics titled Space Family Robinson. The series follows
the adventures of the Robinsons, a pioneering family of space
colonists who struggle to survive in the depths of space. The show
ran for 83 episodes over three seasons; the first season was filmed
in black and white, and the episodes of Seasons 2 and 3 were filmed
In the "future" on October 16th,
1997, the United States is gearing up to colonize space. The Jupiter
2, a futuristic saucer-shaped spacecraft, stands on its launch pad
undergoing final preparations. Its mission is to take a single family
on a five-and-a-half-year journey to an Earthlike planet orbiting the
star Alpha Centauri.
The Robinson family consists of Professor
John Robinson (Guy Williams), his wife Maureen (June Lockhart), and
their three children: Judy (Marta Kristen); Penny (Angela
Cartwright); and Will (Billy Mumy). The family is accompanied by U.S.
Space Corps Major Donald West (Mark Goddard). The Robinsons and Major
West are to be cryogenically frozen for the voyage, and they are set
to be unfrozen when the spacecraft approaches its destination.
Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), Alpha
Control's doctor, is revealed to be a saboteur working on behalf of
an unnamed nation. After disposing of a guard who catches him aboard
the spacecraft, Smith reprograms the Jupiter 2's B-9 environmental
control robot (voiced by Dick Tufeld) to destroy critical systems on
the spaceship eight hours after launch. Smith becomes trapped aboard
at launch, however, and his extra weight throws the Jupiter 2 off
course, causing it to encounter asteroids. This, plus the robot's
rampage, causes the ship to prematurely engage its hyperdrive, and
the expedition becomes hopelessly lost in the infinite depths of
outer space. Smith's selfish actions and laziness frequently endanger
the expedition, but his role assumes less sinister overtones in later
parts of the series. Smith manages to save himself by prematurely
reviving the crew from suspended animation. The ship survives, but
the damage caused by Smith's earlier sabotage of the robot leaves the
crew lost in space. The Jupiter 2 crash-lands on an alien world,
later identified by Will as Priplanus, where they spend the rest of
the season and survive a host of adventures. Smith remains with the
crew and acts as a source of comedic cowardice and villainy,
exploiting the eternally forgiving nature of Professor Robinson.
At the start of the second season (and now
in color), the repaired Jupiter 2 launches into space once more, to
escape the destruction of Priplanus following a series of cataclysmic
earthquakes. The Robinsons crash-land on a strange new world, to
become planet-bound again for another season.
In the third season, a format change was
introduced. In this season, the Jupiter 2 travels freely in space,
visiting a new world in each episode, as the family attempts to
either return to Earth or else at least reach their original
destination in the Alpha Centauri system. A newly built "Space
Pod" provides a means of transportation between the ship and
passing planets, allowing for various escapades. This season had a
different set of opening credits and a new theme tune, which had been
composed by John Williams as part of the show's new direction.
In early 1968, while the final
third-season episode "Junkyard in Space" was in production,
the cast and crew were informally led to believe the series would
return for a fourth season. Allen had ordered new scripts for the
coming season. A few weeks later, however, CBS announced the list of
returning television series for the 196869 season, and Lost in
Space was not included. CBS executives failed to offer any reasons
why Lost in Space was cancelled.
The most likely reason the show was
cancelled was its increasingly high cost. The cost per episode had
grown from $130,980 during the first season to $164,788 during the
third season, and the actors' salaries nearly doubled during that
time. Further, the interior of the Jupiter 2 was the most expensive
set for a television show at the time, at a cost of $350,000. (Above
is a computer rendered 3D version of the inside of the Jupeter II.)
20th Century Fox had also recently incurred huge budget overruns for
the film Cleopatra, which are believed to have caused budget cuts.
Allen claimed the series could not continue with a reduced budget.
During a negotiating conference regarding the series direction for
the fourth season with CBS chief executive Bill Paley, Allen was
furious when told that the budget would be cut by 15% from Season Three.
Irwin Allen admitted that the Season 3
ratings showed an increasing percentage of children among the total
viewers, meaning a drop in the "quality audience" that
advertisers preferred. Guy Williams had grown embittered with his
role on the show as it became increasingly "campy" in
Seasons 2 and 3 while centering squarely on the antics of Harris' Dr.
Smith character. Williams retired to Argentina after the end of the series.
Dr. (Professor) John
Robinson played by Guy Williams
leader of the Robinson family, Dr. John Robinson, was a Professor of
Astrophysics at the University of Stellar Dynamics. The fifth child
of a lower income family, his high intelligence, good looks and
athletic ability helped him to overcome his economic hardships.
Robinson was always at the head of his class academically. He also
shone on the football field, becoming the youngest quarterback ever
at East Side High School during his sophomore year. He enrolled at
the California Institute of Technology (CIT) in 1976 on an academic
scholarship. The school offered a combined degree program in
Astrophysics and Planetary Geological Sciences, which combined his
keen interests in space and geology.
While at CIT, though, he met a beautiful
and brilliant student named Maureen Tomlinson. During the summer
break after their first year in college, they were married on June
10th, 1977. Robinson graduated with honors in 1981 and his first job
was as an instructor of Astrophysics at the University of Taos (New Mexico).
Meanwhile the Robinson family was growing.
Daughter Judy was born on February 26th, 1978. The Robinsons moved to
their own home near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Penny was born on September
8th, 1985, and Will was born on February 1st, 1987.
After years of teaching, Robinson accepted
a postion at Alpha Control to work on a new joint program with the
university to study the adaptability of humans to life on alien
planets. Professor Robinson was deeply involved in the program to
develop the Deep Thrust Telescopic Probe series of interstellar
spacecraft. These ships were launched in December 1988 and showed
definitively that Alpha Centauri had two planets, Delta and Gamma,
capable of supporting human life. One of them, Gamma, was found to be
ideal for colonization. His enthusiasm for the colonization program
rubbed off on Maureen and despite misgivings about the dangers of
space flight, she eventually agreed with John to volunteer the family
for the first colonization mission. it was announced that the
Robinsons would be the first family in space. They spent the next
four summers training for the mission, and left Earth on October
Williams (born Armando Joseph Catalano; January 14th, 1924
April 30, 1989) was an American actor and former fashion model. He
usually played swashbuckling action heroes in the 1950s and 1960s,
but never quite achieved movie-star status, despite his appearance
and charisma, which helped launch his early successful photographic
Among his most notable achievements were
two TV series: Zorro in the title role, and as the father of the
Robinson family on the popular sci-fi series Lost in Space.
During most of the 1970s, Guy Williams
frequently visited and worked in television shows in Argentina, where
he was very popular.
He retired in the early 1980s in Buenos
Aires, where he died of a brain aneurysm in 1989.
Dr. Maureen Robinson
played by June Lockhart
Maureen Robinson was a distinguished biochemist from the New Mexico
College of Space Medicine and the first person other than an adult
male to pass the International Space Administrations screening for
Maureen Robinson was born the second
daughter of James and Margaret Tomlinson. Her father was the founder
and owner of Tomlinson Engineering Corporation, an aircraft
navigation systems design firm. She was educated at a private school
for gifted children. Maureen had a normal childhood until her parents
were killed in a plane crash in 1966. Her older sister, Colleen, who
lived in Los Angeles, then became Maureen's legal guardian. Because
of the tragic death of her parents, in later years, she would feel
strongly about the well-being of her husband and three children,
sometimes to the point of being over-protective.
Maureen graduated from high school in
1976, and then enrolled at the California Institute of Technology.
She received her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1980.
While in college, she met a young student from New Mexico named John
Robinson. They were married in 1977, and their first child, Judy, was
born in 1978.
After college, Maureen worked at the New
Mexico Institute for Space Medicine. In 1985, with the birth of
Penny, she left her job to become a full-time mother and housewife.
After a while, she went back to school to obtain her master's degree,
which she completed in 1991. She then began to work on a doctorate in
biochemistry, which she received from the University of Taos (New Mexico).
She was at first shocked when John
proposed the idea of becoming the first family to colonize Alpha
Centauri. Though still reluctant, she finally consented, and John
submitted their application to Alpha Control in March of 1993. Three
months later, the Robinsons were chosen to be "the first family
Lockhart was born on June 25th, 1925 in New York City. The daughter
of Canadian-born actor Gene Lockhart and English-born actress
Kathleen Lockhart. Her grandfather was John Coates Lockhart, "a
concert-singer". Lockhart was a popular actress in 1950s and
1960s television with guest starring roles on The Man from
U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Have Gun - Will Travel, Wagon
Train and Rawhide. She also performanced on stage and in film. Two
television series, Lassie and Lost in Space has earned her her a
place in pop cutural history as one of our favorite TV Moms. A role
she repeated in 2002, appearing in two episodes of The Drew Carey
Show as Lewis's mother, Misty Kiniski, alongside fellow TV Mom Marion
Ross, who played Drew's mother. She also starred as James Caan's
mother in an episode of Las Vegas in 2004.
Lockhart appeared as Dr. Janet Craig on
the final two seasons of the CBS sitcom Petticoat Junction
(19681970), her character being brought in to fill the void
created after Bea Benaderet died during the run of the show. She was
a regular in the ABC soap opera General Hospital during the 1980s and
1990s, and was also a voice actor, providing the voice of Martha Day,
the lead character in the Hanna-Barbera animated series These Are the
Days on ABC during the 1970s. In 1986, she appeared in the fantasy
film, Troll. The younger version of her character in that film was
played by her daughter, Anne Lockhart. They had previously played the
same woman at two different ages in the "Lest We Forget"
episode of the television series Magnum, P.I. (1981). She has also
guest-starred in episodes of Cold Case and Grey's Anatomy.
Lockhart is a two-time Emmy Award nominee
and in 1948 won a Tony Award for Outstanding Performance by a
Newcomer (a category that no longer exists) for her role on Broadway
in For Love or Money. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of
Fame, one for motion pictures and one for television. In 2013, the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded her the
Exceptional Public Achievement Medal for inspiring the public about
Major Don West played by
Don West is the pilot of the Jupiter 2. He was an officer in the
United States Space Corps, and the air force. In an emergency, if
something went wrong with the crafts automatic guidance system, he
would be awakened from suspended animation to correct the problem.
Don's military training has proved useful in resolving a number of
tense moments and he is adept at overpowering aliens guest stars. In
doing this West has suffered injuries more often than anyone else in
the crew. He once described his roles on the ship as astronaut,
plumber, gas station attendant, fixer-upper and radio announcer. He
was the only one who could pilot the Jupiter 2, though he seemingly
later taught this ability to the other members of the crew. The
original pilot introduced him as Dr. Donald West from the Center for
Radio Astronomy - who had produced a groundbreaking theory on the
habitability of other planets in 1996.
West has a varied rapport with the others
on the mission. If it were up to Don, Dr. Smith would be left behind.
West respects John Robinson, but sometimes questions his judgement.
He is obviously attracted to Judy, but his feelings for her are often
implied rather than overt. Despite being a top-notch pilot, West
seems to have a problem avoiding crash landings (his nickname was
"Crash West"). West can have a violent temper that must be
occasionally reined in by Prof. Robinson. In "Voyage to the
Bottom of the Soul", a Lost in Space Graphic novel, he marries
Judy Robinson and they had a son, Joshua Robinson West.
Goddard (born July 24th, 1936) is an American actor who has starred
in a number of television programs and is best known for portraying
Major Don West, the hot-tempered second in command of the Jupiter 2,
in the CBS series Lost in Space (196568).
In 1959, after just three weeks in
Hollywood, he landed a role in the CBS Four Star Television series
Johnny Ringo, having played the character of Cully, the deputy to Don
Durant's character of Ringo. At this time, he changed his name to
Mark Goddard, from Charles Harvey Goddard, at the suggestion of his
friend and mentor Chuck Connors of The Rifleman.
Goddard appeared as Norman Tabor in the
1960 episode "Surprise Party" of the CBS anthology series
The DuPont Show with June Allyson, in the ABC Western series The
Rebel, starring Nick Adams and on Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater.
Goddard also was signed for a role lasting three years and 64
episodes in The Detectives, another series produced by Four Star
Television. The Detectives was a hit series which ran on ABC and NBC
from 1958 to 1961.
After Lost in Space Goddard continued to
work in television guest-starring The Fugitive, The Mod Squad,
Adam-12, and The Fall Guy. Between acting jobs Goddard moonlighted as
a Hollywood agent. He played a supporting role in a first-season
episode of NBC's Quincy M.E. as an attorney and starred with Liza
Minnelli on Broadway in the musical The Act.
In 1979, Goddard was in the disco movie
Roller Boogie featuring Linda Blair. He starred as Ted Clayton on One
Life to Live and Lt. Paul Reed on The Doctors. Later, Goddard
appeared as Derek Barrington on General Hospital. He made a cameo
appearance in the reboot film Lost in Space (1998) as the general in
charge of the Jupiter Mission and superior officer to his former
character Major Don West.
Judy Robinson played by
Robinson is the older daughter of the Robinson Family. The original
pilot introduces Judy as: Judith, aged 19, who heroically postponed
all hopes in the musical/comedy field for at least two centuries.
Judy Robinson was a backward, shy child who had trouble making
friends, partly because her parents were often away as they pursued
their scientific careers. She spent a few years living with her Aunt
Colleen in Los Angeles, where she became very close to her cousin, Joan.
Judy became better adjusted as she entered
her teenage years, and attracted quite a few boys. Her mother refused
to let her date until age 16, however. During her high-school years,
she spent her summers at the United States Space Corps Training
Center in Houston, Texas, where, in addition to studying academic
subjects, she learned about survival in space, the operation of
Jupiter 2 equipment, and spacewalking.
Although above average in intelligence,
Judy did not inherit her parents' superior intellect. In her own
words, she "never really cared much for school," but found
she was talented at acting, singing and dancing and planned to pursue
a career in one of those fields. Her plans had to change when the
Robinson family was chosen for the colonization mission. Always
emotional and slightly rebellious, Judy didn't want to join her
family on the mission at first. She changed her mind when Major
Donald West was selected to be the Jupiter 2's pilot. They hit it off
immediately because of their complementary personalities: Both are
impulsive, but Judy is compassionate and caring, while Don is, in her
father's words, "a real hothead." Though she once
complained to her mother that she didn't have more men to choose
from, Judy and Don have become very close while lost in space.
Kristen (born February 26th, 1945) is a Norwegian-born American
actress best known for her role as Judy Robinson in Lost in Space.
Marta was born Birgit Annalisa Rusanen in Oslo, Norway, to a Finnish
mother and a German soldier father who was killed during World War
II. She spent her first years in an orphanage in Norway, and then was
adopted in 1949 by an American couple from Detroit, Michigan, Harold
and and Bertha Soderquist, who renamed her Martha Annalise
Soderquist. Her adoptive father was a professor of education at Wayne
University, Detroit. Marta also has an adopted brother whom her
parents adopted later. Marta moved to Los Angeles, California, with
her family in 1959 when her father was on a sabbatical. She remained
there, with a guardian, and is a graduate of Santa Monica High School.
Reflecting her Scandinavian heritage, she
adopted the more European-sounding "Marta" and used Marta
Kristen as her stage name. She first appeared in a 1961 episode of
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Bang! You're Dead", alongside
Billy Mumy, who later co-starred with Kristen in Lost in Space. Her
first successful film role was that of Lorelei in the 1965 movie
Beach Blanket Bingo.
made numerous guest appearances on television shows including Leave
it to Beaver, My Three Sons, Doctor Kildare, Wagon Train, The Man
From U.N.C.L.E., Mr. Novak, Mannix, Project UFO, Remington Steele,
Fame, Trapper John, Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Murphy Brown. When
her daughter was born in 1969, she began making television
commercials and eventually appeared in more than 40. She also made
the occasional film appearance in movies such as Terminal Island
(1973) and the cult science-fiction film Battle Beyond the Stars
(1980) starring Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John
Saxon and Sybil Danning. Battle Beyond the Stars was intended to be a
"Magnificent Seven in outer space", and was based on The
Magnificent Seven (in which Vaughn also appeared), which was a 1960
Western remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film, Seven Samurai.
Kristen starred in the 1998 television
movie Lost in Space Forever and had a cameo role in the 1998 movie
Lost in Space. She also appeared in the A&E biography Jonathan
Harris, Never Fear, Smith Is Here in 2002. Kristen also provided
voice work for the 2009 animated theatrical short "The Bolt Who
Screwed Christmas" which also included voice work from her Lost
in Space co-stars Harris, Mumy, and Angela Cartwright.
Penny Robinson played by
all of John and Maureen's children, Penny Robinson is talented and
intelligent. The original pilot describes Penny as aged 11, with an
I.Q. of 147, and zoology as a hobby. Shortly after the Robinsons were
chosen as the first family in space, Penny joined the newly formed
Space Scouts. This was a nationwide program that Alpha Control had
set up to recruit young people for future colonization missions.
Penny's leadership abilities were proven when she was soon elected
president of the Santa Fe chapter. Penny has some tomboyish
characteristics, probably due to her closeness to her brother Will.
She also has a tendency to let her imagination run out of control.
Her parents sometimes have difficulty telling whether she is relating
fact or fantasy. This got her into some trouble during her year on Priplanus.
An animal lover, Penny adopted a Bloop, a
small, ape-like creature, as a pet shortly after the family reached
the planet. She named it Debbie. Another aspect of Penny's character
is her outgoing, friendly personality, that made her very popular
with Alpha Control instructors and employees. As Alpha Control's
psychological tests predicted, Penny adjusted very well to the
stresses and pressures of space travel. Penny is a deeply thoughtful
young girl, growing up on the spaceship without companionship of her
own age. She likes to be alone and lives quite actively in her
imagination. She is brave and cheerful, though sometimes curt or
sarcastic with her younger brother Will. She continues her studies on
the Jupiter 2, and hopes eventually to become the foremost authority
on extra-terrestrial life.
Cartwright became known in movies as a child actress for her role as
Brigitta von Trapp in the film The Sound of Music (1965). The film
won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, the Golden Globe
Award for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and eclipsed
Gone with the Wind (1939) as the highest-grossing film of all-time.
The Sound of Music soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy Award and is
the longest-running Billboard Magazine Top 10 album in history at 109 weeks.
On television, she played Linda Williams,
the stepdaughter of Danny Williams (played by Danny Thomas) in the
1950s TV series The Danny Thomas Show, and Penny Robinson in Lost in
Angela Cartwright was born in Altrincham,
Cheshire, England, in 1952. She made her first film appearance at the
age of three years as Paul Newman's daughter in Somebody Up There
Likes Me (1956), and appeared with Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier in
Something of Value (1957). After moving to the United States,
Cartwright appeared for seven seasons in the CBS TV series The Danny
Thomas Show and remained close to Thomas after the series
cancellation until his death in 1991. In 1970 Angela had a part in
Make Room for Granddaddy (1970), a short lived sequel to the original series.
Cartwright made appearances on several TV
shows, including My Three Sons, Adam-12, and The Love Boat. She was
also cast in the television movies Scout's Honor (1980) and played
the role of Miss D'Angelo in High School U.S.A. (1983).
She played Theresa Mazzetti in Beyond the
Poseidon Adventure (1979), directed by Lost in Space producer Irwin
Allen. Cartwright made a cameo appearance as Reporter #2 in the 1998
Lost in Space film and as Dr. Smith's mother in the third episode of
the second season of the 2018 Netflix reimagined Lost In Space series.
Cartwright married Steve Gullion in 1976
and they have two children, Rebecca Gullion (a film producer) and
Jesse Gullion (an actor and producer). Cartwright has been a
photographer for over 30 years. Her work is displayed at her studio
in Studio City, Los Angeles. She is the younger sister of Veronica Cartwright.
born in Bristol, England (April 20th, 1949), Veronica was also a
child actress. She appeared in a number of popular movies such as
William Wyler's The Children's Hour (1961), Spencer's Mountain (1963)
and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). On TV she was cast as
"Jemima Boone" in the popular television series Daniel
Boone (1964), which ran from 1964 to 66. She appeared twice as
Lumpy's younger sister, "Violet Rutherford" and once as
"Peggy MacIntosh" on Leave It to Beaver (1957 top left),
giving Beaver Cleaver his first kiss. She also had a small role in
the television movie Still the Beaver (1983). Her long list of TV
credits include: Make Room for Daddy, Alfred Hitchcock Presents,
Twilight Zone, Route 66, Dr. Kildare, Mannix, Mod Squad, Dragnet
1967, L.A. Law, ER, The X-Files, Will & Grace, Six Feet Under,
Grey's Anatomy and Supernatural.
She starred in two remakes of the 1950s
horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). The first Invasion
of the Body Snatchers (1978) and most recently in The Invasion
(2007). Other film work includes: The Witches of Eastwick (1987), The
Right Stuff (1983) and Alien (1979 middle left). She originally
auditioned for the role of Ellen Ripley in Alien, but had instead
been cast as Joan Lambert. She disliked the character's emotional
weakness, but nevertheless accepted the role. She was awarded the
1980 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role. Around
here we wonder what would have happened if the Robinsons had meet the
Alien while, you know, Lost in Space. We suspect Dr. Smith would have
had a fatal panic attack.
Veronica Cartwright played Maureen
Robinson in the video presentation, Lost in Space: The Epilogue. The
video was a table read with the original cast included on the Blu-Ray
release of the series (bottom left). Created from a script by Bill
Mumy, it concluded the series by returning the Jupiter 2 crew to
Earth. Produced with the original cast, with the exception of the
roles of John (now played by Guy Williams Jr.), Maureen, and Dr.
Smith (played by Kevin Burns). New characters include Joshua Robinson
West, the son of Don and Judy, and a mysterious alien female named
Enaj. The story is in the tone of season one and is set 15 years
after the series. After the cancellation of the show, Mumy sent the
script to Irwin Allen for approval, but Allen refused to read it.
Will Robinson played by
the age of 5, people were already calling Will Robinson "the
little genius." At the age of 6 (when he was already in the
third grade), he dismantled the family's VCR, then put it back
together again in perfect working order, much to his family's
amazement. His I.Q. at the time of the Jupiter 2's liftoff was 182,
and he had just graduated from the Santa Fe High School of Science at
the age of nine.
On Earth, Will's extraordinary
intelligence made him something of a misfit. Neither children his own
age nor the older students with whom he attended school understood
him very well. He often tried to take on adult responsibilities, but
adults had trouble taking him seriously.
Will's attempts to make adult decisions
were still creating problems after leaving Earth, as he often
endangered both himself and his family by going off on his own
without John or Maureen's permission. On the other hand, his
intelligence and common sense saved the space pioneers and Dr. Smith,
with whom he has developed a deep friendship, on many occasions.
Among Will's chief characteristics is his
intense curiosity. This often gets him into trouble, as when he set
off on his own to explore a seemingly derelict alien ship the
Robinsons encountered soon after the family became lost in space. He
is also intensely loyal, even to those (like Dr. Smith) who don't
always deserve it. Will is very devoted to the Robinsons' B-9
environmental control robot, even though it once tried to kill him,
and has used his skill with electronics to keep the Robot functioning
at a high level. On a personal level, Will is sometimes sarcastic,
but he is always polite. Perhaps because he is the youngest member of
the crew, Will seems to have adapted better to the uncertainties of
life in space better than anyone else on the Jupiter 2. Will's
constant companions are Dr. Smith and the Robot. Will says that he
and the Robot are like brothers.
Mumy was born in San Gabriel, California to Charles William Mumy, a
cattle rancher, and Muriel Gertrude Mumy on February 1st, 1950. Mumy
came to prominence in the 1950s as a child actor with appearances on
television in The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and on
film in Dear Brigitte (about a child mathematical genius who develops
a crush on Brigitte Bardot, who played herself in the film), followed
by three-seasons on Lost in Space.
Mumy was born in San Gabriel, California
to Charles William Mumy, a cattle rancher, and Muriel Gertrude Mumy.
He began his professional career at age six, and has worked on more
than four hundred television episodes, eighteen films, various
commercials, and scores of voice-over projects.
He starred in three episodes of CBS-TV's
original Twilight Zone: "It's a Good Life" (November 1961),
as a child who terrorizes his town with psychic powers (a role he
later reprised along with his daughter Liliana in the It's Still a
Good Life episode of the second revival series); "In Praise of
Pip" (September 1963), as a vision of Jack Klugman's
long-neglected dying son; and "Long Distance Call" (March
1961) as Billy Bayles, who talks to his dead grandmother through a
Mumy was reportedly the first choice to
portray Eddie Munster in the 1964 CBS situation comedy The Munsters,
but his parents objected to the extensive makeup requirements. The
role eventually went to Butch Patrick. Mumy appeared in one episode
as a friend of Eddie's.
In 1961, Mumy starred as little Jackie in
the episode "Bang! You're Dead", featuring Marta Kristen,
who later played his sister Judy on Lost in Space. Other TV work
included: Going My Way, The Greatest Show, Perry Mason, Empire, The
Fugitive, The Eleventh Hour, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, I
Dream of Jeannie, The Rockford Files, Matlock and Bewitched. He later
appeared as lonely teenager Sterling North in the Disney film Rascal
(1969) and Teft in the film Bless the Beasts and Children (1971). In
the 1990s, he performed the role of Lennier in all five seasons of
the syndicated sci-fi TV series Babylon 5 and narrated A&E
Network's Emmy Award-winning series Biography. In 1996, Mumy was a
writer and co-creator of Space Cases, a Nickelodeon television show
with themes similar to those of Lost in Space. In November 1998, he
played Kellin, a Starfleet officer, in the Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine. In 2018, Mumy appeared in the pilot episode of the Netflix
remake series, Lost in Space. His character's name is Dr. Z. Smith,
in homage to the character played by Jonathan Harris in the 1965
has narrated episodes of the Arts & Entertainment Channel's
Biography series, as well as hosted and narrated several other
documentaries and specials for A & E, Animal Planet network, The
Sci-Fi Channel, and E!. His voice acting talents can be heard on
animated shows like Ren and Stimpy, Scooby-Doo, Batman: The Animated
Series, Animaniacs, Disney's Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Doc
McStuffins. He has done voice over work in national commercials for
such businesses as Bud Ice, Farmers Insurance, Ford, Blockbuster,
Twix, Oscar Mayer and McDonald's.
Mumy is also an accomplished musician who
plays the banjo, bass, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, mandolin, and
percussion. His various musical credits include songs he has written
and recorded with America, performed on tour with Shaun Cassidy, and
played with Rick Springfield's band in the film Hard to Hold. He is
an Emmy nominee for original music in Adventures in Wonderland (1991)
and has released a number of solo CDs, and nine albums with music
partner Robert Haimer as Barnes and Barnes. Their most famous hit is
the song "Fish Heads", which Rolling Stone magazine named
one of the top 100 videos of all time. Mumy also produces and hosts
The Real Good Radio Hour, a weekly series on KSAV Internet Radio
focusing on various styles of music and the artists who pioneered them.
Mumy and his wife, Eileen, have two
children. Seth (born in 1989) and Liliana (born in 1994). Daughter
Liliana also started as a child actress appearing in the two Cheaper
by the Dozen movies and in two films of The Santa Clause trilogy. She
has also done voice work in the Lilo & Stitch franchise, Batman:
The Brave and the Bold and The Loud House. She has also guest starred
on That 70's Show, My Wife and Kids, Scrubs, Crossing Jordan, Fresh
off the Boat and The Cleaner.
Dr. Zachary Smith played
by Jonathan Harris
Zachary Smith is a intergalactic doctor of environmental psychology.
He was the United States Space Corps' staff psychologist and
environmental expert prior to his unexpected departure from Earth.
According to his USSC personnel file, Dr. Smith was also involved in
the artificial intelligence programming of the Jupiter 2's Series
M-3, Model B-9 robot. He reviewed the psychological fitness of
potential pilots for colonization missions, as well as volunteers for
the missions, including the Robinson family. Smith performed the
final stress-analysis examinations of the Robinsons before they left Earth.
It was later discovered that Smith was an
agent for an enemy foreign government and that his academic success
and high grades were largely due to cheating and bribery, and that
his entrance to Oxford was due to a bribe paid by his prosperous Aunt.
Smith used his position as a military
psychologist to learn classified information from his patients using
hypnosis and other means. He developed an excellent reputation as a
doctor, and no one ever suspected his true purpose within the
military as a spy. During his military career, Smith's tastes became
very expensive, and he pressured his intelligence contacts to get him
a position that would gain him greater income. They installed him as
an operative within the USSC, along with several other operatives
The destruction of the Jupiter 1 in 1993,
which was officially attributed to a fuel system malfunction, was
probably due to sabotage by these agents. Although Smith was not
involved in that disaster, he undoubtedly had help from other agents
within the Space Corps with his attempt to destroy the second
Prior to the launch of the Jupiter 2 from
Earth, Dr. Smith reprogrammed the Robot to sabotage the spacecraft.
While making last minute adjustments he is trapped on board when the
ship launches. The crew are protected from the effects of lift-off in
their state of suspended animation, but Dr. Smith was forced to
endure it fully conscious. The ship is thrown off course by Dr.
Smith's additional weight and becomes hopelessly lost in space. It
was later revealed in the series that this course deviation prevented
the destruction of the Jupiter 2 in a violent meteor shower soon
After the launch of the Jupiter 2 on
October 16th, 1997, Smith's behavior became increasingly bizarre and
childish, according to logs that John Robinson left on interstellar
fuel barge F-12, which were later retrieved by Alpha Control. The
radical change in Dr. Smith's character is partly attributed to the
magnetic fields generated by the ship's propulsion device, producing
permanent brain damage in any life forms not protected by the
freezing tube during full-powered liftoff. Within a year, the
enormous stress of his space voyage, which has included contact with
numerous hostile aliens, had transformed Smith into a mere shell of
his former self.
career of Jonathan Harris (1914 - 2002) included more than 500
television and movie appearances, as well as voiceovers. Two of his
best-known roles were as the timid accountant Bradford Webster in the
television version of The Third Man and the fussy villain, Dr.
Zachary Smith in Lost in Space. Near the end of his career, he
provided voices for the animated features A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2.
The second of three children, Harris was
born in the Bronx, New York City, to Sam and Jennie Charasuchin, poor Russian-Jewish
immigrants. His father worked in Manhattan's garment district and
his mother often took in boarders to make ends meet. While there was
little money for luxuries, Jonathan's father made an effort to expand
his son's cultural horizons with occasional trips to see Yiddish
Theatre and by listening to opera on the dining room radio. Young
Jonathan detested his Bronx accent and by high school cultivated an
English one in its place by watching British B-movies.
In 1931, at age 16, he graduated from
James Monroe High School, where his classmates included Estelle
Reiner (future wife of Carl Reiner and mother of Rob Reiner). He had
difficulty fitting in with peers, with the exception of his
girlfriend and future wife, Gertrude Bregman. He legally changed his
name from to "Harris" before entering college and earned a
degree in pharmacology from Fordham University in 1936.
was Harris's first love and at age 24, he prepared a fake resume and
tried out for a repertory company at the Millpond Playhouse in Long
Island, New York and appeared in several of this troupe's plays,
prior to landing a spot in the company.
Harris was a popular character actor for
30 years on television, making his first guest appearance on an
episode of The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre in 1949. The role led to other
roles in such series as: The Web, Lights Out, Goodyear Television
Playhouse, two episodes of Hallmark Hall of Fame, Armstrong Circle
Theatre, three episodes of Studio One, Telephone Time, Schlitz
Playhouse of Stars, Climax!, The Outlaws, The Twilight Zone, Bonanza,
The Rogues, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, and Zorro (with
Guy Williams), among many others.
Harris landed a co-starring role opposite
Michael Rennie in The Third Man, from 1959 to 1965. He played
Bradford Webster, an eccentric, cowardly assistant. He appeared in
two 1961 episodes of The Twilight Zone and portrayed Charles Dickens
in a 1963 episode of Bonanza.
From 196365, Harris co-starred in
the sitcom The Bill Dana Show (below). He played Mr. Phillips, the
pompous manager of a posh hotel who is constantly at odds with his
bumbling Bolivian bellhop, the Bill Dana character Jose Jimenez. Don
Adams rounded out the cast as an inept house detective, a character
whose distinctive mannerisms and catchphrases would soon carry over
into his Maxwell Smart role on Get Smart. In similar fashion, several
of Harris's catch phrases from the series, such as "Oh, the
pain!", along with the character's mannerisms and delivery,
became part of the Dr. Zachary Smith character on Lost in Space. In
an apparent homage to his earlier role, Harris played a similarly
pompous diplomat on Get Smart in 1970, where his female assistant was
won the role of Dr. Zachary Smith over two other actors. The
character did not appear in the original 1965 pilot episode for CBS,
and the series was already in production when Harris joined the cast
Since starring/co-starring billing had already been contractually
assigned, Harris successfully negotiated to receive "Special
Guest Star" billing on every episode.
The show's writers expected Smith to be a
temporary villain who would only appear in the early episodes and was
going to be killed off. Bill Mumy commented, "Jonathan played
him as written, which was this really dark, straight-ahead villain."
Harris, on the other hand, hoped to stay
longer on the show, but he found his character to be boring, and
feared it would also quickly bore viewers. Harris "began
rewriting his lines and redefining his character", by playing
Dr. Smith in an attention-getting, flamboyant style, and ad-libbing
his scenes with colorful, pompous dialogue. Due to Harris's
popularity on the show, Irwin Allen approved his changes. By the end
of the first season, the character of Smith is established as
self-serving coward. These character traits are magnified in
subsequent seasons. His haughty bearing, and ever-present
alliterative repartee, were staples of the character.
Lost in Space is remembered for the
Robot's oft-repeated lines such as "Warning! Warning!" and
"It does not compute". Smith's frequent put-downs of the
Robot were also popular, and Jonathan Harris was proud to talk about
how he used to lie in bed at night dreaming them up for use on the
show. "You Bubble-headed Booby!", "Cackling
Cacophony", "Tin Plated Traitor", "Blithering
Blatherskyte", and "Traitorous Transistorized Toad"
are but a few alongside his trademark lines: "Oh, the pain ...
the pain!" and "Never fear, Smith is here!" One of
Jonathan Harris's last roles was providing the voice of the
illusionist praying mantis "Manny" in Disney's A Bug's
Life, in which Harris used "Oh, the pain ... the pain!"
near the end of the film.
With the popularity of the Dr. Smith,
Robot and Will Robinson group of characters, Irwin Allen began to
distance the show from its original serious science fiction based
concept. This did not sit well with Guy Williams and June Lockhart
who were originally sold as being the stars of the show when it
began. In addition the romance sub-plot between the Judy and Don
charaters was never explored fully.
When the series was renewed for its third
and final season, it remained focused on Harris' character, Dr.
Smith. While the series was still solidly placed in the middle of the
ratings pack, the writers appeared to run out of fresh ideas, and the
show was unexpectedly cancelled in 1968 after 83 episodes, despite
protests from its fans.
continued to work after Lost in Space. In the mid-1970s, Harris
starred in live-action roles in two Saturday morning children's
series, Space Academy and Uncle Croc's Block, and was a well-known TV
spokesman for the International House of Pancakes. He guest
appearances on episodes of Bewitched, Land of the Giants, Sanford and
Son, Get Smart, Night Gallery, Fantasy Island and Ark II. Harris also
provided the voice of the Cylon character Lucifer, an antagonist on
the original 1978 ABC version of Battlestar Galactica.
Harris spent much of his later career as a
voice actor, heard in television commercials as well as cartoons such
as Channel Umptee-3, The Banana Splits, My Favorite Martian, Rainbow
Brite, Darkwing Duck, Happily Ever After, Problem Child, Spider-Man,
A Bug's Life, Superman, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Toy Story 2
and The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas.
multiple episodes of the 19951997 cartoon series Freakazoid!,
Harris reprised the cowardly Smith character and dialogue under the
name "Professor Jones," uttering Smith's catchphrase
"Oh, the pain!" Emphasizing the target of the parody,
numerous characters would ask him, "Weren't you on a TV show
with a robot?"
In 1990, Harris reunited with the cast of
Lost in Space in a filmed celebration of the 25th anniversary of the
series' debut, at an event attended by more than 30,000 fans. Harris
made a number of other convention appearances with other cast members
of Lost in Space, including a 1996 appearance at Disney World. On
June 14, 1995, Harris and other cast members appeared in The Fantasy
Worlds of Irwin Allen, a television tribute to Irwin Allen, the
creator of Lost in Space, who had died in 1991.
Harris refused to make a cameo appearance
in the 1998 motion picture version of Lost in Space, unlike many of
his co-stars in the original series. He announced, "I've never
played a bit part in my life and I'm not going to start now!"
However, he did make promotional appearances for the film.
Two months before the reunion TV movie
Lost in Space: The Journey Home was set to film, Harris was taken to
the hospital with what he thought was a back problem. On November
3rd, 2002, Harris died of a blood clot to the heart. He was 87 years
old, just three days before his 88th birthday.
As a tribute to Harris, writer/director
John Wardlaw wrote an additional scene for the film The Bolt Who
Screwed Christmas, which included Harris's final performance before
his death. Wardlaw asked Lost in Space co-stars Bill Mumy, Angela
Cartwright, and Marta Kristen to contribute their voices to the film.
"This was the first time they had all been together in something
unrelated to Lost in Space and it was a blast. They listened to what
Harris had recorded and there were laughs and some tears,"
Harris was married to his childhood
sweetheart, Gertrude Bregman, from 1938 until his death in 2002. She
died of natural causes, at age 93 in 2007. They had one child,
Richard, born 1942.
The Robot played by Bob
May and Dick Tufeld
Robot (a B-9 Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental
Control Robot) is a character in the original 1965 television series
Lost in Space. Known and addressed simply as "Robot", his
full designation was only occasionally mentioned on the show.
Occasionally the Robot was addressed with the names of B-9 and the
Robinson Robot. Other names for the Robot were Rodney and his
creator, Robert Kinoshita, called him Blinky.
Although a machine endowed with superhuman
strength and futuristic weaponry, the Robot often displayed human
characteristics such as laughter, sadness, and mockery, as well as
singing and playing the guitar. The Robot was performed by Bob May in
a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was primarily dubbed
by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series' narrator. The Robot was
designed by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed Forbidden Planet's
Robby the Robot. Robby appears in Lost in Space episode #20 "War
of the Robots" and in episode #60 "Condemned of Space."
The Robot did not appear in the unaired pilot episode, but was added
to the series once it had been greenlit. Initially, the
bellows-covered legs were articulated and moved separately by the
actor inside, but the metal edges inside the suit cut actor Bob May's
legs so changes were made. The legs were bolted together, and the
robot was pulled along by a wire instead of walking as it had done
before. A new lower section was constructed with the legs cut off at
the knee. This shorter suit was used to film close-ups or when the
Robot was standing behind something that hid the actor's legs
protruding out the bottom. This version of the suit was informally
referred to by the cast and crew as "the Bermuda shorts."
B-9 consisted, from top down, of a glass bubble sensor unit with
moving antennae; a fluted, translucent ring collar (actually an
arrangement of shaped ribs through which performer Bob May could
see); and a cylindrical, rotating trunk section with extending
bellows arms that terminated in red mechanical claws. The trunk
section had controls, indicators, a removable power pack and a
signature chest light that illuminated in synchrony with the Robot's
speech. May had a key inside the suit located in the left hook that
he would tap in time with his speech to illuminate the light,
resulting in some scenes where one of the claws can be seen moving in
time with the light. Below the trunk were the bellows legs that were
understood to move with some agility but which were rarely seen on
camera to move separately due to real-world practical limitations,
and tarapezoidal tread-tractor units at the bottom of each leg. These
normally worked as a single locomotive device, but they could also
function as individual feet. The leg and tractor sections could
apparently be readily detached, allowing the Robot to be positioned
in the rear of the chariot, although the actual disconnect operation
was depicted only once. According to the series, the Robot possessed
powerful computers that allowed him to perform complex calculations
and to deduce many facts. He had a variety of sensors that detected
numerous phenomena and dangers. He was programmed with extensive
knowledge on many subjects, including how to operate the Jupiter 2
spaceship (although in the episode "The Hungry Sea" the
Robot states categorically that it is not programmed to pilot the
ship). His construction allowed him to function in extreme
environments and in the vacuum of space. He was extremely strong,
giving him utility both in performing difficult labor and in fighting
when necessary. Moreover, his claws could fire laser beams and, most
frequently, a powerful "electro-force" that was similar to
arcing electricity. In one first season episode, Dr. Smith was seen
to remove the robot's programming tapes, which resemble a small reel
of magnetic tape, from a hatch below the robot's chest panel.
Two versions of the robot were used during
Lost in Space filming, a "hero robot" costume worn by Bob
May, and a static "stunt robot" prop that was used for
distant or hazardous shots. Both versions fell into disrepair after
the series but they have since been discovered and restored. The
"hero robot" is privately owned by TV and film producer
Kevin Burns who commissioned a replica in the early 1990s for touring
and conventions. The "stunt robot" is in storage at the
Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington. Like
Robby the Robot, the B-9 Robot prop costume was re-used on at least
one other show. On the Saturday morning children's show Mystery
Island, it was modified to create the primary character P.O.P.S. It
had different domes, a different color scheme, and an added
rectangular skirt of gold-colored tubes covering the rubber bellows
legs and base. Full-sized replicas of the robot are available
commercially. Other versions have been built by hobbyists around the
world who have built detailed full-size replicas of the Robot.
May (1939 - 2009) was born in New York City, the grandson of
vaudeville comedian Chic Johnson, half of the Olsen and Johnson
comedy team. May became an actor, stage performer, stuntman, director
and public speaker, appearing in several films together with Jerry
Lewis, including The Nutty Professor. He also performed in several
television series, including The Time Tunnel (where he played the
role of Adolf Hitler in the 1967 episode titled "The
Kidnappers"), McHale's Navy and The Red Skelton Show. May also
worked as a stuntman, performing in television programs and movies of
the 1950s and 1960s, among them Cheyenne, Hawaiian Eye, Palm Springs
Weekend, Stagecoach, Surfside 6, The Roaring Twenties and 77 Sunset Strip.
May always said he got the job of The
Robot on Lost in Space because he fit in the suit. Irwin Allen
selected May to fill the role of the robot, the sidekick of the
Robinson family, after May was sent to see him about the part; Allen
promised May, "If you can fit in the suit, you've got the
job". Bob donned the suit for the first time in front of Allen,
and made the suit fit. When he exited the suit (which was made of
metal and fiberglass) for the first time, he was cut and bleeding,
but very happy that he had got the part.
The voice of the robot was primarily
performed by the show's announcer Dick Tufeld, including the show's
catch phrase, "Danger, danger, Will Robinson." However,
May's own voice can be heard when the robot's voice overlaps the
other characters' lines and during instances of the robot singing.
May enjoyed playing the part inside the robot, describing the suit as
his "home away from home". It was so difficult to get
inside the suit, that he would stay inside even during breaks in
filming. Because he couldn't respond to external cues, he would learn
the lines of all of the actors in each show so that he would know
when it was his line. During breaks, he would puff on a cigarette
inside the suit, with the smoke coming out of the suit amusing other
members of the cast. The suit was even fitted inside with an ashtray.
Once Allen showed up on the set in between shooting and saw smoke
billowing up out of the suit. He wasn't aware that May was still
inside, and thought that the suit was on fire. When he saw that it
was May smoking inside the suit, he told him that in the future,
whenever the script called for the suit to issue smoke, that May
should be the one to make it happen.
For years, May was a regular at autograph
conventions in the Los Angeles area and around the country, sought
after by fans of the show. May was never too busy for his fans, he
once remarked: "I will stay at any convention signing autographs
until the last fan was finished, or the cleaning crew forces me to leave."
Though the robot character appeared in the
1998 Lost in Space film, May was not involved with the movie. May's
home in an upscale mobile home park in the San Fernando Valley was
destroyed in the November 2008 California wildfires that hit the Los
Angeles area, though he and his wife were able to escape without
injury. May died at age 69 on January 18th, 2009 at a hospital in
Lancaster, California of congestive heart failure. He was survived by
his wife Judith, son Martin, daughter Deborah and four grandchildren.
Tufeld (1926 - 2012) was an American actor, announcer, narrator and
voice actor from the late 1940s until the early 21st century. He was
a well-known presence on television as an announcer.
Born in Los Angeles, California, to a
Russian father and a Canadian mother, he spent his childhood in
Pasadena, California. Tufeld attended the Northwestern University
School of Communication. In 1945, he obtained a job as an engineer at
KLAC, a radio station in Los Angeles.
Tufeld's voice career began in radio. He
was the announcer on ABC's The Amazing Mr. Malone in early 1950, Alan
Reed's Falstaff's Fables and ABC Radio's Space Patrol.
In 1954, Tufeld was cast in assorted roles
in fifteen episodes of Gene Autry Productions's syndicated television
series, Annie Oakley, which starred Gail Davis and Brad Johnson. In
1955 he was working at ABC in daytime programming and anchoring The
Three Star Final, a 15-minute newscast on KABC-TV, Los Angeles.
Tufeld was often heard as the announcer on
Disney television shows, including the 19571959 series Zorro
starring future Lost in Space lead Guy Williams. He had periods as
the house announcer on two ABC variety series, The Hollywood Palace
and The Julie Andrews Hour.
Tufeld is perhaps best known as the voice
of the B9 Robot in the CBS television series Lost in Space, a role he
reprised for the 1998 feature film. He also provided narrations for
many other Irwin Allen productions, such as ABC's Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea and The Time Tunnel, and did voice work for the
1978 animated television series Fantastic Four. He narrated several
episodes of Thundarr the Barbarian (1980). He was the main title
narrator on the 1979 DePatie-Freleng series, Spider-Woman, as well as
the main title announcer on the 1981 Marvel Productions show
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
THE SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON
Space Family Robinson was an original
science-fiction comic book series published by Gold Key Comics. It
predates the Lost in Space television series and both are loosely
based on the 1812 novel The Swiss Family Robinson about a family
shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia.
This work itself is considered to be an extension of the original
classic of survivalist fiction Robinson Crusoe authored by English
writer Daniel Defoe (1660 -1731). Robinson Crusoe (1719) holds the
distinction of being second only to the Bible for the number of
translations. It would seem that with a name like Robinson, no matter
where you are in the timeline you are going to get lost.
The comic was published as a total of 59
issues, from 1962 to 1982 and was created by writer Del Connell and
artist Dan Spiegle. Gaylord DuBois became the sole writer of Space
Family Robinson once he began chronicling the Robinsons' adventures
with Peril on Planet Four in issue #8. He had already begun the
Captain Venture second feature, beginning with Situation Survival in
issue #6. As was typical of Gold Key's adventure comics, all cover
art was painted, most often by George Wilson.
the comic, the Robinsons were scientist father Craig, scientist
mother June, early teens Tim (son) and Tam (daughter), along with
pets Clancy (dog) and Yakker (parrot). They lived in "Space
Station One", a spacious moving craft with hydroponic gardens,
observatory, and two small "Spacemobile" shuttle craft. The
family was selected by computer to be the most mentally and
physically qualified to man the space station. They left Earth in the
year 2001. In the second issue, a cosmic storm deposited them far
from Earth and they have adventures while they try to work their way home.
The movie and television rights to the
comic book were purchased by noted television writer Hilda Bohem (The
Cisco Kid), who created a treatment under the title Space Family
3000. Intended as a follow up to his first successful television
venture, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Allen quickly sold his
concept for a television series to CBS. Concerned about confusion
with the Gold Key comic book, CBS requested that Allen come up with a
new title. Nevertheless, Hilda Bohem filed a claim against Allen and
CBS Television shortly before the series premiered in 1965. Gold Key
was also publishing an Irwin Allen title, Voyage to the Bottom of the
Sea. The two companies reached an agreement that the comic could
revise its cover title to Space Family Robinson: Lost in Space, which
appeared starting with issue #15 (Jan 1966). Additional legal
challenges reappeared in 1995, when Prelude Pictures announced their
intention to turn Lost in Space into a motion picture.
It had been reported that the series was
created by famed Disney comic book artist/writer Carl Barks. In fact,
Barks did suggest a Swiss Family Robinson in space comic to his
editor Chase Craig around 1960, but nothing came of it and the
subsequent series was originated by people who hadn't heard of Barks' concept.
1966 the weekly UK publication Lady Penelope ("the comic for
girls who love television") printed Space Family Robinson
stories. These used the same characters and technology as the Gold
Key titles, but were original scripts, not reprints. Authorship is
not known for certain, although there is good reason to think that
some may have been written by then sub-editor on Lady Penelope, Brian
Woodford. The artist was John M. Burns.
The Lady Penelope Summer Extra (1966)
included a three-page story in which the Robinsons land on a recently
abandoned planet. They discover that the hasty exodus was due to the
approach of a massive gravity source.
This story was reprinted in the TV2000
Thunderbirds Extra (1966) with the third page coloured by the Dutch
publishers. There was also a story in the Lady Penelope Annual for
1966. Unlike all the others, this one had a title, Tam Meets The
Trygans, and told how Tam returns to the Station alone only to find
it occupied by aliens intent on stealing it. This is the only story
printed in colour throughout, and the only one not drawn by John
Burns. The artist was not identified.
Space Family Robinson was cancelled with
#36 (October, 1969). It was brought back in October, 1973, in part
due to the popularity of Star Trek. At this point, all issues between
#37 and #44 had the tag "On Space Station One" added as
well. The title was cancelled again with #54 (December, 1977). A new
story was published in Gold Key Champion #1 (1978). In 1981, the
title was revived as a reprint title for issues #5559
(19811982) under the "Whitman Comics" line. New
stories also appeared in March of Comics #320, 328, and 352. In
August 2011, Dark Horse Comics began the Space Family Robinson
Archives hardcover reprint series.
In the 1980s, Bill Mumy (who played Will
Robinson on the series) had tried, and failed, to convince Irwin
Allen to allow production of a Lost in Space film for theatres or TV.
In 1991 Bill Mumy provided guidance for a
Lost in Space revival in comic book form Lost in Space comic book for
Innovation Comics, writing six of the issues. The first officially
licensed comic to be based on the TV series, the series was set
several years after the show. The kids were now teenagers, and the
stories attempted to return the series to its straight adventure
roots with one story even explaining the camp / farce episodes of the
series as fanciful entries in Penny's Space Diary. The serious
episodes were excerpts from Professor Robinson's log.
Complex adult-themed story concepts were
introduced and the story included a love triangle developing between
Penny, Judy and Don. The first year had an story arc ultimately
leading the travelers to Alpha Centauri with Smith contacting his
former alien masters (as suggested in the early TV episodes) along
the way. Aeolis 14 Umbra were furious with Smith for not having
succeeded in his mission to prevent the Jupiter 2, built with
technology from a crashed ship of their race, from reaching the star
system they had claimed as their own. The year ended with Smith
caught out for his traitorous associations and imprisoned in a
freezing tube for the Jupiter's final journey to the Promised Planet.
Mumy's intention for the stories was to
reflect the more serious tone of the first season episodes, but this
was somewhat undercut by artwork that sexualized the characters of
Judy and Penny Robinson, prompting some exasperated notes from Mumy
in the editorial pages.
Year two was to be Mumy's own full season
story of a complex adventure following the Robinson's arrival at
their destination and capture by the Aoleans. Lost in Space was
Innovation's best selling property, outselling all their other comics
combined. The comic only managed to run for 18 issues, 2 annuals and
1 of 2 issues of a miniseries however, but not because of poor sales.
Innovation's ambitious projects couldn't keep ahead of their bottom
line, and the company went out of business.
this left a major story arc unresolved, a trade paperback entitled
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul" was later published,
completing the story.
In 1998 Dark Horse Comics published a three-part
story chronicling the Robinson Clan as depicted in the film released
the same year.
In 2006 Bill Mumy and Peter David co-wrote
Star Trek: The Return of the Worthy, a three-part story that was
essentially a crossover between Lost in Space and Star Trek with the
Enterprise crew encountering a Robinson-like expedition amongst the
stars, though with different characters.
In 2016, American Gothic Press published a six-issue
miniseries titled Irwin Allen's Lost in Space, the Lost Adventures,
based on unfilmed scripts from the series. The scripts "The
Curious Galactics" and "Malice in Wonderland" were
written by Carey Wilber. The first script was adapted as issues 1 to
3 of the series, with the adapted script written by Holly Interlandi
and drawn by Kostas Pantaulas, with Patrick McEvoy doing coloring and
covers. The second script was adapted as issues 4 to 6 of the series,
again adapted by Interlandi, with McEvoy providing pencil art,
coloring and covers.
In 2018 it was announced by Legendary
Entertainment that a new comic would be produced based on the Netflix
reboot of Lost in Space. It is sub-titled Countdown to Danger and
will be published in four parts during 2019. The new comic is written
by Richard Dinnick and Brian Buccellato with art by Zid.
In 1967, a novel based on the series, with
significant changes to the personalities of the characters and the
design of the ship, was published by Pyramid Books, and written by
Dave Van Arnam and Ted White (as "Ron Archer"). A scene in
the book correctly predicts Richard Nixon winning the Presidency
after Lyndon Johnson.
the 19721973 television season, ABC produced The ABC Saturday
Superstar Movie, a weekly collection of 60-minute animated movies,
pilots and specials from various production companies, such as
Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and Rankin-Bass.
Hanna-Barbera contributed animated work
based on such television series as Gidget, Yogi Bear, Tabitha, Oliver
Twist, Nanny and the Professor, The Banana Splits, and Lost in Space.
Dr. Smith (voiced by Jonathan Harris) was the only character from the
original program to appear in the special, along with the Robot (who
was named Robon and employed in flight control rather than a support
activity). Like Star Trek: The Animated Series, the animated version
of Lost in Space was created with the intent of reviving the show in
animated form but was never picked up as a series. The cartoon was
included in the Blu-ray release of the entire original television
series in 2015.
Not being picked up may have been a good
thing for Lost in Space fans because a number of unnecessary changes
to the original plot were made. The Robinson family is downsized to
only a pair of male siblings, Craig Robinson (Michael Bell) and Linc
Robinson (Vincent Van Pratten). Dr. Smith assumes the role of a
Jupiter 2 crew member, a Professor of Biology, and not that of a
saboteur. A Judy like character appears as Geologist Deanna
Carmichael (Sherry Alberoni). In addition the famous Jupiter II is no
where to be seen and the crew travels in a vertically launched rocket.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
The show was conceptualized in 1965 with
the filming of an unaired pilot episode titled "No Place to
Hide". The plot of the pilot episode is set in the
"future" 1997 and follows the mission of a ship called
Gemini 12, which was to take a single family on a 98-year journey to
an Earthlike planet orbiting star Alpha Centauri. The Gemini 12 was
pushed off course due to an encounter with an asteroid, and the story
centered on the adventures of the Robinson family, depicting them as
a happy crew without internal conflicts. While many storylines in the
later series focused primarily on Dr. Zachary Smith, a stowaway and
saboteur played by Jonathan Harris, he was absent from the unaired
pilot. The pilot episode was first aired on television during a 1997 retrospective.
CBS bought the series, turning down Star
Trek in favor of Lost in Space. Before the first episode was filmed,
the characters Smith and the Robot were added, and the spaceship was
renamed the Jupiter 2 and redesigned. For budget considerations, a
good part of the footage included in the pilot episode was reused,
and carefully worked into the early episodes of the series.
The first season emphasized the daily
adventures of the Robinsons. The first half of season 1 dealt with
Robinson party trekking around the rocky terrain and stormy inland
oceans of Priplanus in the Chariot to avoid extreme temperatures.
However, the format of the show later changed to a "Monster of
the week" style, where stories were loosely based on fantasy and
In January 1966, ABC scheduled Batman in
the same time slot as Lost in Space. To compete, Lost in Space Season
2 imitated Batman's campy humor. Bright outfits, over-the-top action,
and outrageous villains came to the fore in outlandish stories.
Stories giving all characters focus were sacrificed in favor of a
growing emphasis on Smith, Will, and the Robot.
The third season had more straight
adventure, with the Jupiter 2 now functional and hopping from planet
to planet, but the episodes still tended to be whimsical and to
emphasize humor, including fanciful space hippies, more pirates,
off-beat inter-galactic zoos, ice princesses and Lost in Space's
During the first two seasons, episodes
concluded in a "live action freeze" anticipating the
following week, with a cliff-hanger caption, "To be continued
next week! Same time - same channel!" For the third season, each
episode's conclusion was immediately followed by a vocal
"teaser" from the Robot (Dick Tufeld), warning viewers to
"Stay tuned for scenes from next week's exciting
adventure!". Scenes from the next episode were then presented,
followed by the closing credits.
After cancellation, the show was
successful in reruns and in syndication for many years, appearing on
the USA Network (in the mid-to-late 1980s) and on FX, Syfy, ALN and Hulu.
In 1995, Kevin Burns produced a
documentary showcasing the career of Irwin Allen, hosted by Bill Mumy
and June Lockhart in a recreation of the Jupiter 2 exterior set.
Clips from Allen's various productions as well as pilots for his
unproduced series were presented along with new interviews with cast
members of Allen's shows. At the end of the program Mumy and Lockhart
enter the Jupiter 2 where Jonathan Harris appears in character as
Smith and instructs the Robot once again to destroy the ship as per
his original instructions, "...and this time get it right, you
In 1998, Burns produced a television
special about the series hosted by John Larroquette and Robot B-9
(performed by actor Bob May and voice actor Dick Tufeld). The special
was hosted within a recreation of the Jupiter 2 upper deck set. The
program ends with Laroquette mockingly pressing a button on the
Amulet from "The Galaxy Gift" episode, disappearing and
being replaced by Mumy and Harris as an older Will Robinson and
Zachary Smith. They attempt one more time to return to Earth but find
that they are "Lost in Space ... Forever!"
Lost in Space showcased a variety of
transportation methods in the series. The Jupiter 2 is a two-deck,
nuclear powered flying saucer spacecraft. The version seen in the
series was depicted with a lower level and landing legs.
On the lower level were the atomic motors,
which use a fictional substance called "deutronium" for
fuel. The ship's living quarters feature Murphy beds, a galley, a
laboratory, and the robot's "magnetic lock". On the upper
level were the guidance control system and suspended animation
"freezing tubes" necessary for non-relativistic
interstellar travel. The two levels were connected by both an
electronic glide tube elevator and a fixed ladder. The Jupiter 2
explicitly had artificial gravity. Entrances and exits to the ship
were via the main airlock on the upper level, or via the landing
struts from the lower deck, and, according to one season 2 episode, a
back door. The spacecraft was also intended to serve as home to the
Robinsons once it had landed on the destination planet orbiting Alpha Centauri.
Chariot" was an all-terrain, amphibious tracked vehicle that
the crew used for ground transport when they were on a planet. The
Chariot existed in a dis-assembled state during flight, to be
re-assembled once on the ground. The Chariot was actually an
operational cannibalized version of a Thiokol Snowcat Spryte, with a
Ford 170-cubic-inch (3 L) inline-6, 101 horsepower engine with a
4-speed automatic transmission including reverse.
Most of the Chariot's body panels were
clear including the roof and its dome-shaped "gun
hatch". Both a roof rack for luggage and roof mounted "solar
batteries" were accessible by exterior fixed ladders on either
side of the vehicle. The vehicle had dual headlights and dual
auxiliary area lights beneath the front and rear bumpers. The roof
also had swivel-mounted, interior controllable spotlights located
near each front corner, with a small parabolic antenna mounted
between them. The Chariot had six bucket seats (three rows of two
seats) for passengers. The interior featured retractable metallised
fabric curtains for privacy, a seismograph, a scanner with infrared
capability, a radio transceiver, a public address system, and a rifle
rack that held four laser rifles vertically near the inside of the
left rear corner body panel.
A jet pack, specifically a Bell Rocket
Belt, was used occasionally by Professor Robinson or Major West.
"Space Pod" was a small spacecraft first shown in the
third and final season, which was modeled on the Apollo Lunar Module.
The Pod was used to travel from its bay in the Jupiter 2 to
destinations either on a nearby planet or in space, and the pod
apparently had artificial gravity and an auto-return mechanism.
For self-defense, the crew of the Jupiter
2 had an arsenal of laser guns at their disposal, including
sling-carried rifles and holstered pistols. The first season's
personal issue laser gun was a film prop modified from a toy
semi-automatic pistol made by Remco. The crew also employed a force
field around the Jupiter 2 for protection while on alien planets. The
force shield generator was able to protect the campsite and in one
season 3 episode was able to shield the entire planet.
For communication, the crew used small
transceivers to communicate with each other, the Chariot, and the
ship. In "The Raft", Will improvised several miniature
rockoons in an attempt to send an interstellar "message in a
bottle" distress signal. In season 2 a set of relay stations was
built to further extend communications while planet-bound.
Their environmental control Robot B-9 ran
air and soil tests, and was able to discharge strong electrostatic
charges from his claws, detect threats with his scanner and could
produce a defensive smoke screen. The Robot could detect faint smells
and could both understand speech and speak in its own right. The
Robot claimed the ability to read human minds by translating emitted
thought waves back into words.
While the crew normally grew a hydroponic
garden on a planet as an intermediate step before cultivating the
soil of a planet, they also had "protein pills", which was
a complete nutritional substitute for normal foods, in cases of emergency.
Technology in the show reflected
contemporary real-world developments. Silver reflective space
blankets, a then new invention developed by NASA in 1964, were used
in the episode titled "The Hungry Sea" and "Attack of
the Monster Plants". The crew's spacesuits were made with
aluminum-coated fabric, like NASA's Mercury spacesuits, and had
Velcro fasteners, which NASA first used during the Apollo program (19611972).
Props and monsters were regularly recycled
from other Irwin Allen shows. A sea monster outfit that had been
featured on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea might get a spray paint
job for its Lost in Space appearance, while space monster costumes
were reused on Voyage as sea monsters. The clear round plastic pen
holder used as a control surface in the episode "The
Derelict" turned up regularly throughout the show's entire run
both as primary controls to activate alien machinery (or open doors
or cages), and as background set dressing; some primary controls were
seen used in episodes such as Season 1's "The Keeper (Parts 1
and 2)", "His Majesty Smith", and Season 3's "A
Day At The Zoo", and "The Promised Planet".
Spacecraft models were also routinely
re-used. The foreboding derelict ship from season 1 was redressed to
become the Vera Castle in season 3. The Fuel Barge from season 2
became a Space Lighthouse in season 3. The derelict ship was used
again in season 3, with a simple color change. Likewise the alien
pursuer's ship in "The Sky Pirate", was lifted from the
1958 film War of the Satellites, and was re-used in the episode
"Deadliest of the Species".
A number of props were
"futuristic" versions of common household items. The "auto-matic
laundry" took seconds to clean, iron, fold, and package clothes
in clear plastic bags. Similarly, the "dishwasher" would
clean, wash, and dry dishes in just seconds. There was also a table
top cooker and a hair dryer. Dispite Dr. Maureen Robinson being a
distinguished biochemist she seems to be a typical 1960s housewife,
albeit with some cool appliances. Daughters Judy and Penny, who has
and I.Q. of 147, don't fair much better. Maureen and Judy prepare
dinner and do laundry, Penny helps set the table, while the men work
outside the spaceship.
Some members within the science-fiction
community have pointed to Lost in Space as an example of early
television's perceived poor record at producing science-fiction. The
series' deliberate fantasy elements, were perhaps overlooked as it
drew comparisons to its supposed rival, Star Trek. However, Lost in
Space was a mild ratings success, unlike Star Trek, which received
relatively poor ratings during its original network television run.
The more cerebral Star Trek never averaged higher than 52nd in the
ratings during its three seasons, while Lost in Space finished season
one with a rating of 32nd, season two in 35th place, and the third
and final season in 33rd place.
Lost in Space received Emmy Award
nominations in 1966 (Cinematography-Special Photographic Effects) and
again in 1968 (Visual Arts & Makeup) for never won.
open and closing theme music was written by John Williams. The
original pilot and much of Season One reused Bernard Herrmann's eerie
score from the classic sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
Season three featured a new score which
was considered more exciting and faster tempo. The opening music was
accompanied by live action shots of the cast, featuring a pumped-up
countdown from seven to one to launch each week's episode.
Much of the incidental music in the series
was written by Williams who scored four episodes. These scores helped
Williams gain credibility as a composer. Other notable film and
television composers who worked on the music for Lost in Space
included Alexander Courage, who contributed six scores to the series.
Lost in Space (1998 film)
In 1998, New Line Cinema produced a film
adaptation. The 1998 film includes a number of homages to the
original television series. These include cameos and story details
from the original TV-series, including:
Dick Tufeld as the Robot's voice.
The 2nd version of the Robot (re-built
by Will Robinson) has a very similarly doughnut-shaped
"head" as the TV-series robot.
Mark Goddard briefly appears as the
military general who gives Major Don West his orders for the mission.
June Lockhart briefly appears with
Will Robinson, as the principal of his school.
Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen
briefly appear early in the film as news reporters.
A small (CG-animated) alien animal is
adopted by Penny Robinson, an animal character in homage to
"Debbie" (a chimpanzee fitted with furry prosthetic alien
"ears") in the TV-series.
The film's Jupiter 1 is a larger
protective exterior shell, which breaks off in pieces after the
launch, freeing the interior Jupiter 2 spacecraft to thrust onward
into space. The Jupiter 1 (the larger protective exterior shell) is
very similar in shape to the much smaller TV-series spacecraft, and
includes similar rotating underside lights.
Due to budget limitations, new versions of
the "Chariot" or the "Space Pod" were not built
for the film, and so do not appear in it, with Don briefly mentioning
to the Robinsons that those units had been irreparably wrecked by
their crash landing on the planet.
Jonathan Harris was offered a cameo
appearance, not as Smith (performed by actor Gary Oldman in the
film), but as the Global Sedition leader who hires, then betrays,
Smith. Harris turned down the role, reportedly saying, "I've
never played a bit part in my life and I'm not going to start
now!". The role of the Sedition leader was eventually performed
by actor Edward Fox. Many years later, Harris appeared on Late Night
with Conan O'Brien, mentioning the role offered to him: "Yes,
they offered me a part in the new movie; - six lines!".
Mumy was likewise offered a cameo, but turned it down after being
told he would not be considered for the part he wanted - the role of
the older Will Robinson - because, he was told, that would
"confuse the audience."
The film used a number of ideas familiar
to viewers from the original show: Smith reprogramming the robot and
its subsequent rampage ("Reluctant Stowaway"), near miss
with the sun ("Wild Adventure"), the derelict spaceship
("The Derelict"), discovery of the Blawp and the crash
("Island in the Sky") and an attempt to change history by
returning to the beginning ("The Time Merchant"). Also a
scene-stealing 'Goodnight' homage to the Waltons was included.
Something fans of the original always wanted to see happen was
finally realized when Don knocks out an annoyingly complaining Smith
at the end of the movie, saying "That felt good!"
In addition to Oldman as Dr. Smith the
rest of the cast included: William Hurt as Professor John Robinson,
Mimi Rogers as Professor Maureen Robinson, Heather Graham as Dr. Judy
Robinson, Lacey Chabert as Penny Robinson, Jack Johnson as Will
Robinson and Matt LeBlanc as Major Don West. Jared Harris was given
the role of the older Will Robinson.
Filming began on March 3rd, 1997 in
London's Shepperton Studios, with more than 700 special effects shots
planned, done by Industrial Light & Magic and Jim Henson's
Creature Shop. The $70 million Lost in Space film was New Line's hope
to launch a multimedia franchise, followed by animated and
live-action television series. Licensing deals were made with
Trendmasters for toys and Harper Prism and Scholastic for tie-in
novels. But things didn't go as planned, despite debuting at number
one at the box office, (ending Titanic's 15-week-long hold on the
first-place position), Lost in Space was panned by critics and fans alike.
The Robinsons: Lost in
In 2004, a pilot for a new television
series titled "The Robinsons: Lost in Space" was filmed,
but the series was never produced. The series originally was intended
to emulate Lost in Space's unaired pilot. The 2004 show featured the
unnamed robot (again voiced by Dick Tufeld the third time), plus
additional older Robinson child named David. Penny, who had been
depicted as a preteen in the original series was depicted as an
infant in the 2003 remake. The pilot was commissioned by The WB
Television Network and directed by John Woo.
The Jupiter 2 interstellar flying-saucer
spacecraft of the original series was reduced to "shuttle"
status, depicted as a planet-landing craft, deployed from a larger inter-stellar
The plot of the series followed John
Robinson, a retiring war hero of an alien invasion who had decided to
take his family to another colony elsewhere in space. The Robinson's
ship was attacked and the Robinsons were are forced to escape from
the mothership in the smaller Jupiter 2.
After the project was cancelled the
producers of the new Battlestar Galactica series bought the show's
sets. They were redesigned the next year and used for scenes on the
Lost in Space (Netflix
On October 10th, 2014, it was announced
that Legendary TV was developing a new reboot of Lost in Space for
Netflix. Produced by Legendary Television, Synthesis Entertainment,
Clickety-Clack Productions, and Applebox Entertainment, the show is
written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, with Zack Estrin serving
as showrunner. Netflix released the series on April 13th, 2018,
renewing it the following month for a second season. The second
season premiered on December 24th, 2019. On March 9th, 2020, the
series was renewed for a third and final season.
The plot is a reimagining of the original
1965 series and similar to The Robinsons: Lost in Space (2004). In
the aftermath of an impact event that threatens the survival of
humanity, the Robinson family is selected for the 24th mission of the
Resolute (24th Colonist Group), an interstellar spacecraft carrying
selected families to colonize the Alpha Centauri star system.
Before they reach their destination, an
alien robot breaches the Resolute's hull. Forced to evacuate the
mothership in short-range Jupiter spacecraft, scores of colonists,
among them the Robinsons, crash on a nearby habitable planet. There
they must contend with a strange environment and battle their own
personal demons as they search for a way back to the Resolute.
The cast features Molly Parker as mission
commander Maureen Robinson, an aerospace engineer taking her family
on the mission to colonize Alpha Centauri in hopes of building a new
life on a better world. She has two children with John Robinson;
Penny Robinson, and Will Robinson. Her eldest daughter, Judy
Robinson, is from a previous relationship with Astronaut Grant Kelly.
Toby Stephens plays John Robinson, former U.S. Navy SEAL and husband
to Maureen. He is father to Penny and Will and the adoptive father to
Judy. Maxwell Jenkins is Will Robinson, Maureen and John's youngest
child who (like the original series) forms a tight bond with the
Robot. Taylor Russell plays Judy Robinson, who serves as mission
doctor, having received accelerated medical training. Mina Sundwall
is Penny Robinson.
Serricchio is on board as Don West, a ship mechanic and smuggler of
luxury goods. He is accompanied by his lucky chicken, Debbie.
Parker Posey as June Harris / Dr. Smith, a
petty criminal who assumes the identity of her sister, Jessica, to
take her place on the Resolute. She subsequently impersonates Dr.
Zachary Smith during the first attack to take his seat on an
evacuating Jupiter ship. The theft of the doctor's identity is a
reference to the corresponding character of Dr. Smith in the original
television series (also, her character, June Harris, is named for
June Lockhart, who played Maureen Robinson, and Jonathan Harris, who
played Smith on the original series). Bill Mumy (Will from the
original series) plays the real Dr. Zachary Smith, whose identity
Brian Steele protrays the Robot. In this
version the robot is of alien origin and Will encounters it following
the crash. Added to the cast was Sibongile Mlambo as Angela Goddard,
an engineer and fellow survivor struggling with post traumatic stress
disorder in the wake of her husband's death during the attack on the
Resolute. (her character is named for Angela Cartwright who played
Penny Robinson, and Mark Goddard who played Don West, from the
original series). Angela Cartwright (the original Penny Robinson) has
a cameo as Selma Harris, June's mother.