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Lost in Space

Lost in Space is a science fiction TV series created and produced by Irwin Allen, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965 and March 6, 1968. Lost in Space was the second of Allen's four science fiction television series. The show's first season was in black and white, and the second and third seasons were filmed in colour.

Production

Conceptually, the series was a space-age adaptation of the classic adventure novel Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. It followed the adventures of the Robinsons, an astronaut family who were accompanied by their military pilot and a Model B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot. In the pilot episode, their pioneer mission from an overpopulated Earth to Alpha Centauri in 1997 is sabotaged by the base doctor, Zachary Smith. He slips aboard their spaceship Jupiter 2 before the launch and re-programs the robot to destroy the ship and crew shortly after leaving Earth.

Smith unwittingly becomes trapped on board and is able to avoid being killed along with everyone else only by reviving the crew who had been placed in suspended animation. They manage to stop the robot and save the ship, but damage to the ship's guidance system leaves them lost in space. Eventually they are forced to crash land on an alien world where they must survive a host of weekly adventures. Smith, who was originally intended to be killed off, remains with them throughout the series as a constant source of comedic cowardice and villainy, ever able to exploit the forgiving (or forgetful) nature of the Robinsons.

At the start of the second season, the partially repaired Jupiter 2 launches again, but after two episodes the Robinsons crash land on another planet and spend the season remainder there. In the third season, they are able to travel to several other worlds in their never-resolved attempts to either return to Earth or settle Alpha Centauri, which would turn out to be impossible as it was discovered hostile aliens already had a colony there.

Following the successful format of Irwin Allen's first TV series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, the emphasis was on creating exciting fantasy-oriented adventure stories. Each week, the show delivered a fast-paced visual assault of special effects, explosions, monstrous aliens, spaceships, and exotic sets and costumes drenched in bright, primary colors.

Unlike the other space TV show of the day, Star Trek, character development, serious issues, dramatic depth, or even maintaining a coherent story were most often secondary concerns, especially after the first season. "Don't get logical with me!" was Allen's frequent retort to writers who objected to changes to their scripts.

Allen had hit upon a winning formula, which he used to create a third fantasy-adventure show, The Time Tunnel (1966-1967), followed by his last and most ambitious series, Land of the Giants (1968-1970), all of which have become cult, if not critical, favorites.

Plot

In 1997, the Earth is suffering from overpopulation and depletion of natural resources. Professor John Robinson (played by Zorro alumnus Guy Williams), his wife, Maureen (Lassie alumna June Lockhart), their children, Judy (Marta Kristen), Penny (played by Make Room For Daddy alumna Angela Cartwright), Will (Billy Mumy) and their friend and pilot, Maj. Don West (Mark Goddard) are chosen to travel on a space vehicle named the "Jupiter 2" to Alpha Centauri to search for a habitable planet for mankind to colonize.

After the Robinsons have been placed in suspended animation for the long journey, but before the launch, foreign agent Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Broadway and prominent character actor Jonathan Harris) sneaks aboard the spacecraft on a sabotage mission. He reprograms the ship's robot to destroy the vehicle shortly after it leaves Earth. However, he becomes trapped on the spaceship during the launch. His extra weight throws the Jupiter 2 off course, causing it to encounter a meteor storm shortly after launch. The robot's subsequent rampage does not destroy the vehicle, but does finish the job of getting the crew completely lost.

Dr. Smith continues to fulfill his role as saboteur and betrayer throughout the episodes, although no one maintains heavy animosity against him except Major Don West. The Robinsons (especially young Will) are often placed in danger by Dr. Smith. In the second and third seasons, Dr Smith's role takes on a far less evil overtone - and he instead takes on a cowardly sort of character who is obsessed with little more than getting back to Earth. Accordingly, his antics are much more comedic than outright evil.

In one episode, "The Time Merchant", Dr. Smith does make it back to Earth when given the opportunity to travel back in time to just before the launch of the Jupiter 2 and change his fate by avoiding being trapped on board. At the last moment he learns that without his additional weight altering the ship's course, the ship would have been destroyed in an asteroid collision. In an act of redemption, Dr. Smith elects to preserve the time line by remaining on board, thus saving the Robinsons' lives.

Cast

  • Doctor John Robinson (Guy Williams): John is the expedition commander, a pilot, and the father of the Robinson children. He is an astrophysicist who also specializes in applied planetary geology.
  • Doctor Maureen Robinson (June Lockhart): Maureen is John's biochemist wife. Her role in the series is often to prepare meals, tend the garden, and to help with light construction, whilst adding the much needed "voice of reason". Her status as a doctor is mentioned only in the first episode.
  • Major Don West (Mark Goddard): Don is the pilot of the spacecraft and is frequently Dr. Smith's intemperate and intolerate foil. There is a romantic interest in Judy Robinson which is never developed on screen. In the pilot, West was also an astrophysicist and expert in interplanetary geology.
  • Judy Robinson (Marta Kristen): Judy is the oldest child. She planned a career in musical theater, but went with her family, instead.
  • Penny Robinson (Angela Cartwright): Penny is the middle child. She loves animals and classical music. She acquires an alien pet she names Debbie (To viewers, quite obviously a chimpanzee wearing a fur hat). The chimp made one sound, "Bloop", and is sometimes remembered by that name. Penny, however, named the creature Debbie.
  • Will Robinson (Billy Mumy). Will, the youngest, is a child prodigy in electronics. Often, he is a friend to Dr. Smith when no one else is.
  • Doctor Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris): Doctor Zachary Smith, ostensibly a specialist in environmental and intergalactic psychology, is actually an enemy agent (these roles are dropped early in the series). His attempt to sabotage the mission strands him aboard the Jupiter 2. He begins as sinister, but while never losing his self-serving qualities, he evolves into passive-aggressive, often cowardly and effeminate behavior as comic relief. He frequently trades barbs with the Robot and Major West. He was often portrayed as the typical 'mad scientist' of science fiction comics.
  • The Robot: The Robot is a Model B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot, which had no given name (Jonathan Harris once jokingly suggested the robot be named "Clawed"). Although a machine endowed with superhuman strength and futuristic weaponry, he often displayed human characteristics such as laughter (usually at Smith, thus provoking the latter's rage), sadness, and mockery. The Robot was designed by Robert Kinoshita (whose other cybernetic claim to fame is as the designer of Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot) and was performed by Bob May in a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series' narrator.

Episodes

Equipment

In addition to the Robot, the primary tools used by the Robinsons in their exploration of strange alien worlds included the twin-decked Jupiter 2 flying saucer spacecraft, a glass-walled tracked exploration vehicle called the "Chariot", and the space "Pod" (a small spacecraft modeled on the Apollo Lunar Module). On occasion, characters (notably John Robinson) used what was then an exciting new invention: the jet pack.

The Jupiter 2 spaceship and its equipment also featured several technological breakthroughs that simplified or did away with mundane tasks. The "washing machine" took seconds and packaged cleaned clothes in plastic bags. The ship had no light bulbs or even compact fluorescent lamps-- in one episode, Maureen says the lights are "transistorized". However, on the other hand, sound and voice recording technologies imply arrested technology -- reel-to-reel tape recorders instead of solid-state digital storage media.

One of the key breakthroughs is suspended animation technology that was employed only in the first and third episodes of the series.

Series history

Irwin Allen produced a pilot film for the series, "No Place to Hide". After CBS accepted the series, characters Dr. Smith and the Robot were added. The ship was redesigned with a second deck, and named the Jupiter 2. (It had been the Gemini 12.) For budget considerations, a good part of the pilot episode was reworked into the early series episodes. According to June Lockhart, the show was intended to be called "Space Family Robinson", but Disney wouldn't release the copyright.

The first season was filmed in black-and-white and was more serious in tone than the subsequent two. It chronicled the daily adventures that a pioneer family might well experience if marooned on an alien world. These included dealing with dangerous native plants and animals, and occasionally with off-world visitors.

The second and third seasons were filmed in color (in the first season, only the special effects shots were filmed in color, in anticipation of reusing shots in color seasons). These were more whimsical and fantastic and emphasized humor, including fanciful space cowboys, space hippies, pirates, and a beauty pageant.

The show aired in the same time slot as Batman (TV series), and it has been suggested that the camp tone was adopted in order to compete with Batman. There was a growing emphasis on Dr. Smith, Will and the Robot at the expense of the other characters. Smith's change in character was not appreciated by the other actors. According to Billy Mumy, Mark Goddard and Guy Williams disliked the shift from serious science fiction.

The third season had a slightly more adventure emphasis, but episodes like "The Great Vegetable Rebellion" — with actor Stanley Adams as Tybo, the talking carrot — still demonstrated humorous fantasy.

During the first two seasons, episodes concluded in a "live action freeze" anticipating the following week, with the cliff-hanger, "To be continued next week!". There was usually little ongoing plot continuity between episodes, except in larger goals; for example, to get enough fuel to leave the planet. For the third season, the episode would conclude and then a "teaser" for "next week's exciting adventure!" would show highlights from the next episode just before the closing credits began.

After cancellation, the show was successful in reruns, and syndication for many years, most recently on FX and Sci-Fi Channel.

Stylistically, the series was of high quality, featuring what was expected for space travel at the time; eye-catching silver, tapered space-suits, laser guns and a number of spectacular props and sets, including the control cabin of the Jupiter 2.

Ratings and popularity

Although it retains a cult following, the science-fiction community often points to Lost in Space as an example of television's perceived bad record at producing science-fiction (perhaps overlooking the series' deliberate fantasy elements), comparing it to its supposed rival, Star Trek. However, Lost In Space was a mild ratings success, unlike Star Trek, which received very poor ratings during its original network TV run, often not placing any higher than 60th place, while "Lost in Space" finished season one with a rating of 32nd, second season in 35th place, and the third and final season rating 33rd.

During its original broadcast run, Lost in Space aired opposite Batman on ABC and The Virginian on NBC. It immediately preceded The Beverly Hillbillies on CBS.

The final primetime episode to be broadcast nationally across the USA was a cast and crew personal favorite, a repeat from the second season appropriately titled "A Visit to Hades". Starting the next week, CBS replaced the Wednesday night favorite with the fourth season premiere of the wild life adventure series Daktari in September 1968.

The show's fans tend to split into two groups: those who enjoy the more serious episodes of the first season, and those who enjoy the more over-the-top episodes that came later.

The general public now most recognizes Lost In Space via the memorable, oft-repeated lines of the Robot, such as "Warning! Warning!", "That does not compute", and "Danger, Will Robinson!" Although the latter sentence was only spoken once, different variations of it were used. Dr. Smith's frequent put-downs of the Robot are also still popular ("You bubble-headed booby!") as are his trademark lines: "Oh, the pain...the pain!" and "Never fear, Smith is here!"

Cancellation

It is unclear why Lost in Space was cancelled. Several theories have been suggested.

Budget too high

The show had ratings to ensure a fourth season, but it was expensive. The budget for Season One per episode was $130,980, and for Season Three, $164,788. During that time, the actors' salaries increased, in the case of Harris, Kristen and Cartwright, nearly doubling. (Their negotiated salaries for the fourth season were presumably even higher.) There is other evidence that at least a part of the cost problems were the actors themselves, for example director Richardson saying of Guy Williams requiring that there be frequent closeups of him:

"This costs a fortune in time, it's a lot of lighting and a lot of trouble and Irwin succumbed to it. It got to be that bad.

Budget cut

According to Billy Mumy, the show had already been picked up for the fourth season, but with a cut budget, Irwin Allen said he couldn't continue the show under those circumstances. In fact, at the fourth season renewal meeting with CBS chief executive Bill Paley, Irwin Allen got up and walked out when being told that the budget was being cut 15% from season 3, thereby sealing the show's cancellation.

Disliked by an executive

Robert Hamner, one of the show's writers, states (in Starlog, #220, November 1995) that Paley despised the show so much that the budget dispute was used as an excuse to terminate the series.

Declining ratings and escalating costs

The Lost in Space Forever DVD cites declining ratings and escalating costs as the reasons for cancellation.

Diminishing Interest

Probably not the main reason, but a contributing factor, at least, was that June Lockhart and director Don Richardson were no longer excited about the show. Lockhart is quoted as saying in response to being told about its cancellation by Perry Lafferty, the head of CBS programming, "I think that's for the best at this point..." (although she goes on to say that she would have stayed if there had been a fourth season). Richardson had been tipped off that the show was canceled, was looking for another series, and had decided not to return to "Lost in Space," even if it continued.

Jonathan Harris (Dr Smith) and Bob May (the man inside the robot) had started out as friends to begin with - but, by the time the series eventually ended, a bit of a rot had set in - it eventually got to the stage where the older actor would not let the younger actor into his dressing room.

Music

The theme music for the opening and closing credits was written by John Williams, who was listed in the credits as "Johnny Williams."

For season three, the opening theme was revised (again by Williams) to a more exciting and faster tempo score, accompanied by live action shots of the cast, featuring a pumped-up countdown from seven to one to launch each week's episode. Seasons 1 and 2 had animated figures "life-roped" together drifting "hopelessly lost in space" and set to a dizzy and comical score.

Much of the incidental music in the series was written by Williams and other notable film and television composers, including Alexander Courage, who contributed six scores to the series. His most recognizable ("Wild Adventure") included his key theme for "Lorelei" composed for organ, woodwinds, and harp – thus cementing this highly recognizable theme with John Williams' own "Chariot" and main theme for the series.

In the unaired pilot episode, "No Place to Hide," the opening theme music and much of the incidental music was borrowed from the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.

A series of soundtrack CDs were released containing only background and incidental music from the original TV series.

Legal questions

In 1962 Gold Key comics (formerly Dell Comics), a division of Western Publishing Company, began publishing a series of comic books under the title, Space Family Robinson. The story was largely inspired by The Swiss Family Robinson but with a space-age twist. The movie and television rights to the comic book were then purchased by noted television writer Hilda Bohem (The Cisco Kid), who created a treatment under the title, Space Family 3000.

In July 1964, notable science fiction writer and filmmaker Ib Melchior began pitching a treatment for a feature film, also under the title Space Family Robinson.

There has been some debate as to whether or not Irwin Allen was aware of the Melchior treatment. It is also unknown whether Allen was aware of the comic book or the Hilda Bohem treatment.

As copyright law only protects the actual expression of a work, and not titles, general ideas or concepts, in 1964 Irwin Allen moved forward with his own take on Space Family Robinson, with characters and situations notably different from either the Bohem or the Melchior treatments (It is interesting to note that none of these versions contained the characters of Dr. Smith or the Robot).

Intended as a follow up to his first successful television venture, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (TV series), 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.

A compromise was struck as part of a legal settlement. In addition to an undisclosed sum of money, Western Publishing would be allowed to change the name of its comic book to Lost in Space.

There were no other legal challenges to the title until 1995, when New Line Cinema announced their intention to turn Lost in Space into a big budget motion picture. New Line had purchased the screen rights from Prelude Pictures (which had acquired the screen rights from the Irwin Allen Estate in 1993). At that time, Ib Melchior contacted Prelude Pictures and insisted that Lost in Space was directly based upon his 1964 treatment. Melchior was aided in his efforts by Ed Shifres, a fan who had written a book entitled Space Family Robinson: The True Story. (Later reprinted with the title, Lost in Space: The True Story). The book attempts to show how Irwin Allen allegedly plagiarized Melchior's concept, with two outlines presented side by side.

To satisfy Melchior, Prelude Pictures hired the 78-year-old filmmaker as a consultant on their feature film adaptation. This accommodation was made without the knowledge or consent of the Irwin Allen Estate or Space Productions, the original copyright holder of Lost in Space. Melchior's contract with Prelude also guaranteed him 2% of the producer's gross receipts, a provision that was later the subject of a suit between Melchior and Mark Koch of Prelude Pictures. Although an Appellate Court ruled partly in Melchior's favor, on November 17th, 2004, the Supreme Court of California denied a petition by Melchior to further review the case.

It is significant that no further claim was made and that Space Productions now strongly contends that Irwin Allen was the sole creator of the TV series called Lost in Space.

References in popular culture

  • The animated television series Freakazoid features a character named Professor Jones. The generic name, and the lines given to the character were obvious riffs on Dr. Smith (such as "Weren't you on a TV show with a robot?"), and the character was in fact voiced by Jonathan Harris.
  • The song "Blast Off" by the Stray Cats makes reference to both Dr. Smith and the Robot.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Fear of Flying" Marge Simpson dreams she is Maureen Robinson and left behind on an alien planet when her father blasts off in the Jupiter 2 without her. In a later episode, "Mayored to the Mob", Dr. Smith and the Robot appear at the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con. Bart Simpson claims he's seen the movie and the actor signing autographs, a parody of Jonathan Harris, is not Dr. Smith. It is implied that Dr. Smith attempts to lure him away to molest him. The Robot prevents this from happening with his alarm, "DANGER! DANGER! BART SIMPSON!"
  • The Family Guy episode Fore Father refers to Lost in Space in one of their many-known cutaways. John Robinson is parodied as pairing up the characters in ways that match several season 1 and 2 episodes. He is fully aware of how inappropriate this is, saying Major West and his unmarried daughter Judy are to ride around in the chariot all day. Will is left to the mercy of a boy-hungry pedophile, implied to be Dr. Smith. Maureen and Penny are to be left at the ship defenseless.
  • The Oink! strip "Pete's Pimple" about a boy with a giant zit once had an episode where he was blasted into space and met the Robinsons, but when he mistakenly used the robot to urinate on, it went crazy and wiped out the entire cast.
  • Lost in Space was parodied during a host segment on the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the episode "Time Chasers".
  • In 1997, a musical parody called Danger, Will Robinson! opened in Chicago and became a cult hit. It featured songs from the 1950s and 60s integrated into the plot. Scenes were performed on Mancow's Morning Madhouse on Q101 radio.
  • Legendary rapper Kool Keith released an album called Black Elvis/Lost in Space, in 1999.

Guest stars

During its three-year run, many actors guest-starred on the show, among them Al Lewis, Edy Williams, Arte Johnson, Don Matheson, Kurt Russell, Strother Martin, Francine York, Michael Rennie, Mercedes McCambridge, Michael J. Pollard, Allan Melvin and Henry Jones. Future Hill Street Blues stars Daniel J. Travanti, Kym Karath (who also worked with Angela Cartwright on The Sound of Music), and Michael Conrad also made featured appearances.

Spin-offs

Comics

Bill Mumy scripted an authorized Lost in Space comic book for Innovation Comics. The company continued the series for some time, at one point focusing on a time many years after the end of series, the children had long ago grown up.

Prior to the appearance of the TV series, a comic book named Space Family Robinson was published by Gold Key Comics and written by Gaylord Du Bois. (Du Bois did not create the series, but he became the sole writer of the series once he began chronicling the Robinsons' adventures with Peril on Planet Four in issue #8, and he had already written the Captain Venture second feature beginning with Situation Survival in issue #6). Due to a deal worked out with Gold Key, the title of the comic later incorporated the "Lost in Space" sub-title. The comic book is not a spinoff of the TV series but was in print prior to the conception of the show. Also, there is an unlicensed comic in which Will Robinson meets up with Friday the 13th character Jason Voorhees.

Cartoon

In the 1972-73 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 Productions contributed animated work based on such TV series as Gidget, Yogi Bear, Tabitha, Oliver Twist, Nanny and the Professor, The Banana Splits, and most importantly, 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). The spacecraft was launched vertically by rocket, and Smith was a passenger rather than a saboteur. The pilot for the animated Lost in Space series was not picked up as a series, and only this episode was produced.

Feature film

In 1998, New Line Cinema produced a Lost in Space feature film. It included numerous nods, homages and cameos related to the series, including:

  • Dick Tufeld as The Robot's voice;
  • Mark Goddard played the General who gives Major West his orders for the mission;
  • June Lockhart played the principal of Will Robinson's school;
  • Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen appeared as reporters.
  • The film's Jupiter II was launched into orbit by a vehicle called the Jupiter I, which closely mimics the series' spacecraft, complete with rotating propulsion lights.
  • Reference is made to the Chariot and Space Pod, both of which are reported wrecked.

Additional cameo appearances from the original series were considered, but did not make it to the film: Jonathan Harris was offered a cameo appearance (as the Global Sedition businessman who hires, then betrays, Dr. Smith). He turned down the role (which eventually went to Edward Fox), and is even reported to have said "I play Smith or I don't play." Harris appeared on an episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien mentioning that he was offered a role: "Yes, they offered me a part in the new movie-six lines!" Bill Mumy was offered a key role in the film, that of an aged Will Robinson who appears in the "Spider Smith" sequences, but due to a scheduling conflict, Jared Harris was cast instead. (By coincidence, Harris would marry Fox's daughter Emilia Fox 10 years later, but they were unconnected at the time). Guy Williams, the remaining original cast member, had died some years earlier.

Novel

In 1967, a novel based on the series with significant changes to the personalities of the characters, and a redesign of the Jupiter 2 was published by Pyramid Books. Written by Dave Van Arnam and Ron Archer (as Ted White), the book was three short stories woven together. In one scene, where a character is randomly speaking English to provide data for translation, the book correctly predicted Richard Nixon winning the presidency after Lyndon Johnson (but also predicted a Kennedy (likely Robert F. Kennedy) winning after Nixon).

Second TV series

In late 2003, a new TV series, with a somewhat changed format, was in development in the U.S. It was intended to be originally closer to the original pilot with no Dr. Smith, but included a robot. The pilot (entitled, The Robinsons: Lost in Space) was commissioned by the The WB Television Network. It was directed by John Woo and produced by Synthesis Entertainment, Irwin Allen Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Regency Television.

The Jupiter 2 interstellar flying-saucer spacecraft of the original series was changed to a non-saucer planet-landing craft, dispensed from a larger inter-stellar mothership.

The pilot script featured the characters of John and Maureen, but an elder son, David, was added, as well as Judy, an 'infant' Penny, and ten-year-old Will. There was no Dr. Smith character, but the character of Don West was described as a "dangerous, lone wolf type".

The confirmed cast included Brad Johnson as John Robinson, Jayne Brook as Maureen Robinson, Adrianne Palicki as Judy Robinson, Ryan Malgarini as Will Robinson and Mike Erwin as Don West.

It was not among the network's series pick-ups confirmed later that year.

However, the producers of the new Battlestar Galactica show bought the sets. They were redesigned the next year and used for scenes on the Battlestar Pegasus.

LIS enters Flight Simulator Genre

Starting in 2004, the Lost in Space ships and equipment were built and compiled into highly detailed computer models by a small group of aging fans called Pendercrafts. They built models of the Jupiter 2, Spacepod, Chariot and Jetpack for use by fans in the popular Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. They also built 3d scenerys transforming some areas of MSFS into a Lost in Space playground for other fans to enjoy free of charge. They have built 3 models of the Jupiter 2, each incarnation more detailed than the last.

With blueprint copies of the actual J-2 provided to them by a fellow fan, the latest model, the Mark Goddard Special edition Jupiter-2, was hailed by thousands of fans as the "ultimate" Jupiter-2 flight experience. Fans can download the models and then fly them on their own computers. The details of the interior match the actual show with authentic sounds modeled into it. Mark Goddard was informed of the model and gave his written consent to use his name and likeness to the project to Pendercrafts co-founder, Rich Taylor. There are also many videos on youtube that Rich made for enjoyment of all LIS fans. Eventually, these models will be refined to enhance the experience in Flight Simulator X.

DVD releases

20th Century Fox has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Season 1 30 January 13 2004

  • Un-Aired Pilot "No Place To Hide" included (see above)
  • CBS Network Presentation (5.5 minutes)

Season 2 Volume 1 16 September 14 2004
Season 2 Volume 2 14 November 30 2004

  • Original 1966 Lost In Space Interviews
  • 17 stills from the Guy Williams and June Lockhart interview
  • 15 stills from the Jonathan Harris interview

Season 3 Volume 1 15 March 1 2005

  • "Lost in Space" memories - 20 nostalgic video clips with cast members offering a fond look back at favorite episodes and highlights of the show!

Season 3 Volume 2 9 July 19 2005

  • Next on Lost in Space: Princess of Space, The Time Merchant, The Promised Planet, Fugitives in Space, Space Beauty, The Flaming Planet, The Great Vegetable Rebellion, Junkyard of Space and The Condemned of Space
  • Target Earth Act Break
  • Interstitial Blooper / Bill Mumy
  • Interview Clips (from 1995): Resolving the show, Bob May and The Robot, Thoughts on the cast / Jonathan Harris, Getting the role, Comedic Villain and Motivation for Dr. Zachary Smith

Title in other languages

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Perdidos no Espaço
  • Croatian: Izgubljeni u svemiru
  • Finnish: Matkalla avaruuteen
  • French: Perdus dans l'espace
  • Japanese: 宇宙家族ロビンソン (Uchuu Kazoku Robinson = Space Family Robinson)
  • Korean: 우주가족 로빈슨 (Uju Gajok Robinseun = Space Family Robinson)
  • Polish: Zagubieni w kosmosie
  • Romanian: Pierduţi în spaţiu
  • Spanish: Perdidos en el espacio

Trivia

  • Comedy Series Fast Forward sent-up Lost In Space In Series 1 (1989).
  • Although the Robot had no name, in the third-season episode entitled "The Time Merchant," it was shown in its packing crate, and the crate was labelled "ONE

  color=red>General 
  color=red>Utility 
  color=red>Non-
  color=red>Theorizing 
  color=red>Environmental 
  color=red>ROBOT" with the G, U, N, T, E, and all letters in "ROBOT" in red capital letters, while all the other letters were black; some have suggested that this was supposed to convey the acronym "GUNTER".

  • Dr. Smith and the Robot did not appear in the unaired pilot episode (which has since been made available on VHS tapes, iTunes and on the DVD release of the entire series). Story editor Anthony Wilson came up with the idea of including a "Long John Silver" type villain to act as a constant irritant to compensate for the lack of conflict within the Robinson family. Writer Shimon Wincelberg fleshed out the character, giving him an exotic foreign-sounding name. Irwin Allen wanted a plain all-American name for the doctor so it was changed to the generic "Smith.
  • According to Lost in Space: The Ultimate Unauthorized Trivia Challenge for the Classic TV Series, by James Hatfield and George "Doc" Burt, the role of Dr. Smith was originally written for Carroll O'Connor (who turned it down). Character actor Jack Elam was also considered before Jonathan Harris was chosen for the role.
  • Smith is blamed, in "The Reluctant Stowaway", for the Jupiter II encountering a meteor swarm shortly after leaving Earth – his weight caused the autopilot to miscalculate so it could not dodge the swarm. However, as learned in the third-season episode "The Time Merchant", the Robinsons and Major West owe Dr. Smith an enormous debt because, had he not been aboard, the stable, planned flight path would have caused the ship to collide with an uncharted asteroid six months into its flight, destroying the Jupiter 2 and killing everyone onboard.
  • In early episodes Dr. Smith is a purely evil, cold-hearted saboteur who makes repeated attempts to murder the Robinsons. He was even given eye-liner to make him look more sinister and cat-like. Harris hated playing the snarling, unappealing villain and knew his character would soon be killed off unless changes were made. To that end he saved his role by gradually transforming him into a sympathetic comedic-villain. The revamped Smith was really a composite of previous roles. On The Bill Dana Show Harris played the pompous, irritable manager of a snooty hotel—imperious to his employees and obsequious toward his guests. On The Third Man he played a fussy, cowardly, eager-to-please accountant. Combine the two and add some childlike flaws (lazy, selfish, and deceitful) and there is Smith. In fact, Harris played a variety of Smith-like characters, or characters with one or more of those traits, throughout his long career.
  • The Forbidden Planet character Robby the Robot guest starred in two episodes: War of the Robots, and Condemned of Space. Robby was also designed by Robert Kinoshita, who designed the Lost in Space robot nearly ten years later.
  • The Robot has inspired a dedicated fan base, many striving to build their own Robot. Since the series conclusion, hobbyists around the world have built at least 15 detailed full-size replicas of the Robot. Two versions of the robot were used during filming: a 'hero' costume worn by Bob May, and a static, 'stunt' robot used for distance or hazardous shots. Both versions fell into disrepair after the series, but have since been discovered and restored. The 'hero' is in the private ownership of Kevin Burns, who commissioned a replica in the early 1990s for touring and conventions. The 'stunt' robot is on display at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington.
  • Jonathan Harris, Bill Mumy and Mark Goddard are the only actors to appear in every episode of the series. Marta Kristen and Angela Cartwright appeared in the second highest amount of episodes, appearing in 82 of the 83 episodes produced.
  • Harris was supposed to reprise his role as Dr. Zachary Smith on a TV movie, Lost In Space: The Journey Home, but became ill and died late in 2002; hence, production was scrapped.
  • In 2005 a replica of The Robot was featured in an ANZ Bank advertisement in Australia along with a Dalek from Doctor Who.
  • The show was re-aired in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and early 1990s on Channel 4 in a Sunday lunchtime slot, which brought a new generation of fans to the show.
  • The suit for the Robot was later reused and redesigned for P.O.P.S. in The Skatebirds segment Mystery Island. Bob May the actor inside the Robot did stunt work for The Skatebirds

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