I got some mail art done and sketched some birds and tried to finish reading the big book of Conversations with Scorsese by Richard Schickel, but no writing got done. Hopefully this week I will catch up. Catch up to what, I don't know, since I'm completely flying to the sound of my own rotor blades, but no doubt fabulous future endeavors are in store for us.
Meanwhile, let's explore the television saga that was "Lost in Space," the low-budget staple of every American child growing up in the late 60s. By the mid-70s "Lost in Space" was on TV constantly, which was an accomplishment considering we barely had any TV networks or channels to choose from. I never liked this show much. It was too formulaic, but looking back now, that's its charm. Nearly everyone I know over the age of 35 knows where "Danger, Will Robinson!" and "Oh, the pain!" come from. And the "Promised Planet" episode with the endlessly go-go dancing counter-culture aliens--that's a damn classic.
The cast was very good, always playing it straight no matter how ludicrous the concept. A lot of us kids especially appreciated Billy Mumy as young Will Robinson, who rarely lost his logic-based cool when confronted by intimidating rubber-suited monsters. The fact that Will's parents regularly let him traipse off to parts unknown alongside the creepy, cowardly Dr. Smith was vaguely disturbing to me. I know Robot was along, but how protective would he be? He was built like a lit-up clothing rack on wheels.
One cool thing about the Robinson parenting style was their complete disregard for Will missing out on little league sign-ups and all-star soccer leagues. You should hear the parents of today talking about these all-encompassing activities, as if the future of mankind rests on their 8-year-olds' abilities on the playing field. At least Will's independent upbringing gave him advantages in advanced problem-solving and running away.
Otherwise, the show looked like it was filmed in a big garage space and Dr. Smith was SO ANNOYING. Why didn't they just push him into outer space at some point, like anyone with half a brain would have done? The guy almost got them killed in every goddamn episode. When would the Robinsons grow a spine. WHEN?! Did being a decent person mean I had to look forward to a lifetime of kowtowing to treacherous psychopaths? What kind of television lesson was I learning here?
I had always hoped as a child that the very last episode would be the one where Dad Robinson left Dr. Smith behind, preferably on the howling banshee planet, but NO--so frustrating. Still, the robot was great. Rest in peace, voice of B9 Robot, Dick Tufeld--a large part of humorous childhood memories.
|Youthful Aliens of the Promised Planet!|
|Will Robinson refuses to "get with the scene" because he's strictly squaresville|
|"Groovy, man!" - Dr. Smith regains his youth|
According to Wikipedia, Dr. Smith was originally scripted as an evil villain who gets killed off early on in the season. As played by Jonathan Taylor, Smith became more of a comical concept that quickly took over the show, causing tensions among some of the adult members of the cast (or "oldsters" as they were known on "The Promised Planet" episode).
Dr. Smith Saying Creature - This is quite possibly the best thing ever to be seen on the Internet.
Let's look at some classic clips from "Lost in Space," including fabulous paper-mâché monsters, Robot B9 being sassy, Dr. Smith screaming and flailing his arms about, and a flying Valkyrie. It was that kind of show.
Bill Mumy would grow up to co-create Fish Heads.
I had completely forgotten that "Lost in Space" was made into a movie in 1998, starring Matt LeBlanc, desperately trying (and failing) to bust out of his Joey persona, William Hurt(!?) and Gary Oldman (!!?) alongside a bunch of CGI bullshit. The trying-too-hard trailer is awash with metallic grays and explosive monotony.