Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seven Things to Know About "Lost in Space"

1. Gold Key Comics published a Space Family Robinson comic book series three years before the Lost in Space TV series. Its characters were different and its authors had nothing to do with the TV series. However, the premise was similar, so Gold Key's parent company, Western Publishing, and CBS reached a legal settlement. Western received an undisclosed amount of money and was allowed to retitle its comic book series Space Family Robinson: Lost in Space.

2. The show's original pilot "Nowhere to Hide" was never broadcast, although it has since been released on video. It contains two major differences from the regular series:  there is no Dr. Smith and no robot! In the pilot, a meteor storm sends the Gemini XII (instead of the Jupiter 2) off course--as opposed to Dr. Smith's sabotage.

Lost in Space robot with Bill Mumy.
3. Veteran art director Robert Kinoshita created the robot. He also created Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Invisible Boy (1957). In fact, Robby appeared in two Lost in Space episodes: "War of the Robots" and "Condemned of Space." Kinoshita also worked on numerous other TV shows from Sea Hunt to Hawaii Five-O to Kojak.

4. Lost in Space never finished worse than #35 in the Nielsen ratings for a season. Its first season in 1965-66 was its best, with the show finishing #32. The #1 TV series that year was Bonanza.

5. In the first episode, Dr. Smith was an evil enemy agent who sabotaged the Jupiter 2, but was unable to escape from the spaceship. The writers intended to phase him out of the series. However, actor Jonathan Harris eventually turned Dr. Smith into the lovable, bumbling coward that became the focus of the show with young Will Robinson (Bill Mumy).

6. Angela Cartwright, who played Penny Robinson, told us earlier this year that her favorite episode was "My Friend, Mr. Nobody." In it, Penny's "imaginary" friend turns out to be a very protective invisible cosmic force. Ms. Cartwright said: "I love the black and white film noir feel to it. I loved the message it had...though I remember it was challenging to talk to no one through the whole episode."

7. In 2004, director John Woo shot a pilot for a new series to be called The Robinsons: Lost in Space. It retained little except the premise, the character names, and the robot from Irwin Allen's series. The WB network did not pick up the pilot, so the new series never materialized.


  1. I absolutely love this show! Just tried watching the movie version with Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith, and was sadly disappointed. This post, however, was pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. During the first run black and white episodes, the evening's shows were pre empted by a major breaking news event. The Real LIFE Gemini Mission commanded by Neil Armstong was tumbling out of control causing an emergency re entry and safe pickup at sea. The biggest complaint people had that night was missing "LOST IN SPACE" even though the real thing was happening live!

  3. Love those background facts and trivia! I used to really enjoy this show a lot, and I was one of the legions who loved Dr. Smith!

  4. Not long ago, MeTV ran the original Lost In Space pilot - the Smithless, robot-free version.
    This pilot was missing something else: Johnny Williams's music.
    Instead, the pilot was tracked with Bernard Herrmann's music from The Day The Earth Stood Still.
    Best guess: the series sale hadn't yet been finalized, and CBS wanted a bunch of changes.
    Enter Smith and the Robot, and the new music, and presto! CBS bought.
    Stranger Than Truth!

  5. "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger, Will Robinson!" has surely been one of the most repeated sayings around the home and office for years. Great list, Rick, and I especially enjoyed everyone's comments, too.

  6. I was a huge LIS fan as a kid. The robot was my favorite character, though now it might be Julie:) I always liked how it ended with the start of the next episode.