Lost in Space: Season 1, Episode 23

The Space Trader (9 Mar. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Comedy | Family
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 45 users  
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After ruining the Robinson's food supply, Doctor Smith makes a deal with the space trader and gives his body for food provided he collects it in 200 years. The space trader comes to collect immediately.



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Title: The Space Trader (09 Mar 1966)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Will Robinson (as Billy Mumy)
Torin Thatcher ...
The Space Trader


A sudden storm destroys the Robinson's food supply, artificially created by an unscrupulous space trader with an ulterior motive. He thereafter makes himself known and uses food to lure them into trading, but Prof. Robinson stands fast. Stuck with limited rations (practically nothing more than a few protein pills and a swig of water), only Dr. Smith among the Robinson party grumbles. The trader soon has Smith doing business, at first trading the robot for food, then for Smith himself to trade the robot back. By verbal agreement, the trader intimates he wouldn't collect Smith for another 200 years, but verbal indications aren't binding, and under the fine print of their signed contract, the trader exercises a clause whereby he can collect - now! (his intent all along). Written by statmanjeff

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Release Date:

9 March 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Space Trader's space ship is also Alonzo P. Tucker's space ship from The Sky Pirate. See more »


The Space Trader launches the first storm (in the opening scenes) and everyone is forced to go inside the spaceship. As the robot is going up the ramp, its forward progress slows and then it lunges forward. As it does, the robot's front treads lift off the ramp and its weight is way behind its base. Clearly the robot fell backwards while filming this scene. Played back slowly, you can see Angela Cartwright reach out to grab the robot as it starts to fall. See more »


The Space Trader: [to his dog] Imagine that! He loves a robot like a brother, and yet he was prepared to trade him for a little bit of food. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh. It would seem that I have found my Earthling - Dr. Smith.
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User Reviews

The Space Trader
19 November 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While "The Challenge" had Dr. Smith toiling with a stethoscope again (yeah, we see this "stethoscope shtick" from time to time) to check his physical condition during stressful situations, "The Space Traitor" has the dastardly conniver in hot water yet again. A devious alien "trader" (Torin Thatcher, living it up) wants an Earthling so he concocts a scheme to sucker Dr. Smith into a trade scam, first by causing a cosmic storm (the trader has a weather machine that can cause disruptions in the climate) that ruins the hydroponic garden, leaving the Robinson party without a food supply. The trader isn't able to seduce the Robinsons with food through trading (like swapping a laser pistol for a golden turkey), so he will use his sneaky tactics to motivate Smith, someone willing to do underhanded things to fill his stomach, to help him in his nefarious scheme. When Smith—and does he sink to a new low, the scoundrel—trades Robot for enough food to stock him for 12 days (yes, not forever, or even a year, 12 measly days Smith is willing to trade away Robot for!), the Robinson party gives him the silent treatment and he deserves even worse than that. It is nice seeing them no longer stomaching his treachery. Like in the previous "The Challenge" Robot is showing a more human side (he laughed at Dr. Smith's claim that he was actually doing work when it was Robot doing the manual labor for him), "upset" with Smith for insulting him—again, Robot is considered a part of the family and the inclusion of "human characteristics" gives "him" a status more worthy than just a machine that takes orders. Well the trader is able to get what he wants (or so he believes) when Smith returns empty-handed wanting to get Robot back since the others have "excommunicated" him, receiving an offer to "sell himself" in exchange for the machine. Smith is horrified until the trader says the contract wouldn't be collected until 200 years. What Smith doesn't know is that the "hand contract" he makes with the trader will be acted upon far sooner than he thought…the trader wants Smith to leave with him and uses the "hand contract" as a weapon against him. Yes, people, Smith has encountered someone craftier and more conniving than him. The hand contract has a hypnotic effect on Smith, "pulling" him, against his will, to the trader when he uses it. Well, the Robinsons, to their credit yet again, will come to Smith's aid when he needs it the most. Things never seem to (and won't) change during the running of this series, as Smith finds ways to draw the Robinson party into difficult situations due to his chicanery and avarice. He just can't seem to help himself as Smith remains a nuisance—if the Robinsons weren't good people they would have let the trader just take him away, be done with this thorn always embedded in their asses. I found the conclusion (a bit too neat and tidy) a bit ridiculous as the trader proposes to destroy the Robinsons if they interfere with his plans, yet they are somehow able to defeat him—why doesn't he just do what he claims, he does have a weather device that would cause a great deal of harm to them? Like other episodes, Lost in Space is not lost on plot contrivances.

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