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Lost in Space (TV Series 1965–1968) Poster

(1965–1968)

Trivia

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June Lockhart had the biggest parking space on the 20th Century-Fox lot because she would often drive her favorite vehicle to work - a 1913 fire truck.
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Irwin Allen pitched his idea for the series to CBS programmer James Aubrey, who immediately snapped up the idea. A couple of weeks later Gene Roddenberry pitched his idea for Star Trek (1966) to Aubrey, who turned him down as he felt that "Lost in Space" was the more commercial of the two.
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The Robinsons' robot was created by Robert Kinoshita, the same man who designed Robby the Robot for Forbidden Planet (1956). Indeed, Robbie the Robot makes a guest appearance in Lost in Space: War of the Robots (1966).
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There were actually two pilots filmed for the show. The original Lost in Space: No Place to Hide (1965) didn't have Dr. Smith, but the network executives wanted an antagonist so they added his character for the second pilot.
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Jonathan Harris improvised a lot of his sarcastic comments to the Robot.
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The computer used in the series is the Burroughs B-205. This computer, with its flashing light console and large reel-to-reel tape drives, would appear multiple times in 1960s' motion pictures and television. Among its screen credits are The Angry Red Planet (1959), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964), The Time Travelers (1964), Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965), Hogan's Heroes (1965), The Time Tunnel (1966), Batman (1966), Fantastic Voyage (1966), The Green Hornet (1966), Land of the Giants (1968), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), The Towering Inferno (1974), The Right Stuff (1983), and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999).
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Dick Tufeld provided the voice of the robot as well as the opening narration "Last week, as you may recall.."
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Jonathan Harris was the first actor to receive a Special Guest Star status on a TV series.
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The props used in this show, (such as the computers and guns) also were used in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964), The Time Tunnel (1966), Land of the Giants (1968) and Batman (1966).
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Dr. Smith's whiny "Oh! The pain! The pain!" would become the second most popular catchphrase on the series. (The first is "Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!"
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Irwin Allen was very keen to enlist the help of NASA. The space agency was equally interested in using the TV series to promote what they do. However, after several conversations with Allen, NASA realized that the producer had no interest whatsoever in scientific accuracy and so they distanced themselves from the project.
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The first season was shot in black and white. The second and third seasons were shot in color.
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The robot cost $75,000 to produce and weighed in excess of 200 pounds. Two of them were made for the series.
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For the pilot Lost in Space: No Place to Hide (1965), actor Dawson Palmer was dressed in a fur suit to portray a giant monster. A doll of John Robinson in a jet-pack was held up by wires around Palmer's head and he was told to take swipes at it. This proved frustrating for Palmer as he was completely unable to see out of his suit. When filming stopped, Palmer angrily ripped off his suit and grabbed the doll, tearing it to pieces, screaming "There, you little bastard!" at it.
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CBS Chairman William Paley, who prided himself on the fact that CBS produced quality, thoughtful programming, hated the show and couldn't understand why it was so popular. He instructed his executives to cancel it the minute its ratings dipped.
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Star Wars composer John Williams also wrote the theme song for this show. He is credited here as "Johnny Williams".
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Interestingly, the show's most famous catchphrase, "Danger, Will Robinson!" -- was actually only uttered once in the entire 83-episode series' original run.
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As the series progressed, kissing scenes between John and Maureen Robinson were toned down - not out of any censorious demands but to avoid boring, embarrassing or alienating the more juvenile audience members.
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The series takes place beginning in the future of 1997 (specifically the Jupiter II, en route for Alpha Centauri, blasted off on October 16th 1997); the film based on the series, Lost in Space (1998), began production in 1997.
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It should be noted that while Star Trek was not initially successful in its first run, and only became successful in re-runs as its cult status grew, Lost in Space was successful in its first run.
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The budget for each show in the first season was $130,000, a modest amount for such a series. This was fortunate as the Jupiter II set had cost $350,000, making it the most expensive TV set at the time.
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It has long been rumored that Dr. Smith was only supposed to be on for a few episodes and then get killed off. This was never true, just a probable scenario imagined by Jonathan Harris, who was listed as special guest star throughout the run of the series. This billing occurred because the billing of the other six actors was already contractually set before the show went into production as a series. "Special Guest Star" was Harris' request and producer Irwin Allen eventually agreed.
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The Robot was never verbally named on-screen. Irwin Allen reputedly liked Rodney as its moniker, whilst an intriguing hint can be seen in Lost in Space: Time Merchant (1968), where the Robot's shipping crate is stamped "General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental ROBOT" (capitals highlighted in red) suggesting that the machine's name was Gunter. It referred to itself with the above title (adding "Control" before Robot) during the second season.
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The entire cast has a radical costume change in Lost in Space: Ghost in Space (1966).
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Throughout the series Will Robinson was the only Jupiter 2 occupant to have briefly visited the Earth the most, 5 times. Dr. Smith visited it three times, Robot B9 visited it twice, and Prof. Robinson only briefly visited it once. All of the occupants of the Jupiter 2 have spent one day on Earth of the year 1947 after traveling through a time warp. While there was another occasion where Dr. Smith, Will Robinson, and Robot B9 have all briefly traveled back to the year 1997 on Earth.
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In the preview screening for the pilot Lost in Space: No Place to Hide (1965), Irwin Allen was horrified when CBS executives started laughing. Allen was ready to bolt from the screening when story editor Anthony Wilson told him to sit it out, as he believed that they really liked it. Wilson was right. The laughing was because the executives realized that they were on to a real winner.
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The robot costume was top-heavy, with a 250 pound upper section and 100 to 125 pound lower section. At the beginning of Lost in Space: The Space Trader (1966), the director insisted on filming the robot running up the Jupiter 2 ramp from a distance, so Bob May had to wear the full robot suit. Angela Cartwright accidentally stepped on the tow cable as she ran in front of the robot. The combination of sudden jerk and top-heaviness caused the robot to topple over backward (visible for a split second). May was knocked unconscious in the fall but luckily otherwise uninjured. The suit only suffered relatively minor damage and filming continued.
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Though he was the villain, and an afterthought, (the original pilot didn't even feature him), Jonathan Harris' Dr. Smith became the most popular character on the show.
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The majority of the footage from the original unaired pilot Lost in Space: No Place to Hide (1965) was fleshed out with new scenes featuring Dr. Smith and the Robot and expanded to make up the story lines of episodes 1, 3, 4 and 5. Episode 2 did not feature footage from the pilot but contained all new material which took place during the course of the events featured in the pilot.
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Although the Robinsons take off in the Jupiter II, they take flight in the Gemini XII in the pilot episode Lost in Space: No Place to Hide (1965) (the name change meant that the original pilot could never be aired).
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The third season episode Fugitives in Space featured two ape-faced aliens and another alien (Creech, who was more pig-faced than simian) used the simian makeup by John Chambers that became famous in the movie, Planet of the Apes (1968), and its sequels.
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In some scenes where the Robot is seen in close-up, only the top of the robot is worn by the actor.
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(title: "Lost in Space" (1965)) Ed Shifres book Space Family Robinson: The True Story precipitated the arrangement for writer/director Ib Melchior to be given screen credit in the Lost in Space (1998) movie produced by Prelude Pictures and distributed by New Line Cinema, and Melchior worked as special adviser to Mark W. Kochin the film because Melchior was the creator of the original Space Family Robinson, a 1960 screenplay which became Irwin Allen's Lost in Space (1965) TV series. Allen's original pilot No Place To Hide (1 January 1965) is almost a carbon copy of Melchior's Space Family Robinson 1960 screenplay. Melchior was never credited for the creation, until the details were exposed in Ed ShifresSpace Family Robinson: The True Story(Windsor House-1996) and re-published as Lost in Space: The True Story (Windsor House - 1998). The book was extremely controversial and earned Melchior a monetary settlement and recognition as the creator of what became Lost in Space. The book was critically acclaimed with excellent reviews from Hollywood notable writers. To satisfy Melchior, Prelude Pictures hired him as a consultant on their feature film adaptation. Melchior's contract also guaranteed him 2% of the producer's gross receipts, a provision that was later the subject of a suit between Melchior and Mark W. Koch of Prelude Pictures. Although an Appellate Court ruled partly in Melchior's favor, on November 17, 2004 [ironically the exact month/day of the Second Revised shooting Final Irwin Allen pilot script in 1964], the Supreme Court of California denied a petition by Melchior to further review the case.
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The pilot episode Lost in Space: No Place to Hide (1965) was budgeted at $400,000 and was largely filmed in the Mojave Desert.
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Carroll O'Connor, Jack Elam, and Victor Buono were among the actors considered for the part of Dr. Zachary Smith.
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In Season one, some episodes used incidental music utilizing a "Theremin", an electronic instrument incorporating two heterodyne oscillators. This music was used to create an atmosphere of suspense and impending terror. The Theremin music used in these episodes was from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) composed by Bernard Herrmann.
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The space ship was originally named "Gemini XII", but was changed to avoid confusion with the then-current NASA program.
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The character 'John Robinson' was ranked #38 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
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The first year was in black and white, and Irwin Allen and his writers took the premise quite seriously at this point, offering up very straightforward family-in-peril-within-a-spaceage-setting type situations. Season 2 saw a change in color, and new competition from Batman, which was a ratings smash and a phenomenon unto itself, offering up campy humor, hip meta in-jokes and psychedelic situations. Allen decided to make the show campier at this point, to try to keep up with Batman; so the viewer was treated to "The Great Vegetable Rebellion", space hippies, space cowboys, and other outlandish situations.
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"Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!" became the catch phrase for this show.
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Billy Mumy has said in interviews this was his favorite role of all time and would jump at the chance to play it again.
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The robot's chest lights and motorized feelers were powered by an electrical cord which can occasionally be spotted.
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The space pod didn't show up until the show's third (and final) season.
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This is the only show produced by Irwin Allen to appear on a network other than ABC.
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The Steve Miller song "Space Cowboy" was inspired in part by the "Welcome Stranger" episode which featured a space cowboy.
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Fresh off his turn as Zorro Guy Williams was originally conceived as the star of this show. But unfortunately, as is often what happens with TV series, the public chose someone else to be the star: Jonathan Harris. Audience feedback immediately expressed much love and adulation for Dr. Smith; and he was vaunted to the centerpiece of the series. According to cast interviews this created friction between Harris and Williams. Harris even reached out to Williams to apologize for the whole conflict, and Williams would not accept his apology.
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Originally titled "Space Family Robinson", but changed as CBS was concerned that the title was too close to the title of the Disney film Swiss Family Robinson (1960). Also, Gold Key comics had been publishing a comic book called Space Family Robinson with a different Robinson family who were lost in space some time before the TV series began. Interestingly, after this occurred, the comic book added the words "Lost in Space" to its title although its characters remained the same, suggesting that the TV show producers may have allowed this tie-in with their show by the comic book in order to avoid a possible plagarism suit.
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The character 'Robot' was ranked #14 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (1 August 2004 issue).
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Judy the Chimpanzee, owned by Exotic Animal Trainer Ralph Helfer, played "Debbie the Bloop", Penny Robinson's alien pet in the TV Series.
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Bill Mumy would later go on to star in another science fiction TV series Babylon 5 (1994) as Lennier.
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Lost in Space: The Keeper: Part 1 (1966) and Lost in Space: The Keeper: Part 2 (1966) form the only two-parter in the run of the series.
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Angela Cartwright, who played Penny on Lost In Space, and also Brigita Von Trap in the film version of "The Sound of Music", had a reunion of sourts with Kym Karath when she appeared in " The Lost Civilization" episode. Kym Karath played Gretl in "The Sound of Music".
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The Robot costume was built with two different lower sections. One was complete with legs and feet. The other, nicknamed "The Bermuda Shorts," was cut off at about knee level and had a harness installed in the upper section. The Robot's operator, Bob May, would wear the Bermuda Shorts when the Robot had to cross steep grades or rough ground.
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June Lockhart joined the cast of Petticoat Junction as the character Dr. Janet Craig, replacing series regular Bea Benadaret who died, in 1968 right after Lost in Space wrapped.
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Bill Mumy has said in interviews that his father/son scenes with Guy Williams are among his most favorite ever. He has also said in interviews that he's very sorry Lost In Space became the Will Robinson/Dr. Smith/Robot show, and that Williams and other cast members were basically wasted and relegated to supporting roles.
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After this series wrapped up its production, Jonathan Harris starred in another science fiction television series , Space Academy, which aired in 1977. He also lent his voice to Lucifer (Count Baltar's robot minion) on Battlestar Galactica (1978).
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The Robot identifies itself in Lost in Space: The Ghost Planet (1966) as "Robot Model B9, designed and computerized as a mechanized electronic aid for Earth voyagers engaged in astral expeditions." in answer to the ID query from Supreme Prototype of all Cybernetic Machines. This is the only time the model number "B9" (a homophone for the English word "benign") is ever used in the series, but many if not most toy collectors, modelers, blueprint makers and other fans refer to their creations as Robot B9 or B-9.
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Irwin Allen helmed a number of sci-fi projects in the 60s and 70s, as well as a number of disaster movies; most notable of these was The Towering Inferno in 1974, which was one of the top box office draws of the year.
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The planet where the Robinsons find themselves stranded in the first season is called Preplanis.
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A few years after Lost In Space wrapped, in 1973, Television aired an animated Lost In Space special which can be found on YouTube.
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After LIS was cancelled, Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright had a brief romantic relationship which according to Mr. Mumy involved the backseat of his first automobile.
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Debbie the Bloop (a dressed up chimp) makes her debut in Lost in Space: Island in the Sky (1965).
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According to cast interviews Jonathan Harris was out and proud during the filming of Lost in Space in the 1960s.
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The Robot identifies itself in Lost in Space: The Colonists (1967) as "I am a Robot of the Class M3, programed to provide information and support to all Jupiter personnel" in reply to a query from the Noble Niolani. This has taken by many to a model number, not the least of whom was the Japanese toy company Masudaya, which called its 1968 LIS robot toys "Robot YM-3" (Y being a prefix for prototype aircraft using by the USAF), but it's more likely a sly dig at Star Trek (1966), which rated Earth-like planets as Class M. The LIS Environment Control Robot was designed to help replicate and maintain an environment as similar to that of Earth as possible, so it too would be optimized for Class M3 environmental control.
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The series was based on the "Swiss Family Robinson" book.
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Angela Cartwright loved having "Debbie the Bloop" (Judy the Chimpanzee), as her co-star.
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Jonathan Harris was 50 years old when the show started.
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After Angela Cartwright's best-known role on Make Room for Daddy (1953), Irwin Allen, a fan of the series (that starred Danny Thomas), had talked Cartwright into playing Penny Robinson, which was the right thing for him to do.
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The series was brought to the big screen in 1998 with Lost in Space (1998). The film starred William Hurt as John Robinson. Matt LeBlanc as Major Don West. Gary Oldman as Dr. Smith. Mimi Rogers as Maureen Robinson. Heather Graham as Judy Robinson. Jack Johnson as Will Robinson. Lacey Chabert as Penny Robinson and Dick Tufeld returned to the provide the voice of Robot.
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Although he was only in his early 50s and in good health, Jonathan Harris used a stunt double for even the simplest of falls and jumps.
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In Season 3 of this series, Lyle Waggoner appears as an alien in one episode. He would later go on to be a recurring actor on The Carol Burnett Show (1967) and a regular actor on Wonder Woman (1975).
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England-born Angela Cartwright sometimes lapsed into British pronunciation, the archetypal example being "robut" instead of "robot." Other instances include "It's lucked" (instead of "locked" in "Lost in Space" (1965) {The Keeper: Part 1 (#1.16)} qv) and "It's just a mirra" (instead of "mirror" in "Lost in Space" (1965) {The Magic Mirror (#1.21)} qv).
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Both Bill Mumy and Jonathan Harris boycotted a special Celebrity edition of Family Feud (1976) which featured the Lost In Space cast.
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None of Guy's former co-stars from "Zorro" made any guest appearances in this series. Don Diamond was acting on F Troop (1965) at the same time as this production. George J. Lewis, Henry Calvin, and Gene Sheldon were never brought in to 20th Century Fox's studio for any guest starring role.
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The series was brought to the big screen as Lost in Space (1998).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The show was canceled after the third season and the Robinsons never returned to earth.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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