Just in time for Halloween (as if we planned it that way), we bring you… MONSTERS!
But not just any old monsters. Nooooo. We bring you science fiction monsters. Special science fiction monsters. And not just a few. Every single last monster and monster-metaphor from the show’s first season. Fifty of them – depending on your definitions.
Lost In Space aired on television before we really cared about the fact that sound does not propagate in a vacuum. When it comes to these monsters, everyone, everywhere can hear you scream. (Though considering the show’s reputation, they may very well be screams of frustration and incredulity.)
Lost In Space was Irwin Allen’s second venture into science fiction television. His previous effort was Voyage To the Bottom Of the Sea, a spin-off of his successful film of the same name. Voyage ran from 1964 to 1968 and I was an avid fan.
Lost In Space followed from 1965 to 1968 and I was a fan of that show too.
Irwin Allen’s presentation of the Swiss Family Robinson in Space was, at least initially, a serious attempt at television science fiction. The studio budget for the show was relatively high for the era (and for SF fare) and it was well-received by television audiences – far out-pacing the contemporary Star Trek in the ratings. Following its first season the show changed direction, attempting to match the popular campiness of the new Batman show and it eventually devolved into a farce centering on Dr. Smith, Will Robinson and the Robot. An sfnal Larry, Curly and Mo.
I didn’t know all of those things when I was watching it in its initial run though. Back then I was a wee, impressionable lad, eager to soak up anything that had to do with outer space, space ships, ray guns and Bug Eyed Monsters.
And in that regard, boy does Lost In Space deliver! LIS was the go-to monster-attack-of-the-week show.
Watching it now I’m almost mortified to admit that the show really scared me some times. I know that one particular episode (pictured here, below. see if you can guess) gave me an absolute dread of the closet door in my bedroom. It had to be closed – all the way! – before I could begin to think about falling asleep. Now I can see that a lot of their monsters were men in monkey suits (and that they frequently re-used their props and costumes) and I no longer have to watch through my fingers.
They did have some pretty nifty spaceships and ray guns too.
It’s been quite a while since I revisited this show. It’s often painful to watch, but on the other hand there’s a certain charm to it, an appealing naivete, more for the era perhaps than the show itself. Certainly there is nostalgia value. So many memories of my childhood centered around making sure I’d be in front of the TV set on time.