Thursday, November 22, 2018


When it came to first run late-single-digits-era tee-vee viewing nothing could beat LOST IN SPACE! I really mean it too...back then STAR TREK was cool enough but kinda brainy with all that philosophy major garble that only MAD magazine readers could get, while stuff like THE NAME OF THE GAME seemed like the logical extension of those early-sixties cop dramas that I love like the dickens these days, only boring. And besides, when yer eight can you understand any of it? 

Thankfully LOST IN SPACE was geared to us lumpen suburban slob kids who were still mourning the cancellation of FIREBALL XL-5...lotsa action and explosions galore with all of those creepy kinda aliens that usedta scare us when we were watching THE OUTER LIMITS only now that we were seven well---we could man up and handle it and even get a kick inna process. Don't gimme that jazz about it being "camp"...back then real life was camp enough to the point where shows like this and BATMAN seemed just about every day normal!

I mean hey, LOST IN SPACE was perhaps one of the highlights of my young 'n growin' up days, a part of my week just like all of my other favorite shows and something to look forward to as much as reading the funny pages or Friday night pirogi dinners. Even later in my illustrious existence LOST IN SPACE remained a must-see for me...I can still vividly recall watching it, on a then-revolutionary large-screen projection tee-vee no less, at the Butler Pennsylvania Holiday Inn lounge while my folks were slaving away trying to sell goodies at the flea market being held in the banquet room on some Sunday afternoon. If only I could retain more funtime memories of things such as this and jettison all of the horrid degradation that has happened to me not only in my youth but my prime would I be a happier fanabla than I am and probably will remain.

Given how much I loved romping through the first season a good decade or so back, I decided to re-visit those shows and in a moment of weakness splurged on a Dee-Vee-Dee set of the second season. I just knew would bring back at least some fond memories of first and rerun appreciation and other discoveries of things everyone else on this earth seemed to take for granted.

As expected, this is straightforward good kiddoid Sci-Fi (a few notches up from various fifties efforts from CAPTAIN VIDEO and SPACE PATROL on down) that is crazed enough for the kids, "offensive" enough for the phony intellectuals you went to school with, and downright straightforward for alla them old uncles of yers who didn't watch anything but westerns and wouldn't notice the "put on" aspects even if it bit 'em onna roast. This season is in color, and although that usually doesn't mean a hill of beans to a staunch tee-vee fan such as I who felt something was lost after 1966 clocked out for good I gotta say that I kinda got that sorta "oooh" and "aaah" feeling watching those color dots at the opening kinda like Aunt Mabel did when she first got a color tee-vee and hadda show it to everyone. This year also finds the Space Family Robinsons on a new planet getting into the same predicaments with more aliens both silly and frightening enough as well as even more equipment failure than at a Hawkwind show. And of course, the same stock footage and props are used over and over again as if the doofs watching this would have remembered seeing those alien costumes and space ship blastoffs from a mere few episodes earlier.

The acting's boffo enough to the point where I can remember emulating Will Robinson because he seemed to know twice as much as the adults and thinking that Don West was a mean hothead the way he always wanted to bash Dr. Smith's skull in! The gurlz were ikky (that's before I got older and could appreciate the "finer aspects" of Judy Robinson) and John and Maureen Robinson were well...the kinda parents any ranch house UHF kid would have loved to have had in outer space! The robot was extremely boss too (and perhaps got the best lines in the whole thing to the point where I wondered why somebody didn't think of creating an ALL ROBOT program which woulda been cool since no actors woulda hadda been paid!) but Dr. Smith... He was definitely the major saving grace if you ask me, but all these years later I wonder why alla those tough cowboy loving guys who went for LOST IN SPACE didn't call him out for the homo he was!

Yeah, some of these episodes could be a bit downer like the one with Hans Conried as a bumbling Middle Ages-era knight, but even those can have their share of weird chills like in the one featuring none other than Wally Cox! An' hey, what normal straight-C average kid could resist all those explosions and tension-churning cliffhanging scenes that really made this 'un the bladder holder LOST IN SPACE remains at least for me (thank goodniz for pause buttons) a good half-century later!

I might dish out for the third 'n last season when I get my, er, "financial situation" under control, but at least the re-viewing of these '66/'67 episodes reminds me of what I'm sure a lotta us outta nowhere humanoids were "getting into" when we sure wanted to be out seeing rock 'n roll bands and getting wasted like our teenage brethren. And, come to think of it, maybe LOST IN SPACE was our booze 'n dope the same way that THE LITTLE RASCALS and GILLIGAN'S ISLAND were, only the one thing that woulda "busted" us woulda been the "smart" kids who found out we "liked" unspeakable trash like that.
Oh, and before I go, a happy fifty-fifth anniversary of that fateful date oh so long ago when Don Fellman missed out on watching RETURN OF THE FLY on the late movie. If you think he was having a bad time of it to some people he wasn't but 'eh, it was bad enough for him and don't say otherwise!

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