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     Home »  Other Science Fiction/Fantasy »  LOST IN SPACE-Reluctant Stowaway review and s..
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    LOST IN SPACE-Reluctant Stowaway review and syopsis (all rev Views: 554
     Sunday, May 17 2009 @ 02:47 PM EDT
    THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY
    WRITER-SHIMON WINCHELBERG
    DIR-TONY LEADER
    MUSIC-JOHN WILLIAMS (not all of which is on the CD)

    TEASER
    NOTE: Many of these scenes and narrations differ slightly from the script THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY dated July 8th, 1965.

    October 16th, 1997: Narrator Dick Tufeld: This is the beginning. This is the day. You are watching the unfolding of one of history's greatest adventures--man's colonization of space beyond the stars. The first of what may be as many as ten million families per year is setting out on its epic voyage into man's newest frontier, deep space. Reaching out into other worlds from our desperately overcrowded planet a series of deep thrust telescopic probes have conclusively established a planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri as the only one within range of our technology able to furnish ideal conditions for human existence. Even now the family chosen for this incredible journey into space is preparing to take their final pre lift off physical tests. The Robinson family was selected from more than two million volunteers for its unique balance of scientific achievement, emotional stability, and pioneer resourcefulness. They will spend the next five and a half years of their voyage frozen in a state of suspended animation which will terminate automatically as the spacecraft enters the atmosphere of the new planet. (IT IS ZERO MINUS ONE HOUR AND 15 MINUTES TO LIFT OFF).

    An electrical power failure in the computer at the Lunar (or Luna) Tracking Station. We have been seeing the huge Alpha Control set up with many scientists and technicians, the press (including foreign newsmen and one of these at a table phoning their countries is Paul Zastupnevich; in the NO PLACE script these were to include Russian, Japanese, and French correspondents--and the commentator's speech was much different), and computers as well as a large screen which shows the galaxy, Alpha Centauri, and the spaceship.


    Narrator-TV Commentator--(two different voices, one man seen--Don Forbes, the other, who says most of all of the narration is Dick Tufeld): Here now is the Jupiter II, the culmination of nearly 40 years of intensive research and the most sophisticated piece of hardware yet devised by the mind of man. Bold in concept, brilliant in execution, this most delicate yet most colossal of instruments makes possible man's thrust into deep space and will soon set out on its quest for a new world. This super spaceship stands two stories high, the upper level contains a fantastic, sophisticated guidance control system. An electronic elevator connects both floors of the intergalactic vehicle. The upper and lower levels are operationally self contained. (NOTE: NOT IN THE SCRIPT IS THE FOLLOWING): Here on the lower deck, pulsating with unbelievable force are the great atomic motors that will carry the ship to new worlds. Spectacular but functional living quarters including staterooms and galley complete this level. (IN THE SCRIPT IS THE FOLLOWING BUT IT OCCURS AFTER THE NARRATION ABOUT OTHER NATIONS DESPERATE FOR BREATHING SPACE--in the televised version, it occurs before the warning about other nations): There is one additional member of this expedition--an environmental control robot key among whose many vital functions will be the final analysis of the physical environment of the new planet. (THE SCRIPT INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING BUT IN A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT--AND AWKWARD--WORDING--the televised version works best): This historic flight, preceded by nearly a decade of intensive research and preparation, has been shrouded by the most rigorous security precautions. Other nations in even more desperate need for breathing room on our critically overcrowded planet are racing the United States in this project. Countries that would go to any lengths of sabotage...

    This leads nicely into Colonel Doctor Zachary Smith's first appearance, sliding out of a space couch compartment which was folded inside. Personally it is nicer to see that by 1997, the Earth has an International Space Administration which is mentioned in both unaired pilots. Both unaired pilots, both called NO PLACE TO HIDE unofficially (on the scripts---which also differ from the unaired but filmed pilots--is the title NO PLACE TO HIDE), have the feel that Earth people are cooperating with each other, not in a "race" as in THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY, which needed a villain working for a foreign power. There are so many versions of the pilot story--several scripts of NO PLACE TO HIDE, two versions of the filmed unaired pilot--and possibly a third with color footage, several different scripts of NO PLACE TO HIDE--with many unfilmed scenes and differing and new information about the characters, the bubble gum card set which tells the story of the first five episodes--featuring other Cyclops footage--which was filmed----and more---that I will continue on with only the aired THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY and go into detail about some of the rest later.

    Smith sees the city outside the lower deck window. He wears his gray overall jumpsuit. He fools with the power pack on the 7 foot Robot, puts on Robot control, and makes the Robot ready to destroy the inertial guidance system, the radio transmitter, and the cabin pressure control system 8 hours after launching. A military man comes in to arrest Smith. Smith bluffs that he was checking the helium nitrogen ratio but hits the soldier-guard down and dumps him out the waste disposal chute into a garbage cart. Is he dead? Smith calls his contact--Aelous 14 Umbra via his own walkie talkie and tells them, "8 hours after launch the Robot will destroy the spaceship." Smith smiles as the Alpha Control Voice gives the time: one hour and 14 minutes to launch.

    NOTE: Smith uses his signet ring on the guard in THE RELUCTANT script. This ring was supposed to bear a skull shaped design with a tiny needle out of the skull mouth which when the ring is twisted changes into a ruby heart with the inscription MOTHER on it. The needle was used to knock out or kill the guard. Smith also, in the script to RELUCTANT, was to hold the guard over the DANGER RADIATION hatch on the lower deck of the Jupiter II, then throw him out the waste chute. I am glad this was changed to a less cold blooded scene.

    ACT ONE
    We see space. The Jupiter II is on the launch pad. The TV Commentator Forbes says, "In these last minutes before lift off we're hoping to bring you a few words from the brave family making this historic journey but I am informed by Alpha Control that Dr. John Robinson, his wife Maureen, and their 3 children, Judy, Penny, and Will...are still undergoing their pre-lift off final physical checks."

    A doctor in the darkness (in the dark and we are not yet supposed to know who it is---the same man that hit the guard and sabotaged the Robot--Dr. Smith) is on top a stage area and has Will in a large chair which has an electrical dias around it (seen in VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA as the brainwashing chair that was used to brainwash Lee Crane in SABOTEUR--also called "the torture chamber" in THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY script). This room looks very--read VERY, VERY like the operation room set in FANTASTIC VOYAGE. Coming down and wearing a full suit and jacket with tie uniform, Smith says, "You'll do," to Will, who runs to his father and mother. Smith says, "You're all in top shape and ready to go. I envy you on your adventure." Was Smith lying? Was Maureen in top shape? She had to pass a physical but Smith may have faked that--the info that she had passed a grueling test by the International Space Administration, given in both pilots--IS NOT GIVEN HERE. Perhaps Smith knew she could have died in the freezing tube. In any event, after Smith's last quote, John shakes his hand, "Thank you, doctor." An older General asks if they are ready when they go to a waiting room. John asks Maureen, "Are we?" Maureen says, "I supposed I should say something light and clever but I just can't." John says, "We're ready." They board the Jupiter II, meeting up with Major Donald West inside the control room. Many technicians are working on both the upper and lower deck. The General tells them they already know Major West, who jokes, "If you wake up and find me driving, you'll know you're in trouble." Smith notices the Robot Power on and sneaks below, finding technicians in the galley and on the Robot. The General says good bye to all the others, calling John, "Dr. Robinson."

    On the scanner screens, the President of the United States (Ford Rainey, who played the President in two VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA first seasoners) appears. His speech: "Fellow Americans, friends all over the world. Upon the success of this mission will depend whether the explosive increase of population on this planet will ultimately lead to a disaster from which none will be exempt or..."

    NOTE: Not in script--Don turns on the TV scanner in the Jupiter II control room and they watch the President on the video screen as well as hearing him via the audio channel. This entire scene--the Robinsons listening and seeing the President makes much more sense than in both unaired pilots---the President addresses those who staked their very lives on this mission---AFTER the Robinsons are frozen in the freezing tubes in both unaired pilots!

    PRESIDENT'S SPEECH CONTINUES: "...a dawn of plenty for all of humanity. None can predict the outcome of this audacious venture to the very stars. To those who have staked their lives upon this bold expansion of man's horizons, I humbly say, go in peace. The prayers of mankind go with you," or "are with you."

    Smith, below deck, smirks, "Inspiring, truly inspiring." A tech removes the Robot's power pack and tells Smith, "Better hurry, Doc." As the tech goes up, Smith says, "Yes, yes, coming right along." Smith, unseen, puts the Robot power pack back into it. The Robinsons are being called into their freezing tubes above level. This scene is very touching as we see how the people care for each other: John kisses Judy and Penny on the cheek, Maureen on the lips, rubs Will's head, and shakes Don's hand. When Maureen is called she is addressed as "Doctor Maureen Robinson." MORE ON THIS LATER. Smith keeps going back down to check on the Robot and fix something else.

    Narrator: Electro magnetic miracles now come into play. This cosmic glow, induced through the genius of advanced technology will put the Robinson family and Major West in limbo, enabling them to make an endless flight while aging but a second in the time of man. From this moment on, our space travelers will be in a state of suspended animation which will last for the next five and a half years (unaired pilots and script--98 years).

    Smith gets trapped aboard, throws a small fire extinguisher at the upper deck window--which bounces off. As the gas transfer and propellant vent umbilical cord is removed, he returns below to his space couch. In the script for RELUCTANT STOWAWAY, the elevator power is turned off and it is John Robinson who freezes the rest of the group as well as himself, from a catch on their tubes! NOTE: In the script, this turns them to frozen blocks of ice! More importantly, in the script for RELUCTANT STOWAWAY, the gas transfer propellant vent umbilicals are removed before Smith examines Will.
    Smith straps into his couch as the countdown continues. The ship glows. Smith screams like a banshee when the spaceship lifts off with incredible noise.

    ACT TWO
    Jupiter II in space passes the dynamic pressure to escape velocity of Earth orbit. Alpha Control reads that all members are safe and well. Smith gets up and takes off his Colonel jacket, revealing his tie beneath and a white button down shirt. He calls Aelous 14 Umbra and wonders how much more money they give him now. He sees an asteroid (the script calls it an asteroid and he sees another but these are meant to be the start of the meteor storm that hits the ship very soon after this) pass the lower deck window. He throws his radio. He shuts the Robot power off (claws are open, the head pieces move and rotate) but after Smith goes upstairs, the Robot detects this as an incomplete circuit and puts himself back on, "Damage averted." Smith hits and damages the radio transmitter. Lunar (in the script it is both Luna and Lunar) Tracking Station 2 Omega to Alpha Control informs them of an excess of 200 pounds on board the spaceship. It alters the flight pattern of the ship and heads at a meteor storm. Vector controls are not effective. Smith tries to change course but meteors hit the window, knocking him into the weapons locker. Fire is in back of all magna panels in the spaceship (in the unaired pilot one--it is control panels, unaired pilot two--it is magna panels) and control regeneration must occur. Extinguisher foam seems to put out the fires. Smith fires a laser at Don's tube and frees him, catching him as he falls. Smith uses some device on his finger to Don's finger to revive Don but another hit floors Smith over Don. Smith drags him over to the astrogater, "I know you," Don gasps, "What the devil are you doin' aboard!?" With Smith's extra weight load the automatic navigator didn't get them out of the swarm in time. Don tells him, "We're out of it but we'll never know how far off course." He finds the radio smashed. Smith gets a laser gun and seems about to use it on Don, wanting to go back to Earth--every second the pilot delays takes them thousands of miles in the wrong direction. Don says, "I'll make the decisions." He wakes up the Robinsons. Smith says, "Make it a family outing." NOTE: This wake up music, often heard in LOST IN SPACE's three seasons is not included on the CD music. Smith puts the gun on the window sill as John comes out, followed by Maureen, and the children. Judy spots Maureen holding her head, "Dad!" Maureen falls, John catches her. The family surround her on the floor and Smith checks her pulse.

    ACT THREE
    The Jupiter II flies in space. Smith tells them she'll be alright now. Maureen is helped up, "Dr. Smith, you shouldn't be here at all." Smith tells her, "Precisely the point I've been trying to make without much success I might add." Penny comments that it feels like they are standing still. John tells them Don is trying to decide whether they should return to Earth or not. Smith warns that Maureen may not survive another such trauma. John won't let her back in the freezing tube not matter what. Smith mocks Don's professionalism. Don says if he were him, "I'd keep my mouth shut. You're responsible for this mess we're in." Smith goes on about saving them, "Without me not one of you would alive now. I demand to be taken back to Earth." It is almost 8 hours after lift off. Smith sneaks below via the ladder as Don discovers the vector tapes damaged. The Major can fix the inertial guidance system but he will have to shut off the artificial gravity for awhile. All gather round the astrogater as Don shuts it off near the round device cubicle. Penny and Judy have their pig tails go up in the air. Smith goes up to the ceiling of the lower deck but continues to try to reach the Robot to turn it off. Getting a mischievous gleam in his eye, Will launches up into the air of the Control Room and flips. Penny follows suit and flips around too, almost banging into Will. Judy says, "That looks like fun." John wonders if she wants to try it. Maureen warns the kids to come down now. Don turns the gravity back on as soon as they are down. Smith falls on his face, seemingly unconscious. The Robot moves out, "At exactly 8 hours--DESTROY!"

    ACT FOUR
    Smith gets up and pulls the power pack out. Will catches him. Smith fibs: he was programming the Robot to play chess, telling Will he was the Grand Master of the Oxford Chess Society three years running. He also asks Will if he's ever played on a three dimensional board. Will questions Smith's excuse of the helium nitrogen intake valve being the reason Smith was caught aboard. It is on the upper level. Smith tells him he meant the emergency air supply, noting Will is smart. Will will tell them the others are wrong about him. Major West said that an excuse like Smith's wouldn't have gotten out of Sunday Chapel. Smith claims West is the military mind type: kill or be killed. Will says, "Oh, but isn't like that." Smith sees something on Will's tongue--another con job--he tells Will, who thought freezing killed any virus, that they must put back to Earth. After five years nothing would have been left of Will but one, big, raging mass of virus. He puts Will in quarantine and goes up to tell his mother and father. Will attempts to look at his own tongue in a comical bit, crossing his eyes. He puts the Robot's power pack back in.

    Control Room--John, Don, and Maureen discuss turning back to Earth or going on to Alpha Centauri. Don says he's an officer in the United States Space Corp, not a school bus driver. He doesn't want to abort a 30 billion dollar mission. Maureen tells him she doesn't like to waste that money either but she'd gladly waste a hundred times that to safe guard her family. "Now I say we turn back. Don't you have an opinion?" She turns to John who doesn't until they've checked every component inside and out--then he will let the computer make the final decision. Maureen wonders if the computer will take a man's love for his family into consideration, "Or has all that been put into cold storage for the duration." John says, "Maureen, we knew perfectly well what we were getting into." Smith arrives at this moment. Maureen turns to him, "Dr. Smith, is it possible that certain parts don't reanimate as quickly as others--the heart for instance?" John just stares at her; she averts her eyes from his. Smith tries telling them about Will, saying, "There's no cause for alarm--not yet at any rate..." but there really is. The Robot hits a control below, ignoring Will's orders, shaking the ship, tilting it. Robot goes to the elevator while Will doesn't do anything and the ship is level once more.

    As Robot arrives in the Control Room, Penny and Judy are in the corner. Robot says, "Destroy!" which seems to echo. It opens the elevator and moves out. Don tries to grab Smith from running up to it but Smith tries to get it to abort. It electrifies him down, firing bolts from its claws. Smith falls into one of the freezing tubes. "Destroy!" It hits the astrogater and Don as he tries to stop it. The ship shakes and all fall down. Don grabs the controls, "We're going into a hyper drive! We're outta control!" Smith starts to get up but this doesn't happen until a few moments later. Robot hits John and Don several times. Maureen runs to help John. Smith gets up to try to stop the Robot but is hit down again. He yells, "Pull out the power pack!" several times. "He's going for the cabin pressure control," John yelled. Robot knocks John down into Maureen who yells. Don pulls out the power pack as John distracts it--and John is hit down again. Controls blast and electronic flashes occur. Don gets a cap and seals it over the cabin pressure control. All calms down as Maureen helps John with the help of Penny and Judy. The ship slowly stops tilting. We see out the lower deck window. Later, John says, "Incredible, not one constellation you can recognize." We see out the upper deck window. Will comes up on the elevator asking if he is still in quarantine. Smith says, "It's nothing now. Nothing. Nothing."

    Alpha Control: reports state Jupiter II is moving at incredible speed far off course, beyond the range of their tracking instruments. A man from Alpha Control calls the White House to speak to the President on the scrambler. "Mr. President: status control on Jupiter II. As of this moment, the spacecraft has passed the limits of our galaxy--it's presumed to be hopelessly LOST IN SPACE."

    CLIFFHANGER: Since space walking is part of his business, Don tells John for the last time he wants to space walk to fix the NGS scanner (navigation guidance scanner) instead of John. John tells him they've been all through this--Don's the only one who can pilot the ship, "I'm expendable and you're not." John in his spacesuit--helmet and padding, goes into the airlock, then out into space. The others looks out a round porthole window which has a window shutter that can open. NOTE: Some of the spacewalk music is not on the CD. John is not used to space walking; his line is shredding. He uses the rocket thruster device to get back closer to the spaceship but hits the ship hard, "I feel as if I were hit by a truck." He sees the scanner--it is damaged. John climbs up the side of the Jupiter II but loses a wrench, then goes flying, his legs coming out from under him. The rope breaks, sending John spinning off into space. Don tells Maureen they can get a line to him by rocket gun if he doesn't drift too far off. He gives her the mike, "Keep talking to him." John tells her that Don must not come out to shoot the line to him--he has to stay with the ship. Don asks Smith to do it, getting the rachet wrench that Smith somehow picked up by reflex and which Will didn't know where it was. Smith tells Don he is not an official member of this expedition plus his heart could give out at any moment. Judy turns back, "Don! We're losing him! Don, let me do it. Mother I can do it," she tells Maureen, who is already suited up. Smith opens the door for Maureen, "Go ahead, my dear." Maureen shoots the rope to John after going out. John drifts closer but cannot seem to reach the rope and now he is upside down.

    TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK SAME TIME, SAME CHANNEL

    REVIEW OF THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY: No other series set up the concept and premise, a launch board, for so fantastic a show, in such a completely gripping, enjoyable manner. The Robinsons come off as being quite down to earth and friendly, easy to identify with. Mannerisms give one the impression that they really do care about one another and this includes Don as well. This hour episode took some of the footage from the unaired pilots, mostly about the launch and the meteor shower. From there, the rest is just as nice, giving us the robot attack, the decision about whether or not they should turn back, and the first spacewalk, perhaps the first realistic spacewalk ever accomplished on a television science fiction-fantasy series. Over this hour, the story moves nicely, giving us the idea and setting it up as a spring board for future adventures without boring us to death. The series of the 1970s through to the 1990s could learn from this. As much as I enjoy SPACE: 1999, I felt the weakest episode was the first, BREAKAWAY. They took so long to blast the Moon out of the orbit. Here, the Robinsons are lost in space within the second act! BATTLESTAR GALACTICA took three hours to begin its quest, rather long and flat. Certain things should be established--something the original STAR TREK didn't do--and suffered from it in 1966. In any event, this pilot show is, in my opinion, one of the best first episodes, ever. It doesn't bore and it does set up the show. I am also glad that the aired episode did away with the silly heart needle bit that Smith was to use to knock out the guard--it is too MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE like but in a silly way and not like the character of Smith at all to use such a thing.

    NOTE: The Robinsons and Major West wear the heavy duty silver spacesuits with the red lining on the arms in this episode right up to the middle of ISLAND IN THE SKY. The meteor storm exterior shots were different from the shots in the two unaired pilots. The NO PLACE TO HIDE script called for a meteor bumper which would break the meteors but fail.

    CONFUSINGLY ENOUGH: Several sources (possibly coped from one another) list many guest stars not mentioned in the end credits. The actual episode list on the end credits mention no one. Apparently there were two generals, one on the phone who tells the President they are LOST IN SPACE at the end of act three, and the one who says goodbye to them at the beginning of act one. This white haired general is not mentioned here by name. The same actor appears to play the same general in the third season THE TIME MERCHANT and is called General Squires by Smith. Hoke Howell, an actor who plays a Sergeant Roger in THE TIME MERCHANT is also in THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY. Sources put Don Forbes as the TV commentator, Hal Torey as the general who calls the President, Hoke Howell as the Sergeant Rodgers, and Brett Parker as the Security Guard. Several guards appear in this episode which is Parker playing? Which guard is dumped into the garbage by Smith?


    NOTE: The following announcement was accompanied by CBS's stock music from THE TWILIGHT ZONE. This ad ran in the first weeks of September.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: From the world of tomorrow comes a thrilling new television series. LOST IN SPACE. Here are the amazing adventures of a group of space pioneers marooned on an uncharted planet. Adventures as challenging as tomorrow, as far out as the stars. Spectacle beyond imagination as the astronauts struggle for survival in a strange new world where incredible dangers seem to wait at every turn. Intriguing, thrilling, challenging, there are the adventures you'll share LOST IN SPACE!















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