Monday, July 24, 2017

LOST IN SPACE: Unaired Pilot Episode / Irwin Allen Productions - 1965

Here's an interesting item to check out... The original pilot episode, which never aired on TV, did not feature either the Robot or Dr. Smith, and were added later by 20th Century Fox, Dr. Smith as an antagonist. And, much of this original footage was reused in the first four televised episodes! In this story, the Robinsons, Earth's first family of outer space, head out to colonize Alpha Centauri in their flying saucer, Gemini 12, but crash land on an uncharted planet where they deal with its challenges and dangers.

This was quite an elaborate production with lots of workers and action in the command center before the Robinson family and Dr. West head off into the old deep, dark void.

Like in THIS ISLAND EARTH, the Robinsons are sealed in large glass (or, plastic) tubes to manage their trip through space, computers are in charge of running the ship, instead of the Robot.

In deep space, meteors pummel the ship, causing the electrical system to short circuit as the crew are still in hibernation. Luckily, the computer finally deploys the fire extinguishers, saving the day for the gang!

Still on automatic guidance, the Gemini 12 crash lands on a planet. The crew members all survive but the ship will not function now...

John and Don go exploring the hills and discover some giant footprints! It isn't long before the cyclops monster that left the prints shows up and starts causing a few tons of problems!

Will has just fixed the radio telescope and asks mom to check it out. She looks around and sees the giant monster near the location where John and Don are working on a weather device.

The men are stuck in in a cave and the thing wants them bad. Will runs to help his dad and Don, and they all escape before being stomped by the mighty beast!!

The gang take the Chariot, their all-terrain, amphibious tracked vehicle, out and encounter the monster yet again. This time though, Don uses his laser blaster to put and end to the creature!

They drive past the dead monster and catch a glimpse of its big ugly puss!

Later, the crew hides in a cave during an electrical storm. Once inside they discover an ancient underground maze of corridors. Everyone gets separated and Will is looking for Penny.

Will finds Penny but they get locked in a room that has dead alien bodies inside!..

In their last adventure, they take the Chariot into an ocean, looking for a more tropical area on the planet... Locations were filmed at the amazing Trona Pinnacles, in Ridgecrest, California.

Anyway, they get caught in a whirlpool and Don is almost lost before they escape the vortex and finally make their way to solid ground again.

The gang find a tropical area and stop to have a ceremony to thank the lord for their safe arrival... Only thing is, there are two STAR TREK type aliens watching them, a set up for the next episode. So, tune in on Wednesday for another cool post, here, at The Dungeon!!


Anonymous said...

Love it!

The first time I read this pilot's script back in the '70s or '80s, it blew my mind (and my perception of LIS the series). Eventually I saw this pilot on VHS sometime in the '80s, and the same reaction.

Also back then saw the original Time Tunnel unaired pilot, the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea unaired pilot, etc., and read not only the pilot scripts, but various unfilmed episode scripts from each. Great fun to wonder: "what if?"

Of course by now, unaired pilots of the Allen shows are all extras on DVD sets, and in the case of Lost in Space, the glorious Blu-ray set. My "moment at the mountain" was briefly meeting Allen (and getting to hold the original small Space Pod prop stashed in his production office), and thanking him for all the entertainment he gave me/us, and even at age 60+ I don't regret saying that one bit, and would say the same today.

One of the craziest things about LIS is two unfilmed, late-in-the-series scripts, Carnival in Space and Malice in Wonderspace, and the fact that in those, they almost added a (talking) llama (dyed purple!) to the cast of the series...until said live llama spit at and tried to bite Jonathan Harris. Reportedly, Harris said "Either it goes, or I go!" Oh the pain! The pain! ;D

IMHO, the black and white first season of LIS is a hell of a lot more entertaining and heart-centered than all three color seasons of the original Star Trek put together. ("IMHO" of course!) :P :)

Lacey said...

To save money, the producers used the soundtrack from "The Day the Earth Stood Still," by Bernard Herrmann.

Anonymous said...

Yep! And in addition to TDTESS, Irwin Allen's sci-fi TV shows used tons of "library" music from other Herrmann movies made at Fox also (King of the Khyber Rifles, Garden of Evil, etc.). I particularly like the track called "The Quarrel" from the Garden of Evil soundtrack. Only a minute long, but heard often in LIS, TTT and VTTBOTS.

Apparently, Allen wanted Max Steiner to score the LIS pilot (!!!), but I'm not sure if it was actually recorded and dropped, or wasn't completed. I'm having a brain freeze at the moment.

Incidentally, the unaired LIS pilot carried the script title, No Place To Hide. Those bald aliens and the race of giant cyclops creatures were part of an ancient civilization on the planet (originally meant to be Mars as you can tell from one of the vid caps, later renamed "Priplanus"), and they kinda-sorta showed up in a later episode or two.

Anonymous said...

More Herrmann music used a lot on LIS, TT, VOY...

Here's The Quarrel music from GARDEN OF EVIL:

And the "rocket belt" music taken from BENEATH THE TWELVE REEF:

TABONGA! said...

Guys, you are awesome, thanks for all the extras!..

Randall Landers said...

When I first saw this a few years ago, I was stunned at how much better LiS could've been without Dr. Smith and the Robot. Pity this isn't the show we saw. Instead, we get giant carrots and skunk cabbage monsters.

Richard S. said...

By the way, the theme for the show was by some guy named John Williams. I understand he had some success in the movies later on...

TC said...

IIRC, LIS started as a straight science fiction/adventure show, then became increasingly silly and juvenile by its second season in 1966-67. The same thing happened with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, and The Wild Wild West. The campy Batman TV series was huge hit at the time, and was a big influence.

Guy Williams played 5th fiddle on Bonanza, behind Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts, and Michael Landon. Maybe when he left that show, he expected to be the #1 star on LIS. If so, he must have been really disappointed when he and the rest of the cast got shoved into the background, as LIS evolved (or devolved) into "The Will, Dr. Smith, and Robot Show."

Dr. Theda said...

Watched in afternoon syndication as a kid ... Cool post Guys...!!!

TABONGA! said...

Thanx Doc - Always Love It when you check in...

Anonymous said...

TC: Absolutely! All of Allen's shows started out as straight adventure shows, but the then-current popularity of BATMAN, etc. had the network heads pressuring Allen to have more colorful junk, more silly stories with rubber monsters, and he ended up shooting his shows using whatever sets or props were lying around the 20th Century Fox backlot and writing stories around them. Even props from the Fox box-office failure, DR. DOOLITTLE, ended up in Allen's shows. TIME TUNNEL, arguably his best show (even his crew members thought so), sadly ended up switching from historical settings to alien invasions, monsters and ghosts.

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