Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beatniks and Hippies on '60 network TV. #2 Lost in Space "The Promised Planet"

Original Air Date:

 24 January 1968

Irwin Allen's television science fiction shows are pretty much lackluster at best. I was 10 years old when Lost in Space first started. I remember enjoying the first black-and-white season. By the time it turned color in 1966 I found it silly. Looking back now I find I was right. However even as a precocious 11-year-old I did not have the perspective to enjoy it. Now my ancient jaded eyes are able to much more enjoy some aspects of this camp catastrophe.

This episode "The Promised Planet" focuses more on the two younger siblings. The castaway crew are led to believe by the robot that they had reached their primary goal, Alpha Centauri. They are greeted by a young man who calls himself Bartholomew. In a greeting ceremony all of the female members are given bouquets of flowers, there is one left so they give it to Dr. Smith.

Bartholomew talks the father into letting him take Penny and Will away from them.  Although they are first seen in military uniforms the inhabitants of this planet are dreaded space hippies, or so it seems. 
Soon Penny is seduced by cheesy surf music and is go-go dancing on the furniture.
"You just don't get the vibrations like I do".


But Will is made of stronger stuff. He is teamed with Edgar a bespectacled chunky hippy. "Your guide to the promised land". The indoctrination is to unlearn the teachings of the olders.

"Light up one of these memory cones when you get back to your pad. They smell like incense." 

Meanwhile the crew of the Jupiter five are administered memory washing fumes that blocks the memory of the children. Dr. Smith has left the group and escapes that fate only to be turned into an aging hippie, but not before he discovers that Bartholomew and his gaggle of space hippies are in reality big eared green aliens with antennas.

When hippie Smith joins the youngsters, Will and Penny, he says;

When they find their father he does not recognize them.
"Wait a minute, you called me dad. Is that another of the expressions that you use so freely here."
Before they leave Will gives Mr. Robinson the memory  cones. 
"What are these?"
"Light them up and find out".

With the help of the robot they do indeed Light them up and find out. Making a U-turn in space they attempt to return to the planet that holds their kids. Their attempts are thwarted so Will cons hippie Smith into destroying their equipment by promising him the loot from a space heist.
Well, the adults eventually make the scene. It turns out the alien space hippies only want to grow up. They lack some chemical compound that they had hoped to extract from the Robinson children. Stern Dr. John Robinson leaves the luckless aliens to their fate after earlier admonishing them "When I speak I expect children to obey".

If this was Star Trek Kirk would have left some friendly interplanetary social worker or Bones would've synthesized some remedy.

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