ISLAND IN THE SKY
TELEPLAY WRITER-NORMAN LESSING
NARRATION: Last week, our space family aboard the crippled Jupiter II was about to make a landing on an unknown planet far beyond our galaxies. A landing that would allow them time to make desperately needed repairs on their spaceship. To learn more about the strange surface of the planet, Professor Robinson had planned to send their environmental control Robot down to investigate. Unbeknownst to him, however, the nefarious Dr. Zachary Smith had other plans for the mechanical marvel.
TEASER-not recapped; a series of different clips from the CLIFFHANGER are shown to fill us in on what the situation is.
Smith plays chess with the Robot who has an attachment chess claw on. Smith reminds him to obey his voice only. John comes out of his cabin, ready to drop the Robot over the side to explore the planet. Smith tells John he is malfunctioning, "You REMEMBER he ran amok once and very nearly wrecked the ship?" John says, "Yes but he's worked properly EVER since." Robot won't obey John's order to move. Control Room--Maureen suggests they send Smith but he admits to having an acute "bataphobia"--an incurable fear of heights. Jupiter II orbits the planet. Don and Maureen help John suit up into his helmet and pad over chest. Maureen jokes with him, "Make sure you come back to the right airport." Don guides John on the use of the parajets. One burst to slow them down and get him out of the orbit and to the planet. Don will track him by radio and let him know how many bursts to land. He wants to make sure John has enough fuel to leave the planet again if he has to. If it doesn't check out okay to land, John will follow Rendezvous plan A. John tells Will and Penny, "Don't forget to wave." Penny says, "We will, daddy." Will what--will forget to wave? Don on the scanner tracks John. John goes outside into space. This spacewalk music, is not on the CD set. John moves off the Jupiter. Maureen and Judy go to the round porthole and see him pass by.
Nice calm, slow music, often heard again in future episodes and also NOT heard on the CD set, is played. John descends and goes out of orbit, feels gravity pull, and soon is entering the first layer of atmosphere. Zoom out of mike as Smith and Robot listen while they play chess in the galley on the lower deck. Smith speaks about the providence in the fallen sparrow and the Robot quotes it exactly from Shakespeare--1564 to 1616. When Smith misquotes Samuel Butler--1600 to 1680, Robot tells him, "Look before you err you leap or as you sow ye are like to reap." Smith looks at Robot, "Sometimes I wonder about you. If I didn't know better, I'd think some form of morality was programmed into you." John passes a heavy layer of atmosphere. Smith implants in the Robot's obedience cells to periodically check on Smith's safety every hour on the hour. Will comes down via the elevator. Smith calls his dad, "...a true trail blazer on the frontiers of space." He tells Will he has been working on getting the Robot to play chess but Robot can't play too well. Will looks, "Looks like he's doing fine to me." Smith makes a move which sends the Robot into, "Negative! Negative! That move does not compute. It does not compute." Smith makes him release his hand. Don instructs John to fire the parajets to decrease acceleration but the jets are not working--out of fuel. Don claims, "That's impossible!" Will runs upstairs. Don calls for John to use his auxiliary power tank. John yells, "Too fast! Can't! I can't! I can't. I can't." Maureen gasps, "John." Smith tells Robot, "Time to offer my condolences to the widow." He goes up to find Will with his head buried in his face leaning on the astrogater. Maureen hugs Penny. Smith tells Will to take his misfortunes like a man. Will picks his head up, "I'm trying, Colonel Smith." He tells Will, "What are we all but pawns on this galactic game of chess." Smith tells Don, "Are you forgetting the meteor storm the ship passed through and the Robot going berserk." Don insists, "I checked everything out after that." Penny says, "You looked at them, too, Dr. Smith. I saw him." Don asks, "You tampered with the parajets?" Don will get a fix when John gets the parajets going. He tells Judy to take the children below, all to strap in, and secure for a landing. Maureen brings the cooling system up five points. They are in final approach orbit. Smith calls Don an eternal optimist in his hope of finding John alive. He demands they vote on going back to Earth--with the loss of 200 pounds they can return. Don tells him, "I've got a lot of things to discuss with you once we set down." Maureen reports, "450 to touch down." When Smith insists it be put to a vote--both Maureen and Don vote no. Don says, "You're outvoted." Smith sneers, "Not quite. I have a proxy. Come here!" The Robot comes out of the elevator and moves to Don and Maureen at the consoles. Smith makes the Robot (who says affirmative to being able to crush the helmet) crush a helmet. "Much as I detest violence, it can be done just as easily with your head inside," Smith threatens, "Now you will fire all rockets and we shall leave this vale of tears and head back to Earth."
Don fakes there is nothing he can do. Smith tells Maureen he will be among the first to sponsor a rescue mission to this forgotten planet. Don hits the stabilizers off. All shakes. Don gets Smith in a chokehold and forces him to make the Robot go back to its compartment, threatening to kill Smith if he doesn't do it. Smith tries to tell Don something before Don puts him in suspended animation in a freezing tube, "cold storage." Maureen has stabilized the ship but it starts tilting again. FLUB: Don appears to fall to one side before the ship shakes again--Mark Goddard throwing himself to one side on purpose. Maureen and he fire the breaking rockets to slow the Jupiter II down or they will burn entering the atmosphere. The rockets are malfunctioning, "He's done something to the controls!" There is no time to let Smith out. Don urges Maureen to go below and strap in. He will ride the landing out as long as he can, then go into the freezing tube nearest the window (this allows the spectacular stock footage of the crash from the unaired pilots to be used--Don was in his freezing tube by the window). Maureen shakes down below, holds onto the Robot who is back under his stall, and closes the viewports over the lower deck window. Jupiter II exits orbit and plunges to the planet, dangerously close to rocks and mountains. As this happens, the children and Maureen smiles at each other, all snug in their space couches. We hear alarm sounds. The ship, after a wild ride, crashes. Fire is in front of it door and controls spark above and below. Judy goes up and frees Don from his tube. Don says, "They say any landing you can walk away from is a good one." Will and Penny run to the viewport and see hills, mountains, and a tree. They need an environmental estimate from the Robot and only Smith can control it. Will gets an idea. They all go below and Will gets the Robot to go out and make the estimate by impersonating Smith's voice again--Don figuring something in the quality of Will's voice strikes a responsive chord. Before proving it, Will told Penny he could do this and she made light of it, now he looks at her, pleased. All watch through the porthole as Robot clears a path down from the doorway, pushing trees and rocks aside. At the bottom of the Robot's tracks on one side, a small door opens. A small drill like device comes out and digs into the soil. Maureen asks, "Suppose the atmosphere is poisonous?" Don tells her, "Let's not go borrowing trouble." Robot reads his report on the lower deck to all: Radiation in soil--negative, atmospheric pressure 22 pounds per square inch. 35 degrees Fahrenheit, air composition--nitrogen 83% by volume, oxygen--15.5 % by volume, argon, carbon dioxide, methane, zion. Don answers, "It's not exactly a tropical paradise, Penny. Better break out the parkas." Will tells Robot, "Nice work." Robot answers, "That does not compute." Normally, Don tells Maureen, he would recommend a week of thorough testing but they have to assemble the Chariot if they hope to find John alive. It gets them over the rough terrain--a semi transparent land vehicle. Smith is still frozen in his tube.
NOTE: The following scene is the first time members of the family are not in their silver spacesuits but in some other kind of outfit. These outfits, along with John's and Smith's will be described following this synopsis. Also note that while the family here, wears their space fatigues, they are also wearing the jackets which cover them up. The full "clothing line" is not seen until the end of act four. The parkas are seen in color in THE GALAXY GIFT but by then some of them have changed color. Penny's is cream colored here with white rail like shapes on it.
Judy will check the infra red scanner; Maureen monitor the radio; and Don will comb the area in circles. The Chariot pulls off and immediately picks up something. It stops near more trees than it saw previously--trees, rocks, and a canyon wall. Don doesn't want to get Maureen's hopes up but he goes out and finds, behind a bush, a monkey like alien creature which he carries back to the Chariot. He also has his laser rifle (the one from the pilot episode, a darker one and different shaped than the one used later in the season and in season two and three). Not far from this area, John is trapped in a deep pit under a large, strangely twisted wooden branch.
Don has the monkey-like creature on his arm as he returns. Will asks, "For Pete's sake, what's that?" Penny says, "Oh, he's darling, may I have it?" Maureen, upset it was not John on the scanner, says, "No, you may not!" Don tells it, "C'mon fella, beat it." The blooping creature stays near them. Maureen reconsiders, "Penny, you may have it if you wish." Penny says, "Now mom, I don't it really I don't." Maureen says, "It's all right, dear. You may have it. Get it for her, will you, Don." Don gets it, "C'mon charlie. Looks like you found yourself a home." Penny takes the monkey, "I'm gonna call you Debbie." Don calls them into the chariot, "C'mon kids, let's go!" Maureen tries to contact John via radio, unaware he can hear her but cannot reach his radio which is on a ledge. "John, if you can hear me, we've all landed and everyone is safe and we're looking for you now." The radio blows up and the cliff is charged with electrical forces which also charge the tree around John. He tries to block it from him and has his helmet down. Don tells Maureen it is no use and he may have better luck searching with the parajets. He starts up the engine but Judy picks something up on the scanner again--the blip was both of them. Don goes out and finds John, calling to them for a rope. John tells Don, "Something werid's going on down here. The whole face of the cliff--it's charged with some wild electrical force." Will can't make the Robot bring the rope since Robot has to go check on safety. Judy brings it to Don. John climbs up and out, hugs Maureen and Judy who help him out of his helmet. After John hugs them, he jokes, "That was worth the climb." He reached 100 feet above the surface when he finally got the parajets working. Maureen says, "We had a bit of a rough landing too, though." John asks where the good doctor is. Robot lets Smith out and begins his breathing, circulation, moving Smith from side to side. He falls. When he recovers, he asks Robot if the others are dead--hoping they are. They are not on the ship which Smith finds excellent. Robot tells Smith, "I do not negotiate. I do not have free choice." Smith smirks, "It's vastly overrated. And now my metallurgical friend, with you as my personal chauffeur, we shall now say farewell to this colorful island in space and head back to Earth."
Chariot goes over the desert as before. The spaceship is over the next hill. Will tells them the Robot must have gone back there. Don says, "Back to his master, Dr. Smith. When I get back to that spaceship, I'm going to..." Maureen points as Don turns around, "Don!" A giant electrical tumbleweed passes by. John tells them to cover their eyes. The creature passes the chariot side, drains all the power out of it and leaves. Will tells them it will take a half hour to wire past the main generator but John wants them all back in the ship before nightfall. They walk. Smith is kicking the Robot, calling him a tin plated fraud and a worthless electronic scrap heap. Robot tells him it is not a function of an environmental control robot to fly a ship. Smith looks for a laser pistol to melt the Robot down. Robot puts his emergency protective circuits into activation--1000 volts, "Warning," Smith several times over. Smith stops this. He plots to have the Robot liquidate the others with only Major West being spared, at first, since West is useful to tell them how to pilot the ship back to Earth. Robot feeds Smith's order back to him, "Destroy everyone." Smith prefers the word eliminate. Smith thinks about this: "Too bad about young Will though...the only agreeable companion I've found on this ghastly trip." He hoped to have a game of chess with Will. Smith cannot beat the Robot and admits this to him, calling him a glassed friend, "When I play, I like to win." Since West is seen by Smith as a violent and stubborn type Smith must convince him he has had a change of heart. Each liquidation must appear to be accidental which can be explained away as metabolic failure due to unknown composition in the atmosphere. The Robot informs him that the others return. Smith looks out the porthole window, "Robinson alive? Impossible." He then tells the Robot to watch and learn from "Saint Zachary the First." John says, "From the look of things, you're landing wasn't much easier than mine." Don will check out the Chariot in the morning. Maureen takes the girls to prepare dinner (where they go for that is a mystery--they seem to wander out of the scene and DO NOT go into the Control Room). John tells Will it will be real easy for him to get lost in this monotonous terrain even though he wants to try to fix the Chariot. Don and John go inside as Will wanders out of scene.
Don tells John, "Hold it!" John asks, "What do you mean hold it?" Don warns, "He controls the Robot!" Smith tells John he is happy he is alive. Don says, "Now I'll tell one." Smith lies about how he got out of the freezing tube but saw his whole life frozen before him. John says, "That must have been a gory spectacle." Smith tells them he wants to join them since they are "embarked on the greatest of mysteries--the unknown universe." He goes on to make them consider this, "I could have had the Robot kill you just now as you came in." He says he saw the light. At night, everything on the planet can change, thus he offers to send the Robot out to do a full environmental scan and atmospheric report. He wants them to believe in his complete reformation. Don says, "Don't trust him. He's as slippery as a bucket of eels." Smith claims he had a moment of weakness in wanting to get back to Mother Earth. He will send the Robot out, leaving himself defenseless--"the virtuous need no defense." When the Robot leaves, Smith shuts the inner door.
JOHN'S LOG: We have now come to the end of our first day on this alien and perhaps hostile planet. What is ahead we have no way of knowing but we're all still together. There is air to breath, shelter against the cold and food to sustain us. All of us feel somehow akin to those hardy souls who first came to the lonely shores of America so many centuries ago and who found it in their hearts to vie thanks to providence for their blessing.
Don and Judy are on the upper deck, checking out the instruments. Maureen and Penny set up the galley for dinner. All wear more casual outfits as follows:
JOHN: Light blue shirt with red undershirt, white shirt trim and cuffs, black belt, dark blue pants, and black boots.
MAUREEN: Olive green shirt with coral undershirt, olive green pants and boots.
JUDY: Red shirt with dark blue collar and skirt; blue tights and dark blue boots.
DON: Gray shirts, red undershirt, dark blue collar stripe, red cuffs and dark blue cuff stripes, black belt and boots, dark blue pants.
PENNY: Gold-brown shirt, light yellow undershirt, white collar braid, white sleeve braid. No boots.
WILL: Blue shirt, white and red trim, black belt and boots, dark blue pants. Covered by parka.
When John asks where Will is, Penny tells them, "He told me he had an idea on how to fix the Chariot." She told not to leave the ship. Smith is worried, "You don't understand--the Robot's out there." John says, "We know that...now tell us what we don't know." Smith does: "He's just liable to find Will." John wonders, "And...?" "And...I suppose he'll bring him back." Don and John don't like the sound of this.
CLIFFHANGER: Will is in the Chariot as the camera pans across it. He is cold and not having much success at fixing the land vehicle. He guesses he was wrong about it. "I gotta get back to the ship. What?" He sees the Robot coming over a hill. He goes out, "I wanna talk to you about the way you ran off." Robot repeats Smith's orders, "When unessential personnel are found alone, destroy." He blasts a tree and moves closer to Will. Will climbs up the Chariot, "Go back, do you hear me? Go..go back. Go back." He repeats this several times. The Robot fires electric between his claws and then down to warm up.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK SAME TIME SAME CHANNEL
REVIEW: A jam packed fast moving episode which is the best transition from space to planet. Pilot scenes are cleverly interwoven--and the ship crash is a wonderful special effect. The finding of the Bloop is cute---in the unaired pilot number one, the bloop didn't bloop but used some kind of squeaky, almost rodent like and very low squeal. This was changed to blooping in the unaired pilot number two and for the entire series. John Peel insisted in his FILES books that Debbie was given the sound of a real monkey in the early episodes. What show was he watching? Some purport to have seen a cable in the electrical ball scene. Several nice touches to Smith being worried about Will at the end but he was at his most villainous here, plotting to kill everyone. Also in act one, we see a very brief hint that the Robot is trying to resist Dr. Smith's evil plan and that perhaps there is some morality in the Robot that wasn't there when he was programmed...or at least programmed by human beings from Earth. The Robinson's planet will never be like this again---barren, not even a base camp set up yet, no forcefield, just trackless wastes and wind. It had a truly isolated feel to it, empty and alone, and alien. Perhaps with mysteries yet untold. Quite a far cry from a deserted island.