RETURN FROM OUTER SPACE
working title Home Sweet Home
MUSIC-there is some incidental stock music not heard in any other episode.
NARRATION: Last week, as you recall, Dr. Smith, Will, and Penny were returning from a rock gathering expedition, unaware that hidden in the undergrowth nearby lay an alien machine of unbelievable powers.
TEASER-almost fully recapped but no Judy, John, Don, and Smith in the flower freezing scene at the end, also note more footage at the very opening.
Daytime--Will, Smith, Penny, and Debbie walk with buckets. We see more of the shot from before the camera pans across the rock (a few extra seconds of additional footage). Penny is clearly with the group this time but drifts off somewhere else, behind them. Robot is trying to find a vein of radioactive ore and his sensors need to be free of burden, thus Smith complains of them doing work for the machine. They pass trees and a large rock. Smith tells Will, "Your father's desire for revenge has broken me." Will says it is not revenge--they need rock samples to see if they can find radioactive ore. Debbie puts a large rock in the bucket Smith is carrying. He yells at her, "Stop that!" Smith tells Will to tell his father to vent his hostilities on someone else. Will yells as Smith walks off, Debbie following him. Penny finds a nest and an egg but it is high up on the alien machine, suddenly now named Taurons. This is one of the machines the aliens left when they came. Dad told Penny and the others not to go near them. Debbie climbs up the machine. Penny climbs up to get the huge egg and hands it to Smith when she comes down. Smith will prepare it to rival the culinary delights of Ancient Rome. Penny calls Debbie down after Smith vacates the area. Debbie turns a switch and the machine lights up in places. Penny takes Debbie down (telling Debbie, "You know what Dad said about those things") and backs up as the machine sparks. She backs into a flat disk area on the ground. A ray comes from the mirror like device on the machine and envelops her and Debbie (the monkey like alien life form in her arms). She bangs on it. The ray goes up and she, it, and Debbie are gone! NOTE: FOR ONCE, THE TEASER ENDS ALMOST EXACTLY WHERE THE CLIFFHANGER ENDED. We hear some odd sound after the ray vanishes completely.
NOTE: One syndication copy of this episode has the theme song end with "LOST IN SPACE brought to you by..."
Smith is finishing his omelet and lies to Maureen about what it is she is smelling, telling her it is herbs from the hydroponic garden. She knows there are no eggs on this planet (well, are there? Don once thought a bird dropped clay in MY FRIEND MR. NOBODY; Will commented that they didn't see any birds in THE RAFT--but a planet even one smaller than Earth as Priplanus presumably is, can have birds in one place and not another; also presumably the machine could have brought some bird egg along with it or it could have been the aliens' egg--who knows?). Don and John come out of the ship asking about carbon tetrachloride. Smith says he uses it to remove stains--he's used it and left the top off. John asks him if he has any thoughts besides his immediate needs---without the carbon tetrachloride they will lose their food supply. They use it as food preservation (NOTE: how is a mystery---it is highly toxic). They will have to eat only non-perishable items and now face a food shortage (what about the hydroponic garden?). John finds Smith's egg shell. Smith doesn't remember it but Will does--he was rock hunting with Smith when he saw it on the other side of the rock cave. John warns him to stay away from the Tauron's left over Matter Transfer Unit. Maureen looks at Smith as she and John go into the Jupiter II. Will asks Smith about Penny. He lies: he would never let Penny go near that machine. He suggests they go look for her (nice of him, hey?). They take celery along with them and go to the machine. Wind blows Will's hair. It also looks as if Will has a black eye. Smith tells Will that the Robot didn't promise not to monkey with the machine and orders the "steely eyed sorcerer" to work his magic on it. Robot detects a replicator, regenerator, and transfer device and puts them on. He also puts on a timing phase signal. Smith, annoyed at all the time it takes, pulls Will away but forgets his lunch basket--having left it on the disk. We see an overhead shot as Will find the lunch basket is gone. Robot gives Will the scientific name for celery. It is now in a state of molecular change. The commands Robot has to give the machine and Tauron language are incompatible. Will tells him to try something way and really wild. Robot signals several times. The machine sparks and the ray comes down. Penny and Debbie reappear inside it. Penny doesn't realize what's happened and asks Will, "Where have you been?" Will asks, "Where have YOU been?" Penny chases Debbie, who runs off. Will calls after Penny. He takes the basket, "The Matter Transfer Unit really works." When Smith returns, Will tells him the lunch reappeared "on the very spot that you're standing!" Will runs; Smith fearful, slips off the disk. Control Room, Will is telling the rest of the family while Smith and the Robot are seen outside heading in. Will says, "We were trying to.." John asks, "We?" Smith says, "Oh, I've just come from our remote weather station--I spent the whole morning there." John and Don will destroy the matter transfer machine--the temptation to tamper with it is too great and too dangerous. It operates on a maser beam. They will put the Tauronic box of tricks out of commission. Don tells Smith, "Nothing's logical where you're concerned, Smith." Smith says, "You and I will never be friends, Major." Don laughs, "That's the first logical thing you've ever said." In his pjs, Will plans, lying on his bed. He talks to himself out loud, tempted to use the machine. Early morning, he puts up a sign: WARNING--THIS INSTRUMENT IS THE PROPERTY OF TAURONS! IF YOU TRY TO DESTROY IT, YOU WILL BE SEVERELY PUNISHED. Will plots a round trip to Earth via the Robot. Robot says, "Destination: Earth is my planet of origin." Will will remain there until high noon--12 hundred hours. Will goes the disk but forgets his lunch bag. Robot tells him not to get it--the transfer is already operating. The machine blasts, a ray comes down and takes Will away with it.
Will lands on a roof thanks to the maser beam. A roof of snow in an old west type of town--on top a gift shop overhang. Snow falls onto an older boy, Davey Sims, (who looks about 15 or 16). There is snow all over this town--Hatfield Four Corners in Vermont at Christmas Time (although it may as well be MAYBERRY RFD or Bedford Falls from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE). There is a tree, new music, and a wagon (?) that Davey is using. He's been there a half hour and hadn't seen Will. Will tells him he came from Priplanus, coming down from the roof, "That's a planet in another galaxy." Will uses his radio to try to call Alpha Control but Davey grabs it. When Will grabs it back, it falls and breaks. Davey tells him with a dime he can get Will a new toy radio. Davey mentions Will should call his mother and he will freeze in that outfit. Will tells him his mother is at least ten light years away (more than that too---our galaxy is ten thousand light years across--and Priplanus is in another galaxy). Davey brings him back to his house where he lives with his Aunt Clara (Reta Shaw who presents as a kindly but dumb old woman aka THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR later on; Shaw also appeared on BEWITCHED as Hagatha in THE WITCHES ARE OUT and Aunt Hagatha later in the series--SAM'S WITCHCRAFT BLOWS A FUSE). Will slips to the phone and calls the operator--another dumb hick type called Mrs. Racial (I'll say!) who won't let Will through to Colonel Mason and when Davey stops Will from using the very old fashioned phone, she tells him, "He'd better not ask me to get him no Colonel or General, wasting my time with all that space nonsense!" Will tells Davey, "I only wanna call Alpha Control. Can't you get your aunt to give me permission to do that? We took off for Alpha Centauri and we ran into a meteor storm which knocked out a lot of instruments and we landed on this unidentified planet and that's where we all are...all except for me that is." The heavy weight old aunt gives Will apple pie and ice tea. Will tells her they are good--they are on short food rations on Priplanus due to the food storage purifier. Will mentions 0900--which Davey tells Clara means nine o'clock. Will tries the phone again but Clara stops him and sits him in the living room. "Now Will dear, I know it's great fun being an astronaut and traveling through space and landing on strange planets. I remember the Robinson family very well. They were the first family in space. I guess we all remember how exciting it was when they took off last year (meaning this is now 1998--however is it December of 1997 or is it that this takes place after December 31st, 1997--there is a Christmas Tree and it is obviously Christmas time but last year means last year so perhaps this is some few days into the New Year or maybe Clara is just speaking in general).
Clara goes on and this part is a bit spooky--more so than any aliens, "...Oh, it seems like such a long time ago now and things happen so fast in the world today--I'm afraid a lot of people have already forgotten about them. Ahh, Will...maybe if you could too. Think about your own family." Will stands up, "The Jupiter II crashed onto a hillside," and he explains that where his family is, about the Taurons' Matter Transfer Unit and the Robot, his looking for iron ore. Clara leaves with Will to go to the Sheriff--a dumbo named Sheriff George Baxendale (we only know his last name from the credits and promo material, it is never really clearly stated as far as I can tell). Will keeps asking George to phone Alpha Control. The idiot tells Will he can get through to Alpha Control in a split second if he has to. The problem: he and the town council don't want the town to be made a laughing stock of if the story turns out not to be true. Clara tells George, "Oh George, he's very young, now you won't do anything?" George tells her to stop being so silly--he has two boys of his own (poor kids). Clara asks Will to come and see "us" when he is settled (she is a real traitor innshe?). A real hick named Lacy is the newsman who wants the yarn for the local newspaper's weekend edition. He, looking like the stupidest, is actually the smartest--he will put a call into Alpha Control to check the story out (but he takes too long to do it and doesn't really believe Will's "yarn")--for he next says perhaps the story will urge parents not to allow their children to take this science fiction stuff too seriously. The bus reads Hatfield County Home For Boys. The Sheriff goes the woman who runs the home, Ruth Templeton (although I cannot recall hearing her last name in the aired version).
On the planet now named Priplanus (by Will?), John and Don go to the Robot. Don orders him to return to camp, "And as your friend Dr. Smith would say, no dawdling on the way." Robot refuses to move. John finds the sign Will made and frustrates over a boy who won't obey orders. Don wants to put the machine out of commission but when John finds the lunch bag, he stops Don from doing it. Smith comes out of hiding after they leave and goes to Robot, who tells him, "It is imperative I do not abandon my station." Smith pulls his power pack out and fiddles with it. He can't have the Robot bearing false (ie--true to everyone else) witness against him and makes Robot forget--erase his memory banks that Smith was anywhere near the Tauron machine. They leave and the machine bursts and beeps.
Will is in Davey's jacket as he has been since they left the house of that traitorous Aunt Clara. A heavy set big kid (Theodore) and another skinnier kid tease Will, calling him a spaceman and saying maybe he is in orbit. The blond skinny kid knew about the first space family and the ship. Will names the ship and pushes the blond kid who continues to tease him. The other kid, Theodore, questions Will about a stellar phorometer (used to measure diameter of stars), a parsec (which Will says is 19 million, 150 thousand miles--WARNING! WARNING! MISTAKE, MISTAKE! Uh, Will, it is 19,150,000,000,000----roughly 19 trillion, 150 billion), and how far it is to Alpha Centauri (Will says 5.3 light years). Will tells Theodore (okay, Buck--just kidding--see BUCK ROGERS season one)--he doesn't know what a Doppler Effect is. The other boys laugh at Will's commentary about Theo's unscientific answer of, "It's like a rainbow." This prompts Theo to say, "The real Will Robinson's dead, so're his folks---they're all dead, everybody knows that--everyone that was on that ship is dead, they're skeletons floating around in space." Will hits him and pushes him down. Ruth stops it and Theo tells her Will started it. After Ruth takes Will away, Theo says, "No foster parents ever gonna take him in--he's gonna be stuck here the rest of his life." NOTE: Theo grew up to be the worst serial killer of 1998.
John and Don search. John suggest the ship's radio scope. Don wants to work on the food purifier. Smith lays, listening to the Robot's programmed (?) jargon about him, "Dr. Smith is a loyal self sacrificing member of the Jupiter II crew. He's incapable of telling the truth." Smith smiles at this but then realizes what the Robot said and gets mad at him. Robot tells him it is imperative he return to the Tauron machine. Smith tells him to repeat what he last said. Robot says, "Dr. Smith is incapable." Smith yells, "...finish...of telling a lie, you ninny." Robot says Earth time 1200 hours--he must be at the machine.
Will is brought before a town council--all of three people--a bald old man, a spinster, and another--all afraid of being made a laughin' stock if Will's story proves false. George frustrates over Will continuing to ask about the phone call. George leaves Town Hall. Ruth asks Will why his father didn't make the journey. Will tells her the truth, then sneaks out as Ruth confers with the town trio. Will hides in a corner near a phone booth as the bus pulls away. He runs to the General Store and asks to use the phone. At first, the storeman--Grover--allows him to call. Will calls Colonel Mason at Alpha Control--CAPE KENNEDY (which is in Florida). Grover, hearing how expensive it will cost, kicks Will off the phone. Will picks up carbon tetrachloride but it is 89 cents. Will backs out, "Charge it to Mr. John Robinson." Grover asks where he lives. Will says, "Priplanus." Will runs out right into Sheriff George. Will pleads for the carbon but gives it back to Grover. The sheriff takes Will back. Grover comments that Priplanus is not a street near here. Dope.
Sad music via WELCOME STRANGER. Will mopes about Davey's room, locked in. He tries the window. Clara asks Will to have lunch and brings a tray in. Will tells her to leave him alone and blames her, "You ruined everything." Will has to be on that roof at 12 o'clock noon. When Clara tells him the town council and the Sheriff won't like that, Will says, "Haven't they done enough? The least they can do is let me go back to my family." Clara tells Will he can join their family but he counters by telling her he does not want a brother and wants to go back to his family. Clara says, "You're a fine boy, Will, and we love you." Will says, "That's no good, that's no good. No one understands."
Smith lays on a rock and wants his sterling character traits recited by the Robot. Robot says, "That does not compute." To go, he has to ward Smith off using electric charges. He leaves and exits the area quite fast, sliding away quickly. Smith chases him. John and the Robinson females look for Will. John uses binoculars and sees Smith chasing the Robot. Don comes running to them.
Davey asks Will, "Can I come in?" Will is on the bed pouting, "It's your room." We hear old style sad music, not heard on LOST IN SPACE before. Will tells him that Alpha Control will probably put him and his aunt away for life after they find out what they did by locking him up. Davey tells Will his story is hard to believe but asks Will about space. He tells Will he thought he saw a flash or lightning when Will dropped snow on him. He tells the boy he wants to study physics in college. Will tells him space is not so different than Earth once you find a place you could live on. He explains the forms of life you meet in space look different but aren't so different either. He isn't sure their feelings are the same as ours but you have to be real careful and watch out that they don't misunderstand your reasons for being there (this sounds like a reference to THE SKY IF FALLING). The aliens molecules may be arranged differently which is why he had to translate what their arrangement is to what our arrangement is. It is eight minutes to 12. They run out, Will stopping briefly to put Davey's jacket back on and wave to Clara, "Bye Aunt Clara, thank you for everything." They run out; Clara follows but shuts the door and moves much slower. The two beat Davey's old record of four minutes and they have time to spare. Davey asks to come with him but the Robot is only set for Will. Will gasps about the carbon tet so Davey runs to the General Store to grab the carbon tetrachloride. Davey gives Grover a dollar. Grover asks about his change and Davey pops back in and tells him he'll get it later. He runs to Will and hands the carbon bottle up to the freckle faced boy. Will is going to tell the others all about Davey and how he helped him. Will says, "And thank your Aunt Clara, she was nice really and Miss Ruth at the boy's home." Will gives Davey back his jacket and says, "Merry Christmas." Davey sincerely says, "Sure--and a Happy New Year." The Sheriff, Lacy, and Aunt Clara come running in the snow to them. The ray comes down and takes Will. Snow dislodges as they watch the ray go up and the snow hits the Sheriff on the head. Lacy says, "Alpha Control will be here in one hour." George tells him, "Tell them anything."
The others finally find Will but didn't see him ray back in. When they find him, they don't believe he was on Earth!!! Maureen tells him they searched half the planet for him. On signal overload the machine burns outs. Will tells them where he's been, "Well, I've been on Earth all morning in a little place called Hatfield Four Corners in Vermont, and they sure are behind the times there. They wouldn't even let me call Alpha Control to send a rescue ship. They thought I was some kind of nut." Maureen tells him to curb his wild tales or they may think the same thing. He shows them the carbon tet bottle which reads Hatfield's Hardware. Smith realizes it was true and takes the Robot off with him, "Come along." The machine blows parts off itself. John hugs a scared Maureen.
CLIFFHANGER: Robot digs with a shovel, completing the task Smith was supposed to do. Smith tells him now dig a 90 degree angle toward the hydroponic garden. He tells Will that the muscle of machine allows them more time for intellectual pursuits. Will says, "Dad says machines do too much work." John calls as he and Don start toward the area. Smith quickly takes the shovel from the Robot as the two men arrive. Don says, "I see it but I don't believe it." Smith says, "Go away, Major, you irk me." Smith throws the shovel when the two men leave to go get two pipes for the irrigation system. Will looks at Smith, "You fibbed." Smith tells him, "Never once did I say I was responsible." A strange machine like sound occurs, dreamlike and then a wind sound is heard. Smith's eyes get wide, "I am being summoned." Will follows a tranced Dr. Smith under a tree to another area. There are three box-cages--electronically lit and with clear, glass like material on three sides. One opens and Smith goes inside it. It closes. Will bangs on it. A hairy, biped monster with two horns shows up. It has blinking, glowing eyes. Will falls but gets up and runs off. The monster follows him. An extreme close up of the monster's face!
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK...this slides away to be replaced with A a new slide in...
SORRY! TO BE CONTINUED TWO WEEKS FROM TONIGHT, SAME TIME, SAME CHANNEL.
REVIEW: Okay, so there really are places like Hatfield Four Corners in the United States--even in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and other places. I've seen them first hand. It did seem like Will back in time and I thought he did go back to the 1940s or 1950s--I mean the phone he uses is the same phone type (and probably the same prop) Maureen uses in the third season's VISIT TO A HOSTILE PLANET when the Robinsons go to 1947--and there Maureen tells the girls, "I've seen pictures of people using these but I'm sure how to work this." That town could have come right out of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE or even MAYBERRY RFD and ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. And Clara could have been Aunt Bee. Donald Losby is an excellent actor and did a wonderful job in THE FUGITIVE second season episode CRY UNCLE (with Ron Howard as his little brother). He also appeared in BLUE LIGHTS-TO KILL A TOY SOLDIER. The Irwin Allen crossovers with THE FUGITIVE could fill a book. For some reason, the Robot seems unable to act independently in this episode and most of the others before this one--so it all fits---but why he couldn't tell Smith the reason he couldn't leave before Smith pulled his power pack and tampered with it is beyond me. In any event, the Robot is starting to revolt against Smith by now--a few quips about Smith in THE RAFT started it in a small way. And how did the Robot know where Earth was? Well, he never really told anyone he didn't know--and no one apparently asked him. I always felt there was more to the Robot than met the eye and that perhaps he was keeping things to himself for some programming that someone else did to him--NOT SMITH but perhaps an alien (we know from later episodes aliens have visited Earth before and have tampered with the Robot-PRINCESS OF SPACE and that at least one civilization resembles him--Industro robots in THE MECHANICAL MEN). At least one fan has written a story about Penny's trip from this episode's teaser and act one. In the tale, DAUGHTER FROM THE PAST, Penny goes to the year 2006 and meets the Robinsons in that year. Why John didn't experiment with the machine is also a puzzle. Alpha Centauri is really 4.34 light years away from Earth or 25 trillion miles! Will's parsec answer is also wrong--SEE ABOVE. Also carbon tetrachloride is highly toxic--how did the Robinsons use it to preserve food? Despite all the wrong things about this episode, it gives a good Christmas feel--being aired between Christmas and New Year's Eve helped (Dec. 29, 1965). It also gives a great contrast between the planet and Earth, perhaps the only episode to do so. In addition, there are some creepy things about how the people on Earth think of the Robinsons (Aunt Clara tells Will many have forgotten about them already; Theodore tells him the Robinsons are all skeletons floating around in space). We can assume that perhaps the authorities will now know the Robinsons are on Priplanus or at least are alive. If not, they will know in the second episode of season two, WILD ADVENTURE. Many people fondly remember this episode. This is the first story to have SPACE in the title. On another note, the adults' premise that children shouldn't take science fiction too seriously is mocked here; however, I wonder if that is wise: in September 1979 a boy from St. Paul, Minnesota, Eddie Seidel Jr, jumped 200 feet from High Bridge between St. Paul and West St Paul. He did this because BATTLESTAR GALACTICA had been canceled by ABC. Ironically, the show was renewed as the awful GALACTICA 1980 renewed. I hope it is to his parents' comfort that that series was very unlike the first series as his step-mother said, "I hope we never see it on TV again because it would just crush us." Obviously, the poor boy had other problems but this does counter the argument against having kids just blindly get so into science fiction (or anything!) so much that they throw their very lives into it, only to find out, it can fall out from under them. In the scheme of things any canceled TV show means very little. This sad story really touched me and should remind us that reality is more important than any type of entertainment. We all feel bad when our favorite shows are canceled but keeping it all in the proper perspective helps. Let us remember Eddie Seidel and his family taught us and remind us of this. If any good can come out of something like this, it may save other young, troubled lives.