THE SPACE CROPPERS
NARRATION: Last week, as you recall, Will, Penny, and Dr. Smith were busily preparing a time capsule, unaware that off in the dark wastes of the planet, mysterious new arrivals had landed that were soon to threaten their very survival.
TEASER-fully recapped, opening shot is different--it is a long shot overhead shot of the four.
Overhead long shot: The Robot stands watch as Smith, Will, and Penny prepare a time capsule. Will gives him the portable thruster used by John; Penny hands Smith mom's space gloves she wore when they left earth. Will tells Penny the Egyptians had time capsules--called pyramids. Will comments they should go--it is late. Smith says, "Never fear, Smith is here--you're perfectly safe." Penny hands Smith his tape--MEDITATIONS OF A GALACTIC TRAVELER: BEING AN ACCOUNT OF COURAGE, FORTITUDE, AND PERSONAL SACRIFICE OF DR. ZACHARY SMITH. When they return to Earth, he says he will be put into the SPACE VOYAGERS HALL OF FAME. They hear a wolf howl. Smith points to the two moons, which are now bursting with fullness. Smith goes on about how the full moon is the night the witches dance, the creatures of doom walk, and dark and dismal voices...he calls this howling a werewolf. Will asks, "A werewolf...on this planet?" Smith says, "Why should this planet be an exception?" Will turns Robot on. Robot says, "Animal noises produced by predator cannis lupis. Volume and pitch indicate predator to be in condition of extreme ferocity." Smith tells Will cannis lupis means werewolf. "We must hurry!" The four go past some trees. Robot warns, "Warning! Warning! Cannis lupis in area! Warning!" Smith says, "We should never have stayed out this late!" Will says, "And whose fault is that?" "This is on time for idle recriminations," Smith says, pointing the way. The trio run right into the werewolf! Smith grabs Penny and Will to him, infront of himself. Smith gasps that staring him down, looking him straight in the eye is the only way to hold the beast at bay. Will orders Robot to blast him twice. This sends the wolfman away. The tracks of the wolf turn into the shoe prints of a man (his clothes must have morphed back when he changed back into a man!).
We see the clouds obscure one of the two moons (first seen in GHOST IN SPACE). The other moon comes out from the cloud. Table--outside--John tells Smith to go easy on the water until the pipeline is repaired. Smith tells him, "I am not an assembly line worker." John starts, "Wait a minute, Dr. Smith..." Maureen breaks off the potential fight. Judy tells Smith she has prepared some bean gravy with wolfs foot--the name of a herb that grows on this planet (or the name they gave to it). Maureen tells him it is like club moss. Penny says Smith is fearful of wolf-foot, "That's because we saw a real werewolf tonight. It attacked us." Will tells Smith, "Penny and I weren't so scared, Dr. Smith, it was just you." NOTE: This is pretty much a lie. While Will did have enough sense to order the Robot to fire, Penny was frightfully scared, screaming and gasping. Also note that Don is not at the table or in this entire scene. John asks, "Are you sure it was a werewolf--of course, we've all read legends but none of them have proved out." Smith says John's research was not as extensive as his. John says, "Well, Dr. Smith, if you believe that men can be transformed into wolves and you actually saw one, how about going on a safari and bringing back one alive." Smith would like to--he says--but he has to work on the pipeline tomorrow. He goes to bed. Judy asks, "Was it really a werewolf, Penny?" Maureen says, "I'm sure your father will know what to do about it." Morning--Will brings Smith water. He also knows how they can go on the safari--he drags Smith back to camp and later, has the Robot programmed for 5000 shovels of digging. If they had waited for a week when the pipeline would be finished--the moons would have waned. Smith has a Safari hat on (where'd he get it?). When Will starts out on the safari, Smith turns to the digging Robot, "Traitor!" They find the time capsule raided and follow tracks. Will tells Smith tracks are not enough--they might say it was a dog (on this planet? or maybe it was the dog we all forgot about from ONE OF OUR DOGS IS MISSING). Smith, afraid, tells Will to lead on. They both have laser guns. Smith tells Will this is not the first time he's trapped big game. They bend down to see the tracks which end and come faces to boots with a big huge man who grabs their guns and has a hoe. He grunts. Will tells Smith, "He doesn't understand you, Dr. Smith--he's an alien." Smith, backed up to a rock by the alien, does some silly grunts and sign language. The man pushes them past a sign post up ahead in an alien language--no trespassing. Smith calls what they see the effect of moon madness--an open dilapidated hut like spaceship. Goofy music plays. A girl with a cut off, hill billie like rag of a dress comes over to them, wearing Maureen's gloves. They have ways of closing the spaceship up--keep it open just to be sociable (SURE). "Oh, I speak all kinds of languages," the girl, Effra, tells them. She calls Will a cute little fella and tells him they will git the time capsule things back when they are sure they "ain't gonna be usin' em' on us." Effra asks Will, "Your maw got any more like you at home?" Smith tells her the planet is public domain. He also makes fun of their ship in his questions. Effra tells him it "got them to a heap of places" like the Pleiades, Constellation of the Big Dog, and the Southern Fish, even went to Earth once." Effra didn't like it--too many people like Smith and too much fighin' and fuedin'. An older woman with a double barreled gun arrives. She tells Effra to git back to her brew. To Smith and Will: "Be off and stay off!" Keel falls as he works on the crops--what a silly scene. Effra bubbles up her brew. Maw goes to the man sized canisters (VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA's THE CONDEMNED diving bell) and inside are living plants (props from ATTACK OF THE MONSTER PLANTS). "You'll be fed very soon," she tells the hungry little devils, "as soon as you have provided for me and my family, all the rest of this land will be yours--all this land and every living thing that's on it--every living thing!"
Day, Jupiter II camp: Smith tells the others that the woman is a mother and has two children. Smith admires her courage. Don says, "And the fact that she has a spaceship that will get you back to Earth, Smith." Robot returns and tells them the water supply trench is dug and ready. Will tells them it was his idea to use the Robot. Later--Don and Judy come out of the spaceship door, holding equipment. Judy is saying, "...if there's one thing I learned about this planet, on earth a woman's work is never done but here..." She alerts Don to a large man tearing up the hydroponic garden table, eating what he can pull out. Don runs to him, "Hey! That's our food supply!" He tries to stop him but he picks Don up and is about to throw him when Effra arrives and tells Keel to put him down. More goofy music. Effra corners Don against the table and rubs his face, which she notes gets all red. Judy drops her equipment and removes Effra's hand. Maureen and John come outside, Maureen laughing, "What's going on? Who are these people?" Effra asks Maureen for some seasoning. John looks at Judy who walks as though she is mad when Maureen asks her to get it, taking the bucket from Effra. Effra admires the ship. John tells her they have just been to Earth and here, "...but we do hope to get off soon." Effra says, "Hope not before we get us our crops raised." Maureen tells her they will share what food they have with them. She asks if her mother will trade recipes with her but Effra says she might have trouble following Maw's directions. Effra likes the seasoning and is obliged. Smith comes out, "Have you met Effra?" Judy says, "We have." Smith says hello to Effra who slaps Keel when Keel starts eating and ignores her. Smith laughs but Effra turns around and looks at him, seriously angry. Effra leaves but not before touching Don's face again, telling him he don went and cooled off. Night--lower deck--Maureen and John come out of their cabin and meet Don as they hear strange chanting, thinking it was war music. Kay-la chants over and over. Don goes to get Smith and they will meet outside.
NOTE: Right here in some syndicated versions a logo appears and Dick Tufeld says, "Lost In Space will be right back." Then just before Act Three is the familiar musical notes and logo.
Maureen, John, Don, and Smith go to the alien camp amid more chanting. Flowers grow large as the chanting includes flourish and provide; Keel is holding up candles among the rows of plants. Effra and Sybilla, the maw, sing. Effra tells them, "Earthling folks got no business here." Smith compliments the older woman and she seems surprised by this. Maureen thought they would just drop in but Sybilla tells her she wouldn't mind if they just drop out. Effra goes to Don and hints that she may tell him about their crops but Sybilla tells her, "I'll cut your tongue out." Sybilla says she wants no more talking, no more visiting, "We like to be alone. Get off my land and be quick or I'll sick Keel on you." John says, "I wouldn't try anything, let's go." Smith remains while the other three leave. He admires Sybilla but she cannot return the compliment--there is nothing she sees about Smith to admire. He wants to call on her again. Day--Smith and Will pull a wheeled cart which is filled with things Smith wants to give Sybilla. They arrive and see larger, more giant flowers and petals, stalks, and leaves. Smith asks if Will sees it. Will says, "Yeah, unless it's some more of that moon madness." Sybilla is now in a robe and tiara--fairly more dressed up than her previous rags and shawl. She asks Will if Smith ever stops talking. Smith follows her to her ship (in the back is a rack like device that was seen in THE SKY IS FALLING as the aliens' set up). Smith continues to compliment her as Will looks at her jets, "This must be your exhaust stack." When Smith complains about what Will is going on about, he says, "...besides it's a lot more sensible than what you've been saying." Sybilla agrees, "You got a point there, sonny." She has her own special brand of fuel. Will asks about nourishment for the plants and Smith doesn't want him to bore Sybilla who is more bored by him than by Will's questions about her way of life--agriculture. Later, Smith asks Robot about compatibility, calling him a deplorable dunderhead in the process. Robot tells Smith the people he described are too perfect, too good to be true. Will tells Smith either he is in a trance or is telling whoppers. Smith calls the robot a fugitive from a scrap metal yard. He will have to use his powers of persuasion. At the alien camp, Effra is now in a gown and her hair is up and Sybilla is putting makeup on. Effra feels Smith is sweet talkin' and doin' things to her maw. Sybilla hopes the plants will settle for six delicacies instead of seven--she may want to bring Zachary along when they leave. Smith brings flowers to Sybilla, "None of us has your green thumb." Effra goes. Don is planting as Effra arrives in the Robinson camp. Don asks what she needs to borrow this time but she tells them her crops are in and they will be leaving soon. Don tells her, "You and your family haven't exactly been friendly neighbors, now have you?" Effra tells him they can go places together. Don tells her it sounds inviting but is not for him. Effra gets mad at him, "I could put a spell on you if I put my mind to it." Don says, "Go ahead." Effra goes to Will, her "cute little fella" and wants Will to get a lock of Don's hair so she can intertwine it with hers and make him all hairy. She looks up at the two moons which rise early tonight amid white clouds (nice effect). She seems almost afraid. She shakes Will, "You get me that piece of his hair and bring it to me this evening, you hear?" She leaves. Will puts the power pack in the Robot who tells Will, "Female guise deceptive, creature's behavior and or mental processes not subject to natural laws of cause and effect. Exercise caution in dealing with creature and members of her family." NOTE: The Robot's claws in this season do not fully close. Will says, "Golly and Dr. Smith's over there." He goes. Maureen opens Smith's door to look for Will. She finds Smith packing. John, Don, and the girls arrive. Smith reveals he is going to marry Sybilla. Don asks, "Not the witch?" John warns Smith, "I studied samples of some of the plants these people are growing and they contain the deadliest virus I've ever seen under a microscope." Smith tells John his xenophobia is showing but John tells him for good scientific reasons. Don tells Smith he will end up on Earth with Sybilla and figures the whole story, "...a free ride back to Earth, if you ever get there and she can't even sue you for breach of promise when you ditch her." Smith tells him, "Your barbs fall on deaf ears, Major." He wanted congratulations from the family. He was going to make Judy and Penny his flower girls and the Robot his best man. Smith wants them to wish him luck. Maureen can only say, "Oh, Dr. Smith." Smith leaves. Judy asks, "Can't we stop him?" John exclaims, "Ever try stopping an irresistible force?" Will is on the trail and it is getting late. He hears the plants and sees a mass of them growing. He goes near one that moves. Will moves away but turns to confront the werewolf! It comes at him. Will looks at it.
The werewolf backs Will into one of the pedaled flower beds; Effra, calling for Keel, hears Will's cries for help and makes the werewolf get Will out, sending it off when Will is safe--and calling the wolfman, "Keel." When she finds Will didn't get the lock of hair, she tells him she oughtta let him be eat up. Effra goes; Will goes also--to warn Dr. Smith. Will moves to Sybilla and Smith who are once more at the open spacecraft. He tries to figure out what Sybilla wants with Smith and insults their plans together. Sybilla frustrates but remains calm at the same time, "You're very precious for an Earth child. I could dispose of you very quickly, you know." Claiming Zachary to be the boss of this family, she demands he send the boy away. Will continues to try, "Dr. Smith, you don't belong with her or with them, you belong with us--you don't know what terrible things are gonna happen to you if you go with them and you'll be too far away for us to help you." Sybilla says, "I could dissolve him very easily from here--I could squash him squishy." Will tells Smith, "Dr. Smith, her female guise is deceptive." Smith tells Will that the Robot is a silly goose. Will gives up, guessing they won't be seeing each other much anymore. "I guess this is goodbye then Dr. Smith. I know we've had our arguments and fights before but, but they never really meant much and I'm sorry for the times when I wasn't very nice to you. I'm gonna miss you, Dr. Smith." Sybilla yawns. Smith will miss him, too. He will drop a piece of wedding cake and a wedding picture to him if they pass this way. Will says, "Goodbye, Dr. Smith." Smith says goodbye to Will. At camp the same night, John starts in on Will when the father finds him back after looking all over for him. "Well you had us worried--listen does it ever occur to you..." Maureen stops John, "Oh, John, he was doing a good deed." She explains. John says, "Ahhh, little cupid in reverse, uh?" Will suggests they get him a wedding present. John says some cans of paint for their old ship. John slaps Will's butt, telling him it is way past his bed time. Will isn't finished, "I saw that werewolf again...and that crop they planted--it's growing all over the trail. And I stumbled right into one of them but Effra got me out." Maureen asks, "And what happened to the werewolf?" Will says, "That's what bothered me--she called him Keel and when she gave him an order, he obeyed it. You know, I think that werewolf and Keel are one and the same." Maureen looks at John. Morning--John and Maureen come out of their cabin, joined by the others--they hear a strange sound. All start up. Will says, "I bet it's those plants." Maureen says, "Oh Will." Will, Maureen and the girls go up on the elevator. John and Don use the ladder. Plants, vines, and vegetation hang by the window. Will figures the plant last night would have eaten him. John orders, "Don, break out the gas guns." Maureen takes Judy aside, "Judy, you and Penny stay here and after we're gone, close the door and don't open it for any reason." Maureen, John, Don, and Will start out using gas guns on the plants. Alien camp: Smith is musing about their destination' Sybilla tells him the Constellation of the Big Whale or Quail. Smith tells her he has belongings on Earth but she doesn't like Earth--it's too tiny. Effra arrives with two plant stalks that didn't take. She tells them Keel is not finished howling. Sybilla tells Smith that Keel is the easy one to handle once he knows you--it is Effra who is the problem child. She is okay but gets into her witchcraft when she's bored or irritated, "and then she can do some pretty spooky things." Sybilla goes on to tell Smith that Effra inherited her powers from her father--she was his darling little witch child. Effra gets carried away when the plants are eating--she may ask Smith to hover over, in the air. Sybilla tells Smith the plants consume everything until there's not a living thing left. She then howls for Keel--they are ready to lift off. Smith yells and makes up an excuse to leave--he has to go get his tape recorder. Sybilla warns him--he'll be swallowed alive. The werewolf comes up behind Smith and grabs him. Sybilla tells Smith to be his daddy but Smith gets free and runs away. Sybilla cries, mad at Keel but then gets over it quickly, "All the trouble I took landing him...not to mention listening to him. Go and brush your teeth." Smith finds the others gassing the plants; Maureen hands Smith an extra gas gun, "Here." All the plants fall. The rocket of Sybilla blasts off. Maureen tells Smith, "Oh, Dr. Smith, you really didn't know each other very well." We hear hill billie music. Goofy.
CLIFFHANGER: Night--Will loads gear into the Chariot. Smith helps him. Maureen asks Will if he's forgotten anything. Will doesn't think so--he made a list. She shows him his toothbrush which must have slipped his mind. "Yea, I guess it did," Will laughs. Smith laughs at this. John tells Maureen they will have to go easy on the radio--conserve storage batteries. They will hunt for a fresh supply of water that is within two to three days of travel time from the Jupiter II. John states, "The close end orbit around the sun will be coming up soon." Smith tells John his family is being left in exceptional hands. Don says, "Oh sure, Maureen, Judy, and Penny...they can handle things." Smith was referring to himself and tells Don so. Don replies, "In that case, heaven help them." Smith claims, "Indeed." John and Maureen get close as if to kiss goodbye and the camera cuts to Judy and Penny staring--GO FIGURE. John, Don, Will, and the Robot get aboard the Chariot, which pulls off. All the others wave and say goodbye. Maureen turns on the forcefield. Smith remarks about the pleasant evening it is and that he wants to sleep under the stars. Maureen advises him to do so inside the forcefield. Smith calls it a peaceful and quiet evening--what could possibly happen. Two hairy biped monsters roar as an alien man, dressed like a policeman with helmet and gun, whips the monsters, yelling at them that they lost him and are to pick up his trail--he wants the man found. The man is hiding behind a rock nearby.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK SAME TIME SAME CHANNEL
REVIEW: THE SPACE CROPPERS is all that is bad about LOST IN SPACE. I understand that with the first season, the first handful of episodes wanted to maintain a serious, more science-fiction feel, perhaps in the wake of THE OUTER LIMITS, stressing monsters and aliens in future possibilities. While the science is bad right from the second episode--if not the first (meteor swarms can rarely if ever hit anything traveling in space)--the series began as the first space series with continuing characters that would be more serious than say, CAPT. VIDEO, SPACE PATROL, ROCKY JONES--SPACE RANGER, ROD BROWN OF THE ROCKET RANGERS, and others were. Seeing how STAR TREK was flagging and failing in the year 1966 and how BATMAN was succeeding with its high camp, LOST IN SPACE turned over a new leaf. No longer would it high brow anyone into being a space expedition or exploring show with high survival plots and alien encounters with both the land they were on and the life forms that came from it and to it from other worlds. Goofy would replace scary; silly would replace serious; runarounds would replace logic; and so forth. If something comedic worked before, it would be incorporated into the show, perhaps right to the end. This mostly included Smith's sayings, which were usually funny the first three or four times one heard them---but during the second season which was so Smith centered, one tired of them. THE SPACE CROPPERS has alien hillbillies, not a terrific idea to start but they are goofy aliens, Keel trips and Sybilla howls and cries and tells Keel in his werewolf form to brush his teeth. Only Effra is serious. This episode could have had a more scary feel to it with witches and a werewolf as well as man eating plants but it doesn't. All of its parts just seem to sit there in order for Smith to play the fool to Sybilla and she to him. The plants were seen already in ATTACK OF THE MONSTER PLANTS. Bill Mumy drags the entire thing along and is a joy to watch--perhaps the only good thing about this episode. The rest of the family are more involved than they would be in the second season but are less involved in this episode than they were be in all the other first seasoners--before and after. And they don't do much here, either. Judy is jealous of Don and by this time, the two are giving each other furtive glances which are more meaningful and pronounced in A CHANGE OF SPACE. The scenes between Sybilla and Smith are awfully long and drawn out, not particularly funny, and somewhat dull. Harris cannot imbibe much humor into the story as he did in the past episodes and will in the rest of the first season after this one. After this tired episode, it was a good idea to split up the cast for ALL THAT GLITTERS and THE LOST CIVILIZATION. This should have occurred more often in the show. The last time it did we saw how inept the women were supposed to be in ONE OF OUR DOGS IS MISSING. ALL THAT GLITTERS fares a bit better but even so, in this we have Maureen telling the girls "their father" will know what to do--even if she, helpless female that she is--can't know a thing about it. This faith in John over her own thought processes dilutes Maureen in THE SPACE CROPPERS also--"your father will know what to do about it, if it comes back." Indeed. Leaving Maureen or Smith or Maureen and Smith in charge is like leaving a shark in charge of fish. Maureen should have had more confidence. I choose THE SPACE CROPPERS as the worst episode of season one. Still it beats out many second and third season episodes.