THE SPACE TRADER
NARRATION: Last week, as you recall, we left Dr. Smith contentedly painting, unaware that within moments, a cosmic storm of mysterious origin would threaten to destroy our tiny space colony.
Robot and Penny watch Smith painting. He has on a smock and a painter's cap. There is a water tower not seen in any other episode in the background. Also, on close ups of Smith painting, the usual backdrop looks very different. On his side, it appears a large ridge or hill is circular, creating a semi-crater effect. It looks really good. Penny can't really give her positive critique of his painting but if Smith says so, she'll agree it is good--a masterpiece he says that even a rank amateur can notice is so. Smith dreams of when they return to earth--he will make it hang in the best art galleries. Robot says, "I would like to express an opinion." Smith paints, "You have my permission." Robot says, "Uggghhhh." Smith tells him if he has a comment to make, to make it. Robot says, "I already have." Penny puts her fingers to her mouth and turns to the ramp of the Jupiter as John and Don come down it. Calling him a cackling clod, Smith tells the Robot that he shall have his day of retribution. Smith tells the Major to have his fun but remember that they laughed at Gaugan Amatist. John turns it to look at it and we see that it resembles a large leaf in Fall. Smith tells him it represents the inner feeling of the sensitive man in space, blending the light and dark. Robot warns, "Warning, warning! Dangerous storm approaching. Advisable refuge be taken immediately!" Wind picks up and blows heavily. John, Penny, and Don race to the ramp; the Robot is seen sliding up the ramp. NOTE: This is the scene where it fell with Bob May inside it. Smith runs but returns for his painting and canvass. He is blown away from the ship, past the garden tables. Penny calls to him; John yells, "Let it go!" John runs to Smith as Don moves Penny inside. They are under the tank. John pulls Smith, "Don't be foolish!" The tank starts to move away from the rocks. "The tank!" John pulls Smith away and it falls, just missing them. Robot is inside now, Judy is at the round window and Don is at the door, which is one fourth of the way open. They run as the tank rolls right at them. John pulls Smith and pushes him toward a garden table but the tank is right on top of them. Smith gets under the table, John ducks and the tank rolls over the table and hits a rock. John pulls Smith but calls to Don for help. Together they pulls Smith inside the Jupiter II doorway. Watching them on a TV monitor which cracks with electrical power, is an older alien man, laughing and throwing his hands up in glee at their misfortune! (some strange new music ends the last few seconds of this). The Trader has a semi bald head, a vest, goatee beard and thin moustache, and boots.
Everyone but Smith watches from the window of the control room as the wind storm wrecks the garden area. Smith is in a seat, staring, depressed. The Space Trader turns the storm off as Don notes it is as if someone just switched it off. John tells the children to wait inside as he, Don, and Maureen go outside to check the area. Judy tells Smith, "Oh come on, we've been through worse things than this. You've got to learn to look on the bright side." Smith admits this as she goes outside. Penny helps him up and slaps him on the back. Smith says, "Spare me your youthful optimism." John helps Judy pick up a table. Judy says, "Oh, everything's ruined. Oh, I could just cry." She walks off. Maureen says, "If it'd help, I'd cry with her." Don finds only a canister of what is left of the condensation unit. They will go on emergency water supply and high protein pills--Maureen telling John they don't have much of either. She and Judy will start on the garden right away; Don will start on the condensation unit. Smith finds his painting wrecked. Later, the three children are working on the garden. Maureen gives them pills--a burger and fry pill for Penny topped off with a milkshake pill; a barbecue sandwich pill for Will--he feels it is too spicy after eating it and next time will have what Penny had; and just a regular protein pill for Judy. Smith complains and he and Don verbally spar. Smith gives Don his pill. Later, Will and Smith follow alien signs written in an alien language to a spaceship adorned with different flags and boxes. Two German Shepard like dogs with spiked collars rush them back to a rock--the dogs are chained and can't reach them. NOTE: It looks as if a Smith double was used in the long shots from behind as the dogs menace him and Will--a stunt man perhaps. The Trader emerges from his small ship and talks in an alien language: Gunzar makecree zanibar abarrnacle malnaqutar, alizanike, metrafor, baligazandor, quallinar whyntagor. He ordered the dogs to behave and sit, then realizing Smith and Will are from Earth, he puts on a metal hat (the wish machine from WISH UPON A STAR) which he calls a language duplicator. "I am the Trader at your service, sir." Smith introduces himself and Will. Trader tells Will, "I am from everywhere, a citizen of the galaxy." He shows them tables and concession type stands--his store. The dogs were raised on the planet Zoldin. He traded a molecular assembler for them. Will picks up a large molecular sphere which the Trader tells them is from the planet Dayo. Smith presses it and it makes him invisible. Will touches the invisible Smith quite comically. Smith presses the sphere and reappears. Will moves to a TV which the Trader tells him is a weather machine--to make it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Will stops Smith from trading for it. They need food. Trader tells them his spaceship is overflowing with food. He shows Smith melons, candies, pastries. "The pain, the pain." Will wonders how the Trader knew they had a spaceship. Trader tells Smith, "I can see that you are going to be one of my best customers, Dr. Smith." As Smith leaves, pulling Will past the dogs, Trader says, "I am waiting for you, Dr. Smith." Night--Judy tells Smith he will like the dehydrated green bean hamburgers they dished up. Smith complains--they've already discussed the Trader trading and John decided they will not trade with him. Will says there are more important things than food. Smith says that remark comes from youthful innocence and ignorance. Maureen and Don laugh. The Trader's voice answers Smith, "Well said, Dr. Smith." Then the alien suddenly appears, telling John not to rise--they shake hands. He makes a turkey appear on the table, tempting to all. He wants a list of all their needs and will make them an offer. He asks Don what he wants for his laser pistol. Don tells him no deal. Trader tells him it is a primitive weapon but it can be sold as a curiosity piece. Smith says, "Oh sadness, oh sorrow." Don tells the Space Trader once they get their new water conversion unit up they won't need to trade and John tells him their garden will be fully grown soon. Trader vanishes. Smith tries to slice the turkey but it vanishes. He yells. The Space Trader moves to his weather machine, "So they won't do business with me." If there is no market, he will make one, the old rule of supply and demand. He turns on the weather machine. Lightning streaks the sky over the campsite and thunder blasts out. Trader watches the Robinsons, Smith, and Don as they gather up their dinner and rush into the spaceship Jupiter II, "And now they'll have to come to me! First, I'll give them alittle food, just enough to wet their appetite. Then alittle bit more and finally they'll trade me what I want--an Earthling!"
Smith takes Penny with her tape recorder to the Trader who checks it with a small eye glass scope. It is not in his habit to trade with children--he finds they do not always know what they want. Penny says, "I won't change my mind, Mr. Trader." Trader says, "I know you won't, my dear. But it is my police." He gives her a candy cane which tastes peppermint one day, strawberry the next, then orange, lemon, then 100 different flavors and it will last as long as she remains young at heart. Penny runs off, "Oh thank you." She calls for Smith but he tells her to run along--he wants to talk to the Trader. Smith takes a candy cane but Trader tells him it has been a long time since he was young at heart. Smith says, "Indeed." He puts it back when the dogs threaten him. Smith calls him a cold cruel man--"those brutes would have torn me to pieces and you wouldn't have lifted a finger to help." Trader smiles, "My dear, Dr. Smith, in this store, the customer's not always right." Smith laments that many shopkeepers on Earth have the same theory. Trader asks, "What about, the ahh, Robot?" Smith tells him no several times over and over claiming the robot is a friend and more so-like a brother to him. Trader tempts Smith some more using a steak. The Robot is an antique but Trader has some customer who likes that sort of thing. Smith offers him the Chariot and the radar control weather station. Trader wants only the Robot, "Only the Robot--that's the only thing I'm interested in." They bargain for food for 12 days. Smith tells him he had an ancestor who had a reputation as a horse trader but Smith claims jealous rivals accused him of stocking stolen merchandise. Trader gives Smith back the tape recorder. The Robot trusts Smith implicitly, Smith claims. Trader claims one of the dogs knows Smith better now. Smith says, "Does he indeed." He leaves. Trader says, "I have found my Earthling--Dr. Smith." Night--Smith meets Robot outside the Jupiter doorway, telling him they are the only ones awake. Robot avoids Smith since Smith insulted him at their last talk. Smith tells him he didn't mean that and asks him to go for a walk. Robot always liked walking before. Robot tells him it is the company and that despite Smith's telling him to forget the last insult, his memory banks have retained it. Smith apologizes to the Robot, who then takes a walk with him. Smith lags behind, smiling in his evil grin again.
Day--Will looks for the Robot, goes past alien signs to the Trader's camp, finding the Robot there with a for sale sign on him. The Trader dusts, singing his song--edeer bonoik bolani. The Trader points his feather duster at Will, Will brushes it away. The Robot also has a ball and chain holding him. In the background are rock walls adorned with small plants and brush. Trader tells Will what Smith did and removes the power pack from his robot. "I would sooner you did not speak to MY robot." Trader tells him. Will leaves, "I'll be back." Night--Control Room--Penny runs off, "I never want to speak to Dr. Smith again." Judy moves to the ladder, "That goes double for me, too." Don finds a large box of food in the weapons storage locker, "I thought Smith was putting on weight. What're we gonna do about him?" John says, "Like it or not, we're stuck with him." Maureen adds, "That may be true but at least we can have as little to do with him as possible." Smith returns and lies that he was looking for the Robot. He sees the food, Maureen walks off. "What's wrong with the dear lady--did you have a tiff?" John leaves. Don shoves the food crate into Smith and leaves also. Smith tells them he is not contagious. Will comes in (his hair looks a bit different in this episode, parted to a different side or something) and tells Smith the problem, "You traded the Robot, you, you Benedict Arnold!" He runs off. Day--on the ramp, Will lays checking out his rock collection. Smith arrives and tries to talk to him. He regrets what happened. Will tells him to get the Robot back. Smith couldn't help himself--he admits it was a mistake and is terribly sorry. Getting the Robot back will be a start in making Will his friend again. He will do it in the morning but Will says to do it now. Smith says, "I'm off to see the Trader." He will have to do some fast and fancy negotiating. Smith asks the Trader if he can buy now and pay later--on credit. It was a terrible mistake trading in his friend. "All I have is what you see before you, Mr. Trader." Trader twists this to mean Smith meant himself--the Trader's Association would not really allow it--but maybe...Smith runs behind the deactivated Robot, "Me! You must be joking!" 200 years from now makes Smith change his mind--the Trader tells him he could never collect but his business has to show a loss on the books sometime. He gets a contract box and makes a plate--putting Smith's hand on it. Smith gets the Robot, "I'll attend to you, you wretch." He takes the Robot back. Trader says, "Signed, sealed, and I shall take delivery very soon." John and Maureen sit on the ramp and watch Penny, Judy, the Robot, Will, and Smith play catch with a large ball. Smith over throws past Penny and runs to get it. NOTE: The water tower tank is up in the background. Trader picks up the ball and gives it to Smith, coming out from the rocks. John and Maureen come to them. Trader is leaving for the trade fair on the planet Tauron and tells Smith, "You are going with me." The verbal agreement of 200 years is not binding--Smith should have read the small print in the contract--he can collect whenever he wants. Maureen says, "Dr. Smith is a human being--you can't just buy and sell him." Trader disagrees and tells John there are ways for him to collect. "Well, I expect," he turns to Smith, "...you want to say goodbye to your friends. Oh," he looks at John, "A word of warning--before I leave. I have no quarrels with anybody here--my business concerns Dr. Smith alone but if you should involve yourselves--I shall have no alternative but to destroy you. Goodbye...for now." He leaves Smith to look like one of John and Maureen's children, staring to them for help.
Will goes to a barricade Smith made outside the door to the spaceship--with sandbags. Smith wears a WWI helmet with a flat rim and has a laser rifle. Will wakes him up, startling him. Will couldn't sleep and thought he'd spend some time with Smith, who thanks him. Smith tells him he is hungry and to get him the food box. Will tells him it is food that got him into this mess. They hear the dogs bark and soon the Trader arrives with his two dogs on ropes. Will picks up the laser rifle. Trader says, "Put down that weapon. You belong to me and must come with me," he tells Smith. He uses the contract with Smith's handprint on it. The print glows and Smith goes into a trance and raises his hand. Will follows them--without the laser rifle. Back at the Trader ship and shop, Smith asks him to write him off as a bad investment but the Trader plans to swap him off at the Trade Fair. When the Trader leaves to make preparations, Will throws two sticks (one looks like a slingshot) to distract the dogs. Smith is called by Will (pssstt) and goes to him. Will says, "We've got to get back to the Jupiter II." They watch as the Trader returns. They run. The Trader sicks his dogs on them, calling the dogs fools. Will runs but encourages Smith to hurry up--he is lagging behind. Smith stops at a rock, "Save yourself, you've done all you can." Will urges Smith to take his boots off and when Smith complains, Will pulls them off, "Just do what I say!" Smith rests his head in his hand on the rock, "Oh, let the Trader take me." Will yells, "No!" He pulls Smith up and they run. The dogs run to the boots. Smith once more falls onto a rock to rest and pulls Will to him when he hears a sound. It is the Robot. Smith rises, feeling saved and calls Robot his dear friend. Robot says, "I beg your pardon, sir I don't believe we've met." Smith says, "I need you to protect me from the Trader!" Robot doesn't know him. Trader gets to his dogs and sets them on the right track. John and Don come out of the Jupiter II--the door opening--I thought it was open when Will left. They call for Will and as they do, the red headed boy and Smith come running along with the Robot. Smith hides at the barricade. Will and he explain what happened to Don and John. Don raises his laser rifle, "Let's see how much power he's got against this." Smith says, "Ahhh, thank you Major, at a time like this we see who our true friends are." Don says, "Save the soft soaping for later, Smith, here comes the Trader now." Robot reveals the Trader destroyed the food and water supply--he has a machine that controls the weather (WHICH SMITH AND WILL KNEW ABOUT ALREADY!). John and Don move closer. Smith pulls Will to him. "He has a machine which controls the weather." Trader uses the contract to lure a tranced Smith back to him. Don raises his laser rifle, John his gun. Don yells, "Step aside, Smith!" Robot, at a better spot not to endanger Smith, puts Don's rifle up, then shoots his electric charge at the contract, which blows into fire, out of the Trader's hand. John declares it null and void. Robot tells the Trader that Dr. Smith will go through with the original arrangement--in 200 years. Smith says, "Don't call me I'll call you." Trader yells, "With or without the contract, Smith is mine." He makes his dogs fetch but the Robot puts out a loud signal, "I will destroy!" The dogs and Trader are affected by the sound and all three go running off. John says, "Well, I don't think we'll have to worry about him again." Robot tells Smith this time he got more than he bargained for. Smith calls him a deplorable dummy.
CLIFFHANGER: Smith carries a basket of tools, Will and the Robot both carry shovels. They are hunting for truffles (at first it sounded like troughs---long, narrow, open receptacles for conveying a fluid or for holding food or water for animals; also a long, narrow channel or depression as between ridges on land or waves at sea). Truffles are edible underground fungi. The trio come upon a crown sitting on a pillow set on a rock. Smith tells Will they must have respect for other people's belongings (HA!) and rights and should not handle it. Smith looks at the rubies but when he goes to touch it, Will points his finger, "Ah, ah, ah, Dr. Smith." He smiles. Smith says he just wanted to secure it in case it fell; to which Will nods not believing one single word of it. They move along but Smith tells Will he forgot his basket of tools and goes back to retrieve it, sending the Robot and the boy ahead---something he planned to do all along. He returns to the crown (amid MY FRIEND MR. NOBODY music) and puts it on his head. An electric shock shoots through the crown and Smith grabs at it and his head--a continuous volt charges through it!
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK SAME TIME SAME CHANNEL
REVIEW: Slater almost always writes a good adventure, ROCKET TO EARTH not withstanding and being the one exception. He is probably one of the best writers for the show. Here, Torin Thatcher, an excellent actor and villain, makes the Trader so much more respectable and menacing without being overtly mean and evil, he even gives Penny a candy cane (I wonder about that candy...?) and tries to be nice---most of it a facade. He also gives respect to the character, no mean feat, since he is very comic bookish on paper and even talks to himself. But in the talking to himself, Torin makes the Trader even more interesting--perhaps he is talking to his dogs but he seems overly obsessed with his trade, more so than even The Keeper was with his animals and getting Penny and Will or the Ruler for the challenge. LOST IN SPACE often had aliens who had titles instead of names. While Smith is driving the entire story, it is not a bad story and not totally taken over by Smith and the alien. The family does have some part, however small, and the proceedings are not silly but serious. Another food and water shortage was welcome--the fight for survival and all that needed a bit of reinforcement and prodding--at times before this, it did seem as though the family were on some kind of picnic in space. Especially interesting is the total ostracizing of Smith by all this time and his repentance. This makes it more touching without being overly sentimental when Don and the Robot stick up for Smith. Harris is brilliant in this episode not going overboard as he would later and the comedy is fine and in its proper place. Will's rescue of Smith was interesting but why not take the laser gun? The water tower is a nice idea and prop (and at one time is seen on its side) but I do not recall seeing it again after this episode and certainly not before this one. Capt. Tucker's ship in THE SKY PIRATE was the same type of ship the Trader used. Nathan Juran directs action oriented scenes rather well and is one of my favorite directors. Also--why didn't Smith and Will think about the weather machine being the cause of their problems earlier--perhaps they were too trusting? Will maybe, Smith--nah! Mark Goddard makes Don very funny and his scenes with Smith are interesting and entertaining. Marta has a few more lines than usual but by now, she is being put into the background more and more in other episodes.
NOTE: THE SPACE TRADER was also remade in SPACE: 1999's second year as THE TAYBOR which is almost the same story. It is also pretty good with the Taybor being a good villain, sneaky as the Trader. This 1999 episode also talks of interdimensional travel--VERY similar to the first season LOST IN SPACEer called A CHANGE OF SPACE.