Attack of the Monster Reviews

The Lost in Space Pilot Part 3:
No Place to Hide (Conclusion)
By Bruce Fedow February 5, 2006

Writers: Shimon Wincelberg and Irwin Allen
Director: Irwin Allen
Production # : 6023
Airdate: never aired

After a frightening look through the radio telescope (which is only present in the pilot footage) the Robinson women and Will realize something must be done to save John and Don from the one-eyed monster. Will quickly reacts, grabs a conveniently-place laser pistol and races out to save his dad, breaking the rules for the first but certainly not the last time.

Hiding in a cave with Dr. Robinson, Dr. West throws a lit flare at the Cyclops and gives the beast a hot-foot. In an interesting blooper the creature pokes his right hand into the cave but in the close-up shot it's his left hand we see trying to grab the men.

Will arrives and shoots the giant dead with the pistol, saving West and his father. In the televised version "There Were Giants in the Earth" a follow-up scene was shot where the beast sits up, giving the impression that it's the same Cyclops who later attacks the Chariot, The pilot offered the premise that the planet could be crawling with these huge, dangerous predators. For reasons discussed in part two the series did not adopt this sub-plot. In the pilot John exclaims, "There might be other giants around" and he is later proven right. He scolds Will for "deserting your post" on the Gemini but the trio return to camp, glad to still be alive.

In the next scene the Chariot sits outside the Gemini's hatch, packed and ready to begin their long journey south when Will tells his folks Penny, Debbie and the spiked turtle (actually a robotic veteran of television shows like The Addams Family that rolled on wheels pulled by wires and had a moving head) wandered off and disappeared!

In scenes shot but not used Angela Cartwright 's stunt double was filmed with a 'stuffed' Bloop at an outdoor location, crawling across the desert on the turtle. Owners of the original Topps Lost in Space 1966 trading card set can see this scene on card number thirty-five, "Penny's Pets."

Robinson straps on the jet pak for the first time to rescue his daughter and there's another amazing on-screen flub just before he lifts off: try as he might, Guy Williams just cannot get the chin strap on his helmet to stay snapped! Williams covered the mistake admirably and it was left in. The pak the actors wear was a lighter reproduction of a functioning jet pak although the prop was still heavy. Allen shot scenes of a NASA pilot flying the real pak in color outdoor location scenes which were re-used in every episode that featured this vehicle. These scenes were shot from different angles and re-shot to give the appearance of a long flight, although the real pak had a very limited range due to its enormous and rapid fuel consumption. The stock Fox music from the pilot was never changed for the next three seasons during these scenes.

The next series of events filmed for the pilot involved a lot of time, money, and complicated shots, all for just a few minutes of footage that would however have been an extraordinary addition to the story had it been included in the finished version. It was not. As Dr. Robinson flies around searching for Penny he is grabbed by another giant cyclops!

Detailed outdoor location shots were filmed, also in color, as the stunt double hovered in the distance-a "perspective" shot that made Robinson look small and the monster look huge. These were filmed at the same time as all the other outside "flying" shots and can be seen briefly in the documentary "The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen" as costume designer Paul Zastupnevich describes the construction of the Cyclops costume. Another scene involves the monster grabbing a doll-sized version of Robinson and the jet pak, also filmed on location. According to legend, Lamar Lundy (the man in the Cyclops costume) tore the tiny astronaut to pieces after this was filmed as revenge for the trouble the doll caused him during shooting. A third and much more expensive scene included a life-sized furry giant claw that holds actor Guy Williams for the close-up shots. This was probably filmed indoors because the clouds in the background never move. Williams had to squeeze into the giant prop for shooting much as the cast of Allen's series Land of the Giants did years later-in a different hand by the way.

All this work was for a simple brief scene once edited: John flies too close to a Cyclops, is grabbed, shoots the beast in its one eye, and flies down to rescue Penny. This is probably why Penny shouts "Daddy! I was so frightened!" in the next scene, having just witnessed an attack on her father. Why this was never included in the finished version of the pilot is a mystery and probably always will be. Allen, who directed all four of his sixties television sci fi pilots may have watched the dailies and decided to omit the footage because it wasn't up to his standards, much as he did with the "Tabor" scenes in the Time Tunnel pilot. (See the Time Tunnel pilot review in this section for more information.)

Penny says good-bye to her turtle and, holding the Bloop, climbs on the jet pak on her dad's back to return to the spaceship. Two different versions of the trio's liftoff were filmed. One had Angela's and Guy's stunt doubles and the stuffed Debbie prop lifted high above the 'moat' set via hidden wires; the other the other featured Williams and Cartwright standing on a camera or sound boom as its metal arm rose thanks to the magic of hydraulics. Only the second one was used, probably because the scene called for close-ups of the actors exchanging dialogue.

Back at camp, West is about to depart for warmer climates, much to the family's displeasure. Dr. Robinson had instructed him to leave when the thermometer hit ten below zero whether John was back or not. Thankfully Robinson & Penny arrive in the nick of time and the Chariot moves off.

A great deal of outside footage was shot of the full-sized Chariot complete with passengers rolling across the rocky terrain. Also shot in color it was re-used for all three seasons though careful viewers wondered why there were always six people in parkas inside no matter what the story line dictated.

The vehicle (an amazing miniature) is stopped in its tracks by yet another Cyclops! In retrospect one can understand why certain scenes involving this creature were omitted; after a while he's just overkill. A modified version of this scene served as the basis or two Aurora styrene plastic models. By now the Robinsons know how to deal with this menace, and Don dispatches him with a blast from one of the bulky black rifles used in the pilot and a few first season episodes. The family gasps in awe as they drive past the Cyclops' enormous corpse. Those lucky enough to own a copy of the so-called Lost in Space "blooper reel" can view the original color footage of the fallen giant without the Chariot windows or the Robinsons matted in.

The assault damaged the Chariot's solar batteries so it's parked for repairs and a temporary campsite is set up. Will plays the theme to "Lassie" and as Penny dresses the Bloop she spies Don kissing Judy on the hand, the only physical sign of affection in the entire run of the series between these two characters. The child runs to her parents with this great gossip and in a touching scene is lovingly told by Maureen to mind her own business. It was so perfect not even a note of music was changed when CBS broadcast it. Robinson is forced to accept his daughter's relationship with Don as he must, "Considering the population implosion up here." He and Maureen kiss passionately ( a rarity as well after the first few episodes) and end the scene effectively.

To escape a lightning storm the following day, the Chariots retreats into the bowels of an enormous cave, and eerie interior shots of the family in the Chariot are used. Inside is the Lost City, another creepy set courtesy of William Creber. As Don helps Debbie out of the Chariot Guy Williams' voice is used to dub Goddard's line-changed, of course, before the footage was used in the aired version. The Bloop wanders off triggering a search that gets Will, Penny, Don and Judy trapped in an ancient tomb. The chamber door is photo-sensitive and closes whenever someone shines a flashlight on the hideous mummy (a crepe-haired indication of yet another life form that may or may not still inhabit this planet)-an idea years ahead of its time.

John and Maureen rescue them of course and as the interior of the planet shakes in the throes of an earthquake so to speak our intrepid family escapes once again and encounters a raging sea they must cross, accompanied by thrilling music from the Fox film "Journey to the Center of the Earth." It's been said before but in this version the Robinsons are headed away from the spaceship but in the "Hungry Sea" episode finally shown they are going back.

For the second time Mars makes an appearance in the pilot, this time in a conversation between Will and Penny. She says, "Will, if we're not on Mars you tell us where we are." Will answers, "We might even be on Cerberus (a large asteroid )."

Halfway across the water the Chariot is buffeted by huge waves that crash across its sides and soak the occupants, threatening to capsize the vehicle unless someone repairs the solar batteries with a solar wrench of course. West crawls outside and is presumably washed overboard. Unknown to the others Don is clinging to the side of the Chariot. He is never seen by anyone inside although the entire vehicle is made of glass and the curtains are tied back. Finally rescued the soggy savior has managed to re-connect the solar batteries and they reach the safety of dry land thanks to Don's efforts.

The family disembarks and explores their new jungle home as Robinson's narration, also written down in a journal is heard: "December eighth. The stillness of the air promises peaceful days." The family kneels for a prayer of thanksgiving as West remains standing (the heathen!). John's voice-over continues: "We breathe easy now but only for the moment. Our every instinct tells us there are wild, wonderful adventures just ahead." Pull back to reveal two bubble-headed aliens silently watching the Robinsons. One turns to the other and nods. End of episode.

The alien on the right is only seen in profile but according to photos taken during filming of the last scene the right side of the alien's face is hideously scarred, probably due to an attack by the Cyclopean monsters whom drove these highly intelligent beings below the surface of the planet according to the original version of the script. It is reported that diminutive actor Harry Monty, known for his portrayal as "Little Geoo" in the "Deadly Games of Gamma Six" portrayed the main alien in the pilot film. and early costume test photos show whomever it is behind the make-up is wearing very high platform shoes!

Aside from the Time Tunnel pilot this is, in my opinion, the best hour of television Irwin Allen ever produced. Granted it's very busy but since the purpose of a pilot is to sell a series premise this really did the trick and the enormous amounts of money Irwin lavished on this project really show. A true television treasure.

The men hide from the monster in a cave

Will blasts the Cyclops and saves dad

They're ready to leave-but Penny is missing!

"Don't worry...I'll find her!"

"perspective" shot of John and the Cyclops

Lamar Lundy and the Robinson doll

Guy Williams in the giant hand prop!

Liftoff-version one: the stunt doubles

Liftoff-version 2: close up on the stars

Filming a scene in the desert

The Chariot versus the Cyclops

Safe at last in the jungle

Alien spies watch the family

Portrait of a Priplanarian

A side view of the alien

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