Wednesday, January 4, 2017
There was a question on the Lost in Space message board regarding when exactly Dr. Smith began to transition into the cowardly nuisance with brainy quips and extra motivation to squirm out of labor. I felt this episode was part of the groundwork laid by Jonathan Harris for the Smith that would progressively become more and more silly and cartoonish as the three season series continued. Here, you get Harris waking up, eluding help setting up the forcefield ship protection device as John Robinson and West commence the grunt work, appropriately arriving at the hydroponic garden as Judy and Penny were planting seeds in a unique type of soil from the ship towards the very end, plants some of the seeds in the dirt of the planet to see if food would actually grow at greater advantage for the family (actually just so he could have the excuse to grab a handful of soil for a baggy so he could get away from helping the ladies, claiming he would be studying samples), and arriving behind little Will Robinson as he was working on gadgets on the bridge of the Jupiter 2 having avoided any type of assistance to anyone. Oh Will asks Smith to help him but Smith uses the soil to free himself from that as well. Eventually Smith dumps the baggy in the garbage in the kitchen area of the ship when Maureen Robinson emerges to question his reason for not helping the family tend to matters of importance to the livelihood of all. Smith of course uses "cooking meal preparation" to further his cause of avoiding assisting anybody. This ten minute or so sequence of events is a layout of just what Smith was about in regards to being useful to the family. He worked hard at getting out of work! As far as his being dastardly, that real villainous side of Smith would fade into sheer self-preservation and self-servitude, eyeing all chances to return to Earth or bettering his own situation. For most of the series, Smith was out for Smith.
The footage is so good, I was always (and continue to be) happy with the first episodes of the first season. Despite some hokey and rather laughable episodes even in this highly regarded season, in comparison to the second (and plenty of the third) season the first was a masterclass of storytelling. Even several of the episodes geared completely towards children, they sure were better than West of Mars. There Were Giants... gets the episode starting on a thrilling note by having Will in need of quick thinking to avoid being hit with electrical bolts charged by Robot, seemingly triggered to kill by Smith and his malicious programming (Robot, at the beginning of this episode, was programmed to obey only Smith's voice). He mimics Smith and causes Robot to "check his programming". Later Will disobeys his father's stern warning not to fool around with Robot, but the boy, brilliant as he might be, only makes matters worse by plugging in its power pack with it moving off towards parts unknown, including its turning off the forcefield generator, endangering the entire family. John has a few moments of scolding Will in the episode. Will and his wanting to "fix" Robot puts him at odds with his pops. John sits Will down and the two have a father-son talk that airs the grievances, with the Full House soft music that makes many cringe and others go "Awww." LiS fans would see Will eventually soften Robot into a friend. As Smith was transitioning into the work-avoiding cowardly sneak, Will and Robot were beginning their own transition into pals. Like Smith, who is at first this malevolent saboteur with no redeeming qualities and with the shelf life of a Bond villain, Robot was a monotone mechanical dullard certain to be ordered around to do manual labor. Robot, much like Smith, would be a tool for comedy and sight gags. The end has the Robinsons fleeing a major lightning storm for a cavern housing a former alien civilization long gone as a quake arises, with the walls and ceiling literally caving in on them. It is a rather gnarly way to set the next cliffhanger.
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Dracula's Daughter ('36)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
Mad Love 1935
Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?
Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.
Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.