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LOST IN SPACE-The Challenge, The Space Trader


Chase - Posted on 27 August 2009

THE CHALLENGE

WRITER-BARNEY SLATER

DIR-DON RICHARDSON

 

NARRATION: Last week as you recall, Will and Dr. Smith went to sleep outside the Jupiter II, hoping an elaborate alarm system they had set up would entrap a mysterious invader that lurked somewhere out in the shadows.

 

TEASER-not fully recapped-

 

Later that night---the alarms go off. One of the alarm system pieces looks like a BLAKE'S SEVEN laser gun. Will and Smith (in his dark colored shirt again) are asleep nearby on sleeping bags. Will wakes Smith up who says, "Call me when breakfast is ready."  NOTE: This kind of humor would happen whenever someone was waking Smith up---they stir him into a semi conscious form and he'd utter something in his sleep or delirium. Real funny--once in awhile but not all the times it happened. Will gets Smith up fully and pulls him back toward the front of the Jupiter II windows. 25 seconds after the alarms, a light was supposed to come on. Something stirs on a large rock form in front of the camp and Will and Smith. The lights go on. Smith aims his laser rifle at the form but Will moves the rifle up and stops Smith, "It's not an animal!"  A boy jumps down off the rock in alien clothing and points a spear dangerously close at Will and Smith, continuing to charge it would seem! He throws the spear but it hits the Jupiter II. Smith knocks over the alarm system. John and Don come running out, followed by all the others. The two men and Maureen are the only ones fully dressed; the two girls are in their night robes. "My name is John Robinson, I am from a planet called Earth."  This boy tells them if they are his enemies he will attack. Don tells him, "We're not your enemies unless you want us to be."  The boy raises his spear and talks, "If you plan treachery, I will kill. I am Quano--I am 12 years old--I am very brave and strong."  The age thing makes this line very unrealistic. No one tells their age right out like that--but after all, he is an alien. He asks Will to fight to see which of them is the stronger; when Will refuses and wants only to be his friend--Quano calls him a coward. Will goes to fight him but Smith pulls him back and John stops Will, "Take it easy, Will."  Quano tells John he learned the Earth language from his father--who knows many languages. Penny asks him a question about his planet but Quano says, "I do not speak to weak and worthless girls."  Penny reacts, "Why you conceited, dirty faced little boy, you're nothing but a bully, a half pint bully!"  While Penny goes into her justified tirade, it is quite laughable that Quano raises his spear! Quano says, "Luckily you are female or I'd make you pay for what you have said."  Smith defends Penny, "Hostile little ruffian! Some discipline applied to the seat of your trousers is exactly what you need!"  Maureen reacts differently, "Good food and a hot bath is more like it."  John asks him to spend the night; Will offers a sleeping bag he could use. Quano refuses, "I want nothing from any of you."  After he leaves, Smith says he is glad, "He would've murdered all of us in our beds."  John calls their attention to what Judy noticed around Quano's neck--the ornament. It is a highly sophisticated communication device for sending and receiving signals from another planet. Smith tells them whatever he is here for--his attitude reveals he is up to no good. He suggests they secure the spaceship for the night. Judy says, "I think he's right, Mother. C'mon Penny."  Penny and Judy go inside. Maureen says, "Dr. Smith, there's no reason to alarm the children. Now surely you're not worried about a 12 year old boy."  Smith correctly says that when you are dealing with a dangerous creature, age is of no consequence--a one year old viper is as dangerous as a 12 year old viper. They all go inside and the door to the spaceship is closed. As soon as they go in, Quano comes out and his nine pronged ornament beeps and glows. His face, pouty and serious.

 

ACT ONE     

Breakfast--Maureen feels she should have insisted Quano have stayed the night. John tells her Quano is hiding behind a rock for the past 30 minutes. Maureen tells John shame on him. John says, "Well darling you don't ask that boy to do anything, he has to make the first move."  Maureen will make the first move; Smith looks at her, worried. She calls Quano out from the larger rock. He has eaten and tells her not to question his word. John tells him good morning when he comes to the table. Quano says, "Greetings."  Quano hopes Smith is not typical of the Earth men, for Smith is weak and full of vanity. John and Don go to work. Quano tells Maureen his mother always bows to the will of his father. John feels that is an excellent arrangement. When Smith finds out the father of Quano is the Ruler of his entire planet, he caters to the boy, puts a napkin on his sleeve like a servant and calls him highness.  Quano tells them that "my word will be law."  Will and Penny (hair in ribbons or pig tails) come from behind the Jupiter II. Will gives Maureen vegetables she wanted from the garden; Quano tells him, "You do the work of women."  Will is going rock hunting. Quano wants to go with him. He tells Penny she was not asked to come and will stay there. Penny watches them go, "That horrid little boy."  John says, "I don't think Quano would mind being called horrid but I think he'd object most strenuously to being called a little boy."  John hugs her. Smith calls Quano a dreadful little prince, helping her up the ramp first; then needing her help to haul him up the ramp to the Jupiter. Will is told by Quano that rocks are useless; Will says, "They're not useless to me."  Quano goes on and on, telling Will he wastes his time in idle pursuits--it is unmanly. He tells Will that although he is his own age, he still acts like a little boy. Will yells, "Well what do you expect me to do--go around sticking my chest out telling everybody what a tough guy I am."  Quano tells him he should build his strength up and test his courage. Will will take brain over brawn. Quano tells him he was raised badly and pokes Will's shoulder. Will tells him not to do that and that he wasn't raised badly. Quano looks away, "You don't understand."  He tells Will his father is testing him to prove he is worthy of being the future Ruler. He has slept out in the wilderness for one week so far and lived on what he could find. Will feels that is great but Quano says, "It wasn't so much."  He tosses Will's bag down the cliffside and brings Will to a bush covered cave. He gives Will a spear and has one also. Will wants to know what it is he is getting himself into. Quano calls him a coward and tells him to go back to his rocks and vegetables, calling him Earthboy. They go inside the cave. Quano calls (embarrassingly) the creature, "Hey you!"  They hear the monster slithering. Both boys ready their spears.

 

ACT TWO

Quano tells Will, "Perhaps we should test our courage another time."  The creature appears to have the body of the monster in GHOST IN SPACE and the face of the monster-man from the movie THE FLY. Quano feels only one of them can make it out of the cave. STOP: This is silly as the monster is high up infront of them on a towering cliff. Perhaps Quano wanted to fight it alone? He moves up to attack it so Will can get away but falls over a rock. Will runs to Quano and tries to wake him. A bald man runs in with a black tunic, a neck piece, an ornament and black boots. He fires a laser dart at the monster which moves away. Ruler tells Will he did well and showed great courage. "You will grow well, big and strong."  Quano puts Will down, calling him weak and soft like all boys of his planet. Will moves to fight him but Ruler says later there will be time for that. Will invites the Ruler to their camp. Ruler says, "Perhaps later."  Quano tells Ruler that he wanted to do this since as a boy, the Ruler killed a similar creature (perhaps on this planet too?). Ruler figures him of the stupid move of coming here with a primitive weapon. Quano is told by Ruler that Will will make a good opponent but Quano tells him, "I will challenge him. Then we will see who is the better man."  Ruler smiles. Smith snoozes as the Robot turns a device Smith was supposed to do. They have another task at 14 hundred hours. Smith tells the Robot to complain about all the work to the complaints department. Robot says, "It does not compute."  Smith asks what else "we" have to do. Robot asks, "We?"  Robot laughs. Smith asks, "Are you laughing at me, you bubble headed booby?" Robot tells Smith he was just clearing his computers. Smith says, "Some day you'll go to far, you cackling computer."  Smith meets Quano and the Ruler, who shakes his hand and hurts Smith down, His grip is weak and the Ruler tells him he should exercise--he has fat around the middle. Smith admits to being out of condition--he has a delicate back but it is really this planet--he tells the Ruler if he could go back to his own world. Ruler closes his eyes to Smith's chattering. Quano explains, "My father likes men who are strong and silent."  Smith takes them to find Mr. Robinson. John is in the Control Room with a clipboard as Smith calls him from outside the main window. On the mike, he tells Maureen to come up and bring Don with her. The three go out meet the alien. "I am known as the Ruler."  Quano pulls Smith back as Ruler shakes John's hand tightly. "We know each other better now."  John asks what he wants here. Ruler says, "A strong handshake and a direct question. I like that."   Ruler tells Quano not to brag of his superiority until he has proven it. Maureen asks about this challenge. Ruler says tells her it doesn't concern her, calling her woman. Maureen responds with, "I don't know about your world but in our's women are treated as the equals of men."  Ruler doesn't believe this at first--women are not stronger than men in many ways, he feels. Ruler laughs, "What foolish arrangement, this will be an excellent story for me to tell when I return home."  Don tells Maureen, "I can hear the boys in the club laughing already."  The challenge was Quano's idea but the father approves. The challenge is a series of tests on his planet which are also used to see who is to be a slave and who is a master. Maureen says she won't permit this. Ruler isn't interested in anyone's opinion but "Mr. Robinson's."  Maureen says, "Well, I don't care. Will doesn't have to prove himself to anyone."  John backs this up after also telling Maureen to stop. ? Quano says, "Like father, like son, both are cowards."  Will yells, "You take that back!"  He runs at Quano and floors him, hitting him. Smith gasps and runs. John pulls Will off Quano. Will says, "Turn me loose, dad!" Will accepts the challenge. John agrees. Ruler and Quano seem to share a subtle smile and leave. Maureen comes closer to John and looks at him.

 

NOTE: Logo and musical notes LOST IN SPACE.

 

ACT THREE

Night, Maureen goes to John in the Control Room and wants him to call off this challenge. John would like to but can't. It isn't only Will's pride but he doesn't want Will to think he doesn't have any confidence in him--John doesn't care if he wins or loses--he has to do it. Maureen feels John is almost glad Will is facing Quano. John admits, "In a way, I am."  He makes a long speech about a primitive or civilized man--it is in both a primitive and civilized man's nature to test his intelligence and skill. Judy and Don come up the ladder to the control room and listen. John goes on, without testing his abilities they men might as well go back to living in caves eating out of stone bowls. Don says, "That sounds like quite a lecture we just missed, Professor Robinson."  Judy asks if that means they want Will to ahead and meet Quano. John defers the question to Mrs. Robinson. "Well, we can't go back to the stone age, can we?"  Don and John go outside. Judy asks what is has to do with the stone age. Maureen says, "Well, I don't know, dear, but it all seemed quite clear when your father explained it."  She goes out. Judy is confused. Smith is in the rocks and tells the Robot, whispering and making Robot whisper, to turn on his long range audio detectors. Robot whispers that it is unethical. Smith asks, loudly, "WHAT?"  Then he whispers, "Shhh, what?"  Smith says, "All's fair in love and war."  Robot says, "Love--that does not compute."  "It never does,"  Smith said. Robot makes a ZZZZ sound, clearing the frequency length. They hear Ruler and Quano talking. Ruler tells Quano he must win this time. Quano tells him this time he can win. Ruler says, "That is what you told me on your last challenge."  It is his law that no one must be superior to Quano. If Quano loses, Ruler tells him, he knows what will happen--it would be a pity to end Will's life--he has much to offer. Ruler says, "If you are defeated, I will have to destroy the victor and all witnesses."  

 

NOTE: This plot point, while giving a sense of urgency to the proceedings and the climatic challenge, makes little to no sense in what we know about the Ruler and Quano. It also does not fit in well with the story or their characters---they are honorable but perhaps cannot admit defeat. They do not seem like sneaky killers but this proposes that they are. In the end, it is forgotten about since the Ruler and Quano do not end up winning or killing the Robinsons. Are we to believe the Ruler has killed before to cover up Quano's earlier defeats in challenges? This really does not fit. Also--if they kill everyone off that is not beaten--why test in the first place? It also gives them an edge that makes them seem they are not to be trusted--and makes the acceptance of the challenge by Will and John a stupid move.

 

Robot does not wish to continue--he was not built for ease dropping. Smith says, "We cannot let Will win--the Ruler will destroy all of us."  They move off but the Ruler points his gun in Smith's nose and chest. He tells Smith to keep what he heard to himself--to keep his silence. "Tell the others and you will be destroyed."  He tells Smith the contest must be fair and open. Smith, later, runs Will on a tread mill. Will is in a T shirt, Smith is wearing a sweat top and sports cap. Smith uses a whistle which bothers his own hearing. Will is tired and sweating (Robot times him at 32.067 and 13 seconds). Smith pats Will--he should go another 30 laps. Robot tells Smith not to overexercise the boy, "Our boy will lose in the gym."  Smith says, "Since when is he our boy. He is my boy."  Don arrives and the Robot tells him Smith has been exercising the boy for three hours. Don tells Will to take a shower and get some rest. Will goes. Smith looks at the Robot with a mad face. Don goes to Smith, "You've tried some underhanded things in your life Smith but this one tops them all."  Don realizes something, "You're trying to wear Will out so Quano will beat him."  Smith feels if Will is defeated it is no great harm--lying to Don of course. Don says, "You've got an angle here Smith, you're hiding something, what is it?"  Smith tells him the Ruler can return them to Earth. Don sneers, "Return to Earth. I've heard that title song before."  Smith says, "And the music's still just as sweet. You may be content with your lot on this dreary and desolate planet but I yearn for the hills of home."   Don says, "You're really consistent, Smith, you know that--winning doesn't matter to you just as long as you can cheat at the game."  Don leaves. Smith goes back to the Robot, "You tin plated traitor!"  Jupiter II---Penny reads in a chair near where Don and John work for hours on equipment on top cases. Judy and Maureen bring them up coffee. Don jokes, "Like the Ruler said--men are stronger and smarter but women make the best coffee."  John says, "That depends on the woman."  Maureen says, "Ahhh and the coffee."  Judy says, "Nice to know we're capable of doing something."  Penny says, "Can you imagine Quano believing that girls are worthless."    Don says, "Well, Penny, I have a strong feeling he'll change his opinion when he grows up."  Quano is standing in the doorway, "I like them now, but it is not manly to pay too much attention to them."  He asks if he may enter and Maureen tells him, "Of course."  Quano is the Ruler's spokesman--they have found an area suitable for THE CHALLENGE, firm ground. At ten o'clock tomorrow morning it will begin. Failure of Will or his substitute to appear will be considered an act of cowardice and a penalty shall be enacted. Maureen worries over this penalty. Don asks about a substitute. John has his arms folded and points at Quano, "You tell your father, we'll be there."  Quano will return to take them to the athletic field tomorrow. Penny, after Quano goes out, says, "I didn't like him when I first met him and I think he's even more icky now."  Don says, "Don't be too hard on Quano, Penny. Beneath that tough, militant exterior is a 12 year old boy."  Even Maureen admits, "Well that may be true, Don, but you'd have to dig pretty deep to find him."  Smith and Robot are by the bushes and rocks again; Smith had Robot predict when Quano would pass by on his way back. Smith thinks the Robot is wrong. Robot uses sarcasm, "Only Dr. Zachary Smith is perfect."  Smith says, "I am, indeed."  Robot laughs, "Ugggghhh."  Smith looks at him, "Are you sure you're not laughing at me?"  Robot tells him alien boy is approaching. Smith goes to look for Quano but can't find him, "That bubble brain is getting completely out of hand."  Smith turns to Quano's gun, "If you move, I will fire."  Quano puts the gun down. Smith tells him he wants to help him and isn't being direct. A sign to Quano via his father that Smith is not to be trusted. Smith tells him, "I can help you beat Will Robinson. There are more ways than one of skinning a cat."  Smith enjoys Will's confidence. Quano calls it a betrayal. Smith wants provisions to be made to take him back to Earth. Quano dislikes traitors, if Smith made this offer to his father, the Ruler would done Smith great harm. Quano will say nothing of this to his father but demands Smith not talk to him again. Quano leaves. Smith calls him a savage. Robot tells Smith, "He is much to be admired."  Smith says, "Are you implying I do not have?"  Robot asks if Smith insists on an answer and when Smith does, asks if his power pack will be removed if he speaks the truth. Smith won't answer that so Robot smokes, blowing out his voltage regulators. Smith calls him an evasive coward. Silly scene.

 

Morning--John, Don, Will and Smith with his medical bag come out of the spaceship, ready to go. Maureen asks if it is necessary for John and Don to go armed. John says, "Oh, I just got used to wearing it."  Maureen says, "Ohhhhh,"  worried. Smith adds, "A very  wise precaution, too, our past experiences with aliens have proved that they are not to be trusted."  Will tells Smith his stomach is doing flip flops. Will does leg-knee bends. Don tells Will--Quano is probably nervous also. Will sees Quano coming, "He looks pretty relaxed to me."  Quano bids greetings to all of them. The challenge is only for men, Penny cannot go. "Females are not allowed to a challenge, it is only for men."  John tells Penny she has to remain behind with her mother, which makes Maureen none too happy. John tells her, "This time we'll play it by their rules, darling."  Penny, upset, cries, "I hope....I hope Will pins your ears back."  They go. Smith is checking his racing pulse, "Oh dear, oh dear,"  then runs after them, "Wait for me! Wait for me!"  Smith lags behind, Quano telling him, "I asked you not to speak to me. A little further Mister Robinson."  Smith says, "Oh, the pain, the pain."  He checks his heart, "The end is near."  They arrive at the field. Ruler asks why they have come armed--are they afraid. John says, just careful. Don mentions the spear the Ruler has it not a toothpick. Ruler says, "It has been many thousands of years since any of my people used so primitive a weapon."  He uses it to signal the start of the challenge and tosses it over his shoulder---it flies straight at the target, beginning the tests.

 

ACT FOUR

Will and Quano hold opposite sides of a clear rod where the actual strength of the boys meets within. As it does, the rod lights up. Quano wins and Will falls. Smith smiles, "Losing one contest doesn't mean anything."  Don frowns, "You don't have to sound so pleased about it, Smith."  A device is put on Will's  head in a chair. Will comically crossed his eyes to look up at the rim. It gives the illusion of danger and records a fear reaction on a register device the Ruler has. Quano does the same. Next, Quano breaks a rock with his hand in a glove device. Will does the same and smiles up at them. They shoot at targets at the same time and the targets blow up. Smith, during a break, rubs Will down. Will is tied with Quano. Smith tries to con Will into throwing the contest and losing. Will asks, "Do you want me to lose?"  Smith tells him he already covered himself in glory. Will tells Smith he doesn't understand--"It's like I was representing all the boys of Earth."  Smith calls him a noble young man and tells him, "If you were a bit more dishonest, life would be easier."  John and Don come to Will. Will gets up. They see the Ruler and Quano having a disagreement far off. Ruler will not risk Quano's defeat. Quano calls forth to his father to let him continue the contest, "Please."  Ruler doesn't listen. Ruler tells John the contest will go on without Quano. He will act for his son, John will act for his son. If John doesn't do it, his son will know that he was afraid. Don chimes up, "I'll act as a substitute."  The Ruler says, "We are ill matched."  John asks, "How do you want to settle this?"  Volta blades--electrically charged sabres (good thing in another life John was really ZORRO) which Don figures carry 50,000 volts. John and Ruler put on ridiculous looking glasses--that look almost like a metallic version of a Zorro mask. The fight begins, the volta blades attached by wires to a central core device. The Ruler whacks at John and blows up a tree. Don pulls Will back. Smith can't find his heartbeat because doesn't have the stethoscope in his ears. He does find it eventually. Ruler swings at John, misses and blows up a rock. Quano takes his spear up (and for a moment, appears ready to attack John). Quano leaves the area. John cracks a large tree in half trying to attack the Ruler. Finally the Ruler's sword is dropped out of his hand by John. John picks it up and hands it to the Ruler. Ruler declares the contest over, "You fight well."  John says, "Thank you---but don't ask me to do it again."  John goes over to the others. Don asks, "How do you feel champ?"  John takes off the gloves, "Every muscle in my body's aching."  Will tells the Ruler that Quano left, he was hurt the Ruler wouldn't let him continue. Will figures, with growing alarm, Quano went back to the cave. John tells the Ruler Quano, his pride hurt, is trying to prove himself to his father. Ruler moves out. John asks, "Will, my gun."  Quano is in the cave, calling to and talking to the creature (a bit embarrassing again). The slithering man-beast with the head of a fly and fleshy body of a mummified beast rocks into the scene, above again on some ledge high up. It seems to start down. Ruler runs in, followed by John, Don, and Will, John and Don have their laser pistols out. Ruler tells them not to fire. He joins Quano, "It was wrong of me to stop the contest, my son. I lacked courage. There is no disgrace in defeat--a man does the best he can."  John tells the others (Smith arriving, too), "I think Quano and his father will have a lot to say to each other and they'll want to say it in alone. Let's go."  They leave as Ruler suggests to Quano that they kill the beast together.

 

CLIFFHANGER: 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. Smith warns the "cackling clod"  of a 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 begins to get dangerous. 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.

 

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK SAME TIME SAME CHANNEL 

 

REVIEW: The Ruler's studded collar is worn by Myko in the second season THE DEADLY GAMES OF GAMMA SIX--an episode also with a theme of sports and matches to prove, well, stuff. Could there be a connection between Myko's people and the Ruler's? The headgear Will wore might have been later dumped by the Ruler, for it appears in the third season JUNKYARD OF SPACE. Kurt Russell and Mike Ansara make very good guest stars, not letting Smith grab all the scenes, this plot allowing for the others and the alien guest stars to have some say in the script. If John supposedly treated Maureen as an equal, he certainly didn't show it much here--he tells her to stop talking in one scene, ignores what she wants in another, bamboozles her with a nonsensical speech, and doesn't allow her to come to the challenge.

 

Kurt's 1960s series THE TRAVELS OF JAMIE MCPHEETERS features many Irwin Allen talents--notably the guest stars which include Vitina Marcus, James Westerfield as a semi regular, Warren Oates and Albert Salmi both in THE DAY OF THE FIRST SUITOR, Arch Johnson (THE DAY OF THE TIN TRUMPET), Paul Fix in THE DAY OF THE PICNIC, Paul Carr in THE DAY OF THE 12 CANDLES, Michael Petit in both THE DAY OF THE TOLL TAKERS and THE DAY OF THE PRETENDERS, Harold J Stone in THE DAY OF THE DARK DEEDS, and many more. In this series, Kurt appeared with very blond hair but in THE CHALLENGE his hair was dark black! Kurt also appeared in a black and white first season of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND as a jungle boy.

 

MORE SPECULATION: Quano grew up very upset with what happened and still wanting to prove his manhood over Earth people, went to Earth in the year 1997 from his own future and became Snake Pliskeen of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and ESCAPE FROM LA. Just kidding.                              

The sword fight scene is one of the best in the entire series, very exciting and enhanced by the mix of John Williams music from the early episodes. The monster was a mix of GHOST IN SPACE monster and THE FLY mask. It looks quite scary close up but never goes beyond its cliff lair, making one feel it should have been left alone by Will, Quano, and the Ruler. The Ruler and Quano are difficult to figure. Even Robot feels they have honor, yet they put down women, obviously think they are superior, and even discuss killing off any competition that will win over the boy--seemingly having done this before. In the end, they forget to kill the Robinsons this--having been changed by their encounter with the Robinsons. Perhaps the Ruler was putting on his kill the winners conversation with Quano, knowing Smith was listening but it didn't appear that way. Robot is now letting Smith have insults left and right, even laughing. This episode was highly entertaining even with some of its minor flaws. Glad to see Don smartened up to Smith's ways but this is somewhat diluted when later in act four, Don doesn't seem to get that Smith wants Will to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SPACE TRADER

WRITER-BARNEY SLATER

DIR-NATHAN JURAN

 

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. 

 

TEASER-fully recapped

 

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.

 

ACT ONE

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!"

 

ACT TWO

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.

 

ACT THREE                      

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.

 

ACT FOUR

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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