Archive for Lost in Space


Posted in 2013, Johnny Depp Movies, Quick Cuts, TV Shows with tags , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by knifefighter

Featuring: Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Kelly Laymon, Paul McMahon, and Colleen Wanglund.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Welcome everyone to the latest edition of QUICK CUTS.

We just suffered through—er, watched—THE LONE RANGER, which featured Johnny Depp as Tonto; this following upon the heels of his playing Barnabas Collins.  So, here’s this week’s QUICK CUTS question:  Who’s the next TV or movie icon that Depp will play? 

KELLY LAYMON:  The only answer is, “The character who wears the craziest costume!” 

ARRUDA:  Liberace?

L.L.SOARES:  How about Lady Gaga?

LAYMON:  I smell a remake of THE ADDAMS FAMILY with Depp as Gomez.  And, as with every other Johnny Depp film for the last decade, I’ll skip it. 

Will Johnny play Gomez Addams??

Will Johnny play Gomez Addams??

ARRUDA:  You and a lot of other people.

LAYMON:  But he could do a remake of HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL or THE BRADY BUNCH and I wouldn’t blink an eye as I buy a ticket to the latest “Vince Vaughn Is A Cool Boozy Guy, Man” flick.

ARRUDA:  I pegged him in a BRADY BUNCH remake.

Yep, THE BRADY BUNCH is coming to the big screen, starring Jim Carrey as Mike Brady, Cameran Diaz as Carol Brady, Ellen DeGeneres as Alice, and Johnny Depp will play Alice’s boyfriend Sam. 

With Depp playing Sam, the story of the Brady household will now be told through his perspective.

“With their parents working all the time, it was almost as if Alice and I were second parents to those kids—.” 


SOARES: Wouldn’t it be more of a challenge for Depp to play Alice, the true heroine of the series? Alice is the glue that keeps the family together, and it’s exactly the kind of odd character role that Depp would jump at. But he would demand that Alice be the main character and the Brady family be supporting characters.

ARRUDA: Depp would make a great Alice.

Who would Johnny Depp play in a new BRADY BUNCH reboot? Alice? Sam the Butcher? Or Cindy?

Who would Johnny Depp play in a new BRADY BUNCH reboot? Alice? Sam the Butcher? Or Cindy?

PAUL MCMAHON:  Let’s jump ahead a couple of years.  Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are about to announce plans to make a feature film reboot of the 70’s TV show WELCOME BACK, KOTTER.

SOARES:  Ugh! I hate the Sweathogs!

MCMAHON:  As an added thrill for fans, he and director Tim Burton are planning to use only two actors to complete the picture. Depp will be using CGI and makeup effects to play the Sweathogs: Vinnie Barbarino, Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington, Juan Epstein, and Arnold Horshack. He will also be portraying the loveable Mr. Gabe Kotter.

Would Johnny Depp play Mr. Cotter, just to teach us a lesson?

Would Johnny Depp play Mr. Kotter, just to teach us a lesson?

The pair is trying to interest Helena Bonham Carter to take on the roles of Mrs. Julie Kotter, Rosalie “Hotsie” Totsie, a feminized version of Cavelli, the Sweathogs nemesis, and Mr. Michael Woodman, Vice Principal.

SOARES: Martin Landau would make a great Mr. Woodman.

ARRUDA:  Why involve Carter?  Depp could play all the roles!

SOARES: Why not a movie where Johnny Depp and Eddie Murphy compete to see who can play more wacky characters?

MCMAHON:  It is noted that theaters are already experiencing a massive rush of patrons who are NOT buying tickets for this feature

L.L. SOARES:  Well, I think this one’s a no-brainer. Johnny Depp could play Yoda in the upcoming reboot of STAR WARS. They could use CGI to shrink him and give him little stumpy arms and legs, and he would relish the chance to deliver his lines in Yoda-speak. I can’t think of a better role for him to make his own!

"Play me, Johnny Depp might!"

“Play me, Johnny Depp might!”

COLLEEN WANGLUND:  Rumor has it that Johnny Depp will be playing Dr. Phibes in Tim Burton’s remake of the 1971 classic starring Vincent Price.  All I have to say is WHY?!

ARRUDA:  I hope that’s not true.  On the other hand, since Dr. Phibes was high camp to begin with, it might be a good fit for Depp.

MCMAHON:  Tell me you’re not serious.

ARRUDA:  I actually like Johnny Depp.  I just haven’t liked his recent roles.

SOARES: Same here.

ARRUDA: Okay, to finish things off, I have a couple more.

In the new film version of THE MUNSTERS, Johnny Depp has signed on to play Grandpa, with Helena Bonham Carter as Lily, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Herman.

Johnny Depp play Granpa Munster? You must be batty! Then again, he did already ruin Barnabas Collins!

Johnny Depp play Granpa Munster? You must be batty! Then again, he did already ruin Barnabas Collins!

And last but not least, in the latest re-imagining of TV’s LOST IN SPACE, Johnny Depp has signed on to play the Robinson Robot using CGI technology to morph his entire body into the shape of the Robot.

SOARES: With Lady Gaga as Judy!

ARRUDA: That  I’d pay to see!

That’s it for now. Thanks for joining us everybody, and let’s hope that none of our re-imaginings tonight come true!


© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Kelly Laymon, Paul McMahon and Colleen Wanglund



Posted in 2012, 60s Television, Aliens, Classic TV Shows, Irwin Allen, Mark Onspaugh Columns, Remote Outpost with tags , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by knifefighter

Remote Outpost by Mark Onspaugh
PART 1 of 2

Hello from the Outpost, located on a small planetoid that is actually a dead generation starship which is hurtling out toward the edge of the galaxy… And we’re all out of Poptarts™ and peanut butter……

Today I wanted to talk about the science fiction of Irwin Allen.  Allen never created a franchise to rival STAR TREK or STAR WARS, but his own name became a recognizable brand in the 60s and 70s. He is responsible for two of the most iconic disaster movies in the history of cinema, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) and THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974)—both loaded with stars and special effects.  But before turning his attention to upside-down ocean liners and mega-skyscrapers aflame, Irwin Allen was ruling the small screen with family-oriented sci-fi adventures that were filled with great props, good actors, silly concepts, riotous color and little or no concern for the laws of physics, chemistry, biology—hell, any of the sciences that makes up science fiction.

The first and most successful of these shows was VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. It ran from September 14, 1964 to March 31, 1968. At 110 episodes, it was the decade’s longest running science fiction program with continuing characters.

The series was about a futuristic atomic submarine, the SSRN SEAVIEW, which was based at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research (NIMR) in Santa Barbara, California.  When not patrolling the world’s oceans, the sub was moored some 500 feet below NIMR in a secret submarine base carved out of solid rock. The Seaview was officially designed for undersea marine research, but its secret mission was to defend the Earth from all terrestrial (mad scientists, dictators, Amway salesmen) and extraterrestrial threats in the then-future of the 1980s.

VOYAGE starred Richard Basehart as Admiral Nelson (designer of the SSRN Seaview) and David Hedison as Captain Crane. Basehart and Hedison did an amazing amount of television, and there never seemed to be a period where they were not working.  Basehart was Ishmael in John Huston’s MOBY DICK (1956, script by Ray Bradbury) and was the Narrator on KNIGHT RIDER (1982-1986). Hedison, of course, was the eponymous character in THE FLY (1958) and also played Felix Leiter in LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) and LICENCE TO KILL (1989).

Based on his movie of the same name (released in 1961 with Walter Pigeon, he of FORBIDDEN PLANET, 1956), Irwin Allen recycled sets, props and models, something he was famous for. Later, when he had more than one series running, alien costumes from one show would show up a week later on another series with just a minor paint job.

Allen also was famous for the “Irwin Allen rock-and-roll,” —the camera was rocked as the on-screen cast rushed from side to side on the set, simulating the ship being tossed around. This would later be seen a lot on our next entry, as well. With an iconic theme (by Paul Sawtell), cool props like the flying sub, monsters and sea creatures, kids like me tuned in faithfully every week—how about you?


Irwin Allen’s second foray into 60s science fiction television was LOST IN SPACE. Based on the Swiss Family Robinson story (but not related to an earlier Gold Key Comic of the same name), this program ran on CBS for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965, and March 6, 1968. LOST IN SPACE was filmed in black & white the first season and then in riotous color thereafter. Its well known theme was by a composer named John Williams (billed as “Johnny Williams”)—I wondered what happened to that guy?

The pilot was much advertised and I watched it eagerly. It was far more serious than the series ended up: The year is 1997 and the Earth is overpopulated. The brave Robinsons are space-faring colonists headed for a planet revolving around Alpha Centauri.  Since the journey will take some time, they’ll remain in suspended animation.  Villainous Dr. Smith is an enemy agent who sabotages the ship so that the Robinsons will die and their mission will be a failure. When his people fail to extract him from the doomed ship, Smith has no choice but to wake the Robinsons to save his own skin. Had the tone and writing of the series continued in this vein, it might have rivaled the original STAR TREK (1966-1969) in popularity. But, no.

LOST IN SPACE didn’t really look much at the foibles of mankind or the consequences of bigotry, racism, war and greed like TREK. Its stories seemed more inspired by taking notions popular with kids and sticking the word “space” in as a qualifier: thus, Space Pirates! Space Cowboys! Space Orphans! Space Delinquents! Space Circus! Space Gangsters! Throw in occasional episodes about murderous, humanoid vegetables and you’ve got a series.

LOST IN SPACE starred many familiar faces and a robot second only to Robbie (FORBIDDEN PLANET) in look and personality. (Coincidence? Perhaps not, as both Robbie and the LIS Robot were designed by Bob Stewart.) Guy Williams (Doctor John Robinson) was TV’s Zorro on both the series ZORRO (1957-1961) and on WALT DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR (1957-1962), and Sinbad in CAPTAIN SINBAD (1963).  June Lockhart, (Doctor Maureen Robinson), was an iconic TV mom in LASSIE (1958-1964) and would leave outer space for PETTICOAT JUNCTION (1968-1970). Billy Mumy (Will Robinson) may be best known as creepy but powerful Anthony on the TWILIGHT ZONE (1961-1963) episode “It’s a Good Life” and the kid taking calls on a toy telephone from his dead gramma (eek) in the episode “Long Distance Call.”  Mumy would return to space in BABYLON 5 (1994-1998).  Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson) was the epitome of a TV daughter on THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW (1957-1964).  Rounding out the cast were Mark Goddard as handsome pilot Major Don West, Marta Kristen as blonde beauty Judy Robinson, Dick Tufeld as the voice of the Robot, and Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith.

As with other TV series (such as HAPPY DAYS’ Fonzie), villainous Dr. Smith was intended to be a limited or peripheral character, but took over the show. Jonathan Harris, a stage and screen actor, turned Smith from a cold and calculating villain to a whiny, lazy, selfish, greedy hypochondriac who was by turns sarcastic or petulant. Children adored him, especially when he was dressing down the Robot, referring to him as a “bumbling booby” or a “cumbersome clod,” among many, many other insults. Smith became pivotal to most episodes, which more and more focused on young Will, the Robot and Dr. Smith’s ill-conceived plots or alliances with treacherous aliens.

This focus (and ever-growing campiness) proved unpopular with adults and teens, leaving children the main audience, and children do not buy advertisers’ products. Its skyrocketing budget was cut—Paramount had lost a lot of money with CLEOPATRA (1963) and was trimming everywhere—and this caused Irwin Allen to storm out of negotiations for a fourth season, hastening its cancellation. Had it survived, it is doubtful stars June Lockhart or Guy Williams would have returned, as both were unhappy with the direction of the show and their diminishing roles in it. Oh, the pain, the pain!

(FINAL NOTE: It seems to me a strange notion to start a colony with one family plus one male – pilot Don West – but this was a family show and the writers obviously knew what the characters didn’t, that the mission was doomed and the idea of a colony would be abandoned in the search for home—back to good old overcrowded, polluted and doomed Earth.)


© Copyright 2012 by Mark Onspaugh