Director: Harry Harris
Writers: Bob and Wanda Duncan
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, James Westerfield, Melinda Fee, Dawson Palmer, and Michael Greene
Composer: Herman Stein
Air Date: 10/12/1966
Production #: 9505
Charismatic circus operator Dr. Marvello (James Westerfield) invites the Robinson family to a special performance, during which Will exhibits an ability to materialize objects out of thin air when guided by Fenestra (Melinda Fee)—a female assistant. Failing to convince Will to join his act, Marvello offers Dr. Smith a passage to Earth in exchange for the Robinson boy.
For containing a poignant scene involving Will and his family, “Space Circus” deserves praise from fans of Lost in Space. The cringe-worthy antics of Dr. Smith may, however, prompt viewers of a strictly serious inclination to avoid this effort.
In the opening sequence, the Cosmic Monster (Dawson Palmer)—a simian-like creature covered in white fur, not to be confused with Mechagodzilla from Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster—sneaks up on Dr. Smith after escaping from Marvello’s cage. Though unconvincing by modern-day standards, the appearance of the Cosmic Monster should be commended for paying homage to the abominable snowman legend (a common trope in the sci-fi/horror crossover genre).
Hoping to join Marvello’s circus, Dr. Smith dons a hat and cane while dancing to the Robot’s off-key, if not painful, rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” In addition to being thoroughly ridiculous, the above shenanigans hamper the pacing of an already sluggish narrative.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
Despite resorting to violence, kidnapping, and coercion simply to recruit Will for his space-faring show, Marvello instantly releases the young lad when convinced of his love for family—a convenient resolution to the main conflict of Bob and Wanda Duncan’s narrative
Having tampered with the purifier, Dr. Smith encourages Will to leave the Jupiter 2 in order to avoid creating a food shortage. Thereafter, Will compliments every member of his family (his own way of saying goodbye) before departing from the campsite—a touching display that highlights the self-sacrificing nature of Will’s character.
“Space Circus” is a forgettable, slow-moving episode of Lost in Space. There are times, however, when Will’s interactions with John, Maureen, Penny, and Judy will stir the emotions of sensitive viewers.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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