Lost in Space Episode 38: The Thief from Outer Space

General Information

Director: Sobey Martin

Writer: Jackson Gillis

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Malachi Throne, and Ted Cassidy

Composer: Robert Drasnin

Air Date: 11/9/1966

Production #: 9509

 

Overview

While inspecting a mineral drill, Will encounters an Arabian space thief (Malachi Throne) searching for a long-lost princess. Shortly thereafter, a towering slave (Ted Cassidy) mistakes Dr. Smith for a former master, resulting in an alliance between both men.

“The Thief from Outer Space” is an abysmal, cartoonish effort that will likely appeal to only the youngest of Lost in Space viewers. A brief but compelling swordlost-in-space-the-thief-from-outer-space duel between Professor Robinson and the eponymous Thief should, however, be commended.

 

Pros

Malachi Throne and Ted Cassidy (known for his portrayal of Lurch in The Addams Family) are mildly amusing in the roles of Thief and Slave, respectively.

 

Cons

“The Thief from Outer Space” is marred by the stale, groan-worthy comedic material conceived by writer Jackson Gillis. Specifically, the Ali Baba routine at thelost-in-space-the-thief-from-outer-space core of this episode becomes extremely repetitive and therefore tedious after the initial exchanges between the Thief—an abusive, mean-spirited man—and his Slave, an ostensibly submissive but secretly conniving person. Also worth criticizing is the “fat joke” employed by Gillis (the formerly beautiful princess is revealed to be a morbidly obese, unattractive woman), which indicates a lazy, uninspired approach to humor.

 

Analysis

Quite possibly the first Lost in Space entry geared exclusively toward children, “The Thief from Outer Space” marks the point at which hard science fiction (originally a defining aspect of this series) was abandoned in favor of pure camp. (Fantasy themes lost-in-space-the-thief-from-outer-spacehad been present in this show since season one, albeit “The Thief from Outer Space” is the earliest episode to resemble an actual fairy tale.)

 

Concluding Comments

The enjoyable performances of Cassidy and Throne deserve praise from fans of both actors. Nevertheless, “The Thief from Outer Space” would best be avoided by those of a serious inclination.

 

Overall Quality: 2/10

 

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8 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 38: The Thief from Outer Space

  1. This is my number twenty ranked episode for the classic down home, cozy and fun, colored mid season..my second favorite season of the series, despite its much maligned and unwarranted status.. :-]

  2. Here is a classic, enjoyable and fun story that has really grown on me over the years. The guest stars here are great. The guest incidental background music scores from Robert Drasnin are quite unique for the series, but the score works very well here.

    On many of these more fanciful stories like this, one must suspend all logic and chalk it all up as one long ‘dream sequence’ episode. You can enjoy it much easier that way. This cozy story is a good candidate..

  3. It’s hard for me to be objective about this episode. I was watching it on Hulu and yes, I was rolling my eyes at how silly it was. But then when I saw Will having to ride the bike and spin the wheel and jump up on the bellows – I was immediately transported back 40 years ago when I last saw this episode as a kid. And I remember thinking how AWESOME that was. I remember thinking “wow, I really want to do that!” So I am going to through logic out the window and say this is one of my favorite episodes.

    • While I try to be as objective as possible when providing analysis, I do understand why the silly episodes have such high appeal to a majority of long-time LIS fans. Despite the low ratings that I awarded to many second and third season episodes, I honestly preferred the campy stories over more serious efforts when I was a kid. So, I can fully relate to the whole nostalgia thing.

  4. I love this one more and more all the time. I watched it two times over the weekend at work. Now THIS is (sort of) classic LOST IN SPACE fare. Although it is not your original classic LOST IN SPACE, taken as a complete separate entity away from any serious B&W Season One science fiction realm, this is a very cozy, enjoyable, well written and likable story.

    Interesting to note and interesting trivia is the fact that this was the one and the only episode from middle Season Two written by Jackson Gillis. Not only that, but this was the one and the only episode from middle Season Two directed by Sobey Martin. Those points, plus the fact that “The Thief From Outer Space” has a completely one of a kind guest incidental background music score from guest composer Robert Drasnin, makes this one look and feel very different..

  5. By the way, if you want to add it to the list of cast members, I have seen in various publications write that the uncredited (fat) princess during the ending scenes was played by Maxine Gates..

  6. Above average fare and with well above average production values ( sets and opticals) and a magical soundtrack this episode is PURE fantasy and well excecuted with fabulous performances but having seen so many others from the series (inc ones with Dragons, mini robots and aliens made of bedsheets) what on earth would one expect? Sorry, I truly love this one…..the initial review misses the point by light years…

    • I very much agree, Richard. This is one of those that has steadily grown on me through the years, and I now find it beloved, cute, enjoyable, sweet and sometimes funny. I actually love everything about it nowadays. I love guest stars Malachi Throne and Ted Cassidy here. I really like the completely one-of-a-kind background incidental music score from Robert Drasnin. Come to think about it, there is really nothing that I do not like about it. Sure, it is not on the close level of a stellar, classic and original premise B&W Season One early episode, but nothing is. But for this fun middle area of the series, it sure works for pure entertainment.. :-]