Lost in Space Episode 47: The Toymaker

General Information

Director: Robert Douglas

Writers: Bob Duncan and Wanda Duncan

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Walter Burke, Fritz Feld, Larry Dean, Tiger Joe Marsh, and Dawson Palmer

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 1/25/1967

Production #: 9518

 

Overview

Upon encountering a mechanical catalogue, Will and Dr. Smith are plunged into the workshop of Mr. O. M. (Walter Burke)—an eccentric toy maker who continues to operate without permission from Zumdish. Mistaking the pair for renegadelost-in-space-the-toymaker toys, Mr. O. M. compels a wind-up monster to chase after Dr. Smith and his young companion, who discover a portal to Earth while fleeing for their lives. Meanwhile, Mr. Zumdish and his security guard (Tiger Joe Marsh) threaten to destroy the android machine before Professor Robinson can extract Will, Dr. Smith, and the Robot from Mr. O. M.’s factory.

“The Toymaker” is a disjointed, albeit occasionally touching, holiday episode. All but the youngest of Lost in Space viewers are therefore advised to forgo this offering in favor of “Return from Outer Space,” a superior Christmas tale from season one.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-toymakerBy combining scary monsters (a defining aspect of this series) with an innocent, magical atmosphere similar to that of Disney’s Babes in Toyland, “The Toymaker” may appeal to Lost in Space fans of a sentimental nature.

 

Cons

While roaming the alien toy shop, Will and Dr. Smith discover a door that leads to Earth. Instead of immediately prying open the door (concealed only by a half-dozen planks) and jumping through it, Dr. Smith takes an inordinate amount of time to admire a glimpse of Christmas scenery lost-in-space-the-toymakerbefore taking action—a highly unrealistic response from a man who desires nothing more than to return home.

Also worth criticizing is the characterization of the Robot, who behaves cowardly in one instance and over-sensitively in another. (Though capable of emotion, the Robot had never before valued his “feelings” over the welfare of his family.)

 

Analysis

In order to rescue Dr. Smith from Mr. O. M., Will sacrifices his only opportunity to utilize the gateway to Earth—a poignant decision which indicates that, despite being a lost-in-space-the-toymakermere child, the Robinson boy will go to extraordinary lengths when helping a friend in peril.

 

Concluding Comments

The second Christmas episode of Lost in Space, “The Toymaker” can best be described as a series of fantastic, if not thoroughly nonsensical, events amalgamated together without a coherent purpose in mind. This installment does, however, deserve praise for its heartwarming subject matter.

 

Overall Quality: 3/10

 

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8 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 47: The Toymaker

  1. Marvelously put together on one hand and on another very very critical. Overkill at its best. The episodes I liked amazingly they go unscathed to the criticism as unfortunately the other episodes are not as fortunate. The Toymaker I agree is not a 10 by far more impressive than a 3 u gave. I give it 7.

    • I appreciate the compliment, but I don’t agree that I was overly critical in my analysis. I acknowledged that “The Toymaker” works well as a children’s episode, though I couldn’t honestly overlook the weak storytelling and flimsy science fiction elements when writing my review. Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

  2. This is my number thirteen 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.. :-]

  3. Anthony and Jon, I could not help but notice those comments. As for me, I love this one. I am not a big ‘science fiction’ fan per se, nor was I ever. I enjoy this series for many more reasons than that. The stories do not need to be all ‘cerebral’ and adult-oriented to enjoy them..sort of like STAR TREK, which I also like and appreciate for lots of reasons. I have always liked both, but LOST IN SPACE has been my baby and long-time passion through the years, going way back to the early 1970s. I hardly watch them at all anymore as I have burned out on it and I have moved past it in life, but the series will always be near and dear to me..indeed, in any form or style it was delivered..

    • I understand some people prefer the silly stories, which is fine. As a sci-fi fan, I just wish the show could have maintained the serious atmosphere of the first five episodes while keeping campy themes to a minimum. I don’t mind occasional lighthearted episodes if executed in a clever fashion (e.g. “The Trouble with Tribbles” from Star Trek). However, by the second season of Lost in Space almost every narrative focused on Dr. Smith and Will encountering another storybook-of-the-week antagonist, leaving little room for social commentary or philosophical discussion. Also, I felt bad for Guy Williams since he became the ostensible star of Lost in Space after Dr. Smith took center stage with his goofy antics.

  4. Good points, Jon. I know many fans who feel the very same way. I definitely agree the show was obviously at its best in the beginning. Those first five episodes are outer space stellar. I guess growing up and loving the show, I never thought about these things. I just accepted it as it was.

    A friend of mine considers each season like a separate series on its own since each has a seemingly complete unique look and feel from the others..

  5. In the midst of a streak of six in a row of the very ‘LiS Lite’ silliest-type storylines (2-16 to 2-21), this one can be considered the most ‘serious,’ relatively speaking..and indeed, easily the best of those six episodes in this section.

    I do find this one a very fun and entertaining story. It even has some seriousness going on in between all the shenanigans. This one has truly grown on me. Walter Burke as Mr. O. M. is purely cute and funny in his role. Mr. Zumdish is back. Really, what is there not to like? :-]

  6. I re-watched this one last night and had the same thought I did about it when I was a child watching it.

    I never understood that door to Earth thing and why it was like all boarded up like some trashy abandoned home.

    I always felt like this urgency to almost push Will thru that dam door to Earth but as soon as they introduced that door into the episode all I kept thinking about was Will and Dr. Smith getting back to Earth thru it. Obviously they didnt. Sigh.