Lost in Space Episode 50: Rocket to Earth

General Information

Director: Don Richardson

Writer: Barney Slater

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, and Al Lewis

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 2/15/1967

Production #: 9522

 

Overview

Planning an “explosive” publicity stunt, space magician Zalto (Al Lewis) recruits Dr. Smith for a special assignment: the good doctor must fire rockets at a desertedlost-in-space-rocket-to-earth asteroid, thereby spelling out Zalto’s name in flaming letters. When Will accidentally traps himself in the vessel piloted by Dr. Smith, Zalto is forced to reveal his sinister intentions to the Robinson family.

“Rocket to Earth” is a mildly amusing episode of Lost in Space. That being said, Barney Slater’s narrative is marred by hackneyed dialogue and science fiction elements of a dubious nature.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-rocket-to-earthComedian Al Lewis (known for playing Sam “Grandpa” Dracula in The Munsters) deserves praise for his portrayal of Zalto, the shenanigans of whom serve to complement the campy tone of this episode. Especially worth noting are Zalto’s failed attempts to harness the power of magic, which, perhaps intentionally, resemble the antics of Lewis’ aforementioned Grandpa character.

 

Cons

While bidding farewell to Dr. Smith, Will and the Robot share a heartfelt exchange with their longtime companion. Though slightly touching, the parting sequence is overshadowed bylost-in-space-rocket-to-earth a similar display in the following episode, “The Cave of the Wizards,” wherein Will must say goodbye to Dr. Smith and the Robot for supposedly the last time.

Upon learning that Will and Dr. Smith will soon arrive on Earth, Maureen responds with the statement, “Dear, I do hope it isn’t too cold; you know, he wasn’t very warmly dressed”—arguably the most cringe-inducing line in the entire series.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-rocket-to-earthBy deceiving Zalto and using his spaceship to return to Earth, Dr. Smith manages to survive a deadly advertising gimmick. Therefore, “Rocket to Earth” sends an ambiguous message about the benefit of lying for personal gain.

 

Concluding Comments

For combining the talents of Lewis—a vaudeville performer—with those of Jonathan Harris, “Rocket to Earth” should be commended. Nevertheless, viewers of a serious inclination would be wise to forgo this effort.

 

Overall Quality: 3/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 50: Rocket to Earth

  1. This is my number twenty-two 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. The ultra ‘LiS Lite’ section concludes here, and most specifically the end of six in a row of several of the lightest. I actually saw some website consider this the worst episode of all. Not at all. Oh, it is not fabulous, but neither is it terrible. In fact, this one is somewhere in the middle. It is one of those nondescript episodes that does not seem to get much discussion at LiS chat lists.

    As for me, I find this one very entertaining. Guest star Al Lewis just cracks me up with his witty mannerisms and his frequent cackle. Not bad at all.

    Get ready. LOST IN SPACE is about to suddenly turn much more serious again, heading down the season stretch..