Lost in Space Episode 51: The Cave of the Wizards

General Information

Director: Don Richardson

Writer: Peter Packer

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

Composer: Alexander Courage

Air Date: 2/22/1967

Production #: 9525

 

Overview

While Professor Robinson and Major West prepare the Jupiter 2 for spaceflight, Dr. Smith encounters the only surviving remnants of the Dranconian race—powerful lost-in-space-the-cave-of-the-wizardscyborgs who desire a new leader. Volunteering for the job, Dr. Smith chooses to remain on the planet with the Robot. Only an appeal from Will can persuade Dr. Smith, who now resembles a cross between Count Dracula and a Vulcan from Star Trek, to abandon the Dranconians and rejoin the Robinson family.

An atmospheric episode, “The Cave of the Wizards” will intrigue those who enjoy the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Certain campy elements do, however, detract from the ominous material contained in Peter Packer’s narrative.

 

Pros

When the Dranconians lure Dr. Smith into an alien cave for the first time, a number of spooky tropes (e.g. cobwebs, rock monsters, and a living mummy wrapped in lost-in-space-the-cave-of-the-wizardsgreen-tinted bandages) are employed in conjunction with the harpsichord music of Alexander Courage, thereby producing an effect that may remind the audience of a black-and-white creature feature (the 1932 version of The Mummy comes to mind for obvious reasons). Also haunting are the scenes wherein Will and Dr. Smith return to the Jupiter 2 (later revealed to be a lifelike replica), the decrepit condition of which implies that a terrible fate has befallen the Robinson family.

 

Cons

Having received a makeover from the Dranconians, the Robot sings a groan-worthy rendition of “Pick a Bale of Cotton” and makes clear his desire to be addressed aslost-in-space-the-cave-of-the-wizards “Golden Boy.” Though briefly amusing, the Robot’s behavior as described above tends to clash with the subtle, creepy tension of prior sequences.

 

Analysis

By going out of his way to rescue Dr. Smith from the Dranconian chamber, Will proves himself to be a terrific and self-sacrificing friend—an aspect that will surely tug the heartstrings of sensitive viewers. (That being said, many Lost in Space fans may find irritating the fact that John, Major West, and the others must again alter their plans to accommodate a thoughtless, ungrateful stowaway.)

 

Concluding Comments

“The Cave of the Wizards” is a delightful homage to the classic monster movies of the 1930s. Nevertheless, the uneven tone of this episode should be criticized.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

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4 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 51: The Cave of the Wizards

  1. This is my number twelve 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 series suddenly reaches a turning point where the episodes take an impressive and abrupt turn more serious once again, heading down the season stretch. This selection is one of the more popular episodes of the season. The guest incidental music scores are again compliments of regular STAR TREK composer, Alexander Courage. The score, played largely on harpsichord, is pretty creepy, as is the story itself. The music tends to get slightly tiring throughout, however.

    In the old days, I had this one way, way up there in the number three position. Now it is more modestly in there at number twelve on the season..

  3. I always wondered if the “DRANconians,” were meant to actually be “DRACOnians.” Their is an actual star system called Sigma Draconis and at times Dr. Smith seems to be saying Draconian instead of Dranconian. This is actually one of the better episodes of the series since it does mix an interesting sci-fi premise with just that right amount of camp. Also Dr. Smith’s request to have “Golden Boy,” restored as well as his emotional reaction to saying goodbye to Will, an action that actually destroys the machine in the end actually mixes in some notable pathos as well and is perhaps the most human Dr. Smith ever appeared and perhaps that was the entire point. Humanity conquers the machine.

    p.s. You can actually buy online a 11 inch display figure “Golden Boy,” version of the robot that speaks many of the lines from this episode.

    • Dr. Smith’s poignant reaction to Will’s farewell was definitely a high point in season two, which I consider to be the worst of all three.

      The “Golden Boy” figure sounds like it would make for a nice collectable.