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, magician Zalto (Al Lewis) makes Dr. Smith enter a spaceship, fire rockets at a deserted asteroid, and spelllost-in-space-rocket-to-earth out Zalto’s name in flaming letters. When Will traps himself in the ship with Dr. Smith, however, Zalto must reveal his true, sinister motive to the Robinson family.

“Rocket to Earth” benefits from a unique and amusing villain. That being said, Barney Slater’s narrative is marred by hackneyed dialogue, dubious science fiction, and an ambiguous message about deceiving others for personal gain.

 

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, whose shenanigans 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’ iconic Grandpa character.

 

Cons

While bidding farewell to Dr. Smith, Will and the Robot share a heartfelt exchange with their longtime companion. Though quite touching, the parting sequence in “Rocket to Earth” is overshadowed bylost-in-space-rocket-to-earth a similar display in the following episode, where Will says 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 using Zalto’s spaceship under false pretenses, Dr. Smith manages to survive a deadly advertising gimmick—a morally questionable scenario, which indicates that lying and stealing from people can lead to rewarding outcomes.

 

Concluding Comments

Combining the talents of Lewis—a vaudeville performer—with those of Jonathan Harris, “Rocket to Earth” will appeal to Lost in Space fans. Nevertheless, viewers of a serious nature might wish to avoid 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..