ABC’s Saturday Superstar Movie featured a number of attempts to create animated versions of live-action series, some of them from shows that were no longer on television. It worked for Star Trek after all. Then again you have the Gilligan’s Island cartoons but that’s not important right now. Previously I brought up an animated version of The Munsters and tonight we go to another series, the campy sci-fi classic Lost In Space.
Irwin Allen’s classic series hadn’t originally planned to go into the silly stuff the show would be known for in later years (like carrot people). Watch the early shows and by 1960s standards the stories were more serious. Inspired by The Swiss Family Robinson, the series followed the adventures of the Robinson family, astronauts sent to a colony whose trip was ruined by an agent of a foreign power only to get themselves…well, guess from the title. There have been attempts to recreate the series, with questionable success. One of these attempts was Hanna-Barbera’s 1973 special for the Saturday Superstar Movie.
However, little made its way to this version. Instead of the Robinson family, the special follows Craig Robinson, who brought his little brother Link along on a trip to bring geologist Dina Carmichael and botanist Dr. Smith to a new planet only for them to…you know the drill. The ship is called the Jupiter 2, there’s a robot (named Robon in the special), and Smith was voiced by Jonathan Harris, who brought his usual personality to the character, but that’s pretty much all that remains of the original show. In the story the new crew comes upon a planet threatened by robots and with a lot of diamonds lying around. Our newish Smith isn’t the villain of the original but he’s still a greedy angry coward so this may not end well. Enjoy.
While looking for this I came across a 2003 pitch for another attempt at a Lost In Space cartoon, using audio clips from the original TV show.
2003 animated pitch to 20th Century Fox
Animation created by Scott O’Brien
Lost In Space created by Irwin Allen
I wonder what either of these would have been like? Assuming the 2003 version would use original voice acting for an actual series passed away a year earlier and had done some voice acting, and I think the original Robot’s VA had also passed after doing the theatrical movie.