Hanna-Barbera made this unsold, Saturday-morning pilot back in the early 1970s, perhaps hoping to capitalize on the success of the animated STAR TREK. Supposedly, Fred Freiberger…the writer/producer responsible for the awful third season of STAR TREK and the loathed second season of SPACE 1999, had a hand in this “reimagining” of LOST IN SPACE. The only cast member from the original series who participated was Jonathan Harris, reprising his role as Dr. Smith (now a Biology professor!).
9 thoughts on “Unsold Animated LOST IN SPACE Pilot from 1973”
Is it just me, or does Harris sound like he wants to mutter, “I’m only doing this to pay the mortgage” over and over?
What’s wrong with paying the mortgage? Speaking of which, that’s something you will never do with your so-called stand-up comedy. It’s painfully, embarrassingly, unfunny. You aren’t doing yourself any favors posting the clips on your website. But I suppose it’s an improvement over excerpts from your print-on-demand detective novel.
First – I could have sworn I saw at least a couple of episodes of this when I was a kid. My memory must be leaky.
Second – and this is directed at the anonymous commentor – if you’re going to trash somebody, have the balls to leave your name.
Jim Winter does stand-up comedy?
I am fascinated by all the cartoon versions of live-action shows… like STAR TREK, EMERGENCY, BRADY BUNCH, and GILLIGAN’S ISLAND…especially when they were airing at the same time as the live action shows.
I remember seeing a LOST IN SPACE animated “movie” as part of “The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie” (1972-74) … I wonder whether they just plugged in this pilot for that.
Lee Goldberg wrote: I am fascinated by all the cartoon versions of live-action shows… like STAR TREK, EMERGENCY, BRADY BUNCH, and GILLIGAN’S ISLAND…especially when they were airing at the same time as the live action shows.
Not quite. Both the Star Trek and Gilligan’s Island cartoons aired well after both series were in syndication. The Star Trek cartoon was also well before Paramount decided to do the film version. I can’t recall if the Gilligan’s Island cartoon (and the later, even more abysmal Gilligan’s Planet) aired before or after the first tele-film, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.
Emergency+4, as it was called, did air at the same time as the original series. Both Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe supplied the voices for their characters, but if you listen carefully to the editing, you can notice that they recorded them separately and not with the other voice cast members.
In its first season, the Brady Kids (and it’s frightening that I actually remember the words to that theme song) were all voiced by the cast members of the Brady Bunch. By its second season, neither Barry Williams nor Maureen McCormick were voicing their characters. Frankly, I’m one of those people who would like to see a stake driven through the heart of the entire Brady Bunch franchise — I can’t believe they’re still filming new variations of this thing.
The ones you mentioned were just the tip of the iceberg as far as cartoon versions of primetime series. Off the top of my head, there were cartoon versions of My Favorite Martian. Punky Brewster, ALF, Roseanne (as Little Rosey), Happy Days, I Dream of Jeannie, The Jackson Five, The Osmond Brothers, Ghostbusters, as well as two cartoon movies for Nanny and the Professor. And both the Hercules/Xena and Highlander franchises have delved into the ‘toon realm.
At the time most of the cartoons you mentioned aired, they were extremely cheap to produce. Wasn’t this about the time that animation was being farmed out to Korea, so that scale didn’t have to be paid to the animators? The animation was horrible, not just in artistic merit, but in basic artistic continuity within a scene. The plots were simplistic, with every story containing a moral.
While these cartoons were mind-numbingly boring and saccharine sweet, they did come with a ready-made and exploitable audience. The next step was inevitable, the He-Man/She-Ra generation of commercials disguised as cartoons.
This was a pretty interesting period in the early seventies. Of all the franchises that the networks tried to revive in animated form, it seems only Star Trek and Gilligan’s Island actually did well. Even though Trek did only one season on Saturday morning, NBC reran it for at least two seasons before the studio focused on a revival series. Gilligan’s Island remained faithful to the original series’ premise, and lasted (I think) three seasons, including the aforementioned dreadful Gilligan’s Island in Space.
A lot of animated revivals, however, mangled the idea of “reimagining” beyond any recognition long before Messrs. Eick and Moore used the phrase for BG. I remember a lot of these pilots running on The Saturday Superstar Movie when I was a kid. There were half-hour pilots for That Girl, Lost in Space, and a couple of other shows where the original premise was completely tossed out the window. Like I said, Harris sounds pretty uncomfortable in this one, probably because the animated version mangles the original pretty badly.
The last such show I remember was a cartoon version of Mork & Mindy that seemed to have nothing to do with the actual show.
And to the anonymous poster, thanks for the free advertising.
There were also animated series based on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD and LAVERNE & SHIRLEY. The latter must take some sort of record for deviation from the source. The live action series was about the mostly romantic adventures of two brewery workers in the late 1950s. The animated series was about two modern day soldiers who, with the aid of a talking pig, fought criminals and mad scientists.
An animated version of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was planned at one point. Reportedly, it got far along in the development process, with characters designed, test footage shot, scripts written, and roles cast (most of the original cast would have been involved, minus Sarah Michelle Gellar)–only to be shot down when someone belatedly realized that a Saturday morning show with SLAYER in the title was begging for an FCC fine.