Lost in Space was a television series from Irwin Allen Productions, set in the then future year of 1997. The show first aired in 1965 and ran for three seasons with no less than 83 episodes! This was the first science fiction series that I ever watched (at 10 years old) and my favourite character was, of course, the Robot.
I wonder if this was the first Robot to ever have a famous ‘catch phrase’? The Robot saying “Danger Will Robinson” is well known, but apparently that exact phrase was only said once, and not until the third-season episode Deadliest of the Species.
The catch phrase was even used to advertise ‘Altoids’ mints. The brand was created in London in the 1780s, but is better known in the USA. What would they have made of the robot B-9 in the UK back in 1780 I wonder!
The Robot was officially known as “B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorising Environmental Control Robot”. If the robot seems familiar, it will come as no surprise to find that it was designed by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed Robby the Robot for the film Forbidden Planet.
Thanks to Wikipedia, we have these details of the robots (fictional) capabilities:
1. The Robot possessed powerful computers that allowed him to make complex calculations and to deduce many facts;
2. He had a variety of sensors that detected numerous phenomena and dangers;
3. He was programmed with extensive knowledge on many subjects, including how to operate the Jupiter 2 spaceship;
4. His construction allowed him to function in extreme environments and in the vacuum of space;
5. He was extremely strong, giving him utility both in performing difficult labour and in fighting when necessary. Moreover, his claws could fire laser beams and, most frequently, a powerful “electro-force” that was similar to arcing electricity.
One final very interesting piece of trivia is that the open and closing theme music was written by John Williams, the composer behind the Star Wars theme music, who was listed in the credits as “Johnny Williams”.