Updated: September 18, 2020
MARK GODDARD PHOTO GALLERY #07
Fifty years ago this year, families across the United States sat down on a Wednesday evening to watch the premiere of a new science-fiction series on CBS: Lost in Space. When it first appeared — on September 15, 1965 — it was the most expensive television pilot ever produced. No one had ever seen anything like it.
In retrospect, it turned out to be much more than that. In 1965, LBJ was president, the Beatles were all the rage, and the space program was in full gear. The first year of Lost in Space was broadcast in black and white. The show's dark, at times expressionist, filming captured the pervasive fear of the unknown as we ventured farther out into the galaxy.
In its early, relentlessly eerie episodes, Lost in Space functioned like an extension of The Twilight Zone. But instead of fighter pilots or superheroes,Lost in Space thrust a family, the Robinsons, into the great abyss: a father and mother (both scientists) and their three children.
Lost in Space featured a cast with an impressive acting pedigree: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright, Billy Mumy and Jonathan Harris. The show also gave the world some enduring catchphrases, among them, "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!" and "That does not compute."
Marta Kristen and Mark Goddard played eldest daughter Judy Robinson and spaceship pilot Major Don West. The two actors were supposed to have a romance on Lost in Space. The show was also supposed to be an adventure series about a family and their pilot.
But life (and the whims of the show's imperious creator, Irwin Allen) took a sharp left turn with the addition of Jonathan Harris, as effete expedient stowaway Dr. Zachary Smith, and the Environmental Control Robot (played by Bob May and voiced by Dick Tufeld). Before long, Allen turned the majority of the show's plots over to Harris, the gifted Mumy as young Will Robinson and the Robot.
Despite three years in space, the romance between Kristen and Goddard experienced very little thrust. In addition to their striking looks — they were one of the most attractive couples ever to grace the small screen — both actors had an impressive acting résumé.