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Irwin Allen's Lost in Space, Volume One: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series

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Lost in Space was the prime time weekly series to take viewers into outer space’s strange new alien worlds – something the networks believed impossible on a TV budget and schedule. In this book you’ll be whisked back in time to the production offices, writers’ conferences, and sound stages for the making of this iconic series. Included are hundreds of memos between Allen a Lost in Space was the prime time weekly series to take viewers into outer space’s strange new alien worlds – something the networks believed impossible on a TV budget and schedule. In this book you’ll be whisked back in time to the production offices, writers’ conferences, and sound stages for the making of this iconic series. Included are hundreds of memos between Allen and his staff; production schedules; budgets; fan letters; more than 300 rare behind-the-scene images; and the TV ratings for every episode. Irwin Allen's Lost In Space: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series, Volume One documents the early career of Irwin Allen. It is a true rags-to-riches story, as Allen ventures from a humble beginning in the Bronx to his later incarnations in Hollywood as an entertainment journalist, radio and television host, a literary agent – all before becoming a successful motion picture producer and director. After winning an Academy Award in 1954, Allen entered the fantasy genre with films such as The Lost World and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He then rolled the dice again with a move into television, creating and producing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and, one year later, Lost in Space.


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Lost in Space was the prime time weekly series to take viewers into outer space’s strange new alien worlds – something the networks believed impossible on a TV budget and schedule. In this book you’ll be whisked back in time to the production offices, writers’ conferences, and sound stages for the making of this iconic series. Included are hundreds of memos between Allen a Lost in Space was the prime time weekly series to take viewers into outer space’s strange new alien worlds – something the networks believed impossible on a TV budget and schedule. In this book you’ll be whisked back in time to the production offices, writers’ conferences, and sound stages for the making of this iconic series. Included are hundreds of memos between Allen and his staff; production schedules; budgets; fan letters; more than 300 rare behind-the-scene images; and the TV ratings for every episode. Irwin Allen's Lost In Space: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series, Volume One documents the early career of Irwin Allen. It is a true rags-to-riches story, as Allen ventures from a humble beginning in the Bronx to his later incarnations in Hollywood as an entertainment journalist, radio and television host, a literary agent – all before becoming a successful motion picture producer and director. After winning an Academy Award in 1954, Allen entered the fantasy genre with films such as The Lost World and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He then rolled the dice again with a move into television, creating and producing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and, one year later, Lost in Space.

30 review for Irwin Allen's Lost in Space, Volume One: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series

  1. 5 out of 5

    C.J. Bunce

    Originally published online at BORG.com. Lacking again is attention to costume preparation and design and props—there is little to no discussion included with propmaker Wah Chang or costumer William Ware Theiss, when all other grounds are well covered via archived interviews, other than some minimal commentary by guest actresses commenting on their skimpy outfits (like costumes literally glued to their skin to stay attached during filming). Volume Two includes some real gems, like the text of a le Originally published online at BORG.com. Lacking again is attention to costume preparation and design and props—there is little to no discussion included with propmaker Wah Chang or costumer William Ware Theiss, when all other grounds are well covered via archived interviews, other than some minimal commentary by guest actresses commenting on their skimpy outfits (like costumes literally glued to their skin to stay attached during filming). Volume Two includes some real gems, like the text of a letter from Leonard Nimoy to Gene Roddenberry from 1967, after a visit to Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington, DC, where Nimoy was mobbed by droves a scientists wanting autographs, including one astronaut named John Glenn. “This was the first real taste that I had of the NASA attitude towards STAR TREK… I do not overstate the fact when I tell you that the interest in the show is so intense, that it would almost seem they feel we are a dramatization of the future of their space program… They are, in fact, proud of the show as though it in some way represents them…,” Nimoy wrote. And did you know the AMT model kit of the Enterprise–the one kids of all ages had in the 1960s and 1970s and is still available today–was used for filming almost as much as the large production-made models? A digital edition would be welcome—provided all the original photographs could be included in their original color versions—a great loss for this book, especially considering the color slides were all available, but publishing cost factors are understandable. Another oddity—each photograph has a written credit, which becomes a great waste of space over the course of the book’s hefty 688 pages. Why not include an end page with all photo credits? Clearly there is a bit of a dance going on over copyright use of the photographs, as the work is not produced by CBS or Paramount. Significantly better edited than the first volume, typographical errors still again dot this volume. But these are minor issues. The value of this book to any fan of the original series of Star Trek is too great to pass up. And you will find you can read a 688-page book cover to cover in only a few sittings as this reader did. Just as Cushman revealed in his similarly-formatted, award-winning three volume chronicle of Star Trek (These are the Voyages, reviewed previously here at borg.com) that Lucille Ball was the mastermind producer behind Star Trek, here we see the influence of movie and TV stars Groucho Marx and Red Buttons on Irwin Allen as he pushed forward to create the first season of Lost in Space. Where the coming new sci-fi series Star Trek would be a “Wagon Train to the stars,” Allen was orchestrating a “Swiss Family Robinson in space” an idea that would encounter its own breed of intellectual property legal issues along the way. Cushman pulls archival interviews from the late series star Guy Williams (one of the top TV stars in the 1960s as he came off his successful run as Zorro and would portray astronaut John Robinson), everyone’s favorite TV mom June Lockhart (as pioneer female astronaut Maureen Robinson), Western and true crime TV star Mark Goddard (as scientist Don West), new starlet Marta Kristen (as John and Maureen’s eldest daughter Judy Robinson), Angela Cartwright fresh off her breakout role with Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (as Penny Robinson), young Billy Mumy, the versatile child guest star of The Twilight Zone, The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Fugitive, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (as Will Robinson), Bob May (as the guy in the Robot), and the last-minute addition, character actor Jonathan Harris (as the quirky villain Mr. Smith). So many professionals from science fiction’s past and future would pass through the CBS stages to make Lost in Space, like The Day the Earth Stood Still’s Klaatu, Michael Rennie, Total Recall, RoboCop, and Star Trek’s Wally Cox, Star Trek’s BarBara Luna, Sherry Jackson, Liam Sullivan, and Michael J. Pollard, and Forbidden Planet’s Robby the Robot. Without a young John Williams providing the theme and score for Lost in Space, how could a young George Lucas and Steven Spielberg been inspired to track down Williams years later to create their own sci-fi shows using his unique vision of music? TV icons would be featured on episodes of the series, too, with stars like Warren Oates and Werner Klemperer. In addition to archival interview content, Cushman included his own interviews with Michael Allan, Roger C. Carmel, Joe D’Agosta, Barbara Eden, Harlan Ellison, Krista Martin, BarBara Luna, Lee Meriwether, Bill Mumy, Malachi Throne, and Guy Williams, Jr., among others. Cushman is an expert storyteller, weaving the fabric of Hollywood together in his unique style, tackling the series episode by episode, from pre-production through the final ratings and fan reaction. He includes anything and everything you might want to know about making a classic TV series, from salaries of the actors, to roles of production staff, from monster creations and primate co-stars to future tech props and sets, from personalities of the stars and deal negotiators, to what costumes the crew liked and which they didn’t like, from what scenes they enjoyed filming and those they didn’t, to the garden variety directors vs. the standouts, which star had claustrophobia and how that affected production, how the kids felt about child labor laws of the day, and why John and Maureen Robinson and Don and Judy never could kiss on-screen. The first volume of Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series, covering the first, black and white season of Lost in Space, is a must-read for fans of the series, fans of classic TV, and students of television. Cushman’s Volume 2, covering seasons 2 and 3, cast reunions and everything leading up to the new Netflix reboot series, is coming soon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bryn Young-roberts

    There are many problems with Marc Cushman's Lost In Space, Volume One, the majority of which could have been avoided with better editing. Quite often the formatting is jarring, names, dates and episode numbers are incorrect, and the same information is repeated far too often. Occasionally the From the Script segment of each episode, which consists of quotes of the best dialogue from that installment, can outstay its welcome, a feature that is at its best when only a paragraph or two long. Likewi There are many problems with Marc Cushman's Lost In Space, Volume One, the majority of which could have been avoided with better editing. Quite often the formatting is jarring, names, dates and episode numbers are incorrect, and the same information is repeated far too often. Occasionally the From the Script segment of each episode, which consists of quotes of the best dialogue from that installment, can outstay its welcome, a feature that is at its best when only a paragraph or two long. Likewise, the Production Diary section of each episode can also become tedious as each day of production is described in unnecessary detail. This can however be forgiven as it sometimes provides some of the book's most rewarding reading when one considers that virtually every episode being made is running behind schedule and over budget. Also frustrating is Cushman's reliance on a very narrow margin of information when trying to posit each episode in its cultural landscape. He will often mention the same pop song as holding the number one spot in the chart during the airing of an episode, which is often the case for several weeks at a time (obviously not his fault, songs are often number one for weeks at a time), but it would have made for better reading if he had decided to mention the second, third, or even fourth most popular song during a week in which this would have been the case instead. Despite all of these shortcomings, it is a real testament to Cushman's passion for the subject, and the depth of knowledge he has sought out on it, that they can only amount to the loss of one star from what would otherwise be a 5 star book. Particularly informative and enjoyable are the biographies of all key players in the book's first sections, not only regarding their careers, but tastefully, their personal lives too. Also to be applauded are Cushman's use of Irwin Allen's Papers Collection for the extremely concise summaries of each episode, a feature of each chapter that otherwise could have dragged. The juiciest bits are to be found in the author's assessments of episodes and script changes (writers decisions as well as studio demands), which allows us to feel like we are living through the development of the show almost in real-time. Along with snippets of quotes from actor interviews and episode reviews from a variety of magazines printed during the week of each installment's broadcast, the author does a great job of convincing the reader its the mid 1960s. As the reader journeys with the television production from day to day, myths are debunked and explanations are given as to why this amazing, serious, sci-fi adventure drama rapidly developed over the course of a season into a grotesquely camp comedy. An examination of Nielsen ratings for each week will make you appreciate just how much promise Lost In Space had, even after Batman steals a large portion of the audience halfway through the season. Despite not granting this book 5 stars, it should not dissuade anyone with an interest in 1960s American TV from reading it. So enjoyable is Cushman's exploration of Lost In Space, a TV show I adore, that I have purchased some DVDs of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, a TV show I have never seen, simply so I can read his book on the making of it. How could there possibly be any higher endorsement of an author?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Diehl

    If you grew up watching Lost in Space, either the original run (which means you're old, not that I'm pointing fingers) or the many times the series ran in syndication, this book is a warm, comforting companion to the show. Lots of details of the behind the scenes stuff, from shooting issues, to guest star backstory, to how various monsters and special effects were created. Disclaimer: I'm personally acquainted with the author. But I *loved* the show growing up. In many ways, the Robinsons were th If you grew up watching Lost in Space, either the original run (which means you're old, not that I'm pointing fingers) or the many times the series ran in syndication, this book is a warm, comforting companion to the show. Lots of details of the behind the scenes stuff, from shooting issues, to guest star backstory, to how various monsters and special effects were created. Disclaimer: I'm personally acquainted with the author. But I *loved* the show growing up. In many ways, the Robinsons were the family I wished I had. John was a stalwart, brave, and always kind father figure; Maureen was lovely, healthy, and unrattled by the alien or unexpected. I am using the book and the show as an exercise routine - I read the chapter about the episode, then watch it, while pedaling on my stationary bike. It's a win-win. Also, Mark Goddard as Major Don West, my first childhood crush. Yum!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Spectacularly obsessive and loaded with minutia, this tome has everything you would ever want to know, and then some, about the campy 60's Sci-Fi series and its creator, Irwin Allen (also renowned for his 70's disaster movies). Not only does it describe every episode in electron-microscope-level detail, but also tells you how the ratings went that week. I now know not only the budgets of every Irwin Allen movie, and the exact dates every episode of Lost ran, but also what National Geographic spe Spectacularly obsessive and loaded with minutia, this tome has everything you would ever want to know, and then some, about the campy 60's Sci-Fi series and its creator, Irwin Allen (also renowned for his 70's disaster movies). Not only does it describe every episode in electron-microscope-level detail, but also tells you how the ratings went that week. I now know not only the budgets of every Irwin Allen movie, and the exact dates every episode of Lost ran, but also what National Geographic special about the disappearing prairie owl preempted an episode in November 1965. Needless to say, it's also chock-full of backstage anecdotes and career bios. Also has lots of info on other Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants). Recommended for those who really like to dive right in into the pop-cultural drink.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mhorg

    A must for any Lost in Space fan. Even as a kid, I found this show silly. I did love the technology and the robot (as was common with any Allen show), but this book, filled with some great pictures ava minutiae of every kind, is worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bill Graff

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steven Wilson

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marty

  9. 5 out of 5

    James Hearn

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Swinney

  12. 5 out of 5

    William Paley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erkcan2

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kobori

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark Harris

  16. 5 out of 5

    Terence Quinn

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kirby

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kieran McAndrew

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joe Cheseldine

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Britton

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  22. 4 out of 5

    Walt Hawn

  23. 5 out of 5

    David

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Prebble

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cayo Orlando Hern

  26. 4 out of 5

    Donn Headley

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Herman

  28. 4 out of 5

    Metsbestmsn.Com

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheldon Dan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Herbert F. Foster

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