Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Japan Zippo Station & Robert's Anime Corner Store

A classic Zippo lighter, Otaku-style. There's nothing like an eye-popping Zippo to grab the attention. It almost makes you want to take up smoking. That's humor. Remember kids, in the 1960s the Surgeon General warned: SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. Can you imagine? Yes kids I think it definitely might be. The great irony here for smokers is that this Zippo is adorned with one healthy set of lungs.
When I was a young boy, I used to hang with my father every Sunday. We'd hit all the bars and a delicious Italian restaurant that was our regular restaurant of choice. Since we rarely deviated from that route of travel, those same bars and the restaurant, I was unfortunately subjected to my father's smoking habit. My brother and I were young. We didn't have a say. We were rank with smoke when we returned home. We didn't much care for the bars or my father's smoking habit, but we always enjoyed being with him and hitting him up for quarters for the table top Donkey Kong or Pac-Man video games.
This is a beautiful set of Neon Genesis Evangelion lighters now out of print featuring popular characters Rei and Asuka. These are hard to find.
I remember he had a really cool metallic Zippo lighter. Smoking aside, that lighter was fun to play with. The spin of sparks and whiff of butane fuel or lighter fluid from the rolling flint wheel and striker filled the air with an unforgettable, fleeting aroma. Apart from absolutely loving that little Zippo lighter I positively hated the nasty smell of cigarettes.
The Zippo Manufacturing Company was founded in 1932 in Bradford, PA. The collectible status of the lighter has continued to grow significantly through the years. In China, Japan Zippo Station has taken the art of the Zippo to new creative heights making an assortment of all kinds of nifty, colorful, anime-related Zippo lighter collectibles as only Otaku makers can make. Science fiction and anime are popular genres that grace the surfaces of the Zippo and there's no shortage of ways to sell it from the East.
Two classic Star Trek: The Next Generation Zippos! Perfect for setting ST:TNG Season One ablaze.
Years ago, I discovered Robert's Anime Corner Store. The owner of the company to this day remains a gentleman dedicated to the business of anime. Not only has Robert's Anime Corner Store provided an outstanding service to customers over the years, but Robert has made every effort to ensure the genre's lasting viability here in the United States by advocating and vehemently supporting the purchase of official product NOT bootlegs. Robert ensures all items are officially licensed product. This is an important distinction. The same simply can't be said for many other on-line anime sellers. This is critical when it comes to anime's survival, because it is an industry under fire [no pun intended] from all sorts of angles. Free downloading sights, poor industry management, bootlegging, you name it and anime is fighting for its life to a degree. For whatever reason people simply don't respect the business and take care of it to ensure it endures. Robert and the folks at Robert's Anime Corner Store are all about these honorable qualities and it is reflected in how they care for their consumers. This is my personal plug for checking RACS out for all of your personal anime and Otaku needs.
A Gatchaman classic [better known in the U.S.A. as Battle Of The Planets]. The fiery Phoenix!
Like the Zippo lighter, one with a long history of quality and authenticity [China's Japan Zippo Station items are licensed officially I suspect], RACS is also steeped in a tradition of licensed business excellence.
A selection of gems from the classic Starblazers or Space Battleship Yamato and that vessel known as the Argo.
I had been doing some writing for RACS for a time and Robert and I had gotten to know each other quite well. He surprised me with a gift once by mail. A small box was enclosed with an order of anime goodies. I have the gift to this day.
My one and only Zippo, a classic featuring the purple beauty that is EVA-01. I believe an EVA-02 exists out there, maybe even an EVA-00, but again these are RARE! A treasure from Bob at Robert's Anime Corner Store and the note that promises the dream of living North and not South!
To the Fancave... Most know of my love of all things Neon Genesis Evangelion and though I have no real reason or need to have a lighter since I swore off the idea of smoking upon my earliest introduction to it with my father, I was given something very special from RACS, a Neon Genesis Evangelion Eva-01 Zippo. It's a beauty as you can see and while it is a very nice item as anime collectibles go I also treasure it because it was a gift from a friend. In a nice way, too, and Robert never knew this, it reminds me of my father as well. That simple gift, that simple gesture of kindness meant so much more really. Robert certainly never knew that part of it, but in a way, it rekindled memories of my father's old Zippo and those days on the softball field or out for dinner. I certainly hold all of it dear to this day. Thank you again.
Fans of Patlabor can't go wrong with these beauties.
So for all of your anime needs be sure to check out Robert's Anime Corner for three BIG reasons. 1. Officially licensed product. They do NOT sell bootlegs and thus don't harm a badly flagging anime industry. 2. The staff is comprised of incredibly hard working, decent people like you and me who look out for you and me and take pride in their work. That's very Japanese by the way. 3. Their product is meticulously handled and their customer service is superior to almost any business on the Internet far exceeding the likes of Amazon because Robert's Anime Corner Store is their livelihood. Robert's business model is exceptional. You can't go wrong and their pricing is very competitive. Do yourself a favor and give Robert and his team a chance if you're looking for quality product and exceptional service. Be sure to check out Robert's entertaining anime side blog as well.
This is a sleek blue Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex dandy.
As for my Zippo, what's a non-smoker to do, but adore its sweet beauty amidst the horde of Eva figures that populate the Fancave.
Here's a terrific sample of some of what Japan Zippo Station has to offer or offered once upon a time including Evangelion, Princess Mononoke, Godzilla and more. Note they are made in Bradford, PA and Made In The U.S.A..

Monday, January 24, 2011

Howard Jones [w/ Rupert Hine]: Human's Lib

The two finest recordings by Howard Jones, Human's Lib and Dream Into Action.

As a kid I had the pleasure of seeing English artist Howard Jones, the opener, and English-Scottish duo Eurythmics live. These were two of the most impressive newcomers of the day. The year was 1984. It was a great year for music. For some odd reason, my aunt took me to see both Eurythmics and Howard Jones live in the Boston Common and it was a massive crowd walled-in by a makeshift fence. Jones bounced up and down the narrow, outdoor aisles with joyful abandon. He also sported a mime in chains named Jed for a period if I recall correctly. It was all weird, but it was the '80s and it was part of his visual gimmick at the time. Strip away the weird and you still had two of the most accomplished recording classics in music history by Howard Jones. Eurythmics were touring to support their sophomore effort Touch [1983], while Howard Jones was touring for his debut, Human's Lib [1984]. Dream Into Action [1985] followed. We'll save Touch for another day.

Human's Lib, produced by Rupert Hine, was a moody, electronic, pop masterpiece. Jones mixes it up throughout the recording with energized uptempo numbers like New Song and Pearl In The Shell, but capably slips into more somber, pensive numbers like What Is Love?, Don't Always Look At The Rain or Hide And Seek with relative ease. While these were some of Jones' bigger singles on the disc, the remainder of the disc is equally classic from the strange, science fiction sounds of Conditioning to the Halloween eeriness of the title track to the danceable social commentary of Equality and the pensive Hunt The Self. It's a ten track classic and one that literally spun the laser in my CD player out of alignment it was played so often.

Human's Lib was produced by Rupert Hine, the genius behind a slough of wonderful recordings by British band The Fixx, who fared more favorably in the United States than they did in their own UK. The late Colin Thurston, who died in 2007, was on production behind the classic New Song. Thurston's hand can be found on Duran Duran's classic self-titled debut [1981], Talk Talk's The Party's Over [1982] as well as The Human League's Reproduction [1979]. Thurston's work is brief, but Duran Duran's debut is arguably one of the best of their often vilified career. This is a perfect example of just how connected the music business really is.

Ultimately though, the bulk of the production chores were handled by Producer Rupert Hine. Hine has created some wonderful recordings through the years including Howard Jones two best, Human's Lib and Dream Into Action [1985]. Hine put the polish on Shuttered Room [1981], Reach The Beach [1983], Phantoms [1984], Walkabout [1986] and Ink [1990] essentially defining the undeniable sound of The Fixx for ten years. Hine also worked with Bob Geldof, Rush, Stevie Nicks, Thompson Twins on Close To The Bone [1987], Tina Turner for Private Dancer [1984] [with Cy Curnin on Better Be Good To Me], Break Every Rule [1986] and Foreign Affair [1989] and others. He's worked with actress Katey Sagal and even actress Milla Jovovich [Resident Evil] on The Divine Comedy [1994]. Apart from his own solo projects including Thinkman and Quantum Jump, Hine delivered some of his own music and vocals for the classic '80s film and soundtrack Better Off Dead starring John Cusack. The soundtrack includes Hine's duet with Cy Curnin [The Fixx] on With One Look and his own ballad Arrested By You.

Howard Jones and Hine combined to create to great effect one of the masterpieces of the 1980s in Human's Lib and nearly duplicated the magic with Dream Into Action. These are arguably the ones to own from Jones relatively fine career. Hines is another story and his wealth of productions are worthy of investigation.

Jones' own recording label Dtox has graced music fans finally with Remastered editions of both Human's Lib and Dream Into Action available exclusively through his own site. Things can only get better indeed, because he's offering a Limited Edition package for both discs coupled with a bonus CD of lives songs from the period. I know. Right!?

In the '90s Jones took his act on the road and went acoustic for a period. He was fine, but the tour really lacked the gifted heart that I believe Jones delivers through his knack for electronica [and that's no slight of his talent unplugged]. So I had been pleading for these two original releases to be issued for years with state-of-the-art remastering so that I could truly absorb and enjoy these compositions in all of their detailed splendor and audio glory. The time has finally arrived. You won't be disappointed.

Throughout his career Jones has generated some amazing pop singles including You Know I Love You... Don't You?, Everlasting Love and The Prisoner. His more contemporary have been spotty, but have their moments. There is a wonderful The Very Best Of Howard Jones collection that also comes complete with a second CD of some of his very best b-sides. This is a definitive collection for a fan of the singles and comes highly recommended on sheer audio quality alone.

After sounding like a Six Degrees piece, if I had to choose the classics, a recording so in touch and in tune with the pulse of one's creative soul and simply overflowing with perfection, Howard Jones' Human's Lib is most assuredly the indispensable keeper with Dream Into Action a close second. For the money, you can't go wrong with the Limited Edition packaging of both with the bonus CD. It's a beautiful thing. Howard Jones plans on giving One To One and Cross That Line a similar treatment in 2011. That's great news for fans, but if that desert island was in eye shot, Human's Lib is the one to grab for your castaway stay.

Howard Jones Discography:
Human's Lib [1984] *
The 12" Album [1984]
Dream Into Action [1985] *
12"ers Vol 2 [1985]
Action Replay [1986]
One To One [1986]
Cross That Line [1989]
In The Running [1991]
The Best Of Howard Jones [1993]
Working In The Backroom [1994]
Live Acoustic America [1996]
Angels & Lovers [1997]
People [1998]
Perform.00 [2000]
Perform.01 [2000]
Pefawm [2000]
Metamorphisis [2000]
The Peaceful Tour Live [2002]
The Very Best Of Howard Jones [2003] *
Revolution Of The Heart [2005] * [for something new]
Revolution Remixed & Surrounded [2007]
Live In Birken Head [2007]
Ordinary Heroes [2009]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 25 Greatest Sci-Fi TV Shows

This is an image from the only entry outside of American and British television to place in the Sci-Fi Now 25 Greatest Sci-Fi TV Shows. The image is from Japanese anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion depicting EVA-01 and EVA-00. It's complicated, but you are not alone and clearly I am not alone in this belief.
Evangelion rightfully deserves one of the 25 best spots and understandably notches a spot into the Top 10. This is a stunning and underrated science fiction series many have simply not seen by Studio Gainax and Hideaki Anno. Evangelion fails to receive recognition normally simply due to the fact it was born of anime. It's up to you whether you are open to the following list.
This is a list that is at once brilliant and frustrating. SciFiNow Issue #29 gives us some splendid choices, but omits almost as many in favor of some that could arguably be replaced.
25. Thunderbirds [1965; Two Seasons].
24. Doctor Who [1963; Thirty Seasons].
23. Lexx [1997; Four Seasons].
22. Taken [2002; One Season].
21. Lost In Space [1965; Three Seasons].
20. The Prisoner [1967; One Season].
19. Buck Rogers [1979; Two Seasons].
18. The Outer Limits [1963; Nine Seasons].
17. V: The Series [1984; One Season].
16. The Six Million Dollar Man [1974; Five Seasons].
15. Red Dwarf [1988; Nine Seasons].
14. Space: Above And Beyond [1995; One Season].
13. Futurama [1999; Five Seasons].
12. Quantum Leap [1989; Five Seasons].
11. Farscape [1999; Four Seasons].
10. Neon Genesis Evangelion [1995; One Season].
9. Stargate SG-1 [1997; Ten Seasons].
8. Star Trek: The Next Generation [1987; Seven Seasons].
7. Babylon 5 [1994; Five Seasons].
6. Charlie Jade [2005; One Season].
5. The Twilight Zone [1959; Five Seasons].
4. Battlestar Galactica [Re-imagined] 2004; Four Seasons].
3. The X-Files [1993; Nine Seasons].
2. Firefly [2002; One Season].
1. Star Trek: The Original Series [1966; Three Seasons].
Clearly a few of the Star Trek franchises are just not representin' here. I'm not sure how UFO or Space:1999 miss this list especially for a magazine hailing from the UK. This is the greatest injustice in my mind. Is Lexx better than Space:1999?
Charlie Jade is a popular favorite perennially with our friends across the pond, but that show has to be pretty damn good because it's always making their lists. Otherwise, it has to be a sentimental favorite for some odd reason. I mean, is it better than Farscape? Is it nearly as good as Firefly and more importantly ST:TOS?
And of course, Buck Rogers is selected, but Glen A. Larson's original Battlestar Galactica is slighted over the always favored new series by Ronald D. Moore. Is there no room for both? I love the nod to The Six Million Dollar Man, but Quantum Leap? How about Scott Bakula's Enterprise? I'm still not sold on ST:TNG.
In the final analysis, I have to tip my cap to any magazine that has the balls and intelligence to include Japanese animation on their list. SciFiNow gets the nod for including the best science fiction anime series I've ever seen. It's nice to see I'm not the only one who considers Hideaki Anno's Neon Genesis Evangelion as pure, dead brilliant and it's great to see it in the Top 10 here. I'm just the messenger, but I like the list despite omissions. Time to get to work on my own.
Really, Charlie Jade? Huh.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Japan [It's Bleepin' Weird]

"Japan: It's fucking weird."

This caption caught my eye and gave me a laugh. Who does stuff like this? The closest you get to this in the states is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Well, hell, I'm all about weird. We're all weird. What is so weird about anime? Okay, maybe it's a little weird. Unfortunately, Japanese anime gets a bad rap by the mainstream. Outside of Japan it's still a reasonably contained subculture populated by loyal Otaku, albeit strong and vocal. In Japan, anime is suffused into advertising through so many product lines and into the very culture itself that it just looks fun and vibrant and, well, so very weird. I mean that in a good way.

I suppose the oversized bosoms and gratuitous fan service of so many youth-oriented anime productions [MOE] haven't exactly helped the cause stateside, but there are exceptional anime titles out there old and new. Some are classics and some are classics in the making aging like fine wine. It is those you must seek, because they are vibrant, compelling and refreshingly different from standard American science ficiton fare. There are some that are really worth your time and are incredibly original. Still, weeding through the quagmire can take a bit of time.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic hopes to assist those science fiction lovers out there by presenting a series of posts going forward that will shed some light on the anime television series, films and OVAs [Original Video Animation or sometimes OAV] that might be worthy of your valuable time.

Humorous captions aside, I love Japan or at least all that it has to offer. I love Japanese women. I love the culture. I love the food. I love the animation. I love so many things about it. I've met some wonderful people from Japan over the years. Yet, sadly, I've never been and it is the one place in the world, high on my list, I hope to one day visit with plans to get lost in translation. Somehow, someway I will on get there- know that! If you recommend places to see please let me know.

I plan on visiting Kyoto and Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, maybe some of the animation studios like Gainax or Gonzo and if luck should have it even meet some of the greats like Director Hideaki Anno or Character Designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. Legend has it some of the greatest animators have died doing what they love right in those very studios. Who doesn't respect that kind of passion? If I'm lucky perhaps I'll be saddled with a beautiful kawaii-type tour guide to show me around. Japan is calling my friends. "Fucking weird" or not, I hope to find out and someday let you know just how wonderfully weird it was.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lost In Space S1 Ep10: The Sky Is Falling

Pre-1970s FAB wear of the alien variety. There's something very groovy about those aliens. I'm digging those chains and the sweatband. The vintage sci-fi ray gun is nifty too.

Yikes! A terrifying Papier-mache beast on wheels! Run for your life!

Narrator, Dick Tufeld [the voice of Robot], is always splendid. The pseudo-serialized nature of Lost In Space continues where our story left off at the end of Season One, Episode 9, The Oasis, as a mechanical mouse-like robot probes Dr. Zachary Smith with its plastic arm. It's a rather small oddity, but its unassuming lack of ferocity is also unsettling complete with a strange accompanying sound effect. Fortunately, it is not an anal probe and Smith escapes and runs back to the Jupiter II. Overall, as Penny Robinson puts it, it doesn't look scary, but those sound effects complementing its persistence are quite unnerving. The mechanical monster rolls up the ramp of the Jupiter II dematerializing and rematerializing inside the Jupiter II. All are quite frightened.
And we're afraid of this why? Maybe because it can teleport with those spiky balls in tow and rolls along to a weird Lost In Space soundtrack.
Here we are with Lost In Space, Season One, Episode 10, The Sky Is Falling. It is indeed a most bizarre, little, rolling robot. The robot ceases to be active and Professor Robinson takes it to the lab for study. You'd think one might be alarmed having it on board there only home away from home.
Professor John Robinson explains the science behind the science fiction. The machine implemented "matter transfer" to get inside the ship. Smith recommends destroying the "monstrous thing at once" and bickering ensues between Smith and Major Don West. As always Professor Robinson must intervene between the two like a father between bickering children. The family leaves the lab and the device reactivates.
Now you see that yummy chocolate cake - and now you don't!
The family gathers for food supplied by the hydroponic garden. Maureen Robinson figures the thing "resembles a large bug." The family is about to carve up some chocolate cake when it suddenly disappears. Smith calls the creature a "cruel adversary," as only Harris can deliver. He was really looking forward to that chocolate cake and now it's gone. The family seems slightly unphased. You might think they would jump up and get that device off the ship before it disappears Will or Penny.
Dang! Fiendish alien cake snatcher! Milk and no chocolate cake! Crumb crunchers!
For the kids at home, we are treated to John and Don adventuring outside of base camp with their snazzy looking ray guns. Very cool. They simply don't make ray guns like those anymore. John tells Don "it's obvious we're going to have visitors" so they are attempting to figure out where they might land. Now, how exactly on Earth, or at least on this planet, would they ascertain or even deduce visitors will be coming. What evidence would suggest that is going to happen? I mean it defies logic. How would you come to such a conclusion based upon the simple existence of a strange robot or as Will likes to call them - robutt? Why couldn't the lifeform that created the robot already be on the planet as an example? Of course, it wouldn't lead to Robinson family fun and discovery or the guest [or monster] of the week.
Meanwhile, on Will's travels a spaceship appears with a man bedecked like a 1960s radical. The alien is played by Actor Don Matheson [Irwin Allen's Land Of The Giants]. My son wonders why the heck Will Robinson isn't running in fear. I explain that's simply not Will Robinson. The boy is damn near fearless. Will makes every effort to communicate with the alien, but with no success. Finally, Will turns tail and runs to his father. His Dad tells him from now on "stop, think and consult me." Yes, good idea. You should never talk to strangers especially on a planet far away with the possibility of aliens having extraordinary powers and the chance for alien abduction quite high. Will casually tells his Dad there's "a kinda man there and some scientific equipment." So cute. So funny. It does stand to reason the "kinda man" may not actually be a man so Will is accurate to call the man a "kinda man." At the site, John deduces the artefact is some kind of "matter transfer device." How exactly would you know that? Of course that would account for the beam of light that Will described he saw. The device is a "regenerator that reassembles the molecular structure." Everyone is curious if the "kinda man" is a friend or an enemy. We deal in black and white on the black and white Lost In Space for the kids at home. I actually enjoy analyzing things in black and white from time to time. It makes it easier on my simple, male mind. It's a lost joy really, everything is grey now. Issues or events are often ambiguous, free of distinction, free of accountability where right and wrong is an optional application enabled by excuses depending on one's perspective. It's really quite unfortunate, but this is the world we've created and our kids will inherit. Employing standards is still important to this particular Sci-Fi Fanatic.
Greetings! I am sweat band man. Give me your hand in peace.
Smith asks Robot about the new visitors. Robot calls them "warm-blooded mammalians." Apparently the Robot has the capability of planet-scanning to determine how many visitors have arrived. That Robot is powerful when needed. John recommends, understandably, that they kill them with kindness. Smith begins formulating a plan to work with the alien arrivals complete with his own agenda. "One hand washing the other" says the Robot. Smith sends along the "mechanical crustacean" in the hopes of reaching out to their elusive visitors. The little robot mouse, clearly a kind of surface probe, leads Smith to the newcomers. They have set up their own impressive camp site with their own unique technology. There is a "kinda man" and a "kinda" woman there. Smith offers his services to the mute. The mute alien wants his gun, but Smith will not relinquish it so the alien's babe wife brings over her alien husband's gun. Smith runs off like a leetle girl. You know, there's not much that makes these aliens different, but credit to the writers for going with a kind of Twilight Zone approach. The fact the aliens don't speak a word makes them strange enough.
This is the first official Lost In Space hot babe sighting! She's hot, fashionable and she doesn't speak a lick. This is my kind of alien babe! The kinda woman is played by Francoise Ruggieri, a former Miss Golden Globe [1969], for which she would not receive until after this episode.
Elsewhere, Will encounters an alien "kinda" boy. Back at camp the family engages for dinner outside the Jupiter II. No choclate cake. Smith returns to inform the family he has just visited the camp site of the enemy. Now, darkness has fallen and when Smith visited that site it was broad daylight. So either that camp site is very, very far away or we have your occasional Lost In Space continuity issue that tends to crop up from time to time on these always loveable, charming and simple Lost In Space journeys. Smith is suspicious many of their kind or kinda will arrive soon. Will doesn't understand because he had a sense that the boy he met liked him. Now, the boy never said a word and stared at him and ran away, but apparently that was enough positive reinforcement for Will. Those crazy kids.
Great exchange alert:
Don: "Smith, have you ever in your life had a good thought?"
Smith: "Only a fool closes his eyes to the truth."

Rest assured you are safe with me young Sweat Band Boy.
The next day Will encounters the alien child again. Sweat Band Boy is like the spitting image of his father. They play a game of alien space ball. Will sneezes his human germs and the boy faints in his arms. Ah, the old human-germs-affecting-the-aliens story. I always enjoy these tales and Lost In Space had to be one of the earliest. So Will's Operation Save Sweat Band Boy goes into full effect as he whisks him to a nearby cave to rest. Meanwhile, the Robinson family worries about Will, while the alien family remain silent on the issue and worry about their alien child in their own quiet way.
Out in the dark terrain of the planet Will cares for the sickened boy. The men from each family head out to search for their lost boys with ray guns in hand. The lesson here being no matter our differences we do have much in common no matter where we come from. Smith plans to destroy the alien family. The slippery, deceptive tongue of Smith goes into full effect as he plants the seeds of deceipt into the minds of Maureen and Judy Robinson. The possibility of Will's capture by the strange, alien family may be in play.
These angry Don moments are always worth the price of admission.

The camera work was often interesting on Lost In Space.
Smith plants the seeds of fear where the Robinsons would prefer to find some good. There is a constant struggle between Smith and The Robinsons throughout the Lost In Space series. With nightfall upon them, both families postpone their searches.

Penny goes to her mother suspicious of the aliens thanks to Smith infecting her mind with his verbal poison. Penny and Judy are concerned and believe Smith may be right. Maureen suggests visiting the alien camp site. John worries about making the wrong move with all this "alien world, alien people, alien morality" stuff. Perhaps they have no morals, but this is a family show and the appearance of an alien family unit does not appear to be a red herring here. So, everyone stews about whether to go to the alien encampent or not. Bloody heck, what is the hold up!? Your kid is missing! Get going! We get a nice little nugget of wisdom from John. "It seems that youngsters from everywhere can get along, it's the adults that are always at each other's throats." Simple truth. Quite sad really. John and Don plan to visit the strange alien peoples at dawn.
In the morning, John and Don wake Smith to join them on their journey. Smith protests as best he can, but loses. We get a brief Judy and Don arm touch moment. She wants to express her feelings for him, but pulls back. We can't have that in a family show now.

At the site, the men square off. Don West really is a bad ass. John attempts to communicate with his alien counterpart. He drops his weapons to gain his trust. Nevertheless, Don and Smith are waiting in the wings with their groovy ray guns. The alien man's wife is doing the same. It's like a Mexican standoff. Smith is a bit edgy with an itchy trigger finger. He fires on the man's wife, because he's simply becoming the idiot over the sabateur. Regarding the wonderful guns that populate the entry, Lost In Space: The Ultimate Unauthorized Trivia Challenge For The Classic TV Series had this to say about their origins.
"The first season laser pistol was not an original design, but was based instead on a toy made by REMCO called the "Okinawa Gun." Initially manufactured in the early to mid-1960s, the gun... lossely copied the Mattel G.I. Joe series."
Don, looking very Quick Draw McGraw western here.
Fortunately the lost boys arrive in a nick of time to save these stupid adults from themselves. John gets the sickly alien boy. Don worries about the alien family's perception of the act. John extends his hand to the strange boy complete with funky neck medallion. The boy trusts in him and John carries him back to camp. He places him gently before the alien folk. They hug and love like us. The wife points at John to be shot by her husband. Will runs to protect his father, but is thrown to the side. Miraculously alien boy seems to be just fine and greets Earth boy Will. Men are pleased and peace is restored between them. Suddenly a beam of light appears and the aliens disappear. John tells Will his germs contaminated the air. Will says something about the antibiotics helping the boy. What antibiotics? We never saw antibiotics administered. Did we? Perhaps Will had the drugs on his person while in the cave.
So the adventure comes to a bit of a fishizzle. I wouldn't call The Sky Is Falling the strongest entry, but my bar is so high sometimes I feel I'm not viewing it fairly. Like any episode of Lost In Space it certainly has its charms. The camera work and direction is truly terrific, but the script is a little soft. Still, it's a fantastic looking episode.
Epilogue: "Never fear, Smith is here!" This is the first time we hear those official, words from the mouth of the cowardly Smith. Smith's calling card officially rears its ugly head in this tenth installment. Smith is asked to help on the Chariot and he causes more harm than good. The fuel pack is now leaking thanks to Smith throwing it on the ground. Don has to grab it for another explosive cliffhanger. Lost In Space loves its cliffhangers. For all the baited breath the scene generally results in our heroes getting off the dirt ground and dusting themselves off in the next entry, but heck ,in the interrim between episodes, we surely worried about these characters as kids.
To Be Continued... Same Time, Same Blog!
The Sky Is Falling: C+
Director: Sobey Martin
Writer: Barney Slater/ Herman Groves.
Director Footnote: Sobey Martin [1909-1978]. This would be the second of thirteen [13] Lost In Space installments he directed. This comes on the heels of the absolutely classic The Hungry Sea. He is best known for his work on Irwin Allen's The Time Tunnel, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and Land Of The Giants.