About a week ago, Jonathan Harris, better known as Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, one of my favorite shows of childhood, passed away. It actually took a couple of days for the news to break, which is additionally sad. I was numb for about two days after I heard the news. It was like hearing part of my childhood died.
I’ve had a couple of friends say that they thought he was at a DragonCon or two that I attended, but I don’ t know how I would have missed that. I saw Bill Mumy (Will Robinson) and Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson) there two years ago and even got their autographs. I don’t normally seek out autographs but I wanted a chance to speak to them. This was a show that was such a part of my childhood that I used to pretend I was another member of the Robinson crew in childhood makebelieve type games.
As a show, I guess it was uneven, ranging from super-serioius sci fi (for its time) in the first eps to high camp by the time it left the airwaves, but it was a child’s fantasy land and that was all that mattered. Of course, they were afternoon re-runs in my childhood, but I think I felt as strong an attachment as many of the original fans. Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting him, and everyone I’ve ever known who did said he was a genuinely nice man, I will miss Jonathan Harris. The world is less without him.