‘Lost in Space’ stars Angela Cartwright and Bill Mumi release a book about the series
Angela Cartwright and Bill Mumi have reunited for a very special reason.
The former cast of the ’60s science-fiction series “Lost in Space” have teamed up to release a new book for fans titled “Lost (and Found) in Space 2: Exploded in Extended Edition.”
The illustrated memoir, which commemorates the 55th anniversary of the start of the show’s second season, features over 925 photographs, including more than 600 newly found images. All photos were hand-picked by the TV siblings and many of them come from their collections.
Mumi, 67, and Cartwright, 69, spoke to Granthshala News about working together again, rising to the limelight, and their favorite memories from set.
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Granthshala News: What inspired you two to release this book now?
Bill Mumi: We have collaborated on quite a few projects over half a century and we have close ties… it seemed like a natural time. A lot has happened in the six, seven years with regards to “Lost in Space” with the new Netflix series.
Both of us were fortunate enough to be a part of such a show. And to be honest, the pandemic kept us locked in our homes so we needed a good project to work on. We wanted to help others and make people happy during this time.
Granthshala News: Looking back, what do you think was the secret behind the enduring success of the show?
Angela Cartwright: I think it was a very interesting time in history. It was the psychedelic ’60s. When we started the series, The Beatles were at the top of the charts with “I Feel Fine.” And when we finished the series, they were recording “Helter Skelter.”
And the show never stopped airing all over the world. It has been in nonstop syndication since 1965. That’s why a lot of people still go and watch it. I get letters all the time about how they grew up watching the series and are now sharing it with their families. I think it brings back a little bit of innocence from our childhood. There is not much on TV today that you can sit and watch with the whole family.
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Granthshala News: Bill, what was your initial impression of Angela when you first met her on set?
Mother: Before I started filming “Lost in Space” I was a fairly seasoned professional. I started working at the age of 5 and I was 11 when we started shooting for the film. And I’ve always had a crush on my female co-stars, like Shirley Jones, Connie Stevens, Bridget Bardot, Elizabeth Montgomery, and Barbara Eden. They were all beautiful blondes. But I have to admit, when I first saw Angela, she was mighty *laughs*… and I got caught. I’m taller than that now, so it all worked out.
Granthshala News: What about you Angela, what was it like working with Bill? You were also a child actress at that time.
Cartwright: Oh that was great. I just finished “Sounds of Music”. I was working with other kids, who I really liked. And in “Sound of Music” it felt like a family. That’s why I loved Bill’s energy. And we both just hit it. We were very adventurous together and we had a great time filming the show. I mean, what more could one ask for than getting up every morning and doing what you love for life?
Mother: One of the things you’re alluding to is the fact that we started dating each other [long] after the series ended. And that was a good period in our history. We are friends for a long time. many years.
Granthshala News: What is your favorite memory of your time on set?
Mother: Every day after lunch, the great Jonathan Harris, who played Dr. Zachary Smith, would hand out Tootsie Pops to the entire crew to keep his energy going, to give us a little sugar perk, and every day. Will cast It was something I always waited for. We had such good chemistry with the actors.
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Bobby May, who was locked inside that claustrophobic robot, was very excited. We had a lot of fun together. I have nothing but great memories and feelings for the years working on the series. Years later, we still have a wonderful relationship. We are still one big dysfunctional family. We are always in touch apart from attending the conferences in person. Our numbers may have gone down a bit, but we are still very much connected as a family. We still communicate with June Lockhart, who is 96 years old.
And I love June Lockhart. He is definitely a wonderful human being. She was such an incredible wordsmith. She loved “Password” and she was also a guest on that show. She is a very smart woman. She was so curious all the time. She loved opera, the space program and rock ‘n’ roll. While they were in the group Hour Glass, she brought the Allman Brothers into the studio. She took me and Angela to the whiskey-a-go-go. He gave us tickets to see Simon & Garfunkel. June is truly a rock ‘n’ roll gal.
Granthshala News: What led to the end of “Lost in Space”?
Mother: This is an interesting historical debate. No one was closed. There were no goodbyes. After the third season we were all verbally told that we would be back for the fourth season. In those days a season was about 30 episodes. So there was no wrap party. We just said, “See you in six weeks” and went our way. There are many different theories about this, but ultimately the network wanted [TV producer] Irwin Allen did a slew of treatments for the fourth season and he didn’t get around to it.
There were some budget misunderstandings and it just got lost in space. It went to the corn field. We got a call around April 1968 that after working together for more than three years, we would no longer work together. Angela and I went to school together for another year and of course, we stayed close. But we didn’t see everyone else in the cast on a regular basis for long. fortunately, we [later] Pre-pandemic, reunion and revolving a couple of times a year.
Granthshala News: Angela, was it difficult growing up in front of the camera?
Cartwright: No, I guess it was easy because there was no social media at the time… there was no pressure to be a certain way. It was very different. There was a kind of innocence in it. I started at age 3 and continued working into my teen and young adult years. I leaned a little because I wanted to be a mother. It was never pulled. This was not a competition. Now everyone wants to be in showbiz, even if he has not studied acting. It’s a completely different scene these days.
Granthshala News: So was it easy to be a child star in those days?
Mother: I don’t think it is true. I am not saying anything negative about my experiences because I really enjoyed doing what I did. But whether it is 1965 or 2021, he is still a minor who has to go to work for nine or nine and a half hours. A minor is required to receive at least three hours of schooling and have lunch within that time. Then you have to deliver your dialogue by remembering it in advance. I don’t think it’s much different now.
Granthshala News: It has been said that the series inspired some fans to pursue a career at NASA.
Cartwright: Absolutely. Bill and I were invited to watch the liftoff of Discovery, which was an amazing experience… So many technicians told us how much they loved “Lost in Space” and what it took to get them into the space program. How inspired? Which we hear over and over again. And I think that’s part of the success of the show.
Granthshala News: What do you think of the new revival of Netflix?
Mother: I think it’s great. This is very in line with the original tone of “Lost in Space”. If you look at the first half of the first season, it was a pretty dark, science fiction story. But the network CBS aired the show during family time, so they started getting a lot of letters from parents saying it was too scary for young children.
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So “Lost in Space” started changing its tone somewhere in the middle of Season 1. And the new Netflix series is in line with the original vision. I got to play the original Dr. Smith on the Netflix series and Angela plays Parker Posey’s mother… It was exciting for us to be a part of it and revisit the story.
Granthshala News: What do you hope readers will get from the book?
Cartwright: Have a good time, some good memories… I hope this puts people in a happier place and I hope it will satisfy the hardcore fans of “Lost in Space” seeing new pictures and hearing new stories.
Mother: … I think we did a great job of sharing our experiences with what it was like filming the show. I think it’s an interesting little pocket view at a show that has made people happy for over 50 years.