Lost in Space battled Batman on Family Feud in one of the most charmingly quirky 1980s reunions

Only a celebrity game show tournament could bring Guy Williams back to America.

Image: Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

The Jupiter 2 never found its way home. In 1968, after three seasons, Lost in Space came to an end with the Robinsons still wandering the cosmos. The family encountered a giant talking carrot, visited a scrapyard and — poof! — that was it.

"Junkyard in Space" did not just mark the end of a pioneering sci-fi series. The episode also quietly served as the farewell to a familiar face. It was the last acting credit of Guy Williams, the towering and handsome actor who portrayed patriarch Professor John Robinson. Through both his Hollywood career and the world of finance, Williams had accumulated enough wealth to afford retirement at age 46. Pretty sweet life, if you can get it. So he quit the game.

In the early '70s, the ever-adventurous Williams traveled to Argentina. He discovered the country adored him. Nearly worshipped him. He was a legend down in South America thanks to his starring role in Walt Disney's Zorro television series during the 1950s. So, a few years passed and Williams packed up and moved to Buenos Aires.

Williams settled in the posh Recoleta neighborhood, just up the street from a Cartier store. His one-bedroom apartment sat above a storefront at 1964 Ayacucho. What a coincidental that address was, too, considering that 1964 marked the year that Williams returned to his American TV career after his first international getaway. For years, following Zorro, he worked in European films. But this emigration would prove to be permanent. Williams would pass away in Buenos Aires at the close of the 1980s.

Between the end of Lost in Space and his death in 1989, Williams made just one significant appearance on American television. In 1983, the retired actor packed his gray three-piece suit and rose red ascot into a suitcase and flew 6,000 miles north for a taping of Family Feud. Because who can say no to playing the Feud?

Williams joined four other former castmates to battle in Family Feud's "TV's All-Time Favorites Week." The Lost in Space quintet squared off against stars of Batman, Gilligan's Island and Hawaiian Eye. A fifth 1960s favorite was represented, of course, when you consider that host Richard Dawson rose to fame on Hogan's Heroes.

The first match of the week, Lost in Space vs. Batman, proved to be just as colorful and campy as those two beloved series. Let's start with who was there. The Lost in Space team consisted of captain June Lockhart (Maureen Robinson), Williams, Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson), Bob May (The Robot) and Marta Kristen (Judy Robinson). When Dawson greeted the crew, he delivered his routine kisses to Lockhart, Cartwright and Kristen, also presenting them with bouquets of flowers.

Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

Mays' presence somewhat perplexed the host. "I didn't know a guy was in there," Dawson proclaimed. "I thought it was a real robot!" Lockhart joked, "We finally got him out of that tin can!" May then presented Dawson with an image of the Robot and proceeded to spew lines like "Danger! Danger!" and "Does not compute!" throughout the episode. We should remind you that May was merely the man inside the costume. Dick Tufeld was the performer who dubbed the Robot's voice. 

Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

The Batman team introductions were equally surreal. Adam West sported a sort-of safari suit and aviator sunglasses. Naturally, he was the captain. To his left were Lee Meriwether (Catwoman), Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), Burt Ward (Robin) and the one-and-only Vincent Price (Egghead). Now, as you recall, Meriwether merely portrayed Catwoman in the 1966 big-screen Batman: The Movie. She never played Catwoman on the TV show. Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt had that honor. (However, Meriwether did guest star on the show as Lisa Carson, a Bruce Wayne's girlfriend in a King Tut tale.)

Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

This little nit would normally not be worth picking, except for the fact that everyone pretended that Meriwether was Catwoman on the show. West introduced her as the "woman who attacked me several times on the show." And, again, it was called "TV's All-Time Favorites Week."

All was forgiven when the delightful Vincent Price plucked a lollipop from a candy tree. It was a charity thing. Contestants would pick a lollipop and if a black stem was revealed, a charity would win money. Seeing a master of horror bend over to choose a Tootsie Pop from a potted sugar shrub was sheer delight. 

Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

And thus the game kicked off. The lightning-quick Lockhart beat West on the buzzer. In fact, most of the Lost in Space crew was quicker on the buzzer than their superhero (and villain) adversaries. When Williams and Meriwether came to the podium, the two plopped their elbows down on the felt and began to arm wrestled — and then leaned across their microphones and kissed on the lips.

Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

Despite some truly bizarre answers (Survey: Name something a guy keeps at a girl's apartment. Batman: "Vitamin pills."), the Batman squad won. In the bonus round, Robin performed so-so, but Adam West proved to be a true Batman as he crushed the answered with laser focus. 

Mark Goodson Productions / Freemantle

"Subway… soda… car… hollandaise… knife," he spat out without hesitation in 14 seconds flat. Boom. 237 points. The World Vision humanitarian organization collected a check.

Williams returned to his encyclopedia collection, computer and rocking chair in Argentina. Professor John Robinson, at last, had come home.

Watch Lost in Space on MeTV!

Saturdays at 1 AM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Post a comment
TinaMarieHaddadRhodes 12 months ago
I loved Lost in space but I can see why Guy Williams was not happy after the first season. Just wish he would of stayed in acting a few more years. I think Guy williams would of made a great detective on tv...
"Would have" not "would of."
pumkinheadfan 12 months ago
I watched most of that week thanks to Youtube! I'm surprised no other articles came out of that week on here. You had team Gilligan's Island with Jim Backus who was pretty much seated the whole time and besides voicing a couple characters for WB he didn't much after this taping (he passed in '89). Alan Hale Jr. who's last role of note was the ALF Gulligan's Island mini-reunion episode in '87(he passed in '90). Natalie Schafer who's last role was playing the Grandmother in the 1990 TV movie "I'm Dangerous Tonight directed by Tobe Hooper (TCM) and had Anthony Perkins in a minor role(this would be one of the last few films he did before his death in '92). With Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells rounding that team out. The last of the 4 teams from that week was Team Hawaii Eye which kinda was the odd man out. I think if they had done a week with 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside 6 and Bourbon Street Beat that could've been more even. I think a cast like The Monkees, The Munsters or Get Smart would've kinda worked better. Just saying.
Mac2Nite 12 months ago
Loved Guy Williams since I was 5 years old and Zorro premiered on ABC back in 1957. I remember these Family Feud episodes [I never missed anything Guy was in]. As I recall Guy came back to the US to talk to ABC about possibly taking the Diego Sr role in the new series being proposed ["Zorro and Son"]. That was the reason he came back to the States. He was interviewed on Good Morning America at that time and said he turned down the role as being too much of a joke [he'd already seen what happened with Lost In Space when it was made into more of a joke than actual SciFi]. Henry Darrow was signed to play the Dad instead and the series didn't even last a season. Guy knew what was best, and Zorro and Son was not worth coming out of retirement for. June Lockhart talked him into doing The Feud while he was here, but it was not the primary reason he was back in the US... it was because of "Zorro and Son". ;-)
AaronHandyIII 12 months ago
Same as they did Wednesday nights on CBS and ABC, respectively, back in the 1960s. πŸ™‚
cperrynaples 12 months ago
I checked out the link to Guy's apartment and it's not bad! However, I question using the word "Computer" for the link. No computer was seen, and since these photos proably came from the '80's, any home computer would be something like the Comadore 64, not exactly cutting-edge even then!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?