16 January 2002 | Victor Field
Do not miss this tribute to the master showman, Will Robinson.
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"... "The Time Tunnel"... "Lost in Space"... "Land of the Giants"... "The Towering Inferno"... "The Night the Bridge Fell Down"... okay, we'll skip that last one.
This documentary look at the career of master showman/producer Irwin Allen, hosted by Will Robinson and his mum (er, I mean Billy Mumy and June Lockhart) and the robot from "Lost in Space," like "The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson," is that rare thing - a tribute that really IS a tribute, a celebration rather than an epitaph.
Whatever you might think of Allen's shows, you can't deny that he had a gift for giving big, splashy productions that had big goals (even if the results were sometimes not so big - cough "City Beneath The Sea" cough). This covers his career from his early days through his TV hits of the '60s to his '70s tenure as the Master of Disaster... it's all here.
"The Fantasy Worlds Of Irwin Allen" is a must for fans, with many of the stars of his shows featured and clips (and outtakes) galore; both informative and entertaining, it's ironic that Allen's best ever TV show doesn't actually contain the words "Created and Produced by Irwin Allen." But he does deserve this movie; his stuff may not have been of Rod Serling standards, but a lot of it holds up as good entertainment (which was how it was designed in the first place), and even today "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno" can grip - I certainly think the latter's a lot more thrilling than "Backdraft," for all the latter's many virtues.
Would that the "Lost in Space" movie had been as good.