Friday, April 3, 2015

Forgotten TV: Swiss Family Robinson (1975)

In 1965, Irwin Allen adapted Johann Wyss' classic tale, Swiss Family Robinson, into the futuristic adventure series, Lost In Space, which lasted three seasons. After reinventing himself as the master of disaster movies (i.e. "The Poseidon Adventure"), Allen returned to television in 1975, and brought the Wyss tale to life again, this time, a more faithful adaptation of the novel.

Swiss Family Robinson was the 2nd series in as many seasons to adapt the novel, the first having been a half-hour Canadian show that was, for all intents & purposes, forced out of production when word got out of Allen's project. It was the 3rd Allen series to air on Sundays on ABC (after Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants), so the expectation was that Allen, who managed a grand total of 6 seasons with his 2 previous Sunday efforts, might strike gold again.

Martin Milner, fresh from Adam-12, and Cameron Mitchell (ex-The High Chaparral) were the two primary stars, but two of the younger talents turned out to become big stars themselves. Willie Aames returned a couple of years later with Eight is Enough. He would follow that up by co-starring with Scott Baio (ex-Happy Days) in the movie "Zapped" and the sitcom Charles in Charge in the 80's. Helen Hunt went on to bigger TV success in the 90's with Mad About You. She also scored a feature film hit with "Twister".

ABC would continue to have trouble leading into their Sunday movie, especially in the 7 pm (ET) slot, which was filled by Bill Cosby and the Brady Bunch the next two seasons.

There will be no rating, as I never saw the show. Here's the intro:


magicdog said...

I remember this one briefly but it's unfair it didn't make it. It seemed to have win written all over it - from concept to cast to night (BB was on its last legs in '75 and Sundays were often ideal for family programming back then).

hobbyfan said...

I think part of the problem might have been the fact that Lost In Space was airing in syndication at the time, and since that was loosely based on the same story.....!