18 December, 2009

“Firefly,” WN Sci-Fi: reviewed by Stephen Clark

Posted by alex in reviews, tv, tv analysis, tv shows at 8:51 pm | Permanent Link

“FIREFLY,”  WN Sci-Fi

reviewed by Stephen Clark

‘Take my love/take my land/ take me where I cannot stand/
Burn the land/ boil the sea/ you cannot take the sky from me.’

This was the opening theme to FIREFLY, a boot camp/cowboy song with fiddles and guitars instead of electronic music. In 2002, FIREFLY was a sci-fi show that led a brief but exciting life, not even completing a full season. Centering around the adventures of Mal, a former soldier in a failed rebellion against the Alliance of inner planets, he and his crew on the SERENITY, a FIREFLY class of of obsolete ship, tried to make a living in the outer planets, which looks like the American west, with horses, six-shooters, and a code of survival that is more John Wayne than Captain Kirk.  FIREFLY only lasted for  fifteen episodes, three of them never aired. Its creator, Josh Whedon, had a good TV track record with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and other shows. Why did it fail? Fans blamed the lack of showing the pilot first, of network TV’s dislike of sci-fi, but I think it had too many WN elements in it to get a chance.

In FIREFLY’s world, there are no bug-eyed monsters or wise Spocks. It is a world made of Earth-like colonies called the inner and outer planets. The outer planets look like the American west, both in landscape and populace. People ride horses. use shooting irons. Speak like good old boys. They also once fought a war against the Alliance and lost, so it feels like the western fringes of the Confederacy. Mal and Zoe, his second in command, ride the Serenity, a Firefly ship named after the last great battle of the war, a kind of Gettysburg for the rebels. Mal, still wearing bits of his brown rebel uniform which is a cross between GI and Johnny Reb, is on the edge of the law and there is still an uneasy sense the war wasn’t settled.

The Serenity picked up four passengers. One is Book, a ‘Shepard’ from a monastery. The second is Inara, a ‘companion’, a sort of geisha who makes rounds to her clients. She is Miss Kitty to Mal’s Marshal, and they have fireworks between them. She is cultured, Mal isn’t. She supported the Alliance because unity is a good thing. Inara also is attracted to Mal’s feral masculinity, although she doesn’t like to admit it.

The most problematic passengers are Simon Tam and River, his sister. They are Alliance people who got mugged. River was rescued from the labs of the Alliance, where her mind was being adapted for their purposes. There is a hefty reward for her.

Firefly’s dialogue sounded western/good-old-boy. As Jayne, one of the crew explains the chain of command:  ‘It’s the rutting chain I beat you with until you understand who’s in command here.’   Or Mal to a robber:  ‘You best seek opportunity elsewhere, or my iron will make an end to you.’  Or Kaylee, Mal’s cocky and earthy female mechanic:  ‘I ain’t had nothing betwixt my nethers weren’t run on a battery in it for as long as I can tell.’ There is an unapologetic view of life from the redneck angle, and it’s clear the outer planets have a freedom and vibrancy not yet totally put down by the Alliance, which comes across as a corporate, PC world.

Whedon emphasized he got the idea for FIREFLY both from the old west, the Civil War, and Jewish resistance groups in WWII. I doubt the last. If anything, the language, style, and Mal’s feral masculinity remind me of the movie RIDE WITH THE DEVIL and its guerilla fighter Pitt Mackeson. Alex Linder’s wonderful review of this (Feb. 04) recalls when Mackeson is warned not to go to his hometown, now a yankee bastion:

“They’ll kill you sure.” Mackeson laughs. “What a horrible fate. Oh, what a horrible fate.”

Compare this when Mal is warned if he takes on the Alliance, he’ll die.

“Oh, terrible shame.”

Language is also unique when spoken by River. She moves, catlike throughout  Serenity, having flashes of what the future brings, but still an enigmatic logician. When Book discovers her cutting long passages out of his Bible, he asks why. “Because it’s broken,” River says, still snipping,  “it’s full of illogical sections and irrational explanations.  I’m mending it.” I thought this alone should have gotten it a second season.

But FIREFLY was subversive. Where shows like STAR TREK always show its Federation uniting worlds and bringing peoples together,  FIREFLY’S Alliance is creepy, and the folk in the outer planets just want to be left alone. One enemy of Mal from the inner planets was Vasik, a gangster with a Jewish accent and appearance. He wants Mal to rob a shipment of drugs that can be sold on the black market.  “Dis is our doink business, Mal,” Vasik cheerfully warns.  Mal does the heist, changes his mind when he finds a planet in need of medicine to fight sickness caused by hazardous wastes. He returns the money he took to Vasik, but no good. Mal must be taught a lesson. “Chew must obey, Mal.”

There is Jubal Early, a black bounty hunter who is after River. He captures the crew one by one, and threatens Kaylee with rape if she tries to escape, and meaning it. Wow. A black man threatening to rape a white woman. When does Televitz ever show THAT?

There were too many cases of FIREFLY being un PC, and I’m sure someone in the network looked at Vasik and Jubal and decided this had to go. Plus all of those good old boys gettin’ on with life.  In TV, a southern accent is verboten unless it’s evil, or stupid (like the series MY NAME IS EARL…whose ex-wife married a black…let’s rub it in, huh?).  Likewise, westerns are simply dropped now. Too American. Nonurban.

SERENITY was a movie that fans demanded after the series was cancelled, and cleared up some loose ends. Mal is still on the semi-run, and when he pulls off a hold-up, Reivers appear…a kind of space Apache, savage cannibals who come out of nowhere.

At a colonial bar, River sees a TV commercial. She mutters ‘Miranda’, and attacks everyone in the bar, killing and maiming until Simon gives a code word that knocks her out.  Mal deduces that the commercial is a subliminal message. It implies that while we may watch TV, TV is also watching us and sends out signals to trigger a response.

This was preceded by an earlier flashback where River is a child in an Alliance school. Everyone is multicultural, dressed semi-oriental  (in the series, Chinese culture seems predominant; everyone swears in Chinese), in a lush park the black teacher extolls the virtues of the Alliance, and can’t understand why the outer planets resist. “Because we meddle,” River replies,  “we try to change their minds. We shouldn’t meddle.”  Flash forward to River being tortured and programmed.

Mal visits Mr. Universe, a webmaster, who is logged into everywhere, a wise-cracking Jew with his Lovbot, a blonde robot (his wedding shows him stomping on the wine glass…Mazoltov!…while the Lovbot is propped against the wall…the ultimate Schiksa.) As Mr. Universe says, ‘there is no news…there is the truth of the signal.’ A nice comment on media culture.

They find that there was a planet called Miranda, now erased from memory, and it was a colony. Mal goes to it, passing Reivers who circle the planet. There, he discovers dead bodies everywhere. The colonists didn’t die violently. They simply willed themselves into death, refusing to survive.  Mal discovers that Miranda was used for drug experimentation and mind control.  It went wrong. One part of reaction made colonists simply give up and die. The other part made colonists into Reivers. Mind control is a well-known sci-fi theme, even going beyond that. In Charles Brockden Brown’s novel ORMOND (1800), he describes Ormond, member of the Illuminati who comes to A young
America:

‘Ormond aspired to nothing more ardently than to
hold the reins of opinion,-to exercise absolute power
over the conduct of others…in a way of which his
subjects should be scarcely conscious. He desired
that his guidance should control their steps, but
that his agency, when most effectual, should be
least suspected.’

A very prescient view of media culture and who controls it, and is a familiar theme from H.G. Well’s THE TIME MACHINE and its Morlocks and Eloi to the WIZARD OF OZ. I also think Whedon borrowed from the movie FORBIDDEN PLANET, a retelling of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST, where the Id is made into invisible monsters that tear men to pieces. It’s interesting that on Miranda, the section where the revealing disc is found is called C-57-D…the name of the cruiser in the film.

Mal fights to get this information to the planets. “I mean to confound these buggers,” he says of the Alliance,  “They think that they can make people better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running away. I am to misbehave.”

Again, another reminder of RIDE WITH THE DEVIL. When Mal does this, the assassin sent to kill him and collect River sees the disc and refuses to hunt them any longer. He tells Mal the Alliance was damaged by this information,but the fight will obviously continue.

I think FIREFLY’s subversiveness made it a classic.  I was surprised Maltin’s movie review book called it ‘a watered-down STAR WARS”, since STAR WARS is to me the ultimate brain-dead movie. For a WN, FIREFLY offers suggestions of our cause and a racial and national struggle. More especially in the down-to-earth, southern nature of the crew and the outer planets. Certainly the mind control efforts of the Alliance reminded me of RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, where A southerner tells the Missouri guerillas the point of the yankee’s schooling:

“…They rounded up every pup-pup into that schoolhouse because they fancied that everyone should think and talk the same freethinking way they do, with no regard to station, custom, or propriety.”

As for as pop entertainment, you can do worse than FIREFLY.


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  7. 25 Responses to ““Firefly,” WN Sci-Fi: reviewed by Stephen Clark”

    1. Stan Sikorski Says:

      A great review. As White people, we should never discount science fiction writings for clues to enable our fight. Many times, the true White authors of t past have already warned us and at times show us the way solving certain problems or just dealing with certain mindseys of our enemies and potential allies.

    2. Nordlander Says:

      Well written, Stephen. I also thought Firefly vastly different from most of what you see on TV. Compare it with Star Trek and Star Wars, where the solution is always a liberal, multi-cultural UN controlling all – the Jews have worked hard to rewrite science fiction into a formula where independence is evil, and the superstate is good, often defeating the racist superstate that preceded it. No place is given to that other formula, more natural to Whites, where you seek a space to develop on your own – develop your own character and build your own fortune. The only freedom and development allowed in the PC formula is degeneracy. No place is given to the story of a White man living his life. The story that White boys need to see and learn from.

    3. Irma Grese Says:

      Well, I hate science fiction, so I think I’ll just stay with REAL science and with history. To each their own.

    4. Diamed Says:

      Firefly is the greatest American tv show ever made. I cannot say enough in its praise. It was perfect.

    5. Andrei's ghost Says:

      THE INFILTRATORS (2009)

      “THE INFILTRATORS, alien beings expelled from a purposely devastated and now dying solar system. Their destination: the EARTH. Their purpose: to make it THEIR WORLD. Dr Arnold Spencer Leese has seen them, has smelled them. For him, it began on one rainy-late- Saturday-hot-summer afternoon, treating one of the zoo’s animals needing medical attention. It began with an attempted INFILTRATOR abduction of a 5 year old boy at the zoo. It began with the self defense killing, the spontaneous combustion and then the remains of a pile of radioactive jackass dung of the INFILTRATOR-would-be abductor in front of Dr Leese’s very own eyes. Now Dr Leese knows that THE INFILTRATORS are here, that they have taken a human mimicry form. Somehow he must convince a disbelieving world that the nightmare has already begun”.

      Review by Andrei Yustschinsky, Film Critic (1-4-2009)…. THE INFILTRATORS (2009)
      As a big fan of sci-fi flicks, last night i had the pleasure of viewing “THE INFILTRATORS” private screen showing of a very well known movie actor-director-friend’s (at his 53rd birthday party in January) house in California. My friend of whom i will not name, happens to be a pre-Vatican Two Catholic, and he took the pleasure directing and playing the part of Dr Arnold Spencer Leese, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). The character Dr Arnold Spencer Leese happens to be the great-grandson of another DVM and that is the late Dr Arnold Spencer Leese, who was a well-known animal-camel veterinarian and political activist in the UK over 70 years ago. Well anyway, the film was shot in “spooky” black & white (like Plan 9 From Outer Space & Schindler’s List) to give the film viewers a sinister view of “most but not all” extraterrestrials. Dr Leese has been the veterinarian director at the Blackpool Zoo at East Park Drive in Blackpool, Lancashire FY3 8PP (UK) for over 19 years. A well loved and respected man, Dr Leese was recently widowed and has 3 grown children of two of whom are veterinarians. Anyway the story begins with Dr Leese taking a rest-break while treating an injured zebra which was injured by some over-sexed African newcomer (kicked to death by the zebra) to the UK, forcing anal penetration on the poor zebra. While having a tea break, Dr Leese hears a commotion near-by and out of curiosity he checks it out. What he sees is a male of about 40 years of age attempting to (what looked like) the taking by force a small boy of about 5 or 6 years old. Dr Leese quickly comes to the little boy’s defense and there is confrontation struggle, the stranger produces what looks like a long glowing ice pick and during the struggle, the stranger is stabbed in the rectal part of the buttox with his own weapon, falls to the ground and then glows to a red-orange, while producing hot white fire and red smoke and then his remains are gone, sort of like spontaneous combustion with the end product being a rather small pile of what looked and smelled like a some kind of dung or shit. The child at least is not physically harmed but will possess psychological scars from the attempted abduction, horrible killing, incineration and the load of scatological evidence of the strange man until the day the boy leaves this world. The authorities make a visit but with no other witnesses, the doctor and the 5 year old don’t have much to go on except for a pile of turds which later turns out to be radioactive jack-ass poop as noted by “Dr” Mordechai Meltzer, a man who has the ability to distinguish blindfolded at least 66 varieties of radioactive and non-radioactive animal and human turds, through what he calls “Blindfolded-Brown-Aroma™”. Bottom line, there will be no investigation by the lymie fuzz! In the months to come, Dr Leese, by way of the internet, comes in contact with some important people who have had similar run-ins with these strange and dangerous beings. I don’t want to give the whole plot away but the film is chock full of good old fashion fist fights, kick boxing, artificial earthquakes, gun battles, explosions, spontaneous combustions, bad odor, space craft, chameleonism, piles of poop, MK-Ultra, you name it, this flick has it all! THE INFILTRATORS reminds me of a 21st century version of a 1940’s Republic movie serial but with a “shitty” twist. As this movie director’s son said to me after viewing the film “awesome dude”. Unlike all other sci-fi films down through the years, THE INFILTRATORS do not attempt to invade, on the other hand they infiltrate and i mean infiltrate the already controlled western mass media, world governments, Christian places of worship and schools. THE INFILTRATORS come from a solar system where they have been expelled from 13 planets and then eventually were “86” from their former entire solar system. So on Earth these extraterrestrial aliens must keep out of the limelight and stay in the background, using traitorous Earth people as their front lackeys. How can you spot these alien beings? These creatures look and act like White European men and women with exceptions and they are: I. Usually extra-large and sometimes pointed ears. II. At least 69% have noses that resemble upside down number 6’s. III. Offensive body order coming from their 2 or 3 body cavities. IV. When the alien smiles, their eyes become squinty, thus mimicking the eyes of Asians. V. An obsession with scat-based-toilet humor. How do you kill these alien beings? With a gun, knife or a good swift kick, you must penetrate and short circuit their main computer remote-panel that controls their thought and motor skills which is located in their buttox, specifically in the area of where humans have their rectal opening. One humorous segment of the film is where Dr Leese and his crew hire a professional kick boxer to kill the aliens by kicking them in the ass. The kick boxer kills about 15 aliens but ruins at least 10 pairs of lead-lined NIKE™ kick boxing shoes as the result of spontaneous combustion-heat and foul smelling radioactive jackass shit…..Personally, i think i would stick with a gun from a distance! How does an alien explain it self after being captured by Earth people? Simple, the alien (he or she) “informs” it’s captors that they came to this planet to bring the people of Earth “signs of hope and change”. The alien also explains that their fellow beings were expelled from “their” planets and solar system because of bigotry, hate and false accusations by the ignorant mass. The extraterrestrial informs his captors that in his own solar system and now on Earth, their only goal was and is to unite all the people of the planet(s), regardless of race, sexual orientation or criminal record, into one global village of peace, brother-sisterhood, disease-free health and absolutely-free economic prosperity for all the contributors and non-contributors. Because of these “good intentions” of these extraterrestrial aliens, the captive tells of how over “one third” of his entire population was “systematically murdered” by the “other folks” in his own solar system and now his beings must set-up shop here on Earth for the “sake of hope and change for all in a beautiful symphony of global harmony”. The hymn singers of the mainstream 501(c)3 churches seem to “buy” this baloney, hook, line and sinker. Dr Leese’s main problem is that nobody will believe his story or his knowledge on these beings and their agenda. Since the aliens have infiltrated the media, they do their best to smear the good name of Dr Leese. In the first half of the movie, Dr Leese is a one man crusader but by the fourth hour (yeah i said 4th hour) of the film he does assemble a team of wealthy intellectuals and brave men and women who are willing to perhaps give their lives, fight these devils from outer space tooth and nail and warn the peoples of the Earth the dire consequences if these extraterrestrials are allowed to continue with their fiendish agenda. Anyway, out of 5, i will rate this 5. My opinion is, this is the greatest sci-fi flick in cinema history…..Bottom line, go see it when it comes out August 10th……Note: The movie cast will not be announced or published until the movie theaters debut-showing on August 10th. With the exception of 41 year old 4’8″ veteran actor Gary Coleman making an announced cameo appearance and playing the part of the first negro U.S. president, you’ll have to check out the actor credits at the end of the film for the big surprise. Incidently, the running time of THE INFILTRATORS is 5 hours, 9 minutes… One last word of warning, THE INFILTRATORS are everywhere, they are your favorite uncle, minister, dentist, crackman, laundry matt maintenance man, favorite rock star, the fag who does wife’s hair, the cab driver who picked you up last Saturday night when you were too drunk to drive, the cop you have coffee with in the morning at the restaurant, the guy you beat up after you caught your little sister giving him a blow-job in the garbage dump, your little sister…….Yes, THE INFILTRATORS are everywhere! ….. A.Y…..1-4-2009

    6. Tom McReen Says:

      ‘the Jews have worked hard to rewrite science fiction into a formula where independence is evil, and the superstate is good, often defeating the racist superstate that preceded it.”

      George Lucas and his ‘storm troopers’. Captian Kirk’s multicultural crew. Boldly go where no man has gone before changed to boldly go where no-one has gone before.

    7. Tom McReen Says:

      ‘Alien’ screenwriter Dan O’Bannon dead at 63

      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BH56S20091218

      LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Hollywood writer Dan O’Bannon, whose script for the hit space thriller “Alien” introduced some of the most terrifying creatures of science-fiction lore to the big screen, has died at age 63.

      O’Bannon, who also co-wrote the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi action film “Total Recall,” died Thursday, the Writers Guild of America confirmed on Friday. Online media reports said he had suffered a brief, undisclosed illness.

      A St. Louis native who grew up on horror films and monster comics like “Tales from the Crypt,” O’Bannon got his start collaborating with director John Carpenter on the screenplay for the 1974 sci-fi cult parody “Dark Star.”

      O’Bannon also co-starred in the low-budget movie about four astronauts on a lengthy mission to clear a path through space by destroying planets that posed a navigation barrier.

      His screenwriting credits also include the 1995 sci-fi thriller “Screamers,” which he worked on for over a decade, and the 1997 horror film “Bleeders.”

      But his best known work was his screenplay for the 1979 space chiller “Alien,” the first of a film series starring Sigourney Weaver as a tough space hero who battles a colony of slimy, parasitic, insect-like creatures with razor-sharp teeth and voracious appetites.

      One of the most horrifying characteristics of the aliens was their penchant for gestating inside the body of a human host before bursting out of the victim’s chest to prey on more people.

      The original film, directed by Ridley Scott, garnered an Oscar for its visual effects. O’Bannon also shared credit in sequels for the characters he created. The first sequel, 1986’s “Aliens,” directed by James Cameron, won Oscars for best visual and best sound effects editing.

      The latest in the franchise, an untitled “Alien” prequel set for 2011, was in production at the time O’Bannon died, according to the Internet Movie Database website (imdb.com).

    8. tc Says:

      http://www.movieshare.org/tv-shows-anime/rs-com-mu-firefly-en-complete/323550/

    9. Tim McGreen Says:

      How can you people get all worked up about some over-written, faux-cool sci-fi series that was on the air for only twelve episodes? I never even heard of “Firefly”. Did it generate any kind of buzz? Are you guys trying to impress each other with your knowlege of obscure TV shows?

    10. sean gruber Says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joss_Whedon

      Seems like a suspicious character to me.

    11. Tim McGreen Says:

      He’s probably a Jew.

    12. Henry Says:

      I agree with Irma: I don’t bother with science fiction. Just dealing with reality is all I can handle.

    13. Dave Says:

      I dont normally watch any TV. When I do its on the internet and usually its a travel or food show. Something non political. I thought I would find Firefly after reading this review,I watched it when i put my son down for a nap.

      Within the first 2 minutes of the start of the show(episode 4) there was an interacial kiss! Then I see this character who is similar to the wise Mr. Spock,but instead of a Jew,He’s a nigger. To top that off,the Black chick is married to a white guy on board!

      I hate movies and TV! But,like all of us there is always an exception out there. Speaking of Alien and It’s director Ridley Scot,have any of you ever seen The Duelist by Ridley Scot. I think it was his first movie,and I believe it was filmed in France. Based on a true story. It is a beautiful movie! The plot rocks and the cinemetography (spelling) is the best. I could watch it for the aesthetics alone!

    14. Nordlander Says:

      “Did it generate any kind of buzz? Are you guys trying to impress each other with your knowlege of obscure TV shows?”

      Why is it obscure do you think, Tim McGreen? Why was it cancelled while much worse shows are given a run of many seasons?

      Interesting, what you are saying in your post. Something that has not been praised by the media and given more space, is not worth talking about? Media judgment determines something’s value? I am surprised to see that kind of sentiment here. Normally, that is exactly the kind of sentiment that we are against.

    15. steven clark Says:

      In regards to Irma: I agree, that actual science is fascinating. I liked the old series COSMOS with Caral Sagan, and any discussions on astronomy. A book I especially enjoy is THE SCIENTISTS by John Gribbin, a study of science from the biographies of scientists from Copernicus onward. Gribbin does well to explain the social contxt of their discoveries, and also how many other scientists led to one man’s ultimate findings. Very readable.

      As for FIREFLY’s interracial aspects, yes, I know that, and at first it turned me off, but I look beyond that to the stories and characters. Also, I assume that in most TV shows, they almost HAVE to have a black…like NA member Billy Roper said, when he was teacher, school officials came in and didn’t care about his lesson plans or student’s progress. “Where are your black heroes on the wall?”, they said.

      Anyway, I assume Zoe and Wash hooked up by accident. i could see him waking up: “Did we just do something earthshaking and life-changing after that third bottle?”

      Also, Zoe and Book were essentially outer planet people, like in RIDE WITH THE DEVIL there was a black with the guerillas (which was based on historical fact). Unlike STAR TREK, where they really emphasized everyone mixing.

      I do watch obscure TV shows (FIREFLY, DEAD LIKE ME, PUSHING DAISIES, etc.,) because the normal ones are bland. Sorry if it offends you, but I watch maybe five hours of TV a week, so I like it to count and not just see the usual doctors-lawyers-cops-American Idol stuff.

    16. Tim McGreen Says:

      I’m not easily offended, sir, believe me. You go right ahead and watch whatever you want. It’s just been my experience that most TV sci-fi series are dorky, that’s all. But I did like watching Lost in Space. Maybe it was because of Judy and Penny Robinson. I wonder if Major West ever schtupped them?

    17. Tim McGreen Says:

      Well, Penny Robinson was just a kid in the first season, but by the end of the series she was starting to look mighty fine.

    18. steven clark Says:

      I used to watch LOST IN SPACE, and really, Dr. Smith made the show. I WANTED to be Dr. Smith. I got tired of the robot. ‘Warning, warning!’, he’d always say, but never TOLD them what the problem was. What kind of robot is that? Also, at the end of the show, everyone was getting tired of the plots.

      One of the actors said in one episode where they were taking on vegetable people, he just couldn’t keep a straight face. And when when you re-watch the episode, you see he just can’t get the smirk off.

      I always liked the episode where Dr. Smith, in order to prepare the ship for an attack, took all the guns apart to inspect them and forgot how to put them back together. You saw him with a big pile of metal. Reminds me of most liberals, and never failed to crack me up.

    19. Tim McGreen Says:

      Major West always tried to kick Dr. Smith’s ass, but John Robinson always prevented that from happening.

    20. Andrei's ghost Says:

      More on “Englishman” Doc “Smith” (aka Jonathan Charasuchin) here….

      Jonathan Harris

      Arch-villain in the cult TV show ‘Lost in Space’

      Thursday, 7 November 2002

      Jonathan Charasuchin (Jonathan Harris), actor: born New York 6 November 1914; married (one son); died Los Angeles 3 November 2002.

      As the arch-villain Dr Zachary Smith in the 1960s American futuristic television series Lost in Space, Jonathan Harris followed the Robinson family and their robot around a low-budget cosmos for three years. “We’re doomed!” was his familiar cry, and Dr Smith soon became the viewers’ favourite character in the cult programme that continues to be shown around the world.

      Dr Smith began by trying to sabotage plans to make space pioneers of an astrophysicist, John Robinson, his biochemist wife, Maureen, and their children, Judy, Penny and Will. The year was 1997 and, as a result of Earth’s overpopulation, the family were chosen to rest in suspended animation for 98 years aboard the spaceship Jupiter 2 until they reached their projected destination, a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system.

      An evil foreign government agent (Dr Smith) ended up trapped on the craft and set it on course for a crash-landing. In their subsequent adventures around the galaxy, the Robinsons had to contend with perils such as giant cyclamen plants, space dogs, carrot monsters and galactic showmen.

      A master of alliteration, Dr Smith would hurl insults such as “cantankerous clump” and “sanctimonious scatterbrain” at the Robinsons’ robot; and these became known to viewers as “Smithisms”.

      Dr Smith’s affected voice and pedantic, professorial nature often gave the impression that Harris was English. In fact, he was born Jonathan Charasuchin in the Bronx area of New York in 1914 to Russian-Jewish immigrants. “I had a ‘deeze-and-doze’ accent,'” he said later. “To correct that, I watched literally hundreds of old British movies, thus giving me a more British way of speaking.”

      Although he gained a degree in pharmacology from Fordham University, in the Bronx, and worked for a time as a pharmacist, Harris had always enjoyed opera and Yiddish theatre. After changing his name to Harris, he decided to pursue his acting ambitions in 1939 by joining the Millpond Playhouse company in Roslyn, Long Island.

      He made his Broadway début as a Polish RAF officer in Heart of a City (1942). Later, he appeared on Broadway opposite Paul Muni and Marlon Brando in A Flag is Born (1946).

      Harris made his television début in His Name is Jason (in the Chevrolet Tele-Theater anthology drama series, 1949) and followed it with a string of character roles. He appeared in several films, starting with Botany Bay (starring Alan Ladd and James Mason, 1953) – lying to the director, who had insisted on an all-English cast – but made his name on the small screen.

      He played Bradford Webster, assistant to the businessman- adventurer Harry Lime (Michael Rennie) in all 90 episodes of The Third Man (1959-65), an Anglo-American television production based on the Graham Greene story. He also took the role of the exasperated hotel manager, Mr Phillips, in The Bill Dana Show (1963-65), about a Mexican immigrant who works as a bellhop at Park Central Hotel.

      Then came Lost in Space (1965-68), a sci-fi spoof on the Swiss Family Robinson story from the producer Irwin Allen. It was the height of the telefantasy era and Harris relished taking the character of Dr Zachary Smith and turning what he saw as a colourless villain into a greedy, selfish coward.

      Although he subsequently created a distinctive intergalactic Pied Piper in an episode of Allen’s series Land of the Giants (1970) and played Commander Isaac Gampu in Space Academy (1977-79), another science-fiction series, set in 3732, Harris spent the last 20 years of his life almost exclusively doing voice-overs. In Battlestar Galactica he was Lucifer, one of the Cylon robots, (1978-79). His vocal talents were heard in animated films such as A Bug’s Life (as Manny, the preying-mantis magician, 1998) and Toy Story 2 (as the elderly doll repairman, 1999).

      Harris turned down a cameo role in the 1998 film version of Lost in Space, in which Gary Oldman played Zachary Smith, but appeared in the television documentary tribute Lost in Space Forever (1998) and continued to attend Lost in Space fan conventions until his death.

      Anthony Hayward

    21. Andrei's ghost Says:

      & here on “Puerto Rican” Jose Jimenez-Bill Dana

      Bill Dana (comedian)
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      Bill Dana

      Bill Dana (center)
      Born William Szathmary
      October 5, 1924 (1924-10-05) (age 85)
      Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.
      Occupation Actor, comedian, screenwriter
      Years active 1956–1994

      Bill Dana (born October 5, 1924) is an American comedian, actor, and screenwriter. He often appeared on television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, frequently in the guise of a heavily-accented Mexican character named José Jiménez. Dana often portrayed the Jiménez character as an astronaut. There was also a NASA astronaut named Bill Dana who twice piloted the X-15 rocket plane into space in the late 1960s.
      [edit] Biography

      Dana was born William Szathmary in Quincy, Massachusetts, United States. He is of Hungarian-Jewish descent.[citation needed]

      Dana began his career as a page at NBC’s famous Studio 6B while performing comedy in nightclubs around New York with partner Gene Wood. In the 1950s, he performed on The Imogene Coca Show, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Martha Raye Show, as well as writing for and producing The Spike Jones Show.[citation needed]

      Dana’s career took a major turn when he began writing stand-up routines for the young comedian Don Adams, including the now well-known “Would you believe?” jokes popularized by Get Smart. From there, he was brought in as a writer for the Steve Allen Show, where he created the José Jiménez character for the show’s “Man in the Street” segments.[citation needed]

      On an Ed Sullivan Show appearance, Dana related a story of how a woman recognized him on the street, but only knew him as José Jiménez, and asked what his real name was. Instead of his stage name, “Bill Dana”, he gave her his real name, “William Szathmary”. The woman rejoined: “Wow, no wonder you changed it to Jiménez!”[citation needed]

      In the NBC sitcom The Bill Dana Show (1963-65), a spinoff of The Danny Thomas Show, Dana’s José Jiménez character became a bumbling bellhop at a posh New York hotel. His snooty, irritable boss was played by Jonathan Harris. The cast also included Don Adams as a hopelessly inept house detective, in an early incarnation of what was to become his “Maxwell Smart” character on Get Smart.[citation needed]

      Before appearing in front of a television camera for the first time on The Steve Allen Show in 1959, Dana had been a prolific comedy writer, an activity he continued into the 1980s, producing material for other actors on stage and screen. Dana wrote the script for the Get Smart theatrical film The Nude Bomb. His brother, Irving Szathmary, wrote the famous theme for the Get Smart television series.[citation needed]

      In 1966, Dana wrote the animated TV-movie Alice in Wonderland (or What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?), in which he also supplied the voice of The White Knight (using his José Jiménez voice).[citation needed]
      Forman and Dana

      Joey Forman’s 1968 parody album about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, called The Mashuganishi Yogi (“mashugana” meaning crazy or bizarre in Yiddish), was produced by Dana, and includes a cameo of Dana as Jiménez, as well as a cover appearance. The album is a mock news conference, an extended question-and-answer session. The ersatz Puerto Rican–accented Jiménez asks the ersatz Indian-accented Yogi: “Why do you talk so funny?”

      Ironically, in contradiction to Bill Dana’s sardonic presentation of the Jose Jimenez character, a real Jose Francisco Jimenez, born on March 20th 1946 in Mexico City Mexico, was a United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal in Vietnam, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in the Vietnam War during August 1969. LCpl Jimenez was buried in Mexico. Twenty years after his death, representatives of the US Marine Corps in Arizona discovered Jimenez’s grave site plaque under his mother’s bed in Eloy Arizona. In 1987, the U S. Marine Corps delivered Jimenez’ CMOH plaque to his grave with a formal parade.

      In 1970, responding to changing times, Dana stopped portraying the José Jiménez character; however, he played the character again on the 1988 revival of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Dana wrote the script for possibly the best known episode of the hit sitcom All in the Family, entitled “Sammy’s Visit”, which featured Sammy Davis Jr.[citation needed]

      The José Jiménez character was part of several scenes in the 1983 film The Right Stuff. The government officials watch the Ed Sullivan Show before recruiting the Navy pilots. Sullivan is talking to Jiménez. (“Is that your crash helmet?” “Oh, I hope not!”) Later, during medical testing, a Hispanic worker in the hospital observes Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn) being perhaps a little too amused by the character. The hospital worker gets a measure of revenge when it comes time for Shepard to receive an enema.

      Dana would also have a recurring role on The Golden Girls as Sophia Petrillo’s brother Angelo. He also played their father in a flashback. In addition, he played Wendell Balaban on Too Close for Comfort, as well as Howie Mandel’s father on the series St. Elsewhere.[citation needed]

      Dana reprised the role of Bernardo the servant on the CBS TV series Zorro and Son, but his performance was different from Gene Sheldon’s silence on the 1950s live-action show. Both series were produced by Walt Disney Productions.

    22. steven clark Says:

      Amazing how Jews can cover their tracks, and how they know that, for most Americans, an Englishman reading the phone book is more clever than an American reading the Gettysburg address.

      I believe Leslie Howard and George Sanders were both Hungarians, and Jews as well. They certainly have a talent for mimicry.

      Re BIll Dana, I used to like his work, too. And in THE RIGHT STUFF, I thought the hispanic fucking over Shepard was cruel and really the only sour moment in the film. It looked like it was forced in…just to give it to whitey. It was VERY unWolfe and unAmerican. Had a smell of the Jew in it.

    23. Andrei's ghost Says:

      Leslie Howard (Leslie Howard Steiner ) was a Jew from the U.K. , but George Sanders & brother-actor Tom Conway were Gentiles (English) born in Russia…

    24. steven clark Says:

      Thanks for the correction, Andrei (and the ghost). I always liked George Sanders, and usually identified more with villains and heavies than good guys. In one WWII movie, he looked great in an SS uniform.

    25. Jeez Says:

      The blind spots in this article (and the proceeding comments) are amazing. Let’s start with the most obvious: The show features AN INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE. This is inarguably presented as a GOOD thing. Skipped over this little detail, huh? Here’s another: the most compassionate, upstanding character on the entire show is BLACK. Sheperd Book raises the moral standard of the crew and generally makes them all better people. Kinda throws a wrench into your theory that the show is secret white power propoganda.

      I could go on (Mal’s love interest is dark skinned, the big heroine of the piece is of Asian/White “mongrel” descent, black character Zoe is braver than all the white boys who fought with Mal in the war) but I won’t. I’m sure you’re busy finding out why the Jews are lobbying to take peanut butter out of Reece’s Cups products.