Now Will Robinson’s really in danger now that the voice of his robot pal has been silenced.
Yes, flags are flying at half-mast today all across TV Land (not the channel) following the news that “Lost in Space” voice artist Dick Tufeld has died at age 85. This obit in the Los Angeles Times said he died Sunday while watching an NFL playoff game at home, according to his family.
Tufeld enjoyed a long career as an announcer, including a 30-year stint as an announcer for ABC daytime shows, and hundreds of commercial and cartoon voiceovers. But it’s his work as the voice of the beloved “Lost in Space” robot from 1965 to 1968 for which he will be best remembered.
Few who watched that fanciful ’60s series about a family of astronauts stranded in outer space will ever forget the robot’s classic intonations of “Danger, danger, Will Robinson!” whenever some alien beast in a furry costume was hiding behind Styrofoam rocks nearby. Nor will the robot’s other catchphrases be forgotten, such as “It does not compute!” — uttered whenever the robot’s advanced electronic brain was stymied (which was kinda often!).
Young Billy Mumy starred as Will Robinson on this revered series, along with the late, great Jonathon Harris as the devious and cowardly stowaway Dr. Smith. In fact, Dr. Smith’s interactions with the robot were among the most memorable scenes in this show’s history, with the two trading insults. The Dr. Smith character became famous for the colorful epithets he leveled at the machine, including calling it: a “hopeless heap of tainted tin,” a “blundering bag of bolts” and a “bubble-headed booby.”
Tufeld made the most of his fame as the voice of TV’s most famous robot. He voiced the robot’s voice once again in the 1998 “Lost in Space” movie remake. His final performance as the robot’s voice was in a 2004 episode of “The Simpsons.”
“Lost in Space” — the TV series — will never be forgotten, especially around here. We happen to have every single episode in their entirety, and we heartily recommend you check out one or more of them. This series really was one of the quintessential TV shows of the 1960s — silly, psychedelic, classic.