Irwin Allen's adaptation of the 1812 novel by Johann David Wyss follows the adventures of the Karl Robinson, his wife, two boys, and an orphaned girl, who wash up on a volcanic island after...
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Richard Thomas stars in this amazing tale of a family looking for adventure only to find themselves marooned on a deserted island. Having no means of provision or shelter they struggled to ... See full summary »
When Angelino Jack Robinson gets a new job in Australia, he decides to take his wife Ann, sons Shane and Todd and daughter Elisabeth 'Lizzy' by sailing yacht from Hong Kong to Syndney. The ... See full summary »
Irwin Allen's adaptation of the 1812 novel by Johann David Wyss follows the adventures of the Karl Robinson, his wife, two boys, and an orphaned girl, who wash up on a volcanic island after a shipwreck. Also on the island is Jeremiah Worth, who was marooned there seven years earlier. Written by
"Swiss Family Robinson" was a strange turn for Irwin Allen since he was
known for his futuristic action-adventure series of the '60s. Allen's
"Swiss Family Robinson" had a setting of not the future or present, but
in the traditional setting of the book by Johnathan Wyss -- an unknown
island in the early 19th Century.
The reason that Irwin Allen's name is in front of the titles is because
the "Swiss Family Robinson" had been done before (the famous Disney
film being the obvious one). And I believe there had been either an
Austrialian, or Canadian-made "Swiss Family Robinson" series --
ironically, one of these series was even in production at the time
Allen was making his series! So, by throwing his name up before the
titles let audiences know this was not any run-of-the-mill production,
but the "Irwin Allen version".
Additionally, this was the first time Allen did not 'create' the
concept of a TV series. Despite his seasoned technical crew, the series
was a disappointment, since it was made on the heels of his spectacular
"Poseidon Adventure" and "Towering Inferno" movies. The SFR was
lackluster and most of the story lines were predictable and lacked
suspense. The effect of the volcano erupting was clearly a miniature
(and not a very convincing one at that).
The series' only saving grace was a two-part episode that served as a
potential spin-off series called "Jean Lafitte". Starring young,
newcomer Frank Langella in the title role, the two-part show was an
exciting and fun romp with Lafitte involved in the war of 1812.
(Actually, this proposed spin off might have made a much more
interesting and action-filled series than it's parent program).
Out of the series cast, the one who made the show enjoyable was
Cameraon Mitchell, as Jeremiah Worth. This character was not in the
book and was clearly created by Allen as a Smith/Fitzhugh type of
curmudgeonly, sea-dog of a character. Mitchell was superb in his role
as the weaselly Jeremiah -- a wayward sailor who was always looking to
increase his wealth and save his own hide first (like Smith), but when
push came to shove was there to assist the Robinson's when they were in
a jam (ala Fitzhugh).
Allen's LAST series, "Code Red" (1981), although set in present day Los
Angeles, was at least exciting and had decent writers that kept the
audience interested in the characters and the action going on around
them. Sadly, I could never get excited about "Swiss Family Robinson".
For whatever reason, either because of casting or the pedestrian story
lines it never really appealed to me.
After the failure of "Swiss Family Robinson," Irwin Allen packed up and
moved to Warner Bros. studios where his first project, "Flood" utilized
three cast members from SFR: Martin Milner, Cameron Mitchell and Eric
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