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A Tale of Two T-Shirts


Once upon a time, I wore blue jeans and grubby sneakers and t-shirts with colorful slogans to work, like a proper artist/programmer. Then my company merged with our parent company and we took a turn for the corporate tight-ass. Black jeans replaced blue jeans, plain t-shirts replaced colorful slogans. I still wear grubby sneakers. Fuck ’em if they can’t appreciate a weasel in uniform.

So here are two relics of a bygone age. On the right, a t-shirt I picked up at my local Army surplus store. It says CORONER in official-looking script. This pleased me. Then I was walking across the parking lot of a restaurant with an early bird special — a magnet for wrinklies. A worried old lady tottered over to me, put a hand on my arm and quavered, “you’re not really from the coroner’s office, are you?”

Haven’t worn it since.

The one on the left is my cherished Lost in Space 30th Anniversary Cast Reunion t-shirt. Yes, I was there. Yes, I’m a fan. I liked the first season when it was serious-ish and science fiction-y and I liked the third season, which was cheap and silly and camp as a row of pink Judy Garlands. I was five when LiS first aired and that was four years before the moon landing.

Guy Williams — dad — died of an aneurysm (or a heart attack, I’ve read both) five years before, but the whole rest of the cast got together in December of 1995, in Boston. It takes some serious mojo to get a weasel into Boston, but you don’t say no to the call of history.

I didn’t pay to go through the autograph line, but I managed to stand on the sidelines and watch people go through and chat with the actors. I must say, they were all extremely gracious and managed to look genuinely pleased to be there. Huh. Maybe they actually were.

The whole cast held up very well. Bill Mumy is no bigger’n a fried fart. Mark Goddard had been teaching High School in Western Massachusetts for years. June Lockhart is still America’s mom. She wore white gloves the whole time. Arthritis, or a touch of the Howard Hughses? No matter, she shook all offered hands.


Jonathan Harris was older than god, but still had seven years worth of cartoon voice-overs left in him, in that distinctive faux-limey accent. I always thought that made him a peculiar choice to play an American military man (albeit a traitorous one). His obit said when someone asked him if he were English, he said, “Affected, my dear. Merely affected.” He was from Brooklyn and had a proper New York “dese and dose” accent, which he tried to fix by spending all his free time watching British films. What he ended up with isn’t really British at all except to American ears.

Heaven help me, I’m developing a touch of the Dr Smith accent myself. I’m fighting hard, but it’s apparently the tragic consequence of fraternizing with Brits. Oh, the pain!

So! The Robinson Family blasted off to Alpha Centauri…when? Care to guess what year Irwin Allen thought a plausible date for Americans to begin colonizing the stars?

August 15, 2007 — 5:10 am
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