If you’re a fan of 1960s sci-fi shows, then you probably recognize the computer in the video above. Everybody from the Robinson family to Bruce Wayne had one and to viewers, it looked like the future.
Brian Mix is a replica prop builder and decided to make one of his own, which he presented at the 2016 Replica Prop Forum party. Tested caught up with the builder who was showing off a number of his creations. The most striking of course was the Lost in Space computer, which Mix said he was a big fan of.
While this is specifically the Jupiter 2 computer, it may look familiar to anyone who watched a lot of old television. That’s because they were all based on a real computer: the Burroughs B205, which was made in surplus in the 1950s. Because they were so cheap, prop people bought them and used them frequently, simply replacing the name in the top corner to match the need. Starring the Computer lists the media it appeared in. It certainly made the rounds—from Batman to Hogan’s Heroes to a film called Sex Kittens Go To College, which I need to watch immediately.
Mix said that he modeled the panel off the computer from blueprints that somebody got a hold of, but the one in the video was built from scratch. He told Tested that the blueprints were incredibly detailed—even explaining the kind of bevels used behind the panels—so it made replicating it simple.
Out of curiosity, I did a quick search to see if I could find any other Lost in Space prop replicas. I’m always surprised by how many people will put time into creating light-up replicas and fake guns from old, campy TV shows. In a way, it’s comforting that people have this much love for cult TV.
And in case you forgot, a new generation might get to enjoy it thanks to a Netflix remake set to come out in 2018.