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Recap / Out Of This World Little Lost Robot

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The second episode of Out of this World (1962), airdate 7 July 1962, is adapted from Isaac Asimov's "Little Lost Robot". Leo Lehman is credited with the teleplay, with Douglas James directing.

Boris Karloff introduces the episode by talking about the oxygenated rose he's holding, which has been sent to him from Hyperbase 7. Dr Susan Calvin (Maxine Audley) and Director Peter Bogert (Murray Hayne) meet with Major-General Kallner (Clifford Evans), who sent Boris one of his roses. General Kallner has a problem; a Nester robot (played by Roger Snowden), modified for "strategic reasons", has gotten himself lost in a crowd of twenty unmodified robots.

Mr Black (Gerald Flood) is the chief engineer of the secret project, and explains the situation to Walensky (Hayden Jones), an engineer who is mostly kept in the dark about the project, yet is the guinea pig put in danger when trying to find out which of the Nesters is the "missing" one.

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Out of this World's "Little Lost Robot" provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: This play adds a number of tiny character details, as well as expanding two roles, and adding in a brief Chase Scene, all of which are absent from the original story due to Isaac Asimov's Beige Prose style.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the original story, Dr Calvin interviews the robots individually before the second experiment, and they're left unobserved while waiting. In this adaptation, the conditions of the experiment are announced to the whole group at once and the group doesn't leave human sight until after the experiment. Yet the missing robot managed to talk the others around into not trying to save the human without any of the other characters noticing it.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The NS-2 series robots are never called by their model number, and their In-Series Nickname is spelled "Nester" instead of "Nestor".
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    • United States Robots & Mechanical Men are instead called the Universal Robots Corporation.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: When Mr Black sees which Nester was the one he had ordered to "get lost!", he tries to beat it as punishment, but it ends up killing him instead. The other characters quickly use gamma rays to stop it before it can kill again.
  • Ascended Extra: This play is adapted from "Little Lost Robot".
    • In the original, General Kallner is present merely as commander of Hyperbase 7. In this adaptation, his fondness for growing "oxygenated roses" ties him to Out of this World (1962)'s Horror Host and gives him an excuse to flirt with Dr Calvin.
    • In the original, Mr Black is a supporting character whose role is a low-ranking technician on the secret project that causes the problem by accident. In this adaptation, he is the chief engineer on the project, a pompous ass, and bigoted against robots.
    • In the original, Walensky appears once in the entire story. In this adaptation, he takes on the roles of every nameless character to make the Minimalist Cast function better.
  • Beeping Computers: The gallery, from where the characters conduct the experiment, has tape reels, buttons and levers, as well as whirring and flashing lights, which shows how complicated the machinery is in Hyperbase 7.
  • Billions of Buttons: The gallery, from where the characters conduct the experiment, has tape reels, buttons and levers, as well as whirring and flashing lights, which shows how complicated the machinery is in Hyperbase 7.
  • Computer = Tapedrive: The gallery, from where the characters conduct the experiment, has tape reels, buttons and levers, as well as whirring and flashing lights, which shows how complicated the machinery is in Hyperbase 7.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Dr Calvin admits that the only reason she's accepting the job of finding which robot got himself lost is because she likes robots more than human beings.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After hearing about the impossible task they're asking of her, Dr Calvin decides that the liqueur that General Kallner had offered her is exactly what she needs.
  • Just a Machine: Mr Black, whose role is expanded, is much more bigoted in this play than in the original story. He hates the robots so much that when Dr Calvin finds which of the Nester units had been "lost", he goes down to beat it up instead of safely destroying it from up in the control room the way his source material counterpart did.
  • Minimalist Cast: The nameless extras are all removed, and Walensky's role expands to fill the gap. Only five humans are shown, and Roger Snowden portrays all of the robots.
  • Mr. Exposition: Mr Black and Walensky are more prominent in this adaptation, and the story uses this expansion to have Mr Black rant about more things, such as how terrible robots are, and how Dr Calvin thinks she's got a new test for the robots.
  • Narrative Filigree: This play adds a number of tiny character details missing from the original story, details that had been missing due to Dr Asimov's Beige Prose. The most prominent is the addition of "oxygenated roses", which prompts Dr Calvin to flirt with General Kallner, because they both grow roses.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Part of the Narrative Filigree added to this story is General Kallner falling in love with Dr Calvin ("remarkable woman"). The two flirt over their shared love of "oxygenated roses". It fits smoothly into the plot, making General Kallner slightly more interesting compared to his source material counterpart.
  • Smurfette Principle: In the original story, Dr Calvin only interacted with a few characters, all of them male. With the Minimalist Cast of this adaptation, the roles of the nameless extras were all taken by Walensky. Aside from Dr Calvin (played by Maxine Audley), the entire rest of the cast (Walensky, Mr Black, Peter Bogert, Major-General Kallner, and Roger Snowden playing the robots) are all male.
  • Space Cold War: Some of the Nester robots are modified for "strategic reasons", and will be destroyed as soon as "the interstellar situation returns to normal". Dr Calvin points out that it sounds like an excuse from the 20th century and just as unbelievable.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": For this adaptation, the robot models are called "Nester" instead of their source material nickname of "Nestor".

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