- - Monday, January 2, 2017

Angela Cartwright literally grew up in show business, first on “Make Room for Daddy” for seven seasons, which she followed by playing Brigitta von Trapp in the Oscar-winning “The Sound of Music.” But Miss Cartwright is perhaps most famous for her role of Penny Robinson on Irwin Allen’s breakthrough sci-fi series “Lost in Space,” which lasted 83 episodes over its three-year run.

These days Miss Cartwright spends some of her time doing sci-fi autograph conventions, where she meets fans from around the world. Recently she and her “Lost in Space” kid brother and co-star Bill Mumy teamed up to create a fun pictorial memoir called “Lost (and Found) in Space,” a collection of never-before-seen photos, handpicked by the pair, from the classic show, as well as their personal stories and memories from their time on “Lost in Space.”

Miss Cartwright shared her many memories of working with Danny Thomas, “The Sound of Music” and “Lost in Space.” Warning! Warning! This interview will make you nostalgic.

Question: “Lost in Space” fans can be pretty rabid. What do they say when they meet you?

Answer: They say, “I didn’t know you were in ‘Sound of Music.’”

Q: How could they not know you were in “Sound of Music”?

A: I don’t know. I think it depends when they were born. A lot of people don’t know I was on the Danny Thomas show (“Make Room For Daddy”). You have to be old to know that. [laughs]

Q: What is the oddest thing you have ever been asked to sign?

A: The crotch of Guy Williams’ space suit. (Editor’s note: Guy Williams played her dad on “Lost in Space.”) I’m serious. It was like a strap for the velour top that went under the crotch area.

You asked me. That’s the truth.

Q: And you signed it?

A: Well, of course. He wasn’t in it at the time. [laughs]

Q: At sci-fi conventions do you see fans come from around the world?

A: I do. They come from everywhere. I think the farthest traveled must [have been from] Australia. Several people do come from Europe. Japan sometimes.

Q: When you started out a child actress, did you imagine acting would be a thing that would be a lifelong career?

A: You know, when I was young, I didn’t think that far ahead. I lived in the moment. I was just lucky to have a job. Then go into another job. That’s just the way it was then.

Q: How old were you when you made “Sound of Music”?

A: I was 10. No, I was 11 and turned 12 while we were filming it. But I played 10. That was right after I did the Danny Thomas show. Actually, Danny let me out of the last show so I could go make “Sound of Music.”

Q: What is your fondest memory of making that film?

A: There are so many. Not only was it so beautiful over there doing that movie, it was great to be with a lot of kids. I had been on Danny Thomas, and the only other kid there, Rusty [Hamer], was a lot older than me.

On “Sound of Music” I remember Julie Andrews was such a joy to be around. I totally enjoyed doing the movie.

Q: Is it true you now lead tours to where the film was made?

A: Yes. I’m taking a group of people to Austria and Bavaria. I take them around to the actual locations where the film was made. There has never been a tour like this. It’s great because I know the inside scoop.

Q: Does the cast ever get together?

A: We do. We had our 50th anniversary, which was a great chance for us all to get together. That was kind of cool.

We all live in different parts of the world, but when we are all together, we pick up where we left off.

Q: How old were you when you did “Lost in Space”?

A: I was 13, 14 and 15.

Q: Did you have any idea when you were making that show of the cultural impact it would have?

A: No. I never imagined anyone would care all these years later. Never imagined I would be signing pictures for people 50 years later.

Q: Why do you think that people love the show all these years later?

A: It really grabbed the imagination of people. It was during the Space Age, when going to the moon was like a dream. It really made people think about being in space with a family and other life forms. I can’t nail down one thing.

It might have been the colors. During our second season [there were] those popped colors. Vibrant.

People come up to me all the time and tell me how they grew up with “Lost in Space” and how they played “Lost in Space” with their brothers and sisters and friends. It just really grabbed everyone’s imagination.

Q: I know that you and Bill Mumy have put together a book.

A: We did. It’s called “Lost (and Found) in Space.” I had done a book previously called “Styling the Stars: Lost Treasures from the Twentieth Century Fox Archives.” I had found all these pictures that were never supposed to be seen by the public. In that I came across “Lost in Space” wardrobe pictures that I thought were so amazing.

Bill and I just came up with this idea. We started looking at these pictures and memories came flooding back to us.

Q: What is the relationship like between you and your “Lost in Space” siblings today?

A: Bill and I have been friends forever. We’re kind of like pals, and Marta [Kristen] was my big sister, but now we’re good friends. The age gap closes because we’ve been through this unique experience together.

“Lost (and Found) In Space” is available now.


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