As much as I loved the idea of monsters when I was six years old, I wasn't prepared to meet "Angus".
LOST IN SPACE screened on Sunday afternoons in Australia in 1968, and I was hooked on the show. I don't think I caught every episode when it was first showing, but when I did, I loved it.
In "The Astral Traveler", Will Robinson is trapped in a cave and whisked back in time to a Scottish castle on Earth. Lost and panicked, he stumbles into an area of the castle that houses a dark, stinking lagoon. Something is sloshing around beneath the surface of the lagoon, but we don't know what. The apprehension I felt waiting for that "something" to emerge from the water was beyond the limit of my six-year-old brain. When a shambling, whaling, disgusting THING dragged itself up from the depths emerged and began to chase Will, I experienced my first dose of unadulterated terror. Later in the episode, a Scotsman named Hamish, who was much less scary than the monster, explained that the monster's name was "Angus."
The monster had a name?
How could a monster have a name?
On top of the fact that Angus looked hideous, his wailing, which had a scary echo added to it, resonated in my virgin eardrums for years. I'd never heard anything so horrible. Even today, few sounds are the equal of that wail.
Back then, I WAS Will Robinson while watching LOST IN SPACE, so getting chased by Angus was totally personal. There was no concept of Angus being a guy in a suit to ease my extreme anxiety. During the episode, I ran and hid behind the sofa several times. I'd half cover my eyes and peer back out at the little black and white T.V. in the corner. The monster repelled me, but he also called my name. I was an eye patch wearing, card-carrying member of the juvenile Ugly Brigade back then, so there was something about Angus that elicited my sympathy, and made me feel that we shared common ground.
When, at the end of the episode, the creature is soothed by Hamish's bagpipes, I thought that he wasn't such a bad guy after all. However, when the episode would screen again, I'd go back to loathing and fearing him. Ever since this encounter with Angus, I have always felt a little bit apprehensive when meeting someone named Angus. I look at them closely, as if to assure myself that they're not the Scottish lagoon monster in a human suit.
UNK SEZ: PhantomofPulp, thanks for that fantastic traumafession! I don't remember this Angus guy but I can see why this orange beastie rocked your world. He reminds me of that horrible sewer monster from the KOLCHAK episode "The Spanish Moss Murders" combined with the "mud monster" from THE WORLD BEYOND. No wonder you hid behind the sofa!
NOTE: All you kids out there really need to stop by PhantomofPulp's absolutely fascinating site PHANTOM OF THE PULP which itself is like a deep Scottish Lagoon chock full of the most intriguing creatures you can imagine. I discovered the very kindertrauma friendly book covers you see below, but there is even more exciting stuff for you to dig through and peruse as well. I think you can tell by his traumafession that this guy has got a way with words and a slew of interesting ideas banging around his noggin. You can jump over there HERE.