Discover more from Rerun Rewind
Danger Will Robinson: The Full Mumy by Bill Mumy
A TV Book Review
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Bill Mumy is best known for playing Will Robinson in Lost in Space and appearing in one of the most iconic episodes of The Twilight Zone, "It's a Good Life," in which he played a kid who controlled everyone in his town with his evil powers. Danger Will Robinson: The Full Mumy recounts his unique life in random bursts and flashes. As he explains at the beginning, the book is not in chronological order because that's not how the mind of Mumy works. Instead, it's written in short sequences where he recalls various memories, which makes it difficult to follow.
While he's been an actor, writer, producer, and artist, Mumy considers himself a musician more than anything, and a large part of the book talks about the gigs he played, albums he recorded, people he performed with, and instruments he owned. If you're really into music, that stuff might hold some mild interest, but if you picked up the book to read about Mumy's acting experiences, you might want to just skip those parts, like I ended up doing after a while.
The book is quite long, over 450 pages. Mumy writes in drawn-out sentences and paragraphs with more words than are really necessary, and he adds a lot if extraneous information from his memories, like where on his street all his friends lived, at which studios they shot different movies and TV shows, which studio lots had the best candy machines and food carts, and all the makes and models of his guitars and amps. It reads like a stream of consciousness with no editing, which certainly makes it interesting if a bit frustrating to read.
Mumy seems like a very outgoing and extroverted guy who's friends with just about everyone, and he spends a lot of time naming each friend and describing all the things they did together in as much detail as he can recall. It's hard to keep track of them all as he jumps around between time periods. I feel like I have to make a list of names and backgrounds so I can remember who he's talking about on every page.
But don't fret, classic TV and film fans. There are plenty of behind-the-scenes showbiz anecdotes for your reading enjoyment. Most are love letters to his many roles and the people he worked with, but there are a few horror stories. One that really stands out is when Mumy reluctantly agreed to record a spoken word album with Crispin Glover. It turned into a big disaster that ended with Mumy banning Crispin from his house and not speaking to his best friend for a year and a half.
My favorite thing about the book is how often he references his character from "It's a Good Life." He frequently describes things and events as "Real Good" and says things and people went to "the Cornfield." When Mumy lent an amp to a friend and never got it back, it disappeared into the Cornfield. When Lost in Space was cancelled after three seasons, it was sent to the Cornfield. When Alfred Hitchcock scared him on the set of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Mumy sent him to the Cornfield.
Mumy also likes to say, "Time is a bizarre river," and I think that's a good metaphor for this book. It's like a bizarre, winding river with twists, turns, loops, and waterfalls. Check it out if you're a Mumy fan, you have some time to kill, and you can afford it. It sells for upwards of $45 on Amazon. My copy has a few bird bite marks on the pages from Dobie, but if you want to buy it, let me know.