New Carlisle resident shares his ‘Lost in Space’ love affair

MeTV's "Collector's Call" will share the "Lost in Space" collection of New Carlisle resident Tom Pfrogner on Sunday 
L to R: Expert Doug Hines, host Lisa Whelchel, collector Tom Pfrogner and his daughter Tracie Pfrogner. - Contributed

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MeTV's "Collector's Call" will share the "Lost in Space" collection of New Carlisle resident Tom Pfrogner on Sunday L to R: Expert Doug Hines, host Lisa Whelchel, collector Tom Pfrogner and his daughter Tracie Pfrogner. - Contributed

It was September 1965 — a Wednesday night — and Tom Pfrogner remembers it like it was yesterday. It was the night he excitedly watched the first episode of “Lost in Space.”

“I was just mesmerized with the show,” Pfrogner said. “To this day, it’s just something that made such an impression on me.”

From the silver space suits to the engaging characters, the then 10-year-old was all-in. And now, at 65, the New Carlisle resident still is. His one-of-a-kind collection of screen-used props, costumes and collectables will be in the spotlight Sunday, April 3, on MeTV’s “Collector’s Call,” an original series that profiles pop culture collectors across the country.

Pfrogner is more than a collector, as he has also outfitted his basement with a life-size reproduction of the Jupiter 2 flight deck — complete with lights and sounds — and a talking B9 robot.

“We started the flight deck project in 2016, and it took a whole year to complete, but it was one of the best times of my life,” he said.

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New Carlisle resident Tom Pfrogner has amassed a "Lost in Space" collection that includes more than 600 items, including a B9 robot - Contributed

New Carlisle resident Tom Pfrogner has amassed a "Lost in Space" collection that includes more than 600 items, including a B9 robot - Contributed

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New Carlisle resident Tom Pfrogner has amassed a "Lost in Space" collection that includes more than 600 items, including a B9 robot - Contributed

The priceless collection, which now includes more than 600 pieces, began in 1968 with a Remco “Lost in Space” Robot he received as a Christmas present. From children’s toys to original props — including a space helmet worn by June Lockhart and a Roman helmet worn by Jonathan Harris — the collection has grown steadily over the years.

The former Northridge High School band director kicked his passion into full gear after his retirement, attending his first convention in 2015. The term retirement, however, doesn’t quite fit Pfrogner — a trombone player since childhood — who is the musical director of The Tom Daugherty Orchestra, director of the Centerville Community Band and associate director of the University of Dayton New Horizons Music Program.

”I don’t think of it as retirement as much as the second half of my life,” Pfrogner said, smiling. “I’m really blessed to be able to do the ‘Lost in Space’ stuff and the music.”

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And while his “Lost in Space” passion has resulted in accumulating plenty of screen-used props, it has also enabled him to meet countless people, several of whom he now considers good friends. Marta Kristen, who played Judy on the original series, is among them and she will make a guest appearance during the “Collector’s Call” episode.

“When I first sent in pictures, I remember thinking, ‘Is my collection big enough? Is it good enough?’” Pfrogner said. “Then I got an email from one of the producers asking, ‘Is your flight deck still ready to fly?’”

Tune into MeTV to see for yourself.


HOW TO WATCH

What: “Collector’s Call” featuring New Carlisle resident Tom Pfrogner’s impressive collection of props and costumes as well as a life-sized reproduction of the Jupiter 2 Flight deck and talking B9 Robot.

When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3

Where: MeTV

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