Saturday, October 9, 2010

Robby the Robot (b. 1956)

I have always liked sci-fi, even the early stuff.  Or maybe, especially the early stuff.  I was talking with friend and he mentioned Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956).  The movie is a classic of early sci-fi, with effects that are better than you would expect for the 1950s, and Robby was a technological wonder.

Forbidden Planet starred Walter Pidgeon (1897 - 1984) who was born when Jules Verne (1828 - 1905) was still alive, and Anne Francis (b. 1930) who put the Honey in "Honey West."  Other stars included Leslie Nielsen (b. 1926) before he discovered he was really a comedian, Jack Kelly (1927 - 1992) who played Bart Maverick, and Earl Holliman (b. 1928) who was in everything in the 1950s and 1960s.

Robby the Robot has 26 titles to his credit on IMDb.  He was built at a cost of $125,000 for Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy (1957).  But he was too talented to just sit in a prop department warehouse.

He started showing up on TV series' like "The Thin Man" with Peter Lawford, and "The Gale Storm Show" in the 1950s.  In the 1960s he was on "Hazel," "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," a couple of episodes of "The Twilight Zone," and "The Addams Family."  He appears in two episodes of "Lost in Space" where he gets to work with his younger brother, Robot B-9 (b. 1965).

Perhaps it was embarrassing, but he played Mildred on "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour."  He went on to redeem himself on "Columbo" and "Mork and Mindy" all in the 1970s.

He made a few more movies, including Gremlins (1984) and Earth Girls are Easy (1988).  His last listed work was in the Pamela Anderson (b. 1967) TV series "Stacked" in 2005.

I'm sure Robby isn't done working yet, but CGI can create much more realistic/terrifying/unusual robots.  Keep watching.  And enjoy the picture of Robby in his prime!

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