Robby the Robot
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Robby the Robot is a fictional robot and early science fiction icon, first appearing in the 1956 MGM movie Forbidden Planet. He made a number of subsequent appearances in science fiction movies and television programs, usually without specific reference to the original film character.
Origin and attributes 
Robby the Robot is a 7-foot (2.1 m) tall fictional robot originally created in the mid-1950s by MGM's prop department. The initial design was sketched by Arnold "Buddy" Gillespie, refined by production illustrator Mentor Huebner, and then turned into reality under the direction of mechanical designer Robert Kinoshita. The robot quickly became a science fiction icon in the decades that followed.
The plot of Forbidden Planet has been compared to William Shakespeare's play The Tempest (1610), with the planet Altair IV standing in for Shakespeare's remote island. In this context Robby has been equated to the enslaved spirit Ariel in the play.
The first known use of the name "Robbie the Robot" was for a mechanical likeness of Doc Savage used to confuse foes in his pulp magazine adventure The Fantastic Island (1935). That was followed five years later by the Isaac Asimov short story "Robbie" (1940) about a first-generation robot designed to care for children.
As Dr. Morbius demonstrates in Forbidden Planet, Robby had been programmed to obey Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. This plot point becomes important near the end of the film when Robby refuses to kill the "Id monster" because the robot recognizes that the invisible creature is an alter ego/extension of Dr. Morbius; the Laws of Robotics were adapted from Isaac Asimov's I, Robot (1950).
Forbidden Planet 
In Forbidden Planet, Robby exhibited artificial intelligence, but with a distinct personality that showed a (possibly unintentional) dry wit, presumably programmed by Dr. Morbius. He was instructed by Morbius to be helpful to the Earth starship crew; he synthesized and transported to their landing site almost 10 tons of "isotope 217" a lighter-weight though effective replacement for the requested lead shielding needed by its crew. While the film's poster depicts a fierce character abducting a maiden, no such scene was actually in the film; Robby only carried one person, crewman Dr. Ostro when he was mortally wounded by his own actions with the Krell's "plastic educator". Robby's speaking "mouth" was a monochromatic blue light organ, synchronized to his synthetic voice, its band of curved tubes located directly below his transparent conical "face" dome.
Later productions 
The "Robby" robot prop in Forbidden Planet was also used in The Invisible Boy (1957). It made several further appearances in other movies and TV shows over the next few decades, including episodes of The Thin Man and The Addams Family. While Robby's appearance was generally consistent, there were notable exceptions, such as Twilight Zone episode "Uncle Simon" (1962), where he was given a slightly more human "face". At other times, Robby usually retained the working gears inside his transparent dome, although the details of his "brain" and chest panel were sometimes altered; in an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Robby's head dome was used as part of a regeneration machine. Robby made few film appearances after the 1970s, but there is a cameo appearance in Gremlins (1984), where he can be seen standing in the background and speaking some of his trademark lines; he was also featured in a 2006 commercial for AT&T.
Robby walked on mechanical legs. Later robot designs by his principal designer Robert Kinoshita, such as Robot B-9 of Lost in Space, moved smoothly on motorized treads (Robby appears opposite Robot B-9 in Lost in Space episode #20 "War of the Robots"). In Forbidden Planet, Robby was operated by Frankie Darro from inside the robot's body; Robby's voice was provided by actor Marvin Miller.
Robby also appeared in the Mork & Mindy second season episode "Dr. Morkenstein". Robby portrayed a robot named Chuck, whom Mork befriended while working as a security guard in the science museum where Chuck was on display. Chuck was voiced by Roddy McDowall.
In 2004 Robby the Robot was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame.
The early 1960s Gerry Anderson all-marionette science fiction TV series Fireball XL5 contained a robot character called 'Robert the Robot'.
Fate of the original "Robby" suit 
In 1971 the original (1956) Robby the Robot suit was sold to Jim Brucker and put on display at his Movie World / Cars of the Stars Museum, near Disneyland, in Buena Park, California, where it was often vandalized by visitors. Robot historian Fred Barton was commissioned with restoring Robby to his original 1956 state while the robot was still on display at the museum; Barton used original duplicate replacement parts made for Forbidden Planet suit by MGM's prop department. It was, however, in a desperate condition once again several years later. The museum closed its doors in 1980, and Robby, along with his vehicle, original MGM spare parts, and shipping containers were sold to William Malone. Malone noted that Robby had once again fallen into a state of disrepair. Having built the first ever replica of Robby in 1973, Malone was able to carefully restore the robot prop to its original condition using additional spare parts which the original builders had stocked in Robby's stage cases some 25 years earlier. 
The original Robby the Robot suit continues to reside today in Writer/Director William Malone's collection; Malone is the world's foremost collector of original Forbidden Planet materials.
Fred Barton also built a second Robby replica which appeared at the 1974 Star Trek Convention in Los Angeles. Barton continues to produce Robby props and other 1:1 robot replicas. His recreations are currently on display at the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington, and at the Metreon entertainment complex in San Francisco; other Robby replicas are on display in various venues. Full-sized, remote-controlled Barton robot props are available from Hammacher Schlemmer or ordered directly on-line from Fred Barton Productions; the company manufacturers various film and TV robots under license, aimed at the growing science fiction collectors' market.
List of appearances 
- Forbidden Planet (1956)
- The Invisible Boy (1957)
- The Thin Man (1958) - season 1 episode "Robot Client", original aired February 28, 1958
- The Gale Storm Show (1958) - season 3 episode "Robot from Inner Space", first aired December 13, 1958
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959–1963)
- The Twilight Zone
- Hazel (1961–1966)- episode "Rosie's Contract"
- The Addams Family in the episode "Lurch's Little Helper" aired March 18, 1966
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1966)
- Lost in Space (1966 and 1967) - in two episodes as two different characters (in "War of the Robots" as a robotoid)
- The Monkees (1966–1968) - one episode
- The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968 and 1970 "The Coronation of Bakaar") - recurring appearance as a maid named "Mildred the Robot"; does not have glass dome
- Columbo (1974) - episode "Mind Over Mayhem"
- Hollywood Boulevard (1976)
- Ark II (1976)
- Holmes and Yo-Yo (1976)
- Music Machine (1977)- a K-tel compilation LP, photographs featured on both the front and back of the cover
- Project UFO (1978)- season 1 episode "Sighting 4010: The Waterford Incident"
- Wonder Woman (1979) - season 3 episode "Spaced Out", as the master of ceremonies at a science fiction convention
- Mork & Mindy (1979)
- Space Academy (1979) - episode "My Favorite Marcia"
- Charmin Television commercial (1981) - as an assistant to Mr. Whipple, named Squeezak, repeating the phrase "Don't squeeze Charmin".
- Night Stalker video game (1982) - featured in the print advertising for the Mattel video game for the IBM and Mac Nightstalker Ad
- The Love Boat - episode "Programmed for Love"
- Gremlins (1984)
- Cherry 2000 (1987)
- Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
- Star Kid (1998) - footage from Lost in Space featuring Robby is shown on a TV
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)
- Stacked (2005) - as the Nightmare NASA Robot
- Escape from Cluster Prime (2006)- animated
- Television commercial for AT&T (2006) - with WOPR, KITT, and Rosie the Robot Maid
- Television commercial for General Electric (2012) - with KITT and other robots.
- "Robby, the Robot". The Robot Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011.
- Hagerty, Jack (2008). The Saucer Fleet. Livermore, California: Apogee Books. p. 160. ISBN 9781-894959-4 Check
- Kreiter, Ted. "Revisiting The Master Of Science Fiction". Saturday Evening Post 276 (6): 38. ISSN 00489239.
- "Interview With Bill Malone". Monsters411.com.
- "Lost in Space: War of the Robots Episode Summary". TV.com.
- Robby the Robot at the Internet Movie Database