|Mystery Science Theater 3000 character|
Cambot, as seen in reflection during the opening sequence
|First appearance||K01 - Invaders from the Deep|
|Created by||Joel Hodgson|
|Portrayed by||Kevin Murphy (one occasion, character usually mute)|
Cambot is one of the fictional robot characters on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television series. It is through Cambot's "eye" that viewers watch Joel Robinson (later Mike Nelson and subsequently Jonah Heston) and the other robots as they watch the movies that are sent to the Satellite of Love each week.
Cambot is only seen during the "Robot Roll Call" portion of the opening credits, often with his name reversed, presumably to imply he is shooting his own image in a mirror (this was actually proven in the Season 2-5 intro, when Joel is seen tapping on a mirror that Cambot is in). His appearance was changed with almost every reshooting of the opening credits.
In the original KTMA season, Cambot was depicted as a robot operating a separate camera. Season 1 Cambot was a modification of the KTMA Gypsy, with an integrated camera, whereas later Cambot incarnations more closely resembled television recording equipment. In episode #507, I Accuse My Parents, Gypsy presented a drawing that depicted the Satellite of Love's crew as her "ideal family"; in the drawing, Cambot's torso was shown as a long and snakelike tube, not unlike Gypsy's.
Midway through the fifth season of the series the opening was once again reshot, and Cambot was again redesigned, this time with a more compact shape, becoming a round hovering ball with a TV camera vidicon sensor for an eye. He would keep this form for the remainder of the series, although the color scheme was changed during MST3K's switch from Comedy Central to the Sci Fi Channel (becoming blue instead of gray).
Cambot acts as an audio-visual conduit between the crew of the Satellite of Love and their observers. He also apparently joins Joel, Mike, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo in the theatre when a movie is shown, and records the cast watching the film. Apparently the footage he shoots in the theater is what the Mads end up seeing, as evidenced by Frank once saying "You think you have it bad? We have to watch you watching the movie." Although a number of episodes depict the cast reacting as if traumatized by a particularly bad movie, Cambot suffered a severe reaction only once, weeping when several security cameras were systematically destroyed by the hero in episode #620: Danger!! Death Ray. (This was signified by a watery effect over the screen image.) Another rare case of Cambot interacting during a movie segment came in episode #202: The Sidehackers, when Cambot added a mock ESPN scorecard on one side of the screen during the movie's race scenes.
Cambot also frequently provides music, video clips, and other enhancements to host segments. When Joel or another character requests to see through "Rocket Number Nine" (the ship-mounted camera that allows the crew to see the ship's exterior and anything in its vicinity), it is Cambot who provides the image. During the first five seasons, when Joel or Mike would read fan mail sent to the show, they would request Cambot to put the letter on "still store," freeze framing on a close-up of the letter.
Cambot was voiced a single time during the original KTMA run by Kevin Murphy. Though he never spoke during an actual episode during the official seasons, it can be presumed that it is Cambot's voice heard during the "Robot Roll Call" portion of the opening theme from Season 1 through 5, and when shown during the opening of later seasons, though it is left ambiguous.
At the end of Season 7, Cambot was shown joining his fellow crew-members ascending into pure energy at the end of the universe. When the Satellite of Love crashed on Earth in the show's final episode, it is not specified whether Cambot survived the crash (although one could assume that he is the one filming the final scene). Cambot was not mentioned in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Cambot is revealed to have survived the crash in the Netflix revival of the series.
- A page with instructions for building a Cambot (As seen in seasons 5-7)
- Forum for the discussion of building prop replicas of Cambot