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This article is about the fictional robot. For the manga character, see 8 Man. For the toy, see Tobor (toy). For the village in Senegal, see Tobor, Senegal.

Tobor ("robot" spelled backwards) is a fictional robotic character, featured in the 1949-1954 American science-fiction TV-series Captain Video and His Video Rangers, and in the 1954 movie Tobor the Great (described[by whom?] as one of the most important works of the science-fiction canon at the time). A spinoff TV-series centered on Tobor was planned for the 1956-1957 season, Here Comes Tobor, but in the end only a pilot episode was shot.[1][2][3][4][5] Tobor was nine feet tall,[4] and characterized by an "Robot 1" sign on his chest, that has been stenciled backwards, resulting in "I Tobor.".[2] According to director of Tobor the Great Lee Sholem the making of the Tobor robot costume took five months.[6]

In the Captain Video series Tobor was initially an evil character and an enemy of Captain Video, but Tobor was later reformed and able to control his capabilities for good causes.[1] In Tobor the Great Tobor is remote-controlled by the grandson of a scientist, and develops an inexplicable emotional link to the boy. Tobor is presented in the movie as a somewhat comical character, with a 'lumbering but pleasant clumsiness' as he walks through doors and into furniture. In effect, the character becomes a parody of Frankenstein's Monster.[7]

Dave Ballard played Tobor in the Captain Video series.[1] Lew Smith played Tobor in Tobor the Great, but remained uncredited.[3] The credits to the Here Comes Tobor pilot simply read, "Tobor is played by Tobor."[1]

In the run-up to the 1956-1957 TV season, the production company Guild Films considered renting out 'Tobor' for private appearances.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent. Crime Fighting Heroes of Television: Over 10,000 Facts from 151 Shows, 1949-2001. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2002. pp. 47, 79
  2. ^ a b Ichbiah, Daniel. Robots: from science fiction to technological revolution. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2005. p. 61
  3. ^ a b IMDB. Tobor the Great
  4. ^ a b c Billboard 21 April 1956. p. 14
  5. ^ Telotte, Jay P. Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film. Urbana [u.a.]: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1995. p. 112
  6. ^ Weaver, Tom. Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes: The Mutant Melding of Two Volumes of Classic Interviews. Jefferson, NC ;London: McFarland, 2000. p. 291
  7. ^ Sobchack, Vivian. Screening Space The American Science Fiction Film. New Brunswick, NJ [u.a.]: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2001. pp. 80-81