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B-9 ROBOT PHOTO GALLERY #05

Updated: April 11, 2015

Robots, Androids & Cyborgs:

Robot B9 - Robot (Serial No. 1A1998) on the sci-fi adventure LOST IN SPACE/CBS/1965-68. "Robot" was the generic name given to the mechanical environmental control Robot servant onboard the spacecraft Jupiter-2 which was programmed to serve its crew (The Space Family Robinson) as it flew to the Alpha Centuari galaxy. On the series' first episode, the Robot's circuitry was modified (by a stowaway) to kill the crew when the ship was launched, but the plan failed. Robot had retractable arms, a domed-head with twinkling lights, pincher type hands which could shoot a lethal charge of electricity, and tank-like treads which conveyed it to and fro. Waving its accordion-pleated arms, the Robot often shouted such programmed phrases (voice of Dick Tufeld) as "Warning! Warning!" and "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!" Robot needed eight hours of rest to recharge his system. Dr. Smith, the one who unsuccessfully programmed the Robot to sabotage the ship's mission called the Robot a Booby, Bucket of Bolts, Disreputable Thunderhead, Pot-Bellied Pumpkin, and a Tin-Plated Tattletale.

Bob May, the special effects actor who operated the Robot revealed in an interview (Starlog No. 201 April 1994) that he had all sorts of difficulties with the Robot shell. The Robot's top which he wore on a parachute style harness weighed 250 pounds; the bottom part that controlled the legs (very difficult to lift) weighed a little over 100 pounds.

At times, working all the bells, whistles lights and buttons was like "patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time." There were instances when he had to "press a button for each syllable of every word I said" to synchronize with the blinking light that accompanied the Robot's voice (later dubbed in by Dick Tufeld). He also had to raise the robot's bubble-dome with his own head and turn the Robot's torso 360 degrees. And, if the robot was shot, he had to "kill the switches, and die...or slump down if Dr. Smith pulled the Robot's power pack - which he did a lot." May also wore black makeup over his eyes while inside the suit to keep any skin reflections from being picked up by the cameras.

On the episode "Trip Through The Robot" written by Barner Slater, Will Robinson (Billy Mumy) and Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) crawled inside the Robot to fix a malfunction that caused it to grow to a tremendous size.

The LOST IN SPACE Robot was designed by Bob Kinoshita, the creator of Robby the Robot used in the feature film Forbidden Planet (1956). A new and improved version of the Robot appeared in the 1998 movie remake Lost in Space starring William Hurt and Mimi Rogers.


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