Saturday, April 14, 2012

Face-Off: Robby the Robot vs. B-9

Karen: In honor of this being National Robotics Week, we ask the age old question: Robby the Robot vs. The Lost in Space robot, B-9 - who's the winner of this titanic clash of mechanized muscle? (And ignore the LIS episode where they met -this is all up to you!)


david_b said...

Nope, I saw the text and pic this morning.., just waiting on others to chime in first.

I don't have a lot of reference on watching Robby, other than the original 'Forbidden Planet' and his host of guest shots he's done throughout the decades, on shows like 'Columbo' no less...

Keeping in mind the annoying (perhaps 'passionate'..) excesses of Bob May's scripted lines for B-9 by the 2nd/3rd LIS seasons, I still like the visual aspect of B-9 from the get-go. Remember the stirring music in the pilot when you first saw B-9, dramatically lit..?

It's easy to get disappointed by B-9's role regressing to Will's guardian/Dr Smith's bane by the series end, but you can't deny that he was an awesome aspect of the show, and huge in the proud history of hollywood robotics.

humanbelly said...

Y'know, I had no sense of LiS's Robot being called "B9"-? All my life, I've just thought of him as "Robot". But I've (sadly, perhaps?) actually pondered the LiS Robot vs. Robby choice before-- and my sentimental attachment always keeps me in B9's camp. ALWAYS liked his voice, for one thing. And as a kid, the hokey, non-robotic cheesiness he descended into was, if anything, his major delightful attribute. Am I remembering him wearing a beret at one point, and trying to paint a picture. . . ?
And even as a kid, I always thought his design was much more convincingly robotic than Robby's-- with at least some sort of nod towards form following function.

And even by the mid/late 60's, Robby was 'WAAAAAAY overused! We'd groan pretty much any time he popped up as a guest star. Heck, Wikepedia even misses some of them. I definitely remember him from 2 or 3 Twilight Zones, Man from UNCLE, Monkees, and Adams Family. Most memorably (and missed by Wiki) is his wandering up out of the lagoon onto Gilligan's Island-- probably the breaking point for Tina Louis' volatile self-esteem was having to "seduce" the fool thing.
I'm pretty sure we saw him on the Munsters at some point. And Columbo, yes.

And was he ever convincing? Heck no. Again, even as a young viewer, you'd look right past the attempted illusion and be thinking the whole time, "Boy, it looks like the guy inside that thing's having a tough time gettin' around-!" I wonder if there are any interviews out there of the guys who've had to operate it/him over the years?


Edo Bosnar said...

Don't know who'd win, but I know they could probably both kick the pants off of Andy, the cowardly (and proud of it) robot from "Quark."

Rip Jagger said...

I'd have to go with Robby myself. His talents as revealed on Forbidden Planet seem boundless. He likely wins just because he can manufacture quality bourbon, a trait any Kentuckian can appreciate.

As for B-9, he sure wins on the personality front, a charming bit of metal, one of the few non-human characters to make a solid impression on his audience. He was a perceptible "person" after it was all said and done. I'd have to say in many ways he was rather like the Vision from Marvel.

Rip Off

david_b said...


Andy was AWESOME.. Him and Gene/Jean together always made a great team.

Jeez, I miss "Quark".

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