ROBBY, THE ROBOT™
For over half a century, “Robby, the Robot” has remained the most famous and adored movie robot of all time. Making his film debut in 1956 in Hollywood’s first, multi-million dollar, science-fiction epic “Forbidden Planet,” “Robby” starred alongside Leslie Nielson, Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis, and cost the MGM prop-shop over $125,000 to construct. In 1957, “Robby” appeared in his second motion picture, “The Invisible Boy,” starring Philip Abbott and Richard Eyer.
Legendary MGM art director, Robert Kinoshita is credited with finalizing Robby’s design, pushing plastics fabrication and robot design technique into the 21st Century. Veteran Western actor Frankie Darrow brought the “Robby” costume to life, and the robot’s eloquent voice was skillfully portrayed by actor Marvin Miller of television’s “The Millionaire” series.
Segueing from big screen productions, “Robby” made an effortless and successful transition into television, where he later starred in many classic shows. These credits include his appearances in many popular series, see below:
In 1970, the original “Robby” was sold at the big MGM auction to the Prop-museum “Movie-World,” in California, and was placed on display next to the vehicle he drove in “Forbidden Planet.” Over time, souvenir hunters managed to vandalize “Robby,” who began to deteriorate rapidly.
In the meantime, Fred Barton created his own “Robby, the Robot” replica, which he displayed and demonstrated publicly for the first time in 1974. When “Movie-World” was made aware of this incredibly accurate reproduction, Mr. Barton was commissioned to restore the original “Robby” to good-as-new condition. Several years after the astounding museum restoration, Movie World closed its doors and “Robby” was sold to a private collector. Too valuable and fragile to be moved, Barton’s authorized replicas are now used in media and public appearances keeping Robby alive.
In 1997, Fred Barton Productions, Inc., obtained the prestigious license from Turner Entertainment Co., a Time/Warner Company, to manufacture an elite line of museum-quality statues, retooled from the original robot which he still produced to this day. Today as in mid-century Hollywood, Robby, the Robot is handmade, 100% accurate and exquisitely detailed. Indeed, the “Robby” produced by Mr. Barton is more than a recreation or replica. He is virtually another “Robby, the Robot,” created from molds, accurate blueprints and templates acquired from the original robot costume during its restoration. In fact, the new “Robby” surpasses the original in look and functionality. In the retooling process, skillful craftsmen at Fred Barton Productions, Inc., have carefully removed all the flaws and warps from the robot’s body, without losing the unique look for which “Robby” is world renowned.
Robby was inducted into the “Robot Hall of Fame” at Carnegie Mellon University where Mr. Barton and Mr. Kinoshita accepted the award on behalf of “Robby”. “Robby” still commands “star power”… and in honor or the 50th Anniversary of “Forbidden Planet”, Warner Home Video released a fully-restored HD Blu-ray print of the classic film and it has never looked better. To kick off the celebration, Robby escorted Anne Francis and his other co-stars down the red-carpet to a magnificent reception and gala premiere screening of the classic film. Afterwards, Fred Barton and Robby hosted a delightful cast reunion and moderated questions from the audience and media.
The original Robby, the Robot remained in a private collection for many years until recently being sold at public auction by Bonhams/TCM Auctioneers in New York City on November 21, 2017 for a record $5,375,000. With the swing of a gavel, Robby, the Robot became the most expensive hero prop ever sold at auction.
To keep current on “Robby, the Robot” media events, personal appearances, upcoming film and television roles, point your browser frequently to: www.the-robotman.com
Robby Film and Television Appearances
1956 – 2019
The Invisible Boy
The Thin Man
The Gale Storm Show
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
The Twilight Zone
The Addams Family
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Lost in Space
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour
Holmes & Yo-Yo
Starlog Magazine Commercial
The New Adventures of Wonder Woman
Mork & Mindy
Charmin TP Commercial
The Love Boat
Earth Girls Are Easy
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
General Electric Television Commercial
The Big Bang Theory