|Portrayed By|| Bob May|
Dick Tufeld (voice)
|Series||Lost in Space|
|Also Known As||B9|
|Affiliations|| Zachary Smith|
The Robot began as a simple servant of Doctor Smith, but as the series evolved, he began to take a humanoid personality and more, mirculas abilities. The B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot was a character in the television series Lost in Space. Known and addressed simply as "Robot", his full designation was only occasionally mentioned on the show.
Occasionally the Robot was addressed with the names of B-9 and The Robinson Robot. Other names for the Robot were Rodney, and his creator, Robert Kinoshita, called him Blinky.
Although a machine endowed with superhuman strength and futuristic weaponry, he often displayed human characteristics, such as laughter, sadness, and mockery, as well as singing and playing the guitar. The Robot was performed by Bob May in a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was primarily dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series' narrator and Jorge Arvizu for the Spanish dubbing. The Robot was designed by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot. Robby appears in Lost in Space episode #20 "War of the Robots" and in episode #60 "Condemned of Space". The Robot did not appear in the unaired pilot episode, but was added to the series once it had been greenlit. Initially, the bellows-covered legs were articulated, and were moved separately by the actor inside. However, the metal edges inside the suit cut actor Bob May's legs, so changes were made. The legs were bolted together, and the robot was pulled along by a wire instead of walking like it had done before. A new lower section was constructed with the legs cut off at the knee. This was filmed either in close-up or behind something to obscure the actor's feet protruding out the bottom; this version of the suit was informally referred to by the cast and crew as "the Bermuda shorts."
Features and abilities Edit
Robot B-9 consisted, from top down, of: A glass bubble sensor unit with moving antennae; A fluted, translucent ring collar (actually an arrangement of shaped ribs, through which performer Bob May could see); A cylindrical, rotating trunk section with extending bellows arms that terminated in red mechanical claws. The trunk section had controls, indicators, a removable power pack and a signature chest light that illuminated in synchrony with the Robot's speech (May had a key inside the suit, located in the left hook, that he would tap in time with his speech to illuminate the light, resulting in some scenes where one of the claws can be seen moving in time with the light); Bellows legs that were understood to move with some agility but which, due to real-world practical limitations, were rarely seen on camera to move separately; and Trapezoidal tread-tractor units at the bottom of each leg. These normally paired as a single locomotive device, but they also could function as individual feet. The leg and tractor sections apparently could be readily detached, allowing the Robot to be positioned in the rear of the Chariot ATV, although the actual disconnect operation was depicted only once. According to the series, the Robot possessed powerful computers that allowed him to make complex calculations and to deduce many facts. He had a variety of sensors that detected numerous phenomena and dangers. He was programmed with extensive knowledge on many subjects, including how to operate the Jupiter 2 spaceship. His construction allowed him to function in extreme environments and in the vacuum of space. He was extremely strong, giving him utility both in performing difficult labor and in fighting when necessary. Moreover, his claws could fire laser beams and, most frequently, a powerful "electro-force" that was similar to arcing electricity. In one first season episode, Dr. Smith was seen to remove the robot's programming tapes, which resemble a small reel of magnetic tape, from a hatch below the robot's chest panel.
After Lost In Space Edit
Two versions of the robot were used during Lost in Space filming – a "hero robot" costume worn by Bob May, and a static, "stunt robot" prop that was used for distant or hazardous shots. Both versions fell into disrepair after the series, but these have since been discovered and restored. The "hero" is privately owned by TV and film producer Kevin Burns, who commissioned a replica in the early 1990s for touring and conventions. The "stunt robot" is in storage at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington. Like Robby the Robot, the B-9 Robot prop costume was re-used on at least one other show. On the Saturday morning children's show Mystery Island, it was modified to make the primary character "P.O.P.S." There it had different domes, different color scheme, and an added rectangular skirt of gold-colored tubes, covering the rubber bellows legs and base. Full-size replicas of the robot are available commercially. Other versions have been built by hobbyists around the world, who have built at least 15 detailed full-size replicas of the Robot.
Was the Robinson's trusted Robot more than he appeared to be? Perhaps even extraterrestrial in origin?
On the Robot: It actually seems that alien civilization and technology had gone into his making before The Reluctant Stowaway. He was used as a hiding place by the alien nurse from Princess of Space and the tape of the princess was put into him.
As evidence, the following is presented as proof:
- The Robot's parts are compatible with the Junkman's
- The Robot knows Space Law in Fugitives in Space
- Robot seems to know the illusions are not real in Flight Into the Future
- The Robot knows the ratings of the mine field bombs - alien ones
- The Robot knows quite a lot about the anti-matter universe
- The Robot translates for the Princess in Castles in Space
- Robot seems to know what Farnum's alien flower trap will do
- The Robot can make things vanish and reappear
- The Robot knows a bit too much about Megazor and his culture and that Earthlings are not natural enemies of the Zon culture
- Robot can communicate to the alien machine in Kidnapped in Space
- Robot can operate on the alien leader in Kidnapped in Space
- Robot "took" up medicine before he left Earth (?). How?
- Robot communicates with the alien robot in Condemned of Space
- Robot was used as hiding spot for alien baby princess by nurse before taking off from Earth in The Reluctant Stowaway.
- The Mechanical Men - alien technology may have created these little alien robots as well as parts of the Robinson robot. More here than meets the eye - it cannot be just coincidence that the Robot and the tiny robots are exactly the same in so many ways. Industro is the tiny robot's planet.
- Robot can repair IDAK
- Robot can translate for Athena in two episodes and Urso in one
- Aliens know how to take the Robot apart without damaging him
- Robot can beat Radion
- Robot recognizes Morbus as an alien right away
- The Ghost Planet - the alien machines are well aware of the Robot and he doesn't seem too surprised by them. They seem to know each other or at least of each other's existence. Robot also knows that the missile fired by the planet is hyper atomic.
- Robot seems to know right away that the possessed John in the mask is really Kanto possessing the father of Will and Penny and not the alien himself in the last half of Follow the Leader. He also knows this alien has a spirit.
- A Change of Space - Robot can communicate with the alien
- Trip Through the Robot - despite having had put the Robot together at least twice, Will, Smith, Don, and John do not recognize a lot of the areas and components - alien or just different due to the enlargement?
- The Challenge - the aliens don't seem too worried about the Robot
- War of the Robots - Robot knows the term Robotoid and seems to know they are dangerous right from the start - he even seems to be able to track them a bit at the beginning of the episode.
- Return from Outer Space - Robot can work the Matter Transfer Unit.
If that's not enough, he just seems to know a bit too much about all the alien cultures encountered - enough to make one wonder and at times he seems to surprise the family - even Will and John with what he knows – and even Smith is at times surprised to find out what Robot knows and can do.
- The Robot, Will says in 1998, was built only two and a half years ago Trip Through the Robot. He develops more in War of the Robots and later both he and John admit that the Robot is not quite a machine but something between a machine and a man - he certainly has developed human emotions of a sort The Wreck of the Robot and also would miss Smith and Will if either left or if he left either of them. This is seen in Rocket to Earth and The Mechanical Men.
- Robot tried to convince himself he was not jealous of Verda (which he was but he did vote to keep her with the Robinsons).
- Robot starts acting more like Dr. Smith in the second season, picking up some of his phrases such as, "Hey wait for me!" in Treasure of the Lost Planet as well as some of Smith's fear displayed in The Toymaker when Robot says, "I feel sick."
- The Robot, in Treasure of the Lost Planet, also said, "The final indignity", another Smith phrase, when Smith used him as a gambling pointer. Robot also honed a sense of humor War of the Robots - "bad, very bad," and "Excuse me, I think I'm going to be sick!" and in The Prisoners of Space in response to Smith's bragging that he has only a few minor faults.
- In The Space Primevals, Robot also admits to Will that Dr. Smith's "timidity can be infectious." This happened after Will noticed Robot sounded alot like Dr. Smith after warning Will that their trip may be
- Fraught with dangers. Robot claims in KIDNAPPED IN SPACE, that he took two semesters of Medical training at the Institute of Cybernetics (Don says two years of training). He graduated first in his class. This was all before he became interested in Space Exploration and switched his Major(?)! He also tells Will that if he can reactivate his programmers' tapes on Medical Knowledge he can do them proud by operating on the alien clock leader of the Xenian's.
- Robot's relation with Will and Smith is more complex than it would seem. He has a love-hate relationship with Dr. Smith going on in all the seasons Condemned of Space but also admits that Smith is a great, decent human being and a credit to their expedition. Robot also admits Smith is his mentor and that he has a deep affection for Dr. Smith Forbidden Planet yet Smith continues to treat him as badly as he did in War of the Robots (where he punishes himself by allowing himself to give two weeks to the Robot's rub down massages).
- Smith continues to be cruel or unthinking in Trip Through the Robot but manages to try to start the heart up for Will, seeing how much the boy cares. In Rocket to Earth, Smith admits the lovable old ninny did have one or two good qualities about him. During the same episode says, "Oh Dr. Smith, don't go. We need you."
- The Robot was staying with Smith in Cave of the Wizards. He carries Smith on his treads in the same episode and sometimes asks to do the same in others.
- The Robinsons, Don (who has a pretty good knowledge of the Robot when he is normal size), and Smith may have (probably have) taken parts from other computers and robots to salvage into the Robot. They may have also copied tapes from other robots and alien devices into their Robot. This could explain why the Robot knows so much more about alien law and such starting a bit in the first season, in the second season, and much more in the third season. Such parts or sharing of info could have come from the Robotoid in War of the Robots and the alien robots in The Ghost Planet may have shared their tapes with Robot. In addition, the Robot may have shared info with the robot guard and used spare parts from Vera Castle, both from Condemned of Space.
- Don, Will, and John put the Robot back together in The Wreck of the Robot. Smith puts him back together in My Friend, Mr. Nobody. Maureen and Judy work on him in The Golden Man.
- The Robot was performed by Bob May in a prop costume built by Bob Stewart. The voice was dubbed by Dick Tufeld, who was also the series' narrator.
- The Robot was designed by Robert Kinoshita whose other cybernetic claim to fame is as the designer of Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot. Robby appears in LIS #20 "War of the Robots", and the first episode of season three "Condemned of Space".
- A modern version of the Robot was the Rambler-Crane Series Robot, which appeared in the Lost in Space movie
Here are some galleries of the Robot. It starts with the first gallery. Push > to advance to the next gallery.