NOTES AND COMMENTS
EDIT THIS BEFORE UPLOAD
Hail Robby fans ~~~~ It's been a while. Nice to get back in.
Ok . . .well, Of course I got my
'current' Osaka Robby from Ray Rohr some months ago. And although I
feel it was certainly worth the dough, I have some observations, so
The first thing that I noticed was that, without the 50's style red feet and arms, this toy misses the flashy toy mark. Don't get me wrong; I'm a purist too, and I despise gaudy (cheaply) done products as much as the next person. It's just that, I remember the original Mechanized Robot toy from when I was a boy, and what a great impression those vivid colors left on me. One of my favorite parts on the original toy (and its Osaka repro-counterparts) is the sort of 'pink' plastic piston cylinders in the head shell...Amazing!
Next, I'd rather that the 'radar' rings didn't rotate so rapidly. I always end up installing weak batteries specifically to counter this tendency. In my opinion, slower rings look more Robby like! Additionally, I noticed that the rings turn at different rates. This is not a major problem, but it still bothers me a little. I've watched the 'real' Robby so many times, and his rings always seem to rotate slowly and at matching rpms.
Let's see now.....(it's hard to
criticise such a well though out product!) Ok....most of you will NOT
agree with me; but my feeling is that perfectly stamped tin does not
create the effect I look for in robots and tin toys. Let me explain.
I understand the arguement against buckled or creased metal in these
products, but after studying them, playing with them, shopping for,
paying for, and owning them, I've come to associate at least a small
degree of imperfections with authenticity. In other words . . . if it's
too perfect, it's not that cool. For example, if you've seen the full
sized Robbys that are being offered out of Los Angeles; the manufacturer
makes the point that improvements in vacuum-forming since the 1950's
allowed them to 'clean up' many of the imperfections found on the original
MGM Robby. Take a look at a photo of one of these $95,000 masterpieces.
It's clean alright. SO clean, it doesn't really have that Robby 'look'.
I'm sorry, but for me, part of Robby's charm is that he looks like he
does work; like he really rolls his sleeves up and doesn't mind getting
a bit of 'lube' on him. He looks like somebody "tinkered him together..",
not mass-produced him in a Los Angeles body shop.
Another thing that occured to me is that although the IDEA of having Robby blasting away with a Colt-Vickers blaster, the fact is he really has his own weapons mounted on his headshell and doesn't need the pistol at all! Strickly speaking, it's not even HIS anyway . . . It's government property, eh?
And as long as I'm on the subject; even though the box art for this toy is attractive, and colorful, I'd really rather have seen more representation of props from Forbidden Planet; such as Morbius' atrium style house, Robby's car, or United Planets Cruiser C57D. I love those images. The monsters are fine, but I don't really connect with them, imagewise. I mean, WHY is Robby blasting them anyway? Robby is basically a butler. To me, wholesale slaughter of planet creatures is quite UN-butler like.
Beyond all that, I still consider both my 50's Osaka Mechanized Robot AND my 'current' Osaka Robby to be among my absolute best pieces. They sit higher on the shelf than all the others. They stay in their boxes and I dust those boxes often!
Farewell till the next time!
David Lee Higginbotham
When I was about in the first grade, we had just purchased our first B/W television. My favorite shows were Rocky Jones Space Ranger and Flash Gordon (the TV version featuring Steve Holland). These were being shown on Sunday afternoon around 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. Beginning about July, I think, they started running previews or Forbidden Planet which of course showed Robby whirling and flashing, and spacemen trying to shoot him with rayguns (Robby disarms them naturally). The preview announced that children would be let into the theatre free IF they possessed an official complimentary pass to be found in Quaker Oats Cerial boxes at the grocery, as long as that child was accompanied by a paying adult. After obtaining MY free ticket, I remember telling all the neighbor kids about a new movie called "something" Planet. Then I'd run and ask my dad what that word was. I didn't really understand what a "forbidden" planet was but I knew something really good was coming. Sometime around the end of summer my dad and I got in the car and drove 15 miles to the state capitol to see Forbidden Planet at the Elsinor Theatre on a weekday night. We sat in the balcony (alone) and were immediately swept away on a technicolor trip to a distant solar system. I recall being very impressed with the fact that these Earthlings were using a flying saucer rather than a rocket. Also, I was very taken with the idea that the Krell had already been to Earth. My father took a dim view of the kissing scenes and this embarrassed me. Other things that stood out in my 7 year old mind included the Krell music pellet, and the tree crunching approach of the ID monster with Robbys attempts to hold it back. The one thing I'm quite certain of, is that the print they ran that night included the wedding scene. Afterward, we watched part of what seemed like a very mundane action movie starring Tony Curtis. For months, every space toy I owned was enlisted in repeated enactments of the most memorable scenes, in the backyard, the den, the bedroom, walking home from school, anywhere.
Months later, FP arrived in second run
at our local theatre. I poured over the poster day after day; but alas,
father would not allow another viewing. I was renued later, when The
Invisible Boy came to town. Thereis a scene in this movie that shows
a "photo" of Robby and (presumably) the crew of the C-57-D disembarking
at the Chicago Space Port in the distant future. The angle was that
a scientist invented a time machine and brought Robby back to the 20th
Century just after his arrival on Earth, following the events
outlined in FP. That Xmas (or possibly the next) I received the Moon
Car tin toy, which mystified me terribly since this was obviously the
FP vehicle, yet where was Robby? What's this Globe thing? At the local
second hand shop, later, I located a pocketbook edition of the FP novelization
of the film. I read it as best I could, considering that this was basically
adult fiction. I've since located a copy to replace the original, long
gone years ago. I've read it and find it to be an engaging treatment
loaded with provocative tidbits of information regarding the background
of the main charectors, the culture of the period and events preceeding
and following the scope of the film. Popular Mechanics Magazine ran
an article (which I still have) featuring Robby; presenting him as a
true mechanical entity, and not the "suit" he actually is. I still wonder
the editor really believed that Robby was a fully functional robot. About 1957 or 58, I discovered that a friend from school actually owned a Nomura Robby. Of course, he had not seen and I suppose was not even aware of Forbidden Planet. Regardless, he loved his toy a lot, and I resigned myself to seeing it in action only when visiting his house.
Later I discovered that a boy in my neighborhood had what seemed like a small wind up Robby but didn't look exactly like him either. This would be the Space Trooper. He didn't hold this toy with much regard and treated it as such. I could merely marvel at the toy makers awkward interpretation. After that came teen years and matters unconcerned with Robby or FP.
During these years it seemed as though no one could even recall FP. People easily confused Robby with the Robot on Lost in Space. I saw Robby lumbering around in a snowy episode of the Gail Storm Show once. Around 1973 MGM sent FP out on the kiddie circuit co-billed with the Time Machine. The Seaview theatre in Pacifica California was virtually empty that foggy Saturday afternoon, but my friend and I were both on pins and needles at the prospect of viewing what was for both of us, a hallowed childhood memory. This was IT! And it was great, but scenes were missing, the soundtrack scratchy, and the poster showed nothing but a big misty planet that looked vaguely like Saturn. But the magic was still there. The Krell, Altaira (now seen through adult eyes!) and the wonderful Disney special effects. I made an attempt after that, to locate a Nomura Robby, and acually found a dealer who said he had one MIB for (get ready) $40.00. I found it difficult to justify the expense at the time although I did follow up, the dealer didn't deliver and I moved on. Around this time I aquired my treasured Forbidden Planet Press Book. It's rare, and probabely quite valuable. It's B/W, and printed on high gloss paper. Just about every variation on the poster, lobbycard and other advertising materials (including banners and flags!) appears in this publication. Many credits, descriptions and production stories as well as photos and "copy" for newspaper articles; short, medium and long. It wasn't too much later that the quest for robots and Robby in particular began in earnest. I was stunned to learn the value of my old Moon Car but I understood exactly why these toys were commanding such prices. Todate, I had encountered precisely, one Osaka repro at a collectors show $500.0, One R/C pudgy Robby w/o box $325.00, a Planet Robot in N.Y.City $350.00 and an unboxed slightly damaged Moon Car $700. All of these prices seemed at the time somewhat high and thus, I declined. Recently I did puchase as original German FP poster proclaiming, ALARM IN WECTAL, very colorful. I like this very much and had it mounted for protection.
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