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Dick “Danger, Will Robinson” Tufeld, dead at 85. Died watching the NFL playoffs (football is bad for you, m’kay). He was preceded in 2009 by Bob May, the little dude who actually wore the suit (it was hard to get out of the suit and he was a smoker, so smoke would be seen drifting out of the seams of the robot at breaktime).

And before them, Jonathan Harris, my hero. Born in the Bronx to Russian immigrant parents. When he got the theater bug, he watched British B movies for weeks straight until it thoroughly effed up his accent.

Sometimes, I poke Uncle B in the ribs until he says, “Oh, the pain!”


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 25, 2012, 9:31 pm

Yes, I was a huge fan. Don’t judge me!

I drove to Boston for the 30th Anniversary cast reunion, though I didn’t stand in the autograph line. That’s when this was made:

Comment from rustbucket
Time: January 25, 2012, 10:24 pm

Loved (and still love) Lost In Space. I can catch it several times a week on Me-TV. My grandson (age 5) loves it now, also. Male-bonding, or something.

Comment from Mitchell TAFKAEY
Time: January 25, 2012, 11:17 pm

We still have Bill Mumy.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: January 25, 2012, 11:27 pm

Interestingly enough (to me anyhow) Mrs. Vegetable, who is Japanese, grew up watching this show as a child, just like I did.
Yes, it was dubbed…
It was called “Space Family Robinson” there.

I am still occasionally known to say “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” even when just talking to myself.

I always thought the Star Wars robots sort of cheap copies of their ancestor Robot. You know how it is… Dad works his heart out and sends the kids to college… and well… it’s all fancy clothes and fake foreign accents from there

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: January 26, 2012, 12:03 am

It’s almost embarassing how much more watchable the TV shows of the 1960’s were, compared to the drek that is broadacst today.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: January 26, 2012, 12:34 am

I think Jonathan Harris was the first person I actually hated. I thought he was so mean and why would anyone like him!! They could have hired someone nicer to go into space with them!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 26, 2012, 12:56 am

He was a real badass in the first season, then he went all high camp. Not gay, by the way. Married his High School sweetheart and they stuck together ’til death did them part.

I hated him with a flaming hatey hate, too. It’s only in adulthood I came to appreciate his special qualities.

Face it, Scott – Lost in Space may have been watchable, but it warn’t exactly high drama. Just a cut above My Mother the Car.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 26, 2012, 12:59 am

I don’t recall ever watching it as a kid, my parents must have not liked it.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 26, 2012, 2:37 am

I always loved Harris’ plaintive, “Oh, please…!” when – inevitably – he was caught up to something bad and was going to be punished and was begging for mercy. It was sooooo pathetically fake….

Later, I liked the robots “Haw, haw, haw…” laugh.

And – no – LinS was not watchable by anyone over the age of about 10.

Comment from rustbucket
Time: January 26, 2012, 2:47 am

McGoo lives!!! Hey you old fart, how’s it hangin’?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 26, 2012, 11:36 am

Its draggin’, rb. But that’s OK – it suites me.

Wasn’t Robby considered the “first” Hollywood robot with a distinct name and character and personality? Unlike Gort, for instance, who really only mastered “being menacing” and kicking ass. Not to take anything away from Menacing, that is. I like Menacing. There should be more of it in the world.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: January 26, 2012, 2:08 pm

McGoo, I was just about to bring up “Forbidden Planet” and Robby the Robot. He was indeed the first with a personality. “Robby, where’ve you been? I’ve beamed and beamed!” “Sorry, Miss. I was giving myself an oil job.” And “I rarely use [oxygen] myself. It promotes rust.”

He’s still one of the very few film robots to follow Asimov’s Laws of Robotics: He obeyed human commands, but couldn’t harm a human even if ordered to do so. I presume he’d have protected his own existence if it didn’t conflict with Laws One and Two, but we never saw that. (Mr. Data on TNG covered all three bases.)

Like you, Ms. Weasel, I came to appreciate Jonathan Harris’s performances later. The story goes that it looked like Dr. Smith might be written out of the show, so Harris deliberately began to steal scenes and go over the top, and everybody loved it. That secured Dr. Smith a place in all three seasons, and in TV history.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 26, 2012, 6:53 pm

(That would be “suits” in my previous comment. But who really cares?)

Yes, WA, there were a number of “racy” lines in the 50’s movie FB that really raised eyebrows! Also, much of the clothing and uniforms, and hand weapons and spaceship were used in later Sci-Fi flicks. They sure got a lot of mileage out of their FB production dollar!

So it was Harris’ that influenced the later over-the-top direction of LinS? The robots’ lines and behavior definitely changed.

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: January 26, 2012, 8:47 pm

Robby the robot gave me nightmares for years and years and years!

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: January 26, 2012, 9:48 pm

Robbie the Robot actually is evil:

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 26, 2012, 9:50 pm

Global warming has struck!


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 27, 2012, 12:30 am

I think Robbie was the first movie star on a poster that I became enthralled by. Gave my poor parents hell until I saw that film, ISTR.

It was all downhill thereafter, of course.

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