Robby the Robot was the breakout star of the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, with his winning good looks (which include “sax valves" and “gyroscopes”) and his sarcastic dialogue (Altaira: “Robby, I must have a new dress, right away.” Robby: “Again?”). And now Robby — who cost $100,000 back in 1956 — is up for auction.
Bonhams auction house is offering the fully operational robot, designed by Robert Kinoshita, Arnold Gillespie, Irving Block, Mentor Huebner, and Arthur Lonergan. Robby comes with the Jeep that he used in Forbidden Planet, as well as a control panel, an alternate head, his original staging crates, the harness worn by actors Frankie Carpenter and Frankie Darro to haul the 120-pound suit, and other robotic accoutrements.
Sadly, the Jeep no longer works. According to Bonhams, “M-G-M cannibalized its steering mechanism and motor for another production.”
Bonhams has a history of Robby, here. In brief, Robby had fallen into disrepair by 1979, when he was acquired by Bill Malone, who had created a Robby replica. He restored Robby from recasts of original molds.
Robby’s popularity led to other roles. He appeared in The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, three episodes of Lost in Space (whose main robot protagonist Robot was also designed by Robert Kinoshita), Gremlins, and many others. His most recent IMDb credit is the 2005 sitcom Stacked.
For decades, Robby was a visible image of geek culture and an important icon in our history. So how much will the 1950s cultural touchstone ultimately cost? To quote Robby directly, “Quiet please. I am analyzing.”
(Via New Atlas)