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Robby the Robot sci-fi movie prop up for auction

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For the right price, you could be the new master of a pop culture icon, who also just happens to be a robot. Robby the Robot[1] — famous for popping up in such TV shows as “The Twilight Zone[2],” “Lost in Space[3],” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “The Monkees[4],” “Mork & Mindy[5],” “Columbo[6]” and even “The Love Boat[7],” just to name a few — is now up for sale in Bonhams’ “Out of This World” movie memorabilia auction[8] in New York City on Nov.

21. Robby the Robot made his first big-screen appearance in the 1956 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film “Forbidden Planet[9],” a sci-fi take on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Robby played the mechanical servant created by a scientist named Dr. Morbius, who programs the robot using knowledge of the Krell, a race of highly intelligent beings that once populated the planet Altair IV, where the movie takes place.

Robby the Robot sci-fi movie prop up for auction

Robby cuddles up to actress Anne Francis on the set of “Forbidden Planet.”

Getty Images

Robby’s design and construction, from materials including metal, plastic, rubber, wood, glass and Plexiglas, cost MGM around £125,000. Robby’s unusual robot design included sphere-like arms, legs, and dome, all made of acetate.

Robby’s front neon tubes blink, which gave the robot the appearance of talking, and Robby runs on five 12 volt DC motors and can be controlled with a remote attached by a cable. After “retiring” from film and TV, the famous prop found a home with various collectors until he was ultimately bought and restored by filmmaker and collector Bill Malone. This original Robby that’s up for auction is fully operational and is expected to sell for seven figures.

Tech Culture[10]: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.

Special Reports[11]: CNET’s in-depth features in one place.

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TV and Movies[13] Robots[14]


  1. ^ Robby the Robot (en.wikipedia.org)
  2. ^ The Twilight Zone (www.metacritic.com)
  3. ^ Lost in Space (www.metacritic.com)
  4. ^ The Monkees (www.metacritic.com)
  5. ^ Mork & Mindy (www.metacritic.com)
  6. ^ Columbo (www.metacritic.com)
  7. ^ The Love Boat (www.metacritic.com)
  8. ^ Bonhams’ “Out of This World” movie memorabilia auction (www.bonhams.com)
  9. ^ Forbidden Planet (www.tvguide.com)
  10. ^ Tech Culture (www.cnet.com)
  11. ^ Special Reports (www.cnet.com)
  12. ^ Tags (www.cnet.com)
  13. ^ TV and Movies (www.cnet.com)
  14. ^ Robots (www.cnet.com)

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