the close of the last millenium with these three great robots:
L to R: Lost in Space
Classic B'9, 1997; Ultimate Iron giant, 1999, Robby the Robot, 1999.
They're licensed: New
Line Productions, Warner Bros., and Turner Entertainment.
Left: At just under 20
inches, Ultimate Iron Giant earned his name. But his articulated joints
could be moved so he could sit down, as in the top photo. He didn't
walk, but he talked when you put the small, magnetic Hogarth on his
shoulder, or pushed the button on his palm. His eyes also lit up and he
could munch a small included statue, car, or tractor, since his mouth
when he talked, which could then be removed from his back. Along with
an outer space noise, he said four phrases from the film: "Hogarth,
friend!", Ahh, friend!", "Hungry" and "Umm, yummy!".
number of Iron Giant toys, including this 10 inch walking version. Push
one button on the two button, wired remote control, and he would walk,
and make outer space noises, and his eyes lit up. Push the other
and his chest would spring open and launch a plastic disc,
eyes flashing, alarms warning of the shift to battle mode. Shown in
front of the control box is a 4 inch plastic, articulated Iron Giant
that was packaged with the VHS movie tape.
eyes flashing, preparing to launch the disc.
Giant and Robby the Robot used the same two button
remote control. Robby's made him walk and say three phrases from
the movie Forbidden Planet (see Robby the Robot).
rare, Classic Jupiter II. The top removed, and figures of Will,
Dr. Smith, and B-9 robot fit inside. It also featured red LEDs and
launching sounds. Also known as the Jupiter II Playset, it originally
retailed at under $50 (see Lost in Space).
middle: Dexter's Walking
Robot came in a Cartoon Network- branded box, and sold for under $15 at
Kay-Bee Toys in 2000. Dexter could be seated in the robot dome.
Pressing the red button on his right arm manually fired a missle. The
"mega firing chest missile", however, was fired by pressing the red
button on the control box. His left arm had a manual "clenching
Above right: Dexter also used
the two button Trendmaster control box. One button made the robot
walk, and the other fired the chest missile.
took this 2003 picture of the robot gang. Except for three tin models
dating from the '60s, all of the robots shown here came out after the
Lost in Space movie in 1998, leading to a new millenium of great robots.
From the past to the
collecting is a hobby for every budget, with robots available from the
price of a haircut to the cost of a car.
Robot Lilliput, a wind-up robot from Japan, circa
1939, is believed to have been the first toy robot. Mint with box, it
went for $2,000 in 1999. The above shown green variation released
through Schilling was available in 2008 for less than $20. Repros were
also made in the original orange. With Lilliput is a mini Robosapien
from Radio Shack, symbolizing the future of robotics a half century
later. Robosapien, invented by Mark Tilden for Wow Wee Toys, used his
BEAM technology (Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, Mechanics),
and was arguably one of the first affordable robots to cross the line
from a toy to a fully interactive robot.
Spaceman, an all- time classic robot from 1960 could fetch $3500
with a mint box in 1969. But HaHa Toys created affordable repros in
2007 that sold for under $100.
Above left: Chief Robotman
was one of a variety of battery operated 'skirted' robots that included
of Five. Yoshiya's 1959 creation was the perfect robot, with a turning
head, spinning antennae, lit top light and mysterious "bump and go"
action. Mint in box in 1999, it went for $2500. Design variations
included Cragstan's Radical Robot, Chief Smokey, Mighty Robot, and
Mystery Moon Man. Color variations were also introduced in 1960. The
robot shown is a repro of Chief Robot Man made in 2007 by Ha Ha Toys.
The first 2007 version was silver, followed by this blue variant.
On his left and
right are two bonafide robots from the 'fifties. On the
left, Hook Robot by Waco, in the rare silver/ blue variation. A small
hook stuck out of the back of his head (not shown). He was friction,
and when pushed, his head moved from side to side. On the right
is Atom Robot by Yoshiya. He had a crank in the bank, and once revved
up would move rapidly with "bump and go" "mystery" action.
Above right: The box for Ha
Ha Toys' Chief Robot Man duplicates the feel of the Yoshiya original.
Unlike the box picture, the eyes don't actually light up, although the
top lamp does. This well- made, battery -operated, metal robot is
otherwise an exact replica and sold retail in 2008 for around $70 at
Robot Island (see links).
left: Real battery-operated tin robots had been unknown
thirty years when Rocket USA introduced R-1 for the new millenium. At
over a foot tall, this skirted, colorfully-lithographed giant's eyes
and ears flashed while it made mechanical sounds and sped around the
floor with bump-and-go action--all kinds of classic robot stuff, and
still about $40 retail. R-1 came in blue or gray versions, with a red
model available through the Red Toy Company, a yellow "rescue" version,
and in a limited edition bare-metal Millenium model.
While lacking the detailing of its predecessors, R-1
nevertheless is an impressive robot, its eyes and ears blazing from an
internal lamp, as shown here. Many were made and sold, and this popular
robot is still affordable and available.