Danger Will Robinson!
January 19, 2009 8:00 AM   Subscribe

R.I.P. Bob May - better known as "The Robot" in the 60s T.V. series "Lost in Space."

Bob began his career in 1941 at the age of 2, helping out his grandfather's act. According to his bios, he worked with his family playing theaters, nightclubs, and hotel supper clubs all over the world, along with their many television shows.

Aside from a career on broadway, he also hit the USO circuit as an in-house performer for the soldiers, various TV and movie rolls, and the stage - but we all know him best as perhaps the most famous robot voice of all time.

Websites about Bob abound, but I have a feeling this is what you will all be looking for.
posted by Muddler (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This does not compute.
posted by infini at 8:06 AM on January 19, 2009

Buy your very own!
posted by gman at 8:06 AM on January 19, 2009

posted by interrobang at 8:16 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Actually, Bob May was NOT the voice, Dick Tufeld was.
posted by bonefish at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Danger Will Robinson!

posted by jonp72 at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2009

My very sincere apologies for getting the voice side of it wrong in the post - as bonefish has noted. Damn, and I knew that too. Dick Tufeld was the largely uncredited voice of the Robot. Bob May was responsible for the wild flailing arms.
posted by Muddler at 8:45 AM on January 19, 2009

You bubble headed boobie!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:08 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

What bonefish said. He was just the guy in the suit, and I don't think he even moved the arms on it, someone else did that.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 9:17 AM on January 19, 2009

Not so.

The B9 Robot Builders Club has pretty much everything you could want to know about the robot, how to build one, and how to act in one:
ICONS: What would you say are some of the classic Robot moves?

BOB: I'll tell you only what I was able to tell everyone else. Firstly I could never tell Irwin all simply because I was worried about my job. Let's be honest I tell him all and then He'll get someone else.

ICONS: Perhaps we should rephrase that. In the show a startled expression would often mean a bubble movement up and down.

BOB: At times it could mean a double take as well. It could also be a combination of both. You have to understand the essence of acting is first and foremost reacting.

ICONS: Have you ever thought of your work inside the suit as a form of mime?

BOB: It's not a mime. I never thought of it that way. It may be in retrospect but I never even thought of it that way because if you couldhave taken an x-ray of the Robot you would have seen me going crazyinside. What I was trying to do and I think to a greater degree I accomplished, it was to take the actor inside and turn the costume intothat actor. And in doing so you have to be reacting frenetically inside to make all of the varied emotions come to life. With that, the costume you are wearing truly becomes that character. My plan back then was to give it that ultimate personality so that the other actors would not look at it as, well here's the costume or worse still here's the prop. Then characterization for the Robot was all important to my fellow performers and how they reacted against it. Simply because if they couldn't buy it, how could an audience be expected to follow suit. [...]

ICONS: What was your favorite episode of the show?

BOB: That would have to be the last a episode "Junkyard in Space", When the Robot sacrifices himself to save the family by giving himself to the alien junkman for scrap in exchange for their freedom. There was a really touching scene in that episode . I'm heading for the blast furnace to be melted down. Billy Mumy is standing above me as I go down the conveyor belt. At that point, in what has to be one of the most touching good-byes I found myself overcome and began to cry. I could even see that Billy had been caught up in the moment. And the funny thing is, at the end of the scene, the heart of the Robot and his love for the family stopped him from being melted down because even the blast furnace could not destroy a pure heart. All in all, that was one of the Robot's finest hours. Love conquered all.
posted by pracowity at 9:25 AM on January 19, 2009

posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:45 AM on January 19, 2009

posted by mikelieman at 9:52 AM on January 19, 2009

Billy Mumy told a great story at a convention I once attended. Apparently practical jokes were rife on the Lost in Space set, with everybody constantly needling everybody else. One day, Mumy was shooting a scene with the late Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith and Bob May inside the Robot suit when the director called a break for lunch. Everybody left the set, and Harris and Mumy deliberately and with malice aforethought did not tell May that it was time for a break. Since May couldn't get out of the suit without assistance, he remained stuck in there until Harris and Mumy came back to the set after lunch. When they returned, they were shocked to see smoke emerging from the Robot. Fearing that they had doomed May to a fiery demise, they rushed over and opened up the suit. They found May sitting calmly inside, reading a magazine and smoking a cigarette.

posted by Faint of Butt at 9:52 AM on January 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

Well, Will Robinson's fucked now.

posted by Caduceus at 10:40 AM on January 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

Buy your very own!

Or several Real Dolls.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:36 PM on January 19, 2009

posted by Smart Dalek at 4:19 PM on January 19, 2009

Boom boom boom boom, boom-boom-BOOM!

posted by Goofyy at 10:07 PM on January 19, 2009


Errrr... too late.

posted by fairmettle at 2:39 AM on January 20, 2009

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