After A Successful Hollywood Career, Robby The Robot Sells For More Than $5 Million Last week Robby the Robot, the iconic Hollywood robot created for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, sold for more than $5 million. Robby was reportedly created for $125,000 and appeared in a number of projects after his debut role.
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After A Successful Hollywood Career, Robby The Robot Sells For More Than $5 Million

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After A Successful Hollywood Career, Robby The Robot Sells For More Than $5 Million

After A Successful Hollywood Career, Robby The Robot Sells For More Than $5 Million

After A Successful Hollywood Career, Robby The Robot Sells For More Than $5 Million

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Last week Robby the Robot, the iconic Hollywood robot created for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, sold for more than $5 million. Robby was reportedly created for $125,000 and appeared in a number of projects after his debut role.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

In the mid-1950s, a team of designers at MGM Studios built an elaborate robot for the sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet." Robby the Robot played a servant to Dr. Morbius. Last week, Robby sold at auction for more than $5.3 million to an unknown buyer. Bonhams auction house says that's a record for a movie prop.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Robby was constructed of metal, plastic and glass and cost about $100,000 to make. That was a lot of money at the time. And his career went well beyond "Forbidden Planet." NPR's Glen Weldon takes us through some of Robby's highlights.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: He is the iconic '50s film robot.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FORBIDDEN PLANET")

MARVIN MILLER: (As Robby the Robot) For your convenience, I am monitored to respond to the name Robby.

WELDON: He looks like a cross between a guy in a deep-sea diving suit and the Michelin Man, right? He's got pincers for hands. He's got a dome on his head. He's got two little whirligigs kind of whirling around.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FORBIDDEN PLANET")

MILLER: (As Robby the Robot) I am at your disposal with 187 other languages, along with their various dialects and sub-tongues (ph).

WELDON: He is designed to look friendly, to look like a helper as opposed to all those robots we'd see in movies up to that point, which were - tended to be either obviously a dude in a suit or just evil incarnate.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FORBIDDEN PLANET")

LESLIE NIELSEN: (As Commander John J. Adams) Nice climate you have here - high oxygen content.

MILLER: (As Robby the Robot) I rarely use it myself, Sir. It promotes rust.

WELDON: And then over the course of his long career, he - like any other actor, he got whatever gig he could.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Get the Pentagon - class-A emergency. The rocket has just been entered by a robot.

WELDON: He did an episode of "The Twilight Zone"...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TWILIGHT ZONE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) A new craving - hot chocolate.

WELDON: ..."Mork & Mindy."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MORK AND MINDY")

ROBIN WILLIAMS: (As Mork) This is Chuck the Robot.

RODDY MCDOWALL: (As Chuck the Robot) Greetings, Mindy. I am sorry about the door.

WELDON: He was in "Lost In Space."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "LOST IN SPACE")

DICK TUFELD: (As the Robot) The Robinsons prefer me.

WELDON: He also played the Squeezaks (ph)...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DICK WILSON: (As Mr. George Whipple) Finally, a robot to stop ladies from squeezing Charmin.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Squeezak) Don't squeeze Charmin.

WELDON: ...The robot that cannot help but squeeze the Charmin in a Charmin commercial.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Squeezak) Fluffy - squeeze Charmin. Squeeze Charmin.

WILSON: (As Mr. George Whipple) Squeezak...

WELDON: Whatever you needed, you had this amazing, really expensive prop.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "LOST IN SPACE MAIN TITLE")

WELDON: People from all different walks of life, all different adds, all different movies and television just kept reusing it and reusing it because it was so iconic, so recognizable and so expense.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "LOST IN SPACE MAIN TITLE")

MCEVERS: NPR's Glen Weldon on Robby the Robot. The prop recently sold at auction for more than $5.3 million.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "LOST IN SPACE MAIN TITLE")

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