Monday, January 19, 2009


Recognize this man? His name is Bob May. He was an iconic figure from 1960's television, although in the Toobworld timeline his show didn't take place until 1997.

Perhaps it helps if you see who he's partnered up with in the next picture. On 'Lost In Space' you would never have seen them in the same scene, because Bob May inhabited the robot shell.
He passed away on Sunday of congestive heart failure at the age of 69. He and his wife lost their home in November to the California wildfires.

After years of work as an actor and a stuntman for other TV shows as well as in the movies (and even on the vaudeville stage - his dad was comic Chic Johnson), Bob May got the role of Robot (it was never "the Robot", just Robot) mainly because he could fit inside the outfit.

When the series debuted in 1965, Robot was on board the Jupiter 2 spaceship, but had been re-programmed by Dr. Zachary Smith to be a threat to the Robinson Family. But as the series progressed, it became a loyal ally and a good friend and bodyguard for young Will. And its AI programming evolved so that it actually took some kind of delight at needling Dr. Smith.

He learned all of the lines of every character in his scenes so that he knew when to make the
appropriate movements for Robot.

I don't think there's anyone who doesn't know the basic quotes from Robot: "Danger! Danger!" and "It does not compute!" But Bob May provided only the movements for Robot; Dick Tufeld supplied the vocals. Still, you just aren't getting the whole picture unless you also add in those flailing arm movements as Bob May waved Robot's pincers about as his midsection spun about and his plastic dome rose up in agitation.

To Dr. Smith, Robot was a bubble-headed booby. For me, and countless others who watched him every week on 'Lost In Space', Bob May was an unsung hero for bringing Robot to life.

As Red Skelton said, Good night and may God bless....

Toby O'B

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