Ark II 1.10 – The Robot

In 2008, M. Night Shyamalan made a silly movie called The Happening about a gas that puts people into trances and makes them sleepwalk their way into certain death. Darned if the same sort of gas isn’t at play in this episode. Two people are in the process of walking straight off a cliff before our heroes jump them. And Len Janson and Chuck Menville’s story is much, much better than the later horror movie.

But nobody remembers this episode for that odd coincidence; if people remember it at all, it’s because Robby the Robot is in it. This was Daniel’s first time seeing the iconic costume, which was used as a prop in some show or other about twice a year for two decades. There’s a “do not be afraid, little girl, I will not harm you” scene that had him grumbling and hiding under his blanket for a minute, but otherwise he thought the robot was “pretty cool.”

I wonder how many Robby suits there were in the seventies. I guess every production company’s prop guy knew who to call if they needed a big robot suit; the costume had the same effect with some people in the audience as a beloved celebrity making a cute guest appearance. I remember when my dad was watching Wonder Woman with me when Robby showed up once, and he was really pleased to see him. Dad was one of the teenagers in 1956 who had made Forbidden Planet a hit in the first place.

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