Bob May lets out a
chuckle from his home in California's San Fernando Valley.
An East Coast
reporter has just told the actor he had a toy replica of the
Lost in Space robot as a child — but his mom sold it at a
The toy, in good
condition, could bring a nice chunk of change today on eBay.
it," May laughs.
May has a more
than passing interest in B9, the robot that was young Will
Robinson's companion and Dr. Zachary Smith's comedic foil on
"Lost in Space." The campy, mid-1960s sci-fi series
revolved around the Robinson family's life marooned on a
planet in a far-flung galaxy and their efforts, often ruined
by Smith, to find their way back to Earth.
distanced himself from the most famous character he's
inhabited. He and series star June Lockhart are set to appear
at the MegaCon comic book and sci-fi convention in Orlando in
mid-February, he said.
May also is
scheduled to appear all day today (12/16/06)
and most of Sunday at the South
Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach with
replicas of the B9 robot and Robby the Robot, star of the
1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. The museum's exhibit,
"Robotics," opens today and will run through early
During the show's
run, May climbed inside the robot shell week after week,
enduring the heat, the strain of moving in the heavy costume
and, yes, Smith's acerbic, often alliterative put-downs.
With a stiff —
make that metallic — upper lip, May shrugged off being
called a "bumbling bucket of bolts," a
"hopeless heap of tainted tin" and other insults.
Although his face
was never seen and his lines were dubbed over by Dick Tufeld,
May enjoyed nearly every minute of the experience.
"I'm the only
actor who had his Jacuzzi and sauna built into one," May
said of the confining robot outfit, which weighed more than
Allen, of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" fame, ordered
a system for pulling the robot around after May was injured
the first week trying to propel it by foot.
350 pounds with me in it. I got cut up pretty bad," May
said. "So they bolted the legs together and pulled it
who portrayed the fey, diabolical Dr. Smith, came up with the
insults his character hurled at the robot in each episode, May
"He had a pad
and a pencil next to his bed and he'd wake up in the morning
and write them down. I never knew from one day to the next
what he was going to call me," May said, laughing again.
Decades after the
three-year run of Lost in Space, May has fond memories of the
colorful, far-fetched show and is proud of the part he played
in its success.
"I'm in the
history of TV, which is phenomenal," May said.
He also gets a
kick out of his large collection of Lost in Space memorabilia,
much it donated by fans.
He notes with glee
that he still has his toy robot — in the original packaging.
His mother kept it for him long after the show ended.
Go ahead, Bob.
Rub it in.
("Robby the Robot"
and the B9 "Lost in Space" Robot replicas are both owned by HighTechScience.org's
founder Richard Newman).