When Rick Newman's
garage door opens, he's standing next to a blue curtain.
curtain sits the latest addition to his science artifact
collection, most of which is on display at the South Florida
Science Museum in West Palm Beach.
He's so eager to
show off his newest acquisition that he can't stop smiling. He
wants others to see it.
After a few
moments, Newman pulls back the curtain to reveal two 7-foot
robots with large feet, antennas and clamp-like hands. He
pushes a button on a black key fob and the robots become
animated. Sections light up and spin just like the
"B9" robot from the television show Lost in Space
and "Robby the Robot" from the movie Forbidden
They aren't the
same robots from the 1950s shows.
They are, however,
as close as it gets. Both were built half a century ago by B9
and Robby creator Robert Kinoshita with the original molds and
And Newman, of
Boca Raton, found Dick Tufeld, the man who was the original
voice for the Lost in Space robot. He asked him to read
a script and record it for the museum display he has been
making. Tufeld sent him an electronic file.
about getting Dick Tufeld. That's too cool to have it in his
voice," a giddy Newman said. "It's going to be a lot
The robots will
soon become part of an exhibit that Newman paid about $50,000
to create. The exhibit will be on display at the South Florida
Science Museum in West Palm Beach starting Dec. 15. Until
then, Robby and B9 will enjoy temporary residence at Newman's
started collecting science memorabilia and artifacts when he
was 13. His work copying and duplicating CDs and DVDs for
businesses and agencies such as the Central Intelligence
Agency and McDonald's has helped pay for the additions to his
collection. The more successful his business is, the bigger
the pieces in the collection.
It was only a
matter of time before he bought the life-size B9 robot and
Robby. The pair have been near to his heart since childhood.
He has pint-size replicas of them in his house.
ago, they're what inspired me to go into science," he
said. "And I'm hoping that it will inspire kids seeing
About 99 percent
of his collection is on display, he said. That collection
includes Russian space suits, United States space suits, space
craft models and more. The full collection, most of which he's
learned about through the Internet, can be seen at www.hightechscience.org.
His hope is that
Robby and B9 eventually will be mounted inside a 40-foot
trailer that could go to schools. Kids would walk through the
trailer to see the large robots.
this," he said. "It gives me a great feeling to
share it with the public and kids. I bought them to go to the
museums and, ultimately, from school to school. That's my goal
... to be able to bring it to all the schools in the