following was on the cover of a special edition 2/16/11 in the
Rick Newman has advice on how to bring out
your inner child
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
& Forum Publishing Group
Posted February 16, 2011
buff collects toys and plays with them, too.
Rick Newman will officially
become a senior next month when he turns 55, but don't remind
him. It's not that he cares about aging so much; it's just
that he looks and acts so, um, boyish.
"Watch this", Newman
says in his workshop, as he elevates a flying saucer type
robot that someone gave him to test drive. "I know all
the robot makers and they give them to me because they know I
can get them out there", he explained, showing off the AR
Drone Quadracopter that can be flown with an IPhone.
"See" he said with obvious glee. "It hovers on
What people forget as they age is
how to have fun, and that's not just his credo, he lives it.
A former stage manager in the
Catskills, and long-time theatrical sound and light designer
for rock concerts, resort hotels, nightclubs and discos,
Newman is known in Boca for his own sound and light shows. He
stages them every Halloween and Christmas/Hanukah holidays for
free, and at his own expense, at his home in the Old Floresta
area of Boca Raton.
Although he was never formally
schooled in computers or robots, he assembles and collects
them. And he's proud of lending his extensive robot collection
of about 2000 all over Florida. He has also set up science
centers in 22 schools across the country.
Locally, you've probably seen his
robots from "Star Wars" or early sci-fi TV shows at
one of the local science museums. And those are his toys in
the foyer of the community center in Sugar Sand Park.
"These kinds of things
should be enjoyed by everyone", he said. "I didn't
start collecting them to hoard them".
Robotics is an interest he's
pursued since he won first-place in Flushing, New York in the
60s. "It started as a little kid watching "Lost in
Space", and I absolutely fell in love with the
robot", he said. He just never outgrew it.
His home business, High-Tech
Productions, duplicates and converts tapes into DVD's for
businesses and individuals. That allows him to concentrate on
his real love.
I'm a big kid", is how he
Rick, what can people do to keep that sense
of wonder as they get older?
"At least once a year they
should go to Toys "R" Us and indulge themselves.
Where's the law that says you have to stop playing with toys
after you're in your 20s?"
Why do you think people lose the ability to
enjoy themselves in that way?
"I don't understand why
people want to sit around and dwell on bad news, or people who
act older than they are".
Do you have any advice for people getting
old before their time?
"I would say, do something you did and enjoyed as a kid. I
had a minor stroke six years ago and I got into making and
flying RC helicopters to help with my eye-hand coordination. How
can you not have fun with that stuff".