When sci-fi shows like Captain Video and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet became childhood favourites in the early 1950s, so did sci-fi toys.
Space helmets and ray guns were cool, but nothing was quite as cool as having your own robot. After all, this is a major kid fantasy we’re talking about here: a robot of your very own, a mechanical pal who will do whatever you say.
There were many wind-up robots that just walked around, but there were also some really nifty robot toys that offer plenty of sci-fi excitement. Enter one Robert The Robot . . .
Robert was a 16-inch red and silver robot figure first manufactured in 1954 by Ideal Toy Corporation of New York.
Inspired by the sci-fi classic Tobor The Great, Robert beat the wind-up robot competition by offering several cool features. For one thing, you could control its movement through a plastic grip connected to its back with a wire.
Turning the crank on the controller made him move forwards or backwards while squeezing its trigger made it turn left or right.
If a kid wanted to pretend he was doing maintenance on Robert, all he had to do was open the bot’s chest panel and take out the set of handy tools contained inside. Thus, you became both a robot owner and a super-smart robot technician.
But that’s not all Robert The Robot had to offer in terms of features. Robert also boasted battery-controlled eyes that lit up and could even talk if you turned the crank in his back.
He would say only one phrase, but boy was it a doozy: “I am Robert Robot, mechanical man. Drive me and steer me, wherever you can.”
In short, Robert The Robot was the Rolls Royce of robot toys. It also became a very popular toy, thanks to good distribution and appearance in Sears’ 1954 Wishbook.
Today, collectors will pay anywhere from $200 and $1,200 for a classic Robert The Robot. If you want a cool robot to fulfil your childhood robot fantasy, then Robert The Robot is the mechanical marvel of choice.