1 9 8 4 (USA/Japan)
13 x 30 minute episodes
For a typical toy-based cartoon of the 1980s, the series The Mighty Orbots – an American/Japanese collaboration – stood out due to the names attached to it. No less than former network programming wizard Fred Silverman served as an executive producer, and veteran actor and voiceover artist Howard Morris served as voice director.
Unfortunately, their contributions did not help the ABC show to become any more than a routine effort and lasted just one season, thanks to a lawsuit from Tonka who alleged the show had plagiarised their Go-Bots franchise.
The stories focused on a group of law enforcers for the Galactic Patrol – part of the United Planets – in the 23rd century.
The lead characters were mild-mannered young scientist Rob Simmons (voiced by Barry Gordon) and Dia (Jennifer Darling), who were also romantically involved, and their five robot comrades known as Orbots, who could combine to make one oversized robot, or rather Orbot.
The Orbots were burly strongman Tor (Bill Martin), childlike Bort (Jim MacGeorge), who could reconfigure himself into any machine or device, fun-loving twins Bo (Sherry Alberoni) and Boo (Julie Bennett), and moronic Crunch (Don Messick), who usually served as comic relief.
Rob commanded the oversized hybrid Orbot along with diminutive driver Ohno (Noche North) – so named for her propensity to exclaim, “Oh, no!”
Commander Rondu (Dia’s father) was their contact on Earth (also voiced by Don Messick).
Their recurring foe, Lord Umbra (Bill Martin again) – the cyborg head of an evil criminal organisation named SHADOW – attempted to destroy Earth but failed to do so in the 13 episodes made for this show.
Rob (Robert) Simmons
Magnetic Menace | The Wish World | Trapped on the Prehistoric Planet | The Dremloks | Devil’s Asteroid | Raid on the Stellar Queen | The Jewel of Targon | The Phoenix Factor | Leviathan | The Cosmic Circus | A Tale of Two Thieves | Operation Eclipse | The Invasion of the Shadow Star