Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TZ Spotlight: Hallmark's 2009 'Robby the Robot' Ornament

We've already covered Hallmark’s excellent 2009 Twilight Zone ornament (here). Your attention is now directed toward another 2009 ornament, this time (indirectly) commemorating one of the less human denizens of the Zone.

Robby the Robot first appeared in 1956 in MGM’s sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (he even received billing along with the actors!), and went on to appear in several other films and shows, most notably TV’s Lost In Space (which featured several Zone alumni, including Billy Mumy and Jonathan Harris). The estimable automaton was also featured in two Twilight Zone episodes, both during the show’s fifth season (“Uncle Simon” and “The Brain Center at Whipple’s”), which qualifies him (it?) as an official part of Zone history.* So even though the ornament is clearly intended to commemorate Forbidden Planet, it works equally well as an unofficial Twilight Zone ornament (it’s the same damned robot, after all).
The ornament is quite well constructed. It feels nice and sturdy (as opposed to the chintzy Robby toy that accompanied the deluxe Forbidden Planet DVD set a few years back; see below for a comparison). It features two distinct set of lights (blue and yellow), and it utters several lines from the film (which is cool; however, I’d much rather hear him flinging disparaging lines at Uncle Simon’s niece Barbara instead). The entire head section is removable (via one tiny screw) to insert the batteries (included). The sculpt is very detailed (the box credits one Mr. Nello Williams with the design; hey, nice work, sir!). All in all, this ornament is worth every penny of the $18.50 Hallmark is charging.
Robby looks stellar next to Hallmark's “official” TZ ornament…

Robby with Rod Serling. Note the alternate face on Robby, used in the episode "Uncle Simon."

*A toy version of Robby also appears in season one’s “One For the Angels,” as one of the items pitchman Lew Bookman is selling at the beginning of the episode.


Tom Bailey said...

WOW this is classic stuff. Thank you for sharing.

Troy Thomas said...

I do not have this ornament. Wish I did though. I was counting on my parents toget it for me for Christmas but they sold like hotcakes and therefore... I was a sad kid.