Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Dick Tufeld with The Robot
I remember rushing home from school in the late 60's so that I could catch "Lost in Space" on the local UHF TV station. The early episodes were in black & white and the later ones were in the gaudy, over-saturated colors of the 1960's.

The special effects were pretty bad, the acting was even worse. But it was the only afternoon science fiction I could get; Star Trek was shown in the evening when I had to share the TV with my sisters or my parents (none of whom were fans of the show). Nevertheless, I loved the spaceship, the Jupiter II and - most of all - the Robot.

Mostly he was just called "Robot," but in the scripts and (I think) the original pilot he was technically designated B9 (benign). Whatever you called him, I loved the concept of a helpful and friendly robot.

That was the long way to get to the point that I just found out that the voice of the robot, Dick Tufeld died last week. His voice was distinctive and could be heard on many shows created in the 60's and 70's. He even reprised his voice-over role for the (horrible) 1998 remake of "Lost in Space." Audiences cheered when they heard his voice again after so long.

Now that voice is silenced as is the Robot. Never again will Dick - in the guise of B9 - utter that famous phrase: "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" Farewell, Dick Tufeld. Farewell, Robot.

1 comment:

Steve Bates said...

Sad. I miss him even though I never watched the show... it was too late to be my first TV spacer.

A bit of autobiography: my first spacer was in the early 1950s "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," or perhaps the mid-1950s live action "Flash Gordon." My family did not own a TV, but my uncle and grandmother did; occasionally I was allowed to watch s/f, but generally the adults controlled the mechanical channel knob (no remote in those days!). If there was a regular robot character in one or both of those, I don't remember it, but the movie Forbidden Planet of course had Robbie, who looked very, very much like B9.

By the time of "Lost in Space," I was either lost in studies or lost in girls. Eventually, my freshman year in college, "Star Trek" classic launched, and we all watched that. Decades later I grew obsessed... yes, that's the right word... with Next Gen and DS9, taping as many episodes as I could. No robots there, either, but Cmdr Data was a more than respectable substitute.

This rambling, pointless comment is in memory of DeForest Kelley... and of course Dick Tufeld. May they rest in peace in their Final Frontier.