Friday, December 23, 2016

John the Robot Belongs in the Robot Hall of Fame

This is my humble attempt to get a little-known robot some respect and recognition.

Some people lobby to get their favourite athlete in one of the various sports halls of fame. Others make a case to get their favourite rock star in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of fame. Me, I'm putting my efforts into getting John the Robot inducted in the Robot Hall of Fame.

Although he is nowhere near as famous as Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet) nor as popular as Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still), John the Robot from Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet is an awesome robot in his own right. John's lack of notoriety probably has to do with the fact that his movie is a very obscure B-movie which itself was an English dub of an equally-obscure sci-fi Russian film called Planeta Bur. Its plot is nowhere near as good as the movies Robby and Gort are featured in but for a low-budget movie with man-eating plants and lizard men, overall it is not too bad.

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
Should John the Robot be in the Robot Hall of Fame?
Let's talk about some of the reasons why John deserves a spot in the RHoF.

For beginners, just look at his awesome design. He is a solidly-built robot with imposing size and impressive strength. In one scene in the film, John pulls down a gigantic tree. In another, he carries two astronauts on his shoulders (if robots can have shoulders) while walking through lava.

He also has large, functioning claws on his feet which allow him to get good traction on rocky and uneven surfaces.

John the Robot is not all about brawn though. He is also very dexterous and demonstrates this when he must lift open an ailing astronaut's face shield, place a pill on his tongue and pour water into his mouth from a flask, finally closing the face shield. He does all of this with his his three-digit hands.

Like most robots in movies from that era, I assume there was someone inside operating the robot shell and making it walk which could not have been easy considering its bulk. John Bix is credited as the robot so I guess that's was good enough for the robot's name. Bix probably only voiced the character since I assume it was a Russian actor performing inside the robot. Whoever it was inside, they deserve credit for bringing one of cinema's great robots to life.

I hereby nominate John the Robot for the Robot Hall of Fame.

If you would like to support this nomination there are a few ways you can do so.

You can leave a comment on this blog, you can take the poll embedded in the video at the top or you can post a comment in the video comment section on YouTube.

Here's a playlist of all the movie robots that have been inducted, as of this post, into the Robot Hall of Fame. There are actual real life robots that have been voted into the RHoF but for this blog, I've kept it focused on robots that have appeared in films.

The inductees include the following:

  • Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet
  •  R2-D2 & C3PO from Star Wars
  • HAL 90000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Maria of Metropolis
  • Huey, Dewey & Lewey from Silent Running
  • T-800 from The Terminator
  • WALL-E
  • David from A.I.
  • Data from Star Trek: TNG
  • Astro Boy

I would like to thank Weird Paul Petroskey for allowing me to use his song Robot Armor for the montage video of John the Robot. If you like the song and would like to purchase it on Bandcamp, just click on the song title.

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
John the Robot in scenes from Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet

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