Robot Hall of Fame
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The first robots were creations of imagination rather than engineering. The replica robots lining our “walk of fame” are a tribute to the fictional machines that helped spark the imaginations of those who created real robots that followed.
Make your way down as you check out seven replicas of some of the most popular robots—and see how they’ve evolved throughout the years.
The Iron Giant 1999
The Iron Giant is the star of a science fiction, comedy-drama animated film by the same name. In the movie, the alien robot lands near Rockwell, Maine and befriends a local 9-year-old boy, but it faces danger when a paranoid government agent seeks to destroy the robot. Produced by Warner Bros. and released in 1999, the film was critically acclaimed and won nine Annie Awards, but significantly underperformed at the box office. However, because of home video releases and television syndication, it now has a cult following and it is considered a modern animated classic. The robot towers over most others in the Hall of Fame and holds true to its claim as a giant.
One of the first robotic icons in science fiction, Maria appears in “Metropolis,” a silent German film directed by Fritz Lang and set in the year 2026 (at the time, 100 years in the future). The robot is never named in the film, but she is an attempt to make an evil mechanical duplicate of the beautiful heroine, Maria.
Introduced in the movie classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Gort comes to Earth as the robot bodyguard of the mysterious spaceman, Klaatu. The film was released in the middle of the Cold War, and Gort embodies the threat of the unknown.
Robby made his first appearance in the 1956 MGM movie “Forbidden Planet.” Robby is the film’s most memorable character and is responsible for the cult following the movie carries.
The robot from TV’s “Lost in Space,” never given a name on the series, was designed by Robert Kinoshita, also the creator of Robby from “Forbidden Planet.” Although endowed with superhuman strength and futuristic weaponry, he often displayed human characteristics such as laughter, sadness, and mockery.
HAL 9000 1969
HAL is a central character in the film by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” As the brain of the spaceship Discovery, HAL is a robot that uses the mechanical, sensing, and information systems under its control and eventually is driven ‘mad’ by the responsibility and secrets he bears.
This is one of the robots from the film “Silent Running.” Many science fiction films in the 1950s had political overtones; “Silent Running” updated the agenda to address the ecological threats that were becoming apparent on Earth.
This golden robot is half of the most famous robot duo in film history. C-3PO and his side-kick, R2-D2, provided the laughs and propelled the stories of the “Star Wars” films.
Tom Servo and Crow 1988-1996
Tom Servo and Crow, two of the stars of the cult-favorite, Mystery Science Theater 3000, take up residence as the newest fictional ‘bots in our Robot Hall of Fame. These robots – clearly made from spare parts and old toys – cracked wise on hundreds of cable TV shows for years, mocking the stale story lines, bad acting, and poor production values of some of the worst sci-fi films ever made.