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Old June 9 2015, 06:52 PM   #1
Redfern
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"Harris & Robot" comedy?

Years ago I thought I read some article that claimed a situation comedy was "considered" which would have featured Jonathan Harris and the costume/prop Robot (B9) from "Lost in Space". the premise would have presented Harris as the head butler and the family whom he serves presents him with a robotic assistant. Harris sees the Robot as a potential threat to his position, so the two continually butt heads with the wordplay being similar to that on the earlier series.

If this reads as a bit familiar, well, it has been done at least once. "The Addams Family" presented an episode in which Gomez and Morticia honestly try to help Lurch by building him a mechanical assistant, performed by Robby the Robot of "Frobidden Planet" fame. Of course, that was a "one off" with Lurch violently dismanteling Robby (off camera) by the end of the episode.

It is with that in mind that I will admit this may be nothing more than show-biz myth, or more likely fannish "wishful thinking" years later the fact. As in, "Wouldn't it have been cool if..." But I feel confident I really did read something about this, that some producer, maybe Irwin Allen himself, considered this notion shortly after "Lost in Space" ended.

Such would have had two debatable advantages over LiS. One, being a comedy, you'd "go into it" expecting something silly or absurd. Two, even if the head butler were selfish and conniving, odds are his antics would not threaten the very lives of the family he serves, a constant issue in LiS that make some people wonder, "why didn't Don just kill the schnuck and make it look like a tragic accident?!"

Anyway, has anyone else read anything about this or am I just becoming more delusional with age?

For "shiggles", I used Poser to compose a "publicity" type portrait featuring the two in a mansion foyer and Harris dressed a bit more dapper than he did on LiS.



Sincerely,

Bill
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Old June 10 2015, 01:59 PM   #2
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Re: "Harris & Robot" comedy?

That doesn't sound as if it would have been a completely dumb premise.
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Old June 10 2015, 03:17 PM   #3
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Re: "Harris & Robot" comedy?

Ah, so it's just a "partially" dumb premise.

Alas, the era of "high concept" sit-coms (themes like live-in genies, talking horse, monsters as the "typical" family, etc.) seemed to be winding down by the end of the 60s, with only "Bewitched" surviving into the early 70s. A "butler vs. robot" comedy, if ever seriously contemplated, would probably have been declined as that kind of series was "on the way out". Socially "edgy" series spearheaded by Norman Lear with "All in the Family" would soon become the "hot item" and odds are a Harris/Robot show would have been ignored in favor of Archie Bunker making racially shocking comments.

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old June 11 2015, 04:37 AM   #4
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Re: "Harris & Robot" comedy?

I'd pay money to see the Robot making racially shocking comments.

Has he ever done stand-up?
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Old June 11 2015, 02:16 PM   #5
Redfern
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Re: "Harris & Robot" comedy?

Unless Bob May (the actor inside the suit) and Dick Tufeld (the voiceover performer) collaborated during a convention appearance, I can't really say. The B9 costume/prop was never used as extensively beyond its original production compared to Kinoshita's earlier design, Robby the Robot from "Forbidden Planet". Robby appeared several episodes of "The Twilight Zone", a segment of "Columbo", even "The Love Boat" and "Mork and Mindy" (when Roddy McDowell supplied his voice). Shoot, Robby was also in two epiodes of "Lost in Space". But the show (I can personally recall) in which B9 appeared after LiS was a live action Saturday morning series titled "Mystery Island". The unit was heavily modified, the neon coils hidden, the body painted white and the pill shaped bubble replaced with a squat plexi cylinder.

Of course, I'm thinking of the costume/prop constructed for the series. But a surprising number of recreations exist, maybe over a hundred. Some are licensed replicas, sanctioned by "Space Productions". Others are fan built, many impressively accurate to Kinoshita's specs. Taking those into account, I'm sure some fans have presented their collectibles at gatherings and saying things never spoken on "Lost in Space". Heck, I've done it myself by plugging a pitch altering novelty microphone into the audio input jack of a replica I own and sang some of the infamous Chipmunk Christmas Song.



So, "officially", no, I don't think the B9 Robot has been depicted doing standup beyond the schtick depicted on "Lost in Space". On the fan end of things, I'm confident someone has staged a stand-up routine. Shoot, I wouldn't be shocked if a replica appeared in a porno.

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old June 11 2015, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: "Harris & Robot" comedy?

It would be a crying shame if a replica hasn't appeared in a porn film.
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Old June 11 2015, 03:06 PM   #7
Redfern
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Re: "Harris & Robot" comedy?

And I'm sure the title would be "Lost in Spooge".

Sincerely,

Bill
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