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Posts Tagged ‘Robot Commando’

  1. A Boy’s Best Friend is his Robot

    July 21, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    I’ve only cried at the movies three times in my life. The first time was at the end of a Japanese film called Voyage Into Space when Johnny Socko’s giant robot sacrifices himself to save the world (“Come back, Giant Robot! Come back”). The next time was at the end of a Bruce Dern movie called Silent Running when the last surviving robot drone, Dewey, is left to tend Earth’s last  forest (in space!) while Joan Baez sings over the closing titles. And most recently, near the end of the animated feature, Iron Giant.  I can suck it up and keep my cheeks dry during any screening of Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows but if Yeller was a stop-motion flying robot, or if  Old Dan and Little Ann were played by double-amputees in drone costumes, I’d be blubbering like an idiot.

    Maybe it was because I didn’t have a dog when I was a boy. But I did have toys. And, oh, what wonderful toys we children of the Sixties had.

    Robot Commando, made by Ideal, hit toystore shelves in 1961. It could move forward, turn right or left, shoot marbles from his swinging arms and a rocket from his hinged head…using voice commands! How cool is that for something made for children fifty years ago!


    The Great Garloo by Marx also came out in 1961. I’m not sure if it was technically a robot theme-wise but the fact that you could make it do your bidding gave it a robot vibe. The interesting thing about the commercial is the schizophrenic attempt to convince boys that Garloo is a violent city-wrecking monster and then go on to reassure parents that Garloo is no more than a benign servant.

    Here are examples of some other toy robots from 1961. Make sure you turn up your speakers!: