Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Warned Will Robinson

It was almost exactly two years ago, that I wrote of the death of Bob May.  Don't recognize the name?  You'd recognize his most famous character, as I mentioned when I wrote his obit

The Robot, from Lost in Space
Bob May had a partner, in creating that most lovable of inhuman characters:

Dick Tufeld

Tufeld always knew he belonged in the voice field, and he had a long and varied career in radio and television. 

With a cup of hot chocolate,
I watched this program religiously, every Friday Night,
during its brief run

In addition to Lost in Space, he announced other Irwin Allen sci-fi programs such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Time Tunnel.

Walt Disney and his 50s hit Zorro!

Disney loved him, too, and used his vocal stylings to introduce Zorro! and the long-running anthology series carrying Walt's name.  Variety shows starring Judy Garland and Julie Andrews were also part of Dick's repertoire.  But in 1965, when Tufeld teamed with Bob May to create The Robot, he achieved cult status. 
Tufeld and May, and the mechanical man they portrayed.

Though envisioned as an ensemble drama,
it took less than a season for this trio to become
the leading characters of Lost in Space.

With Bob in the costume and Dick at the mic, the character of the "bubble-headed booby" became a breakout star of Lost in Space, and as the series progressed, Tufeld's dry delivery of the Robot's dialogue became more and more endearing (and hilarious).  His voice was so inextricably tied to the character of The Robot that he repeated his vocal duties when Lost in Space was revived as a regrettable feature film in 1998.  Our hero did not write "Danger, Will Robinson!" nor "It does not compute," but due to his vocal expertise, both became catchphrases in the late 60s.
Dick Tufeld died a few weeks ago, at the age of 85, while watching the NFL playoffs.

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