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Robby the Robot Leads 'Forbidden' Reunion

22 Jul, 2006 By: John Latchem

Forbidden Planet stars (L-R) Warren Stevens, Earl Holliman and Richard Anderson join Robby the Robot.

SAN DIEGO — Forbidden Planet stars Warren Stevens, Earl Holliman and Richard Anderson reunited with old friend Robby the Robot at a Comic-Con panel Friday, July 21, celebrating Warner's new 50th anniversary DVD of the film.

The Nov. 14 DVD, which features a restored soundtrack, comes in two packages, one of which includes a Robby the Robot toy and collectible cards.

Accompanied by clips from the hours of bonus material included on the DVD, the stars reflected on the making of the 1956 film and its leading man, Leslie Nielsen.

“We didn't think he'd be so funny,” Holliman said.

Nielsen made an appearance by way of interview footage from the DVD, in which he stated Forbidden Planet could have been “a pilot for ‘Star Trek’ considering the influence the film had on Gene Roddenberry's TV show.

The similarities led Stevens to quip, when asked about his subsequent guest appearance on the original “Star Trek,” that “it was pretty familiar.”

Anderson said Forbidden Planet was different from other sci-fi films in the 1950s because “it had an extraordinary screenplay based on a play by Shakespeare called The Tempest.”

“Like any good movie, it stood the test of time,” Anderson said.

“I recently saw a television program that featured Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and others who make science fiction, and they all referred to Forbidden Planet as a movie that made an impression upon them,” Stevens said.

Another DVD feature focused on Robby the Robot, and his design by Robert Kinoshita, who had been designing washing machines. The clip concluded with a list of Robby's film and television work (the DVD includes the follow-up film The Invisible Boy) and the statement “Robby divides his time between charity work and research into mind control.”

When asked of his memorable scenes with Robby, Holliman, who played the ship's cook, said, “First of all, Robby was gay, but we overcame that.”

The panel then turned to a lifesize Robby, built by Fred Barton, for a quick interview about his role in Forbidden Planet.

“I was made for that part,” Robby quipped.

The panelists then reflected on Robby's original voice, Marvin Miller, and his radio work and role on “The Millionaire.”

Hearing that Miller was the voice of Robby, Holliman piped up: “I didn't know that. Marvin Miller once ran into my car!”

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