"Last time as
you recall ..."
Who knew that those
words would change my life? Like most B9 builders, I grew up in
the 60's watching Lost in Space. While the show was always enjoyable
to watch, it was the hardware of the show that really intrigued
me. The Jupiter 2, Chariot, The Laser Guns, Space Pod and all
those winky blinky lights on the ship always got my creative juices
flowing. My Jupiter 2's were created with shoe boxes and masking
tape as were my laser guns and space pod. But there was really
one piece of equipment that always fascinated me the most. The
robot. Being only 7 at the time, I always wondered if he was real,
or imaginery. I even wrote a letter to CBS and then WNEW channel
5 in New York when it moved to syndication, to ask for photos
or any kind of information on the B9. That's really when this
quest began. For 30 years I always wondered about that robot.
I built my share of wood and cardboard robots through my youth,
but non-could ever compare to good old B9.
Flash forward 30 years.
Ironically it was October 16th, 1997 when all of this madness
really began to kick in. Lost in Space was soon to be a motion
picture, the Sci-Fi channel was having Lost In Space marathons
to commemorate its anniversary, Lost In Space specials where popping
up everywhere, and suddenly like magic, it was cool to be a Lost
in Space fan.
Thoughts of building
a B9 were starting up again. But where to find information? Enter
cyberspace. I immediately started to scour the net for anything
on Lost in Space and the robot. It wasn't until about December
when I found "Dewey's Latest Robot" page. COOL! I e-mailed
Dewey, and hence started the journey.
For some reason, I
started from the top down instead of the bottom up like most B9
builders have. I ordered the brain, bubble lifter, radar and collar
from Dewey, and the bubble from Planet Plastics. When all the
pieces arrived, I stared at them for 3 days disbelieving that
this was really happening.
I assembled the entire
head section in about a month. You have to improvise and make
a connecting plate to connect the lower portion of the bubble
plate to the bubble lifter. If you look at pictures real close,
you'll see it dead center on the lower bubble plate. It's black
and appears to have 4 screws in it. Your best source for these
kinds of dilemmas: HOME DEPOT. You'll have a field day in that
store. Trust me. Every time you see something cool, you'll begin
thinking "I wonder if I could use this for . . ."
It was about this time
that Dewey told me he had a source for torsos. Once he told me
about how authentic it was, I had to have it. When it arrived,
it was a happy day in New Jersey. Of course, as I looked at it
I thought, "How the hell am I going to cut out the voice
box and light holes?" The ultimate model kit continued to
give lessons in creativity. Anyway, with the help of my dad (he's
been in this for as long as I have, helping me build things when
I was young) the cutting and drilling went fairlywell.
Next it was time to
get myself in really deep with this project. Who else could satisfy
my robot desires, but none other than Fred B. I first found out
about Fred through Dewey. I finally got to see some of his creations
when Sci-Fi Entertainment did a piece on him. When I saw his robots,
it was "pon-farr" time for me. I sent him e-mail and
essentially bought the rest of the robot (except for the legs,
which I got from Dewey, the acrylic ribs which I got from Scott
S., and the programming unit which I got from Chris G.) from him.
While waiting for the Fred B. parts to arrive, I also ordered
all the light fixtures, lens caps, bulbs, neon FX generator and
I'm using a Sony Mini
Disk player for my playback. I've sampled lots of robot lines
from the TV show (remember, can't have music in the background
when he's speaking!) using my PC, so it was easy to make a disk.
You should have been here the night when I hooked up the neon
to the sound system and put it all in the torso! It was another
happy night in NJ. Since then, I've gotten the legs from Dewey,
and most of the parts I ordered from Fred have come in. I'm single
and I live alone, which probably has made this adventure easier.
I've heard some of the "disgruntled wife" stories, so
I'm kind of lucky in that respect. Let me tell you something folks,
this is one hell of a project, don't let anyone kid you. Be prepared
to spend some dough, have a few sleepless nights and probably
without a doubt, do some of the most creative thinking of your
lives. But you know something . . . It's worth it! I still can't
believe he's here in my house.