"Stunt Robot", by Frederick Hodges
"stunt robot," which was actually called "the dummy
robot" in all production materials, was constructed in May
1967 in preparation for the first episode of the third season "Condemned
of Space," which marked its screen debut. All "stunts"
seen in the 1st or 2nd season were performed by the "hero."
history of the dummy robot is much longer and more interesting than
I can go into here, I can state that the original reason for building
the dummy robot was to produce a light-weight robot that could be
safely suspended from wires for the scenes of the episode in which
the robot is floating in space. Originally, they were going
to use the "hero" robot, but he was just too heavy to
They then came
up with the idea of using the upper half of the "hero"
robot and creating a light weight bottom half in order to eliminate
the weight of the steel tread section. This was a good idea,
but it did not reduce the weight enough. Thus, of necessity,
the idea of a super light weight complete dummy robot was born.
Also, it was
originally planned to have Bob May inside the suit operating the
arms and neon, but for liability and safety reasons, this plan was
I have unearthed
no evidence that parts from one robot were ever used with the other
robot for any reason.
The Fred Barton
Stunt Robot Restoration for Paul Allen.
sent these photos to show us the work that he did to prepare the
remains of the Stunt Robot for public display.
robots at the
Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.
description of the restoration process:
Here is my take on the
Stunt Restoration... Should anybody care.
My Philosophy of Restoration
Unbelievably, prop restoration is a highly controversial topic.
Amongst collectors and enthusiasts, the debate has raged since the
first awareness of a concept of value beyond function. While what
is appropriate remains unresolved, props live and die by subjective
rules and restorations.
are several schools of thought on restoration. The philosophies
range drastically, and the effect on value and lifespan of your
prop is paramount. Knowing your personality, knowing your financial
situation and your goals, understanding the fundamentals of aging
and altered props is key to success when making your restoration
jury is still out on the schools of Philosophy - NOBODY is the end
all of authority. The owner of a piece chooses its destiny, and
integrates his personality into its history through the entire tenure
of their possession. This integration may increase or decrease its
value in a subjective world of appraisals. Remember, the decisions
are personal, and should never be second-guessed. Make educated
choices, and enjoy your movie-prop.
Schools of Thought:
first school; do nothing, accept the piece as it appears no matter
how poor the condition. Let it rot and disintegrate so no man can
ever study or enjoy the piece or spirit of the piece for generations
to come. Own it to death.
second school; with skillful restoration return your prop to a state
of screen used likeness and have practical display use within your
home, maintaining a good percentage of its appraised value. Props
of fair to poor value are in most cases savable. - Maybe (No Latex)
With proper conservation, these pieces maintain a good portion of
their pseudo value, and are no longer an eyesore or a foolish sad
third school; strip it bare, sand it down, and fix it any way you
can to make it look new and functional again.
Here's the deal on the restoration - from the guy who restored it
- ME!!! I got a call from Paul Allen's people. They were very upset
that they paid nearly $300,000. for a prop they felt they could
not display as it was in such horrible condition. They asked me
my philosophy on how far to take the restoration. Now remember,
these people are museum curators with tons of experience and knowledge
of antiques, art and movie props. We were all very aware of the
three schools of thought, and what it would mean to the prop. It
was decided that he should get a ground up restoration and look
as good or better than he did in the series. This was Paul's call
and he is very happy with it and extremely happy with the restoration.
He wanted to share B9 with the world, and he felt if it looked like
crap, future generations would be disillusioned and disappointed
seeing their cybernetetic hero, looking like decaying crap. Anyone
who saw the stunt robot in person would agree. Whereas we are all
fanatics about B9, the general public remembers him only one way,
if at all, and that is looking good, all lit up, talking, etc...
the record, a lot of props were completely restored for that museum,
like the My Favorite Martian ship, the Blade Runner car, on and
here's more of the deal. People seem to think that stunt was the
most original robot, which survived when the series was cancelled.
Well, yes and no. Technically speaking, only the main body parts
survived, which included the bubble, cardboard brain, wooden bubble
lifter, wooden radar and wooden ear posts, collar, torso, decaying
foam donut, wooden waist plate, fiberglass bellow, fiberglass knees,
wooden knees plates, wood and cardboard pedestals and cardboard
wheels and decaying foam treads.
authentic pieces made by Fox and great for reference. (Throw away
your blue prints)
when Greg Jein bought the robot and J2 at a Fox auction, it was
a total wreck as seen in those pictures. He did the first restoration,
just to make it presentable. So, right off, it was no longer "What
we saw in the show". It was changed to look more presentable.
IT WAS TOUCHED!!! And not with authentic Fox 60's era parts, but
with 80's prop man best guess pieces. So we are well on the road
to not being so f'n original already. Plus, Greg toured the thing
around the world to Japan and who knows where else, where it further
got changed and damaged. It was actually missing in shipping for
over a year and turned up at a Hollywood curio shop where I tried
to buy it, not knowing it was Greg's. I offered the guy 7K for it,
but they thought they would rent it out- but never did. Greg found
out where it was sued to get it back, and he did. At this time,
he did more work to it, molded it and gave a lot of his prop making
buddies these molds to make their own B9. The who's who in effects
were making B9's like biscuits. Not to resell, just for themselves.
Greg put in heart box detail from hell, covered over the cardboard
brain with tape painted it silver and put on alien markings. And
painted the body and bellows and finally left it alone. -- Until
the accident. A heavy light stand fell over and smashed the front
of the torso, taking out the mouth and some of the side. Forever
changing its profile. It was repaired poorly and went on its way
again until it went up for auction and you know the rest.
tell me, fellow B9'ers, what is so terrible in replacing the lost,
stolen, missing and unauthentic detail with what Bob Kinoshita intended
for Blinky to have? As a matter of fact, at his 90th birthday bash
with the original Robby in attendance, and where I met Fred Hodges
(he's so smart and young looking, isn't he?) and other intrepid
builders from the club, I told Kinoshita that I restored the stunt
robot and he was elated. He never thought that the stunt should
have been so poorly made and was disappointed what has happened
to it. He thanked me and thought I did a great job. HE also told
me it was just a job and it was just a prop - AMEN!!! So if B9's
creator approves... it should be good enough for you salty dogs.
It was for me.
me tell you a bit about the stunt robot when I got it. It could
barely stand on its own. IT was listing to one side. The fiberglass
jell-coat was thin as tissue paper and cracking everywhere. All
the foam disintegrated, it was a mass of wires and shit. I shot
20 billion 6 MB Tiffs of it and then tore him apart with my bare
hands. Which wasn't hard. He flaked about like a buttery croissant.
I sanded and bondo'd that thing like a Ferrari for two months, replaced
entire sections of the torso, which were impossible to repair. Greg
had poured large amounts of resin to hold the thing together. This
is what is original on the piece today:
same surviving pieces as it left Fox. Only now, they have a new
lease on life. I just put on more authentic pieces, as opposed to
what the previous owner put on and gave him a new paint job. Well,
more than just a paint job. I also motorized the spinners, put in
an articulated brain, made him talk and light up. He is really a
joy to see. And if some of you can get past his past and onto his
future for generations to come, you will see that what I did was
for the best. They were going to store him and never display him
until I told them what I could do for it. This way at least we can
all see and enjoy him. Plus, I made him as accurate as I possibly
could. Way more authentic than the Hero restoration.
have made him into a pleasure vehicle. I still might...JUST YOU
the way, I also made Paul Allen an R2, a T2, a Robby, a Gort, a
Maria a C-57D and a Martian War Machine. All on display.
is a ton of info about the restoration that I won't get into now;
I have to get to work on some Robby's. If you guys have questions,
I'd be happy to answer everything here on the site. I learned a
lot about B9, that even me, THE ROBOTMAN didn't know.
description of the materials used in the Stunt Robot:
what I was able to observe when I had the stunt robot here for restoration:
torso was fiberglass with wooden supports.
donut was white foam rubber
legs were thing teak wood.
wheels were wood and cardboard
treads were Styrofoam
brain was cardboard.
wrists were fiberglass
collar was of course acrylic
radar was teak wood.
radar ears were hand carved wood.
bubble lifter was turned wood
arms were rubber
bellows were fiberglass
knees were fiberglass
bellows plate was plywood.
leg plates were teak wood and balsa wood
hinges were teak wood
side panels were vacuum formed plastic- Maybe ABS or styrene. They
were white material.
brain was cardboard with a wooden inner cups and wood fingers with
wooden tips. Only the three lights on the top were wired.
spinner was teak wood base and aluminum petals, which were nailed
in. Not rivets.
the stomach detail was put on who knows when and who know of what
vents torso vents were screwed on.
claws were wood. - Definitely not original
were big hooks inside the tread sections to attach cables to fly
I got the thing, someone had added big wooden planks at the bottom
of the feet for stability. The pegs were gone. Also
more wood supports were added in the front and a 3/4" piece
of plywood was put in between the tractors and they were screwed
also think the neon's were from the Hero, transplanted into the
Stunt. I believe the stunt never had neon's, but rather fiberglass
cross pieces of plastic or curved fiberglass with a plastic piece
behind them and a light. Watch Anti-matter man closely when
Don and Smith pick him up. Look at the neon area.
Krieg took these photos of the restored Stunt Robot. (July 2004)
is currently part of "The Paul Allen Family Collection"
and is on display at the Seattle
Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.
get an idea of the restoration required, take a look at the photos
at the bottom of this page!
some of the parts on the Restored Stunt Robot seem to have come
from club vendors, cool!
for larger photos)
Long Distance "Stunt" prop, before restoration.