A recent auction lot on eBay prompted me to carry out a little research. The photograph (right) shows Walt Disney with Garco the robot in a publicity still for the Disney TV programme “Mars and Beyond” which aired on 4th December, 1957.
Garco appears to have been remotely controlled and not totally independent, but, for the time, was very advanced. The suggested uses he could be put to, in the vintage YouTube video (linked below), from the American television programme “Science Fiction Theatre” were:
• Handle dangerous chemicals, or
• Radioactive isotopes, too hot for the ordinary man, or
• Touch live wires without ever getting hurt
The programme’s presenter, Truman Bradley, goes on to say that, “some day soon, we’ll have an automatic man around the house, to mow the lawn, dry the dishes, drive the car, and babysit when we go out. That’s for tomorrow, or the day after, but tomorrow may come soon.”
Sadly, at the present time (sixty years on) I am still waiting for this automatic man to work in my home. I think it will have to be the day after tomorrow!
Read more here.
Here is a fascinating interview, with new video included of their robots in development, featuring Boston Dynamics at TechCrunch Disrupt, London, 5th-6th December 2016. The balance capabilities of these robots is quite astounding. It’s a long video, but well worth watching.
This rather unconvincing robot appeared in the TV series Adventures of Superman in an episode entitled The Runaway Robot. The series began filming in 1951 and was first broadcast in 1952. This still is taken from episode 17 of the first series. The entire episode can be viewed on YouTube, but there is a small charge to watch it. The series’ introduction titles and music can be watched below. The role of Superman was played by American actor George Reeves (1914-1958).
An eccentric staff correspondent of the Daily Planet, Horatio, brings his latest invention, an electronically controlled robot, to town. It falls into the hands of robbers who put it to work looting the First National Bank in the Superman adventure thriller, “The Runaway Robot.” Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Horatio need the help of Clark Kent as Superman when they try to stop the uncontrollable electric man.
There is, apparently, a rather strange ‘Superman curse’ which has affected actors involved in the various Superman TV shows and films over the years. It seems to have started with George Reeves who died of a gunshot wound in mysterious circumstances (officially suicide). The similarly named actor Christopher Reeve, who played superman in the four film series from 1978 to 1987, was paralysed from the neck down after a horse riding accident. Many more supposed victims of the curse can be read about here: Superman curse.