Back to the 80s: Top Ten 80’s Robots List

I came across an interesting list created by the humorous website Cracked.com and thought I would share with you. It is called “The Top Ten ‘80s Robots (We Expected to Exist By Now)” and you can click on that link to take you the actual article by Ben Joseph.

He begins with the following paragraph…
“We were promised robots. Crazy electronic sidekick or death-dealing automaton of doom, we didn’t care, as long as the future shaped up to be the awesome electronic robo-battle we’d dreamed of as children. Flash forward 20 years and all we have are sorry, non-robotic pieces of supposedly innovative crap, such as “hybrid cars,” “iPods,” and “hope for the AIDs vaccine.” Consider the below list a sort of report card, so modern scientists can see exactly how far they are from fulfilling the promises of our childhood.”

When you think about it, back in the 80’s there were so many inventions we expected to be part of our culture by the year 2000. Now it is 2008 and though there have been many great innovations over the years, there still is no casual space travel or completely automated homes/offices. And there really are not many robots with personality running around. Though personal interaction continues to be minimized through email/text messaging and automated service, I don’t really feel like we are any closer to having robot companions coming to prominence. It is fun to think about for sure.

Now here is a recap of the Cracked.com list, but you will have to go to the actual article to get his commentary on each selection. Remind you, this is his list. Though I may differ with the order a little bit, I feel it is a very strong and creative list.

Johnny 510. “Johnny 5″ from the movie Short Circuit (1986) as well as the sequel Short Circuit 2 (1988) Weird Science

9. “Lisa” from the movie Weird Science (1985) played by Kelly LeBrock – Not sure if I would consider her a robot, but if she was a robot she’d be the most beautiful robot I have ever seen.

RoboCop8. “ED-209″ from the movie RoboCop (1987) – He selects the new law enforcement droid which goes haywire instead of the star of the movie whom I would have selected.Knight Rider

7. “KITT” from the television series Knight Rider (1982-86) – The talking car which ranked on my Best 80s TV Characters List

Data6. “Data” from the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) Blade Runner

5. “Rick Deckard” from the movie Blade Runner (1982) played by Harrison Ford – It is widely debated whether the character truly is a replicant or not.

MST3K4. “Crow T. Robot” & “Tom Servo” from the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999) – I love these guys and I love MST3K and though it came to more popularity in the 90’s, it technically began in the 80’s. The Terminator

3. “The Terminator” from the movie The Terminator (1984) played by Arnold Schwarzenegger

R2D2 & C3PO2. “R2D2″ from the movies Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) – How can you have R2, but not also include C3PO?

1. “Optimus Prime” Optimus Primeof Transformers – Began with comics in 1984 and gained popularity through the marketing of toys and a television cartoon.

There is Ben Joseph’s list. Like I said, other than the order and possibly whether a couple should be considered robots (Data was NOT a robot), it is a solid list. That is why I shared it with you. I did try to think about any robots he could have missed and so far only 3 came to mind.

First is the robot in the movie Rocky IV (1985). No, I am NOT talking about Dolph Lundgren’s performance as Russian boxer “Ivan Drago.” Rocky IV robotI am talking about the robot that “Rocky” gives to “Paulie” for his birthday near the beginning of the film. The robot does not play a major role in the film, but seems to symbolize status and what really, really rich people might give someone as a gift. I have seen this movie too many times to even count, so that is probably why it came to mind right away.

Second was “Twiki” Twikifrom the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981). I remember this show fondly and recall “Twiki” usually carrying another character, “Dr. Theopolis,” around his neck. I also recall the robot having a funny voice and often saying “bidi-bidi-bidi” before he would speak. Here is a link to a short video where you can hear what I am talking about. “Twiki” would often be given the funny one-liners to help bring comic relief to the show. An interesting fact is that “Twiki” was voiced by none other than Mel Blanc who is well recognized as one of the original voices of Bugs Bunny and many other famous cartoon characters. I would have definitely included little “Twiki” on my list of 80’s robots.

The other was “VickiVicki from Small Wonderfrom the TV series Small Wonder (1985-89).  This robot looked just like a young girl and was played by Tiffany Brissette.  She was incapable of emotion, spoke in a monotone voice and interpreted most commands literally.  These characteristics along with her attempt to blend in as a normal child was what the humor in this sit-com was based off of.  “Vicki” seemed to become more and more human over the course of this show which surprisingly lasted 4 years despite being considered by critics to be one of the worst shows on at the time.  Even so, “Vicki” deserves to be included on any list of 80’s robots.

That will wrap up this issue of Kickin’ it Old School. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you are interested in reading more of my 80’s related issues, please click there for a summary. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary of those. If you enjoy Kickin’ it, please come back often and be sure to tell a friend or two. Peace and much love.

Check this out: In a past ‘Check this Out’ Pulp MuppetsI provided links to watch a couple very entertaining songs performed by the Muppets. I have also mentioned a couple times my affection for the movie Pulp Fiction. Well, I came across a video that combines the Muppets with my favorite movie. Here is a link to watch Pulp Muppets.  I love it!

Quote of the day: “He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.” -Henry Ward Beecher (obviously you can also replace ‘he’ with ‘she’ in this quote)

Download this: “If I Had $1,000,000″ by Barenaked Ladies

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  1. Pris. We need more pleasure models running around with lethal thighs.

    If you haven’t already, how about a post about all the weird kid’s fantasy movies from the 80’s. You know the one where the normal but ostracized kid accidentally finds themselves in a fantasy land with a limited color palette that is in a conflict between good and evil puppets and stop-motion characters and has to overcome their weaknesses to help the good puppets or stop-motion characters rise above the oppressors.

  2. Amazing… what about the robots from Japan? You know… Goshogun, Voltus V, Godzigma, and many others! So many to mention.. Nowadays we have Power Rangers. Robots are never die! Go go !!!

  3. hey OS, what a great post! It brings back memories of a robot from a show i watched every wednesday night when i was a kid. the show was LOST IN SPACE and the robot was B9 – google it – theres a bunch of cool stuff on it. infact theyre making a huge replica of B9 now so maybe i can finally get the B9 i wanted as a kid ;)
    later – hope to see you on my just cool design blog –

  4. Great post, OS! This list is a bit US-centric methinks. The Daleks from Dr Who have now put Cracked on the Exterminate list (not to mention K9). What about Asimov’s robots and the Fembots from Austin Powers. Or Marvin the Paranoid Android from Hitchhiker’s.

  5. Oh, having read your post a little more closely, I guess it is ’80s only. I still vote for Marvin as the Hitchhiker’s TV series was aired in the ’80s.

  6. MST3K — I really liked that show. The commentary was hilarious.

    I grew up in a huge Victorian house and the heating system in the cellar always reminded me of the Robot from Lost In Space (although “he” was from the 60’s era). I bought a 12″ replica of one at a yard sale a few years ago.
    My son loved it.

    Twinkie — LOL — I did like the theme song to Buck Rogers.

  7. Most of these “robots” were too human-like to really stoke my imagination. A robot should be a machine, not a person, it seems. I like r2d2 of Star Wars. No doubt about what he is. Nothing human-like about him/it, except maybe his annoying little personality. My favorite robot character of television goes back to the 60’s and Lost In Space. He was simply called Robot, and described as “Model B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot”. Of course, this blog is about 80’s stuff. I’ll have to go check as to when the really bad Lost In Space movie was produced.

  8. Data was not a robot…he was a high ranking Star Fleet Officer!

  9. Ive always been in search for the name of the robot which starred in an 80’s series (which i forgot). The robot was like a floating eyeball i think he was the sidekick of the lead star..HELP! what was the name of the series

  10. PLONING! I just found out the same show you’re talking about. We’re all crazy to have accidentally seen this show.
    Its called “Hard Time on Planet Earth”!

    Congratulations. Your mind is blown!

  11. Reply to: Ploning

    Hard Time on Planet Earth

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