Updated: March 18, 2012
THE ROBINSON ROBOT TOUR PROGRAM MAGAZINE
Artwork by John Parkinson.
Dick Tufeld, the Robinson Robot and Bob May.
These legendary men are on their way to Australia for a once-in-a-lifetime convention, with the Robinson Robot. It is an event not to be missed!
Listed below are short biographies on these two behind-the-scenes heroes.
"WARNING! WARNING! DANGER! DANGER! IT DOES NOT COMPUTE!"
These legendary expressions are now part of our modern day vocabulary. They were all spoken by Dick, one of America's most recognisable and famous voice artists. He began his career at the age of 16 working as an announcer. Following his graduation, he became an announcer at NBC in Hollywood. Success came quickly to Dick as he started narrating the most popular television shows of our time, that have included The Hollywood Palace, Peyton Place, The Time Tunnel, Elvis-Hawaii, Get Smart, Zorro, Space Patrol and of course Lost In Space. After Lost In Space he has continued his craft on countless other assignments that have included the Emmy awards, the Grammy awards, the Wonderful World Of Disney, and hundreds of motion picture trailers. He is married with four children.
For a long time it was a secret - but yes, the Robot was internally controlled by actor, Bob May. Zany is the word for versatile Bob who started his show business career at the age of 2, working with his comedic family 'Olsen and Johnson'. After a vaudeville education he was soon acting, dancing and directing in theatres all over the USA. Hollywood beckoned, and before long Bob was featuring in motion pictures, such as Jailhouse Rock, Beach Blanket Bingo and The Nutty Professor. Television then followed as Bob appeared in The Lieutenant, Dr Kildare, Mr Novak and of course, Lost In Space. After Lost In Space, Bob went back to theatre and nightclub performing interwoven with further acting for major studios. He is married with two children.
AFTER THE ROBINSON ROBOT BODY AND SOUL TOUR,
BOB MAY AND DICK TUFELD NOW SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES...
To the Australian People.
April 25th 1996
How does one truly express one's feelings when it comes to Sydney and the Australian people? Especially, I want to thank Glenn, Richard Maurice, Ian Stahlhut, Matthew Adams, Blake Edgerton, Robin Gray, Kingsley Sutton and our publicist Lionel Midford. To Anne McClenahan, Miriam Lazaro, Natalie Waters, Sally Newport and her children Sarah, Mark and Andrew. I particularly want to thank my Australian Robot crew: Roman Krzton, Wayne McAuliffe, John Norton, Brad Murphy and the Best Robot stand-in I've ever had ... Lewis Morley. To all the Aussie fans and new friends we have made (whose names I can not remember, but I know your faces!)
To the Hotel Lawson, for its courteous and gracious care by all of the hotel personnel; the Sydney Harbour Robot Cruise with our fans and our fun ship crew on Sydney Harbour (the sights from Sydney Harbour are the best in the world); the fabulous "Phantom of the Opera" night; the outstanding Yolu Dance Theatre performances; the visit to your famous Sydney Opera House- the Sydney Centrepoint Tower restaurant (with its breathtaking views); the Intergalactic Dinner at the gorgeous Bankstown Sports Club (it was the great Las Vegas night); the wondrous Powerhouse museum- the fantastic Sydney Aquarium, the beautiful Darling Harbour with its beautiful restaurants and shops; the Chinatown restaurant.
The fun, joy and thrill of the Featherdale Wildlife Park, holding those beautiful Koalas, feeding the Kangaroos, beholding the Emus, watching the Wombats and learning all about Australia's animals; appearing on Australian Television, Radio and in the print media (the people we met in your media business are so friendly and down to earth); the thrill of seeing our "Robinson Robot-Body and Soul Tour" posters advertised all over your beautiful city (and what great posters they were!) and all the incredible sightseeing!
A Special thank you to Glenn for bringing my wife Judy and I with the very talented and fun Dick Tufeld with his charming and delightful wife Adrienne to Australia. We will never forget the wonderful warmth and the helpfulness of the Australian people. Your very special appreciation and response to our shows thrilled us as it would any performer. As I said in Sydney, we will never forget all of you and your beautiful country, which will stay deep in our hearts forever.
Leaving Australia and all of you was the hardest part, but our bags are packed and we are ready to come back any time you want us, and believe me, "That does Compute!"
With deepest love to all,
Your friendly Robot.
To our new dear friends in Australia
April 16th 1996
It's been about a month now since we departed from the Sydney International Terminal, officially ending "The Robinson Robot - Body and Soul Tour", but our ten fabulous days in Australia remain unforgettably etched in our memory banks as one of the greatest experiences of our lifetime. It was absolutely (to use a phrase that my wife Adrienne heard in Sydney and now voices constantly in Los Angeles) - "Bloody Great!"
We have been asked many times since returning "What was the highlight of your trip?" Well, there were endless highlights: ... The breathtaking Sydney Opera House and Harbor ... The absolutely astonishing Glebe Island Bridge ... the simply incredible Yolnu and Moeyoengu Koekaperr Aboriginal Dance Troop we saw on a Wednesday night at the Belvoir Street Theatre ... The unforgettable view from Sydney Tower. The Intergalactic Dinner at the Bankstown Sports Club was a magical evening we rarely ever experience ... And of course getting the chance to spend time and share a thousand laughs with Bob and Judy May.
The Mays arrived in Australia several hours before we did, and when we checked in to the Hotel Lawson, there was a great message in my room from Bob .... when I lifted up the toilet seat, there was an 8x10 picture of Bob and the Robot taped to the bottom of the seat cover inscribed "Welcome to Australia Dick!" I told Bob the next day that I have been in the toilet many times in my life, but never expected to find him there!
To name one singular highlight of the trip is really quite easy: It was getting the opportunity to meet and be with the people of Australia. YOU made us feel welcome from the moment our Qantas plane landed and you were thoughtful and kind and an absolute delight to be with every single moment of our visit. We can never thank you enough. You are the best! And we will never forget.
We will always remember: working with the talented and extraordinary gifted Lewis Morley ... the friendship and great professional skill of our publicist Lionel Midford ... Lunch with Pete Graham from 2WS FM at the Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon in Parramatta ... Barrister Richard Maurice (he said I had a wicked sense of humour; believe me - his is equally, make that more wicked!) ... John Norton (does Lee really plan to marry you on October 11th? Why?? John it was wonderful of you to call us from Brisbane to inquire about our trip to New Zealand. Many thanks) ... Anne and Ken McClenahan (Anne, I'd pay to see and hear you anywhere in the world! What a gift for comedy you have!) ... Brad Murphy (It was you, Brad, who came up with the brilliant idea of naming the show "The Robinson Robot - Body and Soul Tour", but why did YOU have to stack all the chairs and do the heavy lifting?) ... Wayne McAuliffe and Miriam Lazaro - what a great, sweet pair! (Miriam, thanks again for the pictures and especially the Violet Crumble bars. We think about you two often!) ... Kingsley Sutton (we really appreciate your thoughtful card and the pictures; we send our best to you and your lovely parents), Steven Carteris (Steven, your nice card arrived recently. It was much appreciated! I'll keep talking - you keep writing!)
Steve Altham, (from Melbourne, I think) who made and presented us with the most amazing Lost In Space flag. It's truly incredible! Still others we cannot forget: Matthew Adams and Ian Stahlhut (what a huge contribution they've made to LIS in Australia!) and Paul Heller (always wearing that wonderful smile) .... And Roman Krzton (who did everything backstage and then more!) ....... And Brian Dee who supplied video and audio expertise And Natalie Waters (whose ongoing helpfulness and continual good cheer were truly heartwarming and a pleasure to be around. Furthermore, she is the only person I know to have figured out that "The qualities of John Robinson and Don West accentuated the disjunction of their inspirational prowess to Dr. Smith's cowardice" …I wonder if Irwin Allen was aware of that!!??)
And Lucey Stapleton, the Psychologist from Queensland, who will be visiting Denver this summer and Coralle Johnson (Did I sign 10 or was it 30 autographs for you? .... It doesn't matter-- It was a great pleasure!) .... and Mark Alstrope from Adelaide, who thoughtfully asked us to phone his good friend Mark Atkinson (paralyzed in an intensive care hospital from a terrible motorcycle accident three weeks earlier) ... We did - and we will never forget it! Sunday morning, March 15th, with a plane to catch back to Adelaide, Mark Aistrope RAN across the Glebe Island Bridge to the Hotel Lawson to hand deliver to us the most touching note that we have ever read. Mark, we treasure it. ……..
And to all of you, whose names I just can't remember at this moment, but whose faces and enthusiasm and kindness and friendship I will never forget - Thankyou. You can't imagine how wonderful you made us feel, and how wonderful it was to be with you.
Then, there's Sally Newport ... a dear friend, a tireless worker, mother of three absolutely adorable children. Sally was making arrangements, confirming appointments, wrapping up details, dealing with problems, endlessly driving us around and always being helpful, answering constant questions with a smile .... all while performing her most essential function: telling Glenn while he was driving, where to turn left, where to turn right, when to get out of the left lane, when to get into the right lane, when to get off the highway, when to slow down, and cautioning which set of Traffic lights had the Red Light Cameras! And thank God she did. Glenn, sometimes preoccupied and who has lived in Sydney all his life, did not always remember the quickest way to get to where we were going. Sally did!
And finally, Glenn - one of the greatest Lost In Space fans in the world and a loyal and true friend. It was Glenn who conceived the idea for the Robot tour, planned tirelessly to make it a reality, accepted full responsibility for all details (including financial) and deserves monumental credit for producing an event Australian fans will long remember (as we will, too!) Let me tell you about Glenn. Ever since I saw the film "The Right Stuff ", I have had this thing (there's no other way to say it) about the incredible sound that seems to come from the very bowels of the earth - The awesome drone of the Aboriginal sound stick - the Didjeridu. About three and a half years ago, something quite long appeared in our mailbox - Glenn had sent me a Didjeridu! I have tried to master the sound for about 42 months now, and of course I never will. Regrettably, what I seem to have mastered is not unlike the sound of breaking wind. For that, I have always blamed the instrument .... I am not responsible for that sound!
So, at our recent tour of the Sydney Opera House, at an Aboriginal gift shop, I could hardly wait to try out six or seven Didjeridus. I did not, however make a purchase. When I blew into them, they all sounded as wretched as mine. A remarkable lady named Michelle, who worked in the gift shop (valiantly trying to save a sensitive public) gave me a booklet - "PLAY AND ENJOY THE DIDJERIDU OF THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL (A NEWCOMER'S GUIDE)". I will never forget her!
At the end of our tour when leaving Sydney, while waiting for our plane to be called at the International Departure Terminal, I wandered into the 'Rainbow Serpent' - a shop housing about a dozen more Didjeridus. Understandably, I could hardly wait to try them all. And one - only one, - almost sounded authentic when I blew into it! My elation was tempered by the fact that it cost a great deal of money, and the shipping charges made it even worse. In a rare moment of sanity, I cautioned myself "You're out of you're mind!, forget it!" So I passed on the illogical purchase and we boarded the plane.
But Wait! For the next five days in New Zealand and then for the following ten days back home, I was beside myself ... furious and despondent that I had not made my essential purchase! Desperate and frustrated that I had blown my one great opportunity, I of course called Glenn (lucky Glenn!)
I described the airport shop, the sound stick and the price as best I could remember and asked if he could call the shop and see if the Didjeridu were still available. A day later he faxed me. "I think I have tracked it down" he wrote, and he described it. But something didn't sound quite right. So I called him back, redescribed it and asked if he would check with the shop one last time.
Here is the essence of Glenn: Two days later he called me from his cellular phone. He had driven from Greenacre to the Sydney International Airport, contacted the store manager (an obviously lovely lady named Carla Buscemi) who escorted him through security without a passport and into the shop. He put Carla on the phone with me, - we narrowed it down to two instruments. 'Can you play them Carla?" I asked. She said she could, and yes she can! Now this is almost surreal: for the next 20 minutes (I mean 20 minutes) Glenn positioned his phone at the end of each of the Didjeridus as I repeatedly requested Carla to "blow on the first one, now the second one, now the first one again, now the second again, and one more time - the first one!" and on and on for 20 mnutes! Finally I said "I think that's the one!"
I gave Glenn my credit card number and he had it shipped to me. (In a subsequent phone call, Glenn said the people in the shop at the time were absolutely astonished and incredulous at the scene taking place). I thanked Carla for her great patience and understanding in dealing with a mentally challenged person on the phone. I also pointed out that 'in accordance with Aboriginal law and custom women are not allowed to play a Didjeridu. "I not an Aboriginal", she replied, "I'm Italian! so I don't care!!"
Well, it finally arrived! Yesterday! I received a very long package from the Australian Post, - and guess what! It's Not the right one! However it is magnificent looking and much more decorative than the other. And, actually I can now get a fairly authentic sound from it. ..at the cost of a bloody lip! I tend to overdo things (that's my style) and apparently because of excessive practice on my new toy, I developed and broke a blood blister on my upper lip. In any event, you're all invited to my first concert at the Belvoir Street Theatre. And if you're lucky - it may not be in the too near future. Check with the venue's director, Samantha Saunders, for the best seats. She's great! - even though my attempted sounds are not. But blame Glenn for all of this, he started it!
Sometimes the passing of days, months, years has a way of dimming the prism that illuminates a wonderful experience in a remarkable place. But not this time I think. For we take with us too many great memories of too many great people in a truly great city in a truly great country. We have photographs. We have video tape. And we have the fabulous posters that were plastered all over the walls and fences of Sydney advertising "The Robinson Robot - Body and Soul Tour".
But most importantly - to take with us through time - we have YOU ... in our heads and in our hearts! to give to you cannot compare with what you gave to us. As I said before - we will never forget. And we thank you - all of you - always!