In news that will probably be baffling for anyone without a basic awareness of ‘50s and ‘60s popular culture, someone has just paid $5,375,000 for Robby The Robot from the 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet. This makes it the most expensive piece of movie memorabilia ever sold, breaking previous records set by the actual Maltese Falcon statuette, Marilyn Monroe’s dress from The Seven-Year Itch, and the 1966 Batmobile, all of which sold in the $4 million range. The robot—which is obviously just a suit—was sold at the TCM Presents…Out Of This World auction through Bonhams New York, with the New York Post quoting its previous owner as saying that he’s “astounded by the result” but is also “sad to part with him.”
The Post story offers a bit of history on Robby, explaining that the original prop was so expensive for MGM that it basically kept using it for years so it wouldn’t just collect dust in a storage room. It appeared in dozens of other movies and TV shows, including Mork & Mindy, The Love Boat, The Twilight Zone, and Lost In Space. The Post story doesn’t say who bought it, but there are references to the new owner putting it on display and intending to take care of it, so at least it’s not going to some creep who just wants to privately watch a very expensive robot slowly decay.
We just hope that “putting it on display” doesn’t mean the new owner will fill the suit with actual robot machinery, bringing Robby to life so he can try and wipe out the human race—as all robots are wont to do.