Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies are proud to announce that Robby the Robot, from the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956), will go up for sale on November 21 in the TCM Presents… Out of This World! auction of classic movie memorabilia at Bonhams New York. Additional highlights from the exciting sale include a George Reeves costume from Adventures of Superman (1952-1958), a screenplay and memorabilia from Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Academy Award-winning All About Eve (1950), and artwork from Disney legend Harper Goff. Top lots from the TCM Presents… Vintage Movie Posters Featuring the Ira Resnick Collection on November 20 include illustrations for Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), and Top Hat (1935)
One of the most iconic sci-fi figures to appear on the silver screen, seven-foot tall Robby the Robot (estimate on request) captured the imagination of audiences everywhere in Forbidden Planet as the devoted servant to Professor Morbius, one of the few inhabitants of the distant planet Altair IV. Conceived and built by a team of MGM designers for the 1956 film, including Mentor Huebner and Robert Kinoshita, Robby’s groundbreaking appearance broke away from earlier clunky “tin-can” designs for movie robots.
Dr. Catherine Williamson, Director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams, said, “Robby the Robot is, simply, the heart of Forbidden Planet, the moral center of the film, as well as the key narrative device. As such, he is a major piece of entertainment memorabilia, one that any serious collector would be proud to own.”
The fully-functional prop breaks down into 3 pieces: the head, the torso, and the legs. In addition to Robby himself, the lot also includes the Jeep he drives on Altair IV, the auxiliary control panel, and his original MGM packing crates.
A George Reeves costume (estimate: $100,000-150,000) from Adventures of Superman, will also be offered in the sale. The show followed Reeves as television’s first portrayal of the crime-fighting Superman and his alter-ego Clark Kent. First aired in 1952, this red, yellow, and blue costume was used from 1954-1957 when the show began shooting in color, though audiences only got to see the color episodes starting in 1965, when the show aired in reruns.
Additional highlights include awards and other ephemera from Joseph L. Mankiewicz films, such as a custom-bound screenplay from the Academy Award-winning All About Eve (1950) (estimate: $1,500 – 2,000), as well as drawings and other works from Harper Goff, including a personal scrapbook documenting every stage in the making of Walt Disney’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (estimate: $30,000-50,000).
Robby and the Out of This World! sale, along with the Vintage Move Posters auction, will preview at Bonhams New York November 17-20. The Vintage Movie Posters Featuring the Ira Resnick Collection sale will be held on November 20 at 1 p.m. EST, and Out of This World! will be held on November 21 at 1 p.m. EST