Bob May

Performer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-hour-plus Archive interview, Bob May (1939-2009), the grandson of Chic Johnson (of the Vaudeville duo Olsen and Johnson) describes beginning his career as a toddler, performing onstage with his grandfather. He continued the tradition, appearing on stage and television on various shows. May details the role he is best known for, that of the "Robot" on Lost In Space. He discusses the physical challenges of performing in the costume, as well as the feat of giving the robot a "personality." Karen Herman conducted the interview on August 17, 2003 in Burbank, CA.

"The robot and Will Robinson were like a boy and his dog." 

Highlights
Bob May on getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space
02:42
Bob May on "Robot's" role on Lost in Space and how it related to the other characters
01:56
Bob May on working with Jonathan Harris, "Dr. Smith" on Lost in Space
02:51
Bob May on the costume for "Robot" on Lost in Space and the expressions he made within the suit
02:45
Bob May on the "Junkyard of Space" episode of Lost in Space - the last episode
01:07
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his grandfather, Chic Johnson of Olsen & Johnson, and performing with and directing the pair; on working with the duo on early television
10:37
On continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War I; on emulating his grandfather
05:46
On branching out on his own; on his early television appearances and working with Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen
04:52
On his grandson receiving a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation; on working with Jerry Lewis
02:34

Chapter 2

On getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space; on the costume for "Robot" and controlling it mechanically
08:47
On the biggest challenge of working in "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space; on the dialogue on the show
03:08
On "Robot's" role on Lost in Space and how it related to the other characters; on some of his favorite "Dr. Smith" and "Robot" moments
06:05
On the cast of Lost in Space
07:19
On fan mail he received; on originally not being credited on the show; on being comfortable inside the robot costume
04:02

Chapter 3

On specific episodes of Lost in Space; on learning the show would end
08:25
On his charity work; on then-current projects; on advice to an aspiring performer
07:32
Shows

Lieutenant, The

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Bob May on working with Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant
00:26

Lost in Space

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Bob May on getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space
02:42
Bob May on the costume for "Robot" on Lost in Space and the expressions he made within the suit
02:45
Bob May on controlling "Robot" mechanically on Lost in Space
02:37
Bob May on how he saw out of "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space
00:43
Bob May on the biggest challenge of working in "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space; on the dialogue on the show
01:31
Bob May on operating the light on "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space
01:34
Bob May on "Robot's" role on Lost in Space and how it related to the other characters
01:56
Bob May on working with Jonathan Harris, "Dr. Smith" on Lost in Space
02:51
Bob May on some of his favorite "Dr. Smith" and "Robot" moments on Lost in Space
01:18
Bob May on the cast of Lost in Space
07:19
Bob May on the fan mail he received while on Lost in Space
00:49
Bob May on originally not being credited on Lost in Space
01:29
Bob May on being comfortable in the robot costume on Lost in Space
01:41
Bob May on "The Vegetable Rebellion" episode of Lost in Space
01:09
Bob May on the pilot and "The Reluctant Stowaway" episodes of Lost in Space
00:49
Bob May on "The War of the Robots" episode of Lost in Space
01:51
Bob May on "The Trip Through The Robot" episode of Lost in Space
00:23
Bob May on the "Mechanical Men" episode of Lost in Space
00:19
Bob May on the "Anti-Matter Man" episode of Lost in Space
01:06
Bob May on the "Junkyard of Space" episode of Lost in Space - the last episode
01:07
Bob May on the end of Lost in Space
00:43
Bob May on the cult following of Lost in Space
00:48

To Tell the Truth

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Bob May on appearing on To Tell the Truth
00:34
Topics

Advice

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Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer
01:02

Fame & Celebrity

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Bob May on the fan mail he received while on Lost in Space
00:49

Historic Events and Social Change

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Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II
02:56

Television Industry

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Bob May on the fan mail he received while on Lost in Space
00:49
Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer
01:02

War

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Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II
02:56

World War II

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Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II
02:56
Professions

Actor

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Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer
01:02

Performers

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Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer
01:02
Genres

Comedy Series

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Bob May on playing "Robot" on Lost in Space
29:21
Bob May on specific episodes of Lost in Space; on learning the show would end
08:25

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Bob May on playing "Robot" on Lost in Space
29:21
Bob May on specific episodes of Lost in Space; on learning the show would end
08:25
People

Irwin Allen

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Bob May on working with Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen
00:56
Bob May on getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space
02:42
Bob May on originally not being credited on Lost in Space
01:29

Jonathan Harris

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Bob May on working with Jonathan Harris, "Dr. Smith" on Lost in Space
02:51
Bob May on the cast of Lost in Space - Jonathan Harris
02:30

Chic Johnson

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Bob May on his grandfather, Chic Johnson of the Vaudeville duo Olsen & Johnson, and performing with the pair and directing them
03:03
Bob May on Olsen & Johnson's pioneering television work and working with the duo on early TV programs
04:21
Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II
02:56
Bob May on emulating his grandfather, Chic Johnson
02:17
Bob May on what he learned from his grandfather, Chic Johnson
00:28

Jerry Lewis

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Bob May on working with Jerry Lewis
00:34

June Lockhart

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Bob May on the cast of Lost in Space - June Lockhart
01:09

Bill Mumy

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Bob May on the cast of Lost in Space - Bill Mumy
00:52

Ole Olsen

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Bob May on his grandfather, Chic Johnson of the Vaudeville duo Olsen & Johnson, and performing with the pair and directing them
03:03
Bob May on Olsen & Johnson's pioneering television work and working with the duo on early TV programs
04:21
Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II
02:56

Gene Roddenberry

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Bob May on working with Gene Roddenberry and Roddenberry wanting him for a role on Star Trek
01:47

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