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." 

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Bob May on getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space
Bob May on "Robot's" role on Lost in Space and how it related to the other characters
Bob May on working with Jonathan Harris, "Dr. Smith" on Lost in Space
Bob May on the costume for "Robot" on Lost in Space and the expressions he made within the suit
Bob May on the "Junkyard of Space" episode of Lost in Space - the last episode
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
On continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War I; on emulating his grandfather
On branching out on his own; on his early television appearances and working with Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen
On his grandson receiving a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation; on working with Jerry Lewis

Chapter 2

On getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space; on the costume for "Robot" and controlling it mechanically
On the biggest challenge of working in "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space; on the dialogue on the show
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
On the cast of Lost in Space
On fan mail he received; on originally not being credited on the show; on being comfortable inside the robot costume

Chapter 3

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

Lieutenant, The

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Bob May on working with Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant

Lost in Space

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Bob May on getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space
Bob May on the costume for "Robot" on Lost in Space and the expressions he made within the suit
Bob May on controlling "Robot" mechanically on Lost in Space
Bob May on how he saw out of "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space
Bob May on the biggest challenge of working in "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space; on the dialogue on the show
Bob May on operating the light on "Robot's" costume on Lost in Space
Bob May on "Robot's" role on Lost in Space and how it related to the other characters
Bob May on working with Jonathan Harris, "Dr. Smith" on Lost in Space
Bob May on some of his favorite "Dr. Smith" and "Robot" moments on Lost in Space
Bob May on the cast of Lost in Space
Bob May on the fan mail he received while on Lost in Space
Bob May on originally not being credited on Lost in Space
Bob May on being comfortable in the robot costume on Lost in Space
Bob May on "The Vegetable Rebellion" episode of Lost in Space
Bob May on the pilot and "The Reluctant Stowaway" episodes of Lost in Space
Bob May on "The War of the Robots" episode of Lost in Space
Bob May on "The Trip Through The Robot" episode of Lost in Space
Bob May on the "Mechanical Men" episode of Lost in Space
Bob May on the "Anti-Matter Man" episode of Lost in Space
Bob May on the "Junkyard of Space" episode of Lost in Space - the last episode
Bob May on the end of Lost in Space
Bob May on the cult following of Lost in Space

To Tell the Truth

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Bob May on appearing on To Tell the Truth
Topics

Advice

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Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer

Fame & Celebrity

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

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

Television Industry

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Bob May on the fan mail he received while on Lost in Space
Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer

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

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
Professions

Actor

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Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer

Performers

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Bob May on advice to an aspiring performer
Genres

Comedy Series

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Bob May on playing "Robot" on Lost in Space
Bob May on specific episodes of Lost in Space; on learning the show would end

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Bob May on playing "Robot" on Lost in Space
Bob May on specific episodes of Lost in Space; on learning the show would end
People

Irwin Allen

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Bob May on working with Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen
Bob May on getting cast as "Robot" on Lost in Space
Bob May on originally not being credited on Lost in Space

Jonathan Harris

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

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
Bob May on Olsen & Johnson's pioneering television work and working with the duo on early TV programs
Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II
Bob May on emulating his grandfather, Chic Johnson
Bob May on what he learned from his grandfather, Chic Johnson

Jerry Lewis

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Bob May on working with Jerry Lewis

June Lockhart

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

Bill Mumy

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

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
Bob May on Olsen & Johnson's pioneering television work and working with the duo on early TV programs
Bob May on continuing to work with Olsen & Johnson when he was drafted into the Army during World War II

Gene Roddenberry

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

All Interviews

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