About the Club Member's Area Club Gallery Robot Reference Information Robot Parts For Sale!
    Club Gallery ->Stunt Robot  

The Stunt Robot



The "Stunt Robot", by Frederick Hodges

The so-called "stunt robot," which was actually called "the dummy robot" in all production materials, was constructed in May 1967 in preparation for the first episode of the third season "Condemned of Space," which marked its screen debut.  All "stunts" seen in the 1st or 2nd season were performed by the "hero."

Although the history of the dummy robot is much longer and more interesting than I can go into here, I can state that the original reason for building the dummy robot was to produce a light-weight robot that could be safely suspended from wires for the scenes of the episode in which the robot is floating in space.  Originally, they were going to use the "hero" robot, but he was just too heavy to suspend.

They then came up with the idea of using the upper half of the "hero" robot and creating a light weight bottom half in order to eliminate the weight of the steel tread section.  This was a good idea, but it did not reduce the weight enough.  Thus, of necessity, the idea of a super light weight complete dummy robot was born.

Also, it was originally planned to have Bob May inside the suit operating the arms and neon, but for liability and safety reasons, this plan was abandoned.

I have unearthed no evidence that parts from one robot were ever used with the other robot for any reason.

Frederick H.


The Fred Barton Stunt Robot Restoration for Paul Allen.

Fred Barton sent these photos to show us the work that he did to prepare the remains of the Stunt Robot for public display.










Other robots at the Seattle Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.



Fred's description of the restoration process:

My Fellow B9'ers...
Fred Barton here.

Here is my take on the Stunt Restoration... Should anybody care.

My Philosophy of Restoration
Unbelievably, prop restoration is a highly controversial topic. Amongst collectors and enthusiasts, the debate has raged since the first awareness of a concept of value beyond function. While what is appropriate remains unresolved, props live and die by subjective rules and restorations.

There are several schools of thought on restoration. The philosophies range drastically, and the effect on value and lifespan of your prop is paramount. Knowing your personality, knowing your financial situation and your goals, understanding the fundamentals of aging and altered props is key to success when making your restoration decision.

The jury is still out on the schools of Philosophy - NOBODY is the end all of authority. The owner of a piece chooses its destiny, and integrates his personality into its history through the entire tenure of their possession. This integration may increase or decrease its value in a subjective world of appraisals. Remember, the decisions are personal, and should never be second-guessed. Make educated choices, and enjoy your movie-prop.

Schools of Thought:

The first school; do nothing, accept the piece as it appears no matter how poor the condition. Let it rot and disintegrate so no man can ever study or enjoy the piece or spirit of the piece for generations to come. Own it to death.

The second school; with skillful restoration return your prop to a state of screen used likeness and have practical display use within your home, maintaining a good percentage of its appraised value. Props of fair to poor value are in most cases savable. - Maybe (No Latex) With proper conservation, these pieces maintain a good portion of their pseudo value, and are no longer an eyesore or a foolish sad machine.

The third school; strip it bare, sand it down, and fix it any way you can to make it look new and functional again.

Here's the deal on the restoration - from the guy who restored it - ME!!! I got a call from Paul Allen's people. They were very upset that they paid nearly $300,000. for a prop they felt they could not display as it was in such horrible condition. They asked me my philosophy on how far to take the restoration. Now remember, these people are museum curators with tons of experience and knowledge of antiques, art and movie props. We were all very aware of the three schools of thought, and what it would mean to the prop. It was decided that he should get a ground up restoration and look as good or better than he did in the series. This was Paul's call and he is very happy with it and extremely happy with the restoration. He wanted to share B9 with the world, and he felt if it looked like crap, future generations would be disillusioned and disappointed seeing their cybernetetic hero, looking like decaying crap. Anyone who saw the stunt robot in person would agree. Whereas we are all fanatics about B9, the general public remembers him only one way, if at all, and that is looking good, all lit up, talking, etc...

For the record, a lot of props were completely restored for that museum, like the My Favorite Martian ship, the Blade Runner car, on and on.

Now here's more of the deal. People seem to think that stunt was the most original robot, which survived when the series was cancelled. Well, yes and no. Technically speaking, only the main body parts survived, which included the bubble, cardboard brain, wooden bubble lifter, wooden radar and wooden ear posts, collar, torso, decaying foam donut, wooden waist plate, fiberglass bellow, fiberglass knees, wooden knees plates, wood and cardboard pedestals and cardboard wheels and decaying foam treads.

All authentic pieces made by Fox and great for reference. (Throw away your blue prints)

Now, when Greg Jein bought the robot and J2 at a Fox auction, it was a total wreck as seen in those pictures. He did the first restoration, just to make it presentable. So, right off, it was no longer "What we saw in the show". It was changed to look more presentable. IT WAS TOUCHED!!! And not with authentic Fox 60's era parts, but with 80's prop man best guess pieces. So we are well on the road to not being so f'n original already. Plus, Greg toured the thing around the world to Japan and who knows where else, where it further got changed and damaged. It was actually missing in shipping for over a year and turned up at a Hollywood curio shop where I tried to buy it, not knowing it was Greg's. I offered the guy 7K for it, but they thought they would rent it out- but never did. Greg found out where it was sued to get it back, and he did. At this time, he did more work to it, molded it and gave a lot of his prop making buddies these molds to make their own B9. The who's who in effects were making B9's like biscuits. Not to resell, just for themselves.

Anyway, Greg put in heart box detail from hell, covered over the cardboard brain with tape painted it silver and put on alien markings. And painted the body and bellows and finally left it alone. -- Until the accident. A heavy light stand fell over and smashed the front of the torso, taking out the mouth and some of the side. Forever changing its profile. It was repaired poorly and went on its way again until it went up for auction and you know the rest.

So, tell me, fellow B9'ers, what is so terrible in replacing the lost, stolen, missing and unauthentic detail with what Bob Kinoshita intended for Blinky to have? As a matter of fact, at his 90th birthday bash with the original Robby in attendance, and where I met Fred Hodges (he's so smart and young looking, isn't he?) and other intrepid builders from the club, I told Kinoshita that I restored the stunt robot and he was elated. He never thought that the stunt should have been so poorly made and was disappointed what has happened to it. He thanked me and thought I did a great job. HE also told me it was just a job and it was just a prop - AMEN!!! So if B9's creator approves... it should be good enough for you salty dogs. It was for me.

Let me tell you a bit about the stunt robot when I got it. It could barely stand on its own. IT was listing to one side. The fiberglass jell-coat was thin as tissue paper and cracking everywhere. All the foam disintegrated, it was a mass of wires and shit. I shot 20 billion 6 MB Tiffs of it and then tore him apart with my bare hands. Which wasn't hard. He flaked about like a buttery croissant. I sanded and bondo'd that thing like a Ferrari for two months, replaced entire sections of the torso, which were impossible to repair. Greg had poured large amounts of resin to hold the thing together. This is what is original on the piece today:
Bubble lifter
Torso Vents
Connecting plate

The same surviving pieces as it left Fox. Only now, they have a new lease on life. I just put on more authentic pieces, as opposed to what the previous owner put on and gave him a new paint job. Well, more than just a paint job. I also motorized the spinners, put in an articulated brain, made him talk and light up. He is really a joy to see. And if some of you can get past his past and onto his future for generations to come, you will see that what I did was for the best. They were going to store him and never display him until I told them what I could do for it. This way at least we can all see and enjoy him. Plus, I made him as accurate as I possibly could. Way more authentic than the Hero restoration.

I could have made him into a pleasure vehicle. I still might...JUST YOU WAIT!!!

By the way, I also made Paul Allen an R2, a T2, a Robby, a Gort, a Maria a C-57D and a Martian War Machine. All on display.

There is a ton of info about the restoration that I won't get into now; I have to get to work on some Robby's. If you guys have questions, I'd be happy to answer everything here on the site. I learned a lot about B9, that even me, THE ROBOTMAN didn't know.

Fred Barton


Fred's description of the materials used in the Stunt Robot:

From what I was able to observe when I had the stunt robot here for restoration:

The torso was fiberglass with wooden supports.
The donut was white foam rubber
The legs were thing teak wood.
The wheels were wood and cardboard
The treads were Styrofoam
The brain was cardboard.
The wrists were fiberglass
The collar was of course acrylic
The radar was teak wood.
The radar ears were hand carved wood.
The bubble lifter was turned wood
The arms were rubber
The bellows were fiberglass
The knees were fiberglass
The bellows plate was plywood.
The leg plates were teak wood and balsa wood
The hinges were teak wood
The side panels were vacuum formed plastic- Maybe ABS or styrene. They were white material.
The brain was cardboard with a wooden inner cups and wood fingers with wooden tips.  Only the three lights on the top were wired.
The spinner was teak wood base and aluminum petals, which were nailed in. Not rivets.
All the stomach detail was put on who knows when and who know of what origin.
The vents torso vents were screwed on.
The claws were wood. - Definitely not original
There were big hooks inside the tread sections to attach cables to fly him.

When I got the thing, someone had added big wooden planks at the bottom of the feet for stability.  The pegs were gone.  Also more wood supports were added in the front and a 3/4" piece of plywood was put in between the tractors and they were screwed together.

I also think the neon's were from the Hero, transplanted into the Stunt.  I believe the stunt never had neon's, but rather fiberglass cross pieces of plastic or curved fiberglass with a plastic piece behind them and a light.  Watch Anti-matter man closely when Don and Smith pick him up.  Look at the neon area.




Chris Krieg took these photos of the restored Stunt Robot. (July 2004)

This Robot is currently part of "The Paul Allen Family Collection" and is on display at the Seattle Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

To get an idea of the restoration required, take a look at the photos at the bottom of this page!

Notice that some of the parts on the Restored Stunt Robot seem to have come from club vendors, cool!

(click images for larger photos)


The Long Distance "Stunt" prop, before restoration.


Copyright Information Email Me!