There's just no understating the impact Robby the Robot, from the MGM science fiction classic Forbidden Planet, has had on the world of space toys. But in case you don't believe that one character could remain such a key part of the hobby's history, I direct you to Mechanized Robot (www.mechanizedrobot.com), the online home of Pat Karris' toy collection.
In his time as a collector, Pat Karris has bought and sold more robots than I'll ever own. But he ultimately decided to focus his time and talents on amassing the biggest, best, most complete collection of Forbidden Planet related toys and ephemera in the world. Robots, space ships, posters, photos, books -- yep, they're all in the collection. New, old, common, rare -- he doesn't discriminate, everything's in the collection. His relentless pursuit of these toys, keen knowledge of the hobby, and pure, unadulterated passion for robots not only built the kind of collection most of us can only ever dream about, but turned him into a living legend within the hobby. Plus, he's a helluva nice guy.
I first met Pat a few years ago after buying a reproduction Mr. Atomic robot from him. We met in a Starbucks on Astor Place in New York City, just two guys drinking some Joe and talking robots. Little did I realize that we'd started a weekly -- at least! -- tradition that would last the next couple years, until Pat decided to move out of the city and into the great unknown. (Okay, he moved upstate, but I can't resist a little bit of drama).
Pat has had a profound effect on my development as a collector, offering endless advice and insight, regaling me with tales of the good old days when toy shows reigned supreme, and guiding me through more than a couple harrowing experiences involving extremely rare toys and obscene amounts of money. If anyone deserves a tip of the hat for making me the collector I am today, I'd say it's him.
...No, he's not dead. Sheesh, you people! I'm just taking an opportunity to give a shout out to a legendary collector and a top-notch friend. Now enough of the touchy-feely stuff, go check out his toys!