Tobor the Great (1954)

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Directed by Lee Sholem
Written by Philip MacDonald; story by Carl Dudley
Dudley Pictures Corporation
First viewing/YouTube

Brian ‘Gadge’ Robertson: Gee, Tobor, you’re wonderful!

If it weren’t for the boy genius, this would be ideal cheesy fun.  As it is, it could appeal to your inner 10-year-old.

In the contemporary “near future”, scientists are at work on sending a man into space.  Dr. Ralph Harrison is sickened by experiments on human volunteers that have resulted in injury or death.  After he gives his boss a piece of his mind to no avail, he resigns.  As he is packing to move house, genius professor Arnold Nordstrom comes to visit, tells him he feels exactly the same, and invites him to come and work on his project to allow unmanned space exploration.

We arrive at the professor’s home where we meet his grandson “Gadge” and his conveniently widowed young daughter, the boy’s mother.  The men set to work on a robot the professor names Tobor (get it?).  The robot is to receive its orders in outer space via mental telepathy.  When improvements have been made, the doctor invites journalists to a press conference at his home.  An uninvited Soviet spy also attends and plans to steal the secrets for evil purposes.


Gadge figures out how to operate the robot on his own, causing a lot of destruction in the process.  Mother scolds but the professor beams with pride.  Finally, the Soviets kidnap the professor and Gadge.


The kid is just insufferable and has phony dialogue like the above quote throughout. There’s quite a flavor of 50’s TV to the whole.  However, the pace is good and the romance is kept to a bare minimum.  Tobor is also one of the most convincing robots of the year, his fanciful operating system aside.


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