Magic and Robots

Mar 1, 2009

ITEM:  Due to numerous requests (that’s Bill Numerous, somewhere in the USA..and no that’s not his real name)  I need to explain the title of this blog. Bill has a very literal view on things and complains that magic and robots are incompatible. His favourite robot is Robby and apparently he is saving up for one of those life-size Japanese Robots. My blog mislead him as it doesn’t contain enough robots !! Someone else keeps ending up here by typing the phrase “sex with Batman”.  He or she is going to be really disappointed too !!!

I could have called this blog  “Owl Stretching Time” or “Mr Potrozebie” or anything really but I just happened to have uncovered an old board game of the same name. So, for Bill and the one other person who hasn’t learnt how to google, “The Magic Robot” was produced by Merit Games of England from the 1950s to at least the mid 1970s and went through various incarnations. The earliest ones boasted a traditional magician as the centerpiece. Throughout the 1960s he was replaced by a small green robot. As this game needed no electricity or batteries it was evident to the 7 year old me that magic must be involved somehow. How else could the Robot work !!



 You placed the Robot into a notch in the middle of a circle of questions. There were a number of interchangeable sheets with varied subjects. Then you rotated the robot until his magic wand pointed at the question you needed an answer to. Then you lifted the Robot onto a mirror around which were a number of possible answers to your earlier question. The Robot would then spin around and come to rest with his magic wand pointing to the correct answer to the question. He never failed to point to the right answer. Even today I’m not sure how he does this. I suspect magnets are involved but I’m loathe to destroy his stand to find out !!

There was even a rare and rather fetching golden robot available in the 1970s. I’d like to track him down.


ITEM:  I can’t remember the last time I was excitedly looking forward to attending the Cinema to  see a film based upon a comic character. The last time was probably when the first ever Superman film came out. I never expected to ever visit the Cinema to see what are essentially the old Charlton Comics’  “Action Heroes” deconstructed. But if  Watchmen lives up to even half of its hype it should be fascinating. Its 18 certificate already means that its not been made with children and merchandising quite as much in mind as Spiderman, Iron Man etc.


After 20 years of people claiming that Alan Moore’s graphic novel was unfilmable it will be interesting to see how they overcome various stumbling blocks. The most obvious problem was Dr Manhattan’s lack of any clothing whatsoever. The solution seems to have been computer-generated genitalia !!  Even the subplot of  “The Tales of The Black Freighter” seems to have been overcome. There will be a DVD release with an extra 30 minutes added to the already generous 2 hours 40 minutes film inserting the Pirate interludes amidst the action.

Once again Alan refuses to give his approval to a film using his plot and characters. I respect his integrity but probably this time director Zack Snyder might actually do the source material justice.



You can even buy the “Black Freighter” as an individual DVD. And for those people who believe that there shouldn’t have been a movie version of Watchmen and that the comic is the definitive version here is an odd halfway-house DVD of the 12 comics with sound and some limited animation.

And I’m off to the cinema again. I can’t cope with American “movies” with their tedious plots about spoiled teenagers etc etc so it’s nice to see a couple of films with plots that I can understand. “The Damned United” is all about Brian Clough’s 44 days at Leeds United in the 1970s.


Another film about a subject I comprehend is “The Boat That Rocked” which is a ficticious account about Pirate Radio in the 1960s by Richard Curtis. In the mid 1970s I once went out on a small boat to see the Mi Amigo. In real life it looked small and clapped-out. It was thought the only thing keeping it afloat was that it was perched on a mountain of beer cans thrown overboard by DJs and crew !!


2 Responses to “Magic and Robots”

  1. sid smith Says:

    As a kid in the early 60s I was endlessly fascinated by our Magic Robot game. Eventually, the robot became separated from the box to join my cluttered toy-box: the only real sci-fi-related token next to my model of Supercar.

    Like you I’m looking forward to seeing what they make of Watchmen. I’ve been looking at the little “making of” video pieces online and have been very impressed by the lengths they appear to be going to to recreate the worlds which the book invoked.

    And it’s great to see you blogging again!

  2. themagicrobot Says:

    Yeah, looks like its a hard habit to kick. Today I went to the local comic shop and found they will be closing down shortly. When I got back to the car I’d got a parking ticket. On a Sunday! On a deserted street! Bad news from a relative was number three.

    So I actually fired up the computer to delete the blog but ended up responding to a couple of comments and adding a few more words.

    I had a plastic Supercar toy. All it did was you could push the wings in or out to pretend it was a car or a plane. Also a model Stingray toy. It was metal with an elastic band powered propellor. This caused me much pain in the bath aged 8 when it crashed full speed into my nether regions.

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