Posted on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 by Peter Sciretta
Jim Henson‘s short film Robot was recently discovered in the AT&T Archives. In 1963, a then-27-year-old Henson was commissioned to create the film for a Bell System seminar for business owners on the then-brand-new topic of Data Communications. According to AT&T:
The seminar itself involved a lot of films and multimedia presentations, and took place in Chicago. … The organizers of the seminar, Inpro, actually set the tone for the film in a three-page memo from one of Inpro’s principals, Ted Mills to Henson. Mills outlined the nascent, but growing relationship between man and machine: a relationship not without tension and resentment: “He [the robot] is sure that All Men Basically Want to Play Golf, and not run businesses — if he can do it better.” (Mills also later designed the ride for the Bell System at the 1964 World’s Fair.) Henson’s execution is not only true to Mills’ vision, but he also puts his own unique, irreverent spin on the material. The robot narrator used in this film had previously starred in a skit for a food fair in Germany, in 1961. It also may be the same robot that appeared on the Mike Douglas Show in 1966. Henson created a different — but similar — robot for the SKF Industries pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair.
Watch it now embedded after the jump.