Show 27 – Some early 20th century robots
We’ve had to take a “holiday” over the next two weeks to catch up on some other work deadlines. This week we are happy to present three of the very popular History of 20th Century Robots together for the first time as a single podcast. I’ve wanted to do this for some time and jumped at the chance. It fits well with my holiday work for a feature article on the 1930’s robot Elektro for the New Scientist Christmas special. Much of the article comes from my research for the three parts played here for The Sound of Science. Hope you enjoy these.
all the best, noel
History of 20th century robotics part 5: Herbie Televox
Noel takes us back to 1927 where Roy James Wensley, working for Westinghouse Electronics, accidentally develops the first electro-mechanical humanoid robot.
History of 20th century robotics part 6: Elektro
Noel takes us back to the 20s and 30s to look at what they thought that robots were. It is the lead up to the story of Westinghouse Electronics’ Eleckro, the giant 7 foot humanoid robot that could walk, talk and smoke cigarettes.
Elektro and Sparko
History of 20th century robotics part 7: Elektro
Noel discusses Elektro’s immediate ancestor Willie Vocalite before launching into the story of Elektro. This is a lively piece with lots of period music and audio clips of Electro talking and singing. Even better, Noel interviews Mr Jack Weeks who played with Elektro throughout World War II. We discuss how Elektro went from early walker, dancer and smoker to soft porn star in the Holywood movie, Sex Girls go to college.
Music on the show
Intro: Sound of Silence, Beastie Boys followed by Polar Bear
History of 20th Century Robots pt 5: We are the robots (Kraftwerk), The Charleston (Savoy Orpheans), I’m Sittin on top of the world (Al Jolson), I ain’t got nobody (Louis Armstrong)
History of 20th Century Robots pt 6: The theme music is Tic by Niall Griffith, The Charleston (Savoy Orpheans), , I ain’t got nobody (Louis Armstrong)
History of 20th Century Robots pt 7: The theme music is Tic by Niall Griffith, The Charleston (Savoy Orpheans), Charlie Christian with Benny Goodman – Solo Flight and Seven comes eleven, Glen Miller – In the mood and Chatenoga cho cho
Outro: Locomotion by John Coletrane Quartet
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