The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Robot?
January 8, 2012 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Was there actually an unaired TV pilot about a robotic Sherlock Holmes as seen here?

Maybe I'm just bad at detecting jokes, as it could easily just be an amusing picture taken for some other purpose, but stranger TV pilots have been proposed. I see reference to the show elsewhere on the internet, so either other people also took some guy's internet joke seriously or the TV show existed at one point.

If it is real, is there any information about it at all, or a surviving copy? Or am I just a sucker? What is the origin of the picture if it isn't real?
posted by gregoryg to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure about the pilot, but the personage here is Robby the Robot, originally from Forbidden Planet. Robby has had a longer movie career than most human actors, so it's not entirely implausible that he was supposed to play Robo-Holmes in something or other.
posted by Nomyte at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2012

I think it's just Robby dressed up for some publicity still or other. Robby as a lead character seems unlikely. You could contact Fred Barton, and ask if this is one of his.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:03 AM on January 8, 2012

Robby's Wikipedia entry says he made a guest appearance in the TV series Holmes & Yo-Yo. (IMDB confirms the existence of this show, but doesn't list Robby in the cast).

I'm guessing this photo is a sight gag from that show. Unless the existence of this show (on Youtube!) I've never heard of is some elaborate internet prank.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 12:02 PM on January 8, 2012

I watched every episode of Holmes & Yo-Yo when it aired, not a hoax, and I was going to suggest the show if you hadn't, since it's the only robot-oriented detective show in my memory. I don't remember Robby being on, though.
posted by rhizome at 1:35 PM on January 8, 2012

I was also a Holmes & Yo-Yo fan. Not only do I not remember Robby being on it -- although I could easily be wrong -- but that photo looks older than Holmes & Yo-Yo.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:36 PM on January 8, 2012

This page from 1999 is mostly about Gort, but it also includes a thumbnail, which of course no longer links to anything, that was supposedly taken on the set of unsold pilot and which also supposedly features Jerry Mathers. It's tiny, but I think Gort's in it too. I have of course been searching feverishly for information about pilots starring Jerry Mathers and/or Gort and/or Robbie but have come up with no points of intersection. It seems odd that nobody else on the internet or in books available for searching via the internet would ever mention a pilot with such a bizarre premise, but then again you don't hear much about pilots filmed before the mid-1960s, and Jerry Mathers supposedly gave up acting for a while after 1963. Something about that Sherlock picture looks at least that old to me.

I was thinking maybe it could have come from this Columbo episode, like maybe the killer dressed him up as a detective in order to make fun of Columbo, but flipping through an entire Columbo is exactly where I put my foot down when it comes to looking for reasons someone might have put a robot in a detective costume.
posted by Adventurer at 11:25 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been searching for Robby, rather. Although I have also searched for Robbie, as to do otherwise would be irresponsible.
posted by Adventurer at 11:26 PM on January 8, 2012

Final update from the OP:
Mystery solved, gumshoes! Looks like Adventurer hit the nail on the head and this was indeed an unaired 1975 pilot for a show called "Holmes and Walston" about a robot programmed to think it was Sherlock Holmes and its caretaker Walston who it was convinced was actually Watson, bent on tracking down a Gort-lookalike alien! A shame it never became a show, that sort of nonsense sounds right up my alley. Hopefully some day the full pilot pops up! But until then, some information about the show is available here and a YouTube video of some behind-the-scenes production footage is available here. Turns out the answer was elementary all along!
posted by taz (staff) at 7:45 AM on June 15, 2019

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