Tobor Is Not Just Robot Spelled Backwards

Tobor IS the telesonic robot that responds to the loudest remote control known to kid-dom. What can he do? You name it. He spins. He turns. If you get him lined up just right he might even pick something up for you. I can guarantee you one thing about Tobor. He will frustrate the heck out of you. Why? Because this sleek-looking toy robot is fragile. A delicate mechanical angel thrust into a hard an uncaring world. His only wish, to do you bidding. As long as your bidding involves moving a little bit and picking up his suitcase.

But, not only will not pick up the suitcase, he will also constantly crash into the refrigerator. Do that more than once and one of his hand type things breaks off.

Keep playing with him and the remote draws the dogs into the kitchen. They get freaked out by Tobor and pounce on him. In less than a day, he has lost one arm. And can you guess which arm he has left? The one that doesn’t pick up the robot suitcase, because you lost his working hand thingy. Oh Tobor, you beautiful robot bastard, you broke my heart!

I still see him in my dreams, and of course on the well-worn pages of my JC Penny’s Christmas Catalog.

Watch this classic commercial for Tobor the Robot


The Retroist

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12 thoughts on “Tobor Is Not Just Robot Spelled Backwards

  1. JV says:

    Ah, Tobor. A precious X-Mas for me in the 70s! I think I played with it for about 30 min, before chucking it. What a lame toy. Forward, spin, forward. Yep, that was about it.

  2. medevac says:

    I recall my mom bought my brother a Tobor when we were little. I screamed and cried until they finally had to buy me one later that day.

    Let me tell you, a kid had to have Top Gun eye-hand coordination to even attempt to get TOBOR to head toward your intended directions.

    There is NO WAY those kids are operating him in the commercial. Otherwise they would do what we would do: get up and walk over to TOBOR and PUT THE FREAKIN BOX INTO HIS FREAKIN HANDS YOURSELF.

    damn you TOBOR

  3. MrG says:

    In retrospect, it’s entirely appropriate that TOBOR is robot spelled backwards, as robots are typically useful, controllable, and functional, and TOBOR was the exact opposite.

  4. Wow i Just picked up a Mint in box one of these from some Dude selling old beer cans for 10 bucks at a flea Market… Stickers still on the sheets instructions and all .. only down side to this is that the elastic bands that ran his wheels have rotted.. Had one as a kid and it broke in no time… Wanted remote r2 d2 for xmas and got this.. any idea what he’s worth now!!!

  5. Great find. Especially with the box. I have not ever seen one for sale online. So not sure what it would run for. Do you think you can find a replacement for his elastic bands?

  6. Reading this post was hilarious. Tobor came to mind today while watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Not sure why, must be a 70’s thing. But with all the comments, I think everyone displaced that fact that you had to put the stickers on the toy first, then become disappointed at the fact it didn’t work.. Man, I remember watching the commercial on X-mas day trying to figure out what I was doing wrong until I came to the conclusion that Santa brought me some bull. Thanks for the laughs.

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