Crow T. Robot (the T stands for "the") is the golden robot with the bowling pin
for a mouth on TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000
. He was constructed by Joel - both the character, Joel Robinson
, and the series creator, Joel Hodgson
- from spare parts either littered around the Satellite of Love
or around the KTMA
studios, depending if you want to believe the series continuity fiction or the actual facts, respectively. According to an early KTMA episode of the series
Crow's name is an acronym for "Cybernetic Remotely Operated Woman
" and he was built so Joel
could tease him about the name. Crow is the more sarcastic of the MST3K
'bots and along with fellow 'bot Tom Servo
and human captive Joel Robinson
(later Mike Nelson
) he watches the horrid movies sent by Dr. Clayton Forrester
(and later Pearl Forrester
). His construction consists mainly of sporting good
s. Here's a list of his parts (taken from the Satellite News FAQ):
- Eyes and head -- His eyes are glow-in-the dark Ping-Pong balls; pupils are square bits of electrical tape. His head (around his eyes) was a soap dish manufactured by the Schwartz Plastics Co. of Glendale, CA. This soap dish is no longer made and is extremely difficult to find. The top of his head is a hockey mask (Cooper XL7FG).
- Mouth -- A plastic bowling pin cut in half. It used to have a circular emblem with what appeared to be a stylized lower-case "e" imprinted in it, but later the ones with the shapes of crowns embedded in them were used.
- Arms -- Adjustable desk lamp parts, with closed-cell foam tubing (the kind used to insulate water pipes) on the upper part. Flexible rubber tubing was used for the rest of the upper arm. Toy claws for hands.
- Neck -- PVC and flexible rubber tubing.
- Torso -- A Tupperware "Floralier" flower-arranging set, plus part of another set. This set is no longer made. The set consists of a tall conical vase that snaps into a short conical vase that then snaps onto a tray. Two trays, placed face-to-face, make his shoulders. The vases are below, turned upside down. A short section of drainage hose (the same type used for Gypsy, see below) separates the two trays.
- Legs -- More lamp parts, like his arms.
- The head (save eyes) and torso was then spray-painted gold over its original plastic.
Crow is one of the more active characters in the series. He's also the only robot to have visted Deep 13 when in episode #615, Kitten With A Whip, he was greased up and shot down the Umbillicus into Deep 13 as part of a mission to bring the Satellite of Love back to Earth. The mission failed, however, after he encountered Dr. Forrester and sent himself back up the tube to the satellite. He's also a budding screenwriter, having written a number of scripts over the years including Chocolate Jones and the Temple of Funk, Peter Graves at the University of Minnesota, and Earth vs. Soup (which was eventually filmed and released as a trailer; Dr. Forrester and his mother handled the deal). He's also been set on fire a number of times, fallen from massive heights, and even tried to drill out the bottom of the satellite once in an attempt to tunnel to Earth. Like the others he loves attractive onscreen nudity but often misses it, such as in episode #1001, Soultaker, when he gets something in his eye and has to leave the theater to find eye drops just as the slinky heroine discards her robe for a bath.
Originally voiced and operated by Trace Beaulieu for the first seven seasons of the show, newcomer Bill Corbett took over the role after Trace's departure prior to Season 8. Although not immediately adept at working the puppet ("Crow's had a stroke," he commented once early in the job) Bill eventually became a competent puppeteer and, in my opinion, gives Trace a run for his money over who is the better Crow. While Trace's Crow was more sarcastic and over-enthusiastic about things, Bill's Crow tended to think things through more and make better, more responsible decisions. The in-series reason for this change in behavior is that at the end of episode #706, Laserblast, the crew of the Satellite of Love transformed into pure energy for one thousand years, but Crow became immediately bored of such a noncorporeal existance and returned to the then-empty satellite where he lived alone for a millenium. He also redecorated the place, resulting in a new set for Season 8. Incidentially, his new voice was explained by a returning Joel Robinson in Soultaker who accounted the voice for a change in bowling pin. Also worth noting is that after Bill took over the character, Crow's speech snippet in the opening credits changed from "What a wisecracker" to "I'm different" to reflect the change in cast.
Crow survived the crash of the Satellite of Love at the end of the series finale, Diabolik, and was last seen living with Mike Nelson, Tom Servo, and Cambot in a small apartment in Wisconsin where they continue to watch crummy movies on television, this time of their own free will.
The Mystery Science 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide