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Dolenz Robots as Basis For Maskatron

Ported Discussion

(following an edit by Major Sloan claiming Dolenz Robots as basis of Maskatron, which CzeckOut reverted)

Say, don't want to get into a tug of war, but Maskatron would never have been produced as a toy if Steve didn't have robotic adversaries, and Dolentz was alone in creating them until Dr. Franklin showed up circa Halloween '76. I'm aware Maskatron had plenty of features the Dolentz Robots didn't share, but one of the masks is pretty clearly John Saxon, another is definitly Oscar, and the head coming off paired nicely with the later version of Steve that does the karate chop, allowing kids to replicate the dispatch of Oscar's first replica in Return of the Robot Maker. Reversing the idea and calling "Mr. X" Maskatron is easy to reject, since a toy can hardly be a source of canon, but the toy is pretty clearly meant to capitalize on the popularity of those episodes. Your thoughts?–-Major Sloan 02:22, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Maskatron was entirely a Kenner invention. It was not an analogue for Dolenz's Robots. Most obviously, Dolenz's creations were never shown to have interchangeable masks. There was an Oscar DR; there was a Sloan DR. They were quite separate creations, not a single robot with interchangeable face plates. And there was never a Steve Austin DR.
Beyond this, though, Maskatron had several non-human appendages. And his body was mostly a metallic color. It was quite obvious that thing was a robot. This is explicitly against the purpose of a DR, created as it was to perfectly imitate a human.
As for the third of the three masks being Sloan, I'm not sure I see the resemblance. The thing vaguely has John Saxon's eyebrows, but that's about it. He's just a generic face that looks different than the other two. Certainly nothing on the box, in the 1976 Kenner Catalog, or in any advertising I've ever seen indicates he's anything other than "Maskatron". It's only people who write about the Maskatron these days who interject similarities with Sloan.
Take a look at the television ad to determine how close you think Maskatron really is to a DR. CzechOut | 03:37, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
You make some valid points. I would say first that I had discussions with my peers at the time of Maskatron's release regarding the Dolentz Robots, and Mr X in particular, so I can certainly say that it is not only modern discussions that bring this perspective. The dubious similarity of the mask to Saxon was disappointing at the time, but only to raise a question, not answer it.
On the lack of perfect human simulation- this was a toy. It was primarily intended for play, and like many tie-in toys, it takes considerable artistic license to add play value. For another example take Oscar Goldman's exploding briefcase: the only such briefcase I recall was in Return of the Robot Maker, in which Steve's inventor friend gives him a briefcase with 3 time delayed bombs; Oscar never had it, in fact Oscar was held captive at that time, as his DR was masquerading as him. The toy played fast and loose with the details to deliver some fun. Why even include masks if Kenner wasn't inviting kids to play "evil impostor" with it? Even if the build and hair would immediately give it away to anyone "in real life."
The proper toys for the DR's would have a fake Sloan and a fake Oscar; they consolidated these into a single toy to reduce inventory in the chain, throwing in a Steve mask for good measure and to add value. Recall Dolentz in the tease of Day of the Robot tells his client of the "life mask" and its ability to imitate. It's not a huge leap to say this dialogue was the derivation for the toy's name. The silver skin and mechanical attachments were to project the notion of the "Robot as a Robot", just as the experimental sound mix did for the Robots on the show; without those sounds, audiences might forget the Robotic nature of the DR, not to mention those who "just tuned in." If it were me, I'd say put a string pull on the toy's back with the sounds and give them fleshy skin, but I didn't work at Kenner, I was only 8 years old, LOL.
If you want to say Kenner "got it wrong" OK, I'd agree, but "no relation?" Well I might say the new Bionic Woman show is "no relation" to the classics, but that's taking an advocacy position.
BTW, thank you for your substantive response earlier CzechOut.
--Major Sloan 05:43, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
And thank you for your response as well. A couple of points intrigue me from your response. On the matter of "toy realism", sure, they're not canon. The central toys did things really not in consonance with their TV counterparts. Steve had special purpose arms with a wide variety of abilities, which is only kinda/sorta in the novels. Jaime had a huge line of elegant attire, which goes against her whole casual character. And Oscar had his briefcase. But the thing is, they were all plausible changes. Oscar could have had such a briefcase, Jaime did very occasionally indulge in evening wear, Steve's bionics sometimes did unexpected tricks, as when a primitive GPS device was suddenly said to have been there all along.
What strikes me with the Maskatron, by contrast, is that it wholly goes against the stated aims of the DRs. It's far too mechanistic. It's a great toy, but it's quite deliberately different than a DR. See, I don't think "Kenner got it wrong". I don't think they were trying to make a DR at all.
And the thing is, there's just not one scrap of evidence that I can find which supports the notion that it was meant to be a DR replica. End users might speculate, but that's different than saying it was. CzechOut | 06:02, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Further Discussion

Adding to the above discussion from 2 years ago, the current version of the article (to which I've contributed) does make the Dolenz analogy again, however I've revised the wording to remove definitive reference to it being based upon Dolenz's creations (unlike the Fembot which definitely based on the TV equivalent). Having just watched the DVD version of Day of the Robot, I have to chime in that in my opinion the "third face" of Maskatron is most definitely that of John Saxon aka Major Sloan, especially when you compare it to how Sloan's face looks when Steve knocks it off. And the fact the faces used by Dolenz are, in Day of the Robot, anyway, directly referred to as masks. Short of a source saying "yes we based Maskatron on the robots" we can't say definitively, we can't say 100% but I'm comfortable in lieu of a source saying otherwise, in the current wording. All this said, I have yet to watch the Bionic Toys featurette in the DVD set, and it may solve the argument. 23skidoo 22:03, November 24, 2010 (UTC)

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