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THE QGBEN ST AMPARD- EXAMIHEB
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The Two- Ton Robot Suddenly Developed a "Mind" of Its Own and Wounded the Inventor Who Feared It Would "Get Him
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Harry May, the English Inventor of "Alpha," the Robot GoBirian, Lights a Pipe for the Walking, TaBcins, and Newspaper-Reading Mechanical * -n.
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ghastly, blue s p o t light, the only illumination in the hall, shone down on the gigantic figure of Alpha and the smaller one of his creator. "And now, ladies and gentlemen," said May, "I will demonstrate to you what is perhaps the most astounding accomplishment in this mechanical man's repertoire. At a spoken word of command, he will pick up, a. revolver and fire a bullet directly at the target on the. rear wall Throagk the mind of every person present crept the memory of Mrs. Shelley's tragic and terribfe fiction story of "Frankenstein," the man who created a mechanical m o n s t e r that destroyed Mm. Despite the- suave ease- and completemaistery May had so far exhibited in controlling the monster,, many could not Another Rohot Recently Revealed to th* but feel that in teach"The Televisor, Sits Down and ing the brute of steel British Public. Life* "Aloha" Tt Stand*, to shoot off a gun the Speaks. inventor was tempt"T was going to be a very scientific ing the fates, going a little too far. "It's a blank cartridge in the gun, I evening., A large group of dignified „„ British society folk had gathered at hope," exclaimed one nervous onlooker Brighton, England, to see Harry May in the crowd. "Oh, no/' explained May, "in order to demonstrate the marvelous versatility of Alpha, his enormous, wireless-con- demonstrate the confidence I have in Alpha I have for this one occasion put trolled mechanical man. M r May had so- perfected ms two-ton, a real bullet in the revolver. He will robot, it was said, that the mechanical. shoot it when I direct him to. Alpha's man responded immediately to spoken. mechanism is so delicately sensitive to orders to smoke, read newspapers, walk, my voice that he will not only fire the he will aim it perfectly tell time, and even answer questions. It gun but.bull's eye on the target and will you see was whispered, too, that at the climax score a of the performance Mr. May would get before you." A mur.mur went through the crowd. Alpha to shoot a gun at a target. Well the show w.ent OR and the The nervous, onlooker and fcwo or three macabre monster the inventor had cre- others started for the door. "Please ated did his stuff with amazing; preci- wait a minute, ladies- and gentlemen. I sion and with almost human intelli- assure you there is no danger," pleaded gence. The audience was thrilled but the man on th« stage. Reluctantly, the frightened men and just the least-bit frightened. The thing was, even when scientifically explained. women once more took their seats. May walked over and placed a loaded revola little.too uncanny for comfort. They were convinced that it was by ver in the robot's "hand.1* "Before performing this feat," said no trickery or hocus-pocus that May operated the steel-encased robot. At the the lecturer, "I will try to explain, how beginning of the performance the inven- 'Alpha accomplishes these marvels, tor had exposed the- anatomy of Ai.pha whkh you have seen- and which no other by removing the steel partition that cov- robot has ever been able to master. "Yoa have heard him talk, answer my ered its. chest. The spectators saw a highly intricate questions, read newspapers. This monarrangement of mechanical and electri- ster, which resembles a man in armor, cal apparatus. They had been further can do almost anything I ask _ Mm. . enlightened by May's, explanation that Photo-electric cells are concealed.in the various tones of his voice, earned on air gratings that cover his eyes, and his waveB to the monster, set the Chidden ears are disguised microphones. When machinery in operation, resulting, in yon see him obey my commands as you Alpha doing almost everything a human have tonight..he is acting without any other human aid. And new, ladies' and being could do, There'was an impressive lull. The gentlemen—" Be turned towards lights in the hall were extinguished A "Alpha", but as he did so a startled cry
derstand why he fixed before I gave the proper signal." Far from discouraged, Mr. May will continue his interesting work. But it was not announced whether target practice for Alpha would be included henceforth in his. regular routine. Perhaps in future exhibitions, May •will advertise the monster's appearance with a sign,, reading "No gwn. play by Alpha. By special request of tHe audience." For several years now robots and meprobably saved his chanical men have been one of the most life, for thefiredpro-interesting developments of electrical jectile shattered the science. H. G. Wells, the acted British inventor's right hand author, was one of the first to look into h e l d c l o s e t o h i s the future and see robots playing a part throat in human affairs. In the excitement In his famous "War tff the Worlds" that followed the mon- Wells told, a story about mechanical ster stood stock-still men, not unlike Alpha and the world's pointing the revolver.. other robots, who would come to the Mr. May's, voice could earth from Mars, and fight and devasbe heard exhorting tate whole continents with death rays. Alpha, "Back to your If this ever happens, whkh of course is chair, Alpha, and highly improbable^ the nations of this drop that gun." globe may have mechanical robots, like To the astonish- Alpha, to combat them. ment of all, the mechanical man obeyed allEven today there are robots who do household tasks. Of instantly,, the revol- justsorts of present time they are course, at the a little ver clattered to the to expensive for Mr. Average Citizen to fioor and he backed up purchase and present to his wife for step by step and. s_at Christmas. down hi the chair, Tb-e well-known story of "Franken"Now, stay there," stein" demonstrated what might happen said May. Five mmutes later if one of these methe hsB was empty of chanical men got out everybody but Mr. of control. In the: May and Alpha. When story, the creature put the inventor was at- together by Dr. Franktended by a doctor for enstein was too strong his punctured hand, to overpower. He torhe was philosophical tured ms maker and many others. about the mishap. The point was that "I always had a feeling," he said, "that" Frankenstein c o u l d Alpha would turn on duplicate everything me some day. but this in his monster that a is the first time he human being had exever ^ disobeyed iny cept the souL And commands. I can't un- that omission led to
An Interesting View of the "Anatomy" of Robot. Electrical Batterns anil Wires Take the Place of Heart, JMuScIes, Lungs anrf Liver. The Tube on the Right Is the "Brainw Which Controls the Monster's Activities, Death Ray Warriors from Mars, as Imagpitved by H. G~ Wells,
disaster. However, if the unexplained conda-ct of Alpha is any fair test, the mechanical men do develop- minds and wills of their own. Writers have long; played' with th.« idea of robots. Edgar Allan- Poe—that great master of the weird and evil school offiction—penneda tale about a chess automaton!. And Ambrose Bierce, whose fate today remains as mysterious as any short story he ever wrote, was the author of a terrible tale of a robot poker player who killed his master for cheating. A sensation on the American stage a few seasons back was the play "R. B. R.," which portrayed what might happen in the world if mechanical men discovered love and became strong enottgfe to exterminate mankind. And a short time later a Broadway theatre wae asing a mechanical man for a dance director. And he was never late to -work!
left his lips. Women in the a u d i e n c e screamed and men
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revolver right at his maker I The nightmarish story of Mrs. Shelley was coming true in real life — right before the fashionable English., society group's •eyesf "Stop, A l p h a , stop!" ordered the frightened M a y. "Drop that gun -and sit down." But almost as ' he spoke the monster toofe a step forward, — a n d : fired. May.- inhis hand, and this
echanical Man Is Grriag *ej*»wp ol Attraegve Sho The NcveJ Stage Director Has No BifficBlty at Afl m Kc«pa^; His "Mmd OJB His Work, int Features Sfn&catc. fee., J982
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