Otto Lipton Built a Robot

2017-05-22T20:05:40-04:00 Saturday January 31, 2015|

Chuckie and Archie in HIGH SCHOOL USA

As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing like some good old fashioned wacky 1980s movie robot comedy.

One fateful night in 1984 I flipped on HBO and stumbled right into the middle of a really cheesy movie where Michael J Fox was playing high school stud J.J. Manners alongside a mile-long list of Hollywood’s finest (actually in the movie he’s listed as “Michael Fox”, he must have added the J which skyrocketed him to fame shortly after.) You had your Nancy McKeon. Your Crispin Glover. Your Bob Denver, aka Gilligan. Your guys who played Wally Cleaver and Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver. Your Dana Plato. Your Todd Bridges. Your Anthony Edwards.. with hair. You want me to keep going?

I checked the weekly TV listings supplement that came with the Sunday paper to see what this masterpiece was and when it was on next so’s I could sit and watch the whole thing. It was High School USA. The next time it was on I not only watched it, but I taped that sonofabitch using our magnificent 300 pound top-loading VCR… and I did so with the SP lever engaged for optimum quality. This one was worth dedicating an entire VHS cassette to.

Here’s the synopsis per IMDB:

Set in a senior high school class, J.J. pursues the girlfriend of a rival from a higher clique.

Quite the gripping description, huh? As if that along with the aforementioned all-star cast wasn’t enough, there was a bonus in High School that many other great 80s movies had: the comic relief robot (see also: Revenge of the Nerds). Todd Bridges’ character Otto Lipton was the token geek in the movie, smart and technologically savvy enough to build a robot – and that he did. Its name? Robot. Just look at this beast:


Robo-wackiness ensued as you can imagine. If you want to spend what I’m sure would be 96 of the most awesome minutes of your life watching this movie, congratulations – here it is on the YouTube. I revisit it once or twice a year and just like a fine wine it only improves with age.


Otto Lipton Built a Robot is the 10th song I’ve created using the Fishman TriplePlay MIDI pickup. It’s basically what would happen if a spinoff movie was made about the wild wacky zany madcap adventures of Otto and Robot as an intergalactic crime fighting duo (CAN YOU IMAGINE?) I kicked it off with a very Prince-esque/Delirious drumbeat assuming such a vibe would be fitting for this movie and went from there. After my wife heard the first 5 or so seconds of the drum intro she said “It sounds like Prince!” YES. The Prince-ness takes the back seat once the other 2 dozen virtual band members kick in. I usually can’t stand slap bass (especially when it’s fake) but this one called for the most disgustingly obnoxious slap bass setting I could find. Thank you, Sampletank 3.

I imagine there being a freeze-frame ending to the Otto Lipton/robot movie with Otto laughing and high-fiving Robot – that’s when this tune would kick in (annnnnnd roll the credits).