Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Meet Big Loo, your new best friend. If you ever go to the moon, make sure you take Big Loo with you. With him along, you won’t need any other companion.

Advertised as a robot from the moon and perfect for lunar exploration, the 38-inch Big Loo functioned like a one-man, er, one-robot army. Louis Marx & Company, the largest toy maker in America at mid-20th century, introduced Big Loo in 1963. Operating on three D batteries, Loo flashed his red eyes at danger; and in his bullet-shaped head, he offered a sight-scope with crosshairs for accurately sighting legions of lunar enemies. His hand-cranked voice box uttered 10 phases, including such sparkling repartee as “I am Big Loo” and “Big Loo fights for you.” (Good to know the robot’s on your side.)

Loo had an ample supply of ammo to stop any moon-faced foe: his left elbow lobbed ping-pong balls, the dart launcher in his chest shot at enemies directly in front of him, and missiles propelled from his base. If these didn’t stop the hostile man in the moon, perhaps Loo’s water-squirting navel would keep him at bay. But wait, there’s more! Big Loo boasted a plethora of handy devices: a compass noted True North (on the moon?) and a code clicker sent out Morse code if you got lost. Don’t know Morse code? No problem: Big Loo thoughtfully posted a chart on his backside to guide you. If a coded cry for help didn’t work, some lunar inhabitant would surely hear the noise from Loo’s bell and whistle (Oops, I forgot, sound doesn’t travel on the moon). If fright caused you to drop your green cheese, Big Loo could bend over from his waist and grab it for you with the spring clasp at the end of his right arm. The wheels on his base enabled Big Loo to advance forward when you captured an alien and to retreat backward—right beside you when the battle didn’t go as planned. Really, who could ask for a better travel partner?

At the time Big Loo appeared in toy catalogues and television advertisements, he was the largest robot available, and his multitude of functions surpassed Mr. Mercury, Robot Commando, and similar figures. Although marketed for only a short time, Big Loo made a big impression on some kids of the 1960s. The band members of Los Lobos, for instance, released their 1996 album Colossal Head with the image of Big Loo on the cover. What robot could ask for a better tribute?