ORLEANS — There are robots, and then there are ROBOTS.
The eerily human-ish automatons of contemporary cinema may provide a chill, but the Snow Library has boldly gone where man has gone before with its warm celebration of the bulky, gleaming toy robots of the last century.
The packed display case opposite the entrance doors brings young and old to a standstill as they marvel at the colorful creations of all sizes bracketed by spaceships. The top shelf holds a classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots box. Nearby is a giant red Japanese battle robot poised to start shuffling forward to menace a foe.
There are many iterations of everyone’s favorite, Robby the Robot, whose career spanned the classic movie “Forbidden Planet” and an unfortunate role on “Lost in Space” (“Danger, Will Robinson,” indeed). The other leading mid-century “tin man,” Gort from “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” appears with visor half-open, ready to disintegrate the unwary.
But these artifacts of childhood evoke fondness, not fear. While viewing the display, one woman told another, “They should get rid of the one at Stop & Shop and put one of these there.”
The mastermind behind this show of technological terror, which will be up through January, is no mad scientist. Cesar Pozo, a cook at a restaurant in Chatham, was delighted to learn that his exhibit is a crowd-pleaser.
“When I was a kid, I never had these toys,” he said in an interview. “I always saw them on videos, in particular robots from the ‘50s and ‘60s.” He started his collection about five years ago, looking for items in magazines, on Ebay, and at flea markets.
His favorite in the Orleans show is “the little guy, Mite, from, I think, 1952.” He admires the design and the paint. “It looks like an item from the future. Some people don’t think these are old toys.”
Pozo confirmed that his mechanical men are still capable of motion, as is he. “Part of the collection is from Japan,” he said. “I’ve never been there. My plan is to go there and get more items.”