Billy Butlin amazed the holidaymakers at Butlins Skegness camp in 1933 when he introduced his latest tourist attraction – a monster robot!
MECHANICAL MONSTER COMES TO SKEGNESS.
Butlin’s Amusement Park “Scoop.”
Alpha the Robot has arrived at Skegness! He is at present an inmate, of Butlin’s Super Amusement Park, and the other day (writes a witness) I eat as in a trance watching; the marvellous —I might use the word “uncanny” as being more suitable—performance of this truly astounding product of man’s ingenuity.
Alpha has been brought to Skegness through the co-operation of Mr. William E. Butlin and Professor H. May. the Robot’s inventor.
After expressing a wish to be introduced to Alpha, I was ushered into a spacious and well-lighted theatre situated near the popular Water Dodg’ems, and, along with about 80 other persons, took my seat in perfect silence as requested. There before me sat the strangest thing I have ever seen—a huge gleaming mass of metal in the shape of a man, who seemed to grin knowingly at his audience. I wonder if he guessed what I was thinking!
In a few seconds a demonstrator walked on to the stage and commanded the Robot to stand up. I rubbed my eyes in amazement. Could it be that the Robot was beginning to rise from his beat? I pinched myself, and when it hurt, I realised that I was fully awake!
The demonstrator ordered Alpha to go through several movements, including moving his arms separately and together, and turning his head; in fact, practically every movement a human being can make.
The Robot was then asked the time, and I nearly jumped out of my seat for, as the huge metallic lips of the figure opened a thundering voice replied: °3.30.” Consultation of my timepiece showed that Alpha was correct. It was 3.30 to the minute.
My eyes seemed to be glued to the marvellous shimmering metal-work of the uncanny monster, which reminded me of a medieval knight. I was brought out of my reverie by a gentleman sitting beside me asking the Robot what the weather was like. Back came the thundering reply: “Unsettled.” It was – and so was I!