Robert Shields: My Life As A Robot Image

Robert Shields: My Life As A Robot

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | March 27, 2024

Seldom does one documentary ignite so many forgotten fires in the pop culture landscape. We are talking about multiple countercultures at play, plus an enormous mainstream influence that evaporated right before the VCR revolution. This story touches on everything that matters to anybody, from Groucho Marx to Blade Runner. OMG! Joanna Cassidy appears in this movie! Her background with mechanical people was more extensive than we thought. We also get access to footage of countless Shields and Yarnell skits, both in public and on TV. They are as still as electrifyingly hilarious as they were when I saw them on TV when I was six years old. I remember trying to recreate the biker zipper bit for classmates in the schoolyard. I had not thought of any of this in nearly 45 years.  

The rocket fuel here is the brilliant insights delivered by the subject himself. Shields is both eloquent and endlessly entertaining. I was floored by how profound his distinction of the art of mime was from Marcel Marceau, the master French mime. Shields described his differences with Marceau’s teachings when he studied under him in Paris, where Marceau worshiped Chaplin while Shields loved The Three Stooges.

“…Marceau worshiped Chaplin while Shields loved The Three Stooges.”

Instead of building these elaborate invisible narratives, Shields liked to find the invisible light power switch in the air and throw it as hard as he could. Rarely has delicacy versus immediacy been so defined in the creative sphere. Also astounding was Shields’ artistic direction once he got to Sedona in the mid-80s. That someone so revolutionary in the art of mime would be so talented in other mediums staggers the mind as well as the eyes. But this feels even bigger than just the art.

There are so many fantastic life lessons to be gotten from this movie. There is a wealth of tips for young people considering going into show business. There are also lots of direct reflections on dealing with calamities as well as never underestimating how many ripples you put out there are still rolling. Rarely is art so universal that any human being on this planet will absolutely adore it on sight. That is the art that this film breathes. Robert Shields: My Life As A Robot will be enjoyed immensely by anyone who sees it, no matter who you are, were, or may someday be. This movie is beyond perfect.

Robert Shields: My Life As A Robot (2024)

Directed: Mark C. Bonn, Christine Seibert Bonn


Starring: Robert Shields, Joanna Cassidy, Chadd Smith, Poppin John, Tony Orlando, Mac Davis, Billy Scudder, Steve Binder, Paul Hooson , etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Robert Shields: My Life As A Robot Image

"…ten is not a high enough number."

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  1. Jean Blaske says:

    I was lucky enough to meet Robert this last spring and see up close and personal his talent. I was also a fan of his back in high school when he was with Yarnell. I remember seeing him on different shows like the Mac Davis show and Ed Sullivan. He is a remarkable human being. Very gracious and very private. I enjoyed the time I spent with him and it made me happy that I got to remember childhood memories. I’ve been looking forward to the documentary since I met him.

  2. Belinda Wurn says:

    I love Robert! Ever since meeting him and Lorene in the ‘70’s when my husband Larry flew them to Jacksonville Florida to put on a private show for his grandfather‘s birthday. It was such a treat, watching them perform! Such a talented artist, I am proud to call him a friend!

  3. Fred Delli Santi says:

    Followed Robert since his SF days.
    He has shared his entertainment gift with many…

  4. Sue says:

    Can’t wait to see this in Buffalo NY. Robert Shields, Shields & Yarnell were part of every teen’s conversation in school following each televised performance. Totally looking forward to every aspect of this documentary.

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