''Family Matter'''s robot -- A mischievous droid guest stars on the sitcom

By Ron Magid
Updated November 01, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

Lost in Space had Robot; Get Smart had Hymie; Pee-wee’s Playhouse had Conky. And now Family Matters has Urkelbot?

TV’s newest mechanical man will make his debut on the ABC sitcom’s Nov. 1 episode, ”Robo-Nerd,” in which brainy Steve Urkel creates the droid for a science contest. Urkelbot, though, turns out to be a Franken-nerd monster — it develops a mind of its own and falls for Steve’s girlfriend. ”It’s a little like 2001,” says Richard Correll, who directed the episode. ”Steve has to find a way to shut the robot off.”

Urkelbot was built by Kenny Myers (creator of special makeup effects for Back to the Future II and III and Star Trek V). The robot’s head is sculpted from lightweight fiberglass, radio-controlled motors operate his flapping ears and flashing eyes, and a pint-size actor inside helps with arm and leg movements.

Is Urkelbot a one-shot deal, or will he return? ”The studio audience just loved him, but we still haven’t made up our minds,” Correll says. ”It depends how well the episode does in the ratings.”

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