So I was a huge Star Wars fan in the 70’s and started collecting action figures, but one of my favorite little action figures was actually a little robot dog from the original Battlestar Galactica. The little boy on the show, misfortunately named Boxey, lost his dog Muffit (though on the show they called domesticated canines “daggits”) and was incredibly sad. To ease Boxey’s emotional pain, his future stepfather, Apollo, asks a Dr. Wilker to furnish a prototype robotic daggit called Muffit I, shown here in doodlewash.
I don’t remember much about the show, but I do remember that I thought Muffit II was super cool. The tiny little action figure was equally awesome and used to make guest appearances with my Star Wars characters, as I was always disappointed none of them ever had dogs. I loved that they designed a robotic dog that wasn’t all hard and made of metal, but actually furry and huggable. The costume was admittedly bizarre because it looked like he was wearing a gas mask and held together by duct tape, but I still thought he was pretty darn cute.
To top it all off, articles appeared revealing that Muffit II was played by a live actor in the form of a chimpanzee named Evolution. These names were all ridiculous, but since my brother had recently named his cat “mouse lips” I just assumed that stupid names were all the rage back then. Thankfully, the article said the chimpanzee’s friends just called her Eve or Evie which seemed a little more friendly. To now imagine that Muffit II was a robot, a dog, and a chimpanzee made him one of the coolest characters a kid could imagine!
Today, most characters like this only show up on screen as 3D animations or animatronic puppets, if they show up at all. They don’t have quite the same charm as costumed live actors did. There was something amazing about seeing Muffit II awkwardly lope across the screen. No doubt Evie was having a terrible time moving in this crazy getup, but she always managed to make me smile. Though I’ll likely never own a robotic dog, or ever prefer them over the real thing if I could own one, the idea that it could exist like this is still really fun to imagine.