This Week in 1986: 'Short Circuit' Comes Alive

As movies about adorable robots go, 'Short Circuit' (released 25 years ago this week, on May 9, 1986) wasn't exactly a masterpiece, but it's a fondly remembered film that proved influential in ways its creators probably never imagined.

Originally, director John Badham's film was going to be a relatively serious Cold War techno-parable, along the lines of his 'WarGames,' but it evolved into a kid-friendly comedy about a drone weapon automaton called Number 5 that, when struck by lightning, develops intelligence, a personality and a fondness for pop culture. Comic pro Steve Guttenberg was enlisted as the robot's inventor, and Ally Sheedy (of 'WarGames') played his love interest, an ice cream truck driver who takes in stray animals and assumes that the runaway Number 5 is a stranded alien. (No wonder, since, with his big eyes, flat head, squat body and ability to learn English from a few hours of watching TV, he resembles E.T.)