In From the Cold

Actress Ann Robinson learned about the television remake of producer George Pal’s science-fiction classic “War of the Worlds” by reading about it in Variety.

Then she contacted Paramount about a role, and within 10 days the writers wanted her in the show.

Talk about your deja vu.

Robinson starred as USC librarian Sylvia van Buren in the 1953 film and returns as the same character in the new TV series “War of the Worlds” that begins tonight at 9 on KCOP-TV Channel 13. She’s the series’ only character returning from the film.


“I’m so sorry that George Pal isn’t here with us today because I think he’d be so tickled the movie was being made into a TV series,” says Robinson. “And this is a wonderful springboard for me--this will bring me out of hibernation, just like the aliens.”

Since the film’s original release, Robinson has done some television and film, and recently she’s had a recurring role on “General Hospital.”

“During the intervening years, besides doing voice-overs and looping for foreign films, I settled into motherhood,” she says. “In 1957 I met Jaime Bravo, a celebrated bullfighter, in Tijuana, and we ran off to Mexico City and got married.” Two grown sons, a divorce and remarriage to a real-estate broker later, Robinson’s back where she started.

The principal scene for “War of the Worlds” has moved from L.A. to some unidentified spot in the Pacific Northwest. Sylvia, who has violent fits due to her exposure to the Martians, has spent some of the intervening years in an asylum.


In the original movie, Sylvia got caught up in the alien invasion alongside star Gene Barry, who played scientist Clayton Forrester.

No on-screen romance bloomed, but, says Robinson, Sylvia “must have stayed on with Clayton Forrester after ‘War of the Worlds.’ . . She must have had a crush on him. She kept his records straight, did his files and so on.”