Friday, September 16, 2022

Jack Arnold "It Came From Outer Space" to "The Mouse That Roared": His 1950's Films

 Jack Arnold Waks dreamed of becoming a professional actor, as a teen he enrolled in the prestigious "American Academy of Performing Arts" at its New York City location. Starting in 1935 he was performing on Broadway and his dream was moving forward until December 7, 1941.

Jack immediately enlisted in the Army Air Force, but found himself station to the signal corps and working with filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty. Who in 1922 had made the first commercially successful feature length documentary, "Nanook of the North". Eight months after working with Flaherty, Jackas back in the air corps as a pilot and met his future wife, Betty Jeanne Riphahan

When the war ended, JACK ARNOLD, and his army buddy, Lee Goodman, formed a production company, "Promotion Film Company". In 1950, Arnold was commissioned to Produce and Direct a documentary about early working conditions in the 20th Century, His documentary, "With These Hands", was nominated for the "Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film".

This is a look at a series of Science Fiction motion pictures Jack Arnold, Directed during the 1950's.

As strange as this may sound, at the start of the 1950's, the powerful motion picture industry felt threatened by 13 and 17 inch black and white television screens. What would affectionally be called "The Boob Tube", was now priced for the average American family and they were staying home in front of it. Additionally, the motion picture industry and not the fledgling television industry, was being attacked by the "House Committee on Un-American Activities", or Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The major studios needed to find a way to get families back into movie theaters, one means would be wide-screen, but 20th Century Fox would not find a way to bring William Fox's, 1929, 70 mm process, Grandeur, back until late 1953. "The Robe", used an expanded, through special lenses, 35 mm process called CinemaScope, but it wouldn't be until 1956 and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel", that the studio moved to a 55 mm process they named, CinemaScope55, still 15 mm's lower than what Fox used in 1929.

William Fox's story can be read in my article, "JOHN WAYNE, WILLIAM FOX: Grandeur and 'The Big Trail", at:

One example of how the studios started to fight television and lure audiences back into movie theaters, was first used for an independent motion picture distributed by United Artists on November 26, 1952. "Bwana Devil", in something called "Natural Vision 3 Dimension", sparked the craze I write about in my article, "THIRD DIMENSION the Golden Age of 3-D Motion Pictures 1952-1955", found at:

Jack Arnold was about to make his first of four motion pictures in the "Third Dimension". The assigned Universal International studio producer was William Alland, as an actor he interviews "Charles Foster Kane" in 1941's "Citizen Kane", and this would form a working team.

IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE released on June 5, 1953

Director Jack Arnold's first non-documentary motion picture was a Universal International film-noir, 1953's, "Girls in the Night", starring Harvey Lembeck, the future "Eric von Zipper", in the "Beach Party" movies. Arnold's second was this Science Fiction feature.

The story treatment came from author Ray Bradbury, eight-days after this picture's release, another Science Fiction based upon Bradbury's "The Fog Horn", "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", was released by Warner Brothers. 

I use the word "treatment", because there never was a written and published story that the screenplay was based upon. 

The following is based upon two sources, the commentary by film historian Tom Weaver, on the original DVD release, and, the 2004 biography, "Ray Bradbury", from the "Gauntlet Press", Colorado Springs, Colorado, as edited by Donn Albright.

Ray Bradbury was contracted by Universal International to write a "Space Invaders" story treatment that a screenplay could be written from. He submitted a very long treatment, actually two versions in one, entitled "The Meteor". The difference was in who the aliens were, one version of the story had them as a typical malicious alien lifeform prevalent in early 1950 Science Fiction, such as Howard Hawks' "The Thing from Another World". The second Bradbury version intrigued Jack Arnold, the aliens had no other desire than to fix there crashed space craft and return home, but the malicious intent comes from the humans.

As Bradbury stated:

 I wanted to treat the invaders as beings who were not dangerous, and that was very unusual

Universal International contract writer Harry Essex was given the assignment to turn Ray Bradbury's story treatment into a screenplay. Essex had started out writing screenplays as one of three writers for the 1941, Horror Romance, "Man Made Monster", starring Lon Chaney, Jr., Lionel Atwill, and Ann Nagel. Harry Essex followed that film with nothing but film-noir crime pictures until this assignment. 

As the legend goes, Harry Essex merely changed the dialogue and took full credit for the entire story and screenplay. Additionally, there was a fourth screenplay written with input from Jack Arnold. 

In 2004, Ray Bradbury published all four screenplays in one volume.  

While the screenplay was being worked upon, Jack Arnold, like every director to the new medium of  3-D, had to figure out how to film in the "Third Dimension". The special camera used two film strips, basically one for each human eye, and the sets had to be designed with a definite foreground, middle ground, and back ground. So, Arnold worked closely with his two Art Directors, Robert F. Boyle and Bernard Herzbrun. Along with his Second Unit Director, Joseph E. Kenney, who also had never made a 3-D motion picture.

Additionally, commercial artist, fashion designer, actress, and writer of children's books, Milicent Patrick, was designing the alien, "Xenomorph's". Patrick would be involved with two other of Jack Arnold's Science Fiction movies in a similar role.

The Main Cast:

Richard Carlson portrayed "John Putnam". Carlson was four-months away from the first of 117 episodes of the anti-Communist television series, "I Led 3 Lives". The actor had just been seen in "Appointment in Samarra", May 11, 1953, on the television anthology series, "Robert Montgomery Presents". My article, "Richard Carlson the Academic Turn Actor", is available to read at:

Barbara Rush portrayed "Ellen Fields". In 1951, Rush had co-starred in producer George Pal's classic Science Fiction, "When Worlds Collide", and had just co-starred with John Dereck in the 1953 adventure, "Prince of Pirates". Barbara Rush would follow this picture by portraying Native American, "Oona", opposite Rock Hudson's title character, "Taza, Son of Cochise", in a 3-D Western.

Charles Drake portrayed "Sheriff Matt Warren". Although Drake started acting in 1939, it wasn't until director Howard Hawks', 1942, "Air Force", that the actor wasn't mainly used in uncredited roles. He had just been seen in the Joel McCrea Western, 1953's, "The Lone Hand", and followed this picture with a Jeff Chandler Western, 1953's, "War Arrow", both directed by George Sherman.

Joe Sawyer portrayed "Frank Daylon". Sawyer started his acting career in 1930, and for his first five-years was also in uncredited roles. That changed with 1936's, "The Petrified Forest", starring Leslie Howard and Bette Davis, Sawyer was billed sixth behind an actor named Humphrey Bogart. For that new medium, television, Joe Sawyer was "Sergeant Biff O'Hara", on "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin", from 1954 through 1959.

Russell Johnson
portrayed "George". Johnson started on-screen acting in 1950, and he is associated with two other Jack Arnold pictures I will be mentioning. Russell Johnson also starred in director Roger Corman's, 1957, "Attack of the Crab Monsters", but, again to that television generation, he is best known as "The Professor" on "Gilligan's Island" from 1964 through 1967.

Above left, Joe Sawyer, and right, Russell Johnson.

Kathleen Hughes portrayed "Jane, George's girl". Hughes was a "B" actress starting in 1948, who moved to television in 1956. Below, Kathleen Hughes in a major publicity shot used to promote the motion picture.

The Basic Screenplay:

The story opens in the backyard of amateur astronomer "John Putnam's" house and with him is his girlfriend, "Ellen Fields". They are looking at the night sky through his telescope, when what is believed to be a large meteor passes in view and crashes in the desert outside of the Arizona community of "Sand Rock".

The two awaken neighbor "Pete Davis", played by Dave Willock, and charter his helicopter to take them to the crash site.

In the crater caused by the meteor, the audience sees its some sort of space craft and gets a very quick view of the ships inside and its occupant before the hatch closes again.

A concerned "Ellen" and "Pete" watch, as "John" works his way down the slippery side of the crater to the meteor, but instead discovers the space craft. A rock slide starts, "John" barely makes it out of the crater as the space craft is buried completely.

Once back at the crater's rim, others from town, including reporter and newspaper owner "Dugan", played by Robert Carson, are very skeptical of "John Putnam's" story.

"Sheriff Warren" arrives at the site and is also in disbelief of "Putnam's" story about a space craft buried in the crater. "Warren" is also is in love with "Ellen" and warns "John" not to get her involved with his crazy ideas.

On their way back to "Ellen's" house, "John" and "Ellen" briefly experience an image in front of the car.

The stage is set for what will follow:

Two old miners still working the abandoned Excelsior Mine, "Tom", played by George Silk, below left, and, "Toby", played by Casey MacGregor, are the first to meet the aliens.

The following day, "John" and "Ellen" are driving out in the desert and come across the two telephone lineman, "Frank" and "George" investigating reports of strange sounds in the line.

"Frank" comments that perhaps the wind is creating the eerie whistling sound coming from the phone lines. "Frank" asks if "John" wouldn't mind driving a little way in the opposite direction to see if they still hear the sound and come back to him.

Below, a behind the scenes shot of shooting the sequence.

The two linemen head toward "John" and "Ellen" when something appears in the road before their truck.

"John" and "Ellen" return as promised and find the truck, but no linemen. Looking around, the two see a glittery trail of some substance and follow it. 

"George" (?) appears, but seems almost robotic and can stare directly into the sun without blinking. When questioned about the missing "Frank", this "George" tells the two, in a strange sounding voice, that nothing is wrong.

"John" sees what he thinks is "Frank's" body behind a rock, tells "Ellen" that they have to go, and the two return to the car and drive away.

The real "Frank" and "George" wake up and meet their alien duplicates, who tell them they're peaceful and only need time to repair their space craft. 

Meanwhile, "John" and "Ellen" return to town, talk the Sheriff into coming out to the desert with them, but find no trace of "Frank's" body. The three returns to town with a disgusted "Matt", and as both men look out of the Sheriff's office, "Frank" and "George" are seen walking down the sidewalk. "John" leaves and follows the two linemen (?) to an alley. There the aliens, sensing he understands them, explains their situation, and the fact that nobody has been harmed and leaves "John Putnam" in the alley.

The night the aliens kidnap "Ellen" to be sure that 'John" will not interfere, but he may not be their problem.

"Sheriff Matt Warren" has come to believe "John Putnam", as he receives reports of disappearances and people acting strange. 

"John" and "Matt" drive out to the old Excelsior Mine and the Sheriff, reluctantly waits, while "John" goes to explore it. "John" now sees what looks like "Ellen" above him, but isn't sure it's her and is lured into the inner mine. There the alien "Ellen" attempts to kill him, but he shoots the alien "Ellen" and she/ it falls into a lime pit.

"John" exits the mine and a voice tells them that they need just two more hours to fix their spacecraft. After which they will release the people they used and leave Earth, but "John" is doubtful of the peaceful nature of the aliens after his "Ellen" encounter and demands to see the alien as it truly is. The alien voice warns "John Putnam" of the horror he may think he is looking out, but agrees to reveal its true form.

"John" new returns to "Matt", tells him what happened, the two return to town, but "Matt" starts to organize a posse to go back to the mine to kill the aliens and rescue the people. 

While "Matt" organizes, "John" leaves for the mine once more to warn the peaceful aliens.

Later, as the two alien linemen are driving back to the Excelsior Mine, they are confronted by "Matt" and his posse and are killed.

While, "John" enters the Excelsior and confronts himself.

Above, the aliens listen to a brief argument as trust returns, and "John" leaves with the unharmed, treated well, captives, and dynamites the entrance to the Excelsior Mine shaft.

As "Matt", his posse, "John", "Ellen", and the rescued people greet each other, a small earthquake takes place and the repaired space craft leaves for the alien's original destination.

On November 11, 1953, director Jack Arnold's next 3-D movie, "The Glass Web", produced ny Albert J. Cohen, premiered in New York City. This forgotten crime film-noir starred Edward G. Robinson, John Forsythe, and Kathleen Hughes, billed as "The 3-D sensation of 'It Came from Outer Space".

Jack Arnold and William Alland's second motion picture as a team was another Science Fiction/Horror classic.

THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON premiered in Denver, Colorado, on February 12, 1954

Above, one of the original American posters, and below, the Russian poster, followed by the United Kingdom, "X" rating, no one under 16-years-old age requirement.

To start, "The Idea" for the story came from the uncredited William Alland. His idea was turned into a story treatment by Maurice Zimm, who had only written an episode of the forgotten television series, "Biff Baker, U.S.A.", starring Alan Hale, Jr., and was credited for the story treatment of 1953's, "Jeopardy", starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, and Ralph Meeker.

That story treatment was turned over to two screenplay writers:

Once again, Universal International contract writer Harry Essex, who had turned the Mickey Spillane novel, "I, the Jury", into a 1953 screenplay. Essex would follow this picture with a story idea that became the Rod Cameron, Joanne Dru, and John Ireland, 1954, "B" Western, Southwest Passage".

Arthur A. Ross
was writing for "The Red Skelton" television show at that time.

However, who wrote the screenplay wouldn't be remembered, if at all. Except for Milicent Patrick who would design her most famous character.

The Main Cast:

Richard Carlson
portrayed "Dr. David Reed". Immediately after completing "It Came from Outer Space", he made director William Cameron Menzies, 1953, 3-D, "The Maze". After this motion picture, Carlson directed and appeared in producer Ivan Tors second entry in his "Office of Scientific Investigation" trilogy, 1954's, "Riders to the Stars". Richard Carlson had starred in the first entry, 1953's, "The Magnetic Monster", but did not appear in the third film. My article, "Ivan Tor's 'Office of Scientific Investigation' Trilogy", will be found at:

Julia (Not Julie yet) Adams portrayed "Kay Lawrence". She had just been seen in the 3-D, Adventure, Western, 1953's, "Wings of the Hawk". She would follow this feature, still as "Julia", in 1954's, "Francis Joins the WACS", starring "Francis the Talking Mule" voiced by Chill Wills. For the 1955 crime film-noir starring Tony Curtis, "Six Bridges to Cross", Julia first became Julie.

Richard Denning portrayed "Dr. Mark Williams". Denning was still appearing, since 1952, with Barbara Britton in the television comedy mystery series "Mr. and Mrs. North". He had just been in the 3-D Adventure, 1954's, "Jivaro", co-starring with Fernando Lamas. Rhonda Fleming, and Brian Keith. Richard Denning followed this motion picture was director William Castle's, 1954, Western, "The Battle of Rogue River", co-starring George Montgomery and Martha Hyer. My article, "Richard Denning: His Science Fiction and Horror Films", will be read at:

Antonio Moreno, who portrayed "Dr. Carl Maia", was born in Madrid, Spain. As a young actor, starting in 1914, he was considered a rival of Rudolph Valentino. Moreno had just just seen in the previously mentioned 1953, "Wings of the Hawk", and followed this picture by portraying a Native Canadian Warrior Chief, in 1954's, "Saskatchewan", starring Alan Ladd, and Shelley Winters. 

Nester Paiva portrayed "Captain Lucas" and had been in the previously mentioned 1954, "Jivaro". The character actor would follow this picture with two television appearances. My article, "Nester Paiva: Skipper of the 'Rita' vs The Creature from the Black Lagoon", is ready to be explored at:

Whit Bissell portrayed "Dr. Edwin Thompson". Character actor Bissell was in the 1954, comedy, "It Should Happen to You", starring Judy Holliday, Jack Lemon, and Peter Lawford. He followed this picture with the crime film-noir, 1954's, "Riot in Cell Block 11", starring Neville Brand. However, it was portraying mad scientists in two teenage Horror movies, 1957's, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf", and the same years, "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein". Besides appearing in this picture, and two other Science Fiction entries, 1951's, "The Lost Continent", and, with Richard Denning, 1954's, "Target Earth", that make-up his cult science fiction status.

The Title Character:

There were two creature actors, Ben Chapman portrayed the character on land, Ricou Browning portrayed the character under water.

Above, Ben Chapman, below, Ricou Browning.

The Basic Screenplay:

The story opens at the Amazon base camp of "Dr. Carl Maia" and the discovery of a fossilized webbed hand.


"Maia" leaves his two men to guard the camp and takes the hand to the "Institute de Biologia Maritima". What the three men do not notice is a living version of the hand is in the river next to the camp.

At the institute, happens to be some American scientists led by "Dr. Mark Williams" and "Dr. Maia's" hand is of interest to them.

A decision is made go to "Dr. Maia's" camp and further investigate his find. At the same time, the creature is attacking the two men left there.

The group arrives on the "Rita", skippered by "Captain Lucas". 

However, the camp is found ripped apart, partly by fire, and the two men are dead. The group makes the determination that some wild, possibly unknown, Amazonian animal killed "Dr. Maia's" men.

After a short burial, they start to dig for the rest of the skeleton.

After days of work, they have found nothing, and "Mark", the money behind their dig, is angry, but "David" asks where the river goes too? "Lucas" replies a "paradise that no one that goes there returns from", called "The Black Lagoon". "David" speculates that the rest of the skeleton, over time, may have been washed into the dead end of the lagoon and the group now sets out for it.

There, "Mark" and "David" dive into the water to find rock samples that "Carl" can determine might be from the original site. "Kay" is told to stay close to the "Rita", but swims farther out, while under the water the creature swims with her.

After "Mark" and "David" return to the "Rita", they call to "Kay" to come back, the three not knowing they have been observed, but----

....the creature gets tangled in a fishing net and when it's pulled in, the net has been destroyed. However, a talon is left behind and that starts to raise questions.

"Mark" wants to destroy the creature and bring its body back to the institute, while "David" suggests they capture this living throwback. Next, still wanting whatever it is dead, "Mark" demonstrates the fire power of his harpoon gun to "Lucas".

For the moment it appears "David" has won and both men enter the black lagoon, "David" with a camera to photograph the creature, and "Mark" with his harpoon gun. 

Returning to the "Rita", "Mark" is upset and becomes more, when it turns out that "David" only photographed seaweed. "Mark" voices his worry that nobody will believe them without the creature's body.

As everyone argues below decks, the creature comes on board and drags the mate of the "Rita", "Chico", played by Henry Escalante, overboard and kills him. "Lucas" has a drug used to sedate fish and it is agreed to spread it upon the lagoon and capture the creature, but the creature seems to know what it is and avoids the areas with the drug. 

That night the creature climbs on board the "Rita" and goes for "Kay", but her screams scares it and the creature jumps back into the lagoon. "David" follows underwater and comes up in a grotto, but the creature now goes to the shore side entrance to get at "Kay" again. However, a small boat from the "Rita" has arrived and the other crew member, "Tomas", played by Perry Lopez, attempts to save "Kay", but is killed instead. As "David" comes out of the grotto, he sees a madden "Mark" attempting to kill the now drugged creature and stops him.

The creature is now put in a tank full of water on the "Rita" in a drugged state. "Dr. Thompson" is on deck guarding the creature with everyone else below decks discussing it. Suddenly, the creature awakes, breaks free and lunges at "Thompson", slashing his face, and escapes.

The following morning "David" says they must leave, because they cannot risk anymore deaths or attacks, but "Mark" is for staying and killing the creature. "Lucas" settles the dispute by threatening "Mark" and reminding him that on-board a ship the captain is law.

When the "Rita" reaches the exit to the black lagoon, they discover that the creature has blocked it and the only way to free the ship is enter the waiting creature's domain, underwater.

"Mark" takes his harpoon gun to protect "David" who will remove the obstructions. Underwater the creature attacks, "Mark" shoots it, but it counterattacks and kills "Mark". Back on the "Rita", "David" and "Lucas" devise a plan to dilute the drug so that it can be shot directly at the creature and "David" enters the water to confront "The Creature from the Black Lagoon".

"David" with a tank full of the drug enters the water, starts to remove the obstructions, the creature starts to attack, but is hit full face with the drug and swims away. "David" clears the blockage, the creature comes again, and is hit in the face once more with the drug and swims away from "David".

Next, the weakened creature climbs back on board the "Rita" searching for "Kay". 

The creature grabs "Kay", jumps into the lagoon, and with her swims toward the grotto. 

"David" approached the grotto from underwater, and the others from the land entrance to block the creature from exiting. "David" rescues "Kay", while the creature is underwater strengthening itself, and gets "Kay" out by the land entrance. The creature comes through that entrance and is shot several times, but "David" orders the shooting stopped as "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" ignores those shooting it and just goes toward the water to die.

The movie ends with the dead body of the creature floating in the black lagoon.

The executives at Universal International realized they had a hit on their hands and by June 1954, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" was no longer dead. 

REVENGE OF THE CREATURE premiered in Denver, Colorado, on March 23, 1955

The team of producer William Alland and director Jack Arnold were back on their next motion picture together. Alland had produced two "B" Westerns and a crime film-noir between the two movies, but Arnold went from one creature feature to another creature feature.

Once again the story treatment came from William Alland with a screenplay by Martin Berkeley. Since 1941, Berkeley was a "B" drama and Western writer. This was his first of two Science Fiction Horror movies he did for the studio. The other I will mention later, but after that film, Martin Berkeley moved strictly to television writing.

Ricou Browning was back as the creature in the water, but on land the creature was portrayed by Tom Hennessy. 

The Main Cast:

John Agar portrayed "Professor Clete Ferguson". Agar was still attempting to make a come back after his divorce from "America's Sweetheart", Shirley Temple, over his infidelity. This movie would start his new found career as a 1950 Science Fiction cult favorite. His second wife, Loretta Combs Agar, appeared as the "Woman on Boat". My article, "John Agar His Fall That Led to Science Fiction Cult Status", can be read at: 

Lori Nelson portrayed "Helen Dobson". Since 1952, Nelson had appeared in ten motion pictures, starting with director Anthony Mann's "Bend in the River", starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julia Adams, and Rock Hudson, Nelson was sixth billed. Three features after this picture and Lori Nelson co-starred with Richard Denning in Roger Corman's, 1955, "Day the World Ended". 

John Bromfield portrayed "Joe Hayes". Bromfield first became the modern day, "Sheriff of Cochise", Arizona, on television from 1956 into 1958. Then became televisions "U.S. Marshall", in the same role, but with a promotion to widen the story line, from 1958 through 1960.

Nester Paiva portrayed "Captain Lucas". Between "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and this feature film, character actor Paiva had appeared on fifteen different television shows and in five motion pictures. "Lucas" was the only returning character from the first motion picture, but now he had the "Rita II" and the role was at the films start to join both pictures.

Above left, Robert B. Williams portraying "George Johnson", who like "Lucas", disappears after the opening sequence, John Bromfield, and Nester Paiva. 

There is one uncredited actor portraying "Jennings,", in his first on-screen appearance, that I want to mention. "Jennings" is John Agar's lab assistant and the screenplays comedy relief. As he loses a mouse and finds it in the lab coat he's wearing, the uncredited actor is, of course, Clint Eastwood. 

My article, "Clint Eastwood: 2 Monsters, 2 Ghosts", will be found at:

The Basic Screenplay:

Employed by "Florida's Ocean Harbor Aquarium" are "Captain Lucas", "Joe Hayes", and "George Johnson" with the assignment of capturing "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and bringing it, alive, to Florida. The screenplay now calls the character the "Gill Man", and it's the prehistoric missing link between marine and terrestrial life, but to "Lucas" he is nothing more than a demon.

 In the Black Lagoon, "Joe" dives into the water, within minutes the "Gill Man" attacks and "Lucas", "George", and the "Rita II's" crew, barely get "Joe" back on board to safety.

The next day the three men plant dynamite charges on the lagoon and the stunned "Gill Man" floats to the water's surface in a coma. 

In its coma state, the "Gill Man" arrives at "Ocean Harbor". Where "Joe" now attempts to revive it by forcing water into its gills as he would do with a shark.

Suddenly the "Gill Man" revives and attempts to jump out of the tank. Other employees jump into the tank and fighting the "Gill Man", place a net over him, and he is pulled down and shackled, with a special chain, to the bottom of the tank.

In the crowd watching is graduate student "Helen Dobson", who is gathering her material for a master's degree in ichthyology. Entering, to make this a triangle of "Joe", "Helen", and "Clete", is professor "Ferguson". The three come together to study the "Gill Man" and each other, but "Joe" gracefully bows out.

Now a team, "Clete" and "Helen" prepare to enter the "Gill Man's" tank.

The plan is to use an electric shock prod by "Clete" and each time he uses it, "Helen" will stay STOP!

The experiment is a success, but unnoticed by "Clete" and "Helen" is that the "Gill Man" is fascinated with "Helen", more so then it was with "Kay". This is being caused by "Helen" stopping every night to look into the "Gill Man's" tank.

Later as "Clete" and "Helen" are in the "Gill Man's" tank, he attacks the professor and it only "Helen" yelling STOP, that saves him. However, the "Gill Man" starts tugging at his chain and is able to break free. He starts to leap out of the tank and the "Ocean Harbor" guests flee in panic, "Joe" attempts to stop the escape, but is killed.

The "Gill Man" escapes into the Atlantic Ocean thinking of going home to the Black Lagoon. Four days pass and conflicting reports about him are being received, but in reality, nobody knows where he is.

However, watching outside of "Helen's" hotel room is the "Gill Man".

Nothing happens that night, but the following evening as "Helen" and "Clete" are at a lobster house with dancing and a live music group, an uninvited guest arrives.

"Clete" joins the Coast Guard search, but there is no sightings until two college students spot "Helen's" body lying on the beach and the "Gill Man" appears after refreshing himself in the Atlantic. 

The Coast Guard divide search parties and "Helen's" body is once more found, but now the "Gill Man" is obviously protecting "His Love". However, he has that one weakness, he must return to water to keep living. "Clete" is able to rescue "Helen", while the "Gill Man" has returned to the water, as it comes out and starts going for him. "Clete" yells STOP, the "Gill Man" does, and the police open fire. 

The apparently dying creature goes into the water and sinks to the ocean's bottom.

There would be a third film, released on April 26, 1956, "The Creature Walks Among Us". Although, it was produced by William Alland, Jack Arnold did not direct the final chapter in "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" saga. 

The original 1956 ending, that I saw in a movie theater that year, leaves the audience knowing there was to have been a fourth film. Because, instead of saying "The End", the picture ended, as the new air breathing creature looks toward the Pacific Ocean, with a "Question Mark" appearing on the screen. However, the planned fourth film and the start of a new series, was never made.

At the time of production for "The Creature Walks Among Us", Jack Arnold was directing, the "B" Western, "Red Sundown", starring Rory Calhoun, Marta Hyer, and Dean Jagger, and produced by Howard Pine.

Speaking to "B" Westerns, on April 12, 1955, the Jack Arnold directed, Howard Pine produced, "The Man from Bitter Ridge", starring Lex Barker, Mara Corday, and Stephen McNally, was released.

THIS ISLAND EARTH premiered in New York City on June 10, 1955.

Before I speak to the motion picture, I want to look at the source material, author Raymond F. Jones' 1952 novel, which I have, but didn't start out as such. The first part of a trilogy of short stories that became the novel was entitled, "The Alien Machine", and was published in June 1949, in the magazine, "Thrilling Wonder Stories".

Jones' second novelet, "The Shroud of Secrecy", was published six-months later in December 1949.

The final novelet, "The Greater Conflict", was published in February 1950.

In December 1952, Raymond F. Jones, published a combined version of his three novelet's as the shortened novel, "This Island Earth". 

The novel opens:

At the Ryberg Instrument Corporation, engineer Cal Meachum receives a quartet of bead-like devices that are meant to replace the condensers he ordered. At first Cal thinks this is joke someone is playing on him, but he tests them anyway and they're more powerful than the equipment he originally ordered. He orders more, but also gets a catalogue with some machine called an interociter. Meachum orders this intriguing machine and builds it himself. When Cal turns it on, and a man appears that invites him to join a group called Peace Engineers.

After a plane flight to an isolated part of Arizona, Cal meets Jorgasnovara, the man on the interociter. Cal finds himself and others as part of a millennia-long-intergalactic war. Jorgasnovara's group of aliens are called Llanna, the other aliens in the war are the Guarra.

Raymond F. Jones explains that the Earth is where the cosmic war between Jorgasnovra's people and the Guarra is being fought upon. They need Cal Meachum and the other Earth scientists to help defend against their evil enemy, as the battle is on their planet not his. In short. Jones' title, "This Island Earth", is the allegorical Philippine Islands and this Science Fiction novel is the allegorical Second World War fought upon them.

The Motion Picture:

The film was produced by William Alland, he had just produced the Hollywood "B" Western Native American biography, 1955, "Chief Crazy Horse", starring Victor Mature in the title role. He would follow this picture with the next movie I will be mentioning.

There were two directors on this motion picture, the assigned director was Joseph M. Newman.

Among Newman's previous films are 1952's, "Red Skies of Montana", about the parachuting Forest Service Fire Fighters, starring Richard Widmark, and Jeffrey Hunter, the Brete Hart Western, 1952's "The Outcasts of Poker Flats", starring Anne Baxter, and Dale Robertson, and 1952's, "Pony Soldier", starring Tyrone Power and Cameron Mitchell.

Although he was a very good director, Joseph M. Newman was assigned a genre he did not understand and the critical Science Fiction last third of "This Island Earth" was terrible.

The Universal International executives swallowed their mistake and authorized additional money over the set budget. They had the uncredited, Jack Arnold, reshoot, completely, the ending of the motion picture from the escape at the private airport to the flying saucer crashing into the Atlantic Ocean at the end 

The reshoot and a new director meant bringing the actors and crew back, a costly process for the studio. 

Milicent Patrick returned to design the "Metaluna Mutant", but the head of the make-up department, Bud Westmore, was jealous of all the credit she received for "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" over him. During the creation of the mutant, Westmore found an excuse to let her go. The whole story will be found at the following link from the website "Monsters of Make Up". The December 3, 2020 article by Luke Munson, is entitled: "Making Up The Metaluna Mutant":

One of the three composers of the sound track was Universal International contract musician, Henry Mancini. He had already worked on 1953's, "It Came from Outer Space", and created the classic theme music for 1954's, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", his early work, and the work of the other composers Mancini worked with, is found in my article, "HENRY MANCINI: Before 'Moon River' It Was 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon", at:

One of the sources of the eerie background music was a machine created by Russian inventor, physicist, and composer Lev Sergeyvich Theremin (Leon Theremin). In 1920, Theremin created one of the earliest electronic musical instruments, named for him as "The Theremin". Below is a picture of Leon Theremin and his instrument, which was likely the model of the interociter seen in "This Island Earth".


Below, the interociter seen in the motion picture.

Two contract writers were assigned to turn Raymond F. Jones' novel into a screenplay. Franklin Coen was a "B" writer who worked in multiple film genres starting in 1936 until the Second World War, then returning at Universal to work mainly on "B" Westerns until this feature. 

George Callahan started screenplays in 1944, mostly on "Charlie Chan", and "The Shadow" mysteries, continued in detective films until he started writing for television Westerns in 1953, with "The Cisco Kid". 

Both writers would get full credit for the "Castle Films" 1958 short, "War of the Planets", which was a nine-minute, both sixteen and eight-millimeter versions of "This Island Earth" for retail sales. I also had it and it was basically the small plane being taken into the flying saucer and some of the attack scenes from the picture. 

The Main Cast:

Jeff Morrow portrayed "Exeter". Morrow started as a television actor in 1950, in the first CinemaScope motion picture, 1953's, "The Robe", he played a Roman Soldier, in 1954's,"Sign of the Pagan", he played a Roman General, otherwise he was still making television appearances until this feature film. It was back to television until he starred in 1956's, "The Creature Walks Among Us". My article, "Jeff Morrow An Icon of 1950's Science Fiction: This Island Earth, KRONOS and The Giant Claw", will be found at:

Faith Domergue portrayed "Dr. Ruth Adams". She had started on-screen acting in 1941, in 1950 Domergue co-starred with Robert Mitchum and Claude Rains in the film-noir, "Where Danger Lives", but was basically appearing on different television shows until 1955. When she became associated with Science Fiction and Horror, my article about that year, "FAITH DOMERGUE: 1955 A.D.", is available for reading at:

Rex Reason portrayed "Dr. Cal Meacham". Reason started on-screen acting in 1952, and in 1953 portrayed Rock Hudson's older brother in the 3-D, "Taza, Son of Cochise". Otherwise, until this feature he was appearing on television, Rex Reason co-starred with Jeff Morrow in 1956's, "The Creature Walks Among Us". Like his look-a-like brother, Rhodes Reason, his worked became confused by viewers. My article, "REX AND RHODES REASON: Acting Brothers Often Confused By the Audience", can be unconfused at:

Lance Fuller portrayed "Brack". Fuller started his on-screen career as an uncredited "Vasarian Villager", in 1943's, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man". That film was followed by another eight uncredited roles until he played, "Cavalry Lieutenant Willis", in 1954's, "Taza, Son of Cochise". He appeared in several more "B" Westerns, including director Roger Corman's, 1955, "Apache Woman", co-starring with Lloyd Bridges and Joan Taylor. Following this motion picture was 1956's, "The She-Creature", 1957's, "Voodoo Woman", and 1958's, "The Bride and the Beast".

Russell Johnson portrayed "Dr. Steve Carlson". The actor had just been in the "A" List Western, 1955's, "Strange Lady in Town", starring Greer Garson, Dana Andrews, and Cameron Mitchell. 

The Basic Screenplay:

Only two characters remain from Raymond F. Jones' novel, "Cal Meacham", and "Ruth Adams". There is an intergalactic war, but it is fought in space and on the surface of a planet named "Metaluna". As to the Earth, it is only a source for scientists and development, not the battles that take place in the novel.

The screenplay is divided into three distinct parts.

Part One: Meet "Cal Meacham"

Electronics specialist "Cal Meacham", who is on the verge of converting lead and uranium into a free energy source, leaves a conference, and starts to fly his military style jet plane to Los Angeles. 

As he is about to approach the private airfield, the jet loses all power and "Cal" cannot get the engine fired. Just when he is about to eject, a green light appears around the jet, takes control, and safely lands him.

"Cal's" assistant, "Joe Wilson", played by Robert Nichols, witnessed the landing and now the two go to "Meacham's" laboratory. 

There "Joe" shows "Cal" red beads that he received instead of the normal condensers they use, "Cal" runs a test on them, and is stunned by how much more efficient the beads seem to be.

"Cal" asks "Joe" to call their supplier about the beads, the supplier claims they never sent them, or know of "Direct Electronics Services", the name on the return address of the envelope the beads arrived in.

Next, a catalogue, with pages made from some new type of metal, arrives from "Direct Electronics Services" and "Cal" is intrigued by something called an interociter. He orders it the same way "Joe" ordered the beads and comes into his lab to find crates piled high with materials to make the interociter.

The two men succeed in building the device, plug it in, but "Cal Meacham" is puzzled what to do with a piece of some form of plastic in a circle with different colors on it. 

Suddenly a voice speaks from the machine and tells "Cal" where the piece goes and how to use it to clear the image. "Cal Meachum" and "Joe Wilson" are starring at "Exeter". Who congratulates "Cal" for passing his little test.

"Exeter" explains that he is part of a group of scientists and invites "Cal" to join them. Adding that a plane will arrive the next evening, land, wait a specified time, and then take-off with or without "Meacham" on it. Next, politely, "Exeter" asks both "Cal" and "Joe" to step back away from the interociter and as they watch, the machine blows-up, changing into a mass of melted metal.

"Joe" has been concerned about who and what the mysterious "Exeter" represents, but "Cal" is convinced on going. The next night the airstrip is fogged in and "Joe" knows a pilot cannot land in it and feels relieved. However, the sound of planes motors is heard and the plane with all its windows blocked out, and no pilot, awaits "Cal Meacham" to take the single seat in it. The plane starts up with the same green light that saved "Cal" before'

Part Two: The Mystery of Exeter and Brack

The pilotless plane makes a safe landing in Georgia and "Cal Meacham" is met by "Dr. Ruth Adams". "Cal" immediately says how happy he is to see her again, but she replies he must be mistaking as they've never met before.

"Ruth" brings "Cal" to a Georgia mansion that contains "Exter's" offices, has a brief, coded exchange, with "Dr. Steve Carlson", and introduces "Cal Meacham" to "Exeter". Who states all the scientists assembled at the mansion are working in underground laboratories to find a quick way to produce atomic energy. It was "Meacham's" research that brought him to the attention of the group.

After "Ruth" and "Cal" leave, a message from "The Monitor", played by Douglas Spencer, the leader of "The Council", is received on another interociter. He informs "Exeter" that the work must be completed immediately.

That night a dinner takes place to introduce "Cal" to the other scientists from all over the world including the Soviet Union and Communist China.  After the dinner concludes, "Exeter" suggests "Ruth" take "Cal" to show him his new laboratory.

They're joined by "Dr. Carlson" and "Steve" and "Ruth" move a lead slab into position between themselves and "Cal's" own interociter. On the top of the slab, "Ruth" also places a pet cat, all confusing "Meacham".

"Ruth" explains the slab is to prevent "Exeter", or especially his assistance "Brack" seeing and hearing them. The cat is sensitive to the signal from the interociter and becomes a warning device. "Cal" wants to know why the two are so nervous and "Ruth" replies that other than him, "Ruth" and "Steve" are the only scientists who have not been brainwashed by "Exeter". "Cal" finds that hard to accept, but agrees that the other scientists at dinner were not acting normal.

Later, "Ruth" and "Steve" show "Cal" sketches of "Exeter" and "Brack", pointing out the same extremely large forehead. Adding to their questions as to who they really are and what country, if that's the right word, they come from? "Ruth" admits to being the girl "Cal" met years ago, but said she and "Steve" were concerned that he had been brainwashed or was working for "Exeter".

Suddenly the cat reacts and the three know that either "Exeter", "Brack", or both attempted to spy on them. "Brack" wants the three brainwashed, but "Exeter" reminds them it takes away their initiative.

The next day, "Exeter" demonstrates a deadly "neutrino ray" to "Cal" and asks that he not meet with either "Ruth", or "Steve" again. A few days pass with "Cal" appearing to be ignoring the other two scientists, but in reality, they're planning their escape. However, "The Monitor" contacts "Exeter" and tells him they must return now and bring the two scientists, "Meacham" and "Adams", but kill the others.

"Ruth", "Cal", and "Steve" steal the station wagon and start to make their escape. However, "Brack" spots them and starts using the "neutrino ray" to kill them.

"Ruth" and "Cal" jump from the car and into a deep flooded ditch beside the road, but "Steve" to save the others keeps driving and the ray destroys the station wagon with him inside.

Part Three: Metaluna

As I said this is the section that director Jack Arnold was told to reshoot, because he had worked with Science Fiction and knew how to put it on the screen.

"Cal" and "Ruth" make it to the air field, find a small plane, and take off in it. The hillside next to the mansion was hiding a flying saucer of tremendous size and it lifts off out of it. Next, a neutrino ray destroys the mansion and all who are in it.

As the small plane attempts to escape the area, another green beam of light surrounds it, and the plane with "Cal" and "Ruth" are brought into the flying saucer.

Now their suspicions become reality as the two Earth people are asked to follow a guide to the main control room and "Exeter" and "Brack".

"Exeter" warmly greets them and explains that everyone on the flying saucer come from a planet called "Metaluna" and takes "Ruth" and "Cal" to the main view screen. As they are watching, "Exeter" explains that "Metaluna" has been at war for millennia with the planet "Zahgon". His planet is dying and losing the war and all their top scientists are dead. That is why he and "Brack" were sent to Earth with its nuclear programs to gather Earth’s top nuclear scientists to work for them and, if needed, use a little high-tech brain washing, but not to worry he’ll protect them as he’s grown to like Earthmen.

The air is getting hard to breathe and "Exeter" explains that the ship is going through a change in atmospheres. Both "Cal" and "Ruth" are given clothes like the one's everyone else is wearing and are to enter special tubes to adjust their bodies to the atmospheric change.

The flying saucer engages Zahgonian meteors directed by small space craft, but finally arrives upon war torn "Metaluna". 

"Exeter" escorts "Cal" and "Ruth" to "The Monitor". 

"The Monitor" tells the three that the people of "Metaluna" must leave shortly to Earth to live in peace with the people of that planet. "The Monitor" makes claims of his people's superior intelligence, and that remark turns into a debate with "Cal". Which is cut short by "The Monitor" ordering "Exeter" to take the two scientists to the brain washing chamber. The three leave, "Ruth" and "Cal" attempt to escape, but instead, they reach the outside of the brain wash chamber, with a guard, the first "Metaluna" mutant, half-man, half-insect, standing there.


A meteor hits the area, killing the mutant, "Exeter" insists that he wants to help "Cal" and "Ruth" and directs them toward the flying saucer. The three reach the elevator, but another mutant appears and attacks and injures "Exeter" The mutant is wounded by pieces of the falling roof from another meteor strike. "Cal" pulls the mutant off "Exeter", the three enter the elevator and then the flying saucer, but the mutant was able to also get inside the space craft.

The three just escape as a major "Zahgonian" strike hits and destroys the planet once known as "Metaluna".

The flying saucer is about to re-enter the atmospheric change zone and "Exeter" has "Ruth" and "Cal" enter the chambers, sets the machine, and enters himself. While the three watch helplessly, the injured mutant enters, and "Ruth's" tube starts to open to free her.

"Ruth" is able to escape the mutant, who disintegrates from the change in the atmosphere. Upon reaching the Earth, "Exeter" says good-bye to "Cal" and "Ruth", who had invited him to stay, and the two scientists enter the small plane and are released from the flying saucer. The film ends as "Exeter", who told the other two that he wanted to become a space explorer, and the flying saucer crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

TARANTULA premiered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 4, 1955

The Universal International executives corrected another of their mistakes with "This Island Earth" and reunited Jack Arnold with Willian Alland.

Starting with "Time Is Just a Place", shown on April 16, 1955, Jack Arnold would direct four episodes of the classic 1950's television anthology, "Science Fiction Theater", created by Ivan Tors. 

The second of Arnold's four was "No Food for Thought", first shown on April 23, 1955. The three main actors were Otto Kruger, 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter" and Alfred Hitchcock's, 1942, "Saboteur", John Howard, Frank Capra's 1937, "Lost Horizon" and 1942's, "The Undying Monster", and Vera Miles, basically a television actress, but co-star of Alfred Hitchcock's, 1960, "Psycho".

The story set in the Arizona desert centers upon a group of scientists developing a synthetic nutrient, but it has a unforeseen side effect, as test animals develop a deadly virus, and two of the scientists have injected themselves with the nutrient.

Jack Arnold sold Universal International on acquiring the story and expanding it into a feature film. Working with Robert M. Fresco, the writer of "No Food for Thought", Jack Arnold and Fresco created the expanded story for "Tarantula".

The screenplay was written by Martin Berkeley. This was his first screenplay since "The Revenge of the Creature", and he would follow it with the "B" Western, 1956's, "Red Sundown".

At the time the only other giant insect movie that had been released was from Warner Brothers. The film was 1954's "THEM", shot by director Gordon Douglas in 3-D, but released by Jack L. Warner in standard 2-D to save money. My article, "THEM!', 'TARANTULA', 'THE MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL', 'THE DEADLY MANTIS', 'THE BEGINNING OF THE END', 'THE BLACK SCORPION', and 'THE EARTH VS THE SPIDER': As the 1950's Insects that BUGGED America!", is ready for a can of "Raid" at:

The Main Cast:

John Agar
portrayed "Dr. Matt Hastings". The actor had just been seen in the 1955 Western, "The Lonesome Trail", and followed this picture with the film-noir, 1955's, 'Hold Back Tomorrow".

Mara Corday portrayed "Stephanie 'Steve' Clayton". She had just been seen in 1955's, "Foxfire", starring Jane Russell and Jeff Chandler, and followed this picture with the 1956 Western, "The Raw Edge", co-starring with Rory Calhoun, and Yvonne De Carlo.

Leo G. Carroll portrayed "Professor Gerald Deemer". The British character actor had just finished a seventy-eight-episode television run as "Topper", and appeared in the Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, and Peter Ustinov, 1955 crime comedy, "We're No Angels". He followed this feature with the Grace Kelly, Sir Alec Guinness, and Louis Jourdan, 1956, "The Swan". Leo G. Carroll would portray "Alexander Waverly", on televisions, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", from 1964 through 1968. 

Nester Paiva portrayed "Sheriff Jack Andrews". Paiva had just appeared on televisions "The Gene Autry Show", in the episode entitled, "The Million Dollar Fiddle", October 1, 1955, and followed this movie with the 1955 film, "Hell on Frisco Bay", starring Alan Ladd, Edward G. Robinson, and Joanne Dru.

The Basic Screenplay:

Near the town of Desert Rock, Arizona, which looks just like Sand Rock, Arizona and San Angelo, California, in 1957's, "The Monolith Monsters", the picture opens with a deformed man walking toward the camera. 

He dies in the desert and his body is found and taken to the local funeral home. "Sheriff Andrews" calls local doctor "Matt Hastings" to examine the body and theorizes that "Eric Jacobs", played by "Eddie Parker", died from the rare glandular disease, acromegalia. When "Professor Deemer" arrives, as "Eric" was one of his lab assistants, he claims the disease which should take years to develop, happened in just days to "Dr. Hastings" disbelief. However, after "Deemer" signs the death certificate, "Hastings" is left with a mystery.

Above, "Joe Burch", played by Ross Elliot, the owner and only reporter of the local newspaper is attempting to get a story about "Eric Jacobs" death, but is as confused as "Matt Hastings".

"Professor Deemer" returns to his lab to continue his experiments with a growth nutrient that he has been developing with his two assistants, "Eric" and "Paul Lund", also played by Eddie Parker.

A now deformed, from being injected with the nutrient, "Paul Lund" enters the laboratory. 

"Lund" has gone crazy from the growth nutrient, attacks and knocks out "Deemer", injects him with the nutrient, starts destroying the lab and accidently setting it on fire, and collapses dead. "Professor Deemer" regains consciousness, puts out the fire, and buries the dead "Lund". 

"Matt Hastings" insist on an autopsy of "Eric Jacobs", "Deemer" has no problem with that and after "Dr. Hastings" concludes it. He finds nothing odd and is still at a loss how the disease could have taken only days as "Professor Deemer" claims.

Arriving on the bus is graduate student, "Stephanie 'Steve' Clayton", but she is told, at the hotel, the man who can take her to the "Deemer" place is out on the desert and she'll have to wait.

"Matt" wants to speak to "Deemer" again, and learning of "Steve's" plight, uses her as a means to drive out to the professor's house and laboratory. 

On the way to "Deemer's" place, "Matt" tells "Steve" of the death of "Eric Jacobs".

"Deemer" had forgotten that "Paul" arranged for "Steve" to work with them on the project, but is glad to have someone to assist him. He keeps ignoring "Matt's" questions and shrugs him off. Explaining that he wants to end world hunger and is working on a new food growth nutrient. "Matt" leaves and the professor takes "Steve" into his lab and explains that his nutrient needs a radioactive isotope as a trigger.

"Steve" is amazed at the rapid growth of "Professor Deemer's" rats and rabbits, but notices a deformity on his hands. "Deemer" has been rubbing the area of his arm that "Paul" injected the nutrient.

On an afternoon together, "Matt" and "Steve" are driving around the Arizona countryside and see a beautiful rock formation and decide to stop.

Both are smoking, as a large rock slide starts coming down on them, they move away, get back in "Matt's" car and drive away. Over the rocks comes a twenty-times larger Tarantula then when it escaped "Demmer's" lab.

The two go back to "Deemer's" and "Steve" shows "Matt" the lab rats and rabbits. A more deformed "Deemer" comes in and shouts at "Steve" for showing "Matt" his work.

"Matt" leaves and "Deemer" relaxes and apologizes to "Steve". On the road "Matt" is stopped by "Jack", it just happens to be the earlier rock formation, and the Sheriff asks the doctor to follow him to the ranch of "Andy Anderson", played by Steve Darrell. A large amount of "Anderson's" cows had been eaten whole by something and there's a strange substance near the bones in large pools. "Matt" takes some samples, but can't promise he can identify it.


That night the Tarantula returns to the "Anderson" ranch and kills him along with more cows.

"Jack" calls "Matt" and they go out to the scene of an overturned pickup truck and a pool of the substance. Next, two old miners are attacked and killed by the Tarantula.

While in town, "Dr. Matt Hastings" discovers the substance is insect venom. "Matt" calls "Professor Deemer" for his expertise, but "Steve" answers, admits she has grown frightened of the professor, suddenly "Deemer" grabs her and she screams. "Matt" runs to his car and goes to the "Deemer" residence.

"Matt" finds "Professor Deemer" in the advanced stages of acromegalia and having trouble breathing. "Dr. Hastings" is still confused over what has happened to the professor. "Deemer" admits his two associates got the disease from the injection of the nutrient and believes "Paul" injected him when he was unconscious.  Also, "Deemer" believes a Tarantula either escaped, or more than likely was burned to death in the fire created by "Paul Lund".  After "Matt" treats the professor and gets him to bed, "Steve" says she will take care of "Professor Deemer". 

"Matt" flies his plane to speak to a noted entomologist in a major city about what could be killing the livestock. 

The entomologist confirms "Matt's" fears that a still growing Tarantula is roaming the Arizona countryside.

"Matt" goes to "Jack" with the news and the Sheriff and "Joe Burch" start rounding up help. While, "Matt" heads for "Deemers" place to check on "Steve" and the Professor, but so it the Tarantula. 

"Matt" arrives at "Deemer's" just as the Tarantula is at the building looking into "Steve's" room.

"Steve" leaves her room to check on "Deemer, but the roof starts to collapse and before "Steve" can get to the Professor's bedroom, the roof comes down and kills him.

"Matt" goes into the house as the Tarantula is looking for more food, "Steve" is cornered as "Matt" rushes in and saves her and the remaining house collapses under the Tarantula's weight.

The path of the Tarantula is known and it is heading toward Desert Rock. "Jack" is placing dynamite upon the road to blow it up. As "Matt" and "Steve arrive to see the Tarantula getting closer to the Sheriff's men.

The dynamite is set off, but it doesn't stop the Tarantula's forward progress and the air force is called in to napalm it at the outskirts of Desert Rock.

Led by Clint Eastwood, the air force drops their napalm and kills the Tarantula saving Desert Rock.

Jack Arnold finished filming his four episodes of "Science Fiction Theater", his 1956 Western "Red Sundown", and a crime film-noir, 1956's, "Outside the Law", starring Ray Danton, Leigh Snowden, and Grant Williams. After which, both Arnold and Williams found themselves assigned to the same Science Fiction motion picture.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN premiered in New York City on February 22, 1957

This time the producer was not William Alland, but Albert Zugsmith an independent producer and director. He had made 1952's, "Red Scare", "Invasion U.S.A.", and the post-apocalyptic, 1952, "Captive Women". He moved to Universal International and had already made the Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler, 1955 film-noir, "Woman on the Beach", and 1956's, "Written on the Wind", starring Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone. Just before this feature, Zugsmith produced Jack Arnold's "Red Sundown".

Jack Arnold would follow "The Incredible Shrinking Man" with the crime film-noir, 1957's, "The Tattered Dress", starring Jeff Chandler, Jeanne Crain, Jack Carson, Gail Russell, and Elaine Stewart.

Both the novel and the original screenplay were by writer Richard Matheson. Two others of his novels are 1954's, "I Am Legend", and, 1971's, "Hell House". Matheson's other screenplays include director Roger Corman's, 1960, "House of Usher", 1961, "The Pit and the Pendulum", 1962's, "Tales of Terror", and 1963's, "The Raven". My brief look at the writer, "Richard Matheson: The Screenplays and Treatments", will be found at:

However, Matheson's original screenplay had "Robert Scott Carey" already shrunk and telling his story in flashbacks. Producer Zugsmith added the word "Incredible" to Richard Matheson's screenplay title and gave it to screenplay writer, Richard Alan Simmons, the Rock Hudson, 1954,"Bengal Brigade", and Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker's, 1956, "The King and Four Queens", to rewrite it. 

The first thing Simmons did to Matheson's screenplay was to remove the flashback element of the story and tell it in chronological order. Richard Matheson was not happy!

The believability of this picture depends heavily upon the props created by the uncredited team of Floyd Farrington, Ed Keyes, Whitey McMahon, and Roy Neel. Along with the uncredited visual effects of Everett H. Broussard, Roswell A. Hoffman, and Clifford Stine.

The Two Main Actors:

Grant Williams portrayed "Robert Scott Carey". Williams had fifth billing in 1956's, "Red Sundown", the actor was guest appearing on different television programs, but his next feature film was also a Science Fiction, 1957's, "The Monolith Monsters". After which he was back to television appearances, but from 1960 through 1963, Grant Williams portrayed "Greg Mackenzie", on televisions "Hawaiian Eye".

Randy Stuart
portrayed "Louise Carey". Stuart was seven-years older than Williams and the daughter of vaudeville performers. She began her on-screen career in 1947 and switched primarily to television in 1952, playing Alan Hale, Jr's wife in the forgotten, "Biff Baker U.S.A.", from that year through 1954. This was her first motion picture in the last five-years, and afterwards she returned to television appearances. 


The Basic Screenplay:

"Robert Scott Carey" and his wife "Louise" are enjoying a boating vacation; she goes below as a strange mist cloud moves over "Scott" and the boat.

After the mist cloud passes over "Robert Scott Carey", he finds himself covered in a glittering powder. "Louise" comes up from down below and both watch the mist cloud moving away.

What follows is a story of survival against ordinary things that have become deadly.

Six-months after the boating incident, "Scott's" clothing are not fitting him.

He goes to see his doctor, "Dr. Arthur Bramson", played by William Schallert, who initially confirms that "Scott" has shrink two-inches. 

Over the next few weeks "Dr. Bramson" continues to confirm that "Robert Scott Carey" is slowly shrinking in size and sends him to the "California Medical Research Institute".

"Dr. Thomas Silver", played by Raymond Bailey, informs "Scott" that the institute has found an unknown chemical in his body. The chemical appears to have caused a rearrangement at the molecular level of his cells. He theorizes that this was the result of exposure to both insecticides and radiation. "Robert Scott Carey" now thinks back to his vacation and the strange mist, which he now believes was atomic.

Outside of the institute, "Scott" tells "Louise" he does not expect her to remain with him, and she declares that as long as he wears his wedding ring, she will be with him. Shortly after the conversation, "Scott's" wedding ring falls off his finger. "Robert Scott Carey's" situation has become known to the world, curious onlookers are mobbing the street outside of his home, and reporters are constantly calling his phone number.

A few weeks later, "Robert Scott Carey" is three-feet-tall and "Dr. Silver" believes he's created a serum that should stop "Scott's" shrinking. It works, but does not start him growing again.

"Robert Scott Carey" has no source of income and his situation is having an effect on "Louise", although she says otherwise. He has become very depressed, but comes up with the idea of writing and selling his story and starts a journal.

"Scott" goes for a walk and finds himself at a carnival with little people. He meets a beautiful young woman, "Clarice Bruce", played by April Kent, the daughter of actress June Havoc the sister of Gypsy Rose Lee. 

"Clarice" is sympathetic and assures him that "Little People" can live happy and long lives. Then one day, "Robert Scott Carey" finds himself shorter than "Clarice". In panic he runs home and eventually moves into a doll's house.

"Scott's" fears have affected him mentally and he has been taking it out on "Louise". One day she has become so rattled over the arguments the two are having that she leaves the house accidently letting their cat in.

The cat sees "Scott" in the doll house and slashes at him, he runs and the cat starts to chase its one-time master across the floor towards an open door.

"Scott" makes it to the door leading to the basement and attempts to close it, but the cat's strength is more than he can handle and causes him to fly down to the basement's sewer drain.


"Louise" comes home, finds "Scott's" bloody shirt, the cat, and assumes her husband is dead. While, "Scott" awaits "Louise" to come through the open basement door and down the steps to rescue him.

"Scott" drinks some dripping water from a pipe, creates a bed in a matchbox, he sees a piece a cheese in a mouse trap, but when he grabs for it, it is sent flying.  

"Scott" sees a piece of bread on a high ledge, he takes some thread and a bent needle as a grappling hook and is able to climb up to the bread.

Upstairs "Louise" is looking around the house with "Scott's" brother "Charlie Carey", played by Paul Langton, who's waiting to drive her away from house.

Just before the two leave, the basement floods, "Louise" and "Charlie" go down the steps and cannot see, or hear her husband below her. 

The drain is unplugged, almost causing "Scott" to go down through it with the water. 

"Charlie" and "Louise" go back upstairs and outside, she locks the front door for the last time. While in the basement, "Scott" will become the hunted prey of a spider.

"Scott" finally is able to kill the spider and he goes over to the grate stopping him from going into the outside world, because of his size.

But time was on his side and he becomes small enough to go through the grate, not sure if he is still human, he is struck with the understanding of the universe and his place in it. As "Robert Scott Carey" walks into his new world!

Below are Grant Williams and director Jack Arnold.

Jack Arnold followed "The Incredible Shrinking Man", by coming up with the story for 1957's, "The Monolith Monsters", also starring Grant Williams, about meteor fragments exposed to water that continue to grow in height and multiply as each new fragment repeats the process. More threateningly the fragments drain humans of the silicon in their bodies, turning them into stone. 


Arnold next made an excellent modern Western, 1957's, "Man in the Shadow", starring Jeff Chandler and Orson Welles, and 1958's, "The Lady Takes a Flyer", starring Lana Turner, Jeff Chandler, and Richard Denning. Along with a low budget, very good and overlooked "Rebel Without a Cause" style story, 1958's, "High School Confidential", starring Russ Tamblyn, Jane Sterling, and John Drew Barrymore.

THE SPACE CHILDREN released in June 1958

William Alland had formed his own production company, "William Alland Productions", and this was one of the first two pictures Alland made for Paramount Pictures. The other was released with "The Space Children" on a double bill, "The Colossus of New York", but directed by Eugene Lourie, 1953's, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", and not Jack Arnold.

Jack Arnold would follow this motion picture with the next film I will mention.

Tom Filer came up with the story treatment, "The Egg", and this was only his second of only two such treatments. His first was director Roger Corman's, 1955, "The Beast with a Million Eyes". Filer's primary income was from his novels.

Bernard C. Schoenfeld wrote the screenplay. Prior to this feature film, he had written only four screenplays between 1944 and 1952. From 1952 through 1975, Schoenfeld was primarily a television writer and only wrote three other motion picture screenplays during those years including producer, director, Bert I. Gordon's, 1962, "The Magic Sword".

The Main Cast:

Michael Ray portrayed "Bud Brewster". Thirteen-years-old Ray is best remembered for portraying "Leonardo", in 1956's, "The Brave One", about a Mexican boy and his pet bull. The picture earned blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo the Academy Award for Best Screenplay, but his name didn't appear on the original release, His writing "Front", Robert Rich, accepted the Oscar and had his name on the motion picture. Later, Michael Ray portrayed "Farraj" in director David Lean's, 1962, "Lawrence of Arabia".
Adam Williams portrayed "Dave Brewster". With an occasional motion picture, Williams was mainly a television drama and Western actor.

Peggy Webber portrayed "Anne Brewster". Her resume at the time read like Adam Williams.

Johnny Crawford portrayed "Ken Brewster". At the time Crawford was twelve-years old. The IMDb website is one of several that leave out Crawford's 1955 work that many of my generation know him for. They do not mention he was one of Walt Disney's original "Mouseketeers" on "The Mickey Mouse Club", and instead start with his uncredited role of an Italian boy in the Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, and Fredric March, 1956, "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit". They do mention his one-hundred-and-sixty-eight episodes of televisions "The Rifleman", and his role in producer, director, Bert I. Gordon's, 1965, "Village of the Giants", with Tommy Kirk, Beau Bridges, and Ron Howard. Johnny Crawford's "Mickey Mouse Club" appearance is part of my article, "M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.': Walt Disney's Original Mickey Mouse Club, 1955 To 1959: "An Honorary Mouseketeer In Good Standing' Remembers", at:

Above front left, Peggy Webber, front right, Adam Williams, back right, Michael Ray, back left, Johnny Crawford

Four Interesting Cast Members:

Jackie Coogan
portrayed "Hank Johnson". In 1921 Coogan co-starred with Charlie Chaplin in the silent classic, "The Kid". In 1922, he was author Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist", and in 1930, Jackie Coogan was author Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer". From 1952 through 1953, he co-starred in televisions "Cowboy G-Men", and from 1962 through 1963, Coogan co-starred on televisions "McKeever and the Colonel". However, he is better known as "Uncle Fester" on televisions "The Addams Family", from 1964 through 1966. My article, "THE ADDAMS FAMILY and THE MUNSTERS" can be read at:

Sandy Descher portrayed "Eadie Johnson". Twelve-years-old Descher will always be known for fans of 1950 Science Fiction as the little girl who screams "THEM! THEM! THEM!" in the 1954 classic of that title. She also portrayed the handicapped girl in the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, 1954, "3 Ring Circus", and portrayed Gregory Peck's daughter in 1956's, "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit".

Russell Johnson portrayed "Joe Gamble". He followed this feature with the George Montgomery Western, 1958's, "Badman's Country", portraying "The Sundance Kid".

Above with Johnson is Jean Engstrom as "Peg Gamble".

In his first motion picture portraying "A Security Guard" was Ty Hungerford, before he changed his last time to Hardin.

The Basic Screenplay:

Engineer "Dave Brewster" is forced to move his family from San Francisco to a high security military project in Southern California that his company is working on. As they get closer to the Eagle Point installation, both of "Dave's" sons hear an eerie sound that their parents are oblivious too. Next, the two boys see what looks like a rock being teleported to the earth, again their parents appear entirely oblivious to what is obvious to their pre-teen sons.


Later, after the family settles into their new home, the boys are playing on the beach. They are approached by the other children of the workers at the installation and they're shown the "Thunder" missile launch site,

Meanwhile, the children's parents, who are working on the project, are being briefed by "Lieutenant Colonel Alan Manley", played by Richard Shannon, as to the real reason for the missile. According to "Manley" the goal of the Eagle Point Missile Project is to launch a hydrogen bomb into outer space, where it will orbit the Earth until the need to deploy its payload is required.

While playing socker on the beach, the ball rolls into a cave and the children enter. 

Inside they find the rock like alien brain "Bud" and "Ken" saw being teleported to earth. The alien communicates through "Bud" and the children, unknown to their parents, are now under the alien brain's control.

The cruel and now intoxicated "Joe Gamble" follows his step son "Tim", played by Johnny Washbrook, into the cave with the alien. "Gamble" has a large tree branch and is going to teach "Tim" a lesson by hitting him with it, but the alien intervenes, later at his mobile home "Joe" is found dead from shock.

Meanwhile, the small alien brain has grown in size and seems to be using the children to stop the Eagle Point Missile. Back in their mobile home, "Bud" reveals to his father the alien and takes him to meet it.

"Dave Brewster" takes the alien, which has doubled in size, back to their trailer and an argument over having it in their home, starts from his wife. 

"Bud" states they need to protect the alien and keep it warm until that night. He stops his parents arguing by taking the alien back to the cave and the other children arrive to protect it as the alien brain continues to grow.

The final preparations of the "Thunderer" missile and its payload are being made for a launch that night. "Dave" attempts to tell "Lieutenant Colonel Manley" and head scientist and rocket designer, "Dr. Wahrman", played by Raymond Bailey, about the alien.....

....but "Dave" is stopped telepathically by his son "Bud" and falls to the floor unconscious. Taken to the infirmary, he is stopped from leaving by the appearance in the doorway by his two sons. "Dave" remains in the infirmary for continued treatment.

Later, "Bud" uses mind control to force a rocket fuel truck off the road and it dumps the load. Two of the children use mind control to shut down the missile control's phone system. While, looking for his daughter, "Eadie", who has visited the alien, "Hank Johnson" enters the cave and sees the alien. The sudden shock of its appearance results in his hospitalization.

Back at the missile project, "Dr. Wahrman" is looking for the common denominator to all the strange occurrences plaguing the project. 

"Wahrman" now goes to the infirmary where "Dave Brewster" is still being treated and states his belief that a non-human force is behind everything that has happened. "Dave" informs "Dr. Wahrman" of the alien and the two go to the cave to confront it. The alien is gigantic in size from what it first was and "Dr. Wahrman" pleads with it to stop its control of the children. However, the alien refuses to communicate with him.

"Dr. Wahrman" now rushes back to "Thunderer", arrives just prior to the scheduled launch, and sees the missile destroyed on the launch pad and the nuclear weapon made harmless. 

"Lieutenant Colonel Manley", "Dr. Wahrman", and "Dave Brewster" go to the alien's cave with a military security detail followed by all the concern parents and find "The Space Children" protecting the alien.

A teleportation beam appears, the alien brain moves out of the cave to it, is lifted off the ground moving up the beam and back into outer space as everyone watches in awe.

When "Lieutenant Colonel Manley" asks "Bud" about the alien's actions, the reply is that children all over the world were doing the same things as this group, this is to give the world a second chance for a nuclear free life.

MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS released December 17, 1958

The producer on this picture for Universal International was Joseph Gershenson. Gershenson started producing in 1940 with a Johnny Mack Brown "B" Western. In 1944 he produced the Boris Karloff, and Susanna Foster, "The Climax", that started out as a sequel to 1943's, "Phantom of the Opera", but was changed by the studio's executives. He also produced 1945's, "House of Dracula", and would produce the cult vampire Western, 1959's, "Curse of the Undead" starring Eric Fleming and Michael Pate.

This picture directly followed "The Space Children" for director Jack Arnold.

The screenplay was written by David Duncan. Who wrote the English language version of 1956's "Rodan", both 1957's, "The Monster That Challenged the World", and, "The Black Scorpion". Plus seven episodes of the 1959 television series "Men Into Space", and in 1960, George Pal's version of H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine".

The Main Cast:

Arthur Franz portrayed "Professor Donald Blake". Franz had appeared in 1951's, "Flight to Mars", and 1953's, "Invaders from Mars". In 1958 Franz appeared on the television programs "Target", "The Silent Service", and "The Millionaire" prior to the release of " Monster on the Campus". He would follow this picture with appearances on the 1959 television series "Men Into Space", and six episodes of the television series "World of Giants". My article, "Arthur Franz: John Wayne, 'Hey Abbott', Martians, and a Neanderthal Man (1947 through 1959)", may be read at:

Joanna Moore portrayed "Madeline Howard". Moore had fifth billing in the Audie Murphy "B" Western, 1958's "Ride a Crooked Trail", and followed this picture with roles on television programs.

Troy Donahue portrayed "Jimmy Flanders". The unknown Donahue was appearing on television shows, but in 1959 he had seventeenth billing in 1959's "Imitation of Life" starring Lana Turner, John Gavin, and Sandra Dee. However, that was a very minor role and he was back to television appearances until his next motion picture, 1959's "A Summer Place", starring Richard Egan, Dorothy McGurie, and Sandra Dee. This time sixth billed Donahue was paired with Dee and his career as a teen heartthrob began.

Above, Donahue with Nancy Walters as his girlfriend "Sylvia Lockwood".

The Basic Screenplay:

Science Professor "Dr. Donald Blake", at Dunsford University, receives a coelacanth, they still are found as of this writing, and confirms to "Jimmy Flanders" that the species is millions of years old without evolutionary change.

"Dr. Blake" lectures his students that man is the only creature that can decide to go forward, or backward and that:
unless we learn to control the instincts, we've inherited from our ape-like ancestors, the race is doomed.

After his class is finished, "Dr. Blake" is putting the coelacanth away and scratches himself on its teeth, accidently sticking his bleeding hand into the water containing the fish.

As they get into "Molly Riordan's", played by Helen Westcott, car, "Dr. Blake" feels ill and passes out. "Dr. Blake's" fiancée, "Madeline Howard" and her father, "Dr. Gilbert Howard", played by Alexander Lockwood, arrive at "Dr, Blake's" to speak to him, but find the body of "Molly" hanging in a tree, "Blake" is on the ground moaning, and the inside of the house is in shambles. The two call the police and "Detective Lieutenant Mike Stevens", played by Judson Pratt, and "Detective Sergeant Eddie Daniels", played by Ross Elliott, arrive on the scene.

The detectives find a deformed hand print on a window and "Dr. Blake's" tie clip in "Molly's" hand, but the doctor cannot remember anything after entering her car. The two detectives take "Dr. Blake" downtown to the police station to continue questioning him.

"Lieutenant Stevens" concludes that someone is attempting to implicate "Dr. Blake" in "Molly's" murder and must hold a grudge against the doctor. However, he is assigning "Daniels" as "Blake's" bodyguard and informed him that the autopsy indicated "Molly" died from fright.

Back in his lab, "Dr. Blake" shoos away a small dragonfly that had landed upon the coelacanth.

"Jimmy Flanders", "Dr. Blake's" student lab assistant has arrived and the two hear a high-pitched sound and are attacked by a prehistoric dragonfly.

The two first attempt to capture the dragonfly with a net, but when it lands upon the coelacanth, "Blake" stabs it with a knife. "Jimmy" leaves and while examining the body "Dr. Blake" fails to notice that the dragonfly's blood has dripped into his pipe. Lighting up his pipe, the doctor feels ill again, and as the dragonfly shrinks back to its normal size, a huge hairy hand comes down upon it. "Jimmy's" girlfriend, "Sylvia Lockwood" is killed outside the lab and the police find huge footprints and conclude they're from "Molly's" murderer.

However, "Dr. Blake" now learns that the coelacanth was exposed to gamma rays to preserve its blood plasma and speculates that's why the dragonfly grew. Even more, "Blake" now speculates that somehow, he was turned into a Neanderthal man for a short period by the blood. He takes two-weeks leave and goes to the "Howard's" cabin with some of the coelacanth blood to run some tests upon himself, sets up a camera, and injects himself with the blood.

The Neanderthal now grabs an axe and leaves the cabin as "Madeline" is on the road heading for it. She is run off the road by the fright of the Neanderthal in her car's headlights. A local forest ranger, played by Richard H. Cutting, arrives and sees the Neanderthal carrying off an unconscious "Madeline" and calls the Dunsford police for help, as he purses the two.

 "Madeline" wakes up and starts to struggle with the Neanderthal, she breaks free, and the forest ranger shoots at it, but is killed by a thrown axe. 

The Neanderthal collapses and transforms back into "Dr. Blake". "Blake" returns to the cabin and finds "Madeline", develops a photograph he took, and hands it to "Madeline". The photo is his answer to her question as to why the Neanderthal was wearing his clothing.

"Detective Lieutenant Stevens" and now, "Detective Sergeant Powell", played by Phil Harvey, arrive with "Madeline's" father at the cabin. "Dr. Blake" says he knows where to find the murderer and will lead the three there, but as they walk. "Dr. Blake" explains to "Dr. Howard" what has been happening, injects himself, goes into the forest, turning into the Neanderthal. The Neanderthal man starts to chase "Dr. Howard", but is killed by the two detectives and the dead neanderthal man turns back into "Dr. Blake".

Jack Arnold and producer Howard Christie, 1951's, "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man" and 1953's, "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", came together to producer the Audie Murphy Western, 1959's, "No Name on the Bullet". 

When you think of satirical movies about the Atom Bomb, director Stanley Kubrick's, 1964, "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb", starring Peter Sellers in multiple roles, always comes to mind. What is overlooked is director Jack Arnold's satire from 1959.  

THE MOUSE THAT ROARED first premiered in the French speaking region of Switzerland on May 23, 1959

This classic "Ban the Bomb" comedy was a box office failure in both the United Kingdom and the United States, but went on to become a cult classic and the film that really launched Peter Sellers international career.

The motion picture was made by Columbia Pictures with black listed writer, Carl Foreman's, Highland Productions in the United Kingdom.

The motion picture had two producers, Walter Shenson. San Francisco born Shenson would produce the film's sequel, 1963, "The Mouse on the Moon", and The Beatles, 1964, "A Hard Days Night" and 1965's, "HELP!". 

Among English producer Jon Penington's work is Hammer Pictures, 1961's, "The Shadow of the Cat", starring Andre Morell and Barbara Shelley, and the crime comedy, 1965's, "The Liquidator", starring Rod Taylor, Trevor Howard, and Jill St. John.

I could not find out how director Jack Arnold came to be in the United Kingdom to film this picture.

The film was based upon Irish writer Leonard Wibberley's novel.

The screenplay came from two writers, Scottish writer Roger MacDougall started writing screenplays in 1936 and kept writing through the Second World War. He had written the Science Fiction play, "The Man in the White Suit", that become the classic 1951 film starring Sir Alec Guinness. 

Stanley Mann, 
at the time Mann was writing British television mini-series. His future films would include the excellent 1965 thriller "The Collector", starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, the Anthony Quinn and James Coburn, 1965, "A High Wind in Jamaica", and 1984's, "Conan the Destroyer".

The Main Cast:

Peter Sellers
portrayed "Grand Duchess Gloriana XII", "Prime Minister Count Rupert of Mountjoy", and "Tully Bascombe". 

Sellers had just played the villain, "Antony", in producer George Pal's, 1958, "Tom Thumb", starring Russ Tamblyn and Alan Young. Sellers joined comedian Terry-Thomas after this picture for 1959's, "Man in a Cocked Hat". 

Jean Seberg portrayed "Helen Kokintz". American actress Seberg had just appeared in director Otto Preminger's, 1958. "Bonjour Tristesse", co-starring with Deborah Kerr and David Niven. She would follow this film with French director Francois Truffaunt's, 1960, "Breathless", co-starring with Jean-Paul Belmondo.

William Hartnell portrayed "Will Buckley". Hartnell had just been seen in the latest "Carry On" comedy, 1958's, "Carry On Sergeant". To Americans and the World, on November 23, 1963, the day after President Kennedy's assassination, on the BBC, William Hartnell appeared in "An Unearthly Child", as the first "Dr. Who". He would portray the character for one-hundred-and-thirty-six episodes.

The Basic Screenplay:

The plot has the very tiny European Grand Duchy of Fenwick faced with bankruptcy, because their economy depends upon the exporting of wine to the United States. However, a California winery named "Enwick" is putting them out of business. The "Grand Duchess Gloriana XII", Peter Sellers parodying Queen Victoria asks "Prime Minister Count Rupert of Mountjoy", Peter Sellers parodying Benjamin Disraeli, for a means to save their tiny economy.

The Prime Minister's solution is to declare war upon the United States, ultimately, they will lose, and collect Foreign Aid forever from America. Reluctantly the Grand Duchess agrees to the Prime Minister's plan.

The next question is who will command their army? The answer is mild mannered game warden "Tully Bascombe" and he becomes "Army Field Marshall Bascombe". He will lend the Grand Fenwick army, aided by "Sergeant Will Buckley".

The Army of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, all twenty of them in medieval armor, go by bus from the Duchy to Marseilles, France, to book passage on a merchant ship to New York City. 

What happens next was never in the plans of the Prime Minister.

The merchant ship arrives in New York City harbor and the Grand Fenwick army disembarks to find the city streets deserted. In fact, all of New York is deserted, because an air-raid-drill is in progress.

"Tully" is puzzled by the deserted streets, picks up a newspaper and reads about the drill. Which is a result of the development of the "Q Bomb", a weapon a hundred times more powerful that the H-Bomb. "Field Marshall Tully Bascombe" now decides to take his troops to the local army arsenal and surrender, ending the war and starting talks for foreign aid.

As they march toward the arsenal, the army comes upon a civil defense truck and are identified as invading Martians, long like Orson Welles, by two inapt workers, who report the invasion to their headquarters.

Meanwhile at the Institute for Physics, "Dr. Alfred Kokintz", played by English actor David Kossoff, has perfected his Q-Bomb and it is the size and shape of a football. Meanwhile, leading his troops, "Tully" makes a wrong turn and they end up in front of the Institute for Physics.


There "Tully" meets "Dr. Kokintz" and his daughter "Helen". Remembering the newspaper article about the Q-Bomb, "Field Marshall Bascombe" decides to make the two his prisoners as a bargaining chip, not losing the war as planned, but winning it.

Meanwhile, the "United States Secretary of Defense", played by Canadian actor Austin Willis, has heard of the invasion from Mars and orders an investigation by blustering but ineffectual "United States General Snippet", played by Canadian actor MacDonald Parke. "Snippet" is in charge of the New York area and the Civil Defense test going on. "General Snippet" takes some New York City police officers with him, goes to the Institute, and is immediately captured by the Grand Fenwick Army.

"Field Marshall Bascombe" ads the General and his group to his prisoners and sets sail back to Marseilles, purchases bus tickets for everyone, and heads for the Palace of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick. While, "Prime Minster Mountjoy" and "Minority Leader Benter", played by Australian actor Leo McKern, unaware of the events in New York, prepare to welcome back the losing army and ask the United States for foreign aid.

In the United States, the Secretary of Defense finally receives the declaration of war from the Grand Duchy of Fenwick. Aware that the Q-Bomb is in enemy hands, the Secretary declares defeat and the war won by the Duchy.

"Field Marshall Tully Bascombe" proudly enters the palace to declare he has won the war, has prisoners, and the Q-Bomb.


Once the word spreads that the Duchy has the Q-Bomb, other countries are offering them military aid. With his plan gone by the impossible win, "Prime Minister Mountjoy" suggests they return the bomb, but the "Grand Duchess Gloriana XII" instead, tells him to put the Q-Bomb in the Royal dungeons. Both "Mountjoy" and "Benter", below, resign in protest and "Tully Blascombe" finds himself the new Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the United States Secretary of Defense decides to go to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick and negotiate a peace treaty. 

Later, "Mountjoy" goes to sees "Helen", tells her he wants to send her and the bomb back to the United States and offers an escape plan.

At the same time that the Prime Minister is speaking to "Helen", her father is being serenaded on the harpsichord by the Grand Duchess. As the Secretary of Defense arrives to discuss the terms of the United States' surrender to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. "Mountjoy" and "General Snippet" go to the dungeon to get the Q-Bomb. 

While all the above is going on, "Tully" goes to see "Helen", the two get into an argument over the bomb, he grabs her, and realizes he's in love.


A short time later, "Mountjoy" helps pull "Helen" out of the window of her bedroom. There the old car of the Duchess is waiting with "General Snippet" and the New York Police to escape. "Tully" is knocking on the door to "Helen's" room, it opens, and he goes in to discover she is missing. Looking out of the window, he sees the car, and starts to run after it.

As "Tully" runs by the palace he notices foreign diplomats waiting to vie for the Q-Bomb and playing a board game called "Diplomacy".

Going up a hill the car starts to sputter and "General Snippet", with the Q-Bomb in his lap, orders the others to get out and push the car up the hill. 

At the top of the hill, the old car rolls out of control and crashes into a haystack. "Tully" catches up just as the General climbs out of the haystack with the Q-Bomb in his hands, but the bomb starts to emit warning sounds. "Snippet" punts the football atomic bomb, it's caught and passed among everyone and finally to "Tully" and the sounds stop.

"Prime Minister Tully Blascombe" meets with the United States Secretary of Defense to negotiate a Peace Treaty.


The terms have the United States paying the Grand Duchy of Fenwick one-million-dollars, equal as of this writing to ten-million-one-hundred-and-seventy-seven thousand, six-hundred-and-ninety-seven-dollars. Along with withdrawing "Enwick" wines from the worldwide market.

After "Tully" informs the Secretary that he and "Helen" are to be married and her father will be developing a new type of chewing gum. He adds, that he will detonate the Q-Bomb unless "all the little nations of the world" are made its guardian. "Tully" explains that by using the bomb as leverage, the little nations will be able to negotiate worldwide disarmament.

The United States Secretary of Defense leaves, "Tully", "Helen", and her father got to the dungeon to examine the Q-Bomb. "Dr. Alfred Kokintz picks the bomb up, starts to sneeze, drops the Q-Bomb and nothing happens. It's a dud, but the three will be the only people to know that.

Starting with 1959's, "World of Giants", Jack Arnold spent the rest of his career through 1984's, "The Love Boat", directing television programs.

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