From the director who brought the world such classic Disney films as The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit and The Apple Dumpling Gang, came this cute 1978 comedy about a talking kitty from outer space – a premise not meant to be pondered, just enjoyed. While it didn’t quite get (nor deserve) the acclaim of, say, a Mary Poppins, The Cat from Outer Space is still one of those entertaining live-action Disney movies that so many of us flocked to the theaters to see in the 70s.
The aliens have arrived, crash landing their little green spacecraft, much to the surprise and concern of the U.S. Military. They haul the wreckage into a lab at a nearby base, to be studied by two scientists, Frank (Ken Berry) and Elizabeth (Sandy Duncan). While the eccentric Frank tried to determine the strange craft’s origins, an extraterrestrial feline wanders unnoticed from the craft, complete with an eerily illuminated collar. Frank discovers the cat, who verbally introduces himself as Jake (Zunar J5/90 Doric 4-7, if you want to get technical about it. Jake rolls off the tongue a little easier).
The cosmic kitty turns out to be the pilot of the stranded spacecraft and is eager to return to his scratching post in the sky, but first he needs to get his paws on $120,000 in gold to perform the necessary repairs on his ship. While this might seem an insurmountable task, Jake has a talent that comes in quite handy, a knack for picking the winners of sporting events. Feline and Frank set out to gather the necessary funds but are thwarted along the way by a number of setbacks. A veterinarian accidentally gives Jake a kitty tranquilizer, the G-men are hot on his tail, and a conniving Mr. Stallwood (Roddy McDowell) is set on stealing Jake’s celestial collar. An action-packed extravaganza takes place in the sky that will determine Jake’s feline fate once and for all.
This was the final film from long time director, Norman Tokar, and provided a purrfect conclusion to his illustrious career. And, for those that could suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the comic capers of a cosmic critter, The Cat From Outer Space was pure fun for the whole family.
If you have fond memories of The Cat from Outer Space, we welcome all of your thoughts and recollections in our comments section, as we tip the hat to another entertaining live-action film from the folks at Walt Disney.