The Cat From Outer Space


1h 38m 1978

Brief Synopsis

A cat from space, nicknamed Jake, is traveling in a spaceship that crashes on earth. Jake is in the process of trying to get his craft repaired when he reveals that he can predict the winners of sporting events. Before long, the remarkable alien cat is being hunted by the military, and is accidentally put into a deep sleep by a veterinarian who is trying to hide him from the government.

Film Details

Also Known As
Cat From Outer Space, chat qui vient de l'espace
MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Comedy
Fantasy
Release Date
1978

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

A cat from space, nicknamed Jake, is traveling in a spaceship that crashes on earth. Jake is in the process of trying to get his craft repaired when he reveals that he can predict the winners of sporting events. Before long, the remarkable alien cat is being hunted by the military, and is accidentally put into a deep sleep by a veterinarian who is trying to hide him from the government.

Film Details

Also Known As
Cat From Outer Space, chat qui vient de l'espace
MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Comedy
Fantasy
Release Date
1978

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Articles

The Cat from Outer Space


"Mysterious visitor with unknown powers on our planet for supplies...a six-pack of tuna?"

Tag line for The Cat from Outer Space

As Hollywood turned its focus to outer space in the late '70s with the success of Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Walt Disney Studios jumped on the bandwagon by doing a science-fiction take on one of their standby genres, the animal comedy. The result was this 1978 family film in which the Earth receives the latest in a long line of alien visitors. The opening scene, in which a space ship lands at a remote farm, has the eeriness of Close Encounters only to lead to the big reveal that the alien is a cat.

Zunar-J5/9 Doric-4-7, "Jake" for short, crashes on Earth because of an equipment malfunction. The U.S. military takes possession of his ship, but the scientific team rejects the theories of Dr. Frank Wilson (Ken Berry), the only man to come close to figuring out how it runs. Overhearing this, Jake follows Wilson to his office and, using a collar that amplifies his mental abilities, enlists the scientist to help repair his ship. This requires dodging Wilson's colleagues, including a romantically inclined woman scientist (Sandy Duncan), her equally amorous female cat, the military and an industrial spy (Roddy McDowall) trying to steal Jake's secrets for a mysterious figure out for world domination.

This was the last film directed by Norman Tokar, a Disney stalwart who had made his first feature, Big Red (1962), for the studio. The former actor (he was Henry Aldrich's friend Willie on the popular radio series) had specialized in sitcom work on television. His skills at directing children, honed from doing 93 episodes of Leave It to Beaver, led to his work at Disney, where he also directed The Ugly Dachshund (1966) and his biggest hit, The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975). Disney's executives thought well enough of him to give him a co-producer credit on The Cat from Outer Space

Writer Ted Key was best known as the creator of the Hazel cartoon that ran weekly in the Saturday Evening Post from 1943 until the magazine ceased publication in 1969, at which point the cartoon was syndicated to newspapers. He also created the "Peabody's Improbable History" segments for The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and wrote two earlier Disney films, The Million Dollar Duck (1971) and Gus (1976). Along with his script for The Cat from Outer Space he also wrote a novelization released in conjunction with the film.

The Cat from Outer Space was shot at Disney's Golden Oak Ranch and in Santa Clarita, CA. Jake the cat was played by Abyssinian litter mates Rumple and Amber. Since they were brother and sister that probably makes Jake Disney's first gender-fluid leading character. Like most of Disney's later comedies, the film features a troupe of well-known comic actors, including McLean Stevenson, Harry Morgan, Alan Young, Jesse White, Sorrell Booke (in his final film) and Hans Conried, in his final Disney outing. Conried had voiced several characters for the studio, most notably Captain Hook in their version of Peter Pan (1953). Ronnie Schell supplied Jake's voice and played a small role. When producers decided his voice was too recognizable, his human lines were dubbed by an unknown actor.

The film received solid reviews, with Variety lauding its "good cast of veterans...all ably kept in pace by director Norman Tokar." The film was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film but lost to Superman (1978).

Director: Norman Tokar
Producers: Ron Miller, Tokar
Screenplay: Ted Key
Cinematography: Charles F. Wheeler
Score: Lalo Schifrin
Cast: Ken Berry (Frank), Sandy Duncan (Liz), Harry Morgan (General Stilton), Roddy McDowall (Mr. Stallwood), McLean Stevenson (Link), Jesse White (Earnest Ernie), Alan Young (Dr. Wenger), Hans Conried (Dr. Heffel), Ronnie Schell (Jake - voice/Sgt. Duffy), William Prince (Mr. Olympus), Rick Hurst (Dydee Guard), Sorrell Booke (Presiding Judge)

By Frank Miller
The Cat From Outer Space

The Cat from Outer Space

"Mysterious visitor with unknown powers on our planet for supplies...a six-pack of tuna?" Tag line for The Cat from Outer Space As Hollywood turned its focus to outer space in the late '70s with the success of Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Walt Disney Studios jumped on the bandwagon by doing a science-fiction take on one of their standby genres, the animal comedy. The result was this 1978 family film in which the Earth receives the latest in a long line of alien visitors. The opening scene, in which a space ship lands at a remote farm, has the eeriness of Close Encounters only to lead to the big reveal that the alien is a cat. Zunar-J5/9 Doric-4-7, "Jake" for short, crashes on Earth because of an equipment malfunction. The U.S. military takes possession of his ship, but the scientific team rejects the theories of Dr. Frank Wilson (Ken Berry), the only man to come close to figuring out how it runs. Overhearing this, Jake follows Wilson to his office and, using a collar that amplifies his mental abilities, enlists the scientist to help repair his ship. This requires dodging Wilson's colleagues, including a romantically inclined woman scientist (Sandy Duncan), her equally amorous female cat, the military and an industrial spy (Roddy McDowall) trying to steal Jake's secrets for a mysterious figure out for world domination. This was the last film directed by Norman Tokar, a Disney stalwart who had made his first feature, Big Red (1962), for the studio. The former actor (he was Henry Aldrich's friend Willie on the popular radio series) had specialized in sitcom work on television. His skills at directing children, honed from doing 93 episodes of Leave It to Beaver, led to his work at Disney, where he also directed The Ugly Dachshund (1966) and his biggest hit, The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975). Disney's executives thought well enough of him to give him a co-producer credit on The Cat from Outer Space Writer Ted Key was best known as the creator of the Hazel cartoon that ran weekly in the Saturday Evening Post from 1943 until the magazine ceased publication in 1969, at which point the cartoon was syndicated to newspapers. He also created the "Peabody's Improbable History" segments for The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and wrote two earlier Disney films, The Million Dollar Duck (1971) and Gus (1976). Along with his script for The Cat from Outer Space he also wrote a novelization released in conjunction with the film. The Cat from Outer Space was shot at Disney's Golden Oak Ranch and in Santa Clarita, CA. Jake the cat was played by Abyssinian litter mates Rumple and Amber. Since they were brother and sister that probably makes Jake Disney's first gender-fluid leading character. Like most of Disney's later comedies, the film features a troupe of well-known comic actors, including McLean Stevenson, Harry Morgan, Alan Young, Jesse White, Sorrell Booke (in his final film) and Hans Conried, in his final Disney outing. Conried had voiced several characters for the studio, most notably Captain Hook in their version of Peter Pan (1953). Ronnie Schell supplied Jake's voice and played a small role. When producers decided his voice was too recognizable, his human lines were dubbed by an unknown actor. The film received solid reviews, with Variety lauding its "good cast of veterans...all ably kept in pace by director Norman Tokar." The film was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film but lost to Superman (1978). Director: Norman Tokar Producers: Ron Miller, Tokar Screenplay: Ted Key Cinematography: Charles F. Wheeler Score: Lalo Schifrin Cast: Ken Berry (Frank), Sandy Duncan (Liz), Harry Morgan (General Stilton), Roddy McDowall (Mr. Stallwood), McLean Stevenson (Link), Jesse White (Earnest Ernie), Alan Young (Dr. Wenger), Hans Conried (Dr. Heffel), Ronnie Schell (Jake - voice/Sgt. Duffy), William Prince (Mr. Olympus), Rick Hurst (Dydee Guard), Sorrell Booke (Presiding Judge) By Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Jake the cat was played by two different Abyssinian cats--Rumpler and his sister, Amber.

Harry Morgan plays an eccentric general and McLean Stevenson plays a harried doctor. In Harry Morgan's first appearance on "M*A*S*H" (1972), he played an eccentric general; McLean Stevenson was a regular in the role of the harried doctor in command of the 4077th.

Ronnie Schell, who provided the voice of the title feline, was also given the small part of an army sergeant. In post-production, it was decided that his voice was too easily recognizable, so the on-screen role was re-dubbed by another, unidentified actor.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 1978

Released in United States Summer July 1978