Cast & Crew
Bert I. Gordon
Little Joe--the Honey Bear
Photos & Videos
Early one morning, scientists at an observatory discover that a new planet has moved into Earth's solar system and is orbiting the sun. An emergency session of Congress is called and it is decided that as the new planet is so close to earth, the United States should strive to be the first to explore it. Over the next few months, teams of scientists work to build a stable spaceship and devise a satisfactory method for the astronauts to obtain power on the planet. One night, an astronomer is able to photograph the new planet, which he names Nova, and prove that it has plant life, indicating that its atmosphere is capable of sustaining humans. The aerospace engineers succeed in building a spaceship and a device that can supply electrical power to the explorers after they land. The device is activated by atomic power and is capable of providing an atomic explosion if needed. In order to explore Nova fully, it is decided to assemble a group of scientists representing a broad range of disciplines, and so zoa-geographer Dr. Ralph Martin, minerologist Dr. Nora Pierce, physician Richard Gordon and chemist Dr. Patricia Bennett are assigned. Soon after, the ship takes off and begins its months-long journey without any mishaps. Upon landing on Nova, Ralph and Pat, wearing cumbersome space suits, test the atmosphere and soil, determining that it is safe for them to explore. Shedding their gear, Ralph and Pat are joined by Nora and Dick, and during a brief exploration, find a freshwater lake. Nora is intrigued by an island situated in the middle of the vast lake, as the vegetation on the island is clearly different than that of the forested area in which they have landed. The others insist on conducting their experiments before exploring any further, however, and so the group hikes to a rock formation several miles away. After Nora gathers her samples, the scientists attempt to find their way back but get lost as darkness falls. When an exhausted Pat is frightened by a snake, Ralph insists on camping for the night and resuming their search for the ship in the morning. The group builds a serviceable shelter and the two men begin alternating watches while the women sleep. During Ralph's watch, Pat awakens, and the couple, who have fallen in love, slip away from camp in order to kiss privately. Ralph falls down a hillside, however, and is attacked by a fierce beast resembling an alligator. Pat's screams alert Dick and Nora, and after Ralph vanquishes the animal, the others carry him back to camp. In the morning, Ralph is still unconscious from his injuries and so Dick and Nora decide to return to the ship for supplies while Pat watches over Ralph. While Nora and Dick are gone, Ralph regains consciousness, although Pat's happiness over his recovery dissipates when they are approached by an enormous insect. Ralph shoots and kills the insect, and Pat's spirits revive when the others return, for they are accompanied by a kinkajou, a friendly monkey-like mammal. Named Joe, the little animal quickly becomes the pet of the group, and the scientists decide to continue their experiments at the camp until Ralph is well enough to travel. In the morning, Nora and Dick use an inflatable raft to travel to the island to conduct their studies, while Ralph and Pat stay behind. Nora and Dick are horrified to discover that giant, dinosaur-like beasts inhabit the island and are chased by one into a cave. Dick is injured when he saves Joe from being eaten by the beast but is able to return to the cave, where he is tended to by the frightened Nora. After watching the enormous lizard best an opponent in a bloody fight, Dick compares it to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the "king dinosaur." Dick is able to send up a distress flare, and Pat and Ralph respond by taking another raft over to the island. Unable to reach the cave, however, Ralph and Pat watch helplessly as their friends must run for the beach while the king dinosaur battles another foe. Dick, Nora and Joe reach the beach, where Ralph sets the timer on the atomic power source to ignite in half an hour. Despite being chased by the beast, the four friends reach their raft and frantically paddle to the other side of the lake. Having reached safety just in time, they watch as the power source explodes, killing all of the prehistoric beasts in an atomic explosion. Wryly commenting that they have brought "civilization" to Nova, Dick and the others prepare to return home.
Bert I. Gordon
Little Joe--the Honey Bear
Bert I. Gordon
Bert I. Gordon
Ralph Helfer Of Nature's Haven
Henry H. Waldman
King Dinosaur/The Bride and the Beast
First out of the galactic gate is King Dinosaur (1955), a Jurassic-aged movie that should have been called Welcome to the Neighborhood!. Well, at least, that's what Earth should've said to the newest member of the Solar System, the planet Nova, and just left it at that. It seems that due to some sort of strange gravitational anomaly, Nova has scooted over so close to Earth that Man can now successfully journey to another planet. And indeed, before you can say "Jules Verne," America has already put together a crack team of scientists and doctors and a sturdy rocketship to withstand the weeks and months of interstellar space travel towards the strange, new world - all within the first 15 minutes! Director Bert I. Gordon, responsible for such sci-fi delights as Earth Vs. The Spider (1958), The Magic Sword (1962), and Attack of the Puppet People (1958), was not one to waste time.
The four explorers include William Bryant as Dr. Ralph Martin; Wanda Curtis as chemist Dr. Patricia Bennett; Douglas Henderson as Richard Gordon; and Patti Gallagher playing Nora Pierce. Once the foursome arrive on Nova, they encounter all manner of giant-sized creatures, most of which have been recycled from producer Hal Roach's One Million B.C. (1940). All sorts of reptilian riff-raff, from giant iguanas to giant crocodiles to giant gila monsters to, oddly enough, not-so-giant snakes, battle it out over feeding rights on the Earth-borne finger food. Of course, the four humans make their visit harder on themselves by acting a bit too aggressive against the natives and each other. The explorers seem to lack an innate curiosity about what makes these creatures tick, but they more than make up for it with trigger-happy sharp-shooting. Richard Gordon exhibits a severe temper when he twice shoves poor Dr. Patricia Bennett out of the way during a crisis involving an injured Dr. Ralph Martin. And of course, the team exits the planet with a unique, lasting gift from planet Earth: the detonation of an atomic bomb, with one team member claiming, "Well, we've done it. We've brought civilization to planet Nova."
Filling out the double-bill is The Bride and the Beast (1958), an Allied Artists production, from producer/director Adrian Weiss and a screenplay by none other than Edward D. Wood, Jr. Charlotte Austin marries handsome Lance Fuller and both look forward to living happily ever after, but once they arrive at his former bachelor pad, she discovers a pet gorilla named Spanky in his basement. (Seriously.) Soon Austin begins to feel a strange attraction to the gorilla. After Fuller kills the ape, Austin discovers through hypnosis that she was a gorilla in a former life, answering any questions about her peculiar infatuation with Spanky. "I still shudder at the strange sensation I had when the gorilla was trying to be tender," Laura says, while swathed in an Angora sweater. (The quality of the DVD image is sharp enough that you can actually see pieces of the Angora sweater flying around the set when Laura suddenly awakes from a disturbing nightmare.) While she and Fuller are on safari in Africa, another gorilla kidnaps Austin, seemingly with her acquiescence. Fuller tries to go "mammal y mammal" with the gorilla to rescue his wife, but he's defeated and Austin returns to her ancestral element.
Much of this disc's supplementary material is devoted to Ed Wood, or at least the spirit of Ed Wood. One extra is about David "The Rock" Nelson, a filmmaker who makes Wood look like a French-favored auteur. After viewing the truly bizarre interview with Nelson and his film Mummy A.D. 1993, plus a trailer for brilliant things to come, Man From Plan 9, one can happily admit that King Dinosaur and The Bride and the Beast aren't so bad at all.
For more information about Retromedia's Drive-in double feature of King Dinosaur/The Bride and the Beast, visit Retromedia Entertainment. To order King Dinosaur/The Bride and the Beast, go to TCM Shopping.
by Scott McGee
King Dinosaur/The Bride and the Beast
What a desolate, forsaken place.- Nora
What time would you say it is?- Nora
Say it's about 3 o'clock Earth time here.- Dick
'Cept that we don't know how many hours are in the daily cycle here. You know this place could move around faster than our Earth!- Nora
Well let's figure it for 3 o'clock anyway! That gives us 3 or 4 hours before dark.- Dick
Offscreen narration, provided by Marvin Miller, explains the beginning action, during which the planet "Nova" is discovered, and scientists build a spaceship to explore it. In the onscreen credits, "Little Joe" is credited as "The Honey Bear." Joe is actually a kinkajou, a mammal native to rainforest terrains in Central and South America. Because of their light-colored fur, kinkajous are often referred to as "honey bears."
Although a June 23, 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that producer Al Zimbalist had purchased an "original" entitled King Dinosaur by Guy Reed Ritchie, Ritchie does not receive an onscreen credit and the extent of his contribution to the completed picture, if any, has not been confirmed. A December 21, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item announed that the film was to be shot in Vistarama, but that process was not used. On December 16, 1953, Hollywood Reporter noted that King Dinosaur represented Zimbalist's "biggest budget yet" and was to be released in sepia. The viewed print was in black-and-white, however, and neither copyright records nor reviews mention the picture being in sepia.
According to an September 8, 1954 Daily Variety news item, the picture was shot on location at Big Bear, CA, although modern sources list location filming sites as Bronson and Benedict Canyons in the Los Angeles area. The footage of the "dinosaurs" in the film is actually footage of an iguana and other lizards or alligators, combined with shots of the actors in special effects process photography. As noted in the Variety review, the picture contained a great deal of "stock footage," such as shots of Los Angeles' Griffith Park Observatory and the atomic explosion at the end. Bert I. Gordon, who had previously worked in television and other areas of the entertainment industry, made his debut as a producer and director of theatrical feature films with King Dinosaur.