Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

King Dinosaur


PreCommentary: The following summary contains a few bracketed asides from theMystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of the film (#210,with the short New Jersey motor vehicle safety film “X Marksthe Spot”).

Notes: Lippert Productions. 63 minutes.
Dr. Richard (Dick) Gordon: Douglas Henderson
Dr. Nora Pierce: Patricia Gallagher
Dr. Ralph Martin: Bill Bryant
Dr. Patricia Bennett: Wanda Curtis
Alligator: a fake rubber alligator
Vicious Tyrannosaurus: an iguana

Produced: Bert I. Gordon and Al Zimbalist
Directed: Bert I. Gordon
Story: Bert I. Gordon and Al Zimbalist (originally titled The Beast from Outer Space)
Screenplay: Tom Gries
Special Effects: Howard A. Anderson Company

Summary: The first forty-five hours of this film consist of mechanicalbusiness and stock footage of rockets and dials. A stray planethas shown up in our solar system, a “new planet” asit were, and the earth’s creative geniuses decide to call it “PlanetNova.” We are unwillingly introduced to Dr. Richard (Dick)Gordon, a zoologist whose claim to fame involves tar pits nearSalt Lake City; Dr. Nora Pierce, geologist and Himalayan Mountainsexpert; Dr. Ralph Martin, a medical doctor; and Dr. Patricia Bennett,a chemist. They are all hideous idiots from the ’50s who rocketoff to Planet Nova.

The next sixty-seven hours of the film involvea lot of yammering about their analysis of the planet. Here’sa surprise: it’s much like earth, what with stock footage of bearcubs, vultures, etc. Still, it seems much younger and some typesof bacteria are unidentifiable. A snake looms.

Our frantically hetero foursome pair up: Dick-Pierce,Pat ‘n’ Ralph. The latter two arbitrarily go for a walk and Ralphis viciously attacked by a large rubber alligator. His bloodiedcarcass is carried back to camp. When he wakes up the next morninghe shoots a giant bee, or ant (difficult to tell). The snakevisits again.

Welp, Ralph is too injured to go anywhere andPat stays with him and her microscope while Dick and Weed inflatea raft and head for a volcanic island that has been intriguingNora for ever so long. They take Joe the kinkajou (which theMST people identified as Joey the Lemur). On the island, Norablurts, “What a desolate forsaken place!” [Crow: “Whata stilted pretentious line!”] They encounter an iguana,propped or yanked upright, which is supposed to be a giganticdinosaur. [Crow: “Hey, lizards don’t stand erect!”] This herbivorous monster traps them in a cave, but, during alizard fight between the iguana and a cayman dragon, they firea flare, signalling Butt and Head to come running and rafting. The bloody-mouthed iguana wins. [Tom Servo: “Yes, ’twasbeast killed the beast.”]

Dick snaps a picture of the “dinosaur”and insists “it resembles the Tyrannosaurus Rex.” Norairrationally has a fit, whines “oh, who cares?” andrips the photo. The other two dopes arrive and do nothing, fromafar. Dick and Nora sneak out of the cave as the iguana becomesinvolved in another lizard battle. “King Dinosaur”wins again and begins to pursue the pseudo-humans. Fortunately,Ralph thought ahead: “I brought the atom bomb. I think it’sa good time to use it.” They set the timer for half an hourand run past armadillo and mastodon stock footage, pursued, sortof, by the roaring iguana.

They paddle one raft back, duck behind an embankment,and watch the fun as the atom bomb goes off (more stock footage). Dick intones: “We sure have done it: brought civilizationto Planet Nova. C’mon, let’s go home.” [Joel: “Yeah,let’s go home and raise some three-headed kids.”]

Commentary: Only the MST3K version of this stinkburger is tolerable. Allfour of these Dr. Jackasses deserve the cancer they’ll get bywatching the atom bomb explode. What Dickweed means by his freefloatingfinal irony is anybody’s guess. And where did the footage oflizard fights come from? Bert I.? Not from One Million BCfor a change, meaning one suspects that everyone associated withthis film deserve a suite in Hell.