Monday, August 3, 2009

Mad Scientist of the Month: DR. CYCLOPS!

Indiana Jones has given children of the eighties, nineties, and naughties a somewhat skewered view of 1940’s adventure stories. They weren’t all art deco swashbucklers. They weren’t all adventurous romps through strange locations populated with bizarre villains. In fact, most serials and genre movies from the period were no-budget affairs that will put most modern movie goers to sleep faster than CSPAN and a bucket of Dimetapp. Dr. Cyclops is not one of those movies. It’s an old movie with everything we think that is fun about old movies but it's in glorious Emerald City technicolor. It's got fake jungles. It’s got an incredibly sinister and funny looking mad scientist. It’s got weird zapping machines. It's got ethnic stereotyping and possible animal cruelty!

That is the Platonic Ideal of Mad Scientist....still the best Shrinkologist in movie history (sorry Moranis).

Albert Deker is delightfully evil and nerdy in this movie. It’s one of my favorite classic horror performances. He’s telling his cat jokes one second and sadistically poisoning a tiny professor the next. When I was a kid, I obsessively read and reread the orange-spined Mad Scientists entry in the Kong endorsed Monsters line from Crestwood House books. Dr. Cyclops received a very generous write up.

One day I taped the legendary (at least to me) Dr. Cyclops on AMC. This was when AMC showed good movies and had crummy original programming (remember Remember WENN?) instead of the reverse. It was a favorite; that old VHS was watched and rewatched depite the fact it was a scratchy you could see a previous recording of China Beach bleed through. It was a treat to see the first great film on the subject of shrinking in glorious, moving color as opposed to a grainy black and white photo covered with the smears of library book abuse.

For me, Dr. Cyclops was a more important childhood film than any of the Indiana Jones movies which is odd considering my grandma was an infant when it was released. I didn't need fancy effects. I just needed a bald headed bespectacled weirdo with a power complex and a shrink ray. Now I’m a bald headed bespectacled weirdo with a power complex! Thanks Dr. Cyclops! I'll get that shrink ray someday!

Dr. Cyclops teaches a miniature colleague the dangers of huffing and being a meddling fool.

It's very easy to shrink people when they are morons. "Come look at my insane ray project! I'll just stand outside so everybody has room to get a closer look."

The Caucasian menfolk get distinguished little togas while the ethnic comedic relief gets a diaper made out of a bandana.

There are several severely distraught Hollywood critters in this movie. "Hey, easy with the rain hose! That's our last parrot!"

Hey, alligators have really tough skin! I bet he didn't feel any of those flaming sticks they threw in his face. Ah, simpler times!

Note: Look up Albert Deker and his sad death on Wikipedia. His death made Bob Crane's look like William Wallace's. It involved obscenities written on his body with lipstick. Ewww.


  1. I have no recollection of that alligator shot at all... I'm going to check my copy to see if it was cut...

  2. It's from the Region 1 Universal Ultimate Classic Sci-Fi Collection DVD. I was amazed by it.

  3. Read aboutCamper Shoes Pty Ltd Bondi Junction in Shoe Stores and Shops,Shop popular brands and stores to find camper shoes women on sale - all in one place. Italian designer dress and sport shoes, including prada, gucci/