Walt Disney Productions
Starring: Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, McLean Stevenson, Roddy McDowell, Ronnie Schell
Directed by: Norman Tokar
Synopsis: A space ship makes an emergency landing on Earth. The occupant, a cat from another planet, has only a short amount of time to make repairs and rendezvous with the mother ship, but his craft is taken by the military, under the orders of General Stilton (Harry Morgan) to a Army scientific research compound. The cat, named Jake (voiced by Ronnie Schell), decides to trust a scientist named Frank (Ken Berry) who comes the closest to understanding the truth behind the ship’s propulsion engine. Along the way they also need to trust fellow scientists Link (McLean Stevenson) and Liz (Sandy Duncan) who help them overcome some daunting obstacles. And just to make matters even worse, a spy named Mr. Stallwood is spying on them and reports back to his boss, Mr. Olympus (William Prince) who wants Jake’s collar, the source of his powers.
Cinema Cats: Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 (aka Jake) was reportedly played by two Abyssinian cats, a male and a female. There is also a white Persian cat which played the part of Lucybelle, Liz’s cat and Jake’s love interest. This film was undoubtedly an attempt to cash in on the space themed megahits of the time (i.e. Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) While Jake is a pleasure to watch, the special effects leave a lot to be desired (with the wires showing clearly both on Jake’s collar when it glows and on the actors when they are “levitating”, not to mention the obviously stuffed cats used in parts of the plane sequence.) There is also a scene where Jake is accidentally sedated and one questions whether or not this was done to the actual cat actor for the subsequent scenes in which he remains asleep even when carried around. Sadly the overall film falls far short of the usual classic Disney standards (particularly with the lack of any notable musical score.)
Final Mewsings: There is intelligent life in space … and on Earth. And it’s not humans.