Tonight on New Year's Eve eve, we wind up 2017 with a little celebration- and we do mean little! It'll leave a certain someone almost blind, but not due to alcohol- as members of a scientific expedition run afoul of an astonishing process that makes them shrink- and at the mercy of the evil scientist they dub "Dr. Cyclops"!
We meet some learned travelers, who set off on a journey to the Peruvian jungle. They have been summoned by reclusive scientific genius, Dr. Thorkel – who needs their assistance with a project he is working on. The expedition includes pretty biologist Mary, Dr. Bullfinch, a stuffed shirt with great knowledge, and a last minute replacement for another player, mineralogist Bill Stockton. They head out for Thorkel’s compound, starting the last leg of the journey deep into the jungle, lead by the suspicious Baker, who’s worried his mules may not be treated well by the city-folk renters.
Their arrival at the compound is heralded by Thorkel's servant Pedro, who brings them to the extremely near-sighted scientist. Due to his poor vision ( you'll notice he has what we used to refer to as "Coke bottle glasses"), Thorkel cannot see clearly what’s in his microscope, which is why he has invited the visitors -to help identify a certain microscopic structure for him. They do- and he abruptly thanks them and tells them they should leave immediately!
Bullfinch and the group are rather insulted to be so forcefully dismissed- having traveled so far, only to receive such brusque treatment.They demand to stay a while longer, and begin to wonder just what Thorkel’s mysterious project might be. After accidentally discovering some radioactive material, the group sneaks into Thorkel’s private laboratory for further investigation. They are surprised by the sudden appearance of the bespectacled genius, who flies into a rage! After his initial fury- he seems to calm down, and even seems willing to explain a unique piece of equipment he has invented. Alas, he uses the occasion to transform our friends- and even his own assistant- to incredibly small size!
The tiny folk must now battle not only the fiendish Thorkel- but, just like "the Incredible Shrinking Man",the dangers of the normal-sized world as well, becoming victims of things that pose no threat to a typical full sized human. Their task is to stay out of the heartless Thorkel's clutches- while hoping to find a way back to normal size!
This 1940 film, featuring early Technicolor, comes to us from the same director who brought us “King Kong”- Ernest Schoedstack. The effects were groundbreaking at the time, though , by now, we've seen the same type of thing utilized countless times. We'll fill you in on the cast, especially the Doctor himself, Albert Dekker- and bring you some Sven shtick, along with some vintage interviews with some of our friends - a few of which you've seen before on the show!
Our year- ending presentation of "Dr. Cyclops" airs on MeTV at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central time- and , if you're not sure when it airs or on what channel where you are, please check your local listings , or at www.metv.com . In the Chicago area, viewers can get one more "almost-look" at the "Invisible Woman" at 11 am on WCIU, the U.
We've all been saddened by the death of a real show business veteran- the beloved Rose Marie. Spanning entertainment from vaudeville as a child performer, through radio, motion pictures, and, of course, TV, where she played Sally Rogers on the classic "Dick Van Dyke Show'- she truly has done it all; and left us just as a documentary about her , "Wait for Your Laugh" has started making the rounds. There are also a couple other passings I want to mention- first, Heather Menzies-Urich- widow of Robert Urich, and an actress you may know from the TV version of "Logan's Run"- but definitely from our show, as the doctor's daughter in the scary snake movie "Ssssss"! The other has special significance to me- broadcasting and advertising icon Dick Orkin. I was a fan of Dick's when he was production director of Chicago's WCFL in its most creative days- during which he created his enduring character "Chicken Man"- the fantastic crimefighter dressed in (ahem) a chicken suit. Years later, I was thrilled to actually work with Dick, writing for his syndicated radio features and commercials, and doing voice work. He was a great mentor, and I learned so much from him! Dick passed away last weekend at the age of 84- leaving a legacy of truly funny radio commercials ( perhaps you've heard his "Grandma" spots for First American Bank) and radio features- like "The Tooth Fairy". It was a dream job when I got to write episodes for- and appear in- one of his Chicken Man revivals, appropriately called "Chicken Man Returns for The Last Time Again"! Besides being such a great talent- Dick was, above all, a very kind and generous man. He was honored at Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications a few years ago, and I am so glad that I got to tell him how much he meant to me that day- as so many of his friends and fans showed him their great affection for him- and mourn him today.
On to a new year! Join us for this one last time in 2017 for "Dr. Cyclops" tonight!