All of that brings us to Kronos. Kronos does have a nerdy scientist, played by George O'Hanlon. This guy, Dr. Arnold Culver, is so nerdy he looks like Orville Redenbacher's boring cousin. He spends most of his time taking care of a super computer named S.U.S.I.E., which is a wonderful example of 1950's technology. S.U.S.I.E. is about the size of the football field, but has no discernible functions or means of output -- although it can beep and squeal in a decidedly R2D2-like fashion. Like many other pieces of 1950's science, S.U.S.I.E. appears to be science for science's sake, and nary a thought was expended on what S.U.S.I.E. might actually do. Another great example of fifties technology is the "alpha room" which has walls 4 feet thick to repel all known kinds of radio activity. However, the hatch to the room is only 4 inches thick. Apparently these scientists are counting on radioactive rays to be too stupid to use the door.
The observatory where Gaskill, Culver, and Hunter work is a pretty busy place, mainly because an alien intelligence has taken over the observatory's head scientist, and a mysterious meteor is heading towards Earth. After surviving a nuclear barrage (courtesy the U.S. military), the meteor (which looks an awful lot like a flying saucer -- didn't they notice?) lands off the coast of Mexico, and our heroes go to Mexico to investigate.
Meanwhile, the alien-possessed Dr. Hubbell Eliot is sent to a mental asylum, where a bout of shock treatment (oy!) quickly brings the patient back to his senses. However, the poor guy now suffers delusions that some other intelligence is inside him, threatening to take over his body, and then the world -- by means of a giant robot which just landed off the coast of Mexico. All of the alien's plans come pouring out of this pathetic man, and the doctor thinks it's mere delusion. A clever exposition device, that.
Kronos is a terrific example of the 1950's science fiction movies that have been featured on UHF channels on many a Saturday afternoon. One can plainly see the roots of modern science fiction in these cheesy productions, right down to the technobabble. Where a Star Trek engineer might complain about the calibration of the warp coils, the pasty Arnie Culver proclaims that "the interlace in the diode loop went right out of sync for no reason!"
Kronos also features the familiar traits that marked budget entertainment in those days -- stock footage montages, miniature models shot in wonky scales, and the use of spinning newspaper titles to convey important information. Unfortunately, Kronos was shot in "Regalscope," which means that in today's pan-
Our favorite feature of Kronos, by far, is the casting of George O'Hanlon as the aforementioned nerd, Arnie Culver. We knew he was familiar for some reason, but the reason escaped us until Scott finally placed O'Hanlon's voice: George O'Hanlon is also known as George Jetson. No wonder all those scenes where Arnie fretted over a computer seemed to trigger something deep in our reptilian brains. We also discovered O'Hanlon's earlier clame to fame -- his role as Joe McDoakes in a series of comedy shorts called So you want to.... We haven't seen any of these, but they look pretty amusing, especially judging from the titles of the later shorts, including So You Want to Be a Bachelor, So You Don't Trust Your Wife, So You Want to Be an Heir, and So Your Wife Wants to Work.
The movie ends with Les coming up with some plan to destroy Kronos. We're not sure what that plan was, even after seeing it in action. It seemed to involve stock footage of a military plane, a weather vane, and a bunch of white guys reading off numbers. We're pretty sure it all boiled down to reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, or something. Weren't the fifties grand?
Review date: 11/24/98
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