The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

Film and Plot Synopsis

An extraterrestrial cat named Jake is forced to crash-land his spaceship on Earth. Jake then proceeds to lead a physicist, his girlfriend, the Army, and a team of baffled scientists on endless escapades during his unscheduled and hilarious visit!

‘The Cat from Outer Space’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Cat from Outer Space (1978)When a UFO makes an emergency landing on Earth, a local farmer calls the United States government for help. They take the spaceship into custody and looks for its missing pilot. The pilot turns out to not be humanoid, but a cat-like alien named Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 (Ronnie Schell voice). Zunar’s Mother Ship is unable to send a rescue party and it tells him he has under two days to repair his ship or they won’t be able to stop by again for 115 years.

Zunar has a special collar that amplifies his telekinetic and telepathic abilities. He uses it to follow the military to the Energy Research Laboratory (ERL). General Stilton (Harry Morgan) is there in hopes to learn how the UFO’s power source works. None of the scientists have a clue about it. One of the scientists in the room named Liz Bartlet (Sandy Duncan) recommends they ask a visiting scientist named Frank Wilson (Ken Berry) his opinion. He takes a look and gives has a hypothesis about the power source which attracts Zunar’s attention. However, Stilton blows him off when he jokes mayonnaise might power it. Zunar, on the other hand, knows he’s on the right track.

After that disastrous meeting, Zunar follows Frank to his office, but says nothing at first. Frank nicknames him Jake so we will call him that from here out. Liz comes in and is upset with Frank because his joke made her look bad in front of everyone after she stuck her neck out for him. Frank introduces her to Jake which calms her down and then invites her to dinner. After Liz leaves, Jake reveals himself to Frank and demonstrates his telekinetic abilities to him. He then offers to exchange some of his knowledge of energy for Frank’s help.

As the two head out to break into the military base where Jake’s ship is held, Liz arrives for her date with him and brings her own cat, Lucybelle. Jake acts sick to get her to leave and the two hightail it to the base. Once there, Frank uses a back-up collar to attach a diagnostic device to the top of the ship. From his diagnosis, Jake learns he needs an element called Org 12. When Jake tells Frank the element’s atomic weight, Frank realizes Org 12 is elemental gold.

Once back at Frank’s apartment, he tells Jake that it will cost $120K to buy the amount of gold he needs. Norman Link (McLean Stevenson), Frank’s colleague, intrudes so he can watch the horse races and football games he bet on. When Jake uses telekinesis to help Link’s horse win the race, they decide to reveal Jake to Link and convince him help place bets to win the money they need.

However, after they place the requisite bets and win the first bet out of three necessary, Liz brings a well-meaning vet to look at Jake during the second one. While the football game distracts boys (and the vet to some measure), the vet sedates Jake, knocking him out completely. They win the second bet too, but without Jake’s help, the will lose the third one.

Frank has to bring Liz up to speed on the situation, and they all head to a local pool hall where Link placed his bets. They try cancel their last bet, but by the time they arrive, they discover their team is already down by three touchdowns.

Desperate to raise the money needed, they agree to play pool against a hustler named Sarasota Slim. Frank tries to use Jake’s collar to win, but he fails at it, and they lose all their remaining money except for $60. One of the onlookers is eating a sandwich—heavy on the onions—and the smell rouses Jake. They use him to place one final bet to win the money needed to buy the gold.

All this time, an industrial spy named Stallwood (Roddy McDowall) has been filming Frank and Jake for a criminal mastermind he works for named Mr. Olympus (William Prince). He’s alerted Mr. Olympus to the cat and his collar’s abilities, and Mr. Olympus sets out to get the collar at any cost.

As they take chase, General Stilton learns about Jake from his men. They have been tailing Frank after they discovered his finger prints all over the spaceship. When he arrives with his men to arrest the two, Jake freezes them all. Frank takes Stilton’s clothes to impersonate him at the base so Jake can repair his ship and meet his Mothership which is now two hours away.

However, Mr. Olympus and his men, who have been watching all this unfold in secret across the street, kidnap Liz and her cat at gun point. Mr. Olympus intends to use her in exchange for the collar. Link heads to the base to inform Frank of the situation.

Jake decides to send his ship back into space empty so that he may help rescue Liz and Lucybelle. Jake and Frank spot them in a helicopter at a nearby airfield, but Mr. Olympus has his pilot take off when he spots General Stilton and his men in full force with the police. Jake commanders a broken-down biplane, and he and Frank rescue Liz and Lucybelle from Olympus’s helicopter right before it crashes. Olympus, Stallwood, his pilot and another goon parachute to safety where they are most likely arrested off screen.

The film ends in a courtroom where a Judge (Sorrell Booke) grants Jake permanent United States citizenship as a representative of an off-world friendly power.

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Buena Vista Distribution released The Cat from Outer Space on June 30, 1978. Norman Tokar directed the film starring Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, and Harry Morgan.

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