"The Cat From Outer Space " has crash landed on earth just in time to save desperate parents who need someplace to take the kiddies.
If White Flint was any indication . (The film opened in 11 area theatres.) Disney's new star was welcomed yesterday by hordes of popcorn-and gum-chewing small folks. They probably can't remember by now. " The Cat's " formal name in this juvenile takeoff on "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters": It's Zunar J5/90 Doric Fourseven. His friends call him Jake.
Jake is actually two cats, but who would know? Even cats have stand-ins in Hollywood and we're told that Jake, a 15-month-old Abyssinian, is spelled occasionally by his twin sister, Amber. But that's just a bit of cat chatter.
What's important is that there is a second discernable cat onscreen, a 3-year-old pure white Persian name Lucy Belle, Jake's love interest. Jake sometimes is distracted from getting his spaceship repaired, and once he does he's faced with the toughest decision a cat from outer space will ever have to make: Hop aboard or rescue a captured Lucy Belle and lose his chance to hook up with the mothership.
But Jake is not just any faithful cat doomed to a man's life. He's still got his magic collar that can make people levitate, and children laugh, a welcome addition to earth.
Fortunately, there are numerous earthlings to nudge the cat yarn along: Ken Barry, a physicist who helps Jake make repairs in return for all the extra terrestial help Jake can give mankind, and Sandy Duncan, also a scientist but, more importantly, the owner of Lucy Belle. Roddy McDowall, in his fourth Disney movie, plays an agent who talks through his cigarette lighter to Olympus, a nasty fellow who wants to control the universe. Alan Young pops up for a cameo role; he hasn't been seen since the "Mr. Ed" television series. As a veterinarian making a rare house call, Young knocks out Jake with a sedative.
The story doesn't go far with Jake asleep, so it's best for all concerned when he awakens after a whiff of an onion-chocked hoagie.
Filing out a 6- or 7- year old said (direct quote, no kidding), " Thank you very much, grandmother. I really enjoyed that." Which restores lost faith in children's manners and serves as the best recommendation this cat story gould get. Just prepare for gum on your shoes.