Original 1940 Paramount theatrical trailer for “Dr. Cyclops.” The trailer was narrated by Gayne Whitman, who also narrated Paramount’s “Popular Science” short subjects).
“Dr. Cyclops” was directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack. Merian C. Cooper served as one of the co-producers of the film with Dale Van Every (Cooper did not receive screen credit for the 1940 Technicolor sci-fi fantasy-thriller). Both Cooper and Schoedsack were known for their wildly successful 1933 monster hit for RKO Radio Pictures, “King Kong.”
Who was in “Dr. Cyclops” (1940)?
The players who appeared in Schoedsack’s Paramount thriller were Albert Dekker (as Dr. Thorkel), Thomas Coley (as Bill Stockton), Janice Logan (as Dr. Mary Robinson), Charles Halton (as Dr. Bullfinch), Victor Kilian (as Steve Baker), Frank Yaconelli (as Pedro), Paul Fix (as Dr. Mendoza) and Frank Reicher (as Professor Kendall).
Paramount’s first (and only) “weird chiller” film
According to the American Film Institute’s entry on “Dr. Cyclops,” Schoedsack’s Technicolor thriller was originally set as the pilot film for Paramount Pictures’ “weird chiller” feature franchise. This might have been Paramount’s answer to Universal Studios’ popular stable of monster, creature and horror/fantasy features.
Planned by Schoedsack
Before production began on his science fiction thriller for Paramount, Schoedsack devised the idea for “Dr. Cyclops” on blueprints with extensive storyboards. The blueprints were utilized for the visual effects sequences between Dr. Thorkel/Dr. Cyclops (Dekker) and his subjects, according to extended information from John M. Miller’s article on the film for Turner Classic Movies).
Nominated for two Academy Awards in 1941
Paramount cinematographers Farciot Edouart and Gordon Jennings were nominated for two Academy Awards in the field of special effects for their work on “Dr. Cyclops.” Both Edouart and Jennings lost to Lawrence Butler and Jack Whitney for their work on Alexander Korda’s screen adaptation of “The Thief of Bagdad” (1940).
Later sold to MCA (Universal) for TV syndication and re-issue rights
“Dr. Cyclops” and the majority of Paramount sound feature films that were made before 1948 were sold to talent agency and television production/syndication powerhouse Music Corporation of America (MCA) in 1958.
Due to the success of the TV syndication group of vintage Paramount features (and television series under the “Revue” moniker), MCA acquired U.S. Decca Records in 1962 and along with Decca, Universal Studios (the pre-1948 Paramount sound features would become part of the Universal feature film library).
Be sure to watch (or record) Svengoolie’s presentation of “Dr. Cyclops” (1940), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Be sure to tune into Sven’s Me-TV showcase of “Dr. Cyclops” on the day before New Year’s eve! With an ensemble cast, excellent visual effects and extended fun facts by Sven, along with Doug Graves’ musical skit and Kerwyn’s mail call! Perfect for all fellow SvenPals and fellow fans of vintage cinematic science fiction thrillers (highly recommended)!
(Early) New Year’s greetings to all fellow SvenPals, all fellow classic/cult cinema enthusiasts and all fellow readers of “Silver Screen Reflections!” -C.H.
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/Fios 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248
Join in on the fun by live-tweeting with all fellow #Svengoolie SvenPals (via Twitter) everywhere during Sven’s Sat. showcase of “Dr. Cyclops” (1940) on Me-TV!
See Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance in “The Rifleman” (with two back-to-back episodes), weekday afternoons at 3 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. ET/2 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. CT and Sat. afternoons at 5 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. ET/4 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. CT on Me-TV (part of Me-TV’s “Most Wanted Westerns” lineup).
In relation to “Dr. Cyclops” (1940):
“Dr. Cyclops” (1940) is also available on DVD as part of Universal’s “vault” series of rare and hard-to-find feature films. The film is also available in Universal’s multi-film DVD compilation set, “The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection: Vol. 2.”