The Lost World 1960

Hello and welcome to Atomic City Movie Division (ACMD)
  Last night the missus, Eydie Gourmet and I watched a wonderful movie that brought back many personal fond memories of a friend as well as a drinking buddy. I'm talking about of course, Irwin Allen's brilliant recreation of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic "The Lost World."

  This motion picture has it all; incredible special effects, a spectacular cast (Jill St. John in skintight, pink stretch pants with matching boots) and exotica music! More about the cast later, I just can't get the wardrobe department's choice for jungle wear out of my mind.
  I first met Irwin Allen in San Diego California at a screening of his 1953 production "The Sea Around Us." My commanding officer, Admiral Hyman Rickover and I were attending at the request of somebody's wife whose girlfriends needed a dinner date. The admiral and I were on much needed leave after the launching and commissioning of the U.S.S. Nautilus, the world's first nuclear powered submarine.

  When Allen heard that Rickover was at the reception afterwards, he sought us out and introduced himself. The rest of the evening was spent at the famous Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island, scribbling designs and figures on napkins. Wild talk of the future and possible flying submarines soon drove the womenfolk to a cab and home. That was a shame as I was single at the time but I like to think that I had something to do with the concept of the future hit movie and television show "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea."
  To get back to The Lost World, Irwin called me in 1960 asking if I would like to be a technical consultant on the project. Short on budget as always, he told me he couldn't pay me but I was welcome to free lodging and a unlimited wet bar tab. Since I was detached from the Navy and on loan to NASA, I thought I could fit this in before the upcoming Mercury 2 flight.
  What I saw when I arrived on the Fox lot in Los Angeles was nothing short of amazing. There were miniature sets on specially built tabletops with macro cameras, a giant cave set and a jungle set. In fact, everything you see in the movie was filmed in the same studio building. It seems most of the budget was spent on a truly wonderful cast.

  Michael Rennie, immortalized by "The Day The Earth Stood Still" is cast as Lord John Roxton. Wardrobe has him dressed as "The great white hunter" for most of the film. Jill St. John, whom I spoke of earlier, plays Jennifer Holmes and is further burdened by carrying a toy poodle in a basket while running from dinos and cannibals alike. Next, a young David Hedison who in the future would be cast by Allen as The Seaview's Captain Crane, portrays spunky reporter Ed Malone. Claude Rains, of Casablanca and The Invisible Man fame is truly wonderful as the umbrella wielding Professor Challenger! And who can forget the handsome Fernando Lamas who can look so cool leaning against a post strumming a guitar. Where did he and Gilbert Roland get those high waisted pants, bloused shirts unbuttoned in front with the sleeves so carefully rolled up?

  Next let's talk about the "dinosaurs." Yes, it's true, due to budget constraints they were dressing iguanas and baby crocodiles in rubber suits and gluing horns on their heads. They also suspended them by wires at times to make them appear more T-Rex like. No stop animation here. Thank goodness Irwin Allen was the ultimate master and manipulator of "cheese."
  Paul Sawtell (who composed the theme song for "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea") along with Bert Shefter and The 20th Century Fox Studio Orchestra provide the background exotica ambience. As they say, dig those crazy jungle drums daddy-0!
  Speaking of exotic, I saved another member of the cast to introduce last. The gorgeous jungle girl with no name played by Vitina Marcus! Here we see her being menaced by a giant neon green spider. Her and the same dress were brought back to appear on a Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea episode!
 Well that's about it for now sports fans. Thanks for taking a ramble down memory lane with me. If you haven't seen this movie I really recommend it. Maximum cheese please!

Commander Clement "Skip" Bombwell
USN Space Command (ret)

c/o Happy Valley Advanced Care Facility

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