Saturday, November 18, 2017
Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Far Out Space Nuts: "The Crystallites" (September 13, 1975)
Barney (Chuck McCann), Junior (Bob Denver), and Honk (Patty Mahoney) run out of water on an alien planet. Junior and Honk go out in a rover to find some of the much-needed liquid, but find colored alien coconuts instead. The milk inside tastes like chocolate.
Though Barney refuses to taste the milk until it is tasted, Junior shows no such restraint. After drinking the liquid, he transforms into a hairy green monster every time he sneezes.
Meanwhile, Trentor -- the leader of the Crystallites (John Carradine) -- spies on the stranded Earthlings and decides that they could be useful. In particular, he wants to transform Junior into a Crystallite, after making him king.
The only downside is that Junior will be made of glass. And, well, that his role as monarch lasts only a day.
Honk and Barney escape from the Crystallites, and make Junior sneeze so that he can stop the attack of the Crystallites.
The second episode of the Sid and Marty Krofft live-action Saturday morning series The Far Out Space Nuts (1975) follows very closely the format of the first episode, “It’s All in Your Mind.”
Last week, it was a computer, G.A.L. that wanted to capture and absorb Junior. This week, it is an alien Crystallite, played by the legendary John Carradine, who has a malevolent plan for the clumsy Junior.
In both cases, the alien leader has exactly three followers, who fly around on a hover device, and chase our heroic “space nuts.”
In this case, the Crystallites are also armed with transparent glass rods that can crystallize all living matter. And the aforementioned hovercraft resembles giant salt and pepper shakers.
This episode also establishes that the space nuts have no weapons. When tasked with defending themselves, they resort to a tennis racquet, a beach ball, and a fly swatter. Not very effective. But these items create a secondary problem (and one that was frequently seen on Lost in Space [1965-1968]).
What exactly are these items doing on a spaceship where there are weight limits, and space is at a premium? What’s the function, after all, of one tennis racquet, and a beach ball?
John Carradine is our villain of the week, and he acquits himself well, especially considering his silver costume and glitter make-up. Carradine makes for an effective bad guy, but it is sad to see an actor of his stature and reputation relegated to a cheap Saturday morning series, and a guest part like this one.
Finally, this episode is not as creepy as last week's installment, because the villainous minions "ham" up their act, slipping, and sliding, and exaggerating their zombie-like stomp to comic proportions.
Next week: “The Robots of Pod.”