Cats [1998]

Here's today's trivia question: What Disney movie costars both colonels from television's M*A*S*H--that is, Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) and Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan)? Heck, that's easy: 1978's The Cat from Outer Space, a family comedy about a feline extraterrestrial named Jake (voiced by actor Ronnie Schell, who also plays Sergeant Duffy). Eerily similar to the plot of Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, released four years later, Cat finds Jake stuck on Earth and in danger of being trapped here forever if his fellow space kitties can't rendezvous with him soon. While a gruff Army general (Morgan) tries to scare up some answers about the whereabouts and agenda of the purring alien, Jake allies himself with an unorthodox scientist (Ken Berry), plus the latter's friend (Stevenson)--a compulsive gambler--and mathematician girlfriend (Sandy Duncan). Together, they try to raise the scratch to purchase expensive materials to make Jake's ship run again, and in short order. Norman Tokar, an old Disney hand (The Happiest Millionaire) directing his final film before he died the following year, gets the comic machinery going with his slick cast of character actors (Roddy McDowall, Jesse White, Hans Conried), sly one-liners, and lots of enjoyable suspense. A kid-pleaser for sure. --Tom Keogh

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