And this is the customary and nearly obligatory counterpart to the part where a character talks up the UFO thing: the UFO sceptic who dismisses the whole thing as nothing but myths and fantasy – only to be quickly proven wrong, of course. In our cast, this role naturally falls to the Professor, who, as a man of science, is a sceptic by B-movie default. The fact that he has already encountered aliens and UFOs in the second chapter, and is otherwise always ready to believe in the biggest bullshit at the drop of a hat isn’t really relevant here. He’s the UFO-sceptic-in-residence, simply because nobody else would fit the bill: Biff is too gullible, and Snuka and Mopey are too often involved in supernatural escapades to make convincing sceptics. And Gregory is too dead, aside from the fact that he would be even deader if he didn’t believe in things like zombies.
And Dean Martin has been through too much, both as a dean as well as a Martin, to dismiss tales of UFOs that readily. Especially at the moment, where he isn’t being a dean, but a newspaper editor looking for spectacular headlines. Yeah, the script has been rewritten somewhat shoddily here…regardless of the fact that certain characters are exchangeable as far as their function in the plot is concerned, scriptwriters should still take a modicum of care in smoothing over the edges of such exchanges. Functionally, of course, Dean Martin does the same as an editor what he would have done as a dean: he sends our heroes to investigate Captain Valiants extraordinary (and somewhat dubious) claim. And while the Professor doesn’t really function in the same way as Loretta Legs, female newshound, he’s seen enough of those movies to know what the part expects of him.
More on Thursday.