Return From Witch Mountain (1978)
Directed by John Hough
Written by Malcolm Marmorstein
Characters by Alexander Key
Starring Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann, Jack Soo, and Anthony
Tia and Tony are back in human civilization for an unsupervised visit, which turns out to be exactly as bad of an idea as it sounds. Having avoided the Trump-like clutches of Aristotle Bolt in Escape to Witch Mountain, you’d like to think that the space children had learned to keep their mental powers secret. Yet within moments of screen time after leaving Uncle Bene, Tony saves a falling man in as noticeable a way as he can manage and is kidnapped by Doctor Victor Gannon (Christopher Lee) and his patron Letha Wedge (Bette Davis). It’s up to Tia and the four kids of the Earthquake Gang to save Tony and Los Angeles.
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
Directed by Roy Rowland
Written by Dr. Seuss and Alan Scott
Starring Mary Healy, Hans Conried, Tommy Rettig, and Peter Lind Hayes
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) is a treasured part of our cultural consciousness. He wrote and drew seemingly hundreds of books for children, taking them through basic language lessons and whimsical diversions to allegorical fables of tolerance and equality. Say “one fish, two fish” to someone raised with English as a first language, and they’ll probably reply immediately with “red fish, blue fish”. (I would also believe this to be true for the speakers of the dozens of languages into which his books have been translated.) Seussisms are a shorthand language that we reference freely in the certainty of being understood. Even if someone doesn’t instantly recognize the word sneech, within five words of explanation they remember the story of the sneeches having stars placed on and then removed from their bellies in order to appear superior to each other. What most have forgotten, if they ever knew of it at all, was that the first live-action Seuss film was The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.