Interplanetary traveler, Will Ziffel (Bill Hedges) receives a message from Professor Wolfgang Spiegel (Patrick Lambrecht). Spiegel is a brilliant scientist that lives on a planet similar to what Earth looked like in the 40’s. Will and his companion, Penny (Penny Hedges/Judy Hedges) take the space pod down to the planet’s surface. Having never been to this planet before, Will decides to leave Penny in the space pod while he makes sure everything is safe.
Will is met at the door by Professor Spiegel’s daughter Lydia (Katie Otten). Lydia is not thrilled at seeing Will. Spiegel is working on a project that will open a portal to another dimension. He then wants to pass through it to another parallel world. Lydia considers what he is doing to be similar to opening a Pandora’s Box. She is afraid that her father, if he can accomplish this, will unleash unknown elements into their world or even worse that he will not be able to return to this dimension once he passes through.
Although Spiegel has accomplished what he set out to do, he has only managed to open the portal a few nanometers and only for a few seconds. He needs Will to help him figure out how to augment his experiments so that the portal can be made bigger and more stable. He firmly believes that he can safely find a parallel universe that is similar to theirs but with a slightly different history.
At first Will is concerned about Lydia’s wishes but in short time he becomes just as obsessed as Professor Spiegel.
“Cat Noir” was released in 2022 and was written and directed by Bill Hedges. It is a 20-minute science fiction short and is the seventh episode in the Cosmic Cat series. If you are at all familiar with the cosmic cat series, you know that Penny is played by not only Penny and Judy but by various stunt puppets as well. Bill, still the trouper he is, does all his own stunts.
Spiegel’s laboratory is a menagerie of electronic components. His scientific instruments are everything from a dental x-ray machine to voltage meters and any other metal object with buttons, dials or switches. Bill’s props are a fascinating pile of repurposed old electronics that do nothing but look great. Bill is a modern-day Ken Strickfaden with wiz bangs of his own.
To bring “Cat Noir” to life Bill used some noir elements in the standard 40’s setting but incorporated a futuristic flair to it. Using voice-over, lighting, flash back, and different camera angles he inserts an extra dimension to this episode that gives it an intriguing flavor making the twist at the end an unexpected surprise. This is not your normal foggy wet streets and cigarette smoking hard-boiled detective style noir. It is neo-noir and is obsession oriented. Alternate dimensions are perfect fodder for this style of cinema.
As with the previous films by Hedges, this one is fun and very entertaining. I always look forward to each new and exciting episode.