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Fair-Weather Friends? Six Times Cult-TV Imagined Weather Control Machines

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At last, a definitive answer to the question: is climate change caused by man?

If you follow cult-TV history, you know the answer is affirmative.  Mad scientists, super-villains, aliens and other creatures have been altering the weather — intentionally — since the 1960s.

It’s a dream we all might understand.  Wouldn’t you like to make it snow so you don’t have to attend school, or work?  Wouldn’t you like to make it rain during a drought?  Or bring sunshine to a slate gray sky?

In cult-TV history, that dream has frequently been a reality.  Across the decades, many programs — from horror, to sci-fi, to fantasy — have focused on individuals who endeavor to control the weather through experimental instrumentation or machinery.

Here are some of the most memorable examples:



Lost in Space: “The Space Trader” (1966)

As if living with Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris) isn’t a big enough problem, the unlucky Robinson family must contend with another serious problem in this black-and-white first season episode. A nefarious space trader (Torin Thatcher) utilizes his alien weather control machine to devastate the Jupiter 2 settlement.

After a storm hits, the Robinsons’ garden and all their food is destroyed, leaving the family to survive on protein pill rations.  Doctor Smith attempts to trade the Robot for food, but the Space Trader is angling for better quarry: a human being.


Doctor Who: “The Moonbase” (1969)

This black-and-white serial involving the Second Incarnation of the Doctor (Patrick Troughton), sees the renegade Time Lord landing on the moon. There, Cybermen have arrived to take control of a device called a Gravitron, which controls Earth’s weather.  Control the weather; control the world!



Monster Squad: “The Weatherman” (1976)

In this Saturday morning TV series, The Frankenstein Monster, Dracula and The Wolf Man are all wax-figures come back to life, solving crimes from their HQ in a Wax Museum…and fighting Batman-style flamboyant villains.  In the episode “The Weatherman,” their friend, Walt (Fred Grundy) grows concerned when a freak snow storm hits the city in July.

As they soon fine out, a villain called “The Weatherman” (Avery Schreiber) now has possession of a weather control device called a “thunder buss” that can “freeze living tissue.”

The Weatherman wants to be unanimously elected President of the United States, or else he will force the country to endure severe weather for months.  He plans to bury Wisconsin in ice first.



The Secrets of Isis: “Now You See It,” “Now You Don’t” (1976)

In this, another Saturday morning series from the year of the American bicentennial, superhero Isis (Joanna Cameron) teams up with Shazam’s Captain Marvel (John Davey) to catch a trio of criminals that has stolen high-school teacher’s Rick Mason’s top secret new “Operation Weathermaker” weather control device.

The superhero duo also gets help retrieving the device from another heroic triumvirate, the Super Sleuths (Ranji, Evan Kim, Craig Wasson).


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The Bionic Woman: “Kill Oscar” (1976)

In this epic three-part episode — which crossed-over with The Six Million Dollar Man (1973 – 1978) — Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) grappled with the evil Dr. Franklin (John Houseman).  Franklin was not only the creator of the popular Fembot androids, first seen in this trio of episodes, is also the creator of his own weather control device, which he operates from a tropical island.  In the third and final part of the story, Jaime (Lindsay Wagner) and Colonel Austin (Lee Majors) infiltrate the island to stop the deployment of the weather device.



General Hospital (1981)

At the height of the Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) craze on this American afternoon soap-opera, a major plot-line involved a weather control device.

Specifically, a villainous Greek billionaire — Mikkos Cassadine (John Colicos) — hatches a plan to bury Port Charles in ice using the weapon.  Luke kills Cassadine and ends the threat before Port Charles can be destroyed in a storm.

In the Star Trek universe, the planet Risa (seen on DS9) is known to control its planetary weather via a device too.  And on The X-Files (1993 – 2002), a sixth season story called “Rain King” featurea a man, not a device, whose emotional states can alter the weather.

  • J Smith

    I am TOTALLY impressed that the General Hospital story line was listed here. When I saw the headline, I figured that the author would have missed that particular story.

    For the record, Cassadine was killed by his own device. During a fight Luke Spenced, Cassidine fell or was pushed into his own freezer. Hoisted in his own petard!

  • vmacek

    My own favorite is the ‘Super Chicken’ episode (on Jay Ward’s “George of the Jungle” cartoon) where an Indian rajah ships hordes of elephants to North America, thus shifting the Earth on its axis and getting it to snow in his home country.