Whenever the planet needs to be saved from a mysterious epidemic, atomic radiation, a missing link on the loose, or invasion from outer space, it's important to have a brilliant scientist at the helm - especially one who happens to be a virile hunk. While mad scientists who unleash disaster are almost always ugly, good scientists who save the day are always beautiful. They also tend to be completely oblivious to their own sex appeal as they labor tirelessly to develop that serum, perfect that anti-gravity shield, or blow up that hurtling asteroid about to crash into earth.
Below are my nominations for the classic screen's most virile brains. Who do you nominate?
Leonard Nimoy. Before he was Mr. Spock on Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy revealed exactly how virile he is in a 1960 episode of the TV show Sea Hunt (below). In the second still he is with Sea Hunt star Lloyd Bridges.
Lloyd Bridges. Not strictly a scientist in Sea Hunt, but an expert in skin diving and marine ecology, Mike Nelson (Lloyd Bridges) gets on my list of virile brains because he is...well...a virile brain. Below, Lloyd shows his stuff in Sea Hunt.
Buster Crabbe. Below, as Dr. Robert Hammond in Jungle Man (1941), Buster pauses in the hot work of digging for medicinal roots.
Below, Dr. Hammond (Buster Crabbe) assumes an interesting position for checking a patient's heart beat.
Richard Denning and Richard Carlson (below) play rival scientists on the trail of the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Which Richard has the bigger brain, do you suppose?
Hairy Jeff Morrow (below), needing a break from saving the world, strips for a late night dip in Kronos (1957).
Paul Mantee. Below: Astronaut beefcake - Paul Mantee as an astronaut stranded on the Red Planet in Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964).
Russell Johnson. While making the screen test for Gilligan's Island (1964-67), "The Professor" was asked to take his shirt off so producers could gauge his sex appeal. He refused. (Too bad!). Below, here is Russell as the Professor, and a dozen years earlier in It Came From Outer Space.
Additional appreciative words go to Russell Johnson for his longtime dedication to AIDS fundraising, following the diagnosis and untimely passing of his son David in 1994.