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Klaatu Barada Nikto

Warning:  If you haven’t seen the original version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, and plan to, you might want to wait, as this blog contains spoilers.


On Christmas Day, my husband gave me a copy of the DVD “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (the original version).  I had wanted to see that movie for ages, and really wanted to see the original version before we go to see the remake.  After everyone except my brother, who was spending the night with us, went home, we popped the movie into the DVD player and settled in to watch it.


If you’ve ever seen that movie, you’ll understand what the big deal was when it first came out, and why it still has a relevant message to deliver today.  As a species, we’re still hell-bent on self-destruction, and still perhaps at risk for having our squabbles spill out into the rest of the universe.


What really had us hooked, though, was the untranslated phrase that Patricia Neal’s character is commanded to say to the robot Gort:  Klaatu barada nikto”.  We speculated on what this phrase could mean, and had a really fun time coming up with possible translations.


After my brother had gone to bed for the night, Bob and I decided to catch up on a couple of episodes of Two and a Half Men.  We love watching this show, because, as my brother says, it has the most laughs per minute of any show out there today.  The particular episode we put on had been taped two days before (we have PVR), and we wanted to watch it before going to bed.


The episode began with Charlie interrupting Alan sleepwalking.  As Charlie coaxes a somnambulistic Alan back to his bedroom, Alan suddenly turns to Charlie and says, “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto”.


Bob and I just looked at each other and laughed.  That was a perfect coincidence for Christmas Day.  What we still can’t quite figure out is what it could mean to us, but we were obviously supposed to pay attention to the message in it.


So far as I can tell, since, in the movie, when Patricia Neal gives Gort that phrase he does not destroy the earth and he retrieves and revives the alien Klaatu, I get that it seems to be a code phrase that prevents the destruction of the earth by the aliens.  But how we are supposed to apply that to ourselves is yet to be determined. 


However, it sure is fun to say it to the cat when he’s on a path of destruction.



Val Tobin, ATP®






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