Mokele Movie Villain Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 15th, 2009

If you are a movie buff and cryptocinema fan, you may be familiar with the character of the evil “Dr. Eric Kiviat.” As it turns out, “Kiviat” was played by Patrick McGoohan (above) and the famed actor has sadly died. He was 80.

Dr. Eric Kiviat, as you will notice from McGoohan’s bearded presence (above), was in a significant Mokele-mbembe movie. The character even looks remarkably like Dr. Roy Mackal (below), the Mokele-mbembe expedition leader to the Congo.


Roy Mackal, in the Congo, in search of Mokele-mbembe.

The movie in which Patrick McGoohan played the villian “Doctor Eric Kiviat” is Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend of 1985. According to the Internet Movie Database, Kiviat “is loosely based off Dr. Roy Mackal (University of Chicago; biologist, engineer, teacher and biochemist) and his voyages to Africa in search of the legendary living dinosaurs of the Congo, Mokele-Mbembe. Mackal’s 1980 Congo trip with fellow cryptozoologist, James Powell, was a featured segment on an episode of ‘Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World’ television series.”

Of course, most of us who know Mackal and his history well, like I do, understand that Mackal is no bad guy. But we also realize that movies are scripted to have good and bad characters. Mackal’s pursuing cryptozoologist was turned into the evil Kiviat for Hollywood’s plot purposes.

[In perhaps an inside joke played out through the name game, if his name was in some scriptwriter’s mind back in the 1980s, I must point out that the villain “Kiviat” may partially be modeled on the real-life character of LA producer Robert Kiviat. Kiviat worked in Hollywood on Geraldo Rivera’s TV newsmagazine “Now It Can Be Told,” and NBC’s “Unsolved Mysteries.” Eventually, Kiviat would be the man behind eleven “documentaries,” including 20th Century Fox Television’s 1995 special, “Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?” about the alleged Roswell UFO autopsy footage. Kiviat is probably one of the only people in reality television programming who has been able to sell a network the original footage of something like this, and then turnaround, come back, and sell them a program on how it was faked. Robert Kiviat was also the driving force behind the Fox special, “The World’s Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Finally Revealed.” In that December 28, 1998 special, Kiviat “revealed” the Patterson-Gimlin footage was a “hoax,” because a former insurance agent and former basketball player named Jerry Romney was inside the “suit.” Romney denied he was in any Bigfoot suit.]

Michael Hoffman also notes, to my attention, that Patrick McGoohan was in the lead role as Dr. Syn – Alias the Scarecrow, with the “Scarecrow” heading an underground movement against the King. Interestingly, two place names of some interest in the film are the “Dover castle” and “Romney Marsh.”

The rest of the world shall be remembering Patrick McGoohan as the British spy in the 1960s TV series “Secret Agent” and the enigmatic “The Prisoner,” (No. 6). (On the “Prisoner” and its weird twists, see Todd Campbell’s posting here.) However, within the world of cryptozoology, he will always be “Dr. Eric Kiviat.”

McGoohan, whose career involved stage, screen and TV, died Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, after a short illness, said Cleve Landsberg, McGoohan’s son-in-law.

McGoohan, who reportedly turned down an offer to be the big-screen’s original James Bond, appeared in many other films, including The Three Lives of Thomasina, Mary ~ Queen of Scots, Silver Streak, Escape From Alcatraz, Scanners, Ice Station Zebra and famously in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, in which he played England’s sadistic King Edward I.

In his review of Braveheart in The Times, critic Peter Rainer wrote: “Patrick McGoohan is in possession of perhaps the most villainous enunciation in the history of acting.”

Patrick McGoohan was born to Irish parents in Astoria, Long Island, N.Y., on March 19, 1928. A few months later, his family returned to Ireland, where he grew up on a farm before moving to Sheffield, England, when he was 7.

In 1951, he married actress Joan Drummond, with whom he had three daughters, Catherine, Anne and Frances. In addition to his wife and daughters, McGoohan is survived by five grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Thanks to Red Pill for some hints on this one.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

7 Responses to “Mokele Movie Villain Dies”

  1. HulkSmashNow responds:

    I loved “Baby” as a kid. I haven’t seen it in years. McGoohan was also the late father of Kit Walker, the latest Ghost Who Walks, in “The Phantom.”

  2. scottc responds:

    While THE PRISONER will remain his greatest legacy as an actor (I think he was also a producer on the series), I will remember Patrick McGoohan best for his role in DR. SYN, ALIAS THE SCARECROW, a Disney film from 1964. It’s a Zorro-style knock-off, but really terrific. It has only recently been released on DVD. If you haven’t seen it, please check it out. A thrilling family film with a wonderful message for all.

  3. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Scottc, even Mr. Mcgoohan agreed on an interview that “for most people Mel (Gibson) will always be Mad Max, and I will always be a number”.

    And I also loved the movie Baby as a kid. I would love it if the Disney channel would air it one of these days.

    Very interesting that part about the Kiviat ‘coincidences’, Loren 🙂

  4. DavidFullam responds:

    Patrick was also the creator of The Prisoner, and writer/director of several episodes. He was the show’s guiding light. I never once thought of Baby when remembering the man. My thoughts drifted to Danger Man/Secret Agent, The Prisoner, Silver Streak and Escape from Alcatraz.

  5. aomalley1 responds:

    This was a great movie when I was younger. This was definetly one of my favorites. It’s funny though. I never knew it was about the mokele mbembe.

  6. cryptidsrus responds:

    RIP, Mr. MgGoohan.

    I particularly remember him in Braveheart. His Edward I is still one of the greatest movie villains in history (though not factually accurate, of course, as befits Gibson’s long-running anti-British bias).

    Nobody mentioned the fact that a lot of folks may remember McGoohan also from his several appearances in many of the “Columbo” TV movies over many decades. He even directed some of them. Him and Falk were memeorable adversaries.

  7. transgenic452 responds:

    I seem to recall the “Dr. Syn, Alias The Scarecrow” was also a series under just the name “The Scarecrow”…perhaps on “World of Disney” or “The Mickey Mouse Show? I’m certain I remember watching different episodes every week or two when I was a child.

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