Teenage Caveman Or, A B-Class Movie Containing History

"The old law has served us well for a long time" 
says the head of the clan to the teenager in Teenage Caveman 
"and it will take time to change it." 

The teenage caveman stares suspiciously at the old man. 
He wishes to cross the forbidden river 
where gods of fire can kill a man by touch 
and the earth devours cave people. 

And he does cross. 
And he does discover: 
a baby alligator with a fin pasted on its back 
fighting with a gila monster 
magnified 30 times by unknown deities 
so that they appear as giants to the ignorant little cave 

He does cross. 
And he does discover 
an old pilot in a burnt up radiation suit that looks like a 
    shiny black rooster. 
He does cross 
And he does discover 
a book with strange photos of the atomic war 
that created the Stone Age these cave people have been bombed 
    back into. 

"The old law is over" 
the teenage caveman announces, 
"man will explore the lands beyond the lake of fire. 
Man will meet up with other men." 

Then the narrator breaks in to explain that 
these were our ancestors, and they built themselves up 
from a radioactive wasteland 
as had their ancestors before them 
(clips of giant insects and mutants arising out of the sea) 
and so on 
until the history of the world appears before our eyes 
like a 50s Dagwood sandwich 
civilizations stacked, one upon another 
on our daily bread of nuclear war. 

"How many times, o man, how many times!" 

The teenage caveman, played by a young Robert Vaughn, 
walks off into a mushroom cloud 
the way a cowboy would ride into a sunset. 
He's heading for a new civilization too. 
Or rather, a new job in a new time. 

For teenage caveman will grow up to by a spy in the 60s 
named Napoleon Solo 
and, as the star in The Man From Uncle, 
will fight the cold war in a whole new way.

Copyright © 2005 by Jerome Sala. From Look Slimmer Instantly! Reprinted with permission of Soft Skull Press.