Ancient coin has magic powers
The 1962 Columbia Pictures and William Castle Pictures comedy film "Zotz!" is about a
college professor who is given an ancient coin which has magical powers.
It is based on Walter Karig 1947 novel of the same title.
As a promotion gimmick, movie theatres handed out plastic replicas of the coin.
Prof. Jonathan Jones teaches ancient languages at a small Southern California college.
2. Professor Jones and his class
His niece Cynthia lives with him and her archaelogist boyfriend mails her a large ancient coin.
3. The niece receives a package
The coin comes from a Greek temple.
4. The Coin
The prop coin appears to be the size of a United States silver dollar and apparently has
the inscription on only one side, as the other side is never shown.
5. Professor Jones working on translation
He finds that the coin has magical powers which are invoked by pointing one's finger
and/or saying the word "Zotz!".
6. Faculty party
Dean Joshua Updike and Prof. Horatio Kellgore are on the left.
Prof. Jones gets involved in faculty politics as the Dean is retiring and the college
needs to pick a new dean.
7. A typical early 1960's city downtown
Prof. Jones, being a patriotic American, and in the interests of National Security,
wants to show the coin to the military.
He heads for the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
He is passed between various officials and finally meets General Bullivar.
8. Prof. Jones meets General Bullivar
The General thinks that Prof. Jones is a crackpot and dismisses him.
Outside the office, a window washer / Russian spy is watching.
and offers to fly him back to Washington.
9. Airplane crew
The man on the right resembles Nikita Khruschev, the head of the Soviet Union in 1962.
The agent searches him, and reluctantly asks the pilot to turn around.
The two agents, Jones, and the two women meet.
Jones does have the coin, a comical fight ensues, and the women escape.
The agents chase Jones into the streets, and he drops the coin onto a sewer grate.
11. Coin on the grate
Zotz plastic "coin" given to viewers:
12. Zotz plastic coin
Producer/director William Castle used gimmicks to advertise his films.
He had these plastic "coins" handed out to filmgoers.
The obverse design is similar to the coin in the film and the reverse is blank.
Plastic, 38mm, 3.75gm
Zotz metal "coin":
13. Zotz metal coin
The origin of this item is unknown.
It may have been manufactured in a high school metalworking shop by copying the plastic coin.
Bronze or copper, 36mm, 21.53gm
Tom Poston as Prof. Jonathan Jones
Zeme North as Cynthia Jones (Jonathan's niece)
Julia Meade as Prof. Virginia Fenster
Jim Backus as Prof. Horatio Kellgore
Cecil Kellaway as Dean Joshua Updike
Fred Clark as Gen. Bullivar
Writers: Ray Russell, Walter Karig (novel)