Written by Old Bluffer 5th Jun 2009
Written by Kooshmeister
Dr. Sampson is an eccentric paleontologist working at the British Museum, who has long believed the dinosaurs did not die out. His reasoning is that no species simply vanishes without a trace, and all the sea serpent sightings mean that there must be some still-living dinosaurs left here and there. This crackpot theory (which of course proves correct) aside, Sampson's real function in the plot is to identify the titular menace when Steve Karnes and Professor Bickford bring him a photograph of one of its footprints.
Sampson identifies it as a Paleosaurus, and explains that the thing is probably heading inland via the Thames, which, he says, is where this particular species often went to die in prehistoric times. In fact, the Paleosaurus has gotten a lethal dose of radiation from atomic bomb tests and is slowly dying, so Sampson is actually right on the nose. Armed with this information, Karnes and Bickford report back to Admiral Summers who orders the entire Thames put on alert.
Dr. Sampson meanwhile isn't about to sit this out, though. Rather childlike, the scientist has long expressed a desire to see a living dinosaur, and so he hires a helicopter to fly him over the Thames to search for the beast. He finds it, much to his misfortune. Seen only as a vague outline just beneath the surface of the water, it reacts to the helicopters presence the same way it reacts to everything else: by blasting it with its atomic death ray. Sampson, his pilot and his cameraman shield their eyes as a bright white light floods the cockpit, and then the helicopter just disintegrates in a big explosion.
In an interesting blooper, Sampson's helicopter is a Westland Dragonfly up until its destruction, whereupon it transformations into a completely different model, a Westland Whirlwind, for the shot of it exploding.