Henri Gruel & Jean-Jacques Perrey – Cadmus, Le Robot de l’Espace

Cadmus, Le Robot de l'Espace LP front cover
Cadmus, Le Robot de l'Espace LP back cover
Cadmus, Le Robot de l'Espace LP side one

This amazing 1959 French drama not only involves some of the best French film noir and comedy films actors of the era, but also embarks sound effects prodigy Henri Gruel and electronic music guru Jean-Jacques Perrey. The latter doesn’t need any introduction, except for mentioning that, at the time, Perrey hadn’t met Robert Moog and was still playing on George Jenny’s Ondioline keyboard. He left France after the Cadmus project and had his first proper solo release as Mr. Ondioline in 1960 in the U.S. Henri Gruel (1923-2007) was both a successful film director and a much sought-after sound engineer and producer. In 1957, he directed  his first film, La Joconde, with a script by Boris Vian. In 1958,  he collaborated with  Nicolas Schoffer on Mayola, a film on Schoffer’s cinetic sculptures with music by Tom Dissevelt and Dick Raajmakers. In 1961, Gruel filmed Schoffer’s Tour de Liège sculpture. In the 1970s, he produced several library music records for Unidisc, including the Imaginations… series launched in 1973 with Imaginations pour l’Expression Corporelle (posted before), and Imaginations #3 in 1978.

Cadmus, subtitled The Robot from Outer Space, tells the story of an extraterrestrial artificial being secretly landing on Earth in the future – the story takes place in… 1983! – to use Terrestrial power engines to destroy an asteroid about to collide with his own planet, Aura 3 in the Betelgeuse constellation. When finally cornered by a group of international scientists, he tries to escape with a space rocket, but is finally destroyed by missiles fired from satellites in orbit around planet Earth. The drama involves multiple characters played by great actors, a lively, captivating realization by Henry Gruel, also serving as foley artist, and original incidental music with radically far out sounds by Jean-Jacques Perrey, who is credited with “Ondioline kaleidoscopique” on the cover – whatever that means, his instrument sounds deliciously futuristic. The record’s analog sound quality is so extraordinary as to make it an exciting experience even for non-French speakers.

01 Cadmus – side 1 (16:20)
02 Cadmus – side 2 (16:24)

Total time 32:44
10-inch released by Philips France, 1959


Cadmus – the cast:

Paul Guers is Patrick Dorval

Jean Brochard is Prof. Somène

Lucien Nat is Cadmus

Lucien Nat is Cadmus

Henri Virlojeux is Imaro Sukamoto

Henri Virlogeux is Imaro Sukamoto

Mischa Auer is Professeur Wisencraft

Mischa Auer is Prof. Wisencraft

Roger Duquesne is Roger Florentin

R. Duquesne is Roger Florentin


16 Responses to “Henri Gruel & Jean-Jacques Perrey – Cadmus, Le Robot de l’Espace”

  1. 1 newname March 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Thanks a lot for this album

  2. 2 continuo March 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

    My pleasure.

  3. 3 Snof March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am


    I have this also but my version is in a gatefold sleeve and has a booklet with the complete lyrics in it.And some nice pictures.
    Catalog number is EIR0035.
    It is in a series of books and records
    Livre-disque Philips.

    I thought you should know.
    Kind regards.

  4. 4 continuo March 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    If you could possibly send along pictures or scans of the booklet, I’d gladly add them to the post. Thanks for your comment.

  5. 5 Dana Countryman January 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I do have a copy of this, but not in this kind of shape. Kudos to whoever cleaned up the original.

    Jean-Jacques did these kind of background music/effects many times in the ’60s, most notably with Ray Bradbury’s theatrical performances of his musical “Dandelion Wine”.


    – Dana Countryman


  6. 6 continuo January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Congratulations for your book on Jean-Jacques. There was already a great film by Gilles Weinzaepplen in 2003, and now this biography: Perrey is definitely becoming a Living Treasure.
    Now what the world would need is a Prélude au Sommeil LP reissue.

  7. 7 Dana Countryman January 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Interesting that you should mention “Prélude au Sommeil”, as there is a new “sleep” record release by Jean-Jacques in the planning stages. He is almost 83 years old now: January 20th!

  8. 8 Denys August 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

    the deposit file LINK is gone.
    Could you repost ?
    Thanks in advance!
    Denys P.R. (from Brazil)

  9. 9 continuo August 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    See the 2012 Re-ups page.

  10. 10 Guy Lapointe-Nowlan August 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Hi, Would you be kind enough to repost “Cadmus, le robot de l’espace”. In 1964, I was an handicapped child undergoing several surgeries in Montreal, Canada. This record was played for me by nurses in the peds department to reassure me as I went to sleep. I have never heard it again since. I the previous link leads to iLividSetup.exe. Thank you, it would mean a lot to me. This record was also available by Philips accompanied with a story book that had the entire script and several illustrations.
    Thank you in advance,

  11. 12 continuo August 30, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Good job, Dana!

  12. 13 Guy Lapointe-Nowlan August 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Dana & Continuo,
    Guys, I just wanted to thank you for finding this little gem from my past. I am a disabled Veteran (USA), results of the three last wars we took part in and I am trying to recover the purpose and the faith I had in a better world. I am a baby boomer and I am trying to hang on to what America once stood for at a time she was innocent and naive (pre-Vietnam days). Thank you for giving me this glimpse of a part of my life when everything was pure and simple (through my child’s eyes).
    With all my appreciation, from DownEast, Maine,
    Ciao, Guy

  13. 14 Dana Countryman August 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    You’re welcome, Guy. I’m actually the “official” librarian for Jean-Jacques Perrey’s lifetime of recordings. Someday, I hope to put out a box set of the rarities of his that I’ve compiled.

    I’m glad this record made you happy.

    – Dana in Seattle

  14. 15 Denys P.R. August 31, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Thanks for the link, I restored the front & back cover from Cadmus.
    I am sending you a request about Dynamoog . It looks like it was pressed only in Canada, is it right?
    A person at Discogs site reply me offering one copy for 329 dóllars.
    I need to put food on home for 3 months…
    Could you make me happy just only this time?
    Thanks in advance, many hugs from Brazil !

    Denys P.R. (from Brazil !)

    P.S.: I´ve been waiting 32 years to match the music of Jean Jacques Perrey and the song E.V.A. I tried to describe how was the song, everybody said it
    didn´t exist. I found one copy from the only single pressed on Brazil.
    No one albums from J.J.P was pressed on Brazil (till now)

  15. 16 Guy Lapointe-Nowlan January 30, 2013 at 4:52 am

    To all those who enjoyed this “radio drama” with special thanks to Dana,
    This record was originally part of an album that was illustrated (like the cover that you see on the sleeve on top). The album had the entire script that kids could follow as the story unfolded. It was produced/recorded in Europe (France or Belgium).

    These recorded illustrated stories were very popular in that era (late fifties, early sixties). They were also available in Quebec, Canada. They were also broadcasted on radio shows for children usually on Saturday mornings. Other titles included several stories from Tintin, Piccolo, Saxo (4 stories/records), Pierre et le loup, as on the sleeve back cover Some were reproduced/repressed in Canada under the Columbia label.

    If anyone is interested and it is “OK” with our webmaster, I would be glad to translate the entire script in English.

    To summarize, as stated above, the story is taking place in the future… 1983 (from back in 1959) and starts with a newscast that (situating the story) stating among other things, the sighting of an UFO, and that a famous scientist, Dr. Pratt committed suicide under strange circumstances as heard by Patrick Dorval. Patrick is the assistant of Professor Somène (a colleague of the victim) who calls him to listen to a radio transmission from outer space he just intercepted and finally decoded. This scrambled message is repeated over and apparently originates from “Aura 3”, a planet in the constellation of Betelgeuse (Betelgeuse is actually a star in the Orion constellation). The message claims to be from the inhabitants of “Atlantis” from the future asking for help as their world is to be destroyed by a Comet. The message request that an expedition be sent to Machu Picchu, Peru to retrieve a “glass tube” with instructions that will enable them to “reconstruct” a full-scale Atlantis inhabitant.

    The stories brings us next to Machu Picchu where one of the two expedition helicopters mysteriously catches fire. It crashes through some ancient Incas structure, breaking the ground floor and revealing a cave. The scientist explore the cave and find the sought-after glass tube.
    Back in Professor Somène’s laboratory in Villacoublay, France (site of a French Air Force Base & headquarters of their Special Forces), the scientist build a human-size tube according to the instructions and recreate an human-looking creature who comes to life.

    The creature identifies himself as “Cadmus”, an inhabitant of Atlantis (called themselves “Atlantes”), which he describes as a futuristic earth civilization (20,000 years AD) but having lived dating back 10,000 years prior to 1960. Since their world (the earth) was to be destroyed by a comet, the “Atlantes” built a time machine that brought a select 1,000 Atlantes group back 10,000 years B.C.

    Following Cadmus’ guidance, the scientists build a special transmitter which is supposed to enable them to communicate with the “Atlantes” still living in the past. The purpose being to create a device that will allow the “Atlantes” to return to the present.

    Within days, Cadmus breaks from his escort (Patrick) and short-circuits the Velizy-Villacoublay power plant that supplies the entire Parisian area. By doing so, Cadmus is able to power his transmitter and communicate with the inhabitants of Aura 3 who are planning an invasion of the earth. The transmission is spied on by Patrick and Professor Somène. They find out that professor Somène’s deceased colleague, Dr. Pratt was under the mind control of the Auranians and had built a flying saucer.
    Cadmus, despite being shot, easily disposes of the guards watching over the saucer, and escapes in terrestrial orbit.

    The scientists realize that the Auranians cannot land on earth without being guided from the earth’s athmosphere using a force field as determined by Cadmus. The scientific team figured out that they had not recreated an “Atlante” but a robot controlled by the Auranians. They followed Cadmus’ spacecraft to over an area of 250 km radius in North Africa where all life and structures have been annihilated by a mysterious weapon.

    Professor Somène takes charge of a multi-national team of experts who decide to launch a series of ten satellites each carrying a large number of miniature atomic devices in the hope of disrupting the force field powering Cadmus’ spacecraft. Space radars pick the invading craft approaching the earth at 2,000 km/minute as the Auranians start destroying the earth defense satellites one by one. After having lost six satellites without having had a chance to release their payload, the scientist decide to direct the remaining satellites against the source of Auranian force field suspected to be in the devastated North African region. The change of tactics works, the force field is altered throwing the Auranian craft off course and imprisoning in an earth orbit.
    The Auranians come on the air, acknowledging that the humans have won the first “inning” but that they will not give up.

    The recording ends with the scientists breathing again but wondering about what to awaits them in the future…

    Enjoy and all my gratitude to the people who made, available to me, this recording which is so dear to me.

    Lance (from Maine and Quebec)

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