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Sampo & Erhardt

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Episode guide: 510- The Painted Hills (with short: ‘Body Care & Grooming’)

Short: (1947) College students are reminded that they need to bathe and wear clean clothes if they hope to get some.
Movie: (1951) In 1870s California, a loyal collie witnesses the murder of a gold prospector.

First shown: 9/26/93
Opening: The bots are putting on their own version of “The Tonight Show”
Invention exchange: Dr. F presents the cholester-do all, J&tB demonstrate back-talk
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom debate the messy woman in the short
Host segment 2: Reports on bearded guys include Crow’s paper on Rutherford B. Hayes
Host segment 3: Crow is crushed into an ingot
End: J&tB discuss is Lassie is guilty of murder, Dr. F. tries to revive Frank
Stinger: Naughty girl goes into the shower
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (44 votes, average: 4.43 out of 5)

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• It was certainly a bold move, picking this movie, and westerns are always fun to riff, even westerns like this one, that do it doggy style. But I have to put this in the “good not great” category, something like the previous episode. The movie’s just a little too good (I actually got caught up in the story), while the riffing and segments are hit and miss.
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Turkey Day Collection (aka Vol. XXXI).
• Unlike practically all the other episodes, there are no free versions of this episode on YouTube, although you can rent it for $3.99. (Oops, since I wrote that, one appeared. Never mind.)
References.
• In the opening bit, I know Joel is just setting up Crow’s last punchline, but you can’t get sued for making fun of Congress. Kinda ruined the joke for me.
• A Youtube clip of the opening bit was often linked to as a way to disparage Leno during the great Leno/Coco wars. Leno hasn’t changed much.
• The actual prop Frank is wearing around his neck during the invention exchange is kinda cool. “Eee-kay-gee, does it work great!”
• Then-current reference: short-lived TV show “Delta.”
• The short seems to be aimed at college students. Did they really show this sort of thing in COLLEGE? Did college kids in the 1950s really need to be told to shower occasionally?
• That moment in the short where the movie moves backwards and Tom does the backward talking–do you think that’s what sparked the “Back Talk” invention?
• Segment 1 is MST3K at its best, witty, wise and fun. Love the reference to “Scoop Jackson Democrats and Jacob Javitz Republicans.” Those are pretty much gone.
• “Pile-On Pete” was an instant sensation in the message boards following this episode. As was the line “Snausages!”
• This movie was a Lassie rarity. In most Lassie movies, Lassie is a female character that was generally played by male dogs. But in this case, the character of Shep, a female, is actually played by a female dog.
• Segment 2 goes on a little long, but there’s some good stuff there. I like how you can hear Tom say “Rutherford B. Hays!” as Cambot is halfway down through the movie sign door.
• Callback: “Smoochers on mah property!” (Eye Creatures) “Sampo!” (Day The Earth Froze.)
• Segment 3: well, they’re doin’ stuff to the bots again. Funny puppet, though.
• Crow says “Thank you for extruding me” (like a little kid thanking his grandma for an itchy sweater he’ll never wear) as they enter the theater…
• The ending bit in Deep 13 is great: I love the food popping out of Frank’s mouth as Dr. F gives him CPR.
• A rarity: the stinger is from the short, rather than the movie.
• Cast and crew roundup: This movie has very few connections to the other movies. Makeup guy William Tuttle also worked on “Girls Town.” In front of the camera, Ann Doran was also in “Kitten With A Whip.
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu.
• Fave riff from short: “And look at that sidewalk!” Honorable mention: “Those … nose!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “First thing I’m gonna do is buy me a montage!” Honorable mention: “Oh for the want of a Frisbee!”

123 Replies to “Episode guide: 510- The Painted Hills (with short: ‘Body Care & Grooming’)”

  1. Atorgo says:

    Great episode, the movie riffing is hilarious.

       1 likes

  2. Johnny Drama says:

    This movie makes me want to pile on

       4 likes

  3. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “College students are reminded that they need to bathe and wear clean clothes if they hope to get some”

    Wait, I don’t remember the “get some” subtheme. There was no some to be gotten in the short as far as I could tell. The 1950s would never admit that unmarried college students got some or indeed any.

    Which indirectly reminds me of the “furthest” that 1950s films (and Happy Days episodes) depicted teenagers going, on the living room couch with all the kissing and necking and heavy breathing but never going far enough (so to speak) to reach what the immutable laws of biology dictate must have been a remarkably awkward and uncomfortable moment which followed for the male. AFAIK.

       0 likes

  4. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “No fair typing in tongues”

    Typing with one’s tongue sounds quite challenging…

       0 likes

  5. thequietman says:

    “There’s oil in them there skins!”

    I feel the same way about this one as “Untamed Youth”. It’s a genuine Hollywood studio production (a rarity for the show) so it’s almost too competent for the show.

    The short is worth the price of admission however, despite it’s mixed messages. It starts out shaming those who dress colorfully, then veers into biology and how showers make one clean.

    Finally, there’s the added bonus of Crow’s Rutherford B. Hayes report. It’s fun watching Joel’s building incredulity (“Pornograph?!”) as Crow goes on?

       2 likes

  6. Kenneth Morgan says:

    As far as Lassie seemingly atypically vengeful in this movie, I figure she talked to the studio and said she wanted to try something different from the usual format. But, a la “Those Darn Amigos”, it didn’t work, so she went back to the routine.

       2 likes

  7. Lawgiver says:

    First time I watched this, it didn’t make much of an impression. On the second watch, I thought it was hilarious.

    Tom: It was the cleanest of times, it was the dirtiest of times.
    I always enjoy Servo’s literary riffs.

    Favorite riffs:
    Joel: Remember last week when he was alive? Well, that didn’t last.
    Crow: How am I going to explain this in just barks?
    Tom: Oh, look at that dog-on-ridge.

       3 likes

  8. Johnny Drama says:

    There’s a lot of bitter dislike for such a perfect episode. Oh well, not all can see the light, I suppose.

       3 likes

  9. Tim S. Turner says:

    Absolutely loathe this one. It goes on my “never again” list with “Hamlet”.

       0 likes

  10. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    It’s not often you see Lassie on the same list as Hamlet.

    #57: almost too good/sincere (?) a movie to deserve mocking

    Well, Ed Wood was a VERY sincere director — he was dedicated to filmmaking and he gave his best every time (that’s what’s so tragic, really…) — so I don’t think the Brains considered that much of a factor. ;-)

    How ’bout “The Cross and the Switchblade”? You won’t find many films more sincere than “The Cross and the Switchblade,” but is it TOO sincere?

    “They sure don’t make ’em like that any more. There are laws now…”

    #66: I can never forgive Peter Jackson for somehow not having time for [Tom Bombadil]

    I remember a comic strip which depicted Tom asking Jackson, “Hi-diddly-ho! Why do you leave poor Tom out of the movie?” and readers were supposed to suggest Jackson’s punchline. One that I found particularly memorable was “Ned Flanders threatened to sue for copyright infringement!”

    #71: Dr. F is great in the invention exchange. “At some point, this will kill Frank, but I think it’s worth it.”

    Why not? After all, he’s killed Frank before and he’ll kill Frank again.

       2 likes

  11. goalieboy82 says:

    from the short:
    And remember—when you touch yourself, the saints cry.
    Goodnight.

       0 likes

  12. Gobi says:

    Kenneth Morgan:
    As far as Lassie seemingly atypically vengeful in this movie, I figure she talked to the studio and said she wanted to try something different from the usual format.But, a la “Those Darn Amigos”, it didn’t work, so she went back to the routine.

    It was a dark reboot that was ahead of its time.

       2 likes

  13. Sampo says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    “College students are reminded that they need to bathe and wear clean clothes if they hope to get some”

    Wait, I don’t remember the “get some” subtheme. There was no some to be gotten in the short as far as I could tell. The 1950s would never admit that unmarried college students got some or indeed any.

    I beg to differ. Though nothing is overt, of course, but the strong subtext in the scene where young Frank Sutton chases down the newly cleaned-up lass is that the two are off on a madcap romantic adventure which ends with squeaky dorm room bedsprings.

       3 likes

  14. EricJ says:

    dakotaboy:
    If this is a Lassie movie, why is the dog named Shep and the boy named Tommy?

    Kenneth Morgan:
    As far as Lassie seemingly atypically vengeful in this movie, I figure she talked to the studio and said she wanted to try something different from the usual format.But, a la “Those Darn Amigos”, it didn’t work, so she went back to the routine.

    The credits say the story was based on an already-existing book (“Shep of the Painted Hills”), so yet another typecast example of a vanity star who can’t play character roles.

       1 likes

  15. Ray Dunakin says:

    “It stars Lassie — yes, the dog! — playing Shep, another dog.”

    I love this episode, it’s one of my favorites. The movie is watchable yet also fairly goofy, and Joel and the bots take full advantage of the many high-quality riff opportunities.

       1 likes

  16. Cornjob says:

    The Rutherford B. Hayes host segment is another high point. Crow’s matter of fact delivery of his deep dive in to Monty Python levels of absurdism is hysterical with Joel and Tom being the straight men.

    “Born to his own son?”

    I love it.

       1 likes

  17. Ro-man says:

    #66 & #110

    Cheapskate Crow: I also liked the Tom Bombadil reference in the movie, I can never forgive Peter Jackson for somehow not having time for him in his movies that were already miles too long with self-indulgence.

    Well, never fear: given the recent over-the-top production of the “Hobbit” films, and the recognition that — Hey! — Why make ONE movie and only ONE gazillion dollars when you can stretch it to SEVERAL films and make SEVERAL gazillion dollars, Criswell predicts that soon we’ll see the following from Jackson.

    The Adventures of Tom Bomadil: Some Unexpected Hobbits
    The Adventures of Tom Bomadil: The Search for Goldberry (alternate title, Bombadil 2: Electric… ok, NAAAH!)
    The Adventures of Tom Bombadi: Derry-Down DEATH!

       2 likes

  18. Goshzilla says:

    Sampo: I beg to differ. Though nothing is overt, of course, but the strong subtext in the scene where young Frank Sutton chases down the newly cleaned-up lass is that the two are off on a madcap romantic adventure which ends with squeaky dorm room bedsprings.

    “Ah, Spring. When a young man’s fancy lightly turns to… thought.” (I think? It’s hard make out over Crow saying underpants.) “What you need is to put down that notebook and take in some of the beauties of nature. *three co-eds walk by* “See what I mean?” Slightly more subtle than an AC/DC song.

       0 likes

  19. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    All else aside, I think Tom Bombadil is sort of high concept for the average non-Tolkienite moviegoer: He’s the oldest being in creation, no one knows exactly who or what he is (and Jackson certainly wasn’t going to try to answer THAT question, how presumptuous can you get?), the One Ring has zero effect on him but if you gave it to him to keep safe he’d probably just misplace it. All of that would have to be explained, and for what? Even Tolkien himself allegedly described Tom as “not an important person to the narrative.” (see Tom’s Wikipedia entry) Sequences that are just, you know, stops along the journey tend to work fine in novels, but in a film that many moviegoers were going to consider confusing no matter what, not so much.

    Much like Pilot Pete, he turned up, stopped the plot cold, and vanished.

       2 likes

  20. Cornjob says:

    “I can tell by your sagging gut,
    you didn’t make the director’s cut.
    I know it hurts and it always will.
    So have a beer with Tom Bombadil…”

       1 likes

  21. Ro-man says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: I remember a comic strip which depicted Tom asking Jackson, “Hi-diddly-ho! Why do you leave poor Tom out of the movie?” and readers were supposed to suggest Jackson’s punchline. One that I found particularly memorable was “Ned Flanders threatened to sue for copyright infringement!”

    Ok, I’m not a Simpson’s guy, but this finally just clicked. Too fo-diddly-funny!

    :laugh:

       3 likes

  22. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    “oh no, poisoned souvlaki!”

       0 likes

  23. new cornjob says:

    “i came to kick ass and chew milk-bones… and i’m all outta milk-bones!”

    if that wasn’t a line in the riff – i shoulda been! (it’s not one of my favorites either, rest with so many – too many lassie/benjie/boomer kinds of things while growing up.)

       0 likes

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