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Episode guide: 308- Gamera Vs. Gaos

Movie: (1967) In third outing of the long-running Japanese movie series, the giant flying turtle monster faces off against Gaos, a shovel-headed bat-monster with the ability to shoot laser beams. Caught between the two monsters are some nearby villagers, who want to stop the construction of a highway through their land (or at least get a good price when they sell it). The grandson of their leader is young Itchy who, after Gamera saves him, becomes an instant expert on both creatures.

First shown: 7/27/91
Opening: The bots are pretending they are raspy-voiced celebrities and Joel joins in
Invention exchange: Gypsy does her impression of the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie. The mads show off their self-image printers, Joel demonstrates his fax tissue dispenser
Host segment 1: Joel presents an arts and crafts project, but Crow and Tom are no help
Host segment 2: The “Gamera-damerung” never gets off the ground
Host segment 3: Ed Sullivan presents “Gaos the Great”
End: The bots suggest other ways to snuff Gaos and request ideas from the viewers
Stinger: Comic relief guys get scared.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (112 votes, average: 4.32 out of 5)

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• I’ll admit I was dreading this one. After my encounter with it during the KTMA season, I remembered it as a long slog. What a pleasant surprise. It’s really a lesson for me not judge a season 3 episode by its KTMA antecedent. The riffing is sharp (though it sags a bit in the middle) the host segments are generally fun and the movie was more watchable than I was worried it was going to be. All in all, lots of fun.
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Gamera Vs. MST3K (aka Vol. XXI).
• For those keeping score, this was number 52 in that 1995 countdown.
• Joel blows his reading of the name “Brenda Vacarro.” They keep going.
• Joel is VERY funny in the opening sketch. Of course, most of the people mentioned in the sketch are now dead, because they all got their raspy voices from smoking which, you know, killed them.
• Alert dsman71: Joel seems to have gotten a haircut.
• This will not be the last time the “NBC Sunday Mystery Movie” is mentioned.
• I’ve always suspected that the Mads’ invention was largely a way that Jim could invest in some large-format printers and then write them off.
• The noise we hear as the printer images are revealed sounds like a dot matrix printer, which they probably had sitting around in the office. I suspect Trace and Frank are just unrolling the images by hand.
• That’s not to say it isn’t a funny sketch. Dr. F’s self-description is great. There’s probably several catchphrase T-shirts in that speech.
• Joel’s invention is dependent on the then-current nature of fax paper. Two decades later, with plain-paper fax machines having almost completely taken over, younger viewers might not even know what he’s talking about (or even know what a fax machine is).
• Callback: “Rex Dart, Eskimo Spy.” (Godzilla vs. Megalon); amid the striker rhubarb: “It’s pretty good!” (Sidehackers)
• This is as good a place as any to mention that quite a few of the little “Play MSTie for Me” bumpers CC ran during that summer of 1995 were, simply, wrong. One example came in this episode, in a message that reads: “Joel Hodgson was 10 in 1967.” No he wasn’t. The author of all or most of these cards was a MSTie named Mike Pearce, who managed to make friends with somebody in the Comedy Central scheduling department, and soon became quite useful to online MSTies by regularly posting largely accurate lists of which episodes were going to air. He apparently gained CC’s confidence enough that he got tapped for this gig. But there was no fact checking, apparently.
• Is this the first episode featuring the phrase: “You look at it, I’m bitter”?
• Then-current reference: “Arsenioooo Haaaall!” (Woo! Woo! Woo!)
• The “arts and crafts” segment is a classic, with a TON a great lines. And Joel, I believe you about the mucilage.
• Joel, usually quite the stickler about puns to the point of ripping parts off the bots, says: “I thought this was ferris wheel’s day off.” The bots glare at him. Hypocrite!
• Joel re-warns Tom about Anthony Newly impressions.
• Naughty line: “Have you ever seen ‘The Last Emperor’, sister?”
• Joel uses the phrase “deus ex machina,” not for the last time.
• I like the way Gypsy chuckles at the phrase “Gameradamerung.” As Mike mentions in the ACEG, that segment had a lot of set-up for a two-second bit.
• Tom is still wearing his Gameradamerung costume when he reenters the theater.
• Kinda dark riff: “Take one down, write piggy on the wall…”
• Sandwich riff: “The substation is burning.” “We’ll have to go Schlotzski’s.” I wonder if there was an actual place called “The Sub Station” near them.
• Gamera climbs on Gaos’s back and Tom says: “You’re a big ol’ hog!” Yikes!
• Then-current riff: “Just like when Gary died.” (It’s a “thirtysomething” reference.)
• I wonder how many young viewers have any clue what that Ed Sullivan sketch is about. I do love the way Joel slaps the plates together over and over, as if it’s supposed to demonstrate something.
• In the last segment Tom is again wearing the hat he was wearing in segment 3.
• Did anybody write in to the “Ways to Snuff Gaos” contest? They never read any of the entries if they did.
• Movie stuff: I noted this during the KTMA writeup and I will note it again. Sometimes Gamera doesn’t have to spin to fly, though sometimes he does. Weird.
• Another note from last time: Unlike Kenny in “Gamera,” Itchy does seem to have a genuine relationship with Gamera. Why, I have no idea.
• Cast and crew roundup: Again, I will not repeat the items that were mentioned in previous Gamera entries. Prod: Hidemasa Nagata also produced “Guiron” and “Zigra.” Planning person Kazutada Nakano also worked on “Guiron.” Cinematographer Akira Uehara also worked on “Zigra.” In the cast, Reiko Kasahara also appears in “Guiron” and “Zigra.” Isamu Saeki, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Yashushi Sakagami and Eiko Yanami also appeared in “Zigra.”
• CreditsWatch: Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Someone named Karen Lindsay does the first of nine season 3 eps as online editor. A Lori Schackmann was prop assistant for only this episode. Mike wrote the plate spinning music, which he entitled: “Opus 4, Number 23, Plate Spinning Song”
• Fave riff: “Grace Jones takes one to the head–she can’t take it there!” Honorable mention: “I wish to play with clay now!”

84 Replies to “Episode guide: 308- Gamera Vs. Gaos”

  1. Stressfactor says:

    @Spalanzani

    Oh lord, the 1954 Godzilla.

    Have you seen the restored Japanese print on DVD? It’s awesome. It also hits with the emotional impact of a sledgehammer. The American version, for all that it at least introduced Godzilla into the American lexicon, is terribly neutered.

    One of the fun things about the restored Japanese version is that you don’t even have the option of watching it dubbed. It’s all subtitled and you just have a choice of which language you see the subtitles in.

       7 likes

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

    >>>Any film with that sort of dialogue needs to be watched.

    Or at least kept under periodic surveillance.

       5 likes

  3. Alex says:

    “Hey kids, today’s word is…. booger. That’s right. booger. Booger booger booger booger booger booger – WAH!”

    This is probably the funniest Gamera experiment I would say next to the first one.

       0 likes

  4. losingmydignity says:

    Oh boy, turn around for me too…I’d only watched this once before, declared it my least favorite of the Gameras, not a great ep, and left it at that. But I had more of blast watching this than Baragon so I’m upping my grade. There are lots of strong, subtle riffs in this and I even like the goofy host segs…

    Fans always complain about the annoying kids in these films but I think they’re a blessing in (short-panted) disguise. Whenever the excruciatingly shrill Itchy appears the pacing (and darkness) of the riffs picks up. Some of the best parts are Itchy. There, I said. I don’t regret saying. In fact, I’ll say it again…some of the best parts are itchy.

    Ahem, where was I? The turntable and cauldron of blood..hilarious.

    Gaos if the goofiest of all the monsters in Msted Gameras. Sure Baragon is goofy (arf arf) and Guiron is a sublime hatchet head and Zigra…(what is Zigra, I forgot), but when they army guys put Gaos up on the slide projector and then reveal Gaos sans skin, I nearly fell on the floor laughing. Just what an embarrassing design this was is revealed in all its naked glory.

    As for the gore: watched all these Gamera films when I was seven or eight years old. Sorry, all you politically correct types but we thought all that blue blood is pretty cool. Why didn’t Godzilla bleed so nicely, we wondered.

    If there were giant monsters roaming a country as small as Japan would people still be worried about a highway?–or whatever the subplot I didn’t bother to follow is about.

    B+

       4 likes

  5. Sharktopus says:

    The recently restored, original Japanese Gojira really is excellent, and it’s amazing that so many wacky, colorful movies of guys in rubber suits were spawned by such a dark meditation on the dangers of atomic science. I got to see it a few years ago when it was making the rounds of arthouse theaters, and hopefully I’ll be seeing it again on the big screen this August right in my hometown. 8-)

    But if not for the American, Raymond Burr-ified version, we wouldn’t have that hysterical Pinky & The Brain episode. “Yes, I see.”

       4 likes

  6. Godzilla and Angurius(sp?) bleed pretty good in Godzilla vs. MechGodzilla. Which makes me think of an awful way to die that could only happen in fiction: death by getting crushed/drowned in kaiju blood.

       2 likes

  7. DICKWEED 1 says:

    Did anyone catch the Jesus Christ Superstar referance? “What’s the buzz tell me what’s a happening” Also when the guy yells green glow and it sounds like green door Crow says “Marlynn Chambers, oh i’m not supposed to know that.” Guess Trace forgot he was a robot who would have no knowlegde of porn stars!!

       2 likes

  8. Matthew Shine says:

    This episode is my favorite of the Gamera series. Itchy’s near psychotic love of Gamera, Gaos’s name and design(Gaos! Gaos! Daylight come and we want to go home!)and those weird Japanese Laurel and Hardy guys all provide great fodder for Joel and the bots.
    The Japanese Laurel and Hardy stinger is one of my favorites. Those goofy faces and the weird beeping noise makes it histerical for me.

       1 likes

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

    #57 Crow and Tom know all sorts of things they “should” have no way of knowing; otherwise their riffing scope would be rather limited. I don’t see why porn stars would be excluded from that.

       3 likes

  10. losingmydignity says:

    #57 Actually, I remember Joel chastising Crow and saying he couldn’t know that. Which makes the riff all the funnier.

       2 likes

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

    >>>Dr. F’s self-description is great. There’s probably several catchphrase T-shirts in that speech.

    “Walk quietly among other men, but know their power, for they are your enemies. Quietly crush them as you work diligently through the night. Pay attention to the man behind the curtain, for he is your ally. Drink deeply and lustily from the foamy draught of evil. Uh, do it to the other guy before he does it to you, and be bad to the bone, won’t you? Thank you.”

    Couldn’t find Frank’s speech on the internet anywhere.

       6 likes

  12. Stressfactor says:

    @ touches no one’s life then leaves,

    Well, there’s also the possibility that the bots got into Joel’s porn stash when he was busy elsewhere. Therefore Crow “shouldn’t” know that because it would tip off Joel that they’d been raiding his room. :-D

       3 likes

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

    Random not-used opening credit riff that occurred to me:

    “You expect me to talk?”
    “NO, Mr. Bond*, I expect you to DAIEI!”

    *or “Jet Jaguar,” that would arguably work even better

       3 likes

  14. Rocky Jones says:

    fave riff: “Uh…honey, would you hand me that ‘Birds Of Japan’ book?

       3 likes

  15. Sharktopus says:

    Similarly to Crow’s repeated “I just thought you’d go throw the roof” when Joel demonstrates his beenie-copter, Trace’s very Midwestern pronounciation of “draught” bugs me man, IT REALLY BUGS ME. So do the frequent occurrences of “karokey.” Also, the many times Mike says “draygon” in the Reign Of Fire Rifftrax.

    But I’m sure there are some things that Frank and Bill say that sound funny to Midwesterners.

       2 likes

  16. Kali says:

    So where does the “You look at it, I’m bitter!” gag come from anyway? They do it in a number of variations over the years, but I never understood the joke. It doesn’t sound like a Warner Bros. reference like many of these types of throwaways.

    Not one of my favorite episodes – always felt the Gamera stories have a tendency to drag a little. Still, I loved the Mads’ printer gag, especially when they switched to Gamera and Gaos for no reason. Gameradamerung!

       1 likes

  17. Richard says:

    It’s always bothered me the way that Gamera flies. You would think that spinning around like a cross between a frisbee and an artichoke would make him a little dizzy.

       1 likes

  18. PondosCP says:

    On the Shout! copy, you can see through the bottom of the silhouettes due to a line going across the screen. You can see the movie in a hair-line strip. My old fan copy is not like this. They must have been still working out the best way to do the shadowrama, is my best guess.

       0 likes

  19. Torgo's Pajamas says:

    I think Gaos looks a little like John Slattery (Roger Sterling in “Mad Men”).

       2 likes

  20. Mickey Bruce says:

    “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the movie” was my favorite riff, delivered by Crow as Gamera was breathing fire on Gaos.

       1 likes

  21. Eighth Street says:

    My favorite riff in this one is Gamera is falling and Tom goes “Oh, look guys, Supercar” and Joel stops whatever it was he was saying/doing and just completely gets into saying “SUPERCAR !”. Its just really goofy the way it happens.

       3 likes

  22. Sitting Duck says:

    Gamera Vs. Gaos passes the Bechdel Test. Ichi’s mom and the old woman talk about the road construction.

    That road construction executive must have been dubbed by a Canadian, the way he kept saying, “Eh.”

    Could anyone else make head or tail of what gave the road crew the impression that a green glow meant there was gold in the area?

    Speaking of the road crew, you think the unfunny comic relief guys are suppose to be a knock-off of the two bumbling peasants from The Hidden Fortress (AKA the inspiration for C-3PO and R2-D2)?

    In HS3, was Joel actually having trouble with the second Gamera plate, or did he mean to do that?

    Is this the first episode featuring the phrase: “You look at it, I’m bitter”?

    No, they used it in First Spaceship on Venus.

    Joel uses the phrase “deus ex machina,” not for the last time.

    In this case, used in the original sense of the term.

    Dan in WI #1: What’s this? An annoying Japanese kid who ISN’T wearing hot pants? This does call into question everything I thought I understood about this world.

    Kenny in the original Gamera wore regular trousers as well.

    @ #13: The anime series Detective Conan (localized in the States as Case Closed) is clearly aimed at kids, what with the art style and the half-pint protagonist. Yet most every episode features a gruesome murder. So yeah, they have different standards for what’s considered appropriate for younger viewers in Japan.

    Favorite riffs

    We thought it’d be funny to split a helicopter in half.

    Model Police! In Color!

    We’re a mob. We don’t need a head man.

    Will somebody milk Grandpa? He’s in a lot of pain.

    That’s just Grandpa’s still.

    It’s Yo Yo Ma.
    My mother was a saint!

    Go see what that is, kid. I’ll wait here.

    Bill Keane let Billy draw the strip today.

    “We’ve never had any troubles like this before. Not ever since I can remember.”
    Which is last Wednesday.

    It’s my favorite John Cage song.

    “Open fire!”
    Open the window first then fire!

    Munchy, crunchy, chocolaty commuters.

    Did you borrow this car from Allen Funt?

    “The only answer I can see is to lure it out into the daylight.”
    And then beat the daylights out of him.

    Could you get the sub-plot off the road, please?

    Red sky in morning, monsters take warning.

       3 likes

  23. Cheapskate Crow says:

    Decent episode but I thought the host segments were generally poor. Usually I always say that about the Sci-Fi episodes but to be fair I need to say it about this one too. I never realized before how many times they do the Python-esque “sketch fails to get off the ground thing” like the Gameradamerung. Lazy writing if you ask me.

    Watchable movie though, at least you get real monster fighting, although I agree with Joel and the Bots that making the monster dizzy and drunk on blood is maybe not the best way to get rid of a monster. And what was the deal with the road subplot? Favorite lines:

    “Welcome to this week’s edition of Eat the Press.”

    “This high definition TV is really something.” BBI was ahead of its time, am pretty sure they didn’t have HD in the early ’90s.

    “Marilyn Chambers. I’m not supposed to know that.” Me too Tom.

       0 likes

  24. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Perhaps Gamera is not the friend of ALL children, just immensely stupid children? I say that, but Eiichi is one of the least stupid of all the kids in the original Gamera movies. He did foolishly go into a glowing cave (though he was with an adult, so that’s not as bad – except for the adult being a complete stranger that’s already been caught lying to him…), but at least he didn’t wander into a spaceship & start pressing buttons, or ride a train going straight towards the giant monster that’s destroying said train.

    I think Gyaos’ popularity and re-use was primarily he was, by far, the least ridiculous looking of all Gamera’s classic enemies.

    This will be the last Gamera movie that doesn’t feature an American kid as the best friend of the Japanese kid.

    @45 – You just have to watch out for the dreaded ‘dubtitles’. This is when they take their dub script & type it up for the subtitles, instead of the original translation. I’ve seen this happen all too often.

    Gaos, a shovel-headed bat-monster with the ability to shoot laser beams.
    (initiate nerd voice) Excuse me, but Gyaos does not fire ‘laser’ beams. They are quite clearly defined as sonic rays!(/nerd voice)

    The next Gamera movie made is actually Gamera vs Viras (a squid-like monster from outer space), which is where the yellow UFO we see in vs Guiron’s mind-reading scene is from. It’s also the first movie to feature the Gamera theme song.

    Oh, and as for the episode. Great! Solid riffing throughout & great host segments! Gameradamerung!

       3 likes

  25. goalieboy82 says:

    what did tom and crow say during arts and crafts project.

       0 likes

  26. thequietman says:

    This episode was a lot of fun, with perhaps the most quintessential ‘monster child’ in these films. Itchy’s sitting at the head of the board table, for crying out loud!

    Lot of mileage gotten out of those model environments too, what with Model Police! In Color!

    The Lucille Ball gags though. Granted when I was growing up my mother was a big fan of “I Love Lucy” and I fondly remember watching reruns on Nick at Nite. I’ll admit there’s an argument to be made that by the end of the sixties she was coasting on past goodwill, but in her prime in the 50s when the material was fresh it was a different story. To say nothing of her career in the 30s and 40s when she was working at major-league movie studios like RKO and MGM. So I do cringe a bit when the bots claim she was ‘never’ funny.

    Nevertheless, I’ll always remember Frank… one of the good ones.

       4 likes

  27. trickymutha says:

    Is this the one where Gaos munches up a deplorable newspaper guy and Crow says “Welcome to Eat the Press”? Made me choke with laughter.

       2 likes

  28. pondoscp says:

    I’m watching Lost Continent and Crow says, “You look at it, I’m bitter.” So it goes at least that far back.

       0 likes

  29. Cornjob says:

    How did Ichi and the kids stay on top of Gamera’s back when he was flying at 150 M.P.H.?

       2 likes

  30. ahaerhar says:

    @73
    iirc at that time HD was in its most infant stages over in Japan but was starting to be talked about as a “in the year 2000” type thing

       1 likes

  31. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Watched the uncut blu-ray of this movie this weekend, and here’s my take.
    There’s not as much cut out of Gyaos as there was in Barugon, except for about 5 minutes at the beginning with various volcanoes erupting, ending with Mount Fuji & Gamera falling into the erupting Mount Fuji. There’s also a press conference scene during this explaining all this.
    There’s also a little bit (a minute or so?) trimmed from the Gyaos’ Tokyo rampage, and a little bit from both the first & last of Gamera & Gyaos fights.
    The subtitles have gotten worse. There’s some occasional timing issue, but I noticed they leave a LOT of dialogue out, often just oversimplifying statements. Sometimes they make no sense for what is actually being said. It’s like they had a set amount of time each set of subs had to be on screen, and if what was being spoken couldn’t completely fit into that, it was trimmed. Then there’s the flat out silly things, like Eiichi saying ‘Iizo, Gamera!’ (That’s good/right Gamera!), being subbed as ‘Hell, yeah!’.
    They also ‘translated’ meters to feet in regards to Gyaos height, and got it wrong (60 meters does not equal 210 feet).

    Here’s some random thoughts-
    I was thinking that it’s pretty cool that Gamera uses actual fire, while Godzilla’s breath has always been animated.
    I found it amusing that the big guy on the road crew was named ‘Kuma’, which is Japanese for bear.
    Gyaos hates light, but flew into downtown Tokyo? I guess it wasn’t as bright in the 60s, but still….
    The fake blood imitated the smell & taste of Human blood. Who tested that? Did they have a panel of taste testers?
    Nobody ever says what happened to Eiichi’s parents. I assume they’re dead, since he & his sister live with their grandparents.
    There’s a different kid-sung Gamera theme in the end credits, Gamera no Uta (Gamera’s Song).

    Since they never did it on the show, did we ever do a Weekend Discussion about ways to snuff Gyaos? I’d get him a job as a police officer, tell him he’s only got 3 weeks to retirement, then send him on a drug bust.

       3 likes

  32. The artsy-craftsy segment is one of the most painfully funny segments they ever did. Crow — a world-class troll already — teaming up with Servo to troll the living crap out of Joel in that bit is solid gold… and then, they go and top if off with Crow’s announcement of the Word Of The Day: BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER BOOGER WUUAAAUUUGGGHH! I always loved those bits where Crow goes off the rails and you see Joel’s arm reach in, grab Crow by his “grille” and yank him out of the shot.

    The Gameradammerung is all-time, too. The long, long set-up is part of the fun in that bit. After the big build-up, they barely kick into it before Movie Sign goes off, and the whole hot mess comes crashing down as Joel’n’the Bots run for the theater.

    Oh, and don’t even get me started on the movie. This one really gives Gamera Vs. Guiron a run for its money, and that’s my personal benchmark that I judge all the other Japanese monster-flick episodes by.

       1 likes

  33. ahaerhar says:

    @81
    I’m pretty sure they used some underwhelming in-shot effects when Godzilla guest-starred on Ryusei Ningen Zone.

       0 likes

  34. mnenoch says:

    This is a goofy episode. Gaos is such a strange design for a monster. Overall I like the skits in this one and its a quick episode.

       0 likes

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