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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 309- The Amazing Colossal Man

Movie: (1957) Exposure to an atomic blast causes an army colonel to become a giant.

First shown: 8/3/91
Opening: Crow and Tom hide out in their super-secret cardboard fort
Invention exchange: The Mads have created a plant that reviews music; Joel shows off his idea for non-permanent tattoos
Host segment 1: Joel helps the bots learn the right thing to say to the relative of a horribly disfigured nuclear accident victim
Host segment 2: Joel agonizes about being a 50-foot man
Host segment 3: The bots wonder what they’d ask Glen, then he visits
End: J&tB suggest other things Glen could’ve done, Joel reads letters, Dr. F. has a giant hypo
Stinger: Glen laughing ’til it hurts
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (145 votes, average: 4.57 out of 5)

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• The movie is iconic, and we meet so many AIP regulars in the process (see cast/crew roundup below), that this episode feels very much like a milestone. But in terms of bringing the funny, I have to give it a good-not-great rating. The movie is strangely captivating, and I think the writers kind of got caught up in it. There are some great riffing moments, but it’s just not solid throughout.
References.
• This episode was released and then almost immediately recalled by Rhino. If you have a copy, you have a rarity.
• Callback: “The HU-man” (Robot Monster). And lots of “No!” (Cave Dwellers)
• The plant guy, aka “Robert Plant,” was Kevin’s first on-screen performance on the show.
• Great moment: This movie has an incredibly long shot with nothing happening and nobody in frame–we just look at a door for a good 12 seconds. J&tB make the most of it.
• As they leave for a break, Crow departs, then comes back for one more riff.
• Naughty riff: “Sorry, wrong bone growth.”
• It was popular back then to call A&E the “all-Hitler Channel.” This was before A&E spun off their massive library of World War II documentaries, mostly to The History Channel.
• Joel is hilarious as Glen, the 50-foot man! “Aah! No!”
• In “Daddy-O,” Crow asks “Do you know the names of lots of fish?” In this ep, Tom asks “How many fish can you name?” Funny both times.
• During that sketch Tom’s arms work! Crow even asks him about it!
• In the lab scene, they do three consecutive riffs hammering the idea that cosmetic companies use animals like rabbits to test their products. It’s one of the few times I can recall them doing three variations of essentially the same joke right in a row. I do love Crow’s great little voice as the rabbit, though.
• The movie’s single strangest idea (and that’s saying something): the notion that the heart is “made up of a single cell.” Did they think audiences were going to buy that?
• We haven’t seen J&tB daydreaming at that window since episode 201- ROCKETSHIP X-M.
• Mike is also great as Glen.
• Joel is still holding the Barbie from the earlier sketch later on.
• Precognition by J&tB: In segment three they mention Glen in Vegas, when we haven’t gotten to that part of the movie yet.
• I enjoy the window fan shadow when they are supposed to be in the helicopters, obviously trying to convey to the audience that they are flying. Pro tip: a real helicopter blade, going fast enough to keep the helicopter up in the air, would not make a distinct shadow like that. If you are in a helicopter, and you see that kind of shadow crossing your body, it means you’re plummeting.
• Tom makes a pun and Crow warns him: “That kinda talk’ll get your arm ripped off.” From one who knows.
• As the movie ends, and the “The End” card comes up, J&tB respond with “Or is it?” Did they already know they were going to do the sequel?
• Cast/crew roundup: To begin with, we have producer director Bert I. Gordon, who we already encountered in “King Dinosaur,” and who we’ll meet again in “Earth Vs. The Spider,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The Magic Sword,” “Tormented,” “Beginning of the End” and “Village of the Giants.” Then there’s assistant director Jack Berne, who also served that role in “I Was A Teenage Werewolf.” Albert Glasser — “the man who holds you down and pummels you with music” — was one of Hollywood’s most prolific movie score composers. Of the some 200 movies he scored, 11 were MSTed: “Rocketship X-M,” this movie, “Earth Vs. The Spider,” ” Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The Indestructible Man,” “Tormented,” “Beginning of the End,” “Invasion USA” and “Last of the Wild Horses.” Script writer Mark Hanna also served that role on “Gunslinger” and “The Undead,” as well as serving as production coordinator for “Terror from the Year 5000.” Cinematographer Joseph “I am!” Biroc also served that role on “Kitten With A Whip” and “SST Death Flight.” Editor Ronald Sinclair also worked on “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “Viking Women,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “The She-Creature.” Flora Gordon worked with Bert I. doing special effects for “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “Tormented,” “The Beginning of the End” and “Village of the Giants.” Special effects/prop guy Paul Blaisdell also worked on “Earth Vs. the Spider, “The She Creature,” “It Conquered the World” and “Teenage Caveman.” Hairstylist Joan St. Oegger also worked on “Revenge of the Creature” and “The Mole People.” Production assistant Henry Schrage also worked on “Earth Vs the Spider” and “War of the Colossal Beast.” Prop master James Harris also worked on “Beginning of the End.”
In front of the camera, Russ Bender, also appears “War of the Colossal Beast” and “It Conquered the World.” Hank Patterson was also in “Beginning of the End” and “Earth Vs. the Spider.” Glenn Langan also worked on “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Cathy Downs was also in “The She Creature.” James Seay was also in “Beginning of the End.” William Hudson was also in “The She Creature.” Judd Holdren was also in “Rocketship X-M.” Frank Jenks was also in “The She Creature.” Jack Kosslyn was also in “Earth Vs. The Spider,” “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Tormented.” June Jocelyn was also in “Earth Vs. The Spider,” “Teenage Caveman” and “War of the Colossal Beast.” Jean Moorehead was also in “The Violent Years.”
• CreditsWatch: Collen Henjum, who has gone back and forth between “writer” and “contributing writer,” goes from writer to contributing writer for the rest of the season. Tim Scott is back as online editor. Trace and Frank are still guest “villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s name is again spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff: “That, and ‘aaaaaah!'” Honorable mention: “John Philips Sousa’s life is flashing before his eyes!”

109 Replies to “Episode guide: 309- The Amazing Colossal Man”

  1. Justin says:

    Sitting Duck:
    @ #95: Rewatch the “To Earth” host segment from Danger: Diabolik.

    Or “Dog and Bear” from PRINCE OF SPACE.

       1 likes

  2. Richard the Lion-footed says:

    One reason this might be a lot of people’s “First” is that back then Comedy Central use to have “theme nights” with movies and such. They used this movie several times so you may have seen it BEFORE you knew about MST3K.

    For me, this is another one of those, “Hey, which movie should I watch if I have never seen MST3K before” type episodes. The movie is good enough to carry you along and the show is light and funny enough to be a good introduction. Some of the more “classic” episodes are for serious riff fans. This one is more of an introductory piece.

    Fave Riff: “Anyone seen Glen? “

       0 likes

  3. Ray Dunakin says:

    Does anyone know what Colleen Henjum did after she left the show? Or Mike Dodge?

       1 likes

  4. Sitting Duck says:

    They got placed in the pop star Tupperware we saw in City Limits.

       1 likes

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

    So, was that one soldier the grandfather of Squeaky-Voiced Teen OSLT?

    “SiR, can’T we LEAVE? Can’T we Get OUT of here?”

    ***

    Just imagine if plutonium bombs (P-bombs?) could cure the radiation burns that they cause WITHOUT making people grow fifty feet tall. Either way, it wouldn’t make much sense to use them against an enemy, ’cause that’s all you’d need, a bunch of super-healthy giant soldiers coming at you.

    A bomb that inflicts and then cures radiation burns could destroy a city without killing anybody. It’d be a H[umanitarian]-Bomb. Well, I suppose some people might die in the wreckage, but hey, you have to start somewhere…

       1 likes

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

    #102:

    “See him?! You can’t MISS him!”

       0 likes

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

    Okay, I’ll try again:

    As several issues of the original Justice League of America (accept no substitutes) stated, the JLA Satellite is 22,300 miles above the Earth. One mile = 5280 feet (more or less). Starting with that as a reasonable orbital height (I presume that the JLA Satellite doesn’t exist in the MST3Kverse), it means that host-segment Glenn is around 116,460 feet tall.

    Anyone want to move from there to, just for the heck of it, figure out how big the cow in his hand must be? Anyone? Anyone? ;-)

       0 likes

  8. Bruce Boxliker says:

    @107 – Refer to my post #91, wherein I use an actual real-life orbital facility as reference.

       1 likes

  9. mnenoch says:

    Another classic episode. This was yet another episode that I rented early on from my local video store in 97. Many of the riffs and host segments were also around on almost all MST3K sound clip websites as well.

    It is kind of weird though, I watched this episode a lot when I was able to rent it early on and it had been years since I’ve seen it so I forgot how many riffs came from this episode. I love this episode but I like the movie itself. I agree with the other posters that this is one of the Joel episodes where all the host segments are either fun (like playing in a fort) or they directly reference the movie itself. Unfortunately those became more rare as the show went on. I’m not sure why that happened because there are several episodes later on where they did do that but they were far too few.

       0 likes

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