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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 315- Teenage Caveman (with shorts: ‘Aquatic Wizards’ and ‘Catching Trouble’)

Short: (1955) Water skiing thrills in Florida’s Cypress Gardens.
Short: (1936) Wildlife bully Ross Allen threatens ecosystems, endangers animals and generally terrorizes the Florida Everglades.
Movie: (1958) A rebellious teenage caveboy questions the clan’s rules and yearns to explore the land beyond the river.

First shown: 11/9/91
Opening: It’s dreary rainy day on the SOL and J&tB are bored. Magic Voice has some suggestions for activities
Invention exchange: J&tB present their creative ipecacs, the Mads try to unveil their invention, but end up in a brawl
Host segment 1: J&tB present “Catching Ross”
Host segment 2: The Mads are still fighting
Host segment 3: Joel explains to the bots how there were conservatives and risk-takers throughout history
End: The bots are dressed as the mutants from the movie, Joel reads a letter, the Mads are patching things up with a cup of kindness
Stinger: Watch out for that … tree!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (110 votes, average: 4.19 out of 5)


• It’s a rare two-short episode and that’s just one of the delights of this episode. The movie is Corman at his corniest, and it brings out the best in the riffers, and the segments are a lot of fun too. A standout episode.
• This episode is not yet available on DVD.
• My copy is from Turkey Day ’94, with Robert Vaughn appearing in the window of Adam West’s microwave during the introductory bumper.
• J&tB have one of their longest conversations with Magic Voice during the opener.
• The invention exchange has the memorable ipecac bit, followed by the truly classic battle of the Mads.
• As Frank and Dr. F prepare to mix it up, Frank makes use of the classic “Road House” line: “Take the train.”
• What do the two shorts in this ep have in common? They’re both essentially commercials for now-extinct Florida tourist traps. For more about Cypress Gardens, which in 2011 reopened as Legoland, this page has a lot of good info. Ross Allen’s Florida Reptile Institute was in Silver Springs and closed down in the 1970s, as the popularity of Walt Disney World muscled out a lot of other Florida attractions. You can still visit Ross Allen Island, however.
• The riffers did a lot of variations of the line: “Just throw that stuff in back, I kinda live outta my car.” (Does anybody know where that line is from?) In the water skiing scene it’s: “Just throw that stuff in the back. I kinda live off my shoulders.”
• Where I used to live, we knew a couple who actually named Bob and Connie. I made them a special sound file of Crow saying: “Bob and Connie really enjoy life.” They did, too, and as far as I know they still do.
• Now we come to the infamous “Catching Trouble” short – featuring such casually cruel footage that J&tB feel they must immediately take revenge in the following host segment, which became an instant classic. I love Joel’s cry of “We went to camp together! He hates me!”
• Memorable moment: Joel has one bear cub call another bear cub “Greg.” Tom then turns to him and asks, incredulously, “Greg?”
• Wondering what the Helsinki Formula is and why they keep mentioning it? It’s a supposed baldness cure that Robert Vaughn used to pitch. These days Robert pitches law firms (at least in my neck o’ the woods). And while we’re on Robert, I said this on Twitter but I’ll say it here: WHEN oh WHEN will there be the Robert Vaughn guest shot on “NCIS,” alongside David McCallum??? It’s a ratings blockbuster waiting to happen!!
• A character in the movie mentions “the thing that gives death with its touch” and the riff is “Penny Marshall?” Huh?
• Joel seems to be parodying his own season two segments in segment 2. That stack of artist’s renderings has become shorthand for “Joel has a boring idea for a presentation.”
• There’s a moment in the theater when Tom Servo applauds. …um…
• Note the Star Trek fight music playing during second fight scene. Also note the classic Mannix/James Kirk disarm, the cry of “HiKeeba!” and a slam on Beetle Bailey outta nowhere.
• Isn’t it fun when you get a riff for the first time, even after you’ve seen the episode several times? I had one of those this time, when Tom sings o/` “Heeeeerrrrre he iiiiiis, your komodo draaaaagonnnn” o/` which I suddenly realized was a reference to the movie “The Freshman.”
• Segment 3 is not really funny, just kind of thoughtful. But I like when Tom Servo says “Well, they were right about THAT!” Which is true, and kind of negates the point Joel is making.
• For some reason Crow’s net is on the counter during segment 3.
• Vaguely dirty riff: “He invented the quiver.” “So did SHE!”
• Callbacks: “You know right now I could go for a char-broiled hamburger sandwich…” (Jungle Goddess), “Plenty of lip and tongue action,” (the Speech short), “I’m Trumpy!” (Pod People), “Thong, the fish are ready!” (Cave Dwellers), “Chili peppers burn my gut” (Sidehackers), “…a charbroiled hamburger sandwich…” (Jungle Goddess) and “This looks like a job, for MIGHTY JACK!”
• At one point, when actor Ed Nelson appears, Joel recognizes him and points out that he’s there. So? Just a state park joke?
• There’s a Firesign Theatre reference as Tom, as the old survivor, says that something “scared everybody.”
• This makes twice in two episodes they have used the Odd Couple line: “bad meat or good cheese.”
• Behind the scenes: The parrot-like costume is left over from “Night of the Blood Beast,” and was worn, as it was in that movie, by uncredited actor Ross Sturlin. Sturlin also helped make and wore a leech costume in “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Screenwriter R. Wright Campbell was capable of better: he got an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for 1957’s “Man of a Thousand Faces.” Once again, stock footage from “One Million B.C.” makes an appearance. Exterior water scenes were done at the Arboretum in Arcadia, Calif. Other exterior shots were filmed at Bronson Canyon, of course.
• Cast and crew round up: (Again, I will not repeat connections I’ve mentioned in previous entries) Cinematographer Floyd Crosby was assistant director on “The Screaming Skull.” Assistant director Jack Bohrer was production manager on “Viking Women,” “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Production manager Maurice Vaccarino was assistant director on “The Screaming Skull” and “The Phantom Planet.” Sound man Herman Lewis also worked “Viking Women,” “Blood Beast” and “Mitchell.” Sound man Philip Mitchell worked on “Bloodlust!” and “The Unearthly.”
In front of the camera, we already ran into Robert Vaughn in KTMA’s “Hangar 18.” Joseph Hamilton was also in “Giant Leeches.” Barboura Morris was also in “Viking Women.” Ed Nelson was also in “Blood Beast,” “Superdome,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “Riding with Death.” Robert Shayne also appeared in “The Indestructible Man” and “The Rebel Set.”
• CreditsWatch: Faye Burkholder returns for two eps as hair and makeup person. Trace and Frank are still guest “villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from first short: “They just snap clean away!” Honorable mention: “This has got litigation written all over it.”
• Fave riff from the second short: “Ross tries to towel away the evil, but nothing doing” Honorable mention: “Oh, there just happened to be a camera under the water…”
• Fave riff: “Um, like, do you know any Tull?” Honorable mention: “So, how many toasters did we get?”

93 Replies to “Episode guide: 315- Teenage Caveman (with shorts: ‘Aquatic Wizards’ and ‘Catching Trouble’)”

  1. Dan in WI says:

    You know before Joel takes too much advantage of Gypsy in poker he better remember she does control the higher functions of the ship.

    I think Joel’s Lucky Charms with cherry Nyquil actually sounds pretty good. I’m not sure it would even qualify as an ipecac.

    It is a shame the Mads were fighting. It looked like a pretty cool robot invention in the background that never got presented.

    The Catching Trouble inspired host segment was a lot of fun. Tom again proves he is great at announcing/narrating. It is just so believable. And speaking of believable check out Trace’s puppetry. What gets it for me is the way he sells Crow jogging alongside Joel. He really makes it look like Crow is jogging. Joel pulls his weight on this one as well. Great sound effects.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Crow: “Come on Ross, drown him. He won’t try it again.”

    Joel: “We’d just like to apologize to everyone everywhere for this.”

    Crow: “Roger Corman. This must have been painstakingly filmed over the course of three days.”

    Crow: “Hey I just invented malpractice.”

    Crow: “Quick somebody invent the machine that goes ping.”


  2. Laura says:

    Yay! First poster! Anyway, I watched this episode for the first time last year. I had heard of “Catching Trouble”, but I thought it was one of those teens causing a ruckus shorts (like “What To Do About Juvenile Deliquency?”). I was just as horrified by what I saw as were J&TB. I’m not a member of PETA, or any group like that, but even I can tell animal cruelty when I see it. I was hoping one of the animals would rip through the bag and then Ross Allen’s throat. I also had to pause and replay the clip to be sure I heard the narrator correctly when I heard him call Allen “my boyfriend.” WHAT!? This pathetic excuse for a human is your BOYFRIEND?? The host segment afterward is hilarious.

    The movie itself is typical Roger Corman steamy crappile. Really old teenage cavemen. And it turns out the whole thing was because of some kind of nuclear apocalypse??? What??? I still don’t get it.


  3. robot rump! says:

    i just hope Ross Allen and his ‘boyfriend’ worked things out in the end. plus, as a teenage caveman, i’d have to be profoundly disappointed to learn that the ‘ultimate evil’ of my little prehistoric world is some shriveled up old guy walking around in a Trumpy radiation suit with a 3rd grade history book clutched to his bosom.


  4. Dr. Ted "Hotcha!" Nelson says:

    Catching Trouble has personal relevance for me. I live near the everglades and have experience with some of those conditions, including bobcats and venomous snakes. When they riff that “this has all been leveled and turned into a golf course,” it’s actually true. The best part was the riff about the Bubble Room on Captiva. It’s in my county and I’ve been there. It’s only about 20 miles as the crow flies, so to speak.


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

    Presuming you’re serious about not getting it: The movie is set in the future. Nuclear war has eradicated almost all traces of human civilization, and the human race is pretty much back to the drawing board, in the same position that it was in, uh, I dunno, 100,000 years ago or so, with the long struggle from cavedom to the previous height of civilization still ahead of them…at which point, it is implied, human civilization will AGAIN wipe itself out and it’s once more back to square one.


  6. Graboidz says:

    I actually tracked down the unriffed version of “Teenage Caveman” after seeing thie ep. It was goofy, but I loved the twist.


  7. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Quick comment on the subject film: Watched it again this week and it finally struck me. Have any of you had the lukewarm, somewhat annoying experience of seeing M Night Shamalamadingdong’s “The Village” ? The phony monster that enforces the law, the primitive culture juxtaposed with modern culture, don’t go past the bounds of our village, the resemblance between the’ monsters’ in both films. If you told me that M Knight Tamborineman had deliberately made connections between his film and Teenage Caveman, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.


  8. Spalanzani says:

    Don’t we see the She-Creature during Blood Beast scientist guy’s final exposition?

    I like the shorts and the Mads’ endless fight, but I do seem to always faze out during Corman movies. Still lots of good bits (love the running joke with whatever that song is they sing as everyone chases after everyone else). Plus I get a kick out of seeing the Blood Beast again. OK, so technically this is its first appearance in MST3K-dom, but I saw the Night of the Blood Beast episode first, and apparently that movie came out first too.

    Why is it that nuclear apocalypses in these kinds of stories always set the world back to either caveman times or the middle ages? How about a light nuclear war that turns back the clock to, say, the 1920s, or the Wild West?


  9. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    so the nuclear holocaust sent human civilisation back from 2011 to the dark days before the ipad2 ?


  10. Tom Carberry says:

    Shot by Roger Corman in 1958 under the title “Prehistoric World”, American International Pictures changed it to “Teenage Cave Man”. Years later Corman said “I never directed a film called Teenage Cave Man.” I suppose technically that was correct, but the net result is a cinematic dung heap that Robert Vaughn said in an interview that he considered this to be the worst film ever made (and he was in Hanger 18). Griffith Park and Bronson Cave figure prominently in the filming–by this time Corman could probably find his way there blindfolded. According to Corman’s How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime (page 56): “Prehistoric World was shot in Bronson Canyon in ten days on a $70,000 budget, sixty-five minutes in black and white. Actually, the idea was so intriguing to me that I have at times considered a remake on a slightly bigger budget. The Boy’s tribe forbids members to venture beyond its own dry, desolate terrain into a more lush land beyond…It featured Robert Vaughn in his first starring role. I can still remember the opening sentence in the first review, in the Los Angeles Times: ‘Despite its ten-cent title, Teenage Caveman is a surprisingly good picture’.”

    Like Bert I. Gordon, Corman used a stable of regulars in his early movies:

    Jonathan Haze was 29, Beach Dickerson was 34, and Ed Nelson was 30 at the time of filming—so much for the “teenage” part of the title—although we can’t blame Corman for that. Most did double/triple or more duty for Corman. In addition to “acting” they would also handle special effects, costume, and generally hauling stuff around. Beach Dickerson, a Corman regular, did a quadruple role is this picture…not only is he the fair-haired boy that drowns in quicksand, he is also the stranger riding in from the burning plains, the bear that attacks the hunting party, and even plays a drummer during the funeral for his own character! Towards the end of the film, you see him again in a group scene after his character is supposed to have drowned.

    This episode has two short features: Aquatic Wizards and Catching Trouble.

    Aquatic Wizards favorite riffs:

    Young Nazis are led to…
    That’s a bad touch Chad.
    This has got litigation written all over it.
    Oh it’s Leona Helmsley…Taxes are for the little people…Harry, Harry come get me.

    Catching Trouble favorite riffs:

    Ross tries to towel away the evil, but nothing doing.
    Do not bring your evil here.
    …with Emo Phillips in a dress.
    Ross is no actor as you can see.
    So Ross Allen fills one-third of his days order, what’s next—Hurting the people you know and love, chasing rabbits on a mini-bike until their hearts explode.
    [bear cubs fighting over a pan of flour] Oh, they upset Grizzly Adams stash, there look.
    Now it’s off to Neiman-Marcus to become a Paloma Picasso handbag.
    Any animal caught in the wild spends a night in the box…Here we watch Ross put a jimmy stick under its nails.

    Teenage Caveman

    [Produced and Directed by Roger Corman] Well, this must have been filmed painstakingly over 3 days.
    The guy’s wearing a seat cover.
    How about dinner, movie, and a drag by the hair?
    Have you seen my training bra…poor guy’s got a shaggy diaper that leaks.
    We’ll take him to the intensive care cave.
    [of the monster] It looks like H.R. Puffenstuff after a fiery car wreck…Something goofy this way comes. Oh great, it’s an anteater piñata.

    Overall, I’d give this episode 3 out of 5 stars. It is not a favorite. Catching Trouble (a ten-minute short from 1936) is great, but I always feel a little dirty for enjoying it. Is that so wrong?


  11. Fred Burroughs says:

    Ugh this is tough one. The dialogue in Caveman is so stilted and pretentious, it’s really hard to follow what the heck they mean. And talk about beating a dead horse, Robert Vaughn says “Why must we follow the Law?” and “I wonder still…” in every single scene. Shaddap already! I did enjoy seeing “little wormy guy” from Gunslingers as one of the ‘teenagers.’ TC reminds me of Creeping Terror in that the dialogue/narration/screenplay is so badly done is render it unwatchable. The ending is probably the preachiest, crappiest piece of cheese in any MST film…actually makes the surprise ending of Prehistoric Women look elegant and profound.

    I did like all the caveman people wandering around doing vaguely caveman things. “Brought you some dinner! Hope you like sticks.” I wonder if this pre-dates Pierre whats-his-name and Planet of the Apes and the similar themes of “We can’t break Ape Law” and “whoops! this is earth!”

    Fave riff:
    Leggy Blonde: “You could make a place for us to lie down together…”
    Joel: (facepalms) “Oh, WOW!”

    A note about Catching Trouble; I don’t get all the Ross-hate. It looks like he isn’t doing anything Steve Irwin doesn’t do; he’s out catching a bunch of animals, albeit in a very crude and staged 30s kind of way. The part I hate is the fake scary bear sounds from the poor cubs, it does make me want to kick Ted Husong. Just putting animals in bags doesn’t seem necessarily cruel; but if you disagree you can take some comfort in Steve Irwin’s grisly death.


  12. Laura says:


    I was serious about not getting it. I hadn’t watched the episode in a while so I was just going on memory. I do plan on watching it again later tonight. Or maybe it’s just my disdain for Roger Corman. I once bought a DVD that I knew was a cheesy, SyFy-produced movie. What I didn’t know, and don’t know why I didnt’ see it at the time, was that it was produced by ROGER CORMAN! I only watch Corman movies if there is a certain shadowrama at that the bottom of the screen. I still have the DVD. It’s called “Dinocroc”, for those who want to know.


  13. Kouban says:

    What’s the Firesign ref from? It sounds vaguely familiar…
    As for the Penny Marshall riff, her name seems to come up a bit during season 3. Maybe it’s a personal thing of one of the writers, or maybe before A League of Her Own she had a reputation for doomed projects.


  14. dsman71 says:

    Love this episode, & the shorts especially Ross – Robert Vaughn wont acknowledge he was in this..would you ?
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees
    Robert Vaughn in a loincloth
    Ross the reason for animal rights activists
    Therapy are you working ??


  15. snowdog says:

    Perhaps it’s because I disagree with the Brains’ political views, but I found this ep a bit too preachy. Starting with Aqautic Wizards (yes, we get it: a group of white people + black & white photography = Nazis) to the Catching Trouble short (Did the Brains really think that animals just wander voluntarily into zoos?), right on through the movie which itself was quite preachy.

    Joel’s invention seemed rather lame and Mad’s didn’t present one. Did they have trouble coming up with anything interesting this week?

    Having said all that, some of the riffing was quite good. “This has litigation written all over it!” and the Emo Phillips bit was hilarious. And the Dr F / Frank brawl was worth sitting through the rest of it.

    3/5 Stars


  16. Revlillo says:

    Yes, Helsinki Formula was/is a purported baldness cure and, yes, Robert Vaughn did shill for it:


  17. Revlillo says:

    The Robert Vaughn Helsinki Formula infomercial was also referenced in the classic Seinfeld episode “The Deal”:


  18. Zeroninety says:

    @ #8
    Although the long explanation is absurdly complicated, in simple terms, Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels are about a parallel universe where some sort of apocalypse has sent society back to the days of the Wild West.

    Count me as another person who doesn’t get all the venom spewed at Ted’s boyfriend Ross.


  19. Dan in WI says:

    You know the “twist” at the end of this movie has been used many times. The most recent time I ran accross it was the end of Sci-F’s Battlestar Gallatica


  20. snowdog says:

    Btw, did men really use the term “boyfriend” in the 1930’s the same way girls use “girlfriend” today? That’s hard to imagine, but… “You go, boyfriend.”


  21. ck says:

    The shorts are a paean to mid-20th Century American smugness
    and unconcern with the environment and inability to even
    conceive that there could be other values then USA! USA! consumerism.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspired some editor and writer on
    science topics to criticise chemical contaminations killing animals
    and perhaps making a silent spring.

    P.S. The movie solves one riddle, why fast draw expert Lee lost his nerve
    before the Magnificent Seven began. He obviously could not take the constant
    ridicule of his fellow gunfighters whenever the movie was shown.


  22. ck says:

    #7 I actually liked The Village. And the twist at the end
    seemed to worl well.


  23. Sampo says:

    Snowdog & Zeroninety– I think this is a case of sensitivity (or lack thereof) to the audience. Whatever Steve Irwin and others of his ilk may have done off camera, since the 60s at least they have been very mindful not to appear openly cruel to the animals they were “acquiring” on camera. But this was the 1930s, and that sort of sensitivity was decades away. So I’m sure movie audiences in 1936 thought nothing of the fact that Ross was cheerfully bulldozing trees and setting the Everglades on fire to get his quarry. Today that sort of heedlessness makes us a little queasy, regardless of one’s political bent. Plus, in those days there were plenty more wildcats and bear cubs where these came from, so plucking a potential breeding adult out of the ecosystem was no big deal. If anybody has seen the Weismuller “Tarzan” movies (and Ross is, at one point, referred to that way) there’s one (can’t remember if it’s the first one or not) where he leaps on the back of a rhino and stabs it in the neck. Thrilling adventure back then and goodness knows we were NEVER going to run out of rhinos, right? Today we see it and go: eesh.


  24. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    The two shorts make this one enjoyable, along with a couple of very specific things from Teenage Caveman: Robert Vaughn’s really perfect hair (so preppy & NOT post-apocalyptic), the stinger (ouch!), and the parrot beast – great! Also, I was happy to see Jonathan Haze (who was truly annoying in the role of the whiny Grimault prince but is much more tolerable in every other MSTied movie I’ve seen him in).

    Favorite riff: On Ted Husing’s “That’s a bad limb; jump to the next one, pussy!” Crow: “HEY!”


  25. Sampo says:

    Dark Grandma–actually Haze was truly annoying as young Ottar the stowaway, in that movie. But he WAS truly annoying.


  26. frankenforcer says:

    The movie was good in that it was short so it wasn’t able to drag and wear on me. It is thoroughly Cormanised, the two shorts were hilarity in the making. Ross Allen deserved everything he got. And yes, the evil will never come off.

    Frank does a great Swayze I find. Take the train still makes me laugh. The funny thing is is that upon watching it, it becomes one of those movies where after I watch it I don’t remember a thing about it. It is weird when that happens.


  27. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I loved this episode but I like most of the Corman eps, I even think the Wasp Woman is one of the best CTs so far. Great riffing throughout, although every time I see this episode I will answer any question about anything with “The law is the word is the law…” for about a week.


  28. eegah says:

    Not too fond of this episode (it’s ok), but the shorts are great. The “snap clean away” riff is one of my all-time favorites.

    And yes, #8, I think you are correct. I noticed the She-Creature briefly as well. Something else caught my attention in that scene, but I can’t quite remember what it was…


  29. Creepygirl says:

    I did not have fond memories of TEENAGE CAVEMAN the movie. The shorts have been available on the Shorts Vol. 2 and 3 for years and are great. So I have found no real reason to pull out this episode in a long time. I just watched it this afternoon and have changed my mind. This is easily a four star episode for me. The movie starts off pretty strong and the twist end is fun in a 50s sci-fi way but the middle does drag at times. The riffing is strong through out.

    I like all the host segments especially “Catching Trouble”. If anyone remembers Emo Phillips’ stand up act in the 80s, Trace really had that voice and character perfect. The first time I saw that short I laughed so hard at the Emo riffs I had to watch it again just to get what the short was actually about.

    IMO TEENAGE CAVEMAN is a strong Season 3 experiment over all. 4 stars.


  30. CMWaters says:

    Ah, Teenage Caveman. For the longest time, this was my only VHS copy of an MST3K ep I had left after an accident caused my Turkey Day Marathon ones to be destroyed.

    I even used this ep to introduce someone to the Joel era of episodes, due to the fact that he only started watching during the Sci-Fi years.

    I find it a fun and enjoyable ep after all these years. And I always get a kick out of whenever they start singing The Bunny Hop whenever the limping caveman (Alan according to Crow) and his crew are on screen.


  31. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Love this episode and really wish it was on a Shout! DVD release. The two shorts are both hilarious with plenty of good riffing. The host segment where they punish Ross for his cruelty to animals is cathartic and really funny. For some reason the sports or athletic themed shorts generally worked very well on the show, maybe because shorts like Aquatic Wizards, Snow Thrills, Circus On Ice, etc. were presented in such a naive way at the time they were made, showing sports and stunts that were relatively new at the time but seemed commonplace by the time MST3K was made 12-22 years ago. In any case the silly stunts and narration in the shorts always generated great MST3K jokes and they are some of the funniest shorts to watch on repeat viewing. Light, short, hilarious entertainment that won’t crush your head like some of the feature films.

    Great seeing Robert Vaughn in this movie, it’s an extra element of fun when a MSTed movie has a name actor in it. Jonathan Haze was recently doing an appearance and signing autographs at a Shout! Factory sponsored event in California this past summer.

    Bots dressed like characters from the movie, always a winner. Great episode all around.

    Again, being about the same age as the BBI cast and writers I especially appreciated certain references or discovering we were fans of a lot of the same things. Jethro Tull references always particularly good for me as were occasional references to The Who. There’s another MST3K Jethro Tull reference in Outlaw (of Gor) with Jack Palance.


  32. rcfagnan says:

    This one holds a special place in my heart, as it was the second episode I ever saw, and the first I ever recorded (on the same T-Day marathon as Sampo’s copy!) so it, and the following two episodes that followed (It Conqured the World and about 2/3 of Swamp Diamonds) were/are the most worn out eps I had. My favorite riff from the shorts comes at the end of the opening music to “Catching Trouble” where Crow says “Catching Trouble” in a very Arnold Stang-esque voice, kind of like the voice-over for Milton-Bradley or Parker Brothers board games did back in the day (Hungry Hungry Hippos, etc). It just tickles me to imagine “Catching Trouble: The Home Game,” I guess. From the movie, when the TC’s dad is telling him of the things that lurk across the river, again Crow, “Cheap models, bad special effects.”


  33. okerry says:

    Sampo wrote: Memorable moment: Joel has one bear cub call another bear cub “Greg.” Tom then turns to him and asks, incredulously, “Greg?”
    If nobody’s gotten this one yet: There is a famous science fiction author named Greg Bear. Joel, you rule.


  34. Rocky Jones says:

    I usually get a big kick out of Corman’s movies, but this one…ugh…just makes me squirm uncomfortably. From frame one, the “preachy, pretentious” element that lends a quirky goofiness to other projects (like “It Conquered The World”) is just WAY too ham-fisted here. Add to that, the fact that the film…short as it is…just keeps going in circles as it rehashes the same small handful of ideas over and over again. Not to mention the most pompous, stilted language I’ve EVER heard uttered in a “caveman” movie. Even the big, “surprise” TWISTEROO ending can’t make up for the hour-long death march it takes to get there. Way to go, Roger. Definitely, a weekend well spent.

    As for the shorts…count me amoung those who find the callous nonchalance of “Catching Trouble” totally appalling. The “Catching Ross” host segment is the pinnacle of the entire episode.

    3 stars.


  35. I saw this on Comedy Central back in the day but I realized recently that I couldn’t remember a thing about it so I caught the YouTube. It looked promising at first but I quickly found that I couldn’t maintain a focus on it. I don’t know how to rate it. That’s a problem I seem to have with the early Corman films, like uh, Vikings Chicks on the Moon or whatever that one other one was. And it took several viewings to absorb, um, Peter Graves and the Good the Bad and the ugly guy? And some alien that looked like a giant rubber cactus? That one…

    I’d like to think that Robert Vaughn puts this movie on his resume, just as a joke.


  36. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Despite the strength of the Invention Exchange and the solidness of the Host Segments, not to mention the two shorts, one of which is stellar (Catching Trouble), I still find this episode drags a bit with the drab and dumb movie. In good conscience I can’t give this one any more than a 3/5.


    Servo’s recipe for ipecac, circus peanuts, strawberry Quick, and a punch in the gut, sure would seem to do the trick.

    Aquatic Wizards—–

    Joel: “Uh, that’s a bad touch, Chad.”

    movie: “What’s that? He’s chicken..”
    Crow: “What’s that? He’s forced his way into the announcers booth!”
    Joel: {gunshot sounds}
    Crow: “OOOhhhhhh!!!!!!!”

    Catching Trouble—–

    Joel: “You know Ross is no stranger to raping the land.”

    Servo: “Shhh. I hear something living.”

    Teenage Caveman——–

    Crow: “Painstakingly filmed over 3 days.”

    Servo: “Psst. Willie. You holdin’?”

    when the blonde guy is drowning,
    Joel: “Here, grab this razor sharp spear head.”
    Crow: “Looks like he’s invented swimming.”
    Servo: “Looks like he’s invented drowning.”

    response to the monster,
    Joel: “Something goofy this way comes…”
    Joel: “I’m Trumpy!” ——-Pod People callback, duh.

    Joel: “They’re on a collision course for wackiness!” —-one of my fave Joel-isms.

    Joel: “Uh oh, Rob. Your dad found your stash.”


    During the expository ending with all the stock footage, there is a shot of a monster on a beach or something. Looks like The Monster of Piedras Blancas to me, not sure. Or is this the She-Creature monster that other posters are referring to above? I haven’t seen She-Creature in many years. – – – – – – Just IMDB’d the She-Creature…um, yeah. Sure looks like what was in Teenage Caveman. So, uh, nevermind about the Piedras Blancas thing. . . . . . .

    Now if you excuse me I have to go assert my dominance over nature.


  37. schippers says:

    Ah, the first MST3k ep I ever taped way back during the original run of season 3. Consequently, while not the first MST ep I ever saw, this one is the one I consider my “first,” in a sense (like I went all the way with it, ahem). Really, the shorts are fantastic, esp. the second, and the movie is so great. I think the twist ending is pretty sophisticated, much more so than a lot of the crap that other z-grade filmmakers were putting out at the time (e.g., King Dinosaur) or even the biggies, come to think of it (Deadly Mantis, anyone?). Plus Robert Vaughn is way cool, even when he seems a little doped up most of the time like in this movie. Did you know he has a Ph.D.? It’s true. He’s smart.


  38. schippers says:

    #35 – Please don’t forget that Robert Vaughn was in Zombie 5: Killing Birds.


  39. snowdog says:

    You’re probably right about, Sampo. It isn’t properly softened for today’s audiences. On the other hand, it’s that kind of thinking that gives us “Greedo shot first” and “The government agents are just carrying walkie-talkies”. Having grown up in northern Florida in the 70’s and 80’s, I guess I was just exposed to enough of this that it doesn’t bother me. It would be different if Ross had actually hurt an animal, but truth be told I’ve done much worse (read cowardly) things to rattle snakes than he does here.


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

    I think the other monster who appears with She-Creature at the end is a mutant from 1955’s “The Day the World Ended”…which WAS in fact set not long after a nuclear war.

    It’s interesting (well, sort of) that, as seen here, She-Creature is depicted as having existed in the distant past of “Teenage Caveman”‘s prehistoric-like setting, since in “The She-Creature” itself, it/she was supposed to have it/herself lived during prehistoric times.

    Maybe the She-Creature returned (the film did end with a “?”, after all…) during the same timeframe as the nuclear war that created the Day/Ended mutant.

    Perhaps the She-Creature was a member of the same species of which the Gill Man (“Revenge of the Creature”) ended up being the last survivor. In other news, the discovery of a prehistoric werewolf skull in “Werewolf” would seem to vindicate the theories of Dr. Alfred Brandon in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”…


  41. snowdog says:

    …although I never got to meet Emo Phillips.


  42. Alex says:

    With the mads fighting each other in this episode, this has to be one of the craziest ever made.

    Anyway, I haven’t seen too much of this one, but I’ve seen both the shorts on the shorts tapes Rhino released. Both pretty funny. Feature looks pretty funny too…. but hell, how can it NOT be funny when Mst3k bashes a Corman film? ;)


  43. EricJ says:

    but hell, how can it NOT be funny when Mst3k bashes a Corman film?

    Well, “Attack of the Giant Leeches”, “Gunslinger” and “Viking Women vs. the Sea Serpent” spring to mind… ;)

    But if you had to make a list of Essential Corman on MST3K, it’s this and “It Conquered the World”:
    Roger wasn’t the $1.98 huckster the Brains’ weary riffs make him to be, he was a smart director who was allowed free artistic reign to work with his own shoestrings, so long as he delivered Amer. Int’l a Friday-night picture that looked like the poster and the title. (Just listen to his DVD commentaries on the Poe films and “Man With the X-Ray Eyes”.)
    And as B-films go, his attempts at Larger Artistic Message give them a little class, but they’re also so seriously deadpan, they leave wide openings to drive through. The “mythic” quality of trying to reproduce Caveman Beliefs is such a silly balloon treated with such reverence, you just want to dig out your pin; the Bunny Hop references are perfectly silly, and the ending is just as ideal MSTie fodder as Peter Graves’ “feeling” speech.

    And yes @15, Joel’s “White male reality” jokes can be preachy in S2-3, but the riffs on Aquatic are good enough without them (“‘Good’? You KNOW it’s good!”) and Ted Ross is just such a complete sleazebag, you have no choice but to jawdrop. The host seg can be preachy, but I’ve had non-MSTies watch the short waiting for the snake to turn on him…The seg was just an extension of pure reaction.


  44. Son of Bobo says:

    watched this one about a month ago, it was lots of fun. Great shorts, cheesy star studded Corman film, great host segments.

    @20 In western culture, expressions of male intimacy had a bit of roller coaster ride up to the 1950. It was high with the advent of the YMCA, down during a macho Theodore Roosevelt Presidency and the 1920’s. During the Great Depression it rose, cresting in WWII. This short was 1936, a big game hunter and whatever it is that Ross is, would be two like minded males and a boyfriend reference would have been acceptable, with no underlying meaning that might have for us today.
    Check out photos of sports teams in the last part of the 19th century and early 20th century, where young men were close, touching, and smiling. Later, the famous and now pretty much standard pose of athletes spaced, with hands behind their backs, not smiling would take over after some concerns were raised about some goings-on at YMCA’s. Sports also began to switch from fun and collegiate to competitive and professional. Hunters and military men continued the intimacy in poses and speech through WWII.


  45. EricJ says:

    (Oops, didn’t delete and should be just “Ross”, sorry–Got confused with his boyfriend.)


  46. Fingal says:

    Like what Kouban (#13) said I’m pretty sure I remember that Penny Marshall was considered to have box office cancer.


  47. Spector says:

    “It is against the Word, and the Word is the Law”.

    Definitely one of the best episodes, not just of this particular season, but also in the show’s history. I actually found the riffing on these two shorts funnier than that of the film, but even on its own, Teenage Caveman (with the oldest teenager you’ll ever see in an obviously 20-something Robert Vaughan) still provides plenty of rich riffing material, and Joel and the Bots don’t disappoint. Overall a very strong episode, with lots of laughs. Worth a full five-star ranking.


  48. Cheapskate Crow says:

    but hell, how can it NOT be funny when Mst3k bashes a Corman film?

    Well, “Attack of the Giant Leeches”, “Gunslinger” and “Viking Women vs. the Sea Serpent” spring to mind… Wink

    Sampo’s theorem strikes again, the three episodes you mention here are among my all time favorites.


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

    >>>the oldest teenager you’ll ever see in an obviously 20-something Robert Vaughan

    Have you seen “Horror of Party Beach”?

    “I don’t like slumber parties now that I’m in my FORTIES…”


  50. “#35 – Please don’t forget that Robert Vaughn was in Zombie 5: Killing Birds.”

    I’ve only seen the trailer. Apparently, Robert Vaughn wasn’t in the trailer. I’m guessing he played a mad scientist or evil CEO?


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