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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: 319- War of the Colossal Beast (with short: ‘Mr. B. Natural’)

Short: (1957) A shrill, androgynous succubus urges a gawky middle schooler to take up a musical instrument.
Movie: (1958) When giant Glenn from “The Amazing Colossal Man,” now a deranged and disfigured monster, is spotted in Mexico, his worried sister tries to save him.

First shown: 11/30/91
Opening: J&tB come up with new names for Mex-American food combos
Invention exchange: The Mads have invented the breakfast bazooka, while Joel shows off his between-meal mortar
Host segment 1: Tom and Crow debate the topic “Mr. B. Natural: man or woman?”
Host segment 2: J&tB are singing the Big Head song when Glen revisits
Host segment 3: Joel presents “KTLA predicts!”
End: Joel offers the bots samples of his special bread, Joel reads a letter then Glen reads one; Frank gets another breakfast shot at him
Stinger: That’s a happy king?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (118 votes, average: 4.57 out of 5)


• If there was ever an episode where the short outshines the feature, this is it. But, that being said, this was one of those times where I was expecting to struggle through the movie but was pleasantly surprised. Instead of the dull slog I remembered from previous viewings, I found it pretty entertaining and the riffing was pretty consistently good. The host segments are more good than bad as well. This really is a fun episode all around.
• Ah, Mister B. Calling it a classic short isn’t enough. It is probably the most famous of all the shorts the show presented and maybe the most watched 20 or so minutes of the entire series. I practically have the thing memorized. (Note: I admit to stealing the phrase “shrill succubus” from the ACEG. It’s just too perfect a description.)
• Can I just mention, however, that the short is in horrible shape? Mr. B’s arrival in the kid’s home has been spliced out, for example. It was probably hilarious, and therefore somebody cut it out of the print and kept it for his or her own collection of goofy footage. A lot of classic moments in movies have been lost to anonymous “collectors” savaging the only remaining copy of a particular movie.
• That being said, thanks to RiffTrax, we now know that a pristine, un-chopped-up copy of the short exists—it’s the one they used when RiffTrax re-riffed it.
• The short was filmed at the Waukegan (Illinois) Elementary School and Miami (Ohio) Sr. High School.
• Betty Luster, who played Mr. B, had a brief TV career in the early 1950s. Her first TV job was on the CBS show “Sing It Again” (1950-51), which was a game show similar to “Name That Tune.” Her second TV gig was on the NBC show “Seven at Eleven,” which was only on the air for one month in 1951.
• For a long time I wondered what the target audience of this short was. It couldn’t be the kids. It couldn’t be the school music teacher. Recently, it hit me: It’s for the PARENTS! The music teacher probably was paid to show this during parent-teacher night.
• In the segment 1, Joel says “bogart” instead of “robot.” They just keep going.
• The military guy says the river below Boulder Dam is “a mile deep in some places.” WHAT??
• The Big Head makes another appearance in segment 2.
• The gibberish Joel shouts at the end of segment 3 comes from the chaotic labels of a product known as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap–still available at your local health food store. There’s an explanation of this stuff here.
• Movie comment: Why didn’t they keep Glenn sedated once they got him into the hangar? (I know, they wanted to have the exciting escape scene).
• Callback: McCloud! (Pod People)
• Of course, this movie is known for the 30 seconds of color at the end, triggered by Glenn grabbing the power lines. Did Bert I. really think this was going to help the movie somehow?
• This is one of two MSTed movies (522- TEENAGE CRIME WAVE is the other) that ends at L.A.’s Griffith Observatory.
• Cast and crew roundup: Set designer Maury Hoffman also worked on “I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Assistant director/production manager Herbert E. Mendelson also worked on “The Magic Sword.” Sound mixer Ben Winkler also worked on “The She-Creature.” The voice of monster Glenn’s was provided by the great Paul Frees. We’ll hear his voice again in “The Sword and the Dragon” and “The Deadly Mantis.” By the way, he was the director and script writer for “The Beatniks.” George Becwar also appears in “Bride of the Monster.” George Milan also appears in “Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders.” Roy Gordon also appears in “The Unearthly.” Dean Duncan Parkin, who played Glen the monster, also was help behind the scenes of “The Beginning of the End”… he was a grasshopper wrangler!
• CreditsWatch: This was intern Cindy Hansen’s last episode. Trace and Frank are still “villians” and Dr. F’s name is still “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from the short: “Mom, Dad? Tell me you heard that!” Honorable mention: “Forget music! I wanna dance!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “My nurse fell down his throat!” Also: “Hee Haw, it’s Sam Wainwright!” “Sir, you just described ME!”

116 Replies to “Episode guide: 319- War of the Colossal Beast (with short: ‘Mr. B. Natural’)”

  1. Spector says:

    This is the classic example of an episode where the short was vastly superior to the feature. Dr. F is right when he called “War of the Colossal Beast” an unwanted sequel to “The Amazing Colossal Man”, and if not for the short, this would’ve been an otherwise unmemorable episode. But hooray! We get the greatest short in MST3K history: “Mr. B. Natural”, which on its own is a gem, one I often used to try to add more recruits to our little army we call “MSTIES”. I can’t add any more to what’s been said in this thread about “Mr.B”, other than it’s a wonderful slice of delightful! The short, on its own, is worth five out of five stars. The feature, on its own, two out of five. So, let’s say this entire episode is 3.5 out of five. “Mr B, you’re hot!”


  2. Spector says:

    Hey, Sampo! Here’s a suggestion for a Saturday topic: if you could take one short and match it with one feature to make the perfect MST3K episode, which short and feature would you choose?

    Thank you, won’t we? ;)


  3. John M Hanna says:

    My favorite inside dirty joke from ‘Mr B Natural’;
    Buzz: “I better go up to my room and do the reading.”
    Mom: “Buzz…?”
    Crow: “This time don’t make so much noise when you read.”


  4. Runciter says:

    Mr. B; “The spirit of music is inside all of you”
    Crow; “No, I bathe.”


  5. kismetgirl88 says:

    I remember dressing as Mr B for great Mst con of 96. My grandmother kindly made me the out fit and I did have show her the short. Lucky she lived in Min. So the con there was big deal. I did look hot. Still have pictures but none you can upload. :( I was very happy she made for me and none my family members had me committed. I also remember Mr B Natural Torgo there as well. Good times. Good times. Too bad I got rid the outfit because it doesn’t fit anymore.


  6. pondoscp says:

    When I attended the Dallas Film Festival a few years ago for a Cinematic Titanic, they had a Q&A session before the movie about 20 years of MST3K. Before the Q&A session, they showed a montage of various MST clips. When Mr. B appeared on the screen, the roar from the crowd was deafening! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a crowd cheer at a movie that loudly and passionately before, or since. It really made me happy. And I wondered, if only the makers of the Mr. B short had any inkling of a crowd responding to it so intensely, they never would have believed it. -“Hey, 50 years from now, people will be cheering for Mr. B like it’s a Beatles concert!” “Yeah, right!” would have been the reply.


  7. pondoscp says:

    My avatar is a pic of Joel from that night in Dallas, btw.


  8. Steve Vil says:

    Two things about WOTCB: 1) I was always kind of astounded that Glen was played by a different actor in this film than the original because they looked EXACTLY alike. 2) Glen’s shrieking really bothers my ears for some reason and when I watch this episode I have to ride the “Mute” button whenever he’s on camera.


  9. The Mr. B short is hilarious and all, but I always felt that the Brains were cheating a little bit by going on and on about how awful it was, before anything had even happened. “She’s Evil!” and such. Manufacturing consent, as Chomsky would say.
    The riffing is more clever and more complicated in “Design for Dreaming”, but this is definitely the more accessible short. And it’s really funny.


  10. Jay says:

    One thing I didn’t notice until the umpteenth time I saw this is that when Crow utters, “He’s got a gun!” during the short, his mouth doesn’t move. A few seconds later, you can hear Tom utter “I thought he had a gun there.” I’m guessing Trace missed his line and they just dubbed it in later.

    Not a criticism, just an observation. Love the short, one of MST3K’s finest moments.


  11. MikeK says:

    You ever wonder about Joel’s, “Ooh yeaaah,” riff during the Mr. B short? It happens when Mr. B mentions the excited schoolchildren or some such thing. Servo stops him with a sharp, “Joel!” Pervy Joel?


  12. Blast Hardcheese says:


    Is it really that a chunk of “Mr B Natural” is missing, or was that an edit made by BBI? IMDB lists the full run time at 29 minutes; MST3K has about 17 of those. Has anyone seen the full, unriffed version, and can fill us in on the missing footage? (Shame it’s not in Prelinger’s collection, and accessible on Internet Archive. As if what I’ve seen isn’t cause enough for nightmares…)

    BTW, I can’t decide whether this or “A Date With Your Family” ranks as the creepiest short. Both are probably my favourites (plus I’ve got a warm spot for “Circus on Ice,” as it was the first MST3K short I ever saw.)


  13. EricJ says:

    @42 – Joel: “Buzz was a slacker.”



  14. Sampo says:

    Blast Hardcheese:

    I didn’t know the short was that much longer. Still, I don’t think the edits I’m complaining about are BBI’s doing. They’re much too ragged. Tim Scott was a better editor than that. For me the most heinous example of a scene ruined by stolen footage is the scene in the Marx Brothers’ “Horsefeathers” where the brothers are visiting the “college widow.” Whole, five-second chunks of film are missing. It infuriates me every time I see it. And these cuts feel similar, especially the one right before Mr. B appears in Buzz’s room for the first time.


  15. Stressfactor says:

    I had forgotten something else that occurred to me while I had been watching this one….

    In the first movie they go out of their way to have Glen explain that they’ve made him a special sarong for him to wear that will expand as he grows.

    Here Glen is clearly wearing… something… when he’s found wandering mad.

    So are we also expected to believe that Glen’s sarong survived the fall and the float downriver through all of those aforementioned dams or did an insane Glen still somehow have enough presence of mind to find a big piece of cloth… somewhere… and fashion himself some covering for modesty’s sake?


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

    “J&tB come up with new names for Mex-American food combos”

    Of course, one of the greatest unanswered questions about Mexican-American food is, since Mexico INVENTED chocolate (per Wikipedia, first documented circa 1100 BCE), why don’t Mexican-American restaurants have a wider range of desserts?


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

    This episode has some of my favorites:

    “Forget music! I wanna dance!”

    “I Wish I could…” “…Dress up in tights and dance around.”

    “Oh no, Glenn Passed a truck on the highway!”

    “You just described ME, senor.”

    “Come with me across the street to the hospital” “…We’ll get you a new boy.”

    “We’ll pump his stomache, but I don’t think we’ll find your truck.”

    “Oh no! He’s growing in twelve ways!”


  18. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:


    The Mexicans invented chocolate, but they mainly just extracted it to make a frothy, unsweetened drink. Originally the chocolate was combined with vanilla and chili peppers (the origination of the Mole sauce). After it was imported to Spain, Italy, and especially Switzerland, chocolate makers learned to extract the cocoa fat and add sugar, milk etc. to make it the tasty confection we have today.

    Now why doesn’t Taco Bell have an Ed-Herlihyto-Burrito?


  19. Blast Hardcheese says:


    I know what you mean about the Marx Brothers’ films–I was devastated to learn they had been treated so shabbily and that parts are now irretrievably lost. The same used to be true of Chaplin’s early shorts, although much has been done to restore them to their original glory. God bless Rick Prelinger for keeping ephemeral stuff safe for the ages–to our unending delight.


  20. losingmydignity says:

    Nah, never got it. I’m not saying Mr. B isn’t funny. It’s just NOT that funny to me. I’m usually down with the fan favs but not this one. Not a classic for me and I prefer the film though it doesn’t live up to the laughs of the first one. A solid effort overall.

    As someone mentioned, Glen’s voice is really disturbing and hard to take. This sequel seems as lame and rushed as Revenge of the Creature. Script written in a long weekend probably. But it must have been nice to sit in that rented villa and tap out this weirdness on a good old fashioned typewriter. Those were the days, I guess.



  21. Creeping Terror says:

    I love Mr. B Natural, although not in THAT way.

    According to Wikipedia, Betty Luster (married name: Betty Prentis) died this past May. I would LOVE to know if she ever knew about her cult of fans and what she thought about MST3K’s treatment of her performance. Anybody know? Anybody? Bueller . . .? Bueller . . .?


  22. Brian T. says:

    Servo (as Buzz): “So I’m attracted to guys now?”


  23. Professor Gunther says:

    “Oh, Mr. B.”


  24. Cornjob says:

    I suppose the Chloral Hydrate knockout bread is a specialty bread.


  25. Sampo says:

    Creeping Terror: THANKS for the catch on her recent passing!!

    It’s been four months, but this is a pretty big deal.


  26. saherrin says:

    A lot ot times when a lot of people love somethirng, I am always not as impressed as others. Not so with “Mr. B. Natural,” it is easily the top (at least the top five) shorts shown on the show.

    I guess while Manning was subnerged between TACM and WOTCB, he lost his ability to speak. I always thought his roar in WOTCB sounded like a rusty chainsaw.

    Another great bit from WOTCB

    Policeman: “Let me know when he speaks again.”
    Miguel: “AGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!”
    CROW: “He spoke again.”

    BTW, “Rebel Without a Clue” was a line from the Tom Petty song “Into the Great Wide Open.”


  27. Name (required) says:

    My mom and I walked into a music store, where I pointed out to her that they have a poster for “Conn” hanging up. We laughed so hard, we couldn’t tell the clerk what we were there for. :/


  28. Slartibartfast, maker of Fjords says:

    The scene where Mr. B comes into Buzz’s room: Buzz is doing normal bored with having to do homework stuff. He opens his window, moves a couple of books around, decides he can’t study with the racket outside, closes the window, grabs a book, puts it up on the shelf, takes a record jacket off of the shelf, takes out a record and puts it on the player. He takes a book, drops it on the floor, and as he reaches to pick it up, Mr. B puts his/her hand on Buzz’s and the rest is history.

    The complete short has a longer opening and shows the band forming CONN. Later it shows more footage on instruments being made then in the MSTied version.


  29. Cornjob says:

    OK, so for the sequel we take our protagonist who is an articulate tragic hero, and turn him into a disfigured behemoth who’s less articulate than the burnt mime from Jupiter’s moon. Then we’ll replace his fiancee with an inexplicably identical looking sister. Top it all off with pointless suicide. Green light that thing now!!

    Great episode. Legendary short. In a facebook sci fi mash-up game I was helping make I described Mr. B as “A shrieking delusional she-male who’s been on a meth bender since 1964”

    Thank you Betty Luster. Can we still call you Betty?


  30. erasmus hall says:

    Might be my favorite episode-not counting Bride of the Monster or Monster-A-GO-GO-


  31. Blast Hardcheese says:


    Thanks for the info. Where did you manage to see the complete film?


  32. Thomas K. Dye says:

    Later it shows more footage on instruments being made then in the MSTied version.

    Actually, if you listen very carefully, at the end, you can hear Luster beginning another sentence (it sounds like “the child”), which gets cut off as the end leader cuts in. I kind of agree with Tom Servo that, you know, the point has kinda been made, but I do wonder what was after that.


  33. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    For your information:
    MR. B NATURAL short is available on DVD-R and good ol’ VHS from SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO on their “Campy Classroom Classics Vol. 15,” along with 7 other shorts, all for just 10 dollars.

    Now go wash your horn, boy.


  34. Cherokee Jack says:

    Oh my God…WE SMELL LIKE BREAD!!!!!!


  35. Valnastar says:

    Say was this the only episode to feature a stinger taken from the short rather than the feature?


  36. Sitting Duck says:

    Nope. Racket Girls and IIRC The Painted Hills also had stingers from their shorts.


  37. Chick says:



  38. Alex says:

    I remember finding a VHS of this and its precessor of the MST3k episodes at Hastings some years ago and they were still funny. Love the Mr. B Natural big. It was produced by a music company named CONN. We used to hava CONN organ and it had a key that was broken so when you turned it on it made that note all the time.

    R.I.P Betty Luster.


  39. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    oh jeez laweez, what can be said that hasn’t already!? This is freaking Mr. B we’re talking about here.

    I will say that Dr. F is right when he calls WotCB “unwanted, unnecessary, uncalled for”. Blech.


  40. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    WotCB just has so many unanswered questions:

    -Why is the now feral Glen still wearing the diaper the military put on him? That thing must be pretty rancid.
    -Where the hell did Glen’s fiance go and where did his sister magically come from? Did Bert I. think no-one would notice? Maybe he was right because J&tB didn’t seem to.
    -That comment about the river being “a mile deep in some places”. No, just no.
    -What’s up with the annoying schoolkids subplot? As Servo blurts out “What are we suddenly in another movie!?” “LOOOORRRRIIIIII!!” “STEEEEELLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” “ELAAAAAAAAAAAAINNNNEE!!!”
    -Why does Glen vanish after electrocuting himself rather than leaving a huge, charred corpse?

    Fave Riff: “We can pump his stomach, but I don’t think we’d find your truck…”


  41. Happenstance says:

    Lord knows Bert I. Gordon never made a good movie, but WotCB is the only one that seems utterly devoid of all diversion, once you’re over the gruesome makeup effect of Glenn’s blasted-off face. Every scene is padded out, everything drags. We have a giant man in a sarong stealing trucks and rampaging around Griffith Park, and somehow Bert made it all dull and boring. Without the riffing it is damn near unwatchable.


  42. Into The Void says:

    One of our cats is named Mr. B ;-)


  43. sol-survivor says:

    Uncut Mr. B Natural right here:

    I sort of came up with one of my own riffs during one of the cut scenes. Buzz is getting up the nerve to go in and tell his parents he wants to learn to play. His father sees him and says “Why don’t you come in and join us?” In my head I hear “And bring the whipped cream.” :blush: :blush: There’s also a long scene with Buzz meeting the band leader before he talks to his parents.


  44. Sitting Duck says:

    Continuing from post #86, Attack of the Giant Leeches also used a clip from its short for the stinger.


  45. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Ah, Mr. B. The queen of MST3k shorts (Yes, take that in any & all contexts you choose). I do have to agree it’s probably the best of all their shorts, though I also agree with another poster above that Design for Dreaming comes awfully close, but Mr. B’s frantic (psychotic?) energy wins out here.
    While the movie is a sequel that really didn’t need to exist, it led to some great riffing. I can see them not even noticing the continuity errors (such as Glen supposedly not having any family), since they probably didn’t want to go back & watch through the first one again (though they may have skimmed their scripts so they weren’t repeating themselves).
    One moment that stood out for me as odd, was at the end, Glen is hiding & skulking amongst the trees, being annoyed at the spotlights (yet no one could see him?!), but then just casually saunters around when he gets to the observatory. It’s like he was trying not to be seen until he made his big (haha… big!) entrance.
    Also, once he’s there, I can’t help but wonder just who was running the spotlights, since they keep moving them around on him, instead of just holding steady. I mean, he’s just standing there, hardly moving at all. Are these people used to running spotlights for movie premiers or big sales at car lots?


  46. goalieboy82 says:

    Mr Natural, i remember him from Zap Comix


  47. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Sitting Duck:
    Continuing from post #86, Attack of the Giant Leeches also used a clip from its short for the stinger.

    Earth vs the Spider also uses a stinger from the short

    “Mister, I said this innit yer seat, ya see ah bin sittin here a whole lot longer den yoo seem ta think ah have…”


  48. goalieboy82 says:

    war of the colossal breast would be interesting to riff (that beast)


  49. JCC says:

    “Uncut Mr. B Natural right here”

    *hand to head* Oh wow!


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

    I discussed the fiancée/sister bit earlier.

    #90: -Why is the now feral Glen still wearing the diaper the military put on him?

    Well, he can’t very well walk around naked. Please, allow the man to maintain a shred of civilization…

    #90: That thing must be pretty rancid.

    Maybe he walks through the river now and then and that rinses it. Sort of.


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