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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: 320- The Unearthly (with shorts: ‘Posture Pals’ and ‘Appreciating Our Parents’)

Short 1: (1952) An elementary school teacher holds a posture contest in her class.
Short 2: (1950) A young boy realizes how much his parents do for him, and that he should help out around the house.
Movie: (1957) A mad scientist uses nefarious methods to acquire subjects for his bizarre experiments.

First shown: 12/14/91
Opening: The bots are making a “funny” submission for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and Crow gets the worst of it
Invention exchange: Crow is gnarled, but he likes it. The Mads demonstrate their “hard pills to swallow,” while Joel shows off his everyday products named for celebrities
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom present: “Appreciating Gypsy”
Host segment 2: With the help of the Video Toaster, J&tB present the many faces of Tor Johnson
Host segment 3: Tom and Crow create a “Unearthly” board game, but Joel gets hung up on reading the instructions
End: J&tB enjoy using their “Dead End Kids patois,” Joel reads a letter using the lingo, and even that Mads get into it.
Stinger: “Time for go to bed!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (141 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)


• This is really a case where the shorts save the episode. Both shorts are fun and the riffing is great. But once the movie starts, things bog down. The guys make fun of Tor for a while, then they start kind of free associating (mixing in some state park jokes), then they fall back on the whole Dead End Kids patois thing. But the riffing never really takes off. Most of the segments are good, which helps drag the rating up a bit as well.
• Oh, the irony of an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” parody. Little did Trace suspect he would be drawing a paycheck from it in less than ten years.
• The Mads’ invention is my all-time favorite IE. Trace and Frank are brilliant. My main problem with Joel’s inventions are how how cheesy they look. None of the figures looks anything like the celebrity they’re supposed to be, and they all look like they were made out of cottage cheese.
• Although there were episodes in the first season that had two episodes of “Radar Men from the Moon,” this is only the second time in the history of the series that we have had two shorts (the first was 315- TEENAGE CAVEMAN). They did it one more time in season six.
Incidentally, at a recent RiffTrax Live show, they riffed a short that supposedly was an updated version of “Appreciating Our Parents.”
• The Rhino version had alternate takes of the host segments. Always interesting to see which take they chose and which ended up on the cutting room floor.
• Dr. F says “Enjoy!” like Dr. Erhardt again.
• Short 1 was one of those instant classics that just struck a chord with the fans.
• During the first short, Joel says something odd: “That’s when the kids came up with a plan to blackmail Mrs. Reedy!” Where does that name come from? We know Joel knows the teacher’s name is Miss Martin, because he says it a few lines later. Is that a reference to something?
• Tom seems scandalized by Joel’s reference to VPL.
• Crow is still gnarled when they go into the theater, but during short 2 he says “I better go freshen up,” walks off, about three riffs go by without him, and then he returns good as new.
• During the segment 1, there’s a shot of the SOL bridge piled high with junk. Many of the items are past invention exchanges.
• At the end of segment 1, Gypsy breaks the button.
• In segment 2, the “artists renderings” make another appearance, only to be immediately rejected.
• In segment 2, Tom says “perfap…er…perhaps.” They keep going.
• Some techies may be amused by the appearance of an early version of the Video Toaster. It must have been fun ro use but, from a present-day perspective, it doesn’t seem that impressive. Maybe they were just not very good at it using it, but most of the images are pretty fuzzy and hard to make out.
• One other note about segment 2: the shot of Tor Johnson that is used over and over is at the very very end of the movie. Another example of them using a moment from the movie they are familiar with because they’ve seen it nine times, but that we aren’t because we’re still in the middle.
• Instant catchphrase: “Time for go to bed!”
• In segment 3 there’s a little Tom Servo figure among all the crap on the table. Where’d that come from?
• Tom and Crow are already there when Joel arrives back in the theater. Another example of Tom making it to the theater on his own.
• Cast and crew roundup: Editor Richard Currier also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast.” In front of the camera, Myron Healey was also in “The Incredible Melting Man.” Arthur Batanides was also in “The Leech Woman.” Harry Fleer was also in “Tormented.” John Carradine was also in “Red Zone Cuba” and Tor Johnson was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.”
• CreditsWatch: Barb Oswald was prop assistant for her third and last time this season (was SHE responsible Joel’s invention exchange?). She’d be back for a couple of episodes in season four. Jef Maynard gets credit for “Paint Box Artistry” which I assume means he was able to figure out the Video Toaster better than anybody else.
• Fave riff from short 1: “She should just go home to bed.” Honorable mention: “Yes, very much so.”
• Fave riff from short 2: “Well, I isolated that nucleotide today…” “Honorable mention: “Dad pulls the lever at the big house.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Stop fighting and give me some skin!”
Note: As we have done in the past, we will skip episode 321- SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (next in the rotation) and do it in the holiday season.

102 Replies to “Episode guide: 320- The Unearthly (with shorts: ‘Posture Pals’ and ‘Appreciating Our Parents’)”

  1. Dan in WI says:

    Hey! This isn’t a Japanese film. I thought we had a pattern going here. It will of course be a long time before we see another of those and that is too bad. For one thing I love those movies. They are goofy and always gave us solid if not spectacular experiments. And I also enjoyed the every other pattern of this season. It is what made season 3 unique. But now we soldier on without.

    This opening bit alongside the “Weird Al” lyrics
    Talkin’ bout sick shows
    There’s America’s Funniest Home Videos
    I can’t believe my eyes
    When I see the kind of stuff that wins first prize
    Somebody’s poor old mom
    Falls down off the roof, lands right on the lawn
    Face first on a rake
    I hear they got it on the seventeenth take
    That’s funny as a kick in the crotch
    And that kinda show, uh, I can’t watch
    Sum up everything I never could stand about that show. Well done.

    Once again the interplay between Frank and Clayton during the invention exchange is just priceless. Clayton truly plays a very convincing Mad Scientist here (John Caradine should have done so good.) and the terrified whimpers of Frank just sells this all the more.

    The opening credits of the movie are another good example of how the Joel era would take random names from the credits and just run with a fun premise. In this case we get “I read in _____ that ______” did whatever. I love these credit bits.

    This is a solid if unspectacular episode. I’m not sure where the gangster riffing came from that finished off the movie, but it gave Joel and the Bots that little extra something to finish off what could have been a difficult movie. It also made for a great letter reading closing segment and transferred well to Deep 13. A strong close.

    Favorite Riffs:

    The noises made by Crow as the school children study their before posture drawings are priceless.

    Narrator: “A tree shouldn’t be bent like that.” Joel “Then stop doing it.”

    Narrator: “For it’s the day for Tommy to receive his allowance.” Crow “Here’s a penny. Happy Birthday.”

    Narrator: “And starting right now he can help his mother by putting things away.’ Joel: “Like his hopes and dreams.”

    Narrator: “After a week or so of trying…” Crow “He gives up.”

    A catatonic hand is raised. Crow “this is how you throw a knuckleball.”

    Grace “Are you going to be here long?” Tom as Mark “Yeah, I’m loonier than you.”

    Dr Conway “#23 scalpel” Tom “I’ll be through her gown in no time.”


  2. swh1939 says:

    My “Time for go to bed” t-shirt is already well-worn. But it always gets a chuckle from someone when I wear it.

    Although far from a favorite, I clearly like this film more than most. I suspect it’s from being a sort-of student of film and television and there are a lot of familiar faces here.


  3. Bookworm says:

    Yes, it’s a bit of a tough movie, but it’s still got some fun elements in it, like John Carradine’s character constantly shifting seats while talking with Grace. And one of my all-time favorite riffs is in this one. As Tor’s working in the graveyard, Tom says, in his imitation Tor Johnson voice:

    Tisket, tasket, green yellow *casket.*

    Gets me every time. *grin*


  4. snowdog says:

    So, after dissing the Amiga in a previous episode, the bots come running back for help from the Video Toaster. No wonder the images are fuzzy!


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

    “Tor, buddy! You can drop your eyebrows now!”


  6. E.P Dingus, esq says:

    This movie always bothers me because there is the kernel of a good idea buried inside of it. A story like this probably could not work as film, but I could easily see this being the subject of a rock solid short story. Something with a slow boil and a big reveal that plays on paranoia, distrust, and the psychological states of the characters. Lovecraftian to use short-hand.

    There are a few other movies like this during the course of the series. Ones where I just sit there thinking, “this could actually have been quite good in the right hands.” I’m not sure if this makes me more sympathetic toward the film or more angry with it.

    That said, anything with Tor Johnson is good by me.*

    *This statement does not apply to Beast of Yucca Flats. That is not a film. That is a war-crime.


  7. Sitting Duck says:

    Sampo, you forgot about Allison Hayes, who was also in The Crawling Hand, Gunslinger, and The Undead.

    Personally, I found the host segments to be rather meh. The one exception would be Appreciating Gypsy, which I thought was gut-bustingly hilarious.


  8. Tom Carberry says:

    Having worked in a liquor store for a while during my freshman year of college I’m always amused by the toast:

    What’s the word, Thunderbird
    What’s the price, forty twice.

    I can still see the shape and size of the bottle and the very distinctive label. Boy, that stuff was nasty–or so I hear.


  9. Stressfactor says:

    Re: Thunderbird wine… the guy who runs the “Plaid Stallions” blog (check it out if you remember the 70’s fondly… Or not so fondly… or if you want to know what those of us who did live through the era had to suffer through) actually had a “Evening of Bum Wine” with some friends a few years back which featured Thunderbird. You can check out their review of it here:

    For this feature, though, all I could think of was “Why are they calling this ‘The Unearthly’?!” I knew nothing about the movie going in but from the title and the font on the movie’s title card I expected something with ghosts or zombies or vampires or at the very least a space alien but no, we get mad scientist tripe. And dull mad scientist tripe as well.

    I have noticed that Joel and the gang really struggle with movies that are bad because nothing happens in them. Movies can be bad because they are ridiculous and movies can be bad because nobody does anything. This one falls more into the latter category and when no one does anything or says anything then the riffing team has little to bounce off of.

    The shorts, though, have some of the best riffs…

    Narrator: “What gives Jane her worried frown?”
    Joel: “Valium?”

    Narrator: “Now everything is neat and straight…”
    Joel: “Except for his mind.”


  10. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Yeah I always wondered about that Miss Reedy thing too. You knew Joel knew her name was Miss Martin cause he said “Miss Martin, Tommy Drew a bong” right before or after that.

    The Posture Pals really saved the episode for me. It was one of the first Rhino tapes I ever rented and was a let down from the fare I had grown accustomed to in my early days of getting into the show. It was still only about the 10th show I had seen at that point.

    I like how many years later they are still doing callbacks on the short. I was just watching Parts: The Clonus Horror and they did two different callbacks to Posture Pals, somewhat of a rarity for a sci-fi ep. But I also think I recall some Posture Pals references in some Rifftrax shorts.

    The other short is good too.
    The movie, not so good.
    But I actually watched The Unearthly within the last year and found it to be more enoyable than I expected. I guess it depends on my mood and what episodes I had just come off of prior.

    I think the movie would have been better riffed if were shown AFTER the whole Coleman Francis trifecta. By then we’d all had a better perspective on Carradine & Tor, and there would have been more to talk about.


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

    #10: Tor was also in “Bride of the Monster,” so perhaps that should have preceded “The Unearthly” as well. Was working for John Carradine a step up or a step down from working for Bela Lugosi? Well, Carradine didn’t have a whip, so there’s that, I guess.

    #9: When you think about it, immortality is pretty unearthly.

    #8: For some reason it’s the “Quite!” at the end that really makes the toast for me.

    Thunderbird wine, make me feel so fine…


  12. Colossus Prime says:

    I absolutely love Frank crying during the invention exchange. Just so weird but so incredibly funny.


  13. Creeping Terror says:

    This episode is the perfect example of how I feel about the invention exchanges in general: not all that clever, not very fun, and usually unsightly and stupid.

    Two stars.


  14. Fred Burroughs says:

    As a member of the Posture Posse, IMHO Miss Martin is quite fetching. The appreciating parents short is less funny, but now that I’m adult I find myself agreeing with everything in it.
    Unearthly (which I only remember as “the Unacting,” otherwise I wouldn’t remember the title) I think is good msty fare, lots of pauses and silly repetition, and an attempt at tension. I love our agent Mark with the same expression on his face throughout, even while leering at the many beauties he is forced to live with in the Unearthly mansion. My favorite takeaway from the ep is Joel recreating the fast-talk scene doing the discussion card from the unearthly home game. At some point, moviemakers thought that quick dialogue was inherently clever; hence the segue to the Dead-end kids homage at the end: also a bunch of fast-talking people with their own jargon.
    And they had Phil Niekro I think, hidden in the basement. *twitch*


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

    #13: Sometimes science isn’t pretty…


  16. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Decided to watch the episode again, and right off the bat, the opening segment reminded me that one thing I’ve concluded lately from my many weekend marathons is that I very much prefer the voice of Patrick Brantseg as Gypsy than Jim Mallon.
    Brantseg’s Gypsy is more bearable and smooth, though maybe a little more sassy, (which I kind of enjoy), and a little less dumb. Mallon’s was too annoying and grating on my ear nerves, especially when he screamed and carried on.


  17. Spector says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Sampo.But even the shorts aren’t that great. They’re not bad, but certainly not on the same level as those we’ve seen earlier in this season, like “Snow Thrills” or “The Home Economics Story”. The only truly memorable thing about this feature (apart from the fact that it stars John Carradine, who did much better work) is the first appearance in MST3K history of Tor Johnson, and his memorable catch line: “Time for go to bed”. Three out of five stars for me.


  18. Smirkboy says:

    There’s also a tiny Crow figure on the game board.

    Unless I am mixing episodes.


  19. Joel’s reading of the line “Tommy’s the Lathe of Heaven!” has always really tickled me.

    Speaking of readings, Trace’s and Frank’s make this invention exchange one of the best. When Dr. F says, “And the children, oh the children” and Frank cries “Not the children!”, it’s downright chilling and hilarious at the same time.


  20. monoceros4 says:

    Again, great short films, dull main feature. The Unearthly proves Roger Ebert’s dictum: “No good movie is too long. No bad movie is short enough.” The Unearthly is scarcely more than seventy minutes long and it still feels like it drags on forever.

    Appreciating Our Parents is a real gem, sort of the Joel-era equivalent of the viciously funny A Date with Your Family. The riffing of Appreciating Our Parents isn’t quite as cutting but it’s still pretty acerbic:

    “Mom lives a life of quiet desperation.”
    “…while suppressing her own dreams.”
    “…as she chokes back the bile of resentment.”
    “After a week or so of trying–” “He gives up!”
    “A nickel! Thanks Dad! You son of a–”

    And let’s not forget the immortal line, “Tommy’s the Lathe of Heaven!”

    Posture Pals isn’t quite as funny…it’s sort of a warm-up act, almost. Its weird use of rhyming couplets goes uncommented on, though.


  21. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    This is one of the episodes I would show to someone new to MST3k. It’s got a brilliant invention exchange (Terry, NOOOO!), a couple of the funnier shorts, and while not my favorite feature, one that has some really solid riffing and decent pacing. The film being a bit shorter than most seems like it’s easier for a newbie to get through too.


  22. GizmonicTemp says:

    Confession: I watch America’s Funniest Home videos every Sunday. Hey, the kid(s) get a big kick out of it and when my wife and I had a baby in the house, it saved me from jumping out the window.

    Anyway, does anyone else watch it enough to agree/disagree that the writing has sucked since Trace and Josh left to focus on CT?


  23. Ericb says:

    A weird coincidence with the Tor character. He has the same name, Lobo, in both The Unearthy and Bride of the Monster. He wears a kind of vest in both films as well. For a split second I wondered if they were supposed to be the same character.


  24. Gorto says:

    My favorite riff of all time is in “Appreciating Our Parents”:

    narration – “Whoops, I almost forgot something very important”
    Crow – “…, to pay homage to Gorto”

    I don’t know why, it just hits close to home for me for some reason


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

    #23: Maybe Johnson remembered the earlier film and suggested re-using the name for what’s basically the same role.

    In the sequel to “Bride of the Monster” (1955), “Night of the Ghouls” (1959), a severely disfigured Lobo/Tor emerges from the wreckage of Vornoff’s home (OSLT), the implication being that he’d been trapped in the wreckage ever since the first movie. Lobo must have had a bit of “atomic superman” power himself to have survived four years without food and water; maybe that’s one of the reasons Vornoff hired him after meeting him in Tibet (as mentioned in Bride).

    “The Unearthly” was made in 1957 (between the two, and unlike Bride and Night, is not an Ed Wood film). If one cared enough, one could theorize that Lobo escaped the Vornoff fiasco, worked for Conway for a while, then returned to Vornoff’s place for whatever reason and THEN was trapped in the wreckage.

    FWIW, Tor Johnson next played Inspector Clay (“I’m a big boy now, Johnny.”) in “Plan 9 from Outer Space” (also 1959, also a Wood film), and then Prof. Javorsky in “The Beast of Yucca Flats” (1961), which was his last film role. From lab assistant to police inspector to scientist, not bad. ;-)

    Also, he used to have a recurring role as Naboro on the “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” TV series.


  26. Fred Burroughs says:

    “Lobo”?!? i thought it was “Bono.”


  27. Stressfactor says:

    @ #17

    It may have been Tor’s first appearance but the guys were aware of him all the way back to the beginning. One of the riffs in KTMA’s “Hangar 18” references the actor. I believe it’s Servo (Josh) who, when the aliens are revealed cries out “It’s Tor Johnson!”


  28. Valnastar says:

    “It’s the Posture Posse!”
    “Their chances of being cool are ruined for life…”


  29. Brandon says:

    I’m not sure, but I think the AFV intro was meant to make fun of the obviously staged videos that plagued the Bob Saget era. At least during this period anyway.


  30. Matthew Shine says:

    I kinda like this one, mostly due to Appreciating Our Parents (“NO! THEY COOKED TRUMPY!”), the host segments (“HOW WOULD THOSE FLINTSTONE KIDS LIKE IT IF THEY CAME IN…LIFE SIZED!”) and Tor Johnson.
    Posture Pals and the rest of the film leave me cold, with the exception of the riff “The birth of the WWF!”

    I highly recommend all MSTies watch the You Bet Your Life Halloween Special with Tor as a celebrity contestant. I think it’s on Youtube as of this moment.

    Groucho: Now, what’s your name?
    Tor: Tor Johnson.
    Groucho: Oh, why’d you do that? He wasn’t that bad of a guy!


  31. Joseph Nebus says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves says:

    “The Unearthly” was made in 1957 (between the two, and unlike Bride and Night, is not an Ed Wood film). If one cared enough, one could theorize that Lobo escaped the Vornoff fiasco, worked for Conway for a while, then returned to Vornoff’s place for whatever reason and THEN was trapped in the wreckage.

    Man, that makes Lobo out to be like the guy who survived the atom-bombing of Hiroshima, and hurried the next day back home to Nagasaki.


  32. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Posture Pals is genius! The naivete of the short, the adorable kids obsessed with correcting posture, the cheery narration and the endless fantastic MST3K riffs make it one of the best shorts done on the series. The movie though terribly slow is B-movie gold with it’s cast of several fairly well known actors and the lumbering Tor Johnson.

    The Unearthly board game host segment never gets old, watching Tom and Crow present their little project as Joel stalls it as badly as the pace of the movie. Love these sketches based on the films.

    The movie may move slower than the opening sequence of Manos, but I’m still giving this one 5 stars. It’s hilarious and silly fun from start to finish. Oh, and don’t forget the barrel full of monkeys (i.e., cage full of mutants) at the end. Only the Mutants episode of The Mighty Boosh had funnier mutant freaks, but that show, unlike The Unearthly, is a deliberate comedy.


  33. Valnastar says:

    oh yes, and we can’t forget Bombo the Clown now can we?


  34. big61al says:

    Every second that Tor is on the screen is pure gold! :coins:


  35. Mr. B(ob) says:

    “An airplane shouldn’t stand crooked.” “Like daddy on Friday night.” Wow, they got dark sometimes with the most innocent subject matter. Hilarious.

    “Here she reenacts her first DUI.”

    “Tears of shame pour down Tommy’s face.”

    “A playground where apes evolved from men!”

    “Oh, they’re going to take this for about a half-hour before they end up killing each other.”

    “Doesn’t Bombo look tired?” “Yes, very much so.”


  36. rcfagnan says:

    The mads’ Hard Pills To Swallow and the Unearthly board game are two high points, but it’s a good-not-great episode in my opinion.


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

    #30: There’s another way to interpret “Tore Johnson” but I don’t know if the latter word is one of the euphemisms MST3K tended to use…


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

    On another note, I specifically DID NOT like this episode’s invention exchange because I don’t like seeing Frank so unhappy…


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

    (sorry, one more)

    I’m sure there are multiple sites with images from “Night of the Ghouls,” but this is the only one I already knew about:

    Burnt Lobo/Tor is in the second image. Not a close-up but, again, the only one I knew where was.

    The site mentions Kelton, who of course MSTies know from “Bride of the Monster.” Which reminds me, wasn’t “Plan 9 from Outer Space” supposed to be set in THE FUTURE (of 1959, meaning that it was probably a long time ago from 2011’s perspective)? You know, “Future events SUCH AS THESE will affect you in the future.” (“But that’s all in the past!”) I guess Kelton didn’t get much in the way of promotions since in “Plan” he seems to be exactly where he was in “Bride.”

    Incidentally, FORTY-SIX years later, Paul Marco again played Kelton in “The Naked Monster.” Also appearing are Clete Ferguson and Helen Dodson from “Revenge of the Creature,” among other 1950s characters.


  40. dsman71 says:

    One of the first episodes I had the pleasure of watching. I can watch it via MST, but not non MST, which is odd since I like 50s B movies, I guess some schlock even I dont like…
    I do love that board game with the little servo figure, and there is some great classic dialog and camera work in this one
    Great episode. Wed see Tor Johnson again, ironically as Lobo in Bride of the Monster still later in Beast of Yucca Flats. Myron Healy will be also back in the Incredible Melting Man, while John Carradine, despite all the lousy movies he was in during the later stages of his career would appear in Red Zone Cuba singing the song Night Train to Mundo Fine (something like that) which was the original title
    Sr Carradine
    if you lose a turn, you lose one turn
    joels hair
    joels knees
    joes posture pals
    burnt crow on a stick
    little servo oh where art thou
    therapy therapy who’s got the therapy…
    Hey Santa Claus is next week ! :)


  41. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Time for go to bed! Probably one of the most quoted catchphrases from MST3K ever. Just so useful, weird and funny.

    Is there any movie from this time period that doesn’t have Allison Hayes in it? And this is further proof that John Carradine was in every movie ever made good or bad. The man apparently never said no to any script for any reason.

    Myron Healey worked constantly and was in tons of good stuff besides this stinker.

    Tor Johnson is listed as “Lobo II” on the IMDB website. I guess this is so as not to confuse him with his character in Bride Of The Monster. I can’t see how anyone could confuse the two characters or movies. ;)


  42. EricJ says:

    @31 – Man, that makes Lobo out to be like the guy who survived the atom-bombing of Hiroshima, and hurried the next day back home to Nagasaki.
    And then wandered around Yucca Flats, as a…oh, wait. ;)

    @35 – “Doesn’t Bombo look tired?” “Yes, very much so.”

    Funniest. Crow. Delivery. Ever. :)

    @1 – Narrator: “A tree shouldn’t be bent like that.” Joel “Then stop doing it.”

    “Even Dad reminds her at home.”
    “‘Okay, I’m gonna kill this tree if you don’t stand up straight.'”


  43. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Sorry MomDad!


  44. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    After watching #318 STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II a couple weeks back, I said something like, “this is my least fave of the Season 3 eps so far. I recall not liking UNEARTHLY or CASTLE OF FU MANCHU very much, but we’ll get to those when we get there.” Or something like that.

    Well, I was mistaken. I liked THE UNEARTHLY pretty good, parts of it are great even. I think I was confusing it with #518 ATOMIC BRAIN which is also on the Rhino Vol. 3 DVD set.

    I love the Mad’s Invention Exchange in this one (Joel’s . . not so much). The “Hard Pills” ranks up there with one of the Mads most evil inventions! The way Frank is just weeping, and Dr. F’s gleeful salesmanship of evil, just sell the skit. One of their best.

    The shorts are both solid, they’ve both got great moments and outshine the main feature. The riffing starts strong when the movie starts, but around the middle mark I found my attention wandering. Tor Johnson is great to see, as always, and the poetic justice ending is nice, as is the random appearance of the cage full of WWF wrestlers, but overall, WHAT A DRAG OF A MOVIE!

    The Host Segments run from great to okay. HS#1 is really good, the greatest moments being when Gypsy breaks the button at the end and her reaction to doing so. HS#2 is short and sweet, with nice video colors, and HS#3 is only okay, but I do love seeing most of Mouse Trap up in that board game jumble. Ahhhh, . . .memories.

    OVERALL, this one comes in at a 4/5.


    After they come back from commercial and Crow is all burned up,
    CROW: “Nah, I like it all gnarled like that. It looks tough.”

    Posture Pals:

    Joel: “That’s when the children came up with a plan to blackmail Mrs. Reedy.” –where does it come from?!

    Joel: “Pelvis? What about the pelvis?”

    Joel: “Mrs. Martin. Tommy drew a bong.”

    Joel, as the voice of a toy clown being adjusted: “Oh-no-no-no, my spine!
    Servo: (cracking noise)

    Appreciating our Parents:

    Crow, as a roast is placed on the table: “Trumpy! NO!”

    Servo: “Tommy showers only half his body to save water.”

    Joel, as Tommy sits down with Mom and Dad: “You do the voice, I’ll work the jaw.”

    The Unearthly:

    Joel: “Starring John Carradine? That was ‘Kung-Fu’?” – – – – Nope, that was David Carradine.
    Servo: “No, no, no. He was the guy in ‘Revenge of the Nerds.'” – – – – That was Robert Carradine.
    Crow: “Isn’t he the guy who does all those Alan Rudolph movies?” – – – – That’s Keith Carradine.
    Joel: “That must be it.”
    Servo: “He’s all those and more!”

    Servo: “Hey! It’s Tor Johnson.” – – – – -It sure is, buddy. WELCOME TOR!!

    Crow: “Stop giving him Burgess Meredith injections.”

    Joel, in Tor voice: “Tor make sponge cake.”

    Tor, in movie: “I found him in the garden.”
    Carradine, in movie: “What were you doing there?”
    JOEL: “I’m a turnip!”

    Crow: “I’m afraid of sock monkeys. Go figure.”

    Tor, in movie: “TIME FOR GO TO BED.”
    Joel: “Well said.”

    Joel: “By this time my lungs were aching. . oh. .that’s your line..” (Joel looks at Crow, who is shocked that Joel used his classic CALLBACK)

    Joel: “Mister LO BO Rising.”

    Joel: “Why’s that mirror at belly button height?”
    Crow: “It’s a navel gazer.”


    This one was a lot better than I remembered.
    Great Invention Exchange.
    2 really good shorts.
    Tor Johnson!


  45. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    I love the line Joel uses at the end of “Posture Pals”

    Meanwhile, the Russians are working on Sputnik…


  46. Edge says:

    So, are the monsters at the end of The Unearthly from a more interesting movie or do they originate from this one? Every time I see it, I think the scene was lifted from another less inept movie.


  47. Keith Palmer says:

    This was one of the earlier episodes I saw (back in the “available on videotape” days, but I’m not sure how much of an impact it’s ever made on me. At times, I wonder if “breaking the pattern” of American and then Japanese movies somehow managed to affect it; for that matter, I wonder about the shorts having to follow that “hard act to follow,” “Mr. B Natural.”

    I can agree with the positive views on the “Hard Pills to Swallow” half of the Invention Exchange (although I’d always sort of thought it was just my fault I wasn’t “culturally literate” enough to really “get” Joel’s inventions), and in fact the “host segments” are sort of my high points for this episode. I do enjoy the “Video Toaster” segment for all that the show went that much more “in-camera” in the fourth season… maybe back then, it didn’t seem quite as “lo-fi” as it does to me now.


  48. Ralph C. says:

    I enjoyed the invention exchanges and the shorts lots. I enjoyed the invention exchanges in the Joel years. There were some very clever and hilarious inventions by Joel, the ‘Bots and the Mads.

    The movie was perhaps too pallid, making it difficult to riff, and that combination makes a movie hard to get through. Of course, there are always some riffs that are funny but the overall movie/riffing experience for the “Unearthly” was weak. This is one of the few episodes that I don’t watch very often. Perhaps I’ll run this one while I’m working tomorrow.

    Those shorts are groovy.



  49. rose from NJ says:

    The scene where John Carradine appears to be tapping on Jedro’s (?) head and one of the bots kept making a rapping sound had me in tears from laughing so hard. Fun-nee!


  50. Zee says:

    Regarding that little Tom Servo figure- I noticed that on the desk and THAT was what I was expecting when they advertised the rolling Tom Servo figure that came with the info club packet. Imagine my disappointment when it was a PAPER CONE with a poorly scanned image of Tom Servo on it. Almost as lame as that “Mad Scientist clock” I bought from them.


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