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Episode guide: 321- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Movie: (1964) Determined to bring Christmas to their home planet, Martians kidnap Santa Claus.

First shown: 12/21/91
Opening: Crow and Tom are looking at Christmas catalogs
Invention exchange: The Mads demonstrate their wish squisher; J&tB offer up their own misfit toys
Host segment 1: J&tB sing: “A Patrick Swayze Christmas”
Host segment 2: J&tB look over tapes of cheesy Christmas specials
Host segment 3: J&tB read their Christmas essays
End: Caroling, stocking time, Joel reads a letter, meanwhile in Deep 13, the Mads are also exchanging gifts
Stinger: Bad martian’s derisive laughter
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (132 votes, average: 4.58 out of 5)


• This one is a genuine classic, and for a lot of MSTies it’s as much a part of the holiday season as “White Christmas” or “It’s A Wonderful Life.” All the host segments are gems. The riffing is solid throughout. It’s also another one I have almost completely memorized. But as good as it is, as much fun as it is, as much as “A Patrick Swayze Christmas” has become a yuletide tradition, well, I’ll just say it: The Cinematic Titanic riffing is funnier.
• This episode was the one they were working on when a crew from Comedy Central arrived at the studios to shoot footage for the documentary “This is MST3K.” Unfortunately, that led to a misunderstandings among some fans. MSTies had been told that bots painted black were used in the theater sequences, but in the special we could see that the regular bots were being used. “What gives?” a lot of fans asked at the time. The answer: The regular bots had been altered slightly with Christmas additions, and so those were used in the theater, this one time, for continuity’s sake, rather than the usual black bots. It’s just unfortunate that cameras were there to capture it.
• The invention exchange segment starts very abruptly, directly in Deep 13 rather than having the usual SOL intro. Were they just hurrying for time?
• What is a “video cassette cartridge game”? Frank seems to think kids would like to get one…
• Why isn’t the tree in the background in Deep 13 decorated?
• The image above was the best one I could get for this movie, because this version has no title card. The version you can download at also has no title card. For a while I thought this was the only print available, but the Cinematic Titanic version DOES have the title card. So, more than one version exists.
• There are a LOT of then-current topical references in this one: C. Everett Koop … “Twin Peaks” … the Thomas hearings … “Gates has been confirmed” … the notion that Drew Barrymore is a little kid … Eric Heiden … Donna Rice … and the first of several references to long forgotten commercial character, ‘Bonnie, your Time/Life operator.’ And a name that was a fairly obscure reference back then: “Joseph Biden.”
• At one point Servo says to Droppo: “You’re the Gilligan of your time.” Um, this movie and “Gilligan’s Island” both came out in the same year.
• Callbacks: “Puma?” (Ring of Terror) “…the Robot Holocaust…”
• Right before they start singing “A Patrick Swayze Christmas.” Joel says “Paul…” Apparently that was meant to be a David Letterman impression, but almost NOBODY got it.
• That’s Mike on the keyboards.
• Note the reference to “suggestive refueling sequences”–we’d get more in season 6.
• I never noticed before that all the martians have numbers on their clothes.
• In segment 2, Joel seems to “reading” the undersides of unpackaged VHS tapes. What could possibly be written there? They couldn’t have taken two minutes to fabricate little packages? Oh, and Burl Ives has since died.
• Frank’s present has little Shadowrama tape on it.
• Cast and Crew roundup: Executive producer Joseph E. Levine was also responsible for “Hercules” and “Hercules Unchained.” Makeup artist George Fiala also worked on “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.”
• Daddy-O notes: The movie reportedly was filmed in some abandoned airplane hangars near the Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, New York. And for those who don’t get the “Golden Globe” reference, in 1982 actress Pia Zadora, who as a child played little Girmar, stunned Hollywood when she won a Golden Globe in the “best new female star” category for her bland performance in a terrible little movie called “Butterfly.” Hollywood whispers had it that her rich husband, many decades her senior, bought her the nomination and award through much publicity — and possibly other methods. Hollywood cringed again when she and her husband bought the former estate of movie legends Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and she promptly started gutting and modernizing the historic home. That said, Pia does appear to be moderately talented, and apparently has a self-deprecating sense of humor, as shown in when she accepted roles in the movies “Hairspray” and “Voyage of the Rock Aliens.”
• CreditsWatch: For some reason, this episode has a whole herd of “additional contributing writers”: Lynn-Anne Freise, Tom Wedor, Craig Tollifson, Bob Schrad and Christopher Whiting, whoever they are. It should be no surprise that the music and lyrics for “A Patrick Swayze Christmas” were written by “Road House” aficionado Michael J. Nelson.
• Fave riff: “Tonight I’m a space pirate! Permission to come aboard!” Honorable mention: Martian: “Crush him!” Tom Servo (robot voice): “You were adopted!”

112 comments to Episode guide: 321- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

  • 1
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “Why isn’t the tree in the background in Deep 13 decorated?”

    Because they’re evil?…EVIL?


  • 2
    eegah says:

    I have to say, this episode is hard for me to get through. The host segments are classic, but the movie segments put me to sleep. I’d rather watch the later episode, “Santa Claus”.

    Perhaps I should give the CT version a whirl.


  • 3
    robot rump! says:

    Another then topical remark was the ‘I protest” everytime they showed the wind up indian during the psychotic…..fight scene…i believe Joel and the writers were referring to the period when native americans were going around protesting the indian themed sports teams, primarily the Atlanta Braves who were making another failed world series run that year, against the Twins i believe. as was often mentioned in the weekend thread i too also get warm and fuzzy from the Gypsy manger scene. oh yes..elf DOES taste like chicken.


  • 4
    snowdog says:

    I agree completely with eegah above. The host segments are indeed classic, but the movie is a slog for me. I found myself agreeing with Voldar much of time, but then I’m quite evil that way.

    @3 I suspect Joel was just protesting the stereotype of the Indian Chief in full head dress playing the war drum. Joel’s native American name would be “Protests Much and Often”


  • 5
    dad1153 says:

    I know this is an ‘essential’ “MST3K” classic episode (among the most beloved in the show’s storied history) but it always leaves me cold when the ‘It’s a Patrick Swayze Christmas’ carol barely gets a chuckle from me (though I love that right they stop singing Joel grabs Crow by the net and drags him out for a beatdown! Pain ). Then again, I’ve never seen “Road House” (or the Cinematic Titanic treatment of “SCCTM” even though I bought the CT DVD recently) and as an Atheist Christmas to me is just another day of the week. Watching this a few nights ago at 3AM in the middle of a hectic work schedule though, for some reason, “SCCTM” really hit me the right away and got me rolling. There’s a manic pace to the riffing but very few duds; the host segments have the soul and heart of Christmas right (love the nativity scene concealed in Gypsy’s mouth) and even the Mad scientists got big laughs (‘Sleep in heavenly peace!’). The flick itself commits the cardinal sin that most live action non-Disney flicks aimed at kids do of treating its audience like they’re as stupid and moronic as the on-screen characters. Joel and the Bots have a field day pointing the obvious (the giant polar bear that’s just a guy in a BEARly-concealed outfit… sorry! Struggle ) and referencing the obscure (‘don’t play with your Golden Globe’ when we first see Pia Zadora as a martian kid) with the ridiculous (Bill McCutcheon’s so-called comic relief foil Dropo… ughh!) rightfully either scorned or put in its proper place. Movies like “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” was the reason “MST3K” was invented, and The Brains lived up to their own high standards with this one. Just don’t ask me to see it often because, unless I’m really in the mood for it (or sleep-deprived from too much work), this is not one of my favorites.


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

    #4: Well, regardless of whether Voldar was right or wrong, it wasn’t very bright of him to directly flout his commander/leader’s orders like that. To paraphrase from a Season One episode: “Why does he have to abduct and murder to prove his point? Can’t he just show them a pie chart or something?” I guess Mars isn’t much for political discourse. Of course, in another scenario, Voldar might have overthrown Kimar and made his own word law instead.

    Kind of uncanny that “Winky’s idea of a Martian” was 100% accurate. They just sort of skimmed over that…


  • 7
    touches no one's life, then leaves says: offers these riffs from the Cinematic Titanic version:

    [As the quivery oldster’s pro-Santa rant finally concludes, J. Elvis concludes, “No piece of scenery left unchewed.”

    During a lengthy silence aboard the plywood Martian rocket, Trace advises, “In space, no one can hear you UNLESS YOU SPEAK!”

    During the barrage of stock footage implying Earthling military pursuit of the Martian kidnappers, Joel observes, “Even real military equipment looks fake in this film.”

    When green-painted Martian rebels engage in poorly choreographed fistfights with pro-Santa forces, Frank says, “You hate to see booger on booger violence,” while Mary Jo thinks it looks like “three Riddlers fighting an invisible Batman.”]

    If there are more quotes elsewhere, I don’t know about them.


  • 8
    swh1939 says:

    I’m totally with Sampo on this one. Top shelf all around and a definite must during the Christmas season (often late night Christmas Eve / early Christmas morning. It never puts me to sleep. But if it ever should, I know that I would SLEEP … IN HEAVENLY PEACE!!!!


  • 9
    swh1939 says:

    btw … Momar was code for Mom Martian, Bomar was code for Boy Martian, Girmar was code for Girl Martian, etc. So what about many of the other names?


  • 10
    Sitting Duck says:

    I’m pretty sure that the MST3K version does have a title card, but it’s at the very beginning and can only be seen for less than a second.


  • 11
    Joseph Nebus says:

    This is another of the episodes I first saw on the 60 Minute Syndicated Hour thing, and so, only saw the first half of.

    That Wish Squisher is a cute invention, and I like the stage magic bit used to make it work.

    I can’t help liking this movie, though. It’s goofy and ridiculous but, you know, I like goofy and ridiculous. And I like the idea that Martians need a Santa Claus too. There’s a good story to be made from that premise, although this might actually be the best treatment of the idea. (Don’t read Isaac Asimov’s “Christmas on Ganymede”, but if you must, remember he was very young and inexperienced at the time and magazine science fiction was … oh, just, don’t read it. Please.)

    Plus there’s a moment of real ingenuity in the film, where Santa reasons that the ventilation tubes into the airlock are enough like a chimney that he can slip through them. That’s good thinking, Santa. Well done. I imagine if the whole film were as ingenious as that this would be a classic without the qualifier of “among the many, many bizarre weird Santa-based movie film products.


  • 12
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #9: And Kimar for King Martian. I guess that was just for the “royal family” though.


  • 13
    Sampo says:

    #6 touches no one’s life, then leaves: Blinky, sir.

    I didn’t want to get too much into the CT version in the main body of the review, but I wanted to add that one fascinating element of the CT version is that they do the entire movie, uncut, and if you’ve seen the MST3K version as many times as I have, you really begin to realize how much it was chopped for time.


  • 14
    Matt D. says:

    Those “video cassette cartridge games” sure looked like Nintendo games to me, not that they were allowed to use the word Nintendo. I’ll assume that Sampo is being sarcastic rather than ignorant of Nintendo games.
    I am amazed that the first batch of people here are slagging on this film. I love this episode, and the craziness of the movie comes through and keeps things must more entertaining than other dramatic fare. Robots, polar bears, DROPPO and a fight scene with toys…what’s not to love? And as someone who wasn’t much into most of the host segments, all the segments work this time. 5 stars.


  • 15
    Stressfactor says:

    I bought the CT SCCTM during the summer “Scratch and Dent Sale” but held off until I could watch the MST3K version since I’m watching in order too (just a little bit ahead of the curve here).

    It was worth the wait and it was actually a lot of fun to watch both versions back-to-back.

    I gotta agree with common concensus — the MST3K version has the great host segments but you just can’t beat CT’s five riffers.

    Some of my favorite lines from the CT version:

    Frank: “That’s the last thing any cop wants to see — a chalk outline of Santa.”

    Trace: “Do you think the wardrobe wife knows about the wardrobe mistress?”

    And I know that the CT-ers now prefer the live format but there’s something great about the opening gambit where Trace, upon finding out what movie they’re going to be riffing, screams and runs and then has to be dragged back by his legs.

    Either way, BOTH versions had me laughing my head off.


  • 16
    Dan in WI says:

    Matt D #14> Hey it’s Sampo’s theroem in action.

    Actually in my opinion this episode over-rated as well. In my opinion it violates the rule of don’t use a movie that is “winking at itself as if it is in on the joke.”


  • 17
    klisch says:

    Top 10 for me. This episode is a MST classic. Just a fun, goofy movie.


  • 18
    Stressfactor says:

    @Dan in WI…

    I’m not sure the movie *was* “winking at itself”. It strikes me as something that was written off on a cocktail napkin by a bunch of people over a three martini lunch. A bunch of guys got together and basically went “Holiday movies are popular — let’s make one!”

    As Joel once said on “The Slime People” — all it takes is someone convincing someone else that this is a good idea.

    The movie just comes across as entirely too rushed and too cheap to actually be “winking at itself”. The filmmakers obviously didn’t give a crap as can be evidenced by the *several* times someone steps on another actor’s line and they don’t even bother to go back and reshoot the scene. I mean, that’s filmmaking 101 right there. If they actually cared they would have cut and reshot the scene.

    To me this movie is the ultimate in “looking to cash in on a quick buck and that’s all that matters.”


  • 19
    dsman71 says:

    One of the best episodes which I hope gets a Shout Factory release similar to the one Manos received.
    I watch this every Christmas – its a great episode…
    Its funny, it seems like yesterday we were just talking about Cave Dwellers..has this year zipped by or what ???
    Joel really aged a lot this season
    Whats to say about this movie that hasnt already been said ?
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees
    A Patrick Swayze Christmas
    Ho Ho Ho
    Ho Ho Ho
    Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Hooooooo
    Droppo is the Christmas version of
    Torgo ho ho ho
    Therapy isnt working isntThinking


  • 20
    Spalanzani says:

    A good episode to be sure, but I think Santa Claus is a much better Christmas episode overall. This one’s got good host segments and a wacky movie, but the riffing could be improved on, something the CT crew realized.

    In case Sampo’s serious with his question, “video cassette cartridge game” is just an overly fancy way of saying “video game”. Back in Ye Olden Days video games came in cartridges, which you stuck into a game console to play. These days video games come in CDs instead, except for the DS, which uses “game cards”. The Game Boy Advance was the last game console to use cartridges.


  • 21
    Sampo says:

    Spalanzani: I think Frank may have misspoken in that scene. Calling them “video game cartridges” would have made sense (and perhaps Matt D is correct that they were just avoiding using the word “Nintendo”) but I have NEVER heard of ANY product called “video cassette cartridge game.”


  • 22
    Jay says:

    My first episode. I came across this during the summer of 1992, I think CC was doing a “Christmas in July” themed block of shows and this episode was part of it. I was just channel surfing and came in at the scene where they’re approaching Mars. The first riff I ever heard was Joel’s: “It’s the Brunswick bowling ball planet.”

    I was fifteen years old. Nineteen years later, I still love this show.


  • 23
    jjb3k says:

    “The Essentials” was the first MST3K DVD I ever got, and for a good four months or so it was the only one I had, so along with “Manos”, this was an episode I pretty much watched to death. I had to take a break from it for about a year before I could come back to it. It’s still a great episode, but I think I prefer “Santa Claus” overall. Haven’t seen the CT version, but the trailer looks hysterical. (“It’s official, they’ve made me hate fun.”)

    Joel and the bots seemed to really enjoy gunning down little children this season – it happens in “Time of the Apes” (“Should we have shot her that many times?”) and again here when everyone’s laughing. It’s a little disturbing.

    For a few years, I tried to turn this into a Christmas tradition at my house, alongside Rudolph and the Grinch and all them. My mom didn’t really go for it.


  • 24
    Johnny Ryde says:

    Sometimes when I watch a MST3k movie un-riffed, I still “hear” the riffs in my head. For this episode, now when I watch it I can sometimes “hear” the CT riffs. (“Woah. I can’t believe he dropped the M-bomb like that.”)

    I watch this one every Christmastime although it’s not one of my favorites. The movie is trying a little too hard to be silly… It comes across as forced and I find that very painful to watch.


  • 25
    Droppo says:

    The CT version is strong, but, there’s a magic to the MST3K version. The SOL characters, the host segments…it will always be the definitive version for me.

    Also, I just am not a fan of Mary Jo’s voice. Clearly, she’s a funny writer. But, the fact that she’s one of the riffers always takes me out a bit of a CT ep. I think it’s truly remnant hatred for the Pearl character…b/c Mary Jo seems like a cool, funny and talented woman. I just loathe Pearl with every fiber of my being so her voice ends up having nails on a chalkboard syndrome for me.

    I would pay unspeakable amounts of money for a CT lineup of:
    Joel, Mike, Trace, Frank, Kevin, Bill.

    It would be a fanboy’s dream.

    All that said….my name is Droppo for crying out loud….so obviously this episode is one of my all-time favorites and a no doubt about it 5 star exp. Droppo is neck and neck with Sid Melton in Lost Continent for my favorite failed comic relief role in a MST experiment.


  • 26
    Matthew Shine says:


    This. This is one of the greatest episodes EVER. From the “Custume Designer” to “Santa Claus, killed in Vietnam”, the movie portions of this episode just have me rolling on the floor. I have to say, I don’t realise why Mars needed a Santa Claus in the first place, they were doing pretty all right for themselves being fairly tacturn to Christmas. I will never forget Dropo, the laziest man on Mars or Torg, the stepbrother of The Robot from The Robot Vs The Aztec Mummy fame. The host segments pretty much leave me cold except for Patrick Swayze’s Christmas and Gypsy’s Christmas speech.


  • 27
    Johnny Ryde says:

    “You spell it S-A-N-T-A…”

    Why do people in pre-1970 (or so) movies say “Santy” instead of “Santa”? Is/was that some regional pronunciation?


  • 28
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    Though not fond of seasonal or holiday films in the least, MST3K did such a good job tearing this one apart I can’t find any fault with it and the jokes made at the films expense are hilarious. The movie is certainly one of the worst used on the show with some of the lowest production values, poorest writing even by children’s movie standards and fairly weak acting and direction. The music is mind-numbingly stupid.

    Besides the obvious fun everyone will certainly mention with the Patrick Swayze song, the snow globe Servo head and more, the riffing is really strong in this one. Joel’s riffs on the names used in the film when he spews rapid triplets that include random names like “crank case” always get me laughing and are some of my favorite jokes in this episode. The terrible costumes and obvious, insipid dialogue certainly provoke a lot of good riffs as well. Droppo’s “more is more” comic relief is so bad it’s good for joking on. Usually failed comedy can make for a tough time riffing or watching (e.g., Hobgoblins) but it seems to work okay in this one. An excellent episode, the only thing that hurts it in my opinion as year-round fun is that it is seasonal both in choice of film and in many of the jokes and host segments.


  • 29
    The DA says:

    Oscar Wilde 2000!


  • 30
    monoceros4 says:

    Santa’s gonna cut you man! Santa’s a blade man man!

    OK, this isn’t the greatest Season 3 episode, but it’s quite strong and the host segments are all above average. Joel’s depressing monologue about office Christmas parties, steeped in liquor and joyless sex, is a particular favorite of mine. I do slightly prefer some of the CT riffing, especially from Frank Conniff.


  • 31
    Fred Burroughs says:

    Ouch. When it aired, I remember the slapstick fighting scenes and not much else. Trying to re-watch it is hard because of Droppo and his ilk. Admittedly, JTB do a great job riffing and the host segments are classic, but the movie is hard to watch more than once a year. It reminds me of Gamera V Zigra in that anyone over 4, it insults their intelligence; this was made for VERY young and very dumb kids. I am embarrassed for the actors who are earnestly delivering their pathetic lines in character. The Kimar guy maintains dignity throughout, somehow; and even Pia Zadora is good in this (another fun role in Naked Gun II as well).

    I agree w Stressfactor: this was probably a way to make a quick buck with a kid’s Christmas movie; any plot, props, or acting is kind of an afterthought. And I didn’t know about their names being significant, reminds of Hebrew names from the Bible, which often have a meaning built in. All in all, its wonderful having experienced the pain, the joy, the tears and seething contempt together with the bots through the experiment.

    Still, the best Santa Claus is still “Fats” from Wild Rebels, when he showed up in Jean Shepherd’s Christmas Story.


  • 32
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    Fantastic episode and a holiday tradition in my house. Love all the host segments and the riffing is good enough for me, I’m thinking of checking out the CT version this year though. The wish squisher gets my vote for funniest invention ever! About the video cassette cartridge games, it reminds me of when I was a kid and everything to my mom was a tape. Cartridges, 5.25″ disks, CDs, actual tapes were all tapes to her. I think the “video cassette cartridge games” was said to make TV’s Frank look like not the most technologically up to date person in the world. More likely, I am just projecting but that’s what makes this show fun, there are so many different ways to interpret it.


  • 33
    Bat Masterson says:

    The nativity in Gypsy’s mouth is one of my favorite MST3K moments of all time. I’m not Christian, but I still love how horribly, goofily sweet it is.


  • 34
    Brandon says:

    The scene with the polar bear is a classic.

    Servo: “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!”

    Psychic Lawn Dart: I always thought one of the Martians looked like Jaime Farr. Servo eventually mentions this towards the end of the film.


  • 35
    fish eye no miko says:

    I have a little pedantic issue wit this episode: In Segment two, while going through movies, Joel mentions they have It’s A Wonderful Life, but then says that it’s the lame Marlo Thomas version. The problem is, the Marlo Thomas version isn’t called IAWL, it’s called It Happened One Christmas.

    I’m firmly in the “I love it” camp (though I can see why others don’t), and I love the CT version as well.

    Is it too early to watch it, you think?


  • 36
    EricJ says:

    And now for some non-CT riffs that still get me giggling:

    – “OPEN, Koko the Clown room!”
    (villain gives strange scowl)
    Servo: “Why Voldar, you’ve been crying…”
    “No one will ever know that Santa Claus was kidnapped by Martians.”
    Joel: “…Do you realize what you just said?”
    – Girl: “He doesn’t like us very much.”
    Crow: “Ohh, who wouldn’t like you, princess?”
    “Ohh, Mrs. Claus is going to be so upset.”
    Crow (as Santa): “‘She’s going to HIT me with a frying pan!'”
    (four-note Robot theme)
    Joel: “Sounds like the Jeopardy theme in a minor key.”
    “Ho, ho, the poor man…”
    “He’s bleeding from the ears!”
    “There’s this little spring…And it falls downstairs all by itself.”
    “Just like Grandma!”
    – Drive-by Puzzlingly Apropos-of-Little Personal Editorial Riff:
    (kids peek out of toybox/radar)
    Servo: “C’mon, Cindy…I mean, Skipper…I mean–oh, heck, this shot’s been in so many sitcoms, I don’t remember which one we’re in anymore.”
    (Just let it out, Kevin, deep cleansing breaths…)


  • 37
    AgentMom says:

    Santa Clause Conquers the Martians has a special place in my heart, because I first saw it when I was barely five years old, in 1966. At that age, I was quite transfixed by the movie, so I always watch the film with a severe bout of nostalgia. Joel and the Bots just add to the experience.

    That’s my favorite MST3K disc and I am sooooooooooo happy when October is over and I dig out that disc to enjoy for only two months of the year.

    After December, I put it back up (sadly so) and wait until next year. My fav part is when the Nativity is in Gypsy’s mouth. As a Christian, I love that Joel and Bots gave a little nod to what Christmas is really about.

    The only thing that ever put it better is a Charlie Brown Christmas!


  • 38
    Valnastar says:

    Droppo, just… Droppo.


  • 39
    Spector says:

    Love the host segments, and of course the Patrick Swayze Christmas is a classic, but of the two Christmas films, this is the lesser of the two. “Santa Claus” had much better riffing, and of course gave us the character of “Pitch”, who revisited the show several times courtesy of Paul Chaplin. Not that this one is a bad episode, far from it, it’s still pretty good, I just found “Santa Claus” funnier. 3.5 stars out of five.


  • 40
    Zee says:

    When it comes to MST Xmas episodes, I feel this one has the better host segments, while SANTA CLAUS has the better movie segments.


  • 41
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    Additional notes and favorite jokes and scenes:

    1)The movie’s robot. About as cheap as the one in Robot Vs. Aztec Mummy and it gets slathered in good riffs.
    2)The polar bear. Again, the cheap costume brings a barrage of hilarious comments.
    3)”We have children like you back on Mars.” Riff: “Only they’re worse actors.” Genius funny!
    4)The jokes about the “radar box” and other incredibly cheap props in the movie. Really good stuff.
    6)I prefer this to the “other” Santa Claus movie done on the show though that one is an excellent episode too. This movie is lighter fare and as usual I prefer the show before a spate of major cast changes ensued beginning in Season 5. Also, the poverty and child neglect in the Mexican import film make it a little tougher to watch and laugh off. Having a wonderful child in your life makes stuff like that tough going even in an incredibly stupid and poorly made film. Though I have to say the MST3K comments made about the cheap, short-sighted solutions offered in that second film certainly made it a lot easier and fun to watch. Both are extremely strong episodes of the show.
    7)Comments here, both my own and those of others, again emphasize one main reason why I dislike seasonal fare. Episodes should seem fun to watch all year, not just during certain seasons or holidays.


  • 42
    Johnny Ryde says:

    No, Lupita!


  • 43
    April de Wetpants says:

    This is one of those episodes I can quote word for word. But I’m still going to admit, I like “Santa Claus” more (!)

    Some fave quotes

    “Whoa, Lentils”
    “The kids the McGyver of his time”–another dated one, shows my age
    Droppo: my finger isn’t tired…”Look out nose”

    and probably my fave..
    “Santa Claus, killed in Vietnam”

    Also love when Crow boogies to the song

    I’ll stop there.

    RIP Patrick Swayze


  • 44
    Blast Hardcheese says:

    SCCTM has become inextricably linked with Pia Zadora, although her part in it is relatively small. Her “big debut” film, “Butterfly” would have been MSTable, were it not too steamy for the show–and it features both Ms Zadora *and* James Franciscus, who starred in “Marooned”/”Space Travelers.” I still remember when her name was pretty much little more than a punchline, although I understand she’s since garnered some measure of respectability as a singer.

    At any rate, she’ll always be Girmar to me!


  • 45
    lancecorbain says:

    Have you kids ever heard a grown man scream? Love that joke.


  • 46
    JimmyBruce says:

    “Guns a blazin'”


  • 47
    dsman71 says:

    I love the riff when Joel says “lets give them to the dyslexic kids
    I think Shout should release this with the CT version and an uncut version on DVD


  • 48
    EricJ says:

    @31 – and even Pia Zadora is good in this (another fun role in Naked Gun II as well).

    (Ahem, I believe that’s “Naked Gun 33-1/3: the Final Insult”, thank you very much?)

    @43 – Droppo: my finger isn’t tired…
    ”Look out nose”

    Dropo dances into workshop
    Crow: “Ah, Ed Grimley’s here.”

    Just be glad we only got a little bit of Dropo in this movie, as opposed to those who had to grow up with five years of Bill McCutcheon as a regular on the late-80’s years of Sesame Street.

    As for other Christmas movies they could have done, we know they’ve at least heard of the Italian “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t”, since we’ve gotten an official Ballyhoo documentary on it:
    but it just sums up the era of “Weird foreign 60’s kiddie-matinee” even more than the Mexican movie…Almost. AS much, maybe.


  • 49
    senorpogo says:

    Here’s an interview with Pia Zadora from earlier this year. Seems like a really nice lady.

    She briefly talks about Santa Claus vs. The Martians. Sadly, she isn’t familiar with MST3K.

    PCC: And what did you think when you heard about the ‘Mystery Science Theatre’ take on the movie?
    ZADORA: The which?
    PCC:‘Mystery Science Theatre 3000.’ You haven’t seen it?
    ZADORA: No! [laughs]


  • 50
    Ned R. says:

    All time great, could go on about it forever. Has perhaps my favorite all time MST3K bit:

    MARTIAN: “What soft, and round, and you put it on the end of a stick–”

    SERVO: “An elf?”

    MARTIAN: “–and it’s green?”

    SERVO: “Oh, a DEAD elf.”

    My friend M. has his own favorite moment from the show from this as well:

    KIMAR: “You’re coming with us!”

    JOEL: “You’re coming to town!”


  • 51
    Ned R. says:

    those who had to grow up with five years of Bill McCutcheon as a regular on the late-80?s years of Sesame Street

    Lord, I dodged a bullet there, I guess. I remember seeing him in some random movie on afternoon TV once years back and going “Argh, not HIM.”


  • 52
    MSTieScott says:

    Re: the black puppet silhouette confusion…

    I wasn’t a MSTie at the time, but I’m curious as to the timeline of “MSTies were told black puppets were used” and “‘This is MST3K’ is released.” Because I have a hard time accepting that the Brains would go back to non-black puppets in this instance.

    The change to the shape of Servo’s head is imperceptible at the distance of the theater shot (plus they couldn’t use the clear part of the snow globe anyway!), so an already-existing black puppet would have fit the bill perfectly.

    And looking at the theater Crow (especially from the “Scrapbook” tape) — it was easier to take the existing puppet, remove the eyes, and attach the longer string Trace needs to operate the theater Crow? As opposed to simply sticking the Rudolph nose on a black puppet?

    Which is why I wonder about the timeline — perhaps they created the black puppets sometime after taping 321, but the information was released before “This Is MST3K” aired?

    “Sleep! In heavenly peace!” is a hilarious line. I wish Trace hadn’t had to tone it down to keep Frank from laughing, because his delivery that we see on the “Poopie!” reel is perfect.


  • 53

    @34: My “Psychic Lawn Dart” was when the “Polar Bear” attacked the kids in the cave. I thought White Fang from the Soupy Sales show. Right after that Crow/Trace goes “OOLA-OOLA-OOLA!”.


  • 54
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    For me, this is an all time classic, easily in my TOP 10 MST3k episodes. Everything works, the riffing is solid and spot on, the Host Segments are all classics, and the Invention Exchange is a good one, this one has Christmas cheer and jeer in equal measures. A 5/5 ! !

    Of course, this one is a Holiday tradition in my house. It was weird watching it in October.. I’m sure I’ll watch it again in a couple months.. And you know.. . I like #521 SANTA CLAUS okay, it’s a great episode, but there’s something about it that doesn’t quite match up to SCCTM. I don’t watch #521 every year for Christmas (in fact, over the past 5 years I’ve probably watched it once) but without fail I ALWAYS watch #321. It just does me right.


    Crow: “I wanna decide who lives and who dies.”
    Joel: “Oh I don’t know..”

    When the Mads send up the movie,
    Dr. F: “Shield your eyes, Frank.”

    Joel: “Big John Call IS Santa Claus in ‘Little Old Town of DEATHlaham.”

    Joel: “ALL OVER THE WORLD!” – – – – – – What is this from?

    Movie: “Hello Santa.”
    Crow: “Get the hell out of my shop.”

    Crow, as Santa smokes: “Smoking is good for you.”

    Movie Santa: “We’re going out the old fashioned way.”
    Joel: “Guns a’blazin.”

    Servo: “What’s in the pipe, Santa?”

    Servo: “Meanwhile, at Oscar Wilde’s house.”

    Crow: “Tonight I’m a space pirate! Permission to come aboard!”

    Movie: “Watching Earth programs, it confuses them..”
    Joel: “Especially ‘Twin Peaks'”

    Movie, Bad Martian: “HaHaHaHaHaHaHa.”
    Crow: “Sorry.”

    Crow: “Pack your other mustache.”

    Servo (and later Crow too): “WHOA, Lentils.”

    Movie: “Another UFO bulletin..”
    Joel: “I’m high.”

    Joel: “Drop ’em, Droppo.”

    Crow: “Time for go to bed.” – – – -Callback to Tor in THE UNEARTHLY.

    Joel: “They shot this in Minnesota in October.”

    Crow: “Santa’s gonna cut you man. Santa’s a blade-man, man!”

    Joel: “MY SPINE!!”
    The Bots: *cracking sounds*

    Servo: “Billy Foster IS The Secret Device.”

    Joel: “Uh, adjust your sash, Karl.”

    Joel: “I love you.”
    Crow: “It’ll never work.”

    Joel: “Headbutt.”

    Joel: “Breaking & Entering, that’s my racket.”

    Crow: “It’s the little things that drive you to drug abuse.”

    Crow: “OOOOOOO, that’s good pill!”

    Crow: “We have to sell this stuff to Whammo.”

    Joel: “Looks like Santa is doing sound for Yes.”

    Crow: “Oh, Everything is better hand. GO TO BED OLD MAN!”

    during the closing song,
    Servo: “Hang out in leather bars!”

    And I’ve not seen the CT version of SCCTM. Need to get around to that. ….

    A CLASSIC 5/5 episode!
    The best Season 3?
    MAYBE. . .


  • 55
    Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    I just have to say that this was one of the first MST3K episodes I watched, so it has a special place in my heart. I remember me and my college roommate laughing our butts off seeing this one. I think there’s a place for both this episode and the “Stupid Mexican Kids Movie” for holiday watching. What else are you going to watch? “The Christmas That Didn’t Totally Suck”?

    So what’s in the pipe, Santa?


  • 56
    CT Himes says:

    Without a doubt, one of the best episodes they ever did. It was also the first Joel episode I saw.


  • 57
    Keith Palmer says:

    An independent TV station in my area used to show this movie “raw” around Christmas back in the 1980s, and it was also featured in “The Fifty Worst Films of All Time,” so this is another one of the handful of movies in the “MST3K canon” that have some strange existence outside the series for me. I’m about evenly split between it and “Santa Claus” so far as “holiday episodes” go… but I have to admit I haven’t had any motivation to check out the Cinematic Titanic version since hearing it springboards off Droppo to get in digs at other unloved comedy relief characters. I suppose it’s a failing of mine that I don’t find accusations of characters meant to be funny not being so to be, well, funny.


  • 58
    Sharktopus says:

    Holy crap, lotsa comments already. Can’t say I’m surprised – this is a bonafide classic episode, hands down.

    To whomever up there first pointed out the Momar=Mom Martian, Girmar=Girl Martian thing: Thanks, now I feel really stupid. More like Milfmar, am I right gentlemen? Poom! Big Frown

    I don’t quite get all the bile vented at this movie. Between the ACEG listing and Joel’s writeup on the CT website, they make it sound like Monster A-Go-Go or something. Sure, it’s a cheap, crummy movie, but it’s a watchable cheap, crummy with a plot that almost makes sense, bargain bin actors who give it their best, and – I think we can agree – a sweet, wholesome message. Personally, if I set out to make a holiday kids’ flick with as little capital as Joseph E. Levine had to spread around, I’d be pretty pleased with this end result. Bottom line, which movie would you show your kids at Christmastime, unRiffed: Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, or say, Jingle All Da Way? (For those who are curious to attempt that experiment, you can find cheapo public domain DVDs of SSCTM in your nearest dollar store come December.)

    I’m not sure if I can agree with Sampo that Cinematic Titanic’s version is funnier, but I think it definitely benefits from lack of familiarity. As Sampo said, he prectically has the episode memorized – as do many of us, no doubt – whereas CT’s take was new and fresh. “All new riffs,” as the box claims. Only time will tell which holds up in the long run. CT’s has fewer obscure topical references that don’t age well, but that really can’t compete with A Patrick Swayze Christmas and “I wanna decide who lives and who dies.” (Part of me is tempted to edit together an ultimate combined Riff of the movie but that sounds like an awful lot of work when I enjoy watching both separately.)

    By the way, regarding “custume designer,” just last night I noticed the opening credits of Earth Vs The Spider says “starrring” with three Rs. Undeniable proof that somebody Just Didn’t Care.


  • 59
    Sharktopus says:

    Oh, and about the “ALL OVER THE WORLD” thing: explains it somewhat. I’ve never seen or heard the bit in question, and YouTube yields no helpful results. Maybe someone will have better luck?


  • 60
    Creepygirl says:

    This movie and episode are a classic in my book. Strange, goofy, and down right kooky. Patrick Swayze Christmas may be one of my fave MST3K songs in the series.

    Golden Age MST3K. 5 stars.


  • 61
    Max Keller says:

    Agree that this one can be a little dated, but it’s still a holiday tradition for me, and I always enjoy it. I’ll probably enjoy it less and less now that I have to watch it *twice* every season (MST and CT.)

    Still, one of my absolute all-time favorite riffs:

    Kid: “Pills for breakfast!”
    Crow as Santa: “Ho ho ho, what are we, Judy Garland?”

    So wrong, yet soooooo right.


  • 62
    fish eye no miko says:

    @59: Oddly, I’ve heard that joke, post MST, on Cheap Seats of all things. They did an episode featuring a Steve Garvey fishing tourney thing, and Floorwax was one of the guest stars. They show some of his standup, and he does that joke. As I was watching the bit, I was like, “Wait, that sounds reaaally familiar…”
    It starts at ~9:30


  • 63
    Mac aka: afriendlychicken says:

    I happen to like both MST3K Claus episodes. Are we forced to choose one? Can’t we like them both? Wink I’ve watched the two of them every Christmas eve for at least a decade, wearing out my old VHS tapes in the process. Thank goodness they’re both on DVD now.

    Some of my favorite lines have already been mentioned. Here’s one that I’ve always liked:

    CROW: “Oh great kid, you just fingered Kris Kringle.”



  • 64
    pondoscp says:

    This is one of my least favorite episodes of the entire run, right up there with “Santa Claus.” Granted, I still love the episode, the host segments are pure gold, but the movie, ugh, it’s so painful. I reserve this one, “Santa Claus,” and “Jack Frost” only for holiday viewings. I like the CT version as well, but I’m like Trace, or is it Joel, who runs screaming when told they have to watch this movie again. It has such an ick factor that even the strongest riffing doesn’t make it palatable to me. Probably due to seeing it too much back in 91/92.
    3 stars, and that’s the movie’s fault, not the riffers. I know the movies are supposed to hurt, but wow.

    Next week however, is my absolute favorite of the entire run, “Master Ninja I” Smile


  • 65
    Justin Bailey says:

    Crow’s “Thanks dad!” in the opening is one of my favorite moments from the show EVER, I’m not even kidding.


  • 66
    Stressfactor says:

    By the way, a few other favorite riffs from the CT version….

    Frank: “Quit calling it a film — we know better.”

    Josh: “JaLor Productions; we lock away your mind and throw away the key.”

    Joel: “It takes a big pair of elves to call that animation.”

    Josh: “Not for use with some religions.”


  • 67
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    A few points:

    Okay, so how many of us saw this movie when we were kids? (So far, I count one: AgentMom at #37.) If I remember correctly, Channel 5 (WNEW-TV) would run this every year, while Channel 11 (WPIX-TV) had “March of the Wooden Soldiers”.

    This is one of my favorite episodes; each year on the weekend just before Christmas, I alternate this version with the CT version. Now, we just need CT to do an alternate version of “Santa Claus”.

    Now, it’s my understanding that Patrick Sawyze himself liked “Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas”. Can anyone confirm that?

    One other movie that got revived every year at Yuletide was “The Christmas that Almost Wasn’t”. I’d love to see either CT or RT riff on that one.


  • 68
    Alex says:

    One of the most infamous episodes with one of the ****tiest movies ever made. Definetly a memorable episode and one of my favorites. Let’s have a Patrick Swayzy Christmas is also one of my favorite mst3k songs. ;P


  • 69
    Stressfactor says:

    @Kenneth Morgan (#67)

    I saw this one as a kid on KPLR Channel 11 but I only recall seeing it once. I must have been pretty small at the time because I remember that ridiculous robot freaking me out as well as being a bit distressed at the teddy bear with the doll’s head and vice versa*. It took me years before I figured out the name of the movie and I actually never watched it again until just recently when I saw this version of it.

    *Yeah, I was a wimpy little chick.


  • 70
    Joe Raygor says:

    Great episode, but one complaint: I thought there were way too many topical/relevant-in-1991 riffs, as Sampo pointed out in his review. Just dates the episode horribly, IMHO.

    Still, doesn’t stop me from enjoying it anyway. A holiday favorite in the Raygor household, for sure.


  • 71
    Mac aka: afriendlychicken says:

    @Kenneth Morgan (#67)

    I also saw this when I was a kid. I believe the year was either 1975 or 1976 and it was on (KGMB) channel 9. It was a midnight showing on Christmas Eve. I remember…dare I say this?…liking it. Heck, I was only around 7-8 years old at the time and anything with Santa Claus in it was great to me!

    So yes, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” had even spread to the kids of Hawai’i.

    I hope the “March of the Wooden Soldiers” that was shown in your area was the Laurel & Hardy version.


  • 72
    Ed Powell says:

    Back in the mid-late 80s, everyone where I was seemed to call the Nintendo cartridges “tapes”. Which bugged the everloving preteen crap out of me, since THEY DON’T HAVE TAPE IN THEM.

    The horrors of a fledgling computer nerd…


  • 73
    Torgo's Pajamas says:

    Day after Thanksgiving, this one enters a regular rotation. Like “Mitchell”, one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.

    Also, this episode has one of the funniest political jokes of all time when they call out Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden (our current Vice President!), and Howard Metzenbaum. As a MSTie fortunate enough to have worked on the Hill back in the day, that’s 1) funny on its own, yes; but 2) a surprisingly accurate comment on the physical appearance of those three former Senators in that moment. If you knew those three, you’d agree that it’s an amazingly astute observation by Tom Servo. I crack up every time I watch it because I imagine that at one point, during those Senators’ decades of service, there must’ve been a moment when they walked though a doorway and perfectly replicated that shot.


  • 74
    Sampo says:

    Kenneth Morgan– I’m pretty sure I saw it at at Saturday matinee at the Suburban theater (now a trendy farmer’s market) in Ardmore, Pa. I would have been 7. Times being what they were, my mom just dropped me and my brothers off at the theater and of course we — and every other kid in the place — ran around like complete hooligans for two hours before our mom picked us up. I don’t remember much of the movie.


  • 75
    Really old teenager from OuterSpace says:

    One of my top ten favories,(Santa Claus would also be in my top ten). Although I disagree with Sampo, I find this far superior to the CT effort. That’s just my humble opinion.


  • 76
    JCC says:

    @72 – Ha! Nintendo Power printed a letter in one of their early issues where they chastised the writer for calling them tapes in an attempt to educate the gaming public. It worked for me though – I always called them cartridges after that. Never called them “game paks” though, which I think is what Nintendo wanted them to be officially referred to as.


  • 77
    pablum says:

    A great episode. Lots of fun. Both in the theater and host segments.

    I gotta hand the title of best riffed version to MST3K. Cinematic Titanic’s effort is probably my favorite to date from them, but it doesn’t compare. Probably because many more people worked on the jokes for the MST3K version (which is always my issue with all post-MST3K material by the Brains).


  • 78
    SaintStryfe says:

    One of my favorite gags is how easy it is to see how they do the Wish Switcher prop – the boxes were two-sided, the good present on one side, the bad one on the other. When the F&F showed off the good present, they lidded it, flipped it and pushed it through the “Device” and then opened up the bottom half which had the lousy present.

    I first saw this episode when I was 8 or 9 (just past Santa-believing time myself) and I recognized that and my older brother (whom I thought knew everything) said “huh, I didn’t pick that up. Good eye.” I felt so proud. Laugh


  • 79
    Alex says:

    My favorite joke was always “Santa Killed in Vietnam.” as you a picture of Santa Claus at the end, perhaps to remind people that Santa was in the movie or something.


  • 80
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:


    The last page of this site ‘s fifteen(!)-page “Road House” recap mentions “Swayze finally hearing the “Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas” song from Mystery Science Theater 3000, and laughing his ass off at it.” But it doesn’t document that claim, so I don’t know how helpful that is.


  • 81
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @65 Justin Bailey:


    I love that too! There’s just something about the voice that Trace uses when he says that. It’s all nasal.
    I believe it is during the opening, when they’re looking through catalogs, dreaming.


    thanks to #59 Sharktopus and #62 fish eye no miko for shedding light on the source of “ALL OVER THE WORLD!”

    but no thanks for making me watch even a piece of the terminally unfunny Sklar Bros.


  • 82
    TheDON3k says:

    I’ve never bothered to look it up, but I’m pretty sure that the TV Reporter is the same actor who played Ralph the Doorman, with his hand perpetually out for a tip, on The Jeffersons.


  • 83
    Castleton Snob says:

    Love this episode. It has become a holiday classic in my family as well.
    Crow: Woah it smells like a monkey house in here. My son and I always laugh when Santa says:
    It runs on real rocket few-ell.


  • 84
    Sitting Duck says:

    Fred Burroughs #31: The Kimar guy maintains dignity throughout, somehow;

    It probably helped that he was the only male Martian who wasn’t a total eyesore in tights.


  • 85
    majorjoe23 says:

    Hey Sampo, for a while there were some video games on cassettes. I assume that’s what Frank was talking about:


  • 86
    Lisa says:

    Fantastic episode. Definitely Top 10 (I think I need to review my top 10 — there may be more than 10 Razz ).

    Great riffing throughout, very watchable movie, and great host segments.

    Favorite moments:
    Crow: I want to decide who lives and who dies.

    Patrick Swayze Christmas

    Crow: Tonight I’m a space pirate! Permission to come aboard.

    Droppo: My finger’s not tired!
    Crow: Look out nose.

    I also love how Billy Foster is sitting outside, trying to sleep. WTH?


  • 87
    Jason says:

    @76 JCC:

    Oh man, “Game Paks.” If I’m not mistaken, Nintendo’s wacky names for everything was an attempt to shift away from the terminology folks normally associated with video games due to the industry’s crash in the early 80’s. So their games were Game Paks as opposed to cartridges, and the console deck was an Entertainment System. You can also bet that this desire to be different is responsible for the oven style design of the NES that hides the game from view. Happily, they reverted back to the toaster design for reasons all of us who’ve blown into an NES cartridge are well aware.


  • 88
    ServoTron3000 says:

    I’m just paraphrasing the riff from memory, but it went something like:

    Crow: He wasn’t in that bathroom very long

    Servo: Are you kidding? With a name like Droppo?

    Probably not an exact quote, but always made me bust up!


  • 89
    Dan in WI says:

    Another possibility for the “video cassette cartridge game” is


  • 90
    big61al says:

    Love this episode but I think the CT version is funnier. Missed riffed in both versions….in the martian toy factory there is a door where the toys come out with one of them labeled “TOOLS”. Tools? And not one comment? Puzzling. Present


  • 91
    schippers says:

    I love the MST version, no doubt, but I think the CT riff is stronger overall. However, I did want to point out one magical joke that works SO MUCH BETTER in the MST version. I recall (but not from where, sorry) Joel talking about reriffing the movie for CT and, upon comparing the new riffs to the old, discovering that not much common ground was reploughed. HOWEVER, this joke, which I’m getting to, TOTALLY feels like one where Joel (or whoever wrote it) REALLY wanted to use the original.

    The scene: Kimar confronts Droppo and delivers this pair of lines (or an approximation thereof): “Droppo, you are the laziest man on Mars. Why are you sleeping instead of working?”
    MST Joel riff, in Droppo’s voice: “Because I’m the laziest man on Mars!”
    CT Joel riff, in Droppo’s voice: “Because the second-laziest man is gaining on me!”

    I won’t expound on the reasons why the MST riff is MUCH FUNNIER. It just is.


  • 92
    Sharktopus says:

    The “video cassette cartidge games” thing was a joke, people. Get over it! NNNEEERRRDDDSSS! Really Angry

    Add me to the list of MSTies who love Crow’s hilarious “Thanks, dad.”

    “And it runs on real rocket fu-el.” An endlessly quotable episode, riffs and movie alike.


  • 93
    April de Wetpants says:

    Someone mentioned that they thought Patrick Swayze enjoyed the song. I’m sure he did, if he heard it…he had a great sense of humor. Just an all around great guy. Really miss him.

    One I haven’t seen mentioned, or missed,when Santa first meets the martian kids love the maniacal laughing and war sounds from the guys

    I agree the CT version is strong. Wasn’t too crazy about it at first, but it grew on me. Think the addition of J. Elvis and Mary Jo helped freshen it up a bit. Love the CT version when Josh does his Great Carnac.

    An elf, a robot, and an old lady
    Name something tiny, shiny, and whiny


  • 94

    “I’ll just say it: The Cinematic Titanic riffing is funnier.”

    Well, I don’t know if I agree with that, but I don’t watch MST3K just for the riffing. The CT SCCTM has a solid opening and I love the “gifts from Joel” segment, but the MST host segments are all time classics and put the episode as a whole well ahead of the still stellar CT version.


  • 95
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #86: And then he gives up on sleeping less than a minute later. Evidently Billy has trouble staying focused unless he’s embarked on specific action: escape the Martians, warn Santa, tour the ship, build toys, fight Voldar, etc. OSLT.

    Although Billy, in tried-and-true action hero format, proclaims “You’ll never get away with this!” the Martians do, in fact, get away with it. So, from the perspective of “abducting Santa is a bad thing,” the Martians, as overall “bad guys,” succeed. Quite efficiently, too. Once that’s accomplished, the focus shifts to Voldar as SPECIFIC bad guy. Billy should have saved his declaration for later in the film.

    It’s mildly interesting that only one Martian has a one-syllable name: Shim, the one who wears fur and lives in a cave. Some sort of social caste thing, perhaps. Maybe the other Martians started out with names like (pronounced) Keem, Mome, Vole, Drop, and so on before they got to add suffixes to their names. Or maybe not.

    If I understood correctly (and it’s not as if the movie’s writers were really trying for consistency anyway), the other Martians on Kimar’s council are rulers of specific sections of Mars (of which Kimar is by analogy the President). I presume that Voldar’s territory is the Martian equivalent of the Bible Belt. I live in the USA’s Bible Belt, so I get to say that. Wink Voldar wants to be “warlike” despite the fact that, since Mars is apparently a One World Government, there doesn’t seem to be anyone for him to wage war upon. Even though he doesn’t want to abduct Santa in the first place, he’s angry that Kimar wants to do it without HURTING anybody. You’re the Kalgon of your time, Voldar.


  • 96
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    ADDENDUM: In fact, Voldar is sort of a prototype of the Star Trek: The Next Generation-era Klingons, warriors who chafed at having been at peace for too long.


  • 97
    monoceros4 says:

    “…warriors who chafed at having been at peace for too long.”

    It was a favor to them really; on the evidence, they sucked at being warriors.


  • 98
    zeroninety says:

    “Give sanctions more time!”


  • 99
    Pete says:

    Crow: “This is not a game Santa. He could be seriously hurt. Everything’s a joke with you.”


  • 100
    Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    This became a Christmas classic for my family, right up there with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Rudolf.” In fact, the Saturday after Thanksgiving it was the first “Holiday” show we watched for many years. I gave it as gifts when the “Essentials” pack came out as a way of introducing friends to the show.

    I have to disagree with sampo on the CT version. What makes this episode tops in the complete show. The holiday feel, the set decorations, the songs and catalogue skit, and of course, the movie itself. Not just the riffs of the movie. CT does do a more complete job, but it is not a “holiday episode.”

    (It should be noted that I saw this picture in the theater when it was first released. Dad took me and my sister to see it on base in Virginia Beach. I remember it to this day)

    One dated Riff you forgot was while Billy and Betty were listening to the Am “transistor” radio. “What’s Vietnam?” A dated reference to the American Heritage special edition magazine on the war, heavily advertised in the late 1980s. Sort of a “what do we tell our children” type thing.

    This is a classic in so many ways that it makes my top ten list regardless of what your criteria is. It beats CT for the same reason RiffTrax will never be a popular as MST3K. It was the whole show, not just the riffing, that we enjoyed.


  • 101
    Warren says:

    Upon re-watching this yesterday: above average. Plenty of good riffing, great host segments (Thanks Dad!) and a silly movie make it memorable. I can’t say it’s an all-time favorite, but it does stand out as an episode.


  • 102
    Gorn Captain says:

    C. Everett Koop is doing commercials for Life Alert these days. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” So, semi current topical ref? Wink


  • 103
    lancecorbain says:

    #90-Yess!!! Someone else noticed the TOOLS door. God, how many celebrity dolls we all could name coming out of that one. Oh, and just to add another nerdy comment, we had an ATARI 2600 in the early 80’s, so until they showed up on discs, I always referred to them as cartridges. I think the video game “cassette tape” thing was just the Mads trying to be “hip” and “with it” and failing, as usual, which always made them funnier.


  • 104
    losingmydignity says:

    I fall somewhere in the middle on this one. A solid ep but not a classic. Of course, the great host segs and the Xmas special feel make this a little more special than your average B+ ep. Still, I don’t trot this out every Xmas.

    The CT version has slightly better riffing but is still pretty average for them. Season six’s Santa Claus is my fav of these three. I’m saving Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny for this year’s Xmas (talk about patience!)so can’t comment on that one.

    I think I saw this as a matinee feature when I was kid (a rerelease–I’m not that old!). Santa appeared and maybe King Kong though I could be mixing that up with another one. King Kong turned out be a guy in gorilla suit throwing a beach ball around much to my chagrin. There were other costumed characters. They don’t do costumed kids’ matinees anymore, do they?


  • 105
    Kali says:

    Oh, yes, A Patrick Swayze Christmas. Has. Got. To. Be. The. Best. MST. Song. Ever.

    I loved this episode, even on CT, although it appears at times they were really stretching to avoid copying any MST lines (although Joel did get his callback on Pia Zadora early on).

    Doesn’t that bearded, fat Martian look totally out of place?

    And, no imagination here: Bo(y)mar(tian); Gir(l)mar(tian); Mom-ar(tian); Ki(ng)mar(tian).

    Um, Frank, you were a little obvious with the Wish Squisher (a great invention, by the way) – at one point, he gives away how they did the trick.

    Anyway, the Mads always get the better on these invention exchanges. Because they’re EVIL! EVIL!

    Paper towels desperately trying to be ICBMs. These guys were so broke.

    Hasn’t anyone mentioned the $1.98 bear costume (or should that be custume)?

    And someone did a novelization of this thing – in Girmar’s point of view:

    She also comments about MST and wonders why anyone would make fun of such a good movie. Heh

    Yes, I bought it. The uncut version is included on DVD – with the title card.

    Joel (as Bald Guy): Dear Hair Club For Men. I need help. Big Time.

    Andy Henderson (doesn’t Santa call him Mr. Anderson?): It’s Andy Henderson! At the North Pole!
    Crow: No, you’re not! You’re Rip Taylor!
    (actually, it’s Ned Wertimer – the doorman at The Jefferson’s de-lux apartment in the sky)

    Voldar: Now, Torg! Crush them!
    Crow (as robot): You. Were. Adopted.

    Voldar: What is a ‘Krist-Mast’?
    Joel: It’s a Christian holiday ruined by commercialism?
    Right on, Joel!

    Kimar: Where’s Lady Momar?
    Joel: Gaddafi?
    Ouch, Joel…

    Chochem: What time is it?
    Kimar: It’s the middle of Septober.
    Servo: Oh, time for Septoberfest.

    Joel: Cricket lighter away!

    Servo: And now, for your enjoyment, some suggestive scenes of jets refueling.
    (should we be concerned that this is the same stock footage used in Dr Strangelove — and for that very reason?)

    Kimar: Our only purpose is to bring Santa Claus back to Mars.
    Crow: And maybe stop for an egg cream, but that’s it!

    Kimar: He wears a red suit, trimmed with white fur, and has a long white beard.
    Crow: Wait a minute, he just described Huggy Bear.

    Lentils. Yep, lentils.

    After Droppo made an ass out of himself on the ship.
    Servo: Did Sherwood Schwartz write this?
    No. Sherwood Schwartz could write (well, theme songs, anyway). And Gilligan’s Island was funny. Live with it.

    Voldar: All this trouble over a fat little man in a red suit!
    Servo: Truman Capote?

    Newscaster: Here’s another UFO bulletin.
    Joel: I’m high!

    Voldar: No one will ever know that Santa Claus was kidnapped by Martians!
    Joel: Do you realize what you just said?

    The alert light is ringing.
    Joel: It’s the Hope Diamond (Hoped it was real!)

    Joel: C’mon Cindy! I mean Skipper! Oh, heck, this shot has been in so many sitcoms, I’m confused!

    Servo: These are like cheap versions of the ‘Lost in Space’ sets.
    Yeah, they probably paid an extra nickle for them.

    Crow: You know, that Droppo plays a little broader than Larry Storch.
    Not possible, Crow…

    The Martians arrive at Santa’s workshop.
    Servo: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    The newspapers flash past – did anyone notice The Daily Tribune was flashed twice, with two different headlines?
    Servo: Village Voice? Santa’s outing?

    Servo: Remember this one? ‘I said LUNCH, not LAUNCH!’

    Santa having a “flashback”:
    Servo: So, it was ’69, I was stationed in Phnom Penh; Charlie had us pinned down near Hue. The only thing that kept me going was Laotion Gold we got in Saigon…

    Kimar: Put a guard around Santa and the Earth children. Voldar will be back!
    Servo: In Dial M for Martian!

    Joel’s “protest” about the native American doll.

    Servo: Santa’s doing his Ali! ‘Float like a butterfly…’

    We could go on for hours. Oh well, now let’s go have a Patrick Swayze Christmas and beat up some barkeep!


  • 106
    Kali says:

    On the CT version, when Trace learns what the movie is going to be, he tries to escape. Didn’t work out too well, did it?

    Joel: Um, some of us have seen this movie before.
    Josh: Not me! Ha-ha!

    Don’t be so smug, Josh… Wink


  • 107
    Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    Watching this last night reminded me of how much this movie riffs itself: bad sets, acting, ‘custumes’ (actually, i think this is intentional in a 60’s way; Custom + Costume = Custumes), print, script, all done in a totally unselfconscious goofy way. It really shows how kid’s movies have higher standards today. no, really!

    I forgot a couple:

    Santa: [displaying a new doll at the workshop] “All she needs is tender loving care.”
    Tom: …and about twenty bucks in batteries!

    Crow: What, no headbutt this morning? Honeymoon over?

    Santa: “Oh, balderdash and a fiddle-dee-dee!”
    Crow: Whoa! Language, Santa, language!

    Kimar: “Now to look for Santa Claus!” [Voldar shoots him a supposedly evil glance]
    Crow: “Well, all righhht!

    Voldar: “I see him! I see Santa Claus!”
    Joel: …and he’s kissing Mommy!
    [Tom makes a kissing sound right when a man walks past the bell-ringing Santa]

    [During a funky trumpet break in the theme song]
    Joel: Sounds like Santa’s Soul Train! ‘Ho, ho, ho! That’s a lovely dress! We’ve got the Ohio Players coming up!’

    Andy “Rick Taylor” Henderson: “Who’s this little fellow?” [picking up caped Martian action figure]
    Crow: I’m Batman!

    …and many more!


  • 108
    Thomas says:

    what about the other callback riff “Tor? TIme for go to bed”. Also messed up but funny Santa: Pills for Supper?” Tom or crow: HO.HO. What are we Judy Garland?”


  • 109

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  • 110
    Chaotic Yak says:

    Late to the party, but I was waiting until Christmastime to watch this episode. I do think that Santa Claus is better, but this one is a lot of fun. I’d forgotten the really cute moment with the nativity scene in Gypsy’s mouth. Cute. I also like the Patrick Swayze Christmas song, but I think, even more than the song itself, I like Crow’s insistence that they need to be wearing scarves while they sing.

    Merry Christmas (if that’s okay)! Grin


  • 111
    spacemutiny says:

    Alright, I respect, like, and own the CT version. But to say it is better than the mst3k version? I’ll tear your throat out and kick you in the ear!


  • 112

    “Get the hell out of my shop.”

    A thoroughly incompetent movie with good riffing throughout (though I’m partial to the TV broadcast from Santa’s Workshop, which is all kinds of insane). A series of good, if not exceptional, host segments. In particular, I’m partial to the bots’ gift requests; a good portion of this board thinks that Crow’s “I want to decide who lives and who dies” is the defining line for the character, and I’d be hard pressed to disagree. However, I only watch this episode once a year (by comparison, I can watch Santa Claus multiple times, even when it’s nowhere near Christmas). Why, you ask? One word: Droppo. I can tolerate a certain level of mugging; to watch any comedy from the ’40s and ’50s you have to. But when one character does nothing BUT mug every second he’s on screen, to the point where a slide whistle could play after every appearance and make perfect sense, he becomes completely intolerable. Every time he’s on screen I have to fight to not turn the movie off. It’s one of the rare occasions where J&tB don’t bring enough heat to overpower the offal that Droppo’s serving up by the truckload, and as such I can only get through it on Christmas Eve each year.