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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 (159 votes, average: 4.62 out of 5)

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• 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: Both the RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic riffs are funnier. That said, this one’s guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Essentials.”
• 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 several 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 Archive.org also has no title card. For a while I thought this was the only print available, but the RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic versions DO have the title card. So, a much cleaner 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.”
• At one point Servo says to Droppo: “You’re the Gilligan of your time.” Um, sorry, Servo, but 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.
• 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.
• The movie reportedly was filmed in some abandoned airplane hangars near the Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, New York.
• About Pia. For those who don’t get the “Golden Globe” reference, in 1982 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.” As Joel says in the Cinematic Titanic riff, “You know, I remember thinking that the fact that Pia Zadora was in this was hilarious, but now I can’t remember why.”
• 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.”
• 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. Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” and Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff: “Tonight I’m a space pirate! Permission to come aboard!” Honorable mention: Martian: “Crush him!” Tom Servo (robot voice): “You were adopted!”

135 Replies to “Episode guide: 321- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

  1. 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.”

       0 likes

  2. 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.

       1 likes

  3. @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!”.

       1 likes

  4. 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.

    RIFFS AND THINGS:

    ONE OF MY FAVE CROW LINES EVER,
    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!”


    oH,
    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. . .

       4 likes

  5. 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?

       3 likes

  6. CT Himes says:

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

       2 likes

  7. 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.

       1 likes

  8. 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! :-((

    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.

       2 likes

  9. Sharktopus says:

    Oh, and about the “ALL OVER THE WORLD” thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Floorwax 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?

       2 likes

  10. 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.

       1 likes

  11. 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.

       2 likes

  12. 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…”
    Oh!…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvBjBpUWtDs&feature=related
    It starts at ~9:30

       1 likes

  13. Mac aka: afriendlychicken says:

    I happen to like both MST3K Claus episodes. Are we forced to choose one? Can’t we like them both? ;-) 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.”

    ALL OVER THE WORLD!!

       2 likes

  14. 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” :)

       0 likes

  15. 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.

       5 likes

  16. 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.”

       2 likes

  17. 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.

       1 likes

  18. 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

       0 likes

  19. 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.

       2 likes

  20. 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.

       0 likes

  21. 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.

       1 likes

  22. 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…

       1 likes

  23. 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.

       4 likes

  24. 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.

       2 likes

  25. 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.

       0 likes

  26. 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.

       3 likes

  27. 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).

       0 likes

  28. 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:

       0 likes

  29. 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.

       3 likes

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

    #67:

    The last page of this site http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Road_House_1989.aspx?Page=15 ‘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.

       2 likes

  31. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @65 Justin Bailey:

    I KNOW RIGHT?!

    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 DAD!”

    Also,
    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.

       2 likes

  32. 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.

       0 likes

  33. 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.

       1 likes

  34. 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.

       0 likes

  35. majorjoe23 says:

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

    http://www.artscipub.com/history/cassette-games/

       0 likes

  36. Lisa says:

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

    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?

       2 likes

  37. 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.

       2 likes

  38. 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!

       0 likes

  39. Dan in WI says:

    Another possibility for the “video cassette cartridge game” is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Max

       0 likes

  40. 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:

       1 likes

  41. 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.

       0 likes

  42. Sharktopus says:

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

    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.

       2 likes

  43. 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

       4 likes

  44. “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.

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  45. 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. ;-) 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.

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  46. 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.

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  47. 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.

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  48. zeroninety says:

    “Give sanctions more time!”

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  49. Pete says:

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

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  50. 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.

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