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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 520- Radar Secret Service (with short: Last Clear Chance)

Short: (1959) Union Pacific scare film aiming to teach drivers to pay better attention at railroad crossings.
Movie: (1950) Government agents use the incredible power of radar to track down some crooks dealing in black market atomic “material.”

First shown: 12/18/93
Opening: Mike performs Crow’s maintenance checkup, but has no idea what he’s doing
Invention exchange/Intro: Mike has an escape plan, The Mads have created Hypno-helio-static-stasis
Host segment 1: Trooper Tom presents: “Why Don’t They Look?”
Host segment 2: The bots simulate Mike’s 10-year high school reunion
Host segment 3: Driven mad by the movie, Mike and Crow build the Quinn Martin Nature Preserve
End: The Mads are beaten by Ecstato-euphoro-fun (with patented Hinder 90)
Stinger: Hysterical maid
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (187 votes, average: 4.18 out of 5)


• Very good short, very dull movie. This one is reminiscent of episode 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, where the short tail wags the movie dog, as it were. As the Brains note, the gray, dull, men in gray or black suits and gray or black hats are almost indistinguishable (except for Sid Melton), and for long stretches the movie just lays there. (Each side even has a guy with a mustache!) The Brains try their best — in fact they do a pretty good job, and there are some great riffs — but this is a middling episode at best.
• This episode is included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Vol. XXXII.
• More differentiation between Joel and Mike in the opening, as Mike attempts something Joel did easily, and fails miserably. Crow is hilarious. “Help me!”
• I like how Gypsy just kind of nibbles on Crow to fix him.
• Crow’s sensible slacks make a re-appearance.
• The Poopie tape has a very funny outtake of the Hypno Helio Static Stasis sketch: The entire wall behind Frank falls over and Frank and Trace just go with it.
• It’s in this episode that the invention exchange kind of fades away and becomes a general intro. Hypno-helio-static-stasis is sort of an invention, but nobody calls it that. And Mike is just busy trying to escape.
• Crow still has panties on his head when he enters the theater after the opening. Mike quickly removes them. (I like the way Trace improvs a spitting noise when one gets caught in his beak.)
• The short is one of the show’s finest hours. They showed this one at the Museum of TV and Film event in Los Angeles, on a big screen, and the audience was just roaring with laughter. It was, I think the only time I saw people literally, not figuratively, falling out of their theater seats with laughter. It really reminded me how much more fun watching the show is with a group.
• Segment 1 is one of those great short-followup sketches. It’s too bad that BBI never thought to release a tape of shorts that also included their follow-up sketches.
• As of this episode Best Brains was STILL under the mistaken impression that Sam Newfield directed “Jungle Goddess,” something they also said in “I Accuse My Parents.” I wonder if there was some error in the edition of Maltin’s movie guide that they were using.
• Then-current references: the now-defunct Nashville Network and long-forgotten series “Powers That Be.”
• Callbacks: Dr. F references “Rock climbing” (Lost Continent) and “Deep hurting” (Hercules Against the Moon Men) and Frank refers to “Fire Maidens.” “Send up some gas juice! You know, laugh water!” (The Beatniks), “No waffles!”, Servo sings a little of “Are You Happy in Your Work” (I Accuse My Parents), “But there was no monster” (Monster A-Go-Go).
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: pan to blackboard as something that looks like a catcher’s mitt flies by; pan down to the notebook; pan to beaker.
• Mike mentions “The Nagely capers” during a shot of highway. Anybody know what that is? I asked Mike on Twitter. He doesn’t remember.
• In addition to all the similar-looking men, Crow seems to have trouble keeping the two women in the plot straight. When they finally appear in the same scene, he is dumbfounded.
• Ward E has a list of all the things they call that radar ball thingy on top of the car.
• Cast and crew roundup: I will not go through the Lippert litany again. Producer Barney A. Sarecky was associate producer for “The Corpse Vanishes” and production supervisor for “Undersea Kingdom.” Sam Newfield also directed “Lost Continent,” “Mad Monster” and “I Accuse My Parents” but NOT “Jungle Goddess,” as noted above. Special effects guy Ray Mercer also worked on “Lost Continent,” “I Accuse My Parents,” “The Sinister Urge” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.” Art director Fred Preble also worked on “Mad Monster.” Set designer Harry Reif also worked on “I Accuse My Parents,” “Women of the Prehistoric Planet” and “The She-Creature” and was assistant director on “Gunslinger.” In front of the camera, Sid Melton was also in “Lost Continent.” Ralph Byrd WAS actually in “Jungle Goddess.” Robert Kent was also in “The Phantom Creeps.” Pierre Watkin was also in “Beginning of the End.” Tristram Coffin was also in “The Corpse Vanishes,” “The Crawling Hand” and “The Brute Man.” Tom Neal was also in “The Brute Man.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. Charles A. Zimmermann joins the staff as editor. He will continue through the rest of the season and for the first 10 episodes of season six.
• Fave riff from the short: “I’m the impish officer of death.” Honorable mention: “…spilled my youth like cheap gin…anyway!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “It’s not the radar, it’s size of the amplitude, if you know what I mean!” Honorable mention: “Not in a strictly Cartesian sense…”

As we do every time we get to this point, we will skip the next episode, 521- SANTA CLAUS, and save it for the holiday season. Next week we will move on to 522- TEENAGE CRIME WAVE.

113 Replies to “Episode guide: 520- Radar Secret Service (with short: Last Clear Chance)”

  1. Spector says:

    Having heard about this one from fellow MSTies prior to watching this I approached this with trepidation but ultimately found this one to be one of my favorites. It’s another of those really cheesy 1940s movies that the Brains just mine for comedy gold. The short of course is fantastic as a lead-in and I just enjoyed their constant radar-related riffing and the running gags on the radar ball on top of the car. I know a lot of MSTies don’t feel the same way about this one as I do but dammit I really like this one!


  2. Uranium - 235 says:

    Remember a couple weeks ago when all of the Chicago area people were waxing on about how nice it was to see shots of Chicago in BEGINNING OF THE END? Well, LAST CLEAR CHANCE holds a little of that magic for me, because, yes, I once lived in Meridian, Idaho (it’s a suburb of Boise). Seeing the old Zamzow’s feed store building on my small screen was definitly an unexpected bonus for me.


    Yes, those commercials are still on the air here. Though now that you mention it, it was remarked how interesting it was to see the city of Chicago at the time the movie was made – Idaho pretty much still looks exactly like that. What I found the most amusing about the short is that they chose to set it in Idaho in the first place, in LIEU of someplace like Chicago where there’s hundreds of track lines, as opposed that part of Idaho that has like, two – one through Nampa, one through Boise.


  3. I could never have watched this dull, gray, lifeless movie without Mike and the ‘Bots to help get me through it. Was it ever actually shown in theaters? I can’t imagine that it made much money if it did.


  4. bobhoncho says:

    Re #32: I thought Hal looked familiar!

    Also, that blooper of the Helio-watchamacallit-stasis sketch is priceless! “It is a very powerful thing!” LOL!!


  5. pondoscp says:

    Hypno-Helio-Static-Stasis. This movie has that in droves. Grab some coffee before you start this one! ;)
    This is a great episode, if just for the short alone. One of Frank’s finest performances. But the movie, wow, mind-numbing!
    Season five is wrapping up with some really interesting episodes. Some are awesome, some are too much for me, but I love this one.
    The last of the Deep Hurting type experiences.
    How strange would this episode have been in season 2?


  6. Sitting Duck says:

    Best Brains is STILL under the mistaken impression that Sam Newfield directed Jungle Goddess, something they also said in “I Accuse My Parents.” I wonder if there was some error in the edition of Maltin’s movie guide that they were using.

    Just as likely they had mixed it up with similar-looking Lost Continent.

    Hollywood’s misinterpretation of the uses of radar pales in comparison to what they think computers can do.


  7. Of no account says:

    I respectfully disagree. This episode is HILARIOUS! not just the short, the movie. Actually, I think the movie riffing is funnier than the short, but to each his/her own.



  8. Blast Hardcheese says:

    So many things to say about a movie so few people like….where to begin…

    Not much to say about the short that hasn’t already been said–it’s magnificent, not least for the fact the somebody finally gets revenge on all those horrible Driver’s Ed films! The follow-up sketch, too, is one of their best. No argument from anyone there.

    As far as the movie goes–I think the biggest problem with the movie is that somebody had this idea that radar could be used to sex up what is essentially a bland, formulaic caper flick. There is absolutely nothing about the plot that hasn’t been done a million times already, except for the fact that the g-men ride around in their stainless steel beach ball car and use radar to foil the criminals. Maybe post-war technology was so amazing in 1950 that Lippert thought he’d get on the bandwagon and dazzle everyone with the sight of a guy in headphones studying an oscilloscope–who knows.

    Couple of questions–one serious, the other not so much. Not so serious question–what exactly does Sid Melton’s character do in the gang, except annoy everyone and make lame jokes? When he threatens to leave he is firmly told to stay–I would have thought the thugs would have been glad to see the back of him (and if he talked to the cops, who would listen anyway?)

    More serious question–does anyone else feel the Quinn Martin Theme Park sketch is not only lame, but really out of place? I would have made sense next season, when they tackled “Code Name: Diamond Head.” but here it looks like it just comes out of left field. Were the Brains suggesting that RSS is the kind of movie that, 20 years later, would have been under consideration in the QM offices? Or was it (as I suspect) as sketch idea that seemed funny in the writing room, but which didn’t really work when they got it up and running–so they decided to work it in with the H-H-S-S idea as an example of Mike and Crow being adversely affected–which also seems a little odd. It’s not terrible funny, but it might have worked a little better with a QM movie behind it. Anyone know the story on this?

    One more thing: Re: I’m not a medium’s comment (#33) from close to 4 years ago: For me, having the (admittedly goofy) premise of a man forced to watch bad movies under the control of mad scientist helps the whole point of the movie riffing make sense. I love Rifftrax, and I think Mike, Kevin, and Bill are as sharp as they ever were on MST, but I find some of the jokes might work better if shadowrama silhouettes were still there. There’s something about having those three heads at the bottom of the screen that clinches the whole experience. Of course the premise makes no sense–but it’s a fundamental part of what makes MST a more enduring experience than Rifftrax for me.

    One last thing (I swear)–The fact that everyone looks like everyone else in the movie means that they could have re-released this as “Attack of the Clones”–but I think there’s already a bad movie out with that title :-)


  9. Bobby 23-Skidoo says:

    The whole video of the unriffed short has finally shown up on youtube/

    Now, you can finally see what actually happened to Robert Bainbridge. Amazingly, it does not involve the blameless, holy train.


  10. lancecorbain says:

    Hands-down one of the favorite shorts (not including the Rifftrax ones). Up there with Here Comes The Circus, Aquatic Wizards, Design For Dreaming, Mr. B, and Once Upon A Honeymoon-only problem is, the movie left such a non-impression on me that I constantly forget which episode it’s in.

    Re-watching it recently, it was funnier than I remembered, but wow does that movie sit on my head and crush it, as Joel might say. The short gets an A+, but the movie gets a C, so it averages out overall at a B, which ain’t bad.


  11. lancecorbain says:

    Oh, and regarding the blooper from this one and Frank’s priceless response-that’s about all I miss from the theater, those magic moments when things go awry but the cast is agile enough to just go with it. Especially during a drama. Crap, I need to watch M&TB rehearse Love Letters again toot sweet. :)


  12. This Guy says:

    What I really love about that outtake is that Frank kind of bobbles the easel prop and they both react, rather blowing the take… and then the wall just falls over.


  13. snowdog says:

    The short is brilliant, of course. I think the host segs and riffing are enough to salvage the dull gray movie, but just barely. To answer #55 above, if they had done this movie in season 2, it episode would have been unwatchable, imo. The film would have easily squashed the riffing.

    My favorite moment was at the end of the short, when the cop started going over the top. “Tell it to someone else, brother!”

    Three Stars


  14. snowdog says:

    BTW, I hear that Radar is the only thing that can track Chuck Norris.


  15. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Sitting Duck (#56)–

    Thanks for the link–I’d seen that list from Cracked! before, but it was great to see it again. And, while I was thinking about RSS last night after re-watching it, I was wondering if the awe and wonder over radar in the movie was a little bit like the awe and wonder over the Intertubes back in 1995. I even thought about the Sandra Bullock film “The Net”, which I would urge Rifftrax to take on some day–the Cracked! summary alone was dead-on; imagine what Kevin, Mike, and Bill could do with it. Forgot about “Wargames,” which seemed like a genuinely terrifying thriller back in 1983 (OK, OK, I really saw it mostly because Ally Sheedy was in it. There. I admitted it. Happy now?), but now seems ridiculous. That list just reinforces my point that someone thought radar was cool enough technology to build a whole movie around, forgetting that (a) radar isn’t terribly interesting and (b) using radar to catch barely-competent criminals is actually less interesting than radar itself. And even Quinn Martin couldn’t change that.


  16. Cheapskate Crow says:

    @40 and @52 – Good to see other Boiseans or ex-pats here.

    While lots of Idaho does still today look like the short, alas Meridian has been taken over by strip malls and trendy restaurants. Too bad the Brains didn’t check the state on the trooper’s car as the “Iowa PD Blue” riff should of course have been “Idaho PD Blue.” “Why don’t they look?” is still a catch phrase to me and anyone else who has seen this episode, and I love Servo’s “Nearly 40% of all accidents represent nearly half of all accidents” line, it absolutely kills me.

    The movie is dull as dishwater and its ignorance of radar is astounding but I think the riffing is very strong here, I think this is one of the better Mike episodes. I love when they finally give up on things to call the round top of the car and just go “Round things!” Other favorite lines:

    “Evidence that Christ himself invented radar.”
    “Vintage cars were really popular back then.”


  17. jjb3k says:

    I’ve noticed an odd trend in the first five seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The Brains seemed to have a rule amongst themselves for when the movies gave them nothing to work with: “When in doubt, talk about TV shows from the ’70s.” It shows up in spades here, as Mike builds that Quinn Martin Nature Preserve dealie, and in the theater, the guys often sidestep the riffing and just talk about “Welcome Back Kotter” for no reason. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something I’ve noticed.

    “Last Clear Chance” and its accompanying host segment need to be required viewing for any MSTie. This is what the show does best, right here. “Could you identify this bucket full of your brother?”

    “People who survive a train crash usually say…”
    “AAAHH! …That’s what they say.”

    Who’s the worse actress? The maid who shrieks “OOOHH! There’s a DEAD MAN!”, or that girl from “Code Name: Diamond Head” who wheezes “Aaah! Johnny! Down there!” Both get the stinger, and both were surely related to someone on the crew.

    Sid Melton is to this movie what Matt Selman is to the writing staff of “The Simpsons” – someone who thinks he’s a laugh riot, but really just brings down everyone in the room whenever he goes off on one of his “bits”.

    I have no idea who anyone in this movie is. EVERYONE looks and dresses exactly the same. Even the two female characters are identical, right down to their hairstyles. This movie just lays on me like a wet rug.

    This episode gave the world what may be my favorite Poopie moment. “It is a VERY powerful thing!” :laugh:


  18. Crowtdan says:

    The outtake was also featured on Dick Clarks blooper show. Someone may have mentioned this but I am not sure. The scene of the maid discovering the crumpled body is the funniest scene even w/o riffs. The guys called her the directors girlfriend. Her “thank you” was hysterical.


  19. GizmonicTemp says:

    snowdog #63 – That’s true, but he always appears as two dots. One is his body, the other is his beard.


  20. snowdog says:



  21. big61al says:

    sid melton…..he brings down a dull, boring movie to deeper depths. Imagine how it felt to go to the movies and get to see this turd on a big screen….that’ll make you want to crash your car into a train. The riffing and the short makes this drab film bearable.


  22. robot rump! says:

    what WAS the deal with the state trooper in the short anyway? i’m not saying he should drive up to the accident scene, slow down and give an uninterested Seinfeld ” that’s a shame..” and then drive off, but i seriously doubt his job description includes going beserk at random intervels during his day. i don’t know, maybe it did say that. maybe he should look into a vacation or something. i don’t know why he stands out so much to me. it’s not like he’s the most over the top character to saunter up to the bar and belt out his lines.


  23. jbagels says:

    This is indeed a great entry episode for new fans. My father used to show the short and accompanying host segment to everyone we had over for company and many times it worked in recruiting new Msties. Other times, it provoked either polite laughter or confused looks but those people were just lame.


  24. robot rump! says:

    and just so i understand…he knows the local boy genius is going to be driving soon so he just shows up at the house wuth pictures of dead and dismembered traffic accident victims?


  25. Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    The train has no time for you corn-shucking crackers!


  26. Blast Hardcheese says:

    robot rump!

    –and even better, he tells Boy Genius that his buddy from the track team is now worm food by showing him an accident report (“Do you know him like *this*!”). Real sensitive…


  27. schippers says:

    #74 – It’s more likely that the perverted cop carries those pictures around with him to pull out and look at when he’s parked in front of Martin Balsam’s house on stakeout for hours at a time.


  28. robot rump! says:

    #77 come on now man, we all know Mitchell! was too busy eating to be looking at pictures.


  29. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    This movie would have been MUCH worse without RADAR!!


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

    >>>Not so serious question–what exactly does Sid Melton’s character do in the gang

    What do ANY crooks ever do in ANY gang? They do whatever the boss tells them to do. Drive, shoot, grab and carry, make a phone call, open the door, it ain’t rocket science. On another note, the film seems to have blown almost its entire personality budget on him.

    >>>I saw that a recent DVD box set of “Forgotten Noir” includes “Radar Secret Service”. Since when is this movie film noir?

    Well, it’s GRAY, isn’t it…?

    Technically, it’s science fiction since radar in the 1950s couldn’t do stuff like that there so, really, it’s sort of maybe almost kind of quasi proto cyberpunk. I guess. Perhaps that’s why the two sides are so alike, they’re refracted RADAR images of each other…


  31. Dan in WI says:

    The opening is good for chuckle. It serves to remind us again that Mike is the new guy and sure doesn’t know Bot repair like his predecessor did.

    There are several cute jokes as the Bots recognizes things used to make up Mike’s escape rope. Gypsy sees here bra, Crow sees his Underroos and Tom his pantyhose (?!?!) but the best was the pair of pants given to Crow during #407 Killer Shrews.

    The hypno-helio-static-statis (with X-4) is well delivered yet it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere.

    Why Don’t they Look was a great segment. Kevin gives a great performance and Mike is great. Every hazard ends up getting stuck in his eye: pointy sandwiches (how often has that happened to me), lint and hot plates. He really should be more careful.

    The way this film talks up radar you’d think it was late night infomercial and not an actual movie.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Cop “some of them you heard about in the papers.” Crow “others we hushed up.”

    Balding driver does a head bob: Tom “My life is a lie.”

    Crow “Ya know I got a feeling one of these characters is about to see their own intestines.”

    Crow “Would you identify this bucket full of your brother?”

    The Exclusive Movie card is on screen during the credits. Mike “available everywhere.”

    Mike “PLEASE just shoot them all and let God sort it out.”


  32. erasmus hall says:

    I am happy to watch this episode repeatedly! The soft greys and the fedoras have hypnotic power-
    The glory of the power of radar never before or since has been so gloriously revealed.
    Praise it!


  33. CDM says:

    Agreed on the shorts + follow-ups, I did the same thing on my cassette tape compilations. Sadly I missed Radar’s original airing so Last Clear Chance wasn’t included.


  34. Fred Burroughs says:

    As Mike said when the future lady from Design for Dreaming showed up in the automated kitchen with a fully baked cake complete with lit candles and frosting, “I call NO WAY.” When mr gray-haired gray man asks other gray man with great hair to look up something on radar, and instantly gets a camera view from 10 feet away. Does radar allow you to look into souls? Also, I don’t get the lead cop when after all their detective work, he decides to just walk into the gangsters’ hideout and rummage around; he seems a little surprised that when they showed up they wouldn’t follow him to the station, instead opting to beat him up. There’s a lot of locations for this movie: Radar HQ, the hideout, the barn off rural route 12; the diner, and the double-crossing lady’s house; but each scene seems interchangeable with any other, we keep going back to the same places over and over. Plus the many many scenes of driving around on gray roads. This is one of the movies where most of the riffing is based on running gags and other non-sequiturs only marginally connected with what’s happening on screen; which frankly usually turns out great, and generates its own momentum. “Round things. Get your round things.”
    Last Clear Chance: actually pretty effective until the “Why dont look?” line. It’s obviously a family of real crackers taking a shot at acting; and Betty looks pretty wonderful to share an ice cream with. “when will me get married?” “Before too long.”


  35. sol-survivor says:

    I’m assuming when Tom mentions a “heliocopter aeroplane” it’s a callback to Johnny at the Fair.

    I’ve been listening to just the audio of several episodes at work on YouTube. It’s even harder to figure out what’s going on when you can’t see it. Even RADAR doesn’t help there. I know I could also have the picture up, but then I’d never get any work done.


  36. Ang says:

    This ep is in the same category as Castle of Fu Manchu and The Sinister Urge. I’ve watched them several times and really don’t remember much about them. The short stands out but not the movie. Out of those three I do remember more from Sinister Urge but mostly just the jokes about Klein. It’s weird how some eps are that way.


  37. Ang says:

    Hey sol-survivor! I have just the audio from most of the eps and the Rifftrax and CT movies on a flash drive and I listen to them at work too. It really makes the day go by fast and it makes a very nice and entertaining background noise.


  38. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    The short is great, maybe in my Top 5, but it really outshines the unremarkable movie. The opening is pretty good (goodbye, Invention Exchanges! Also, goodbye Crow’s sensible pants!), the first Host Segment follows up the short perfectly, but the other two Host Segments are not so good, Mike’s high school renuin is awkaward in HS#2 (just like in reality!) and the Quinn Martin nature preserve……no thank you. That Hypno-Helio-Static-Stasis is really having an affect on Mike and the Bots…

    Radar Secret Service is the grayest, drabbest, most static film they might have ever done on the show….it makes you long for the antics of Wild World of Batwoman, or the action of Fire Maidens…


    short –

    movie: “I couldn’t do it.” (then big splice jump in the film)
    Crow: “Because of the tear in the sprocket holes.”

    Mike: “I regret nothing!”

    movie: “All kinds of signs…”
    Crow: “All Nude Girls.”
    Servo: “Whites Only.”

    train runs by real fast..
    Servo: “Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry, NO!” —–just watched that recently, good flick.

    Crow: “Whoa. Almost ran over Kissinger!”

    Mike: “He has no time to stop for you corn-shucking crackers.”

    Crow: “Would you identify this bucket full of your brother?”


    Mike: “He looks like a werewolf in mid-transition.”

    Crow: “Thanks to radar, the scene finally ends.”

    Mike: “The directors’ mistress, ladies and gentlemen..”

    Hypno-Helio-Static-Stasis is no Rock Climbing or Deep Hurting,



  39. Jason Bacon says:

    Maybe I’m crazy but I love “Radar Secret Service”. The short and the film combine to make a fun experience, the characters crediting radar for every single thing on the planet, the Golden Grahams song Mike and the ‘Bots sing….for some MSTies this episode is akin to the episode “Hamlet” when I just don’t see how that’s even a remotely fair comparison.


  40. losingmydignity says:

    I have nothing to add to my earlier review of this except I think I gave it the wrong grade.
    It should be an A not an A-


  41. Stefanie says:

    This is an episode my family and I watch over and over and over. The police officer in the short is Mac from Adam-12, and we love him! This is also my most favorite Raplh Byrd role as he is an hilarious sidekick.


  42. George says:

    The absurdity of this film still brings a tear to my eye. The Miracle of Radar and the the Republic Stock Players. But it did give me one of my all time laugh moments. And it had nothing to do with the riffs. It was the moment our two radar experts were standing on the bridge and their Super Colossal Radar Detector picked up something metal. Standing next to a two ton automobile and Radar was able to detect metal. Wow. Radar must have been invented by the same person who invented telephone rings in MONSTER A GO GO.


  43. Depressing Aunt says:

    All I can usually remember of the movie is Sid Melton as the hypochondriac. Something about getting him some gum. Yeesh. Why hadn’t this character been shot by that time?

    Great short! Everyone from that era, especially the young men, looks clean and wholesome, which makes it even funnier to me for some reason.


  44. sol-survivor says:

    Maybe Hal the Cop snapped because he realized that if he hadn’t stopped by the farm when he did, Alan probably would have left in the truck earlier, and Frank and Betty might not have left the farm at all, or at least not when Alan did. So that means that well-meaning Hal’s arrival created the perfect storm of stupidity, since Frank might have looked if they hadn’t been waving at Alan.


  45. Alex says:

    I remember the short because it reminds me of terrible railroad safety film they showed us when I was in Drivers Ed. A guy gets his car stuck on the tracks with his family with him and they all get killed after he assumes the train oncoming train can ‘wait’ for them.

    “Why don’t they look.”

    The thing I remember about the film is that apparently Radar can do anything.


  46. Michael Howe says:


    Trace’s delivery of that line cracks me up every time.

    And of course, when he shows him the photo:

    “Well, do you remember him like…THIS!?”

    “GHAAHAAA!! *sobs* What do you want, who are you!?”


  47. Strummergas says:

    Oh my, this one was a tough one. 5/5 for the short, but 2/5 for the movie. So slooooowwwww, it took me 2 tries to get through it and I nodded off somewhere in the middle both times. Some decent jokes, with my favorite bit being the Ray Liotta in Goodfellas impression during the helicoptor scene. But the whole thing was just so grey that it makes me want to nap just thinking about it. Hypno-helio-static-stasis


  48. Sitting Duck says:

    Radar Secret Service passes the Bechdel Test. Marge and Delilah have multiple non-male conversations.

    It can be easy to dismiss the trains are blameless, holy creatures spiel as propaganda from the short’s sponsor. But there are a couple of factors to consider. First, trains can’t exactly steer out of the way of whatever inattentive dickweed is trying to cross. Then there’s the fact that trains don’t decelerate easily, and can cover up to a mile before they come to a complete stop. So keep that in mind next time you’re tempted to reenact the lyrics of Teen Angel.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but it sounds like Bridget is doing Magic Voice in HS #2 instead of Mary Jo.

    In addition to all the similar-looking men, Crow seems to have trouble keeping the two women in the plot straight. When they finally appear in the same scene, he is dumbfounded.

    Well they do look remarkably similar.

    @ #3: They do notice his name in the opening credits.

    Kenneth Morgan #13: Oh, and I saw that a recent DVD box set of “Forgotten Noir” includes “Radar Secret Service”. Since when is this movie film noir?

    Aside from the presence of Radar, it’s pretty much a standard crime flick, which could be seen as sort of noir-ish.

    @ #32: But can it make waffles?

    Favorite riffs

    It’s the Heat. Hide the stash.

    You’re spending the night in the barn with your crazy cousin.

    “Some of them you’ve read in the papers.”
    Others we hushed up.

    Forty percent of all accidents are caused by women’s hinders.

    Trains are blameless, holy creatures.

    It has no time to stop for you corn shucking crackers.

    I’m the Impish Officer of Death.

    The cop never said anything about doing intensely stupid things.

    Would you identify this bucket full of your brother?

    Folks, we disavow anything to do with that officer. In fact, he was fired years ago.
    That’s right. Since his reign of terror, we’ve institute a strict policy. Any officer appearing unannounced at a farmer’s house will be severely reprimanded.

    But can radar save our stifling marriage?

    Radar ferrets out clowns.

    Have you tried radar on your feet?

    Radar knows what you want to order.

    Employees must wash tongues before returning to work.

    You kids turn off the radar. It’s a school night.

    Vintage cars were really popular back then.

    The calls are coming from inside the car!

    Only radar knows what the hell is going on.

    It’s not the radar, it’s the size of the amplitude, if you know what I mean.

    After a fourteen hour shift, I love to wear spike heels.

    You know, the small gangster farmers are just a thing of the past.

    Thanks to radar, we only needed to shoot three scenes.

    Flash! Footage used over and over! Radar rocked by scandal! Exclusive photos of early morning raid! See the shaken Radar moments after the charges of footage duplication!

    The Martin and Lewis break-up was so sad.

    Each box contains a piece of Sid Melton.

    Barely any room for Mr. Hoffa in there.

    It was just a joke. I’m sure your mother’s very nice.

    It’s Universal Crazy New Radar Ride.

    Radar makes two scenes seem almost identical.

    Wait, I thought that woman was that woman.


  49. Mr Sack says:

    *Officer Hal approaches grieving brother Alan*

    Mike: “Y’know, son, 40% of all accidents…”

    Tom: “Oh SHUT UP, will ya?!”

    This line gets me and my friends every time. It’s like the entire short was building up to that riff. I use this short as the intro to MST3K for friends who are unaware of the whole concept.


  50. Bruce Boxliker says:

    I still love this episode. Yes, the movie is incredibly dull, but the riffs are so good all through it, it’s become one of my favorites. The utter absurdity of the entire thing just works perfectly – The holy magic of Radar, everyone looking like everyone else, the boss who never leaves the office… fantastic.

    Oh, those golden grahams…


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