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Episode guide: 522- Teen-Age Crime Wave

Movie: (1955) Delinquent teens on the run hold a farm family hostage.

First shown: 1/15/94
Opening: M&tB are escaping
Intro: Dr. has invented mace mousse, the escape plan fails
Host segment 1: M&tB salute the golden age of the “doughy guy”
Host segment 2: M&tB create the first deli in space
Host segment 3: M&tB present a commercial for Mystos
End: Tom delivers some letters; Frank is “Doughy Man” but Dr. F. sprays him again, again and again…
Stinger: “TURN IT OFF!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (151 votes, average: 4.37 out of 5)

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• For those who missed the note last week, I am skipping episode 521- SANTA CLAUS for the time being. I will get to it around Christmas. (One alert reader noted that THIS episode is also a holiday movie — the events happen on Thanksgiving!)
• This episode is included in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. XXXIII.
• This movie has a great opening half hour and pretty exciting last 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it also has a deadly 40 minutes in the middle. The segments are hit and miss, with a wonderful finish. All in all, it’s in the fair-to-good range.
• Mike’s jumpsuit, which has been green since he became host, is suddenly tan in the opening segment, then reverts to green for the rest of the episode.
• Invention exchange fadeaway watch: The mace mousse seems to be a genuine invention. Frank is hilarious, by the way. Mike’s still busy escaping–though he does CALL it an invention!
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: pan to beaker; closeup on datebook.
• As the opening begins, Mike is pulling something off the wall that he says “we’re gonna need.”
• Movie observations: Why doesn’t Jane save herself and rat out the guys? She HATES them! They tricked her! What loyalty does she owe them? I don’t get it. Also, an example of stupid script writing: The matron asks the feuding inmates: “Who started this?” What real matron would bother? Has that EVER worked?
• Segment 1 was an instant hit and within hours the MSTie internet was bursting with tributes to doughy guys. And as a doughy guy myself, I enjoyed it. Mike really belts out his part.
• Segment 3, of course, riffs on Mentos commercials that had become a regular feature of the episodes of late. By the way, Trace, who famously has trouble carrying a tune, does pretty well singing the Mystos song.
• Callbacks: “Mitchell!” Of course, there are too many callbacks to count in segment 2. “Want some?” (Daddy-O) And “Thank God we have Radar!” and “Why don’t they look?” has already joined the rotation.
• Mike carries Servo by the neck when they enter the theater after segment 2. He doesn’t seem to mind.
• Of course this episode also gave us the classic line: “He’ll never touch you, Terry, you’re dirt.” The Brains apparently really liked because it was used many times thereafter.
• Somebody emailed me about this the last time around and I have still not been able to get a satisfactory answer. There is a quick shot of Ben and Jane sitting on the basement steps, and Mike’s riff is: “I like Wade, he’s just not a dancer.” What’s that from?
• The movie shows an obelisk and Mike (I think) says “The Roddy McDowall monument!” Um, huh? If they’d said “The Milton Berle monument” I’d get it. Was Roddy known for his, um, endowment? (Last time around, several commenters confirmed that he was.)
• Just like in 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, this movie’s climax happens at L.A.’s Griffith Observatory — quite a remarkable jump, considering that the rest of the film supposedly takes place in the Midwest.
• The mace mousse bit at the end just gets funnier and funnier. It’s very reminiscent to the “Daddy-O” ending.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Sam Katzman also produced “The Corpse Vanishes.” In front of the camera: Sydney Mason was in “Revenge of the Creature.” Larry Blake was in “Beginning of the End.” Robert Bice was also in “Invasion USA,” George “doughy guy” Cisar is also in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and Sydney Mason was also in “Revenge of the Creature.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. Andrea DuCane returns to do hair and makeup for the final three eps of the season. The title of “Manager of Business Affairs,” which appeared on the credits at the beginning of the season, appears for the last time in this episode, along with the person who held the title, Heide A. LeClerc-Becker.
• Fave riff: “You’re gonna have to get in line. Couple o’ cows ahead of you.” Honorable mention: “I will not be ignored, Ben. Hold please.”

120 Replies to “Episode guide: 522- Teen-Age Crime Wave”

  1. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Chalk up one more weird Mike pronunciation. Think sea-quell and we’re-wolf.

    He says EXcape instead of EScape after their Great Escape attempt fails. My wife makes the same transposition of sounds. She also pronounces picture and pitcher the same. I’ll have to keep an ear out for that one.

       0 likes

  2. Dan in WI says:

    Dan in
    Did you catch MiSTie “favorite” and Comedy Central voice over guy Penn Jillette’s name in the list of doughy guys?
    WI
    : Dan

    Well apparently this doughy guy list now needs some revising. When Penn ran into some health problems a few years back, he dropped 100+ pounds and looks quite good these days.

       0 likes

  3. Ro-man says:

    I think this is a great episode. Absolutely the movie dragged out waaaay to long at the farmhouse, but overall the story kept my interest. Call me silly & sentimental, but I thought Terry’s death at the end was touching… up to the part where Mike emotes, I mean. :pain:

    Tarlcabot: Duh-da-dun-dun! DEE-DOO DIDDY-DO DOODLE-DO-DE-DO…

    Thanks; I didn’t know how that should be spelled. But yeah, The Rockford Files answering machine bit… gosh, I’d forgot all about that. That was fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SijxE8S6wYQ. And Tom really goes on for a while with the theme music. ;-)

    Yes, now you can dance to the Bible. – Tom

    And Moses tied his ass to the tree and walked 10 miles. – Tom

    (later)
    Back to the Bible, gramps; tell me more about the crocodiles.
    And that tying the ass to the tree thing.

    Glad this movie’s not in 3D, Mike – Crow, when Jane’s, um, endowments are right in his face; Mike sort of reaches over ad puts his hand in front of his face.

    And yeah, I think the mace mousse bit in the closing credits is one of the funniest they ever did. :laugh:

       1 likes

  4. Sitting Duck says:

    Teenage Crime Wave passes the Bechdel Test. Jane and Terry have multiple non-male conversations between themselves and with other female characters.

    Got to say I like Gypsy’s beret and scarf combo.

    Got to wonder why Dr. F. spends so much time in the women’s lingerie section of a department store?

    As for why Jane didn’t squeal and give the name of the perps, I suspect she may have done so to spite her overly judgmental parents. It’s still stupid, but vaguely plausible.

    So why didn’t the newscast use mugshots for Jane? Presumably she would have had them taken when she was brought in.

    I have no memory of the Mentos ads which are being parodied in HS #3. And that probably makes me very fortunate.

    @ #50: I have two words for you: Side Hackers. Plus there were other Sordid Crime films during the Joel tenure that could be as unpleasant as this one.

    @ #55: Police don’t need a warrant to search a vehicle. They do need probable cause, and in this particular instance it was kind of dubious.

    @ #79: In the film, Ben is indicated to be twenty-seven. Assuming it takes place in the release year of 1955, it’s unlikely that he would have fought in WWII. It’s more probable that he got sent to Korea (assuming he wasn’t some desk jockey).

    Favorite riffs

    Any chance you’d want to sleep with a lumpy-faced old guy?

    “What are you going to do?”
    I told you. Dinner, movie, and a mugging.

    At this point, it’s more of a teenage crime ripple.

    The Facts of Life Goes to Alcatraz.

    Hey, this is a No Caper Zone.

    Plot Convenience News!

    “You don’t need a gun to come in here, son.”
    No, but you do need to wipe your shoes.

    I’ve got to say, this isn’t anything like the time we had the Simbanese Liberation Army over here.

    I think you’ve lost your allegory. It’s off the track.

    “Nobody believes it anyway.”
    I sure don’t.

    Meanwhile, back at the Bob Evans Sausage Farm…

    “Where’s Mom?”
    I’m Mom now!

    Yes, now you can dance to the Bible.

    “Don’t you call me dirt.”
    I’m more like topsoil.

    “Go on, you want to brain me.”
    What’s there to brain?

    Can’t we just have a normal Thanksgiving where we drink and don’t talk to each other?

    Sir, I’m going to ask you to make the siren sound with your mouth.

    You can kill him now. I sang like a bird.

    Answer the phone or the curtain gets it!

    “Is there anything wrong, officer?”
    That jacket.

    Let me watch her die. i want to make faces as she writhes in pain.

       2 likes

  5. Gobi says:

    @ #79: In the film, Ben is indicated to be twenty-seven. Assuming it takes place in the release year of 1955, it’s unlikely that he would have fought in WWII. It’s more probable that he got sent to Korea (assuming he wasn’t some desk jockey)

    Neither really works – too young for World War II, too old for the Korean War.

       0 likes

  6. DirtyTerry says:

    I’m DIRT MSTies. You’d never touch me.

       7 likes

  7. Lisa H. says:

    By the way, Trace, who famously has trouble carrying a tune

    Does he? I mean, he’s not Kevin (but who is?), and his singing as Crow is kind of comedic rather than melodic, but I never thought it was that bad. Sort of like how Weird Al isn’t really a beautiful singer but his voice works for the material, you know? Put it this way, it’s Frank who I sometimes cringe at, not Trace.

    The Mace Mousse bit on the Poopie tape is pretty good. “Uh, Libidinous… *sputters* I couldn’t think! My brain locked up!”

    Got to wonder why Dr. F. spends so much time in the women’s lingerie section of a department store?

    Perhaps there’s another Dr. F. he wishes he were like?

    (….now I’m wondering if it would be possible to mash up MST3K and Rocky Horror and not have it be a horrible trainwreck, or at least be a glorious trainwreck. Oh dear.)

       2 likes

  8. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Terry should hook up with the gals from “The Violent Years”.

    Really, what was with the glut of teen delinquent movies from this era

       1 likes

  9. schippers says:

    I think teenage delinquency films were popular because they hit all the commercial bases – attractive young people, action, violence, smug moralizing – plus they permitted an obvious “restoring of order” at the end of the film (delinquents are killed or go to jail) in order to keep the pictures in line with the Production Code (to wit, wrongdoers had to be punished).

       1 likes

  10. littleaimishboy says:

    Teenage crimewave,
    It’s only teenage crimewave,
    Teenage crimewave, oh yeah,
    They’re all crimed!

       2 likes

  11. chris nicholas says:

    I think two of my favorite parts of this episode is the ongoing reaction to the telephone ringing, and the repeated riff that “It is a good thing I took observatory maintenance in school” (or something like that.

       0 likes

  12. thequietman says:

    [to Irving Berlin’s “Heat Wave”]
    We’re havin’ a Crime Wave! A Teenage Crime Wave!

    I love this episode if only for the Doughy Guy segment. As for the film, I wonder if the new season could get more of these low-budget Columbia films, since from looking at the way the opening titles are staged this one was meant to be shown is a matted widescreen format, perfect for today’s televisions.

    Fave riff:
    Tommy Cook: Yer not very emotional, are ya, Pop?
    Servo: I’m from the Midwest, whaddya want from me?

       1 likes

  13. MonkeyPretzel says:

    Gobi:
    @ #79: In the film, Ben is indicated to be twenty-seven. Assuming it takes place in the release year of 1955, it’s unlikely that he would have fought in WWII. It’s more probable that he got sent to Korea (assuming he wasn’t some desk jockey)

    Neither really works – too young for World War II, too old for the Korean War.

    My father was almost 19 when he graduated high school in 1948. He then got four years of draft deferment as a farm worker (my grandparent’s farm) until finally being drafted in 1952 at the age of 23. (Luckily he was sent to Germany instead of Korea!) It’s possible Ben also got deferments as a farm worker and went to war older than the average draftee.

       2 likes

  14. Ray Dunakin says:

    “I like Wade, he’s just not a dancer” was funnier when they used it in “Outlaw”, IMHO. Mainly because then it was presented as being spoken by one tough barbarian character to another.

    Lot of good riffs in this one, but it’s still a real slog. Like “Kitten With A Whip”, too much of the plot is dependent on the characters being spineless and stupid. Yeah, maybe they’re supposed to be stupid, but in these movies they are stupid in unrealistic ways, and clearly their actions are the result of a writer struggling to keep the plot moving.

    Loved the host segments, especially the mace mousse bits and the “Mystos” skit.

    The real Mentos ads were so off-kilter, I was surprised that they weren’t produced in some other country.

       1 likes

  15. Sitting Duck says:

    Lisa H.:
    (….now I’m wondering if it would be possible to mash up MST3K and Rocky Horror and not have it be a horrible trainwreck, or at least be a glorious trainwreck. Oh dear.)

    Just so long as the engineer of said train wreck gets to say, “Why don’t they look?”

       3 likes

  16. bartcow says:

    I recently visited Griffith for the first time (first trip to CA, too), and my coworker was restaging scenes from Rebel Without A Cause, while I was having my picture taken where “Terry” died (spoiler alert). That’s how skewed my taste in movies is now, thanks to MST3K (same thing happened in Bronson Canyon–him: “it’s the Batcave!”; me: “Where’s the giant pickle from It Conquered the World?”).

       5 likes

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

    >>>Got to wonder why Dr. F. spends so much time in the women’s lingerie section of a department store?

    Because that’s where the women are? With their lingerie?

    See, say it like THAT and it makes perfect sense. Or not.

       0 likes

  18. Jeff McM says:

    I think the “farmhouse” is actually supposed to be in northern Los Angeles county, around what are now Lancaster and Palmdale. So not as much of a stretch to end in Griffith Park.

       0 likes

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

    “You’re gonna have to get in line. Couple o’ cows ahead of you.”

    The existence of a certain type of, uh, heck, I don’t know, Kindle “erotica” that can be stumbled across on Amazon while one is minding one’s own business might make this a riff a bit awkward nowadays.

       0 likes

  20. Johnny Drama says:

    Ray Dunakin: Like “Kitten With A Whip”, too much of the plot is dependent on the characters being spineless and stupid.

    That’s part of why I love it, and it’s brethren High School Big Shot, Sidehackers, Racket Girls, etc…
    And the Brains must have enjoyed the genre as well, since they did so many of them.

       0 likes

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