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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 524- 12 to the Moon (with short: ‘Design for Dreaming’)

Short: (1956) Surrealistic fantasy trip to the future, which includes a visit to the General Motors “motorama.”
Movie: (1960) A multinational team of astronauts embarks on a moon mission.

First shown: 2/5/94
Opening: While Crow & Tom play tennis, Gypsy has trapped Mike at a tea party
Intro: While Frank roasts Dr. F., Tom has a tennis tantrum
Host segment 1: Nuveena, lady of the future, pops into the SOL and invites M&tB to come back with her
Host segment 2: M&tB prepare to leave with Nuveena
Host segment 3: Nuveena makes the bots into appliances, Mike disapproves, so she pops out
End: Letters, Nuveena pops into and out of Deep 13
Stinger: “Ahh, ridiculous!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (171 votes, average: 4.54 out of 5)


• For some, I suspect this is another case where the short kind of takes over the episode. “Design for Dreaming” has become an iconic bit of off-kilter fun, and since it’s in public domain, you see snippets of it all the time. The riffing of it is nothing short of brilliant. In contrast, the feature is in black and white, and has some pretty static stretches. But, me, I love these old rocketship movies (they are my favorite kind of MST3k fodder, with the giant bug movies coming in a close second) and this one’s a hoot. It’s reminiscent, in some respects, of “FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS,” what with the conscientiously international crew and all. And the characters and situations are so strange, there’s plenty for the riffers to work with, and they do a great job. And, of course, there’s the Nuveena story arc in the host segments.
• This episode is included in Shout! Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XXXV.
• I’d completely forgotten about the “invisible” face shields on the astronauts helmets! A brilliant, albeit cheesy, solution to the problem of not being able to see or hear an actor in a space helmet.
• Everybody knows the bots arms don’t work, but that doesn’t stop the Brains from suggesting that the bots play tennis. In the “then-current” reference department, the sketches refer to a couple of pro tennis incidents that I suspect are largely forgotten by most people (i.e. non-tennis fans.)
• I love Dr. F’s Milton Berle-esque giant cigar during the celebrity roast. The premise of the sketch itself (speaker at roast just viciously attacks the honoree without any semblance of the warmth and humor that is supposed to be part of the format) has been done before, but Frank carries it off well, as always.
• What does “Just call me Bobo” mean? (Update: A commenter says it’s a reference to the movie “The Grifters.”)
• Callbacks: “It’s a salute to Mr. B Natural!” “It’s a sampo!” (Day the Earth Froze).
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: Shot of blackboard–a stuffed animal that might be Grover from “Sesame Street” hits it; pan to beaker.
• Tom Servo says “Humphrey!” when he sees the dog. Kevin had a cocker spaniel named Humphrey for many years–he appeared in the ACEG and in episode 904- WEREWOLF. Sadly, Humphrey has since, ahem, gone to live at a farm in the country.
• In what seems to be a warmup for SPACE MUTINY, the hunky American astronaut is similarly called many brawny-guy names. A full list is in Ward E.
• Bridget is terrific — it is maybe her finest hour on the show — as Nuveena. After the show aired, she was an immediate sensation on the MSTie internet. Male MSTies declared their love, and quite a few female MSTies immediately adopted the moniker or variations on it. It was also the first time any human female was on the bridge of the SOL, for whatever that’s worth.
• Obscure reference: “Everybody to get from street!” a reference to a throwaway line in a now-seldom-seen Cold War comedy called “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming!” (Some commenters took exception to me calling the movie “largely forgotten,” so I’ve changed the wording.)
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer and story writer Fred Gebhardt also worked in “The Phantom Planet.” Special effects guy Howard A. Anderson (also worked on “Women of the Prehistoric Planet,” “King Dinosaur,” “The Amazing Transparent Man” and “It Lives By Night.” Set designer John Burton also worked on “The Girl in Lovers Lane” and “High School Big Shot.”
In front of the camera, Ken Clark also appeared in “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Anthony Dexter also appeared in “The Phantom Planet” and “Fire Maidens of Outer Space.” Richard Weber also appeared in “The Phantom Planet.” Tom Conway also appeared in “The She Creature.” Francis X. Bushman also appeared in “The Phantom Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon.
• Fave riff from the short: “This is a rebuttal to ‘Roger & Me.’” Honorable mention: “Holly-Go-Weirdly!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “You know you can only apply one-sixth the tongue on the moon?” Honorable mention: “Hey, go stink up your own area!”

111 Replies to “Episode guide: 524- 12 to the Moon (with short: ‘Design for Dreaming’)”

  1. Johnny Drama says:

    Captain Ron Codpiece – best name ever
    ..on the MOON!!!


  2. thequietman says:


    After I gave up my last VCR, I’d been waiting for this one to come out on DVD because I no longer had a way to play my VHS of Shorts Vol. 3 and was yearning to see Design for Dreaming again. Getting to also finally see Bridget as Nuveena was the icing on an already very funny cake.

    As for the film, eh… I can forgive some of the seeming technical blunders because just like with Teenage Crime-Wave we’re seeing an open-matte version of a film that was meant to be cropped to a widescreen ratio. It doesn’t excuse the blatant stick on the kamikaze rocket at the climax (if anything that would have been MORE obvious on a movie screen) but still there was a reason we’re seeing what we’re seeing.

    Fave riff:
    Didn’t like the cats, suck ice Earth-turds!?


  3. Those aren't my tomatoes! says:

    Design for Dreaming is a wonderfully trippy short. After a few minutes, I forgot I was watching a car ad and drifted off to the fanatasy world of tomorrow.


  4. KidFlash says:

    As for the film, eh… I can forgive some of the seeming technical blunders because just like with Teenage Crime-Wave we’re seeing an open-matte version of a film that was meant to be cropped to a widescreen ratio. It doesn’t excuse the blatant stick on the kamikaze rocket at the climax (if anything that would have been MORE obvious on a movie screen) but still there was a reason we’re seeing what we’re seeing.

    Bought this last year, it’s a cheap collection of six 50s/60s sci-fi films controlled by Sony/Columbia in matted/scope widescreen. 12 to the Moon is one of the six, and a lot of the issues they joke about are covered by the framing. (Even the stick is hard to point out in proper framing.)


  5. littleaimishboy says:

    Twelve to the moon, Alice!


  6. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    I forget, why did they need two people for the suicide mission again? Must have really wanted to thin out the cast…


  7. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #106: I believe the intent was that one would be the pilot while the other would be the bombardier. But the way it was written gave the impression that both duties could be handled by one person.


  8. Cornjob says:

    “That microphone is the devil”.


  9. skierpete says:

    Just happened to be watching this one this weekend. I would say not a particularly strong episode outside of the short – and even the host segments to me are sort of bleh – it’s a clever idea to have Nuveena show up, but to have it cover all 3 segments is a bit much. I wonder if the episode suffered from “end of season” fatigue. Or maybe it was just that the movie felt like one they’d already watched 5 or 6 times. I thought the riffing was decent but not spectacular.


  10. Cornjob says:

    The remake of The Hills have Eyes is one place where a snippet of the short appears.


  11. Satoris says:

    Hard not to compare this one too The Phantom Planet (plenty of the same actors). I like Phantom better but this one is still a lot of fun. Like you Sampo, i love the dopey old rocket ship movies. Funny though, i really like all of the Anthony Dexter movies. This and Phantom, of course, and Fire Maidens. Which may be my favorite Joel episode. All three are just classic cheesy sci-fi.


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