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Episode guide: K01- Invaders from the Deep

First shown: 11/24/88
Movie: (episodes originally aired 1967; compilation released 1981) A submarine pilot and his cohorts battle an evil aquatic civilization.
Opening: Joel introduces the movie briefly and then it’s movie sign
Host segment 1: Joel shows off his airbag helmet
Host segment 2: Joel shows off his vacuum-flowers and discovers they are sick
Host segment 3: Gypsy has caught the mysterious illness
End: The flowers and bots are recovering; Joel shows off his electric bagpipes
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (24 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)


• On Nov. 25, 2016, 28 years and one day after this show aired on KTMA-TV in the Twin Cities, Joel Hodgson announced that the master tapes for this and episode K02- REVENGE OF THE MYSTERONS had been found, and he made them available to backers of the relaunch kickstarter. There was much rejoicing -— well, some.
• When this episode and episode K02 were released to Kickstarter backers, Joel offered thoughts about them on the Kickstarter site.
• This is the first of many “movies” the show would riff that is actually an edited-together compilation of episodes from a TV series. In this case, the show was a “Supermarionation” series from British producers Gerry and Sylvia Anderson called “Stingray.” The episodes cobbled together are episode 4: “Hostages Of The Deep,” episode 27: “Deep Heat,” episode 6: “The Big Gun” and episode 11: “Emergency Marineville.”
• The opening contains none of the dour “people of Earth” stuff we saw in the pilot. Instead, Joel is all business. He refers to “the station,” introduces the movie and gets out.
• Joel calls Gerry and Sylvia “Gene” and Sylvia.
• Joel arrives in the theater after the movie’s opening credits rolled. He seems to be climbing over the little monitor on the floor and the wires. It takes some effort to climb past it all. Ever the polite Midwesterner, he says “Excuse me” to the row of empty seats.
• Joel’s first real riff: “Lettuce man!”
• Listen carefully as the first missile battle begins: Joel slurps up the last of some beverage through a straw.
• Joel, and, later, Crow come and go several times in the theater, other than when it’s time for a host segment. The first time Joel leaves there is quite a bit mic noise. They were still figuring it out.
• I do like PLACE COMMERCIAL HERE. Do that!
• Joel again seems to be stepping delicately over things as he re-enters the theater.
• We get the first use of “pull my finger,” which then it becomes a running gag.
• There’s a point where the mic picks up the sound paper shuffling, I think Joel is straightening his script.
• The airbag helmet, a prop from Joel’s standup act, would be reused in episode 102- THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY.
• Okay, where’s Trace??? That is clearly Josh doing Crow. Trace wasn’t there for the FIRST SHOW?? Joel expresses similar surprise in his comments.
• Joel wanders out of the theater and leaves a confused Crow behind. We’re used to expecting a host segment to come next when the riffers leave, so it’s disorienting to have nothing come of it. Joel just wanders back in.
• Then-current reference: Crow says a character looks like a “governor of Massachusetts” and it took me a minute to realize they were talking about Michael Dukakis.
• At one point, Joel irritatedly says “cut it out!” to Crow. It’s unclear what’s happening, but it’s presumably Josh causing trouble.
• Crow then wanders out a couple of times (to get some WD-40, to check on Gypsy).
• Segment 2 is essentially a redo of segment 4 in the pilot, even to the extent that Joel mentions an unseen Beeper.
• Note that in segment 3, Gypsy is a he.
• At one point Joel asks at what point a puppet stops being a puppet and becomes a costume. This issue was further addressed in a host segment in episode 318 – STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN II.
• Note that the electric bagpipes, a prop from Joel’s standup act, would be used again in episode 101- THE CRAWLING EYE.
• Note that nobody has thought of calling the main SOL set as the “bridge.” Joel calls it “the main part of the show.” Huh?
• One last comment: that IS a brass band version of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” during the movie’s closing credits, right? How did Lord Lew Grade get the rights to THAT?
• Cast and crew roundup: Many of the same people worked on “Revenge of the Mysterons,” including director Desmond Saunders, cinematograher John Read, editors Harry McDonald and David Lane, special effects guy Derek Meddings, puppetry supervisor Christine Glanville, assistant director Bob Bell and score composer Barry Gray (who also worked on “Cosmic Princess”). 
Performers who also appeared in “Revenge of the Mysterons include Lois Maxwell, who also appeared in “Operation Double 007” and Robert “you been hittin’ the BOOZE agin!” Easton, who also appeared in “Giant Spider Invasion” and “Touch of Satan.” This may not be a complete list and may be amended later.
• Fave riff (not much to pick from): “Are they sweating or is that sap?” Honorable mention: “I’d be tired too if I had a diving board on my head.”

55 Replies to “Episode guide: K01- Invaders from the Deep”

  1. dakotaboy says:

    The title card at the beginning shows a date of 11/4/88, but this episode did not air until Thanksgiving Day of that year. Perhaps 11/4/88 is the date the episode was recorded?
    The episode looks amazing in 540p, much better than the late generation VHS transfers of other KTMA episodes.
    The patch above Joel’s left breast pocket is a Boy Scout council patch. It is supposed to be worn on the left shoulder, not above the left pocket. This used to bug me, but I’m ok with it now. It adds to the “we didn’t have the time or budget for much, but here you go” appeal of the KTMA episodes.

    The first opening segment has Joel thanking viewers for showing up. He states that “the guys at the station” sent him a fax regarding the next movie. The concept of the mad scientists had not been developed yet.
    And so the first movie begins. Joel doesn’t join us until 4:54. Did he get lost finding his way to the theater for the first time?
    When Joel enters and exits the theater, it looks like he’s climbing over something, or possibly someone. His shadow can be seen reflected on the blue screen when he is moving around.
    First riff ever: a sarcastic “Sure” at 6:19.
    I love the “World Videophone” panel in the background. Today the technology is known as “Skype”, or “FaceTime”.
    First character killed in a MST3K move: a toy fish.
    Joel leaves the theater before the commercial break, and returns after the break. He is carrying a tub of popcorn, which he can be heard eating. Later, he takes a drink from a straw. It’s distracting, but they were still figuring out the show, so I’ll give them a pass.
    The presence of the “Place Commercial Here” placeholder confirms that this transfer was taken directly from the original master copy.
    First pop culture reference: “Mack the Knife”.

    In the first host segment, Joel shows us his man-eating plant and helmet air bag.
    First vaguely dirty riff: “I hope she does more than that!”
    First political riff: “He looks like a certain Governor of Massachusetts”. That would be Michael Dukakis, who had recently lost the 1988 Presidential Election to George Bush.
    In the second host segment, Joel shows us his vaccuum flowers, which have come down with a cold. Gypsy catches it, too. Jim Mallon posted this segment to in 2009.

    First Star Wars riff: “That’s no city, that’s a battle station!”
    In third host segment, Joel appeals to the “people of Earth” for help.
    Joel interacts with the movie via Shadowrama for the first time when the underground inhabitants show their sub-volcano map.
    The first credits riffing has Joel and Crow doing a Siskel and Ebert-style review of the movie.
    Joel imitates Troy Tempest’s walking style in the end segment. He asks viewers to call the number on the screen, but there is no number, at least on this transfer from the broadcast master. Joel has stated that the day after the first episode aired, the answering machine was full. Therefore, the station number must have been added at a later time, after this master was completed, but before it first aired.
    Joel concludes by showing another invention, the electric bagpipes. Crow becomes self-aware.

    I had never seen a Supermarionation feature before this, but after watching this episode, I can see why they attracted a certain following. It must take a great deal of talent and skill to build and operate puppets like that. I don’t consider this to be a bad film, certainly not as bad as some of their later fare.

    Overall, this episode has most of the major pieces in place. The riffing is sparse by later standards, but the show would continue to develop and refine as the season continued.


  2. Dihgdfj says:

    Keith Palmer: Maybe now I should admit to the specific thing that struck my mind being the retracting buildings of the good-guy base reminding me of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion; its director Hideaki Anno has declared himself a fan of the Andersons. (There was also a “history of robot anime,” commissioned by an agency of the Japanese government, that mentioned the vehicles of “Thunderbirds” as a general influence on Japanese giant robots…)

    UFO and Space 1999 were Anderson influences on Eva too, especially the rebuild movies.


  3. Majorjoe23 says:

    How in the world did I miss out on this news!?!?!?!?Is there any way to get this still to add to my collection?I agree, those KTMA episodes are rough, but to see the show that started it all is something that I think is a must!!!!!

    Unfortunately, it’s not available for purchase anymore, when these episodes were released, you could still do the $35 experiment as an add on. That’s not up on the add on store anymore.


  4. Darkknight08 says:

    Majorjoe23: Unfortunately, it’s not available for purchase anymore, when these episodes were released, you could still do the $35 experiment as an add on. That’s not up on the add on store anymore.

    Ah crap. Thanks for the info though.


  5. Thad says:

    Eric G: I’m not EricJ.I’m Eric G, a completely different individual, who probably wouldn’t have picked that name to start posting here if a) I had realized there was an EricJ here who seemed to annoy people, and b) it wasn’t a form of my given name.

    I know, I was joking.


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