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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: 616- Racket Girls (with short: ‘Are You Ready for Marriage?’)


Short: (1950) A pair of high schoolers are planning marriage, until a friendly counselor talks them down.
Movie: (1951) A gym owner who manages lady rasslers uses his place as a front for illegal gambling.

First shown: 11/26/94
Opening: Lisa Loeb visits on the Hexfield
Intro: As M&tB try to discourage Lisa Loeb, there are also security problems in Deep 13
Host segment 1: Crow wants to marry Tom, so they take a Cosmo quiz
Host segment 2: Mike throws Crow a depressing bachelor party
Host segment 3: The wedding starts well but ends in rasping
End: M&tB think there’s been too much wrestling, they read letters, Lisa Loeb gets into Deep 13
Stinger: SNAP! “It’s gone!” “Where’d it go?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (197 votes, average: 4.34 out of 5)


• If you can put up with the endless rasslin’ footage, this episode is a lot of fun. The host segments are strange, but silly. The short is another classic. As for the movie, well, as Crow notes. “When Ed Wood saw this, it was like when Truffaut saw ‘Citizen Kane’.” The rasslin’ scenes are a bit like the refueling scenes in Starfighters: It’s amazing to see them do riff after riff after riff on scenes where the same thing happens over and over and over.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XV.”
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: Beaker, book, bulletin board, film canister.
• When this episode debuted, it was the third of three new episodes in the course of four days. It was Turkey Day heaven.
• That’s Bridget, of course, with a hilarious impression of Lisa Loeb. Loeb told me on Twitter that she loved that sketch.
• And of course that’s Paul, Patrick and Mary Jo as the strangers in Deep 13.
• The whole “boing” thing was a source of much amusement in the online forums following this show. I suspect “boing” is somehow related to being “squishy.”
• Mary Jo returns as Jan in the Pan, late-night style.
• Then-current reference: Short-lived TV show “Models Inc.”
• I really love the message of the movie: that you simply cannot corrupt a really clean sport like ladies wrestling, and attempting to do so will bring down forces on your head that will overwhelm you.
• During the wedding, Frank sings the last few bars of “The Wedding Song,” written by Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.
• Dr. F. channels Prince while officiating at the wedding. Great stuff.
• Callbacks: “Shut up Iris.” (The Beatniks) “No Lupita!” (Santa Claus), “Have you been noticing any odd occurrences? Oh it’s true!” (The Dead Talk Back), “I’m dyin’ in a rush!” (Kitten with a Whip).
• The chase scene at the end, featuring the lovely Ukrainian national anthem, is a very funny few minutes.
• Frank’s “You brute! You brute! You brute” is from “Blazing Saddles.”
• Cast and crew roundup: cinematographer William C. Thompson also worked on “Project Moon Base,” “Bride of the Monster,” “The Violent Years” and “The Sinister Urge.” Makeup guy Harry Thomas worked on “The Mad Monster,” “Project Moon Base,” “The Unearthly,” “Bride Of The Monster,” “Invasion USA,” “High School Big Shot” and “Night Of The Blood Beast.” In front of the camera, Timothy Farrell was also in “The Violent Years.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace. This was Michael D. Parker’s first episode as an intern. It was also Julie Van Goethem’s last (after only three eps, maybe things didn’t work out.) Patrick’s first name is spelled wrong.
• Fave riff from short: “‘I want to marry a man!’ ‘Heh-heh. No, you don’t.’” Honorable mention: “Sometimes there’s a SHPLOINK!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “‘What are you thinking about?’ ‘Playdoh.’” Honorable mention: “There’s some heroin I’ve had my eye on.”

139 Replies to “Episode guide: 616- Racket Girls (with short: ‘Are You Ready for Marriage?’)”

  1. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Just looked at my write up and realized that i miswrote a line, instead of “folks we are leaving,” it is of course “MARINES, we are leaving!”

    Not sure what happened there, just checked my notes from Wednesday night and I clearly wrote down “marines.” Must have been tired when I wrote that… if I was drunk I was too high to notice.. :-D

    Thanks to #97 for that link, that’s awesome..


  2. Pulatso says:


    One of my first MST3K experiences and still a favorite.


  3. Justin says:

    Everything’s so creamy when your boing is squishy.


  4. GRL says:


    The investigation is actually one of the closest points this movie gets to the real world- there were major organized crime hearings (the Kefauver Committee) in the early 1950s, they were broadcast (I’ve seen some of the television footage), and even the questioning by one person is based on the role Rudolph Halley played on the committee.

    The execution, mind you, is utterly ridiculous, but it isn’t something pulled out of thin air.


  5. halfmoonmaiden says:

    My mom grew up in the 50s, so I asked her if there really were convenient charts and graphs that helped one to better understand marriage, food buying, acting your age, selling cars, and proper public speaking habits. She said there were not. I was disappointed. Since her name is Jan, I also asked her if she is now or has ever been a head in a pan. She told me I watch too many shows about robot puppets watching movies. I told her she does not watch enough.


  6. Big McLargeHuge says:

    The Nam flashback in the short is one of my favorite scenes of all time. “Marines, we are LEAVING!” is a quote from Aliens, although there’s debate as to whether Hicks was saying “Marines” or “Drake.”


  7. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    i think this movie is just…PEACHY! no! don’t hit!!

    “Well someone’s a bitch, and it’s not me and it’s not Joe!”


  8. Strummergas says:

    Good episode. Real good. Not a lot to work with and this one could’ve easily have gone down the path of unwatchable, but the riffs come in fast and furious and totally make up for the boring footage of manly ladies grappling each other. The short was an absolute winner too.

    I definitely got an Ed Wood vibe from this one too. I tend to like the episodes that riff on his movies, so that may explain why I dug this one so much. I can assure you that Peaches and the rest of the Not-So-Glamorous-Ladies-Of-Wrestling are not. Peaches reminds me of a blonde version of R. Crumb’s Devil Girl….

    3.5 of 5.


  9. thedumpster says:


    He looks at her chest when he says the “not my way of thinking” line.


  10. MSTie says:

    Not a personal favorite to put it mildly, although the short is great. Sampo, you compared the endless, monotonous rasslin’ scenes to the refueling scenes in The Starfighters, and I think that’s spot on. In other words, I’m OK if I never see this movie again.


  11. Sitting Duck says:

    Racket Girls passes the Bechdel Test. While most of the conversations between female characters concerns Mr. Scalli, near the beginning, Peaches and Ruby talk about the former’s training.

    If you can keep yourself from getting distracted by the goofy props and the boing, the short does offer some good advice. And at least Larry and Sue aren’t obstinate Goofuses like Betty of Is This Love?

    Dare I ask why Mike reads Cosmo?

    That root beer Mike and Crow are drinking couldn’t be more generic.

    It’s possible that the riff, “we’ve haven’t sold a single car yet,” may be a callback to Hired.

    @ #5: Funnily enough, my introduction to Doctor Who was quite similar. The first serial I formally watched was Revenge of the Cybermen, which I came across at a local video rental place. However, I had vague memories of having watched an episode of Doctor Who when visiting a great aunt when I was about six or seven. Looking back, I believe it was State of Decay.

    @ #39: Presumably the large number of Universal films featured in Season 8 was due to the fact that Sci Fi was owned by Universal.

    @ #70: At least it’s not like this Ghatanothoa ceremony I once attended. Can you believe they did a clown mass? *shudder*

    @ #84: He was also attempting to rig the matches.

    Favorite riffs

    “Three months, one week, two days, and seventeen hours.”
    Hoo boy, one of these.

    “This is the real thing!”
    Ha ha! No it isn’t.

    Bobby Orr’s Electric Marriage! Real marriage action!

    You saw my boing?

    “How do we know when we’ve done it?”
    Hoo boy. Back to the dolls.

    I like to sleep with my head in a catcher’s mitt.

    “If the engagement period gives you two the opportunity to work things out together…”
    I’ll be shocked.

    But never make light of boing, son.

    We’ll be start our movie in a minute. But first, enjoy this.

    Mike, is this the Thrilla in Manila?
    No, this is the Snooze in Santa Cruz.

    Never saw my grandma naked, but this’ll do.

    It’s that guy’s seventh year in an unpaid internship.

    So the shower is a formal high heel occasion.

    When Ed Wood saw this, it was like when Truffaut saw Citizen Kane.

    Prelude to the Afternoon of a Hot Faun.

    I’m getting a real workout.
    So is Joe.

    Aw hell, I’ve been traded to the St. Louis Mob.

    The Bob Hope entourage prepares for another USO tour.

    “Would you call a drunken father and mother folks?”

    It’s always awkward when you have to break up with your grandmother.

    Same seats, so we don’t have to shoot more footage.

    Okay ladies, no spraying.

    The victor will drag half of the loser back to her front porch and present it to her owner.

    Cut off from the National Treasury, Princess Ann and Princess Margaret are forced to earn their keep.

    It’s like a stag film produced by the Women League of Voters.

    Peaches has a fresh, natural stupidness that isn’t forced or contrived.

    This movie has taken the joy out of looking at someone’s hinder.

    She’s got the best leg flop thing in the business.

    Sorry, I turned into the Devil for a sec.

    Is this the induction film when you go to Hell?

    “Is the women wrestling business your only source of income, Mr. Scalli?”
    I’m a nude model for art students, too.

    Boss, not the petty cash! What about the doughnuts for the staff?

    It’s amazing how one Senate hearing can wipe out all of organized crime.


  12. MikeK says:

    Racket Girls is probably the saddest attempt at titillation ever put on film.


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

    Racket Girls is probably the saddest attempt at titillation ever put on film.

    Uh, no. No, it isn’t. Look into exploitation films from the era of Reefer Madness. Look into the less respected films from the Women In Prison genre. Heck, look into cheap porn films of the 1970s. “Pathetic” is a road that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend…


  14. schippers says:

    This movie is bold in its leering, ogling intent. It makes only the most token attempt to pass itself off as anything other than exactly what it is. I like that in a movie.


  15. EricJ says:

    Freedom for Ukrania!


  16. Johnny Drama says:

    Another amazing episode from the mid-stretch of Season 6, which is just a gold mine!


  17. MikeK says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Uh, no. No, it isn’t. Look into exploitation films from the era of Reefer Madness. Look into the less respected films from the Women In Prison genre. Heck, look into cheap porn films of the 1970s. “Pathetic” is a road that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend…

    Is Racket Girls intended to sexually titillate the audience? Yes. Does it work at all? No. I don’t know if I was clear on that.


  18. John Seavey says:

    I love love LOVE the sketch rendition of the rubber band bit. Frank clutching at Dr. F, shouting, “He’s a SORCERER!”, it never gets old.


  19. thequietman says:

    I don’t like the new ‘Models Inc.’ storyline…

    It’s amazing how much I enjoyed this episode built around such a miserable little film, full of ugly men and, ahem, ‘precision editing’. The short, as everyone seems to agree, is gold and for those who have been longing for host segments that actually tie into the experiment, here we are.

    Now for a real puzzler. Bridget as Lisa Loeb, or Bridget as Nuveena? Think about it won’t you? Thank you.

    Funny unmentioned riff from the short:
    Uh mom, I gotta leave for school!


  20. fatbarkeep says:

    Every time Mike does that whisper-scream in answer to the carnival screams during the wrestling match cracks me up.
    Love this episode and love Peaches, too.
    Ahhhhh! ahhhhhh!


  21. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Freedom for Ukrania!

    My bitter homeland!


  22. Dave3k says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Uh, no. No, it isn’t. Look into exploitation films from the era of Reefer Madness. Look into the less respected films from the Women In Prison genre. Heck, look into cheap porn films of the 1970s. “Pathetic” is a road that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend…

    Wow, so are you paraphrasing Brak from Space Ghost Coast to Coast at the end of you comment there?? Excellent. Sorry, not MST3k related…


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

    Well, if “Racket Girls” was the saddest attempt at titillation ever put on film, what was “The Sinister Urge”? ;-)

    Dave3k: Wow, so are you paraphrasing Brak from Space Ghost Coast to Coast at the end of you comment there??

    Not knowingly, no. Until I checked Wikipedia, I had no idea where “The Song That Never Ends” came from. Apparently, I’m quoting Lamb Chop. Who knew?

    And, in fact, IIRC an MST3K episode is where I first HEARD a passage from “The Song That Never Ends” so it is, by definition, MST3K-related. ;-)


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

    ” Fave riff from short: “‘I want to marry a man!’ ”

    Obviously, recent social developments would probably affect first-time reactions to the Tom+Crow storyline and the “Congratulations Clara and Rita on your wedding” riff.

    I find it at least faintly interesting that Sue reacted to the suggestion of her marrying a girl with no more than mild amusement at the notion that she’d want to marry anyone but Larry. That’s much more casual than I’d have expected from a scriptwriter in 1950. I mean, presuming the short actually had a script and we weren’t just listening to the “actors” ad-libbing.


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

    Annnnnnnnnnd I’m making multiple posts in a row again. :-|

    Thomas K. Dye:
    I also love how Mr. Hall “teaches a class” on marriage and family life, but decides to give Larry and Sue a freebie.No, kids, I’ve got nothing better to do with my day but to show you my dolls tied with string and to flick rubber bands at the wall.

    Maybe freebie sessions are the only opportunities he has for demonstrations like that. After all, formal classes are expected to meet, you know, STANDARDS of some sort…

    The Toblerone Effect:
    The short is beautifully bizarre.The Reverend Hall character is particularly odd; one of my fav WTF moments is when, after the girl says, “I thought you helped people get married”

    Well, as a reverend, he presumably in fact *performs* marriages. So there’s that, anyway. After all, one can’t get married without a marriage.

    And who could forget ‘Boing!’?

    Clearly, not anyone around here. ;-)

    “So on Joe’s description he writes, “I like to take women out into the country and watch their breasts”.

    Alas, modern technology has phased such jobs out of society along with milkmen and ice deliverers. Sad, really…


    Ukraine is also mentioned in “The Deadly Mantis,” where the United Arab Emirates was also mentioned. I once considered compiling a list of nations mentioned in MST3K episodes but ultimately decided that I just wasn’t that interested.

    The rasslin’ scene at the end is interminable. I can’t even enjoy the riffs, because it just drags on. …… I mean, seriously, how long is that scene anyway?

    Clearly, you would not fare well at an El Santo marathon…

    The question shouldn’t be “are they ready for marriage?” but rather “should two people as stupid as this be allowed to procreate?”

    Without stupidity, the rate of human procreation would drop about 80%…

    Sitting Duck:
    I question the wisdom of Rita Martinez having those braids. They’re just begging to get grabbed during a bout.

    You obviously know little of the strong code of honor that typifies the lady wrestler community…

    Blast Hardcheese:
    I’ve only seen this episode once before I watched the DVD last night–I was still pretty new to the show, but I remember falling in love with Bridget as Lisa Loeb (which is odd, since I can’t stand the real one)–she out-Lisas Lisa. I seem to remember seeing ads for a reality show Ms. Loeb did a while back, where she went looking for a boyfriend or something. Did anyone ever see it? I can’t imagine it drew a huge crowd.

    Well, you overlook any number of factors, foremost among them that Lisa Loeb is RICH and FAMOUS. That’s really all that some guys need. She’s also clearly quite intelligent and creative, major pluses (at least, to me). I think she was quite pretty back then and not all that much less pretty even today; IMHO glasses augment a woman’s attractiveness. Of course, she’s now married with children, so it doesn’t quite matter any more.


  26. EricJ says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Ukraine is also mentioned in “The Deadly Mantis,” where the United Arab Emirates was also mentioned. I once considered compiling a list of nations mentioned in MST3K episodes but ultimately decided that I just wasn’t that interested.

    No, that’s The Ukraine–
    Ukrania is one of those fictious countries you find just east of Ruritania, behind the Iron Curtain borders of Pottsylvania.
    (Heaven forbid that Kevin might get his smarty-pants on backwards.)


  27. Bat Masterson says:

    This is an episode that I didn’t particularly care for when I first saw it but it has now grown on me. The short does have, despite its bizarre theorems and goofball props, a pretty good message about getting to know your potential spouse. The movie is a poorly made, tedious thing, but Mike and the ‘Bots rise to the challenge and pin the film to win the bout. Scally (sp?) is one of the least threatening gangsters/thugs ever, and the I loved the fake crowd noises which Mike hilariously imitates. In the sketches the mads’ reaction to Mike’s rubber band trick, especially Frank’s panicked, “He a sorcerer!” were hilarious and the wedding and Cosmo quiz sketches were just as good.

    Favorite riffs:

    “I have to wear this dress it’s part of my family research.”
    “Visit your government church!”
    “First Federal Church member FDIC.”
    “Uh, you still didn’t pay your Grit bill ma’am.”
    “Ah, I’m pretty sure this is my house.”
    “Oh boy, one of these.”
    “Ha, ha ha. No it isn’t”
    “I found that out too late, but…”
    “Larry, you’re a dullard.”
    have we entered your fantasy kingdom?”
    “Got any more of these books, son?”
    -And what about Sue and me? “She’s suing him??”
    “Boing everybody! Boing!”

    Main event:
    “Is this the Thrilla in Manilla ?” ” No, This is the snooze in Santa Cruz” Servo/Mike
    “Hell, I’m being traded to the St. Louis mob.”Mike
    “Music?? Why here? Why now? Why us?” Crow
    “This guy has out Wooded Ed Wood.” Mike
    “Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman have it out.” Mike
    “I don’t like this new Star Search category.” Servo
    “Boy, that music really draws you in.”Crow
    “Boy, Continental Sound really came through, huh?” Mike
    “And four hours later..” Servo
    -What is it boss? “A coupon for a free Happy Meal.” Joe/Mike
    “Those ringside seats are worth the $700, huh?” Servo
    “Is there a midway nearby?” Mike


  28. Ray Dunakin says:

    I love this episode. It has so many hilarious riffs.

    The movie itself is so obviously meant to be titillating, yet is so completely inept it fails at every attempt. It’s like it was made by asexual aliens who have only a theoretical understanding of sex and arousal.


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

    Kenneth Morgan:
    My favorite riff from this one is during one of the matches: “This’d turn k.d. lang hetero!”

    Meaning it would make ANYONE stop being attracted to women, right? I wasn’t entirely clear on that.

    This is how pre-marital counseling went down back in the day? Thank God we currently live in much more stable, far less silly times!

    Yes, thankfully, western civilization has since recognized that marriage can in fact be dispensed with entirely. ;-)

    This is a good one. I love the short. I always associate this one with Is This Love?, to the point that I forget which one had the Romulan.

    Both films had a character that the Brains identified as a Romulan, as did “Horror at Party Beach.”

    Smog Monster:
    Compare that to the next full season, in which they did 13 Universal horror movies in a row … what was that about ? Couldn’t you at least space ’em ??? Hmmmm …

    Maybe they were trying to reassure the Sci-Fi Channel by sticking to “traditional material”?

    John M. Hanna:
    The women in this film were frightening to behold. I swore some of them had Adam’s apples.

    Women have Adam’s apples, it’s just that men’s Adam’s apples are much more pronounced and thus noticeable. Plust, they’re not “Eve’s Apples”…

    Tom singing REM songs whenever the Michael Stipe-ish thug is onscreen, but he gets the some of the lyrics wrong (“Let’s go back to Rockville” should be “Don’t go back to Rockville”).

    I think reversing the meaning was supposed to be the point. In what way, I am not certain.

    1 adam 12:
    Nobody could be as hilariously brain-dead as Larry and Sue though.

    Do you even LIVE here?

    Bobbled Dopple:
    the rest of the movie is endless 50s lady wrestling.

    Endless padding is what low-budget films do best. :-)

    And what kind of name is Peaches?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Some people will name their kids ANYTHING.

    Exactly where did that “counselor” get his degree from?

    Hollywood Upstairs Divinity School? Salvation Army Correspondence School? Club Jed[i] School? Is anyone “getting” this? ;-)

    Say what you will about the endless wrasslin’ footage in this movie, but you know what? Take out the preening, showmanship, and penises

    Is it really appropriate to ask people to take out penises…?

    If all women looked like the ones in this movie the human race would have become extinct a long time ago.

    If all women looked like the ones in this movie, men would have no other standard of beauty to compare them to. Besides, when some men get horny enough…

    Sitting Duck:

    Dare I ask why Mike reads Cosmo?

    He received a subscription as a gift? Or as part of participation in the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes?


  30. dakotaboy says:

    “But what about the rubber band!” gets my vote for greatest riff ever. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I first heard that one.

    MMA sure has come a long way in the last 60 years!


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

    crow -Professor Hurtz -schmo:
    Oh, the pain.

    “Cupid is anal.” – Crow

    In theoretically humorous drawings, he’s often seen shooting people in the backside, yes.


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

    EricJ: No, that’s The Ukraine–
    Ukrania is one of those fictious countries you find just east of Ruritania, behind the Iron Curtain borders of Pottsylvania.
    (Heaven forbid that Kevin might get his smarty-pants on backwards.)

    Hm. In “The Deadly Mantis,” Mike says “Ukrainians” so I guess we can’t be sure if they ever picked up on the error or not.

    I suppose the show *might* have made an accurate reference to “the Ukraine” in some riff or another over, y’know, ten years or so, but there’s no quick way to find out.

    “The Uzbekistani Tracy and Hepburn…”


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

    Thomas K. Dye:
    And, wow, gyms were really depressing in those days.

    Well, the real ones were in color, so they were probably noticeably cheerier.


  34. Cornjob says:

    The short really overshadows the film for me here.

    “I worship Cthulhu!”

    “Marines we are leaving”

    The movie is remarkable for throwing a whole lot of titillation at me and completely failing to even amuse me. At least someone got to put their fantasy world on screen. Good for them. And it’s better to be bored with a glimpse in to someone’s mental rumpus room than horrified or nauseated by it.

    The whole making book thing makes me laugh. I know it has something to do with gambling, but it sounds like the feds are after a vigilante press owner called The Publisher.


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

    What’s up with the visitors in Deep13?They do nothing, they’re there for no reason, I don’t get it…

    Of course they’re there for a reason. They’re there to set up the “security system” gag. It’s not MUCH of a reason, true, but still.

    And they stuck around because, well, who WOULDN’T enjoy spending time at Deep 13? What else do they have to do, feed soda pop to thirsty pigs? Besides, lots of people enjoy weddings…


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

    It occurred to me that when I put lots of comments in one post, and then someone “likes” the post, I have no way of knowing which part they “liked.” Then it further occurred to me that it really doesn’t matter. As long as I’m “liked” for *something*. :-)


  37. Cornjob says:

    They like me. They really like me!


  38. CJBeiting says:

    The DVD for this episode has an add for something called “Hamlet ADD”, which has a couple of MST3K members doing voices. What, exactly, is this thing? Has anyone out there actually seen it?


  39. Molly Ringworm says:

    I absolutely love this episode, but then again, Wild World of Batwoman is in my Top 10, so I think my threshold for pain is great. Two lines nobody mentioned here that absolutely kill me every time I hear them (it’s not even the jokes themselves, it’s the delivery):

    Larry: “They can’t stop me!”
    Mike: “I’m Mighty Boy!”

    Joe: “Wow, you look like a swell dish to me…”
    Crow: “Chaplin speaks!”


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