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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: 401- Space Travelers

Movie: (1969) In a re-edited version of the movie “Marooned,” various obstacles hamper attempts to rescue three NASA astronauts trapped aboard a crippled space capsule.

First shown: 6/6/92
Opening: The Great Crowdini attempts an astounding escape.
Invention exchange: J&tB demonstrate The Dollaroid, while the Mads show off their “facial” tissue
Host segment 1: J&tB present a list of space race advancements
Host segment 2: Reenacting the movie so Crow can do his killer Peck
Host segment 3: J&tB wonder: If one of them had to sacrifice themselves…
End: Magic fun, letters
Stinger: Hackman, demonstrating that he’s good in anything
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (221 votes, average: 3.87 out of 5)

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• And so we begin the second of four 24-episode seasons BBI pumped out. You can really feel how settled in and relaxed they are. As they said in the ACEG, they were luxuriating in that rarity of rarities in the TV world, job security. We start off with a very good but not spectacular episode. The riffing is comfortable and steady, and we haven’t had a star-studded, very watchable movie like this since the KTMA days. None of the segments are clunkers, either, so it’s a great way to start the season.
• This episode was included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXII.”
• The stretch between the end of season 3 and the beginning of season 4 was 133 days, the eighth-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes.
• “Marooned,” the movie Film Ventures International chopped up to create “Space Travelers,” is the only MST3K movie that actually won an Oscar. It won for Special Visual Effects, and was also nominated for cinematography and sound.
• In episode 201- ROCKETSHIP X-M where Joel asks “Why didn’t you just show us ‘Marooned’?” and Dr. F replies “We couldn’t get it!” Guess they could get it after all.
• The opening bit is a little complicated. You’re supposed to notice that Crow accidentally drops the all-important key and nobody thinks to retreive it for him before he is blown to kingdom come. But you could easily miss it.
• Joel’s invention really doesn’t make sense, but they got a good bit out of it anyway.
• In the ACEG, they tell a story about meeting Dennis Miller, whose only comment to them was that he wished they hadn’t riffed “Marooned.” He likes it. It was an early instance of the response they would get a lot with “This Island Earth.”
• The riffing in this one starts a little slowly, largely because the movie itself starts a little slowly. It seems insane now, but I was alive then and I can tell you: The workings of NASA fascinated most Americans, and just watching them work was captivating enough for a lot of people. I’m sure the filmmakers thought nothing of beginning their movie with 10 minutes or so of random NASA footage. But there’s not a lot you can say about it.
• For a moment, J&tB do ethereal “eeeee” singing bit — a reference to the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” — that they used to such good effect in episode 205- ROCKET ATTACK USA.
• Then-current reference: Somebody mentions the president, and Servo says he’ll “vomit on some Japanese people.” Here’s a report on the incident he’s referring to. Also: Baby Jessica. Jessica, by the way, is married with kids now.
• Crow’s Gregory Peck is truly killer. Joel also attempts a Peck impression and pales by comparison.
• Servo, on the other hand, does a very good Burt Reynolds laugh.
• This ep has not one, not two, but three Firesign Theatre references!
• Host segment 2 is another “broken sketch sketch” — essentially Joel/Mike and the bots try to put on a sketch and the whole thing goes to hell — that was a MST3K staple throughout the years. Not all of them were that funny but this one is pretty good.
• Callback: Crow recalls that he “called dibs” on the ability to say who lives and who dies, back in season 3. Also, “That was number 9!” (Sidehackers)
• The wonderful “aaaaaaaahhh!” closing bit by the Mads became a great way to say goodbye to MSTie pals for years.
• Cast and crew roundup: It probably shouldn’t be surprising that most of the people listed for this movie also worked on KTMA movies, many of which were much more mainstream. 2nd unit director Ralph E. Black was a production manager for “Invasion U.S.A.” Script writer Mayo Simon also worked on “Phase IV.” In front of the camera, David Janssen was also in “Superdome.” James Franciscus was also in “City on Fire.” Tom Stewart was also in “SST: Death Flight.” And Walter Brooke was also in “Bloodlust” and “San Francisco International.”
• CreditsWatch: Additional Contributing Writer: Bridget Jones. Host Segments Directed by: Jim Mallon, but, unlike most of last season, they will take turns as the season goes on. Trace and Frank are no longer “villians” but Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Frank is, beginning with this episode, “TV’s Frank.” The new season means a new set of interns, most notably this episode marks the arrival of Patrick Brantseg. Also there was Nathan Devery, Brendan Glynn, Suzette Jamison and Steven Sande. Bryan Beaulieu and Bill W. are gone from the special thanks credit. Added have been Mark Gilbertson, all MSTies coast-to-coast and the authors of the 1st Amendment. This episode also marks the arrival of Bradley J. Keely, as assistant editor. For the entire season, they had the services of Rob “the engineer” Burkhardt in engineering. Clayton James comes in for a two-show stint in hair and makeup.
• Fave riff: “Oh they’re dead. How’s the rabbit?” Honorable mention: “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!”

111 Replies to “Episode Guide: 401- Space Travelers”

  1. EricJ says:

    @8 – – The Great Crowdini says “I saw Teller do this.” Crow’s position does resemeble Teller’s in their Casey at the Bat trick, which features him chained and straight jacketed over a bed of spikes.
    To wit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reY68mDYFKk
    (Yep, I’m one of those early pre-crank P&T fans, who knows that “Are we live?” was really about David Copperfield’s TV specials.) :)

    @40 – * It’s almost a proto-’Disaster Movie’ of the type Irwin Allen would become famous for.
    Nah, the Irwin Allen disaster movie has to have the World’s Biggest (insert: resort, building, cruise ship) about to have its happy launch and fanfare, while the lone-wolf/troubled-marriage (insert: Paul Newman, Charlton Heston) technician/architect nags I-told-you-so at the Happy Contented Tycoon that he’s caught up in profits notice the Evil Lazy Contract Designer decided to cut corners on the safety restrictions. Of the slick 90’s revivals, “Dante’s Peak” was more of a TRUE 70’s disaster movie than “Volcano” or Armageddon ever were.
    (Yep, thanks to Netflix, I went through Towering Inferno and When Time Ran Out, just for a bit of unappreciated film-history study. You DO know that Earthquake and the Airports weren’t Irwin Allen, do you?)

    Thanks to the “Absolutely Mad: 50 Years” DVD-Rom from last Christmas, I can also report that “Marooned” has the honor of being the only MSTie experiment to merit its own Mad Magazine satire (“Moroned”, #138, Oct. ’70):
    (Peck: “Let the press know, we at NASA haven’t given up hope for these astronauts–And neither have their widows…er, WIVES!“) :)

       1 likes

  2. big61al says:

    We suggest you start breathing in shifts. (said by Crow in his awesome Gregory Peck voice)
    that is one great riff….kudos to the writer! :yes:

       1 likes

  3. briizilla says:

    Crow, as Peck, saying ‘To 2 of you good luck. To one of you…goodbye’ cracks me up every time.

       2 likes

  4. Blast Hardcheese says:

    I have a question no one’s yet been able to answer: how much different is the FVI “Space Travelers” from the original “Marooned?” I imagine it was cut down for TV distribution, but by how much? The original is 134 minutes–after “Hamlet” the longest film on MST–but I can’t seem to find any specifics on “Space Travelers.”

    I mention this both for the sake of interest, and because it puzzles me why they would choose to do this movie at all. As far as movies go, “Marooned” isn’t that bad–not the most exciting film in the world, but then a lot of films are slow, and they get respect as “art films.” I can’t even say that the FVI version plays havoc with the editing or anything like that, since the story is still pretty coherent and self-contained–any may actually be improved by the cutting (I have to confess–I saw the original “Marooned” in the theatre in 1969 or 1970–when I was about 6. My brother wanted to see it, and I tagged along. I was bored to tears, as I recall, even though I, like every other kid in the late 60s, was obsessed with astronauts and moon missions and lunar modules and all that. But I don’t remember a whole lot, except being bored, bored, bored.) So why is this film on here? The riffing is OK, the host segments are fine, but this is one of those cases where the choice of film is something of a misfire.

    But no matter–if the season starts with a whimper, it ends with about a dozen bangs.

    @51: “Earthquake” wasn’t Irwin Allen, but “The Poseidon Adventure” sure was. There’s a most magnificent slice of well-aged cheese. Also by Allen was “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” featuring Gypsy’s heartthrob…. I agree that “Marooned” isn’t in the Allen vein–that didn’t get underway until the early 70s (“Poseidon,” I think, was the best of the early ones–and by gum, I think I saw ’em all).

       1 likes

  5. Stressfactor says:

    If you look at film studies of disaster movies they have several criteria:

    1) Large casts of well known actors. Does “Marooned” have this? Yes.

    2) Multiple plotlines. Does “Marooned” have this? Well, not so much. There are pretty much only two — the people back on Earth trying to mount the rescue and the astronauts in the capsule trying to survive.

    3) A focus on efforts of survival. Does “Marooned” have this? Yes.

    4) The effects of the disaster on individuals and families. Does “Marooned” have this? Yes. We see the impact on the wives (although not too much), we see the impact of events on all the characters — Hackman goes bonkers, Crenna ends up biting the bullet to save the others, Janssen curses and shouts a lot, Peck gets to play ‘stoic-but-torn-up-inside’.

    So yes, I think “Marooned” DOES set the stage for what would come later. That’s why I called it a PROTO-Disaster flick. All the pieces are not in place for a full-on disaster movie but it pushes a LOT of the same buttons.

       1 likes

  6. Jbagels says:

    Gotta agree with Jeff McMahon, it is a very large key and in case you didn’t get it Crow actually says it is central to the trick. Another instance where the right people will get it, in this case anyone who understands English or has ever seen a key. I was 9 and I’m pretty sure I got the idea behind it.

       2 likes

  7. Stressfactor says:

    @ #56,

    Not to mention that they add a ‘clank’ sound effect to the key hitting the counter. I also noted that the key doesn’t so much ‘drop’ out of Crow’s mouth as ‘fly’ out. Looks like they had some fishing line tied to it or something.

       2 likes

  8. pondoscp says:

    This is an alright episode. I remember seeing it the night it premiered.

       0 likes

  9. 24HourWideAwakeNightmare says:

    I think my favorite bit’s when Richard Crenna’s floating off into the vacuum and Tom as Walter Brennan hollers “Matthew! You get back in this here capsule or I’ll tan your hide!”

    How did the DAP work, anyway? I remember being very irritated that I couldn’t just click a button and the file would download. That was something like, what, 10 years ago? At some point I found torrents of MST3K. That I could wrap my head around, but the DAP wanted you to reciprocate in some manner, right? Lucky thing I’d taped everything in site.

       0 likes

  10. EricJ says:

    @55 – Yes, but you have to see at least two Allens to get a good soulless skeletal-construction idea of the Disaster Movie Game–Every character has a subplot, some will live and some will die for our dramatic entertainment, and the skilled movie buff can win movie-night bets guessing who:
    The dog and kids always survive, no matter how difficult to rescue. Mr. Evil-Lazy-Designer will ALWAYS meet his well-deserved fate while still denying there’s any disaster, causing Happy Tycoon to panic into Jello. The unfaithful wife will always need rescuing, but perish in the sacrifice of realizing her mistake. The two-bit con man will always redeem himself into the most heroically resourceful character.
    (Example: Like all Allen disaster movies that involve some kind of climactic tightrope/hoist/catwalk climbing to get to safety, the characters in “When Time Ran Out” have to walk one at a time across a rope bridge over hot lava. The characters include: Burgess Meredith as an aging tightrope walker, and his wife dying of cancer, cop Ernest Borgnine chasing lovable fugitive Red Buttons, oil drilling consultant Paul Newman who warned of the eruption, his romantic interest, and the impulsive rival who argues with Newman’s leadership…The last twenty minutes of the film is “Okay, cross the bridge and you’re in the club”, and we sit there doing nothing but forming our betting pool.)

       1 likes

  11. CatraDhtem says:

    To expand a bit on what Blast Hardcheese is getting at, here’s a question for everyone that I don’t think has been approached yet: Do you consider Marooned to be a bad movie? Or for those who had previously seen it before this episode, did your opinion of it change once it officially became a “cheesy movie?”

       0 likes

  12. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Season 4 is probably my favorite season.  Everything is just clicking:  the writing is sharp and the characters are well defined and, as mentioned above, I think job security had a lot to do with the loose and free feeling of the show.  Some GREAT episodes are coming up.

    As for Space Travelers, I used to think this one was a drag.  Not so anymore.  Sure, the movie starts reeeeaal slow, but the riffing never falters and the host segments are all good, if not great.

    The movie itself is kind of a bummer.  Despite the seriousness of the film (or maybe because of it?) Joel and the Bots never fail in ripping up this space “adventure”. 

     Worth noting that Space Travelers has the best cast for a MST movie since SST: Death Flight.

    I’m surprised I’m doing this, but the first episode of Season 4 gets a 4/5 from me.

    Riffs and Things:

    At the beginning, the Mads are expounding on the evilness inherent in Bruce Willis and his popularity.  Now, I like Bruce (Die Hard rules!) but the Mads do bring up ‘The Return of Bruno’ which is just…. man, it’s just evil.  Maybe the Mads are right…?

    During invention exchange,
    Joel: “Do what I do.”. ——-What’s this from???

    At Director John Sturges screen credit,
    Joel: “John, you’ve done better.” —— The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven would be two examples.

    Joel: “Sitting around the lake, mountains come out of the sky.”
    Crow: “Say no, to Yes.” ——-I like Yes and this makes me laugh.

    Joel, as Peck, about Hackman: “He’s high.”

    Joel: “We’ve got Judy Garland on the line, she’s gonna advise you on the whole pill thing.”

    movie: “Sedate him.”
    Joel: “Put on some Dan Fogelberg.”

    Crow: “Wait till I tell them I’m joking.  There’s plenty of air for everybody.”

    During Host Segment #3,
    Joel: “Who decides who lives and who dies?”
    Crow: “I do.  I called dibs, remember?”

    Lots of music references in this one, in addition to the ones I named also references to The Clash, Wendy Carlos, ELO, Reo Speedwagon, Bob Dylan, and more I’m sure.  Music was on their brains for this one.

    Good start to season 4,
    Coming up,
    One of my faves,

    What puts thus episode at a 4 for me and not a 3?  Crow’s killer Peck impersonation.

    4/5

       2 likes

  13. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    This is kind of a sleepy episode for me…it reminds me of Phase IV for some reason, maybe because the first plot point happens 15 minutes into the movie…

    Thank God NASA really didn’t have James Franciscus and Gregory Peck working for them…nobody would have any idea what they were saying!

    “They’re putting on a production of Our Town. Sad, really…”

    You know, Hackman is really good in this!

       0 likes

  14. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    I forgot…segment one is really quintessential Joel-era humor…

    Swirled yogurt! Essential for spaceflight.

    Branford, Wynton, and Chicken Marsalis!

    The styrofoam peanut, the circus peanut, and the Woozle whose name was Peanut!

       1 likes

  15. Stressfactor says:

    @ #61,

    If I saw the whole thing (which I haven’t) I might consider it a “good” film. It isn’t “bad” in the way that some of the other films they’ve riffed had been (poor acting, poor direction, hard-to-follow plot, etc.) BUT I don’t think it’s aged well. The dramatic acting of the time period seems like overacting now (particularly Hackman — he was trying to sell the crazy too hard) and the plot has gone from being dramatic for it’s time to being melodramatic. The films slow way of building tension was probably alright for the time but, again, with modern movie pacing it’s become slow and plodding.

    Is it “bad”? No. Is it cheesy? Yes. But I don’t think anyone had to officially or unofficially declare it cheesy it’s just become so thanks to the passage of time.

    It might be right at the edge of that ‘fair game’ line but I do think it was fair game.

       2 likes

  16. Alex says:

    This is one of those episodes that I found out was a major film. Ofcourse, my brother didn’t tell me it had a different name. I read about the Film Ventures International buying and treatment of this film, so it’s funny because some of the film had been edited out. Most of the movies were either foreign, low budget, or basically a television pilot.

    I could swear they did a musical movie once. Probably the first season. It was a Warner Brothers movie and had people singing.

       0 likes

  17. dsman71 says:

    Thanks Sampo – that explains a lot of how they all seemed to look different – I bet they had a long vacation in those 132 days..
    I still think Season 3 was better than 4 but its just marginal..I like the atmospheric/feel of the show ( & the movies ) Season 3 had but I still really love the 2nd Season just before the show took off in new heights..

       0 likes

  18. Lee Harvey Osmond says:

    Say, this one isn’t so bad! I gave it a three after my first viewing, but I’d like to bump it up to a four if I could (a low one, more like a 3.5 actually, but we can’t use that rating now, can we?).

    I don’t really have much else to say. It’s a dull film with legitimately talented actors that Joel, Crow and Servo handle well and none of the host segments are bad (I like the third one the best, it’s short and kind of cute). A solid premiere episode for a pretty decent season.

    Uh, let’s see, what else……Crow’s jaw looks like it’s about ready to fall off……

    Oh, wait, I know! My favorite riff: After Pruett dies and begins drifiting off, the last thing that Joel says is: “HEEYY, you didn’t sign our yearbook!”

       0 likes

  19. 24HourWideAwakeNightmare says:

    #66 – they’ve done more than a few Troubled Teen flicks from the 50s with the odd musical number, Beatniks, Girls Town, etc. In the former the music is wholly incidental, built around a B list actor playing a Struggling Singer, a formula common to many of these movies; in the former you have the Platters doing a number, not to mention Paul Anka singing Ava Maria, while Mel Torme and Dick Contino are merely content to act. In these the music is just thrown into the mix, irrespective of whether it has anything to do with the plot.

    But MST3K doing an out-and-out musical, with songs being part of the dynamics of the film itself and being sung every other scene? No. Can’t think of one that would fit the bill, either. But then I haven’t deliberately familiarized myself with any examples that failed miserably on an artistic level; there must be a good few, but they weren’t quite the thing for the show, it seems – remember, for a film to make the MST3K cut it not only has to be bad, but bad in certain ways, too.

    Didn’t they do an ep in the Mike era with at least a handful of songs? Batwoman, maybe? Haven’t seen that in a while, and I recall having to lie down afterwards, anyway…maybe that’s the one you’re thinking of.

       0 likes

  20. Stressfactor says:

    @ #66 —

    I think you’re thinking of “Untamed Youth” which was in the first season. It was a WB film and it featured quite a few songs by Mamie VanDoren. She does about three or four songs in the picture and there are dance numbers along with the songs which is probably why it seemed like a musical but it wasn’t a musical.

       0 likes

  21. stef says:

    I agree with briizilla, best Crow killer Peck line in the whole movie!! But then, every killer Peck line is hilarious!

    This movie is bad I’m not disputing that, but I actually like it when in a film like Marooned or in certain tvshows I watch, there are scenes where the problems are calmly discussed and figured out, instead of running and yelling all the time. I think it’s cool when that happens and it was written well.

       1 likes

  22. Tom Carberry says:

    I’ve always thought that Season 4 was their best season, but unfortunately #401 wasn’t a good start. I’ve seen the original “Marooned” and it is long and dull (perhaps tedious is a better description). FVI or BBI cut a goodly chunk of it to fit their time schedule, but to quote a friend, “cutting a turd in half yields half a turd.” Trace has a marvelous gift for mimicry–he does a killer Peck and a very good David Janssen.

       1 likes

  23. Fred Burroughs says:

    I didn’t notice the key.

       0 likes

  24. JeremyR says:

    Riffing really only works for me when the movie is somewhat goofy to begin with. This one is far too serious and melodramatic.

       1 likes

  25. Gorn Captain says:

    The “Get out! Get out! The calls are coming from inside NASA!” riff still cracks me up.

    I once read in an old book on SF movies that a good chunk of the movie’s budget was blown trying to film the weightless scenes underwater. In the end, they couldn’t eliminate the tell tale bubbles that occur, and had to reshoot those scenes.

    If you’ve ever seen “Humanoid Woman” that they riffed back on KTMA, you get a pretty good idea how well shooting space walk scenes underwater turns out. It looks really cool until you see tiny swirls of bubbles!

       1 likes

  26. One I haven’t seen yet, but probably should.

       0 likes

  27. Cornjob says:

    This is a movie that really wanted to be a documentary. I think that’s why it’s so slow and plodding.

    Fantastic episode. I have fond memories of watching this with my girlfriend in the early 90’s. Afterword when we talked on the phone we’d do the, “I have to go”-“Where?” exchange before hanging up.

    “There’s someone down there.”

    “My guess is that’d be the guy you’re looking for”

       0 likes

  28. AlbuquerqueTurkey says:

    “It seems insane now, but I was alive then and I can tell you: The workings of NASA fascinated most Americans, and just watching them work was captivating enough for a lot of people. I’m sure the filmmakers thought nothing of beginning their movie with 15 minutes or so of random NASA footage.”

    As someone whose dad worked at Mission Control during the Apollo years, I can tell you how much of a pain it was to have movie crews in your neighborhood filming the latest theater or TV movie about the space program. They showed up at my school several times; they took over the house of a childhood friend of mine; they were often outside the main gates on NASA Road 1 filming some location shot. It started off being kind of cool, but it quickly became an annoyance. And yes, random footage of NASA people seems to pop up everywhere. I remember there is some Rush video out there somewhere (the horror!) with a 2-second shot of my dad in it.

    I remember seeing Marooned at the drive-in theater. I think I fell asleep (I was 9).

       5 likes

  29. Cornjob says:

    “I remember there is some Rush video out there somewhere (the horror!)”

    That sounds pretty cool to me, but I love Rush, I guess you don’t. Now that I think of it, during the Joel years the show seemed to have a good attitude tward Rush (“You probably listen to Rush” was said approvingly in a letters read), but by the time of the Sci Fi years they didn’t seemed to care for them, like when Mike is told to shut up when he started singing The Trees.

       1 likes

  30. Gorn Captain says:

    @78 Lucky you! My dad worked at the Cape in the 60’s and 70’s, and I’ve yet to spot him in any documentary footage. Thought I finally found him in a vintage photo of Mercury Mission Control once, but whoever it was too far away from the camera to be absolutely sure.

       2 likes

  31. Spector says:

    I just couldn’t get into this one at all. The movie, while a predictable kinda-sorta sci-fi thriller, isn’t really that bad, and the cast is actually pretty good, especially Hackman and Peck. I don’t consider this film as cheesy, and thus it’s one of my least favorite episodes. I’ve always found that the cheesier the film, the better the episode.

    Every year or so, I’ll put it on and watch it, hoping that I’ll gradually learn to love it, but it’s been, what, going on sixteen years I’ve been doing that, and no dice. Two stars out of five. Thankfully, there would be far better fare to come in Season Four!

       2 likes

  32. Stressfactor says:

    Oh, and something I realized belatedly… In the third host segment Joel says they are “three guys trapped in a ship”. Uhhhh… Joel can’t count. One guy, four bots. Even if Joel wants to classify Gypsy as a “girl” (even though the segments still won’t apply) there’s Cambot who is presumably a guy.

    I know, I’m expecting internal consistency from MST3K where the motto went “If it’s funny who cares if it contradicts?”

       1 likes

  33. noplot says:

    @66–could be you’re thinking of “Catalina Caper”–not quite season 1, but early in season 2. Much singing and a large element of randomness to it all. Probably the closest the series got to doing a musical, as well as an intended comedy. And it was from Warner Bros. (why on earth did they pick it up?), so that fits as well.

       1 likes

  34. Alex says:

    No, no. It was Untamed Youth! I just looked around and found it. Yeah, it was singing in the cotton fields and I just saw some of it. Funny stuff from Season 1. They start singing and Servo goes ‘Shut up.’
    I remembered it because it seemed like a larger, musical production. It seemed strange to see such a movie on a show I eventually became a big fan of and usually mocked smaller, lower-budget films.

    Catalina caper was also unusual, because it had music numbers and was an intended comedy.

       1 likes

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

    83: Probably the closest the series got to doing a musical

    Actually, “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies” was billed as “the first monster musical.” It hit the theaters a mere month before “Horror at Party Beach” might have otherwise claimed the title (if so inclined). So there’s a MST3K film that specifically categorized itself as a musical, no “closest to” proviso necessary. ;-)

       2 likes

  36. Creepygirl says:

    Back when Space Travelers debuted I have to admit I did not like it very much. I stayed away from it for a long time and skipped it during Comedy Central reruns. I thought I’d give it another chance this week and have to say it’s better than I remember. I still think the movie is an overlong bore but the riffing is great. Isn’t the riffing really the reason we’re all here? I also found the host segments very smart and entertaining.

    I gave Ep 401 three stars.

       2 likes

  37. Green Switch says:

    It’s an episode that grows on you if you give it time. It has to be one of my favorites.

    Crow’s Killer Peck does a lot for this one.

       1 likes

  38. Dan in WI says:

    Let me be the first in this current (2015) round of commenting to remind everyone that Gene Hackman is good in anything.

       2 likes

  39. MSTie says:

    As someone who grew up in in the movie’s era, I want to re-emphasize that yes, every minute move that NASA made was considered fascinating to the masses. We watched every takeoff on TVs laboriously wheeled into and set up in classrooms. We knew loads of details about each astronaut. Now, no one can name those on the Space Station and no one seems to care, either.

    So, the episode. I put off watching this for a long time because I thought how bad/funny could a movie be that starred Gregory Peck and Gene Hackman, who are of course good in anything? When I finally saw it I loved the riffing and the host segments, not much to add to what’s already been said. Except anyone who knows me on these boards knows I’m mostly interested in one thing: James Franciscus. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that!

       2 likes

  40. Sitting Duck says:

    Space Travelers fails the Bechdel Test. The wives are the only female characters with speaking roles, and they never converse among themselves.

    This could be me, but HS #3 seems like something that would have been used during Mike’s time on the SoL.

    Frequent mention is made in the riffing to Peck’s role in McKenna’s Gold. Only saw that one once and wasn’t very impressed (can’t recall exactly why). One thing I do remember is how dangerously close we got to seeing the Little Omar.

    Mr. B(ob) #47: This may be an episode that never makes it to DVD because of the film used.

    Bet you now feel pretty silly for having said that. I think at this point, we should accept that Shout is capable of getting any title except possibly the Godzillas (and maybe even those).

    @ #79: It’s been mentioned before that Frank was the prog rock fan amongst the Brains, who would give him a hard time over it.

    Favorite riffs

    Check it out. I’m giving Houston the finger!

    “I guess we’re all getting our second wind.”
    Yeah, we can smell it down here.

    “How did the data look?”
    It looks fabulous!

    Your jockstrap will double as a flotation device.

    “Do you read, Iron Man?”
    No, but I’ve read Final Exit, and it’s going to come in handy.”

    We’ve got Judy Garland on the line. She’ll be advising you on the pill thing.

    The other husbands were so strong, and mine is a tower of Jell-O. But he’s good, though.

    We suggest you start breathing in shifts.

    “That tower is expendable. But the three men…”
    Are slightly less expendable than that tower.

    Either that matte painting goes or I do.

    Get out! Get out! The calls are coming from inside NASA!

       3 likes

  41. EricJ says:

    Dan in WI:
    Let me be the first in this current (2015) round of commenting to remind everyone that Gene Hackman is good in anything.

    I would agree with that, but I had the misfortune to see “Two of a Kind”….Well, okay, even when he phones it in, it’s good.
    He even survived Superman IV: the Quest for Peace.

       0 likes

  42. The Other Joel, there's two of us says:

    Joel’s line at the end, “Play the video game. Read the Bantam Book. Soundtrack available on RSO Records, or hit the demo button on any Casio keyboard.” Some 20 years ago we taped this ep from late night syndication and the line stuck with me even after we taped over it with the next week’s episode (we weren’t made of VHS tapes). Any time I hear music that sounds canned and fakey I think about the “demo button” line. For some reason I always thought it was from Pod People – what with the Wall of Keyboards sketch – but when Volume 32 arrived I was stunned to find this reference right there at the end of Space Travelers. I always got this one confused with Stranded In Space since that title fits here and both are kind of a struggle to get through. I knew we had taped Stranded back in the day but I wasn’t sure if I’d ever seen this one. That line at the end was proof I had.

       1 likes

  43. Prime Minister Jm J. Bullock (pondoscp) says:

    Another amazing upgrade from Shout! has allowed me to find much more enjoyment in this episode! As an earlier commentator stated, this one will grow on you if you give it time.

       1 likes

  44. crowschmo says:

    “Produced by me – Al Frankovich.”

    People bring up the fact that this was the only Oscar winner to be on MST3K. Well, sure – but it was for Special Effects. Not Best Picture, Not Writing. It still is a VERY DULL movie.

    This one was okay, not great, for me. It was a bit too slow to be that enjoyable. Season 4 overall was one of the best, though. (I notice all my previous comments from all these comment sections have been eradicated, heh – I know I commented on SOME of them).

    There are a few amusing riffs on this one, but not enough for me to watch it regularly.

    Some faves:

    For some reason, what really made me crack up was when in the beginning they were just dragging out all the NASAness and Crow cries, “Wow, is this COOL!” with mock enthusiasm. :)

    “Here at Phillip’s Petroleum, we’ve found ways to replace the environment – take for example these plastic, self-cleaning ducks.”- Crow

    “This used to be a wetland preserve in North Dakota. Well, we’ve shellacked it and covered it with an acrylic polymer.” – Servo

    In the scene where there is mad giggling heard, when they were trying to get out of the capsule, but neither character is SHOWN to be giggling, then there’s a bit of a cut to Gene Hackman by himself, and all of a sudden he IS giggling, it was just bad editing, and Crow says, “Oh, the OTHER Gene is laughing.”

    “Career to ‘OFF’.” – Servo

    “What’s a four letter word for fiery death?” – Crow

    And also the breathing in shifts and demo button lines by Crow and Joel that have been mentioned.

    In all this was a so-so ep for me. You watch it, I’m bitter. :deadrose:

       2 likes

  45. Jeff says:

    Tom Stewart killed me.

       2 likes

  46. 401 – Space Travelers

    Memorable Riffs:
    Joel: “You know this movie works because we care about the characters.”

    Crow: “A million dollars spent on this program, and no one thought about a camera strap.”

    Servo: “… and then he’ll vomit on some Japanese people.”

    Servo: “…. and don’t sleep in the subway, Baby!”

    Joel: “I guess it can wait until you’re dea- er… I mean down.”

    Servo: “Is there any way I can look any dorkier?”

    Joel: “Well they could flip a coin, but it’d never come down.”

    Crow: “I have a big scene coming up, I need the oxygen!”

    Crow: “Come here dumbski.”

    Fav. Riff:
    Servo: “Oh and I have a quote from Mr. Hackman. He said, ‘AAAAAARGGGGGHHHHH’.”

    Comments:
    – Dirty joke in the opening segment: Crow finds the chains comfortable on him.

    – There is no way Joel’s invention would fly in real life, as altering dollar bills like that is a federal offense.

    – I like how the camera shakes every time Dr. F sneezes.

    – At one point in the theater, Crow hiccups. It doesn’t seem to be in response to anything from the movie, so I wonder if it was a genuine hiccup from Trace.

    – Note in Host Segment 2, Crow says, “Roger, Corman!” Clever!

    – Crow gets disciplined by Joel again after a host segment.

    – In Segment 3 Joel discusses the possibility that one of them may have to leave the ship at some point…..

    – There’s a nice little nod to “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” during Segment 3. Anyone catch it?

    Best Segment: I liked the closing segment.
    Worst Segment: Segment 2

    Overall: First half is kinda slow, but picks up after that. None of the host segments really work. ***

       1 likes

  47. The Grackle of Weltschmerz says:

    By the way, the younger ones among use probably don’tt know hose “Here at Phillips Petroleum” riffs were based on an actual thing. In the 1970s, Phillips Petroleum aired a series of “image” commercials promoting the things it did beyond selling gasoline, filled with pastoral images and an announcer telling us how they were saving the environment in the process. Here’s an example of one of them:

    http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php?title=Phillips_Petroleum_Company_Commercial,_no._3

    Knowing that (and apparently you have to lived in the Midwest to have seen those commercials, which is when I saw them), the riffs about self-cleaning ducks and shellacking a nature preserve are even more hilarious.

       1 likes

  48. Cornjob says:

    My previous posts at #77 and #79 still stand.

    I don’t think I saw the specific Phillip’s Petroleum ads, but I’ve seen plenty of energy company promo pieces claiming that they’re good for the environment to find the “we’re working on ways to replace the environment” to be hilarious and dead on as well.

    “Well, I’ve got to go.
    Where?”

       3 likes

  49. Lisa H. says:

    This one has always put me to sleep for some reason, which is pretty rare with MST3K for me. Maybe, given some above comments that it grew on people and that Shout!’s release is more interesting, I should give it another chance.

       1 likes

  50. jjk says:

    #99 Don’t bother to give this movie another chance, it’s just as boring as you remember it. Hard to believe with all the high quality people involved in this they could turn out a movie that puts people to sleep faster than Ambien.

       6 likes

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