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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 619- Red Zone Cuba (with short: ‘Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance’)


Short: (1949) Helpful advice to make you a better public speaker.
Movie: (1966) An escaped convict and his two pals take part in the Bay of Pigs invasion, then return home with a plan to get rich.

First shown: 12/17/94
Opening: Tom pumps out tonight’s lotto numbers
Intro: Frank owes the mob $50 large, but they stomp Dr. F. instead; meanwhile M&tB hit the casino
Host segment 1: Frank exhorts the nearly-dead Dr. F.
Host segment 2: Mike is Carol Channing; Dr. F. gets “hope you die” wishes
Host segment 3: Dr. F. lives, dies and lives again, but the mob says otherwise
End: M&tB sing a happy, upbeat song, Dr. F. is feeling better
Stinger: Blind lady playing piano
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (250 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)


• I maintain that this is easily the worst movie MST3K ever did, and is in the running for worst movie EVER MADE (and, yes, I’ve seen “The Apple”). And for that reason, I LOVE this episode. The badness really drives M&tB at great riffing heights. And that doesn’t even count the wonderful, hilarious short. And host segments are a lot of fun too.
• Rhino released this on DVD as a single
• That’s a neat trick shooting the balls out of Tom. I love the way Kevin grunts as he sends each one skyward.
• Slightly unusual: many of the segments take place in Deep 13 rather than on the SOL.
• That’s Mary Jo as the increasingly rare Magic Voice.
• Slam on Denny Dillon outta nowhere! Also Amanda Bearse.
• Carradine was in a HUGE number of movies, but keep in mind that many of them are movies like this.
• Segment 1 is lots of fun. The sight of Frank and mummy Dr. F doing the knee test is worth the price of admission.
• Callback: “Petey Plane!” (Skydivers) “This nose wheel feels mushy,” (San Francisco International), the “Starfighters” music, “I’m dyin’ in a rush!” (Kitten with a Whip). Also, Crow’s: “Hey Posture Pals was the definitive last word on posture!” and “The master says you can’t stay here.” (Manos)
• “I’m a dreamer, Montreal” is a line from the Marx Brothers’ “Animal Crackers.”
• I’m pretty sure that’s Trace as the voice of Jimmy Carter on the phone. I think that’s a guest appearance I may have missed previously.
• Mike again displays his unexplained and preternatural ability to just become somebody, in this case Carol Channing.
• Mike does the knee test in the theater. It doesn’t seem to help.
• I was humming the “happy upbeat song” for days after I first saw this.
• Nice Harpo gookie by Frank at the end.
• Cast and crew round up: Also working on “The Hellcats:” producer Anthony Cardoza. In front of the camera: Tom Hanson, Nick Raymond and Frederic Downs. Also working on “The Skydivers:” producer Anthony Cardoza (also actor), director/screenplay writer Coleman Francis (also actor), score composer John Bath. In front of the camera: Frederic Downs. Also working on “The Beast of Yucca Flats:” producer Anthony Cardoza (also actor), director/screenplay writer Coleman Francis (also actor). In front of the camera: John Morrison and George Prince. Coleman also appears briefly as a delivery man in “This Island Earth.” Nick Raymond also appeared in “The Sinister Urge.” Frederic Downs also appeared in “Terror from the Year 5000.” John Carradine also appeared in “The Unearthly.”
• CreditsWatch: Frank gets a new credit this week and for the rest of the season: script consultant. Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. The music for the “The Bouncy Upbeat Song” was written by Mike. Frank wrote the lyics.
• Fave riff from the short: “Make sure your part is gouged into your skull.” Honorable mention: “Now you’re ready to rub out Sonny Corleone.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Ho, guys. Step back and think. Are we all gonna fit in here?” Honorable mention: “Why is Phil Silvers rounding up corpses?

205 Replies to “Episode guide: 619- Red Zone Cuba (with short: ‘Speech: Platform Posture and Appearance’)”

  1. trickymutha says:

    He ran all the way to hell- with a penny and a broken cigarette.


  2. Graboidz says:

    “Had to finish smoking before I could laugh.”

    One of my all time favorites!! It’s a toss up between this one and “Boggy Creek’ when I’m introducing the show to a newbie.


  3. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Oh Joy.

    5 stars, only cuz i can;t give it 6. i’ve watched it alot and the more i watch it the better it gets. I can’t say that for every ep.

    SPP&A: The goofy enthusiasm of the subject plus razor sharp riffing from the team = great short.

    he’s a… she’s a… can they get along in the suburbs !?

    RZC: WHat can i say that hasn’t already been said ? The film is so extreme in it’s oddness. Yes it’s bad and ugly, but there always seems to be something interesting going on. Weird bits of crap just keep coming out of left field. Like some kind of acid laced Hope and Crosby movie.

    My father was a can opener, my mother was a wood duck

    I’m a dreamer, Montreal. As Sampo points out it is from the Marx Bros. They in turn were riffing on the 1929 song ‘I’m a dreamer, aren’t we all’

    The SOL host segments were very good.. lottery & bingo were both very nicely done. Mike ( and others ) as Carol Channing, can’t go wrong.

    The deep 13 segments leave me a little cold, but I don’t think it’s THEIR fault, I can see it is technically very well put together and performed, it just doesn’t make me laugh, some problem with me I think.


  4. Satan's Jockstrap says:

    Chinese Fire Drill…lol!

    Definitely an all time favorite episode for me.



  5. Also, not to be nitpicky, but that line is from Animal Crackers, not Duck Soup.


  6. jason says:

    “I hardly endorse throwing her down the well” This is one of the best episodes ever. i always laugh when i see this one.
    one my favpries riid=ff swhen their running down the old guy and beating him up. mike says “showing off his swank restaurant with his chi-chi froglegs. another one is “I think you suppose to strangle me til i dead.” i always laugh at that scene just the look on his face. Of course everyone’s favorite “I’m Cherokee Jack.” I suprised sampo didn’t mentioned cherokee jack. The short is funny to . The athletic he-man types. “Grandpa?”


  7. CMWaters says:

    Favorite two riffs:

    Mike saying “Excuse me, is this the (into Carridene voice)Night train to Mundo Fine?”

    Another Mike: “GAH! My neck just snapped from that jump cut!”

    And now the $10,000 question: Who the hell told Coleman Francis that he would have done well in FRONT of the camera?

    (The $10,000 prize may be honored in Monopoly money…either classic version or “Transformers Monopoly” version)


  8. Stan McSerr says:

    Ah, the fever dream of movies. I don’t think I ever stayed awake for this movie. And always felt lousy and vulnerable at the end. This movie(minus MST3K riffing) could be the substitute for waterboarding. Maybe too cruel?


  9. Sitting Duck says:

    I’m with you Sampo. This is very much the worst movie they ever used. Combined with the very weak host segments, I would have been tempted to rank this episode at one star. However, the riffing is quite good, so I went with three instead.

    Graboidz #2; does your choice of movie depend on how much you want to break the spirit of the newbie in question? :evil:


  10. happy says:

    I love this episode…I watch this one pretty often..
    I love John Carradine’s Night Train to Mundo Fine :)


  11. Graboidz says:

    Sitting Duck – Nope…for spirit breaking I keep my copy of “The Castle of Fu Manchu” close by.


  12. ck says:

    Guard. Sick Man. Water.
    Guard. Sick Man. Water.
    Guard. Sick Man. Water.


  13. ck says:

    Btw, wasn’t it nice of Mother Teresa
    to send Dr. F. a letter.


  14. GizmonicTemp says:

    Whew! I thought I was all alone in loving this episode. The host segs nutty (high stakes pull tabs?!?!) and the movie is a slideshow of pain. But the crew seem to spend more time ripping Coleman individually in this movie then they do in “Skydivers” or “Yucca” which (apologies to Mr. Francis) is hilarious!


  15. “Men, I want you to study this picture my son drew.”

    For some reason, I kind of enjoy this one; if it weren’t for the fact that the three thuggish leads are unappealing in the extreme, it would almost be charming in its naivete. It’s like a high school drama video in the way they try to pass of Southern California as Cuba, with its planes covered in American markings and its deserty scrubbish landscape. There’s certainly a lot more happening in it (even if most of it makes no sense) than “The Beast of Yucca Flats,” which is basically just Tor Johnson wandering around.

    The short is pretty funny, too. The knee test has never failed to make any MST newbie laugh, in my opinion. I’ve actually tried it; it sort of works, but I’m not that concerned about having a stance that appeals to three “Village of the Damned” audience members.


  16. Kris says:

    This movie is so charmingly bizarre and incompetent I can’t help but love it. Of course the movie is terrible, but almost forgivable in its attempted film noir ineptitude. It’s like a really bad high school play or musical performances starring five-year-olds: adorable in its own pathetic way. And it’s nothing like the FOUL WRETCHED STENCH DIRECT FROM THE GAPING MOUTH OF HELL, HOBGOBLINS!!!!


    Anyway, yes, I love this episode. I wonder if any of the writers seriously contemplated quitting the show after having to sit through this turd 8 or 9 times, though. I imagine much of the previously-mentioned charm wears off after viewing number 3 or so.


  17. Tork_110 says:

    The longer they do the knees test in the short the funnier it gets.


  18. Johnny Ryde says:

    > “I’m a dreamer, Montreal” is a line from the
    > Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup.”

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t from “Duck Soup”. Rather, I believe it’s from “Animal Crackers” in the scene where Chico is playing the piano (“I can’t think of the ending!” “That’s funny, I can’t think of anything else!”)…


  19. Johnny Ryde says:

    Note to self: read through thread before commenting…


  20. adoptadog says:

    “You shove off!”

    Yet another Coleman Francis oeuvre, yet another episode that always makes me laugh. This one is so bleak and dreary – it reminds me of my childhood in New Mexico.

    As another poster expressed it on a different thread, Francis gives the impression of having been around the Hollywood film makers and deciding that he could make movies, too…without having the least idea of how.

    Here, he’s definitely trying to communicate his ideas, but it’s impossible to figure out what he’s saying (“What’s that, boy? Cliff Weismeyer is down a well?”).

    Ultimately, Mike’s question – “Did they even need to GO to Cuba?” – sums up the whole thing. Plus there’s the whole John Carradine-sings-“Night-Train-to-Mundo-Fine” segment, and the great jump cuts, and wonderful riffing. This is a terrific episode. It’s one that I often watch when I’m depressed (yes, I know, sad).

    Fave riff: “In Cold Blood, the series.”


  21. zacklies says:

    who of course culd ever forget Castro’s charm or those delightful frog legs? this one has it all.


  22. RPG says:

    “How’s that fit ya, fancy pants?”


  23. jon says:

    I really like the riffing bits of this episode, but other than the “knee test” the host segments do nothing for me.


  24. The Bolem says:

    Ah, Spring Break, the week of March 8, 1998. Sure, I was just stuck back at home, but like many fellow Transfans, that’s first and foremost when Toonami debuted the final 5 episodes of ‘Beast Wars’ Season 2, and therefore quite possibly the greatest week in television history. Sure MST3K season 9 started the end of the week as well, but of that we mostly remember the technical difficulties; factor in Toonami also airing some Thundercats, Voltron, and Robotech that I’d never seen, and ‘Projected Maaaan!!!’ certainly wasn’t enough to distract me from the fragments of my extended childhood Moltar had dug up.

    And yet, I’d just purchased Rhino’s first VHS 3-pack, and the double-feature Monday night of ‘I Accuse My Parents’ and ‘The Atomic Brain’ certainly helped lift my spirits after the unforeseen death of Dinobot, despite the mystery of the missing stinger.

    That left ‘Red Zone Cuba’ for Tuesday. I’d read all of ACEG the previous summer, and despite its description, I was honestly lost as to what this one was about. I doubt anyone could know just how good a reason there was for that prior to actually watching it.

    Oh, why did I start off typing about ‘80s cartoons instead of MST, you ask? Because in the wake of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Alien’, many of the cartoons of my youth successfully conveyed outer space as an epic, infinite, incomprehensible void in ways that made it seem so intriguing and mysterious, my imagination would be drawn into it for hours at a time. Yet they only gave me glimpses of it, leaving me to ponder the true nature of “the void” as I played “Yar’s Revenge” and stared out at the lights on the radio towers along the horizon behind my back yard. But that first time I saw Red Zone Cuba, I finally felt the void’s cold embrace as I was unwittingly dragged with Mike, Tom, and Crow on a grand tour of the complete and utter nothing, in the purest form ever captured on film! Although it would be yet a few months before I’d finally see “Manos”, I fully understood that I was seeing the “Manos” of the Mike era, and that I would always love this episode more than any other.

    This one will absolutely never get old for me. Every time I get near the end, I think maybe, just maybe, this time they really will get to that tungsten mine.

    And that, fellow MSTies, is magic.


  25. Cliff Weismeyer says:

    I’ve got another callback for you, Sampo. “The master says you can’t stay here!”

    This, for me, is the perfect episode. Awesome, crazy short followed by one of the worst films ever made. I think the best part of RZC is the familiarity that the crew has established with the performers at this point (Tony Cardoza- “He’s good in anything!”) results in some real antipathy on the part of the MST cast, along with the ability to begin doing spot-on parodies of their voices from the beginning. This results in amazing riffing throughout.

    A few favorite lines:
    Cook: “Man’s got a fever.” Tom: “He’s good boogie fever!”

    Landis: “It’s midnight.” Crow as Coleman: “We’re gonna let it all hang down.”

    “Viva frog’s legs?”

    “Another cheerful Coleman Francis character.”


  26. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I agree with #8. This movie just sits on my head like no other. I can barely make it through this one. And by the time they get to the diner and frog legs special, I usually feel a bit nauseous. Cherokee Jack is the only ray of sunshine in this thing.

    Fave riff: Water. Sick man. (The movie seems to make it’s own riffs.)


  27. pablum says:

    What’s not to love about a movie that spawned “I’m Cherokee Jack.”? Quite a lot actually. This episode I have a love/hate relationship with.

    I don’t know who gave Francis a camera or why anybody agreed to take part in what he considered a movie, but it happened more than once and made for decent MST3K fodder.


  28. Brandon says:

    “Ho, guys. Step back and think. Are we all gonna fit in here?”

    That is indeed a great riff. I love how all those guys rush to that helicopter that can only hold two people. WTF?


  29. Cliff Weismeyer says:

    One more note:

    Marketing line they should have used:

    “Tony Cardoza IS Fidel Castro in Red Zone Cuba!”


  30. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Two questions: First, were the makers of the short serious about the knee test, or was that just thrown in to see who’d be gullible enough to try it?

    Second, has anyone figured out exactly what the heck is going on in the movie? I wonder if Coleman Francis edited this thing blindfolded.

    And I agree with the ACEG; Francis does indeed look like Curly Howard posessed by the demons of Hell in this one.


  31. Roman Martel says:

    I saw this first on VHS. I was collecting all the MST3K I could get my hands on, and I made sure that the video store I worked at stocked them as well. That way I could promote my favorite show onto the unknowning masses.

    Well when I finally sat down and watched this one, I only made it about half way through before I fell asleep. It seemed too dreary for me, and even though I enjoyed the short the movie didn’t click.

    A week later a co-worker came up to me and asked, “Did you watch Red Zone Cuba yet?” I related my experience and he shook his head, “Watch it again, and seriously tell me what’s going on in that movie.”

    So I stepped up to the challange and was completely defeated. So I watched it again, really focusing on the plot – but it eluded me. So I dragged my girlfriend over and watched it with her, to see if two brains could figure it out. She fell asleep about half way through (her only defense).

    And an amazing thing happened, each viewing made it funnier and funnier and funnier. The more I watched it, the more convinced I was that something was happening, and that it made perfect sense to Mr. Francis, but that it was completely lost to the rest of us.

    I returned to work and told my co-worker, “I don’t know what happened in the movie. In fact, I think it may be the worst movie I have ever seen – but it is now one of my favorite MST3K episodes.”

    He ended up taking it home a number of times and dragged friends and girlfriends over to watch it – in the hopes that maybe this time, with these people it will all make sense. As far as I know, he never succeeded in making heads or tails of it.

    With that said, I don’t dare show this episode to a newbie. It’s too painful and most of the people I know who watch it for the first time end up trying to tie the plot together first, and get distracted from the riffing. I ease a newbie into the world of Coleman Francis with “Skydivers” first, and then if they seem willing we try “Red Zone Cuba”. Some of them aren’t strong enough, and so we do “Cave Dwellers” instead. ;)

    And for my money as bad as Red Zone Cuba is, it does not beat the pain and horror of Monster A Go Go.


  32. Ah, Red Zone Cuba, how I loathe and love this movie at the same time. I’m going to stick with my vote as Manos: Hands of Fate being the worst movie ever as it doesn’t give the riffers nearly as much useful material as this one does. I think Joel & the Bots say the title more times than Cabot’s name is said in Outlaw, but that’s getting off-topic.

    * I convinced my high school senior English teacher to show this and Posture Pals in class prior to each of us having to give individual presentations. We couldn’t get him to demonstrate the Knee Test though.
    * It doesn’t work, by the way.
    * Favorite riffs:
    “You must appear, and you must have matter!” – Mike
    “Don’t do this during the speech.” – Crow
    “Remember that ‘apperance’ has a PEAR in it.” – Servo

    * This is definitely one of those that needs to be watched with a group of friends as the riffs will keep everyone laughing enough to stave off mass suicidal depression.
    * Despite that above comment there are movies more painful in the series than this, even though those same movies are “better.”
    * …I can’t think of anything good to say though.
    * Favorite riffs:
    “Great, thanks! I’m dying and now I have paint on my face!” – Mike
    “That was an official thing I just did.” – Crow
    “Ho, guys. Step back and think. Are we all gonna fit in here?” – Servo


  33. Scooter says:

    Great, great, amazing episode. I love Crow’s line of “at the point the movie just threw it’s hands up and said “I don’t know””
    Or something to that effect.


  34. Scooter says:

    * correction…Tom says it


  35. MPSh says:

    Favorite riffs:

    Servo: (As Landis holds up a cross-shaped tire iron): “The Lord be with you…”

    Mike:(Griffin’s voice) “Yeah, that’s real sad, pass the butter”

    Cook: (in the Cuban cell): “Guard!”
    Crow: “It’s me, Margaret!”

    Also, any Curley riff.

    I not only like this episode; I actually like the movie as well. As bad as it is, it’s kind of fascinating in a gritty, dreary way. “The Beast of Yucca Flats”, on the other hand …


  36. Johnny Ryde says:

    The first time I watched this, I was struck by how much Coleman Francis resembled Leo McKern. I was always slightly disappointed that they never made a joke about that (or if they did, I missed it).

    And I have to sort of agree with @MPSh, #36. I don’t know why, but there’s something I like about the movie. The plot doesn’t make any sense. I can’t make heads or tails of the story… but there’s something strangely appealing about it…


  37. The Bolem says:

    I’ve said before that Red Zone Cuba is like a less talky version Jean Luc Godard’s ‘Weekend’, and that’s not just because they’re both End-of-the-World/Road-movies that achieve a similar feel by alternating long stretches of boredom with jarring cuts. Both films have a brutal, quiet, indifferent brand of honesty about human nature that I’ve only seen in one other movie: Fulci’s ‘New York Ripper’, which is the greatest movie ever made if you’re in a bad enough mood. I discovered and fell in love with ‘Weekend’ less than a year prior to RZC, and often wonder if Godard actually studied RZC, as Coleman’s film was released just 2 years before Jean Luc’s. I’m sure it’s just coincidence, but still interesting that while Godard gave ‘Weekend’ such an uncaring, disorienting feel by meticulously manipulating seemingly random elements, Coleman achieved nearly the same feel by having a similarly misanthropic vision filtered through total incompetence.

    So while ‘Weekend’ would go on to be viewed 40 years later as eerily prophetic of how internet culture is restructuring society, ‘Red Zone Cuba’ can be viewed as perhaps the greatest movie ever made for MST3K’s treatment. Jokes that would be so generic they’d come across as lame in any other experiment but couldn’t be more perfect for RZC include: “Well now the movie has thrown up it’s hands and said ‘I just don’t know!’” and after Griffin tells Cook to keep lookout, “If you see anything, film it and we’ll put it in”.


  38. Ted says:

    Favorite riff: “Sergeant Justine, I want you to call me Lieutenant Vivian.”


  39. davy says:

    so it’s martial law in rats-ass missouri!


  40. H says:

    I’m probably going to get some flack for this but this episode is not as high up for me as it is for others. Granted, I love the short and host segments. It’s just the movie is so bad that even with M&TB riffing it, I have a hard time making it through.


  41. Tim S. Turner says:

    “I am Cherokee Jack.”
    Every time they say that I absolutely lose it. Classic piece of crap episode. Who the hell told Coleman he should pursue that moviemaking dream? Ugh. Funny as hell, though.


  42. Bobby 23-Skidoo says:

    Fave riff: Hi-Cuba! (during the exhaustive training scene)


  43. DON3k says:

    My father was a can opener, my mother was a wood duck! seems to be a play on the guy’s Nose and Hair, and you know, Tom’s right!

    This is a great episode, and really there’s tons going on, honestly, there is. Sure, it’s the kinds of goings-on you see with kids just running around sugar-drunk on the playground, but ‘action’ of a nature, to be sure.

    Begins with an escape from prison, hobo’ing, flying by night to sign up for a military coup operation, invading Cuba, being held prisoner, then another escape, this time from a holding cell (ok, a shack, but still), stealing an aircraft under fire, getting back to the US, robbing a frog legs and fried chicken joint, tossing of and old man down a well, stealing a car, visiting a comrades wife to learn of a possible hidden treasure, then a treasure hunt, then the police manhunt and shootout, with a surprise twist of a fallen comrade returning home, alive!

    I am fancy pants, and it does fit me!

    Oh, and no, I will NOT do the knee-test!


  44. MikeK says:

    5 stars. I have a special fondness for this episode since it was the first one that I bought on home video. I got the VHS of this episode not long after it was released.

    I’ll break it down this way.

    Host Segments:

    I love the first set of host segments. Servo as a lotto machine is great fun. His grunting as he pops out another ball really makes the sketch. The next segment, featuring the bingo casino, is great. Mike is unbelievable as Carol Channing. The “Bouncy, Upbeat Song” is well done. It is a clever mixture of misery and joy. Pretty much anything on the SOL is good during this episode’s host segments.

    However, I do not care for the stuff in Deep 13. I always feel like it’s not ever Deep 13 in this episode. While it is nice to see Frank get the upper-hand for once, he still seems out of character. Also, seeing Dr. F’s package made prominent by a cup (which I assume was made to make the bandage costume easy to put on) is very uncool. One would think that the brains, who often have an aversion seeing “areas” or “batches,” would found a way prevent doing creating a “area” themselves.


    Funny riffing, but painful. It’s like a perfect pairing of painful short with a painful movie.

    Favorite riffs:

    Crow, “Enough said.” When Miss Prim has her legs clamped tightly together.

    Mike, “I’m not a flower!” When the narrator is telling the viewer to imagine themselves as a flower with gay colors.


    This movie is dreary, but so badly made that it’s also interesting. And yet, despite that, I can’t but stop and think that Coleman wanted to make something that was greater than his skill or budget.

    Griffith is a really bad man. To think that the the other two, Cook and Landis, could have turned the scumbag in and got $2,500 a piece. Why they hell did Griffith decide to kill Mr. Weismeyer, the owner of the frog legs restaurant. He clearly had no money. They could have also just clubbed him and taken his car. I also don’t want to know what they did to blind woman.

    Favorite riffs:

    Mike, “For the sexshot lets focus on me. My legs splayed, my enormous package out for all to see.” When they are locked up in Cuba.

    Servo, “Oh that Patty Hearst is at it again. Tanya!” Comment on the lone female Cuban revolutionary.

    Crow, “My father was a can opener my mother was a wood duck.” An accurate description of the restaurant owner.”

    There is also that good series of nature documentary riffs at the end about “the wild Curly.”

    Another call back: “The master says you can’t stay here!” When Mrs. Chastain is at the window of her home.


  45. Joseph Nebus says:

    Ok, for the record, here’s the plot more or less:

    Curly, having escaped from prison (he was convicted of strangling his wife’s lover), catches up with those two other guys when their truck needs a wheel change. In scenes cut from the MST3K version, the three learn that a not-all-that-secret group with is paying good money for people to serve as an advance force for a Cuban invasion. They fly there thanks to contact person Cherokee Jack and mention how one of them knows how to fly just in case they get captured in Cuba and have to steal light aircraft to fly back to the United States part of New Mexico.

    They’ve barely arrived in time for invasion prep work, but they’re signed up anyway and very hastily trained in jumping and what tasks would be useful in disrupting communications ahead of the Bay of Pigs invasion. However, it turns out thirty minutes of training wasn’t quite enough and they’re captured as the invasion goes horribly wrong, at least from the invaders’ point of view. From Castro’s point of view it really works out as well as he could have hoped.

    After Sergeant Justine mentions his ranch back home has a uranium mine, and then gets gangrene which Curly, who was premed, recognizes as fatal, Curly and the other two guys break out of jail, sick man, thirsty, water, and what do you know, they steal a plane and fly from the New Mexico part of Cuba to the New Mexico part of the United States. There they trundle on, by car, night train to Mundo Fine, murder, car, and frog legs, to find Justine’s widow, Betty Boop.

    Curly, turning out to be a natural in grief counseling, talks up the uranium with Betty Boop, and they set out with Geiger counters to find that episode of The Lucy/Desi Comedy Hour where Lucy and Ethel have wacky antics on the set of The Conquerer, in the hope that riches for all will make them feel better. But Curly still has his murder problem just as the police dragnet finally closes in, and Justine somehow returns from Cuba in time to see that Betty’s dead.

    So there’s actually a storyline in here and it’s more or less … coherent … I guess. I suppose they didn’t need to go to Cuba but then they wouldn’t have had any way to know about Betty Boop’s uranium mine or to have a sensible reason to think Justine was dead.


  46. The Professor says:

    Every single time i hear Take it Easy by the Eagles i gotta sing: “Runnin’ down the road, tryin’ to loosen my load, I got Coleman Francis on my mind.” Classic.


  47. Mark Shields says:

    Was tungsten really all that valuable?


  48. Spector says:

    Ah, the second of the Coleman Francis trilogy. Not as hilariously bad as the Skydivers but still provided plenty of comedy gold for the Brains.

    The short wasn’t as good as “Using your voice” but was still pretty funny.

    Overall a very good episode in a season that generated many gems. Four stars.


  49. Mayo says:

    This is a great episode, and the first Mike ep. I saw. The “knee test” bits are great, and I love The Bouncy Upbeat Song.
    “Alright, just do what he says…”


  50. Sean says:

    (We hear rain outside the plane)

    Tom: It’s really coming down out there.

    (Cut to outside the plane. No rain)



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