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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: 620- Danger!! Death Ray

Movie: (1967) A suave secret agent is on the case after a Europey evil organization makes off with a death ray and its inventor.

First shown: 1/7/95
Opening: Crow has contact lenses, Tom has sneakers on
Intro: Frank is a talent agent
Host segment 1: Servo builds a death ray for peaceful purposes, but can’t resist using it on Crow
Host segment 2: “This is your life, Mike Nelson”
Host segment 3: Crow’s designs for sunglasses seem a bit woman-ey
End: Cambot gets emotional, Frank has a glamour shot
Stinger: John Cameron Swayze intercepts the watch
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (211 votes, average: 4.54 out of 5)


• I’m not a big fan of the foreign spy movie episodes, but this one clicks with me. Maybe it’s because the movie is just barely watchable, the riffing is fun and most of the host segments work. The result is one I really like.
• You can find this one on Shout’s “Volume XXVI.”
• This movie’s original Italian title was “Il Raggio Infernale.”
• This was the first episode of 1995. It would be difficult year in MSTiedom.
• Crow’s contact lenses and Frank the talent agent are a great start.
• Callback to Crow’s screenwriting career. That’s Mike as Torgo, of course.
• Mike wears his sailor suit/Tom wears his sneakers into theater.
• Crow’s giggle, every time the movie pretends the toys are real, is so infectious!
• Callbacks: Starfighters music, “This nose wheel feels mushy.” (San Francisco International), “We tampered in God’s domain.” (Bride of the Monster), “I’m dyin’ in a rush!” (Kitten with a Whip).
• Segment 1 is strange, but it ends with the arresting image of Crow’s eyes catching fire. A classic moment.
• Non spaghetti ball bumpers: film canister, book, beaker
• Mike is very funny at beginning of segment 2, warily fending off Tom’s attempt to start the sketch. The segment is JUST long enough.
• Segment 3 is fun too. Perfect progression from slightly woman-ey to VERY woman-ey.
• Nice to see Cambot involved in a segment for once! But he’s sooo sensitive.
• Um, has anybody noticed the HUGE body count in this movie? Sheesh!
• Set designer Arrigo Equini, who was a scene designer for “Secret Agent Super Dragon,” is the ONLY person on this movie who worked on another MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy.
• Fave riff: “Hi. Welcome to Jack Ruby fantasy camp.” Honorable mention: “Look, let’s just put our balls on the table, shall we?”

132 Replies to “Episode guide: 620- Danger!! Death Ray”

  1. swh1939 says:

    As a fellow contact lense wearer, the opening is funny, but painful. Um, painfully funny. I guess the point I’m making is that I feel Crow’s pain, and that’s funny. Y’know, Three Stooges funny.


  2. pearliemae says:

    One of my all time faves. Many, many great riffs.
    “If Michael Caine and Andre the Giant had a child”.
    “It looks like something my dad would buy at a garage sale”
    “The water is beautiful in this part of the tub”
    “Watermelon Man…” over and over. I stopped breathing.
    “Do you have Holland House?”
    “THIS MAN will Compete!!…..”
    “This year I am determined to get a muskie”
    “That robe has Father’s Day written all over it”
    I’m giggling too much. Somebody else please take over.


  3. Cliff Weismeyer says:

    I love this episode. The cast is amazingly ugly and weird, the theme song is an earworm, and the stridently bogus special effects are a riot. The botched editing at the end with the watch is the cherry on the top of the amazingly goofy sundae that is the story of super spy Bart Fargo.




  4. MikeK says:

    5 stars! Danger, Death Ray! is the best of the James Bond knock-offs to be shown on MST3K. Bart Fargo is actually likable and there are some good action scenes. Heck, it could even be a decent movie if it weren’t for the toys and the strange final shot of the hand holding the watch.

    Womany! Last weekend’s discussion was about riffs used in everyday life and I totally forgot about this one. I often use the term “womany” when talking about Yoplait yogurt. There’s just no way a man can eat that stuff and still feel like a man.

    Anyway, this whole episode is a lot of fun. The host segments are good and riffing is lively. I love it when they sing along with the movie music.


  5. Patrick says:

    One of my favorites.

    Favorite Riff: “Apparently he missed this day at secret agent training.” Good stuff!


  6. Bookworm says:

    This one’s my favorite of the four spy movies (though ‘Operation Double 007’ is a close second). Sure, it’s cheap and cliche, but there’s still a spirit of fun that’s infectious. And so many great riffs!

    Crow: Can you imagine the horrible kinds of peace the bad guys would wage with that death ray?

    Mike: Ba-ba da-ba *pantsuit*…ba-da ba da-da da-*bra*!
    Tom: Ba-ba da-ba *panties*…ba-da ba da-da da-*girls*!

    Carver: “Thank you, Fargo.”
    Mike: For being a major agricultural center in the upper Midwest.

    Mike: Abe Lincoln *is* Time Cop!

    Crow: This must be a *massive* organization to be able to throw away a $1.50 helicopter.

    Mike: Whatever 17th Century baron build this place, he had surprising technology.

    (when boat explodes)
    Crow: Whoa! They must have hit an eelpout!

    Mike: Wardrobe! More pants, *please*!


  7. Cornjob says:

    Let’s see, you’re a brilliant scientist who wants to improve the world. What do you do? Build a Death Ray of course. After all, a Death Ray has nearly limitless humanitarian uses and almost no potential for abuse. What could go wrong?

    Is Watermelon Man a song outside of this episode, or is it like singing, “he tried to kill me with a forklift”, over the Fugitive Alien theme?

    The prop Death Ray in the host segment was most impressive.

    For a movie about a Death Ray, this film leaves remarkably little impression on the viewer. I just watched it and can remember little more than toys in a bathtub, mounted wall guns with worse aim than stormtroopers, and some bad editing.


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

    Maybe Frank as AGENT bit was an echo of the other kind of AGENT in the movie ?

    This is a strong 4 for me, almost a 5 but I want to avoid grade inflation.

    With the exception of this is your life, the host segs were strong. The sunglasses with the word WOMAN attached across the top, FOR MEN. The Agent Frank opening was tons of fun.

    Film was dreadful of course, I can not recall what happened, but the riffing was brilliant. So many spot-on music and facial riffs.

    Watermelon Man & Italy’s Tor Jonson particularly

    Did anyone else note that there were a LOT more ADULT riffs in this ep ?

    Most of my faves have been hit already.


  9. Cubby says:

    Cornjob, good MSTie,

    Watermelon Man is a jazz classic*, written by Herbie Hancock (covered by many others – Mongo Santamaria, King Curtis, The J.B.’s, even Hancock reimagined it on Head Hunters). It’s usually an instrumental, but there is a Julie London version with lyrics.

    *Sampo’s Theorem!


  10. Dave says:

    Cornjob, “watermelon man” is a tune by jazz musician Herbie Hancock. It sounds vaguely like the theme music here, in that it’s smooth and kind of funky. However, I don’t think it has any vocals, unless I’m just more familiar with an instrumental version of it…


  11. MikeH says:

    This is THE best of all the lame 60’s spy movies. Low ball movie, ugly people, tons of toy props, peppy music.

    Abe Lincoln is Timecop
    I want Jefferson Davis dead, I want his whole family dead.
    ..and more butts.
    He showboating his butt
    Special effects by Billy
    The Charlie Watts walk-on

    I also love the first part of Watermelon Man came on and Miek starts dancing around a bit to the music, always makes me laugh.

    Oh yes, Watermelon man is an actual song by Herbie Hancock.


  12. Bop-ba-da-da-da-da.

    The toys at the beginning of the movie are always good for a laugh (“Ah, the weather’s beautiful in this part of the tub”) as well as the goofy “death ray for peaceful purposes” premise, but the movie degenerates into a series of dull fistfights afterwards, and never recovers. Although I felt for the poor turncoat who was practically offered a living wage for helping Bart Fargo out, only to get shot, of course.

    But the skits are all great! And I agree, the contact lens skit is ALL TOO REAL. It’s really painful to watch because I went through what Crow went through, and have been a solid glasses-wearer ever since.


  13. Dave says:

    I enjoyed this one, but the 60s spy movies tend to run together for me. This isn’t the one with the radioactive carpets, is it? Honestly, until the Death Ray makes its triumphant return, I tend to forget which one I’m watching.

    Still, on the whole, one of the more enjoyable of the genre.


  14. MattG says:

    The riff that always cracks me up is near the beginning of the movie when the car pulls up at the security guard booth and Mike asks a question in tone with the catchy theme song. It’s hard to actually write it out because it’s not hilarious without the interrogative tone.


  15. pearliemae says:

    I also wonder if the segment with Frank as the Hollywood agent wasn’t working through some leftover trauma from their own Hollywood experience making MST:The Movie. Same with the segments in another episode, with Pearl and Dr. Forrester greenlighting Crow’s screenplay, “Earth Vs Soup”. Feels like therapy. Just let it out guys, we’re here for you.


  16. Oh, yeah, one more thing. I thought the original skit about “Peter Graves at the University of Minnesota” back in Season Five was really lame and threadbare… but Frank mentioning that three other studios are optioning “Peter Graves at the University of Minnesota” projects just cracked me up! It suddenly gave the original skit a new shine.


  17. R. Totale says:

    “Danger: Beer Gut!”


  18. Only seen this one a couple of times but the episode as a whole left some pretty memorable impressions.

    * The only theme more catchy than this movie’s is the song used in the “Shake Hands with Danger” short found on Rifftrax Shorts Vol. 1
    * I agree with M&tB that there’s something a little unconventional about naming something a “Death Ray” when it’s designed for “peaceful purposes.” But then again, warmongers can find ways of turning a pen into a weapon.
    * Actually saying an endless string of “BartfargoBartfargoBartfargoBartfargo” is quite the tongue twister.
    * This is one of those movies where the hero seems to win based almost entirely on the fact that the villain is the more incompetent one in the end.
    * Favorite riffs (in sequence as they happen in the same scene):
    *Abe Lincoln guy tries to push Bart out the window, but misses.*
    Servo: “Ole!”
    *Bart watches guy fall to his death.*
    Mike: “Now the way you dove out the window was just terrible.”
    Bart: That’s too bad.
    Crow: “Oh, come on! What about ‘He really FELL for me’? His hopes are crushed!”

    Host Segments:
    * The opening is incredibly painful for me to watch. My eyes are incredibly sensitive to cold wind, bright lights, and especially being touched. Thus seeing what happens to Crow just makes mine water nearly as bad at the mere thought.
    * Does anyone else think that Frank’s “Torgie” is the funniest part of that whole segment?
    * Favorite line: “I’d intended to use it for peaceful purposes, but then you came along!”


  19. pearliemae says:

    Danger! Small Talk!
    Danger! Twist Ties!


  20. pearliemae says:

    Danger! Birth Control Pills!


  21. John Paradox says:

    Godfrey Cambridge, er Daniels, folks! While it’s true that Watermelon Man:the Song was by Herbie Hancock, it was also the theme for Watermelon Man:The Movie. Surprised that wasn’t mentioned…



  22. Danger! Double post!


  23. Patrick says:

    Special Effects by Billy!


  24. GizmonicTemp says:

    Does anyone else have the Tom Servo model for Unreal Tournament? I do, and everytime I waste someone I hear “That was my Death Ray. I had intended it for peaceful purposes, but then you came along and… Ha ha ha!!”

    I also remember that same segment being on the Poopie reel, the one where Trace ends with “I’ll be in my trailer.” However, I believe that’s the actual cut they use for this episode, which is GREAT as Crow’s face just ERUPTS in flames and Mike looks legitimately worried that it might get out of control.


  25. pearliemae says:

    Danger! Sorry about the Double Post!


  26. devo says:

    “Just another hour on board, professor…”
    “…and we’ll be married.”

    “I should like to be in a barbershop quartet!”

    *catchy background music plays while Bart’s sidekick dies*
    “His friend is dying, this isn’t really appropriate!”
    *music continues*
    “…it’s nice, though.”
    “Yeah, it’s nice.”


  27. rcfagnan says:

    My favorite of the espionage films done. Does anybody else notice that the villains at the unveiling of the Death Ray were the only dignitaries who weren’t bald/balding? So the movie, unless I’m mistaken, is saying that in a crowd of bald people, people who have hair are inevitably evil. Or maybe I’m just reading a tad too much into. My favorite riff that hasn’t been mentioned yet (when the love intrest says she has a boyfriend)
    Bart”What’s the name?”
    Bimbo “Marc Anthony”
    Bart “No, I meant your name.”
    Crow “Brutus.”
    Cracks me up every time. And, yes those sunglasses are womany. VERY womany.


  28. KSK says:

    This ep is just busting with great one-liner riffs, plus the ongoing quip criticisms.

    Crow: “What country is this in?”
    Mike: “Europe.”

    “Oh no, not one of my attacks, not here on the elevator…”

    I’m a sucker for fart humor, I admit. “Mr. Fart Bar… Bart Fargo…”

    “Oh no! One of the Three Tenors is down!”

    But nothing beats that ending with the busted-up editing. It’s right up there with The Hitler Building for sheer WTF value.


  29. Omega2010 says:

    The take on the Poopie reel is the same as the one on the episode (minus the “I’ll be in my trailer”). The fact that Trace notices Crow has caught fire and rather than end the take, starts screaming like a little girl just made it too priceless to not include in the final cut.


  30. bartcow says:

    Five stars from me. One of the first eps I truly fell in love with and watched repeatedly.

    I should have posted this on last weekends discussion topic, but anytime I’m watching a movie with questionable special effects (bad CGI, etc.), I blurt out “Special effects by Billy!”

    But one of my favorite riffs hasn’t been mentioned yet:
    “This movie has really captured the grandeur of white guys walking in herds.”

    Bart Fargo owes you a favor.


  31. jjb3k says:

    Warning! This is going to be one hell of a long post – I’ve been waiting months for this one!

    This might just be the best episode of Season 6. Seriously, I put this episode on and I can’t stop laughing for the next 92 minutes. Goofy Italian spy movies make for some of the best riffing ever, and this one is just so unrelentingly silly. A cast of dozens of weird-looking people, stilted dialogue, bargain-bin special effects, and a death ray meant for peaceful purposes. I love this movie in its unyielding ridiculousness!

    Trying to list my favorite riffs, I’d be here all day. “These men are ready for action! Women adore them; men respect them!”, “What country is this taking place in?” “Europe”, “They really have captured the grandeur of white guys walking in herds”, “It’s really quite European in here”, “Thank you all for coming, yes, you all can be hand models”, “Oh, and our doors moo when you open them”, “Hey, my car’s parked behind that wall!”, “There! We made them swerve slightly!”, “This is fun, y’know, I think I’m finally coming out of my depression!”, “They’re escaping in a helicopter!” “And it’s cool!“, “Special effects by…Billy!”, “You’re here, but she’s here with the travelers’ checks”, “A Ferengi ear!”…God, I’m barely even a quarter of a way into the episode!

    I think another reason why I like this episode is because the music really is quite nice, as Servo points out. “Ba-Pa-Da-Pa-Da-Da” and “Watermelon Man” are both really catchy, of course, but there are lots of other neat pieces I like. The “daladaDADA-daDADA-daDADA” chase music, for instance, or the “bum-ba-dum-ba-da-dum-dum” bass used for sneaking around sequences. I kinda wish this movie’s soundtrack was available – I’d buy it!

    The scene where Scarface tries to kill Bart Fargo in his hotel room is hysterical. When he dives out the window, Servo adds a quiet little “Olé!” that makes Crow laugh – perfect comedy timing. “And the way you dove out the window was just terrible!”

    For some reason, I always think of Trace when I talk about this episode. There just seems to be a never-ending supply of great Crow riffs (“It was originally titled ‘La-La-La-La-La-La’; big creative dispute”, “Aren’t you glad you use Dial? Don’t you wish Europeans did?”, “Augustus has fallen into the chocolate!”, “Oh, come on, what about ‘He really fell for me?’ Or ‘His hopes have been crushed‘?”, “I think we lost him…DAMN, he’s good!”, “Some little boy is going to be very upset”, “Bart Fargo IS…hard to…watch”, “Oh, you’re here–WHOA!”, “Ah, you gotta smack it in like that or it doesn’t work”, “They were gonna call this Danger!! Wall-Mounted Guns, but it wasn’t a very good title”). And of course, his shriek in the host segment where Crow catches fire is an all-time classic.

    I noticed something in the movie that the Brains probably couldn’t have known about at the time. The henchman in the boathouse (the big-nosed guy whom Bart Fargo grabs by the larynx) looks an awful lot like Ryan Stiles. But since this episode was probably written in late 1994, I doubt anyone on staff really knew who Stiles was yet (“The Drew Carey Show” didn’t premiere until the fall of 1995, and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” didn’t come to America until 1998). Still, the resemblance is quite uncanny!

    This is another episode I watched with a buddy of mine as part of a marathon I held last Halloween. He says this is his favorite episode ever now – I’ve never heard him laugh as hard as he did at “We’re looking for a man” “Are you him?” (He also got a big kick out of “Put it on the table” “Then put you on the me”.)

    Okay, I’ve gushed enough. Time to put on my womany Italian sunglasses and go for a leisurely car chase while maintaining an adequate space cushion!

    “Heh, nobody doesn’t like me!”


  32. Yipe Striper says:

    this ep is on my top ten list.

    we need this one on a soon-to-be-released volume, Shout.



  33. Spector says:

    Yes! Another of my all-time favorites and yet another fine example of how great Season Six was. Mike and the ‘Bots are in fine form in this one, as this silly spy flick is just chock full of cheesy goodness.

    There are so many great riffs here which many of you have already mentioned, but my favorite bit is when the helicopter lands on the submarine (both of which are so OBVIOUSLY toys!) and Crow says, “Special effects by Billy!” Every time I think of that one I always chuckle.

    And of course the hypnotic theme music. My god it just sticks in your head every time you hear it and just stays there! To this day I’ll occasionally catch myself humming it and just smile.

    Great episode, five out of five.


  34. M "THESE ARE NOT TOYS" Sipher says:

    One of my all-time favorites, and yeah, kind of a standout for Trace.

    This episode even ends on a hilarious note, which is… well, the final moments of the show usually aren’t the best. But this one always gets me, right after the blackout…

    “Frank? You look like a slut.”
    “Do you really think so? Do I?

    The bit is hilarious, carried entirely by their vocal performance. Dr. F’s very… measured way of announcing that, followed by Frank’s eagerness… just has me laughing every time. (It also stands as a testament to how much better Frank had gotten since his start. He used to be… embarrassingly bad at acting. By this time, he had clearly relaxed and was able to cut loose.)


  35. Bob says:

    This is a terric episode, one of the best for me in Season Six and the post-Joel era. Everything worked well in this episode, with an amusing-but-lame James Bond wannabe film, great riffs during the movie and really funny host segments.

    The sketch where they make fun of the “Death Ray, built only for peaceful purposes” and Tom fries Crow with it is one of the funniest host segments ever. I love the way Crow starts to wail when his eyeballs go into their secondary explosion of flame. First time I saw it I was rolling with laughter. Great stuff all around!


  36. Baron Von Blubba says:

    ‘“Whose Line Is It Anyway?” didn’t come to America until 1998’

    Comedy Central aired the British version of WLIIA around this time though. Not that the Brains seemed like the type to avtually watch Comedy Central programming, busy fellows…


  37. Captain Cab says:

    Great episode with consistently solid riffs and good sketches. The fun the guys have with this episode is infectious.

    Fave line is just as one of the henchmen gets taken out by a flying knife, Crow does Nelson’s “Ha-ha!” from the Simpsons. lol


  38. MikeK says:

    I think this episode has the perfect stinger. Usually, the stingers chosen are from earlier in the movie. This one, however, occurs right at the end, just the stinger is shown at the end of an MST3K episode. Not only that, but it’s like the “watch scene” was made to be a stinger. There was never so perfect a stinger as the one from “Danger! Death Ray.”


  39. R.A. Roth says:

    I only gave it 5 stars for its use of bathtub toys as FX props. The pathos is truly palpable when any movie resorts to plastic models that aren’t good imitations of plastic models. The helicopter couldn’t have been less convincing if it had been constructed out of LEGOS. And can somebody please get this damn Bapadapadapada music out of my head!



  40. Zee says:

    While this is the only Torgo appearance I felt was gratuitous I LOVE it! Love the entire agent sketch, every single joke works (even the then-topical ones about Dreamworks) and in addition to Torgo we get callbacks to Crow’s screenplays. I love Mike *instantly* changing into his sailor suit (another callback!) and singing through movie sign. The movie is also a great delight. BartFargoBartFargoBartFargoBartFargo! Everyone’s mentioned my favorite lines, I LOVE title riffs and “Good thing they said ‘Danger’ or I would’ve thought it was a regular death ray!” is one of the best.

    The rest of the host segments are pleasant but the “This is Your Life” one falls flat- especially as they did the exact same premise in a season one segment with Joel!

    p.s. One of the best stingers ever!


  41. Cubby says:

    The rest of the host segments are pleasant but the “This is Your Life” one falls flat

    Actually, it’s the last line that saves this.
    “Next week: Angie Dickinson!”
    Nowadays it’s pretty obscure, but they revived This Is Your Life in the ’90s, and Angie made history by becoming the only person to refused to be honored.

    I love this episode. Some of my favorite lines that have escaped mention thus far:
    “Yeeeoww!” “Thank you, Eastman Widescreen.”
    “Man, this is practically a Karate School already.”
    “Right now he’s on the phone with his wall-gun representative.”
    All the Karl riffs, “Karl do we have a casserole dish?” “You’re not Karl! Karl doesn’t hit, and hit me!”
    “Long line at the barbershop!” “Who’s that behind those Amy Grants?”
    “I’m going to SHUN him.”

    Before seeing this episode, I was unfamiliar with the liqueur Cointreau. Since, though, I’ve always considered ordering a “Double Cointreau” but I’ve never had the nerve.

    And I’m with jjb3k. If this soundtrack was available for sale, I’d buy it.


  42. ghlbtsk says:

    “Make-a-Face, design your own face!”


  43. #25

    No worries, I just couldn’t help but carry along that little theme you started. :lol:


  44. ghlbtsk says:

    “That was Ba-ba-da Ba-da-da by the Doodletown Pipers!”
    *security guy staring at a screen for +10 seconds* Crow: OKAY????
    “Honest to goodness, real — not toy — helicopter.”


  45. OnenuttyTanuki says:

    Since most of my riffs I like have already been said.
    “Don’t go up there you’ll become a toy.”
    “Oh, Someone had a little bit too much death ray.”

    Does anyone know where I can get an mp3 of the opening song to the movie?
    I’ve been known to start sing/hum it randomly.


  46. Joseph Nebus says:

    It happens that I saw this episode before I ever saw Manos or any of the other shows where Torgo was made part of the supporting cast of the show. So I had (a) very little idea who this weird fellow was or why he had his own soundtrack other than that it was funny, and (b) the impression that his name was “Torgy”, which can you really honestly say is a less plausible name than “Torgo” is?

    The experiment, now, that was one of those happy convergences of perfect movie and perfect riffing. The only slow patch is near the end, when the original becomes a silent movie, but otherwise … wow. Every riff is a winner, I think. It’s a pity it got so little attention in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide.


  47. Puma says:

    Paging Mr. Fart Barg – uhh… Bart Fargo.


  48. crowschmo says:

    I’m in a minority here. (Or, I stand alone).

    Danger! Boredom!


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

    oh and I thought the Swingle Singers was a pretty neat reference. I would bet it was obscure even then.


  50. big61al says:

    Hmmmmmm…..I gotta dig this out and do a rewatch….


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