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Episode Guide: 402- The Giant Gila Monster

Movie: (1959) A 30-foot killer lizard is loose in the woods near a bumbling town full of rowdy, dancin’, hot-roddin’ teens.

First shown: 6/13/92
Opening: Joel has made Crow and Tom the Thing with Two Heads
Invention exchange: J&tB show off their Sitcom radio, the Mads demonstrate their renaissance festival punching bags
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom disrupt Joel’s soda shop sketch
Host segment 2: J&tB discuss the funny drunk
Host segment 3: “Servo on Cinema” looks at Ray Kellogg’s “Leg Up” directorial style, but Crow and Joel horn in
End: J&tB have formed the rock group Hee-La, Joel reads some letters (including one from TV’s Frank!)
Stinger: Old guy gags on sody pop
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (220 votes, average: 4.41 out of 5)

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• It’s hard to go wrong with this episode. It’s got it all: weird movie, great riffing and some great host segments. I love it. It’s also pretty good as a starter episode.
References.
• This episode replaced episode 212- GODZILLA VS. MEGALON when Rhino released “Volume 10.2.”
• This episode became infamous in the 1995-1996 period on Comedy Central, as a number of other episodes dropped out of the rotation due to movie rights issues. The movie in this episode is in public domain, which meant that CC could play it as often as it liked, and it played it a lot, so much so that some online MSTies began to grumble about (yes, topic number 386 of the things online MSTies grumbled about).
• Ya gotta assume there were multiple puppeteers in the trench for that bit with the decapitated bots. Must have gotten a little crowded.
• That’s Mike, of course, as the radio announcer
• We get more trashing of the Renaissance Fest, last bashed in episode 303- POD PEOPLE. “Bite me, Frodo.”
• You can see Dr. F’s mic cord during the invention exchange
• Servo does his great coughing car sound, sort of an impression of Mel Blanc as Jack Benny’s car.
• Mildly naughty riff: “Old rubber? No! No!”
• Tom and Joel spit in the sherrif’s hat! Ew!
• The sound in this movie is uniformly terrible. One of the problems with a PD movie is that nobody takes care of it.
• Part of the plot of this movie involves our hero eavesdropping on a party line, a long-dead technology almost everywhere, and I sometimes wonder if young people even understand what’s going on. Our hero also has one of those Hooterville/Mayberry put-the-thing-to-your-ear-and-talk-into-the-thing-on-the-wall phones. Did people really still have those in the 50s?
• Another “broken sketch” sketch this week: this time it’s the bots who sabotage Joel’s sketch.
• Gypsy must be in a goth period. She’s got black lipstick.
• This is the episode that would give us the “sing whenever I sing whenever I sing” bit they’d do in many future episodes whenever somebody was banging or pounding on something.
• For those who have no idea who Crazy Guggenheim was, check out this piece by comedian Larry Miller, who, by the way, is also mentioned by in this episode. He takes a bit to get to his point, but it’s worth it.
• The little bit Joel and the bots do in unison at the end is a popular reading from AA meetings. Surely this was a contribution from Frank.
• Tom notices the reel change. I do that all the time.
• Joel does a little impression of comedian Kevin Meaney.
• Joel asks: “Was the ‘Richard Speck’ a popular haircut back then?” Yes, Joel. Sadly, it was.
• Movie note: Not that I expect much from this movie, but I feel I must note that in the scene where the old drunkie guy is racing the train, there’s footage of at least three, maybe four different trains that are all supposed to be the same train.
• There’s a nice little TV in-joke during Tom’s “Servo on Cinema” sketch when Tom turns to face a non-existent second camera during his introduction and has to be corrected by Joel.
• Nice film editing by Cambot!
• Joel (sort of) sneaks in the name of beloved cult band “They Might Be Giants”
• Callback from previous episode: J&tB sing the :Wild Rebels” theme song. Also: “Glenn is 50 feet tall.” (War of the Colossal Beast)
• For those who wondered why Pearl called Crow “Art” many seasons later, it’s because of the illustration that accompanied one of the letters Joel reads in this episode. Apparently the young letter writer had just seen episode 203- JUNGLE GODDESS, in which Joel imitates the way Jackie Gleason would introduce his cast and the end of the show. For those who remember it, he would always save longtime pal Art Carney for last, shouting “ART CARNEY!” over the already-applauding crowd. Joel, in a takeoff of that, shouted “ART CROW!” The little letter writer, not understanding the reference, just assumed Crow’s name was Art.
• Watch and listen to Crow during the closing segment. Note how he says not a word, and when spoken to only sort of hums, exactly the way somebody WOULD do if they had a giant rolled-up tongue in their mouth and was waiting for the cue to unfurl it. I love it.
• Cast and crew roundup: Executive producer Gordon McLendon, a Houston media and real estate tycoon, fancied himself a movie mogul, but he only mad this movie and the movie in episode 407-THE KILLER SHREWS, and he did so with most of the same crew, including producer Ken Curtis (yes, Festus of TV’s “Gunsmoke”), director Ray Kellogg (who also wrote the story), script writer Jay Simms, cinematographer Wilfred Cline, editor Aaron Stellm makeup artist Corrine Daniel, produictiom manager Ben Chapman (who was also a stuntman on “The Mole People”), Art director Louis Caldwell, set designer Louise Caldwell (who also worked on “The Amazing Transparent Man”), sound man Earl Snyder (who also worked on “The Amazing Transparent Man” and “The Crawling Hand”) and sound effects guy Milton Citron. In front of the camera, Don Sullivan was also in “The Rebel Set.”
CreditsWatch. Host segmens directed by Jim Mallon. Additional Writer: John Carney. Bridget Jones was added to the writers list for the resat of the season.
• Fave riff: “Not the coda! No!” Honorable mention: “Things make sense when yer all liquored up!”

103 comments to Episode Guide: 402- The Giant Gila Monster

  • 1
    Graboidz says:

    Just something goofy I picked up on IMBD, the star and hammering singer of “Giant Gila Monster” Don Sullivan became the head chemist of Vidal Sassoon’s R&D department.

       1 likes

  • 2
    EpcotServo says:

    This is a very good episode, but the movie is always a real stinker to watch if you’ve seen it more than twice. It does feel like it goes by quick though. The “Leg Up” segment is the best, and it always makes me laugh. Also I’ve always liked Joel’s closet cafe bit.

    Here’s my little tidbit of info…

    The Giant Gila Monster poster is featured in the Sci-Fi Drive In Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World resort.

    The ACTUAL names of the songs, as stated by the poster as “Rock & Roll Hits!”

    “My baby, she rocks”
    “I ain’t made that way”
    “The Gila monster crawl”

    The guys note that Don Sullivan appears in #419-”The Rebel Set”

    Oh, I sing whenever I sing whenever I sing…
    Alien

       0 likes

  • 3
    Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    Let me have one of them there sodey pops.

       3 likes

  • 4
    Slider says:

    Who put sodey pop in my sodey pop?

       3 likes

  • 5
    magicvoice says:

    I always loved it whenever Pearl would call Crow Art in later years.
    I love a good self-reference reference. I always wondered if people who were new viewers during the Sci-Fi years were at home going “What the hell?
    Along the same lines, does anyone here know why sometimes Frank would call Forrester Steve?

       1 likes

  • 6

    Unless I’m mistaken, this episode was the last MST3K episode to have the “Turn Down Your Lights” graphic at the beginning.

       1 likes

  • 7
    Sampo says:

    magicvoice: That used to be in the FAQ years ago. It was a topic of much conjecture among fans until Frank personally said it was just a random non-sequitur. I took it out of the FAQ a long time ago, because people stopped asking. Smile

       0 likes

  • 8
    GersonK says:

    - Frank mentions the Mole People. Is this the last we hear of them?
    - Joel’s liquor bottle in segment 2 is actually a bottle of A1. Ewww.
    - On the dated reference front, this is the second episode in a row with a reference to the then current version of Madonna. Last time it was comparing the astronaut’s still somewhat novel headset mics to Madonna’s. This time it’s Joel’s early riff “Oh, it’s a scene from Truth or Dare.”

       1 likes

  • 9
    Mysteryman says:

    Wow, I remember that Zima commercial. It came out right after they got rid of the commericals with the weird “Zima guy.” I don’t remember if there were other commercials like it or if it was the only one. I also don’t know how it was supposed to convince me to drink Zima.

       0 likes

  • 10
    fishbulb says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes.

    “Do I go backwards?”
    “Go ahead!”
    “But, should I go left?”
    “Right!”

    “This is the Chapin brother they don’t talk about.”

    And of course, “Bad movie? You’re soaking in it!”, which was used in the promos for a long time.

    The “Art” letter confused me for a while, until I rewatched “Jungle Goddess” and had a flash of realization. I thought I was the first person to figure it out. I was so naive.

       0 likes

  • 11
    Will Matlack says:

    I’ve always loved this episode. I think it was the pinnacle of host segments making fun of the actual movie we were watching. I really missed that during the Sci Fi period, although their skits were brilliant as well.

       1 likes

  • 12
    Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    I think it’s about time for him to put his knee up. Yep, called it.

       3 likes

  • 13
    Sampo says:

    Joey SES: That reminds me of a something I thought of when that riff went by–that riff depends on maintaining the illusion that they are seeing the movie for the first time as they are riffing it. It always seems a little weird when they do a riff like that now, since these days we are all steeped in the background info that they watched each movie many times and that each riff was scripted and carefully timed. Still, I laughed.

       1 likes

  • 14
    fireballil says:

    Sometimes they didn’t do that, Sampo. Tom said that Mike watched The Beast of Yucca Flats as part of his training BEFORE it was an episode. Also, Mike mentioned Jet Jaguar during The Sinister Urge, and Crow asks, “How do you know?”

       0 likes

  • 15
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Three points:

    -I think Frank may have been the one in recovery. If I recall correctly, he makes a quick mention of alcaholic blackouts in his early life in one of his entries in the ACEG.

    -One riff that younger viewers might not get: Crow imitating Alan Funt from “Candid Camera” (“We thought it would be funny to see a hopeless drunk try to drive a car. Let’s watch…”).

    -One callback to an erlier episode: Joel & the ‘bots admit that Hee-La is pretty much just Spy-Dor (from “Earth vs. the Spider”) with slightly different costumes. They even re-use a joke from that sketch (Joel’s “We’ll start with the songs we know, then do the songs we don’t know.”).

    Unless I;m mistaken on these…

       0 likes

  • 16
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Sorry about the spelling errors in my previous post; I really should learn how to proof-read.

       0 likes

  • 17
    Meranalf says:

    This was the first MST3K episode I ever saw, and I watched it at my birthday party. I consider being introduced to Mystery Science Theater 3000 to be one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever gotten. Generally I think this one is a good one to start on. All the host segments have something to do with the movie, the film is dumb but watchable, and there are a lot of good comments from J&TB.

    Other possible points of interest:
    Even without a head, Tom Servo manages to make his trademark dash back into frame on Movie Sign.

    By my count, someone puts his knee up nine times in the film, plus three more times where a scene starts with a character with his knee already up.

    The song J&TB sing during the train crash is “The Happy Day Express,” an old Vacation Bible School song.

       2 likes

  • 18
    Sean74 says:

    This was one of the first episodes of MST that I watched, and to me it was among the funniest of Season 4 (which is saying something, since this is regarded as the show’s best season ever). What cracked me up the most was that it featured a sheriff that was useless as a 3-dollar bill. He was always either asking Chase’s help on investigations, or calling “head-quarters” for assistance. Servo blurting out “Do we maybe have a SHERIFF in the vincity?!” always makes me fall over from laughter. Do you think that producer Ken Curtis (TV’s “Gunsmoke”) and that elderly drunk with the jalopy were drinking buddies in real life?

       1 likes

  • 19
    J.K. Robertson says:

    I don’t have this episode handy right now, what was Joel’s reference to They Might Be Giants? TMBG is one of my favorite bands!

       1 likes

  • 20
    John H. says:

    Ah, I always missed the Turn Down Your Lights joke when they stopped doing it, replacing it with the episode production card. These days the joke’s almost forgotten, how it was a parody of the “Presented in Stereo (where available)” graphics some TV shows at the time would flash at the bottom of the screen when they started.

       1 likes

  • 21
    Seth Anders says:

    In addition to the Maxwell Car sound effect that is mentioned above, there are no less than three other references to Jack Benny in this episode. Can you find them all?

       0 likes

  • 22
    bdtrppr6 says:

    BLALALALALALALALALAALALA!

    this is my favorite episode, mainly cuz Joel sez
    “BLALALALALALALALALALALALA!” everytime the monster appears, tongue waving. hilarious!

       2 likes

  • 23
    fishbulb says:

    3 Jack Benny riffs besides the Maxwell, huh? I’m on it, but it means I’ll have to watch the movie again. No sacrifice too large…

       0 likes

  • 24
    fishbulb says:

    (back from watching the movie again)

    When Don Sullivan’s name comes up in the credits, Crow says “Oh, Don!”. This is how Benny often summoned Don Wilson.

    When Wheeler enters the room the sheriff’s in, Servo announces, “The Jack Benny Program!”, which was said at the top of the show by Don Wilson. Wheeler looks a little like Benny with his glasses on.

    When the sheriff says he’s going to dust for fingerprints, Crow says as Jack Benny, “Oh, Rochester, will you dust the truck?” This is the kind of request Benny would often make to Rochester.

       1 likes

  • 25
    Joel Kazoo says:

    “I like sodey-pop!” Grin This is fun to say whenever you’re in a conversation and people start to take themselves too seriously. Having a sodey-pop is not required, but does tend to make it funnier.

       0 likes

  • 26
    lpydmblb says:

    This was one of my favorite performances from Joel, especially the ongoing riff on the gila monster referenced above.

    Its always fun to watch the sheriff in this, since he is obviously a professional actor lost in a sea of “community theater rejects.” And BTW, as a latecomer to the show (no CC where I lived until late ’94), seeing Renaissance festival punching bags closed the deal for me.

    Re the first time seeing the move illusion: Sampo certainly would know more about this, but I always assumed that the writers made the joke on the first run through and kept it to make the final product look spontaneous. That was my read of my favorite instance of this, when the security guards shot Dr. Ted Nelson for, apparently, shouting out “I’m Dr. Ted Nelson!”

       1 likes

  • 27
    Sean74 says:

    Hey, no one has mentioned this yet: do you think the supposedly French actress playing Don Sullivan’s girlfriend was really French, or was she just really bad at announciating? I thought the movie should have included subtitles every time she talked! And what about Chase’s little sister…in one scene she can barely walk, and the next she’s “hauling furniture”, as Crow pointed out.

    One more thing: sheriff, will you please forget the skidmarks!!

       0 likes

  • 28
    Seth Anders says:

    Spot on, fishbulb. You win a gold robot made mostly of high density kevlar! Wink

       0 likes

  • 29
    Cubby says:

    Sean,

    She was really French. Seeing this movie on Svengoolie years ago, Sven pointed out that she was a former Miss France in the Miss Universe contest or somesuch.

    I think my favorite riff is “You should have washed it in cold water!” though there are many killer riffs in this.

       1 likes

  • 30
    Sean74 says:

    Cubby,

    I guess director Ray Kellogg had a thing for beauty contestants: I believe Ingrid Goude of “The Killer Shrews” fame was a finalist in a Miss Universe pageant in the late ’50′s (from Sweden). More about her when that episode comes up. Now on to “City Limits”….

       1 likes

  • 31
    skenderberg says:

    Possibly the best Giant Critter film to appear on MST3K, not counting some of the very funny Japanese Rubber monster films. The main character in this one is so noble, he might actually have been able to walk on water.

    Favorite riff: (re: the Gila Monster’s death) “They killed off the only likeable character!”

    Favorite host segment: The “Leg Up” Servo on Cinema sketch.

    My full review of this episode is here.

       0 likes

  • 32
    GizmonicTemp says:

    This episode had 636 riffs over 1:13:18 for an average of 8.677 RPMs. That’s a ranking of #120 all-time.

       2 likes

  • 33
    R.A. Roth says:

    Believe it or not, I had never seen this episode until my GGM solo disc showed up yesterday, so I skipped reading this EG, and having read it, I was instantly annoyed to discover that Rhino could have included GGM in the original Collection 10 with no copyright problems because GGM is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN. ARRRGGG! Add to that, that I don’t even LIKE the Godzilla vs. Megalon episode but paid a premium (about double) to obtain a copy because Giant Spider Invasion was part of that discontinued collection. The SMALL saving grace is seeing Trace, Joel, and Frank reprise their rolls in the GGM Upgrade skit. But Frank as Tom Servo? That was just weird, almost dirty.

    Randy

       0 likes

  • 34
    swh1939 says:

    That wasn’t Frank as Servo, it was Josh — the original voice of Tom Servo.

       0 likes

  • 35
    Larry Hastings says:

    Actually, that was Frank as Servo. Dunno why; maybe it’s because he was handy, as he appeared in the live-action segments.

       0 likes

  • 36
    Lee B. says:

    Re the antique telephones:

    I don’t know about here in the US, but according to my mother, rural Manitoba still used those in the 1960s!

       0 likes

  • 37
    crowschmo says:

    K-E-DOUBLE L – O – DOUBLE DEAD!

       2 likes

  • 38
    Spector says:

    One of the all-time greats! Really funny stuff here from Joel and the Bots and this episode to me was the harbinger of the great stuff to come in this season, which I consider one of the very best seasons in MST3K history. Really enjoyed Servo’s “leg-up” segment. Also got a giggle every time Joel and the ‘Bots start singing “The Munsters” theme song every time one of those jalopies appeared. And what the hell was with the French (I’m assuming that’s what she was) girlfriend of the lead? Damn she was weird to listen to.

    “Hava na Gila, Hava na Gila”.

    “Hey, who put Sodey-Pop in my Sodey-Pop!”

    “Sing whenever I sing whenever I sing” “Shut up! Shut up!! SHUT UP!!!”

       0 likes

  • 39
    Rick&Julie says:

    Being long time fans of Dark Shadows, just an observation. At the beginning of the movie Joel makes a Dark Shadows/Barnabas Collins reference. Near the end of the movie, they reference Conrad Bain, (dad on Different Strokes), who had a recuring role in Dark Shadows. Normally I’d say “coincidence”, but with these guys, who knows. Aloha, R & J

       0 likes

  • 40
    Robyn #2 says:

    Took me forever to remember it, but the line “Do you like to make money? Sure, we all do!” is from those old 1980s commercials for ICS starring Sally Struthers.

       2 likes

  • 41
    Loran Alan Davis says:

    In the film, the bots frequently sing the “Munsters” theme. Ironically, the composer for “The Giant Gila Monster”, Jack Marshall, also composed the “Munsters” theme!

       1 likes

  • 42
    Miles says:

    Favorite riff (I couldn’t stop laughing):

    Sheriff (at road-side suitcase):

    “A smart feller could put his knee up on such a thing”

    The knee riffing was simply superb, I may have seen this ep a couple years ago, and I am less than halfway through it this time, so I bet the knee skit will have me in stitches.

    It may be just me, but there were many people in this film much harder to understand than the beautiful french girl. I thought her accent was great, I wish she would talk to me with that accent.

    (Everybody should lay off of the “funny accent” talk, for crying out loud just about the whole country is European by ancestry, you only poke fun at yourselves.)

       3 likes

  • 43
    RockyJones says:

    Love this one…it’s an all-time fave, although I long ago renamed it “Speculation Showdown”. It seems like three quarters of the movie is spent watching Chase and the Sheriff standing around with one foot propped up on one thing or another, just wildly speculating about random stuff.

    And of course, most importantly, let’s not forget that “those tire marks go at a direct right angle to the direction of travel!”

       0 likes

  • 44
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    I can’t believe there’s not been more mention of this, but this episode has the best invention exchange EVER! HANDS DOWN!

    The renaissance fair punching bags almost make me pee my pants, it’s so funny. Dr. F’s TV show host, monotone delivery is pitch perfect and Frank’s rage/jubilation at wrecking havoc on said punching bags is a joy, an absolute joy, to watch.

    there’s the Ratcatcher:
    “Excuse me sir, is that your head or did your neck throw up?”
    “Oh, bite me, Frodo!”

    The ever popular, leather mug maker:
    “Please sir, sample my wares.”
    “Sample my fist, you community theater reject!”

    Lovable Harlequin:
    “I am Harlequin.”
    “I am your worst nightmare! 23 dollars to get in! Huzzah my butt, you satin suited Sultan reading loser”

    HIL-arious.
    I also love the way Frank wrings his hands together, prepping up for a big swing.

    The Mads do some great, great invention exchanges, “hard pills to swallow” and “evil baseball promotions” instantly come to mind, but this one is the supreme, mamma-jamma. FUNNIEST INVENTION EXCHANGE EVER!

    God, I love this show.

       7 likes

  • 45
    Chick B says:

    Golf shoes for everybody!

       1 likes

  • 46
    erasmus hall says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! miss the turkey day marathons-
    Love French girls who summer in Southern swamp lands of USA-
    regards

       1 likes

  • 47
    Creepygirl says:

    A fun crazy episode with great host segments. In my opinion a big step up from 401 – Space Travelers. I never thought that this would make a good newbie intro episode before. Now that I’ve seen it again and think about it, I agree it would make my top ten intro episodes for newbies.

    I’m giving 402 – The Giant Gila Monster 4.5 out of 5.

       1 likes

  • 48

    I have Volume 10.2, but I’ve only ever watched it once. It didn’t really stand out when I first watched it, but it couldn’t hurt to give it another viewing.

       0 likes

  • 49
    Spector says:

    Now, this is more like it! After a slow opening episode for Season Four, the Brains quickly rebound with a real cheesy flick, which of course they mine for comedic gold! A strong episode from start to finish, terrific host segments (love the “Leg Up” bit), and consistently funny riffing throughout. “Who put sodie pop in my sodie pop?” Five out of five stars, one of the best episodes in the show’s history, and thankfully, a forerunner of more to come in Season Four.

       2 likes

  • 50
    dsman71 says:

    I LOVE this episode..they all had that energy in their riffs unlike Space Travelers…
    Joels Hair was receding noticeably in this episode – unlike the previous episode..its almost like several months went by between 401 and 402.
    Anyway , Legend Films took care of their print, remastered it, and even colorized it, so if you like this movie or the Killer Shrews – get that DVD..
    I love all the skid mnark references Smile
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees
    Skidmarks
    Happy Thanksgiving
    No therapy today !

       2 likes

  • 51
    thedumpster says:

    This one was better the second time around, probably because I was more awake this time. I like it when the host segments revolve around the movie.

       0 likes

  • 52
    Brandon says:

    I’d be nice if someone could track down the person that called Crow “Art”. Does she know they contributed a little something to MST3K? I suppose they could be embarrassed about it, but still.

    Joel: “Me, Servo, Gypsy, and…. Art?”
    Crow: “Hmm?”
    Joel: “She thinks you’re Art.”
    Crow: “Oh.”

    There are so many other ways they could have responded to that, but I guess they wanted to downplay it a little to not hurt the kid’s feelings.

       0 likes

  • 53
    Matthew Shine says:

    After the dull-then-dishwater Space Travelers, I’m overjoyed to see this episode featured.
    You’ve got to love a movie that calls itself The Giant Gila Monster and the titular monster is off-screen for 90% of the film. The crew also have the brain-melting song “Laugh Children Laugh” to riff on. It’s probably my favorite part of the episode, second only to Joel’s “BLEH BLEH BLEH” Gila voice. Between Crow’s “I think I’ll listen to my cats screech.”, Joel’s “She’s going to wish him away into the cornfield!” and the absolute flawless timing of “TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS!” sang out by Servo, it’s some of my favourite riffing ever.

       1 likes

  • 54
    AlbuquerqueTurkey says:

    “Part of the plot of this movie involves our hero eavesdropping on a party line, a long-dead technology almost everywhere, and I sometimes wonder if young people even understand what’s going on. Our hero also has one of those Hooterville/Mayberry put-the-thing-to-your-ear-and-talk-into-the-thing-on-the-wall phones. Did people really still have those in the 50s?”

    My grandparents had a lake house in North Dakota in the 1970s, and they still had a party line. One long and two shorts was their ring.

    BTW, I love this episode!

       0 likes

  • 55
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    5/5 for me, one of my all time favorite episodes. Starts strong and never lets up, the Renaissance punching bags and host segments were great and the put your knees up jokes never got old. I think these kinds of movies are when the show is at its best, probably why by far my favorite CT episode is Wasp Woman.

    Fave riff: “Are you putting your knees up in there? What’s wrong, am I not enough for you?”

    @40: I liked this episode so much I recorded it in SP on VHS back in the day and it was one of the first eps I dubbed to DVD on my home recorder. This meant I got to see all the commercials as well and the icing on the cake was having the Sally Struthers commercial that was parodied in the episode actually running in the episode, so that commercial ran a long time.

       1 likes

  • 56
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    The fact that Mayberry was a reasonably “modern” town — they had movie theaters and TV sets and *everything* — by definition means that people were indeed still using Mayberry phones in the 1950s.

    >>>Who put sodey pop in my sodey pop?

    It may be common knowledge already, but this is apparently a variation on a W.C. Fields anecdote (I can’t guarantee the validity of any of it). Known for drinking during filming, Fields kept a flask of what he jokingly referred to as “pineapple juice” on his person at all times. At some point a stagehand got hold of it, emptied out the alcohol, and put actual juice into it. Later, upon taking a swig, Fields (after possibly doing a spit-take) demanded “What fiend put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?!” Smile

       4 likes

  • 57
    ck says:

    A movie that is required viewing for all directors
    so they can master the difficult “leg up” position.

       3 likes

  • 58
    Professor Gunther says:

    I agree with everything Sampo has to say about this episode (particularly his first statement). My wife and I ADORE this episode, and I particularly enjoy watching (and listening to) Frank as he beats the crap out of the Ren-Fest Punching Bags. “Sample my fist, you community-theatre reject!”

       2 likes

  • 59
    Creeping Terror says:

    One thing that always shocks me about this movie is the fact that the sheriff permits Don Sullivan’s character to salvage pieces of the wrecked cars (headlights, tires, etc.) before the investigation is over! Sullivan also paws the evidence (like the suitcase) seconds after the sheriff has discovered it. Today EVERYBODY knows that in a crime scene you don’t touch ANYTHING until the investigation is complete.

    I HATE “broken sketches.” It’s lazy writing and never terribly funny.

    The movie is a good intro movie. It has all sorts of subplots that are just interesting enough to keep your attention, but don’t overwhelm the main story.

    Finally, although #26 said this movie was full of “community theater rejects,” I actually find the acting better than the average MST3K movie. Sullivan, the sheriff and “Festus” are great and even the less polished performances (like the little girl and the French woman) are manageable.

       2 likes

  • 60
    Jbagels says:

    I agree it would be cool to track down whoever wrote that letter calling crow Art. One thing I always wondered and I’m sure Sampo or someone has the answer: did they script their responses to the letters every episode or did they just kinda wing it? It sure seems like they were just improvising most of the time. Either way the letters are one of the sweeter aspects of the show and a reminder of how many levels the show could be enjoyed on.

    Anyway, happy turkey day everyone. I’m about to have some pie.

       3 likes

  • 61
    Jbagels says:

    One more thing, I also liked Joel’s blablabla a lot. “I’m your boyfriend now” is a Nightmare on Elm Street reference, when Freddy’s long tongue comes through the phone.

       1 likes

  • 62
    BIG61AL says:

    I feel this is a stronger title for Vol. 10 than the Godzilla film. Skid marks – funny!Silly

       1 likes

  • 63
    dale says:

    this episode highlights one of Joel’s best riffs. Voicing the monster or other animals in the movie. I believe we see a lot less of this riff When Mike takes over.

       1 likes

  • 64
    Dan in WI says:

    First let me start out by begging you to forget the skid marks.

    For the season that has a high percentage of my favorite invention exchanges, here we have a second straight double lame invention exchange. Still it has a couple good moments.
    I love Frank’s set up explanation. “…it’s fun to beat Boffo the clown savagely and repeatedly until Boffo is bleeding from the ears.”
    And is it just me or does the mug maker punching bag look an awful lot like Torgo?

    Joel does a line as the gila monster stating the noise is actually made by a foley. Kind of a callback to the foley host segment in 301 Cave Dwellers.

    Joel’s giant gila voice isn’t all that great. But taken in combination with the non-sequitors and it is still entertaining.

    I sure hope Chase was on the payroll at the Sheriff’s office. He sure did a lot of work for them.

    This episode has two highjacked host segments. First the bots take over Joel’s sodey shop sketch and then Joel and Crow seriously frustrate Tom trying to do his “Leg Up” segment.

    10.2 Upgrade:
    As I recall this was released shortly before the first Cinematic Titanic title. Okay nobody looks the same. (Tom Servo even sounds quite different for some odd reason.) But it was great seeing that Trace and Frank chemistry for the first time in 14 or 15 years. They hadn’t missed a beat at all.

    At times Frank channeled the voice of Josh’s Tom Servo. But at other times it was very obviously Frank.

    Now what is the deal with the sets? It sure looks like the Deep 13 set is nothing more than a digital matte painting. Yet the SOL bridge looks real. Certainly the desk is. But if the back wall isn’t a digital matte then they did an exception job making it look good.

    I noticed Clay and Frank are wearing Deep 13 patches. But since Joel appears in this reunion, why not have them wear the Gizmonics patches?

    “Make them see the white dot Frank” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Push the button Frank.” But since the button was sold years ago in the auction, it was the best they could do.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Joel: “A smart feller could put his knee up on such a thing”

    Crow as French girl “Were you putting your knee up again? Aren’t I enough for you?”

       0 likes

  • 65
    pondoscp says:

    GGM was on Elvira’s new show last year. And sure enough, during the French girl’s scenes, they added subtitles! Granted, they were jokey, fake subtitles, but subtitles nonetheless.

       1 likes

  • 66
    Cornjob says:

    When I saw this as a child on a summer afternoon I distinctly remember waiting in vain for the monster and some people to appear in the same shot. No such luck.

    I’m not sure if Sheriff “Not my Jurisdiction” was mentioned in the Incompetent Law Enforcement Officers Thread, but he should have been. I loved his being arrested at the end for being out of his jurisdiction. I think Chance from H.A.R.M got more done than this guy.

       0 likes

  • 67
    Creeping Terror says:

    @60: Everything in the show starting at season 2 was scripted. Even most of season 1 is scripted.

       0 likes

  • 68
    Creeping Terror says:

    And what’s the hatred toward Ren Fests? I’ve never been to one (I don’t think it’s really my thing), but I don’t understand why the Brains have such a visceral reaction towards them. Anyone want to clue me in?

       0 likes

  • 69
    Alex says:

    I love the soda shop sketch. They say something like “Hey, stupid-jerk.”

    Then the kids sings that song to the little girl and later say “The lord said ‘die! die! die!’” as the Gila Monster attacked.

       0 likes

  • 70
    wotunw5o says:

    >68
    A _good_ ren fest is really fun.

    A bad one is like a mash-up of a bad Dungeons and Dragons session and a third-world Disneyland rip-off.

       0 likes

  • 71
    pondoscp says:

    The earliest Ren Fest bashing that I’ve noticed was in Rocketship X-M, during the funny or not funny floating bit

       0 likes

  • 72
    Sitting Duck says:

    @68: IIRC Kevin used to be a Renn Fest geek but came to regard that period of his life with shame. He appears to have gotten over it, judging from the complete absense of Renn Fest riffs in the Rifftrax Live presentation of Jack the Giant Killer.

       2 likes

  • 73
    Fred Burroughs says:

    I have to admit I was right with Joel when the heroes meet their third destroyed car, and the sheriff still doesn’t seem phased. Joel: “Face it Sheriff, the guy’s dead!” even after seeing blood all over the seats, and in the truck, a burning, twisted wreck. Yet, they seem more interested in the dents on the fender, than the possibility that fatally wounded people are languishing in the weeds just a few feet away.

    BTW, Don Sullivan’s interview (I think an extra on the Rebel Set DVD) is fascinating, not only how he became an actor,but the fact he wrote many of the songs in the movies he appears (like the ‘Laugh, Children, Laugh” song from Gila Monster. IIRC, he says that the song makes more sense if you hear the last verse that explains it. He seems to have had a very eclectic career. Go Don, go.

       2 likes

  • 74
    Jbagels says:

    I guess they just did a good job of writing scripts that sounded natural, thanks.

       0 likes

  • 75
    Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    …I think once you’ve been to one Ren Fest, you’ve been to them all…

    “Twenty-three dollars to get in! Huzzah my butt!!”

       1 likes

  • 76
    erasmus hall says:

    Regarding alcoholic anonymous bit,how many shows were dsdicated to Bill W. ?

       0 likes

  • 77
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    Six words sum up this episode, a joke by Joel and the ‘Bots: “Don’t ever sing that song again!” What a great episode out of a terrible movie. I must have seen this movie dozens of times as a kid on UHF channels on weekends. Wow, I really did like monster movies when I was little to sit through this stinker. It’s terrible.

    The Renaissance festival punching bags sketch makes this episode worthwhile all by itself. Talk about joking around directly where a lot of fans of the show “live”. Fantastically funny, one of the funniest host segments ever.

    Joel speaks for the monster a lot during this one and it’s great fun and really funny.

    Another in a long line of movies where teens are having a dance or party that goes on for quite a while to pad out the film while the monster slooooowly approaches their venue and attacks the kids. Some others used on the show with similar or identically padded scenes: Creeping Terror, Earth Vs. The Spider, Monster A-Go Go, Wild Rebels (the bikers are the “monsters” in this case), Being From Another Planet. Even Hellcats has a protracted party scene to pad out the film and I love the riffs on the attendees during that one. Same with Ring Of Terror. Wow, party scenes and dances are a staple of padding out B-grade (and Z-grade) movies.

    The jokes and sketch about the director’s fascination with the “leg up” position are top-notch funny movie dissection. 5 Stars for this one.

       1 likes

  • 78
    Jbagels says:

    My father dragged me to a ren fest or two when I was a kid and they still do them upstate NY a a couple of my friends went recently, not my cup of coffee so I could see why the Brains could find them insufferable.

       0 likes

  • 79
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This right here is a classic episode, one of my faves from the Joel era, also one of my personal Top 10 Episodes. Needless to say, it’s a 5/5!!

    Everything works for me, the Invention Exchange (see: post #44), all three Host Segments, the riffing, the movie, everything works like magic. This is a great intro-episode for MST newbies.

    Gila Monster, you had me at “BLEH-BLEH-BLEH-BLEH-BLEH-BLEH!!”

    -

    RIFFS AND THINGS:

    during the thing with two heads opening,
    Crow: “Hey that’s my body, it’s got some of my favorite parts!”

    Servo: “It’s God roasted for great taste.”

    Crow: “Bad movie? You’re soaking in it.” —–I quote this, or a variation of, all the time.

    Crow: “Hey, one at a time. We’ve only got one boom mike.”

    Crow: “The magnificent men and their jaunty jalopies!”

    ALL 3: “NEW YORK CITY!” —reference to a commercial for Pace Picante Salsa (get a rope).

    Crow: “Who put sodie pop in my sodie pop?”

    Servo: “Hey let’s go do some crimes, man.” —Another quotable!

    When the sheriff open the door and closes it again, Crow groans “Uhhhhhhhh” like a monster or something (this joke is repeated later in the episode) and it makes me laugh every time, it’s just hilarious to me!

    Joel: “Set me free booze, I need you.”

    Joel: “Smart fella would put his knee up on that..”

    Joel: “You can call me sugar-lumps.”

    ALL 3: “WILL YOU FORGET ABOUT THE SKID MARKS!”

    drunk trying to outrace train,
    Servo: “This is the last scene in Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, remember?” —-uh, spoiler alert… Smile

    Joel: “Hey look a hand!” —Sure enough, Joel spots a random hand in the back of a driving scene.

    Joel: “Wait a minute, Conrad, you wearing pants underneath that coat?”

    Joel: “He offered me coke to play his record.”

    ZING!

    Now I gotta go put my leg up on something.

    BLEH BLEH BLEH!

    A 5/5!!

       4 likes

  • 80
    Dwilesjr says:

    I wish I had this episode, I actually was lucky enough to snag MST3K vol. 10.1 with Godzilla VS Megalon, I should have ordered the single but I allready owned 4 copies of the unriffed movie its one of my favorite films, looking back on it I wish i went ahead and bought a 10.2 when I had the chance

       2 likes

  • 81
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ #80: Rhino no longer sells MST3K Giant Gila Monster as a single disc, They did so for a short time just to capture sales from the original Volume 10 owners. However, they still sell the 4-disc Volume 10.2 set. And Amazon is selling it for $39.99 as of this writing.
    http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Science-Theater-3000-Collection/dp/B0012CJR04/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1322287403&sr=1-1

       1 likes

  • 82
    JLH says:

    Has anyone mentioned yet that starting in season 4 (or was it the very end of season 3?) the Hexfield Viewscreen light on the table and above the doors has changed from green to purple?

       1 likes

  • 83
    24HourWideAwakeNightmare says:

    #61 – Thanks! Didn’t realize Joel was quoting Freddy Kruger, not being much of a horror flick buff. You can see FK deliver that line here. 17 years later and we still learn what some of these refs are, very ipso facto.

       0 likes

  • 84
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    ALSO

    Mentioned above way up at #6, this is the last episode (i think) that features the TURN DOWN YOUR LIGHTS – WHERE APPLICABLE screen graphic at the opening.

    I just want to mention how much I love, how much joy it brings me, to see that graphic appear on screen. There’s just something about it, beyond the funny cleverness, that I find really endearing.

    If I made a documentary on MST3k, I would start the movie with that screen graphic.

       4 likes

  • 85
    Jbagels says:

    Yup, one of the great things about the show, there’s always going to be references you didn’t get even after watching an episode a million times.

       1 likes

  • 86
    EricJ says:

    @72 – Good, can we now go back and re-record the Film Crew movies WITHOUT Kevin’s constant attempts to Kevin-Bacon the riffs and host-segs of every single movie back to six degrees of Tolkien and Renfests? Wink
    (“Wild Women of Wongo” was a bit of a reach, and I’m still wondering how he psychologically connected Ancient Greece from “Giant of Marathon” with bad Huzzahs.)

       0 likes

  • 87
    Mrs. Dick Courier says:

    One of my top ten! Love the whole thing, especially the skit about blocking, where the guys torture Tom.

    This episode also has many naughty riffs. Which I love, the naughtier the better. My fave is this exchange, not sure I have it exact:

    Steamroller: “just how did you get me in that bed anyway?”
    Our hero: “I sat on you until you fell asleep”
    Joel “Oh wow….”

    also love the un-naughty riff where our hero is singing this song toward the end
    Joel: “I just want to know if the lord said it this many times”
    Tom: “that’s why deuteronomy is so long”

    Also enjoy Don Sullivan’s interview on the extras. He seems like a cool guy with a good sense of humor.

       4 likes

  • 88
    Big61al says:

    Has anyone else made the connection with Vol. 10 that the deleted Godzilla [a giant lizard] was replaced the giant gila monster [a giant lizard]. Nice touch! Yes

       3 likes

  • 89
    Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley says:

    #84, I completely agree with you. The TURN DOWN YOUR LIGHTS (Where Applicable) is one of the best things about the beginning. And #6 it’s a reference the drive-in theaters, where you were told to turn off your headlights before the movie.

    I always turn down my lights before the episode. Makes it more cinematic.

    My baby she rocks – whooaooa!

       2 likes

  • 90
    Insect Man #47 says:

    Like so many others, this is a top ten favorite of mine. I simply love Crow’s imitation of the “sing whenever I sing whenever I sing” song, when the DJ guy walks out from the back room at the garage. One trivia note: Lisa Simone, who played the French girl, also appeared in another all time stink-o. “Missle To The Moon”. A movie that would have been perfect for MST.

       1 likes

  • 91
    Sitting Duck says:

    @90: Missile to the Moon was eventually handled by Rifftrax.

       0 likes

  • 92
    Insect Man #47 says:

    Thanks for that info! MTTM is one of the all time turkeys. I’ll have to check out Rifftrax.

       0 likes

  • 93
    EricJ says:

    “Missile” was also arguably the inspiration for the 50′s-space-women parody in John Landis’s “Amazon Women on the Moon”, although IMDB has never been able to confirm whether AWotM screenwriter Michael Barrie was related to MTTM writer H.E. Barrie…

       0 likes

  • 94
    Stressfactor says:

    Belatedly getting in on this one.

    This one is just kind of okay for me. The ‘skid marks’ joke actually, for once, hit the ‘rule of three’ for me (i.e. it wasn’t funny until about the third time).

    One thing I was surprised didn’t get a riff was when our hero asks his mom if she played football and she responds “for the Green Bay Packers”. Not one of our dedicated riffers pulled out a Packers riff?! Shock and horror!

       0 likes

  • 95
    schippers says:

    #93 – The (very funny) parody in “Amazon Women…” is most probably based on “Cat-Women of the Moon,” the (wonderfully) terrible movie of which “Missile to the Moon” is a remake (by the same producers, if I recall rightly). If you watch “Cat-Women,” you’ll see the unmistakable similarity to the segment in “Amazon Women.”

    And “Cat-Women” is worth seeing anyway.

       0 likes

  • 96
    schippers says:

    And always wanted to nit about the movie: where the heck is it supposed to be set? As a native of Tucson, AZ, I can tell you that Gila monsters can only be found (and then only rarely) in the Southwest, and I can’t think of any parts of the Southwest that look anything like this movie or have people with accents anywhere close to the people in this movie. It’s just the wrong setting for this monster, is what I’m saying (Them! has a look more apropos for a Gila monster).

       1 likes

  • 97
    Tom Carberry says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes of Season 4. It is just the perfect little movie for the MST3K treatment. Everything about it is low-budget and substandard–acting, technical (sound), and special effects. Even the titular “Giant Gila Monster” is in fact a Mexican Beaded Lizard. My favorite line is still, “Transportation provided by Kennedy Limosines–we get you there alive or we don’t pay.”

       0 likes

  • 98
    Clark Gable in Hell says:

    “I sing whenever I sing…” and so on.

    Good, funny episode. This one brings back memories of when I was a little imp and I was looking forward to watching this on the 4:30 movies on Channel 7 (WABC New York). I was about 5, I was crazy about lizards (as are most young lads), it was my birthday and I had just gotten home from the pet store with two chameleons and I was totally looking forward to seeing this movie about a GIANT Gila Monster. Unfortunately, the date was November 22, 1963 and much to my dismay the 4:30 movie was pre-empted due to the fact that some dumb president had just been shot. Boy, was I one pissed-off little kid that day. Many years later, this movie still brings back memories of that day and the bratty little temper tantrum I threw just because a movie I really really wanted to see got cancelled.

    I always have enjoyed the MST3K version. I love when they make make those “The Munsters” theme-song guitar-sounds whenever one of those old jalopies pulls up. Not to mention “NO! Not the coda, NO!” and the cracks about how DeNiro had to put on weight to play the role of the Gila Monster.

    All in all a fun episode.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and put my knee up.

       0 likes

  • 99
    Dampe says:

    This episode contains one of my all time favorite riffs: “Set me free booze, I need you!”

    I don’t know exactly what it is but just the way that line is delivered makes me lose it every time. I’ve come to use it in everyday conversation even though I don’t drink.

       1 likes

  • 100
    Absorbine Senior says:

    What a great episode! Host segments and riffing are first class and really show off what the show did best: combining the ridiculous and sublime like nothing else, ever.
    “Things make sense when yer all liquored up!” is one of my favorite and often quoted catchphrases and really deserves a t-shirt. It always gets a knowing chuckle from a friend who’s in AA.
    Oh and #44 Watch-out-for-Snakes, a correction; it’s “Satin-suited, Tolkien reading Loser!”
    Amen, Frank. Yes

       0 likes

  • 101
    dad1153 says:

    Love this episode even though its not one I come back regularly to. The ‘leg up’ and ‘Joel speaks the Gila Monster’s thoughts’ running gags are priceless, the constant riffing about the movie’s peculiarities (like the sheriff that’s more wrong than right) almost always hits the mark and the cheesy/cheap B&W photography/effects were practically made for “MST3K” mocking. Host segments are neat; you can’t go wrong with mocking renaissance festival traditions, and Frank’s ‘community theater’ remark actually made me laugh out loud. The show’s in-joke about Crow being called ‘Art’ takes shape here, and it’s a beaut.

    FOUR STARS for “The Giant Gila Monster.” Favorite riff: ‘Hey, one at a time. We’ve only got one boom mike.’

       0 likes

  • 102

    This site is so fast! What hosting provider are you using?

       0 likes

  • 103
    Green Switch says:

    As was said in #47 and #79, this is a great episode for beginners.

    Everything combines well – the movie’s cheap and laughable, but it still has watchability, the characters are amusing, and the jokes and host segments are lots of fun.

    I really liked all the Munsters riffs and jokes involving the old drunk guy. The Giant Gila Monster voiceovers were good for a laugh too.

       0 likes