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Episode guide: 621- The Beast of Yucca Flats (with shorts: ‘Money Talks!’ & ‘Progress Island U.S.A.’)

621s1 621s2

Short: (1951) The ghost of Ben Franklin visits a spendthrift teenager.
Short: (1973) An upbeat travelogue tries to lure investors to Puerto Rico.
Movie: (1961) After being exposed to atomic radiation, a defecting Russian scientist becomes a murderous monster.

First shown: 1/21/95
Opening: Mike is wallpapering the SOL, Crow and Tom are no help
Intro: The Mads promote “Proposition Deep 13” while M&tB speak up for the Satellite of Love
Host segment 1: M&tB get a visit from some partiers
Host segment 2: Crow asks: Is it 11:30?
Host segment 3: Crow offers a plea for film anti-preservation, but Mike disapproves
End: Mike’s victory speech, Tom reads letters, Dr. F.’s concession speech
Stinger: The beast is pissed
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (202 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

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• Ah, part 3 of the Coleman Francis trilogy, with the extra special sticky badness of Tor Johnson thrown in. This terrible, terrible movie, the very sharp riffing (especially given what they had to work with in the main feature) plus not one but TWO shorts and some great, memorable host segments, makes for a classic episode.
• This episode can be found on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVIII.
• Of course the riffing is good in this episode: Mike already riffed on it during his training before his first experiment, as mentioned in episode 513- THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE.
• The political segments managed (mostly) not to offend folks of any particular stripe, but also managed to make some smart satirical observations.
• A rare two-shorter (the last one was in season 3). A nice mix, too: one classic 50s educational short, followed by an industrial. As a side note: I doubt that noted abolitionist Ben Franklin would say “Would you have your slave press my suit?” but I’m willing to overlook that one amid some great riffing. The riffing in the second short has a lot of “fill in the blanks” jokes, as in “A booming economy…” “…is not here.” I don’t think they overdid it, but I think they hit the limit on that one.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: Film canister, book, beaker, bulletin board.
• Callbacks: “This nose wheel feels mushy” (San Francisco International) and, of course, “I’m Cherokee Jack” (and several other references to Red Zone Cuba) .
• Segment 1 seems to come out of the blue. Maybe the mention of rum in the short? By the way, during the sketch Tom shouts “water buffalo!” at the partiers. This was a then-current reference. Read about it here.
• Did anybody notice that the opening of TBOYF is vaguely reminiscent of the opening of “The Dead Talk Back”?
• Another then-current reference: “Marlon Brando arrives for the Larry King Interview.” Honestly, it seemed like a big deal at the time.
• Still another: A reference to the short-lived TV show “The Five Mrs. Buchanans.”
• Like Frank, I like to eat lunch at 11:30. So segment 2 resonates for me.
• At the sight of a coyote, Tom says “Humphrey!” That coyote looks nothing like Humphrey.
• I said in 1997, and I still say today, that the Academy should have had Crow and Mike do segment 3 at the Oscars that year (the year “MST3K: The Movie” came out). It would have brought the house down.
• Frank’s face in the closing is great.
• Cast and crew roundup: special effects guy Ray Mercer also worked on “Lost Continent,” “I Accuse My Parents,” “Radar Secret Service,” “Last of the Wild Horses” and “The Sinister Urge.” Sound guy Titus Moody worked on “Incredibly Strange Creatures.” Score composer Gene Kauer also worked on “Atomic Brain” and “Agent for H.A.R.M.” Producer Anthony Cardoza, worked on “The Hellcats” and “Red Zone Cuba.” Producer Anthony Cardoza and cinematographer Austin McKinney worked on “The Skydivers.”
In front of the camera: Eric Tomlin and Tony Cardoza appeared in “The Hellcats.” Marcia Knight, Coleman Francis, Eric Tomlin, Tony Cardoza, Titus Moody, Barbara Francis, Ronald Francis and Alan Francis, appeared in “The Skydivers.” Coleman Francis, George Prince, Tony Cardoza and Howard Morrison appeared in “Red Zone Cuba.” Tor Johnson was also in “The Unearthly” and “Bride of the Monster” as was Conrad Brooks. Brooks was also in “The Sinister Urge.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. The partiers were Patrick Brantseg, Paul Chaplin, Bridget Jones, Tim Paulson and Mary Jo Pehl. The music heard was “Speed of Sound,” written by Dayton Mercil, performed by a band called Ripcord.
• Fave riff from the first short: “Could you get your stomach off my desk?” Honorable mention: “Oh, and kill your parents.”
• Fave riff from the second short: “I’m having a freakout up to ten years later!” Honorable mention: “Just like everywhere else in the world.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Some people just burrow straight down, I guess.” Honorable mention: “It IS more suspenseful when you don’t know what’s goin’ on.”

153 Replies to “Episode guide: 621- The Beast of Yucca Flats (with shorts: ‘Money Talks!’ & ‘Progress Island U.S.A.’)”

  1. littleaimishboy says:

    In 1942’s “Hitler: Dead or Alive,” a guy shot down a fighter plane with a tommy gun.

    I’ve done that.

       0 likes

  2. Torgo"s Pizza-NJ says:

    Ray Dunakin: That line almost ruined the short for me. It’s not accurate to who Franklin was, and it’s too consistent with the contemporary liberal trend of dismissing the Constitution by belittling all the “founding fathers” as vile creeps.

    I think that’s why it Was funny…MST3K viewers are a little more sophisticated and would likely know that Franklin supported the abolition of slavery in the last thirty yrs of his life. They were mocking the corny, angelic portrayal of Franklin, not the real man.

       0 likes

  3. Scott P says:

    It never seems to fail but the “Fave Riff” these guys pick are always ones that I never remember.

       0 likes

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