Movie: (1961) Masked wrestler El Santo battles vampire women who believe a young woman destined to become their queen.
First shown: 3/25/95
Opening: A moment of silence
Intro: Frank enjoys some Chinese food, Dr. F not so much; on the SOL the food is confounding
Host segment 1: While playing Stratego, Crow gets a sign
Host segment 2: Torgo the White arrives to take Frank to Second Banana Heaven
Host segment 3: Song: “Who will I kill?”
End: The ‘Bots read their letters to Frank, who visits Dr. F. and pushes the button one last time
Stinger: “Chief, I saw two corpses in the garden.”
• And so we come to the end of another era of MST3K. This is the last episode of the fourth consecutive 24-episode season, and pretty much the end of four years of job security for everybody at Best Brains. And of course, it is our bittersweet goodbye to Frank, which in turn is a harbinger of Trace’s farewell to come. It was about this time, March of ’95, I began regularly checking in with Julie Walker with questions like “so, season seven starts in June, right? July?…August??” She didn’t know, and nobody was giving it much thought, because they were headed into movie making. “MST3K: The Movie” had been greenlighted, and it was taking up everybody’s time. It would only be later in the year that the ominous silence from Comedy Central began to be recognized.
• Overall, the episode itself is in the “good-not-great” area for me. The host segments are historic, and very funny. The movie is kind of a cross between “Aztec Mummy” and “Racket Girls,” for better or worse. Last time, I thought the riffing was only so-so, but I have to say that I laughed quite a bit this time so I think I need readjust my rating upwards.
• This episode appears in “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIV.”
• The references.
• The “moment of silence” opening is appropriate and great fun. It’s one of those bits where the idea is simple, but the execution is what makes it work.
• I love when they cut to Deep 13 in the intro and Frank takes a breath to say something, but never gets to say it.
• Lo mein seems to have been on somebody’s mind–Auntie McFrank served it last episode.
• Dr. F’s fortune is very accurate.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers (which seem to have been freshly shot for this episode): Film canister, book, bulletin board.
• One of the most blatant LOTR references ever on this show is the appearance of Torgo (again played by Mike), but not Torgo as we knew him but Torgo “the White.” “Yes, that was the name,” he mutters.
• Callback: “…and a good friend.” (Rocketship XM)
• Trace does a terrific job with the song, but a little pitchy, dawg.
• While in general I love the song, I have to say that the imagery evoked in the line “No cute tummy to drill” is a little off-putting.
• Frank departs with the wonderful “Wave your freak flag high!” speech and a final “Eyukgaee!”–the strange guttural sound he popularized back in season two, but hadn’t really used in a few seasons.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Luis Garcia DeLeon also worked on “Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy.” American producer K. Gordon Murray also worked on “Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy” and “Santa Claus.” American director Manuel San Fernando also worked on “Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. Additional contributing writers: Bill Corbett and Drew Jansen. Of course, the music for “Who Will I Kill?” was written by Mike, but I never noticed before: the lyrics were written by Bridget Jones!
There were also some farewells with this episode: The were shutting the show down for a while, and people were either departing or heading to the movie studio. It was Tim Paulson’s last show as editor. This was also the last show for post production coordinators Jann L. Johnson and Ellen McDonough Thomas, both of whom had been with the show for years. And finally, interns Wendell Andersson, Michael D. Parker and Sarah Swanson also worked on their last show.
• Fave riff: “Fiends are visiting from Europe.” Honorable mention: “He’s got a full acre of area!”
Next week we will do “MST3K: The Movie” and from there will go on to Season 7.