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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: 404- Teenagers from Outer Space

Movie: (1959) Aliens have a plan to use Earth as a farm for their giant lobster livestock. One of the crew rebels and flees to a small town, with another alien on his trail.

First shown: 6/27/92
Opening: Joel uses behavior modification to prevent a recurrence of the “NBC Mystery Movie” gag
Invention exchange: J&tB demonstrate the scratch ‘n’ sniff report card, while the Mads show off their resusci-Annie ventriloquist doll
Host segment 1: J&tB present “Reel to real”
Host segment 2: J&TB recreate a pre-movie no-littering message
Host segment 3: A really boss-looking space ship visits, but the pilot is a disappointment.
End: Duct tape fashion statements, letters, Dr. F. dines with a friend
Stinger: “When we return to our planet, the high court may well sentence you to TORTURE!!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (285 votes, average: 4.52 out of 5)

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• How I love this episode. Maybe it’s the easy-to-follow (albeit punishingly stupid) plot. Maybe it’s the goofy host segments, most of which are not so much funny as wry. Maybe it’s the charmingly naïve idea that somebody thought people would believe that giant lobsters walk upright. Whatever it is, this one’s a lot of fun.
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 6.”
• This episode definitely begins with the “Title card.”
• Body (or, rather, skeleton) count: 6, not counting Sparky and the lobster and the big mess at the end. And for you Dave Barry fans, Sparky and the Lobster WBAGNFARB.
• “Lisa Smithback,” mentioned in the invention exchange, has to be a real name, probably a schoolmate of one of the Brains. Wonder if she’s out there somewhere?
• I love the little Jeff Dunham-esque gestures Trace does around the dummy as he does the ventriloquist bit.
• Callbacks: Crow’s desire for “hamburger sammich” is from episode 203- JUNGLE GODDESS. Later he retreads the “Welcome to Death Valley Days, the driver…” bit, and “How fortunate! This will seemplify everything!” from The Phantom Creeps.
• The word TORCHAA! became an immediate MSTie buzzword following this episode.
• So, what do you think is the point of the “ironic” tone Joel and the bots adopt during the “Reel to Real” sketch? They read all their lines like a presenter at an awards ceremony who is given a bit to do and resents having to do it. Did they decide the material was too lame to be played straight? But wait a minute! Maybe they’re parodying comedians who tell jokes ironically! That’s TWO levels of irony! We’re through the looking glass here, people!
• Host segment foreshadowing: In the illustrations (who did those, by the way?), we see Betty in a bathing suit, and grandpa sleeping on the couch, but we haven’t seen either in the movie yet.
• The repeated muffled voice in the trunk bit almost gets a little unpleasant after a while. Tom just portrays it as so horribly desperate.
• As Derek and Betty enter the college, there are several riffs about the smell of school. Perhaps these riffs were the genesis of this episode’s “scratch and sniff report card” invention exchange.
• Several characters have songs stuck in their heads. Grandpa’s is the theme song for the TV show “New Zoo Revue.” The ill-fated professor’s secretary’s is AC-DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” The Doctor has two: first it’s Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City,” then Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded.” The nurse has several, including Apollonia 6’s “Sex Shooter,” “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull, The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and the “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” by Country Joe and the Fish.
• As Thor bursts into Betty’s house, watch Joel. I could be wrong, but it looks like he’s pickin’ his nose.
• So the point of segment two is to set up a few throwaway lines in segment three? (i.e. “goomy bears?”)
• Movie observation: Derek says he saw the Commander stop Thor from killing him. He did not. He was 40 yards away and running like hell.
• J&tB failed to notice this continuity screwup: Thor pistol whips the nurse, there’s a short cutaway, and in the next shot Thor and the nurse have magically switched seats in the car!
• Naughty riff: “What until you see my tongues.”
• During host segment three, Joel professes his faith. Or is he being ironic again?
• Gotta admit: the spaceship in segment three really is boss.
• The third segment is great. Joel seems incredibly relaxed. And anytime anybody tries to tell you he was always “sleepy” just show them this segment. He’s wide awake, baby.
• There is a LOT of juicy gossip about the making of this movie: Reportedly, Tom Graff, who played reporter Joe Rogers and wrote, directed, edited and co-produced the film, charmed producers Bryan and Ursula Pearson (who played “Thor” and “Hilda,” respectively) into paying $5,000 of the movie’s $14,000 shoestring budget. After they heard Graff got $25,000 from Warner Brothers for the distribution rights, they sued, but all they got was their $5,000 back.
The flying saucer was reportedly abandoned on property near the estate of Gloria Swanson, who used it for publicity.
Graeff and David Love (“Derek”) were reportedly lovers. The two met when Graff cast Love in a short film Graff made a few years earlier. Love vanished after the film and his whereabouts are unknown.
Graeff never made another movie. In 1962, he bought a huge ad in the L.A. Times proclaiming himself the second Christ. In 1968, he bought another ad, this time in Variety, announcing the upcoming production of a film called “Orf,” to be directed by Carl Reiner (it wasn’t true, and Reiner immediately threatened to sue). Graeff committed suicide in 1970.
The Pearsons eventually divorced. Ursula ran a travel company in L.A. and died in 2006. Bryan, a struggling actor, was only able get a few acting roles and retired from acting in the late ’60s. As of 2006 he was working in real estate in Hawaii.
• This is yet another MST3k movie featuring Bronson Canyon in some of the exterior shots. Through the use of selected locations and very tight framing, Graeff was pretty successful in making the streets of Hollywood look like a small town.
• Tom servo has legs???
• The final bit in Deep 13 in a riot. “Help me!” “No, literally! I have a man up in space!”
• Cast and crew roundup: Sonia Torgeson was also in “Daddy-O.” And of course Harvey B. Dunn was also in “Bride Of The Monster,” and “The Sinister Urge.” Robert B. Williams was also in “Revenge Of The Creature” and “This Island Earth.”
• CreditsWatch: Mary Jo Pehl joined the writing staff with this episode. And, for the first time in at least three seasons, the host segments were directed by somebody other than Jim Mallon—this week, Kevin Murphy. Resusci-Anne provided by Nancy Mason. Dr. F’s name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff: “There’s a piece of green something between your–” Honorable mention: “I’m David Eisenhower! That makes you… Julie Nixon!!”

145 Replies to “Episode Guide: 404- Teenagers from Outer Space”

  1. TheDON3k says:

    LOVE the Mad’s invention exchange! One of my fave skits, ever. Genius having Frank dial 911 while drinking a glass of water.

    But I say, Resusci, you IS a chick!…. I say, you IS a chick….

       2 likes

  2. John W says:

    Favorite bit for me is when Joel is reading the viewer mail at the end, deliberately reading the misspelling: “my who family”

       2 likes

  3. Castle Monster says:

    This movie is so ripe for ridicule but there were gobs of missed riff opportunities. I think they coasted through it. 3 stars.

       0 likes

  4. Castle Monster says:

    Whoa. Deja vu.

    Well, at least I’m consistent. I said pretty much the same thing in 2008.

       1 likes

  5. Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley says:

    #1 Mr. Shemp – I was just going to post the same thing! Betty had an unbelievable bod and was cute as a button to boot. Whatever happened to her I wonder. Roowrr!

       2 likes

  6. Neptune Men says:

    I wonder how many of you watched the movie without the riffing, it’s not so bad, they have some good themes, like that totalitarian society in which these “teenagers” live, and the hero and most of the humans are likable, that’s hard to find in a movie, even the “good” ones. I love the show, but I don’t accept its word as the Gospel from God’s mouth.

       0 likes

  7. Absorbine Senior says:

    A true five star treatment of a cheapo sci-fi flick that happens to be an old favorite of mine. My dad took me to see this one back in ’59 when it was first released and I was just a lad. He loved movies: good and bad; must run in the genes. I often remember him chuckling at scenes that impressed the heck out of me at the time. I really think he would have enjoyed MST had he still been alive.
    Plus the great catchphrase that is “TORCHAA!”

       2 likes

  8. dsman71 says:

    Observation – Joel wearing that Teal jumpsuit for the last segment with the fashion outfits…
    I always crack up when Tom Servo goes Quee Quay ( that old Teenager saying ” Quickly” )
    I love this episode and enjoy the movie as a stand alone…
    Too bad the giant lobster had no budget..
    I always though a giant lobster monster movie would be cool, the closest thing to it is Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster…
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees
    Jumpsuit Joel
    Giant Lobsters
    Harvey B Dunn the whole new you
    Quee Quay
    Me need therapy

       3 likes

  9. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I think I mentioned this somewhere else, but when Thor, who is injured, surprises Derek and Betty in the car, Derek yells “Thor!”, to which my natural response would be “Yeth, very thor!” A riff that got away…

       2 likes

  10. Manny Sanguillen says:

    I never really thought of the nbc mystery movie thing as a running gag.
    To me, one who eagerly looked forward to the nbc mystery movie each week when it was on,…(mainly when it was ‘Columbo’, with ‘Mccloud’ being an acceptable second choice – all the rest of their “mystery movies” pretty much sucked, especially McMillan & Wife),…
    To me, the often used reference was just another good riff that reminded me why I enjoy mst so much, That they grew up in my generation and related it all so well in the references on such a consistent basis.

    Plus the ‘moog synthesizer/whistling-like’ music when the guy was walking with the flashlight in the opening credit kicked ass. YouTube has a couple versions of it which I saved the audio on for my own keepsake.

       0 likes

  11. Mr. B(ob) says:

    “When TV repairmen walked the Earth!” I love that riff and everything else about this episode. Great host segments that maybe are a tad over-analyzed by some. Reel To Real is a little darker than some of the more boisterous and playful host segments common to this era of the show with some good, biting wit. The duct tape on jumpsuit fashion show is killer funny. The segment making fun of ventriloquists is much funnier than any actual such act and having Frank dialing 911 while drinking a glass of water definitely hit on some classic bits used by the better ventriloquists to show off their skills. The sketch writing on this episode was very inspired and “outside the box”.

    The lead actors in the movie seems to take what they are doing very seriously and some of the performances are actually pretty good, but the low budget and mediocre script make this prime MST3K material. The girl that played Betty was not only attractive, but turns in a very convincing performance, no easy feat in a movie with such an implausible premise and poor production values.

    Some favorite jokes:
    Sparky had skin.
    You can be too rich and too thin.
    Too much chlorine in the pool.
    We have the supreme pizzas!
    TORCHAA!
    Everything she says sounds so dirty.
    The jokes during the driving scene with the nurse and Thor in the car.
    Anything to do with the Gargan (aka a lobster).
    The “graduation photo” comments at the end as Derek’s face is shown over the sky background.

    When I and many of the cast at BBI were very young TV repairmen did indeed come to your home in a jumpsuit with a large case with parts, tools, and vacuum tubes(!) for your TV repair needs.

    This is definitely a quintessential episode of the show, both for the movie and the MST3K treatment it received. It’s on my favorite episodes list for sure.

       3 likes

  12. Stressfactor says:

    Honestly….

    When I first started watching the one cold, having never seen it before, I thought I was in for a long, boring slog even *with* the riffing. Within a few minutes, though, everything warmed up and I had a blast.

    The riffing is a lot of fun for me but the movie itself would be hysterical all on it’s own. Dear Lord the line reads from the “actors” alone are horrifically awesome! Not to mention some of the action. I busted a gut at Betty just phoning up the electrical substation and basically saying “I can’t explain right now but you need to increase the voltage” and the guy at the substation just doing it!! I mean, some chick, he doesn’t even know from Adam and who has NO authority phones up and says “Give me more power” and he’s like “Okey-dokey!” *insert forehead slap here*

    And the “cops” at “city hall” for the gun fight with Thor… So… were those all supposed to be detectives? Because there wasn’t a single one wearing a police uniform. I’m surprised a town supposedly that small had that many plainclothes cops — not a single uniformed patrol officer among them. Translation: Graeff was obviously too cheap to even spring for a cop uniform from a costume shop.

    I love all of the host segments but I have to say… the closing with the “fashion show” is slightly disturbing. If I ever suspected the guys of having imbibed in controlled substances while writing it would be for that one.

    Oh, and this movie also features on of my personal pet peeves which still happens in movies today… Namely……..

    SKELETONS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!

    Okay, sorry for shouting but, like I said, this annoys me. Your bones are basically connected by organic tissue — tendons and muscle fibers and the like. When the organic tissue is burned away or decays away there is nothing to hold the bones together. In short, you cannot drag a skeleton out of a car by the leg bone — all you would get would be the leg bone. Likewise, as seen in other movies, you cannot have a skeleton hanging from chains. All you should have is chains and a pile of bones under them. The only way a “skeleton” should hold together is if the organic tissue actually mummifies thereby keeping the bones together — in which case you have more of a mummy than a skeleton.

    Okay, rant over.

    But to summarize — this is one of those films that even without the riffs it ranks high on the comedy scale. Add the riffs and you get epic hilarity.

       2 likes

  13. Stressfactor says:

    P.S., can someone confirm to me whether or not “goomy” is an upper midwestern thing? I had a teacher in high school who came from Minnesota and for the most part didn’t really have an accent but he often talked about his cat whose name he pronounced “Goomy”. When he put some pictures of the cat up on a bulletin board with a label under them I discovered that the cat’s name was spelled “Gummi” — which to me should be pronounced similar to ‘gum’.

    And not the first time this has happened either — in “Gamera vs. Zigra” Crow looks at the Zigra ship and among the candies he thinks it looks like are “Goomy Bears”.

       0 likes

  14. Manny Sanguillen says:

    I was just checking those nbc mystery movie openings on youtube and thought it was an interesting reminder that ‘Quincy M.E.’ started out as one of the rotated shows of theirs.

    I know this quickly must have changed because Quincy was great right from the get-go and became it’s own weekly series and stayed that way.

    (Cool thing too that Quincy’s underling Sam played a jungle native in ‘Jungle Goddess’, and Trace riffed on it “Sam! where’s Quincy?!”)

    I’m also reminded that ‘Hec Ramsey’ wasnt very good but I’d stomach an episode of him any day over McMillan & Wife. I’ll never understand how M & W lasted so long. Even some of their other bombs were better, like ‘Ellery Queen’ even.
    But biggest fact of the matter that I can relate is that there was a collective “WOO HOO!!” all over the country when it turned out to be a columbo episode. That was what really made the series the classic that it was.
    McCloud was good too, but certainly no Columbo.

       2 likes

  15. Stressfactor says:

    @ #64

    Something else to think about is that theme song to the NBC Mystery Movie that Crow and Servo also keep whistling? Guess who composed it?

    Henry Mancini.

    Yeah, Mr. “Pink Panther” and “Peter Gunn” himself composed the theme to the NBC Mystery Movie.

    I don’t know why but I always find that kind of funny whenever that riff came up on the show.

       0 likes

  16. Lisa says:

    Great episode! Goofy, yet watchable movie, good host segments, great riffing. I love Harvey B Dunn in this and Bride of the Monster. Too bad he didn’t have a bigger part in Sinister Urge.

    Favorite lines…
    Prostrate World News :laugh:
    He is insane!
    He’s Betty’s new regular Saturday night thing
    Does he need a room?

    My husband and I frequently use the line “you blocked my path!”

    I love the second host segment (jettisoning the snacks into space). To me this segment is the embodiment of all that was great about the Joel era.

    I also love how the characters all have a song in their head. :laugh:

    I haven’t read all of the comments yet, but I’m sure someone mentioned that King Moody (TORCHAA!) was Ronald McDonald in the 1970s.

       2 likes

  17. Lisa says:

    Also wanted to mention that this was one of those rare riffs that the Brains got wrong. When Thor tells Derek he’s the son of their leader, Crow says, “I’m David Eisenhower? That makes you Julie Nixon!” Of course, David Eisenhower was Ike’s grandson. The joke still works though. :-)

       0 likes

  18. Fred Burroughs says:

    Add me to the list of those newly disturbed by the backstory to this movie. I’ve got to hand it to Tom Graeff though, he made a pretty watchable movie, darnit. For all the plot goofiness, the casting really helped it work, it seems that each actor is not stretching too far to sell it. And the dialogue sounds natural; how Derek shows up with Sparky’s dog tag and ends up with a room and a girlfriend is handled in a very clever way that doesn’t draw attention to itself. It’s kind of amazing they could make something to this modest level on a few thousand bucks.

    My favorite thing is the characters humming their own songs, esp. the nurse. (“…shooting love in your direeeeeection…”) However, I don’t get the “New Zoo Revue” song. Is Grandpa singing it because he looks the same basic shape (very round) as Freddy or Henrietta from New Zoo?

    Lisa, Thanks for the info. I had no idea TOTCHA guy was Ronald McDonald!

    PS I take it back. the real best part of the movie is when it suddenly turns into a Bergmann film, and Servo slays me when he does his Swedish dialogue over Betty and Derek in the grass. Its like we’ve warped into another dimension.

       1 likes

  19. Blast Hardcheese says:

    A “then-current reference” (note the quotation marks!) that hasn’t been flagged, but which was used on a couple of occasions in different episodes:

    When the nurse is pulling up to the office, Crow (I think) hums a few bars of an ice-cream truck theme, and then says “Cheerio Folks!” Does anyone else remember Bill Forsyth films (“Gregory’s Girl,” “Local Hero,” and “Comfort and Joy,” which is the source of the riff)? I seem to remember they were the darlings of the art-house cinemas back in the 80s, but either I’ve lost touch with them or they really have fallen into obscurity (along with Mark Knopfler, who did the soundtrack music for the latter two films).

    fave riff:

    “I have often walked down the street before,
    But I’ve never done it packing heat before.”

    I’d also like to second an explanation for New Zoo Revue–after my early-morning TV watching days, and even when I do the obligatory Wikipedia/YouTube searches, I still can’t find anything to connect gramps with the riff. Of course, this episode is full of random singing, which makes it especially endearing to me–maybe this has some personal meaning for one of the Brains?

       0 likes

  20. Mrs. Dick Courrier says:

    One of my top ten! Also one of my first episodes. Love all of it, the riffing, the skits. It’s just tops! One of my local libraries actually shows the movie unriffed every now and then for their “bad monster movie” program. I keep trying to talk them into showing the MAT version.

    some fave riffs:

    Oh, the great CR Kaltenthaler! Ohhhhhh!!!
    (btw, was this the first instance of Crow doing this? It became a staple later)
    (Man crouching behind skeleton with a gun) Cover me!
    Love all the songs sung by the characters, I find this quite hilarious
    Ever tasted gorgon flesh, ever had Dr Pepper Lip Smacker?
    Done!

       2 likes

  21. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Speaking of missed riffs, the Internet Archive version of the movie has a short prologue with two astronomers that might have provided a couple of good riffs–the cuts in this one are pretty tight (no major scenes deleted, and very few noticeable deletions overall), but I’m surprised they would have chopped this. It doesn’t add anything to the film, but still…watching it unriffed, I feel it’s lacking something.

       0 likes

  22. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Sorry–that should the “walked down *this* street before” (I do know my show tune lyrics…not that there’s anything wrong with that).

       0 likes

  23. JCC says:

    I don’t think anyone corrected @32 Spector, but it was actually #519/Outlaw (Of Gor) that won the Peabody Award for Best Brains. This is a great episode though. Can’t get enough of Scranpa and his New Zoo Revue riffs and yes, Betty is quite attractive.

       6 likes

  24. JCC says:

    Pretty thorough thread here including more about Tom Graeff and his other works here:
    http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/2425/TEEN-AGERS-FROM-OUTER-SPACE?page=1

    There’s also a 17 PLUS(!)page thread stickied(!!)in the 60’s Horror forum on The Creeping Terror which is very interesting. These low budget filmmakers of yore are even more bizarre than the movies they made.

       4 likes

  25. dad1153 says:

    First, has anyone noticed that the Brains spelled the name of Dr. Forrester wrong in the show’s credits? It’s spelled Forrestor, which kind-of rhymes with the name of the alien Thor that chases after Derek throughout the flick. Coincidence? Honest mistake? You make the call! :pray:

    Even though I don’t watch this one often (just not my personal cup of MiSTie tea) every time I do there’s a party inside my pants. :shout: Forget the backstory and gossip behind its creation (which by itself adds yet another layer of hilarious subtext for those viewing it, especially the latter scenes when Derek takes the reporter hostage and makes him drive), “Teenagers from Outer Space” is just so jam-packed with all the elements that make an “MST3K” experiment so great the riffing is just the ribbon on an already-made present. You’ve got pretentious pompous a**hole bad guys (the ship’s captain, Thor, wool-bearded Leader), a sympathetic and likable hero in Derek (who I believe is made to represent an idealized view of God-fearing, Bible-reading evangelical youths), a lovely eye-candy girlfriend in Dawn Bender’s Betty (who doesn’t sit on her rear-end waiting to be saved but actually does stuff like talk the guy running the electric grid to put more power into Derek’s hands… what??!! :kissed: ), an outlandish premise with a hopelessly-mismatched budget (many people die but just one skeleton is used?), age-inappropriate actors playing ‘teenagers,’ cheap-ass monster that doubled as lunch for the cast/crew (and you thought not showing the Gila monster for scale two episodes ago was a cop-out), cheap-ass production values (the movie starts with the ship already on the ground, plus we never see the ‘hundreds’ of other alien craft up on the air), borderline-angelic small town folks in the form of Betty and her grandpa (even the gas attendant and guy who gave Thor a lift were nice until Thor went ‘TOR-CHA’ on their asses) to contrast with the slutty nature of Betty’s friend that gets it in the pool for having a big mouth, etc. The movie may be low-budget but at least it moves and never stays on any one scene or character for too long, and Joel and the bots unleash on it relentless but never mean or nasty riffs that keep pace with the narrative. Plus, for a no-budget movie, all the pieces of the plot fall together remarkably well from start the end. If Thor hadn’t fried Betty’s dog then Derek wouldn’t have revolted or had the nametag to guide him to Betty and her Gramps. Yes, it was dumb of the Leader to let the son he just met lead the fleet to the one ship with a beaming signal (technically advanced in the art of space travel these aliens were not!) but, as Derek mentioned, his Leader father gone means his home world will have a revolution that will result in change. This explains the unanswered question ‘what if the aliens come back and just drop Gargons without advance notice?’ that means, at the end of the movie, Earth is forever safe thanks to Derek’s bravery.

    Even though the riffs around it are just OK the sight of the nurse jumping from her own car and landing safely never fails to make me crack laughing. Love that both the bots and TV’s Frank introduce their respective invention exchanges (radical!) and that, rather than go for easy laughs, the Brains choose to go the smart-ass route with the host segments up until the photo shoot pictures at the end (‘the evening is for Tom Servo, but the night belongs to Crow!’ :inlove: ) The only complaint I could muster is that “Teenagers from Outer Space” is just so earnest and goofy that it doesn’t need the “MST3K” treatment to be enjoyable. I’ve seen the movie without J&TB’s and it’s custom-made for anyone to bring their own riffs/observations. This is a flick I wouldn’t mind the Cinematic Titanic crew getting a hold of because, as good as the riffing was back in ’92 (and its damn near flawless in my book), I can see a version with fresher jokes (at least a couple of ‘Sandusky’ references and more explicit references to the Derek-reporter Joe scenes) being an even better, funnier and weirder comedy treat.

    FOUR-AND-A-HALF STARS (out of five) for “Teenagers From Outer Space.” FAVORITE RIFFS: ‘Let us implement contractions,’ ‘Who decorated this room, Wayland Flowers?,’ (after Derek hears the ‘We’re the Superior Race’ schpiel inside his head) ‘Turn Rush Limbaugh off!’ (after we see the moon and then Derek coming into frame after just being on the ground with Betty) Done! :rotfl:
    * * * *
    Interesting aside: back in 1994-95, while attending college in Upstate NY, I inherited a TV program at the local college station that some students had created the year before but had given up on because they couldn’t find the time or wouldn’t muster the effort to put it together. It was a half-hour movie review/so-called comedy show that was meant to promote the movies that we’d be showing on campus in our TV station the following week. The previous crew had done 5-6 episodes in one semester; I did about 30-35 episodes in the two semesters I hosted/wrote/produced/edited/directed this college TV show about movies. The name of the show? ‘REEL to REAL.’ Knowing well the people that came up with the name/concept of the show they didn’t get it from “MST3K” (trust me!) and I didn’t find out about episode 404’s ‘Reel to Real’ host segments until sometime in 1996. So I guess back in the mid-90’s either the term ‘Reel to Real’ must have been popular or there was something funny in the water wells of both Minneapolis and New Paltz, NY. :evilgrin:

       3 likes

  26. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    One of my favorite Joel episodes, this one is classic. The movie is goofy and great (and all that juicy backstory stuff, egads!) and the Invention Exchange and Host Segments all click for me, this episode has got to be the opposite of TORCHAA!!

    A 5/5.

    RIFF AND THINGS:

    during Scratch and Sniff Invention,
    Joel: “It smells like a habitrail! Pungent.

    during the opening, J&TB are rattling off things the space ship could be, it ends with this classic Joel-ism,
    Joel: “Guys it can be call those things and more.”
    Servo: “You’re right. I like Joel’s plan, let’s work with Joel this time.”
    Crow: “Yeah.”

    When Thor appears,
    Crow: “Ray Liotta?!”

    Crow: “Really OLD teenagers from outer space.”

    Two callbacks, almost back to back,
    Joel: “I could really go for a hamburger sammich and some french fried potatoes. I am a teenager after all.”

    and

    Crow: “Welcome to Death Valley Days, the driver is either me or. . .”

    When Derek shows up,
    Joel: “Hey, it’s Harry Connick, Jr!” —They would revisit this later in the ep; he really does kinda sorta look like Connick.

    ALL: “TORCHAA!”

    when the bush is burning,
    Joel: “Moses? Moses!”

    Servo: “Jim Henson’s Baretta Babies.” —@47, these riffs first appeared in the previous episode, they did two of ’em even (see my comments for CITY LIMITS). And for the record, I like these riffs, Sampo’s Theorem, etc.

    after the death of the gas station attendant,
    Servo: “Guess it’s a self serve now.”

    after some herky-jerky editing,
    Servo: “Who took the frames out of the film?”

    Crow: “This is bogus. I’m going to the deep end.”

    Joel: “Too much chlorine..”

    secretary finds skeleton,
    Joel (in skeleton voice): “Hold all my calls, will ya? HA!”

    movie: “Where are you from Derek?”
    Joel: “A place called Studsville.”

    during the search party scene,
    Crow: “Hey, what’s a snipe look like anyway?”

    during Host Segment #3,
    Servo: “Crow you’re so high.”

    and I love when the ALL say “BOSS!”

    AND that spaceship IS pretty boss (the driver is a totally let down though)

    the final shot of Derek, face floating in the sky,
    Joel: “It’s his graduation photo.”
    Servo: “Killed in Vietnam.”

    Just a classic,
    a 5/5! !

       5 likes

  27. Meadows says:

    Well, there’s a “Lisa Smithback” on Facebook who lives in Wisconsin. Could reasonably be the person who inspired the name, but that’s as far as I will take my stalking skills.

    As for this episode, it’s my #3 all-time favorite. Almost a perfect MST3K ep, even if not necessarily the funniest.

       2 likes

  28. Comfort-Rated Baloney says:

    “DINNER, Mr. President? … TONIGHT!?”

    One for the ages – a wish-fulfilling jewel of an episode.

       2 likes

  29. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    Check out the Daddy-O webpage for this movie; it’s hilarious!

    Especially the ad taglines…what were they smoking?
    “Teenage Hoodlums from Another World on a Horrendous Ray-Gun Rampage!”
    “Thrill-Crazed Space Kids Blasting the Flesh Off Humans!”
    “Before…A Beautiful Girl. One Moment Later…A Skeleton!”

    #59: Actually, someone says “Yeth, thery Thor” somewhere during the movie…I just can’t remember when.

       0 likes

  30. Stressfactor says:

    @ #77,

    Someone who’s got Trace’s “Silly Rhymes” book could maybe look this up but at the CT performance in Elgin Trace read a poem about a little girl who threw up on his nap map in kindergarten and he names the little girl. I’m thinking now it might have been Lisa something…..

    I also forgot to mention one of my favorite movie lines — the reporter comes to Betty to tell her he can’t go swimming because he’s got to check out the story of those people who saw “a new flying saucer”…. As opposed to the OLD one?!?!?!

    And for whatever reason I really can’t explain my favorite riff is Betty’s

    “I don’t understand. Where’s Spar…”
    Joel: “Ky.”

       1 likes

  31. EricJ says:

    @69 – There’re numerous refs throughout the series for Local Hero being one of the “good” films the guys never get to see, so they’re obviously fans.
    As for What Happened to Bill Forsyth after the 80’s…egad, what DID happen to him? Around the time of “Housekeeping”, his sense of humor suddenly imploded and he left the planet never to return–He kept trying to go for Insightful Drama, but his attempts to stay Quirky ended up with Robin Williams in “Being Human”, instead. (John Sayles tried to help him out by writing the faux-Forsyth “Breaking In”, which is at least watchable, but the patient was beyond rescue.) He was last seen bringing Gregory back in his thirties in “Gregory’s Two Girls”, but…nope, it was still the weird, pretentious, philosophically-rambling Forsyth. Medical science can do no more. :(

       0 likes

  32. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #80: A “new flying saucer” in contrast to other flying saucers that were reported earlier. The 1950s had a lot of UFO reports. Any saucer you haven’t seen before is a new saucer. ;-)

       2 likes

  33. “There was love.” “Oh, bite me, there was not!”

    I really, really enjoy this episode. The movie is completely ridiculous (the lobster on a string is second only to the eponymous Creeping Terror in terms of terrible monsters in MSTed movies) with plenty of lousy actors giving stilted readings (at least half the cast, including our protagonist, sounds like they’re seeing the script for the first time on the cue cards in front of them), yet there’s a goofy charm about it that makes it fun even before the riffing. The effect of having a plastic skeleton fall down after a cutaway every time the disintegrator ray is used is nothing short of hilarious. As many, many others have noted, Betty’s a stone-cold fox and a decent actress, which really helps given that most of her screen time is shared with the rock-stiff and painfully dull Derek. Harvey B. Dunn’s character really amuses me, as well; was it common in the fifties to offer any weirdo on the street dressed in a bizarre jumpsuit your spare room?

    The Mads’ invention exchange is one of my favorites for being completely insane and making little to no sense. If there was ever a host segment that I could only explain with a shrug, that would be it. Same goes, sort of, for the skullship sketch. Reel to Real is a hoot as well. This is one that I can watch fairly often with little to no drop off in humor, and it’s a very good choice for brining newbies into the fold.

       0 likes

  34. fish eye no miko says:

    The repeated muffled voice in the trunk bit almost gets a little unpleasant after a while. Tom just portrays it as so horribly desperate.

    Oh, good, all this time I thought I was just being overly sensitive…

    So the point of segment two is to set up a few throwaway lines in segment three? (i.e. “goomy bears?”)

    I like Segment 2! I even love that you can see the things they turn around to show the “popped” popcorn before they turn them around. It’s so wonderfully low budget. :-))

       0 likes

  35. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @#63, and anyone else who’s interested:

    I’m no linguist, but the “goomy bears” thing is a Germanic thing, or at the very least it comes from one of those Eastern Bloc countries. I’m guessing that immigrants would’ve brought it over to America, and as far as I can recall, alot of Eastern Bloc-ers (as well as Swedes and Norwegians, etc) settled in the Upper Midwestern states.

    How do I know this about the goomy bears? Well, in the rock n’ roll film HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH there is a scene where Hedwig (who was from an Eastern Bloc country) pronounces gummi bears as “goomy bears” and if you’ve seen the movie you know that that scene is one that, uh, stands out.

    I’m just putting two and two together here, makes sense to me..

       3 likes

  36. Blast Hardcheese says:

    Watch-out-forsnakes:

    You’re right about the Germanic thing, although you don’t need to go into the Eastern Bloc to find it: Haribo, the candy company that gave us the gummi bear, is based in Bonn. “Goomy” is just standard-issue German pronunciation–although it’s probably close to that in Scandinavian languages as well. Judging by that “Minnesota church-lady” accent that Joel/Mike and the Bots often use (the MST3K version of Monty Python’s Pepperpots), I would guess that some Minnesotans have retained a few European speech patterns (and I’ve even heard that accent where I live, a province which also has a significant German and Scandinavian immigrant population), so “goomy” is perfectly understandable.

       3 likes

  37. JeremyR says:

    While the execution was imperfect, given its low budget, I thought the movie itself was quite good (the same basic plot has been used a lot, too), if with a depressing ending. Which is actually why it’s not my favorite movie, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really like watching movies, riffed or not, with sad endings.

       0 likes

  38. Cornjob says:

    A favorite for so many reasons. I almost used “Tor-Cha” for my name on this forum. More than 15 years since I first saw that and still exclaim this occasionally.

    Top notch riffing including my favorite Marijuana reference, “There’s a lot of seeds in this stuff”.

    The movie did a lot with almost nothing to work with, and it tied up it’s narrative very well (revolution on home planet) as dad1153 laid out so nicely.

    It also has an innocent charm that really works on a lot of levels. Especially Betty, one of my favorite MST3K Ladies, up there with Kendra from Phase 4. And that scene where she stands on her tip toes while changing… and, uh, never mind.

    Did the riffers point out that Derik would be a hard act to follow for Betty’s next boyfriend, or is that my own observation?

    It doesn’t surprise me that the Tor-Cha guy was Ronald McDonald. It just fits.

       3 likes

  39. Cornjob says:

    It just occurred to me that the plot was like Avatar in reverse.

       1 likes

  40. Sitting Duck says:

    Except Avatar wasn’t as good. :P

    Teenagers From Outer Space was also the name of tongue-in-cheek RPG.

       2 likes

  41. Big61al says:

    Great episode! Gargon it’s what for dinner.

       1 likes

  42. Kathy says:

    When Derrick is playing Captain TORCHA’s rant about the superiority of their race in his head as he drives….

    “Oh, turn Rush Limbaugh off!”

    When Derrick gets the drop on Thor’s armed escort:

    “This is the worse prisoner exchange since Dallas 1963.”

       0 likes

  43. Luther Strickland says:

    David Eisenhower was indeed Ike’s grandson, not his son. Ike’s son (David’s dad) was John Eisenhower, who was a military officer and ambassador to Belgium.

    I also enjoy the songs the various characters have on their minds. Very amusing, as many have already noted.

    A couple of favorite riffs (beyond the instant household catch-phrase TOR-CHA –“Derek, the sensitive space man.”
    “Miss Hathaway, the early years.”
    The news man who is “always on.”

       0 likes

  44. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I have to admit it. When I watch this movie, my tummy starts to crave Gargon with drawn butter. Anybody else?

       0 likes

  45. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    snowdog @ 39

    Did not see if you got an answer for this.

    Michael Jackson, around this time, bought the skeleton of the famous
    “Elephant Man.” It was a big thing then as it showed a rich man buying useless things. Sort of like Steve Martin’s bit about a “fur sink” and “Moon rock needle” for his phonograph.

    If you watch the Jackson Video to “Leave me Alone” you see Jackson dancing with a skeleton with an elephant’s head. Same reference.

    That is where the dog skeleton/ Michael Jackson reference comes in.

       1 likes

  46. Warren says:

    This one’s not an all-time favorite but it is enjoyable. I agree 100% with those who say Betty is cute-it’s an understatement. I still want to go swimming with Alice though, man I’ve been lonely lately! This movie deserved to be on MST3K just for the “TOR-CHA!” line alone. About the music, I don’t think ACDC deserves credit for “you shook me all night long”-they might have covered it but Led Zeppelin covered it in 1969 and it was written by bluesmen years before that. I’m still not sure what the “Hello, Spiegel” riff means, I have some theories but I can’t nail it down.

       0 likes

  47. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    The AC/DC song is not the same song that Led Zeppelin covered.

       1 likes

  48. MiniMSTie says:

    Oh, man, so many good memories with this one!
    This was not my first episode, but my second (first was eegah), but it was the one that got me hooked. Specifically Crow’s riff: “I’m not dead yet!”
    I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen this episode, and I was all set to watch it back in November when I was on bedrest, but they took it off of Netflix’s instant queue. That should be considered criminal. :cry:

       0 likes

  49. billybkool says:

    I can’t help but the perhaps the funniest moment in MST3K occurs when Dr F munbles the immortal words, ‘That’s an odd taste. ‘ I said I couldn’t help it.

       1 likes

  50. Warren says:

    SELF-CORRECTION #97 I re-watched the episode and sure enough the lines brought up a memory of an AC/DC song that I had misheard, so Cabbage Patch Elvis is correct. I never fully understood the line, I thought it might be “she’ll be all night long”. The song makes more sense now. Anyway, is it just me or does Resusci-Annie look like an exhausted Jodie Foster with her eyes heavy and half-closed from fatigue? It might be a stretch but that thought occurred to me.

       1 likes

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