Short: (1956) While her songwriter husband struggles with a difficult tune, a newlywed dreams of redecorating her house with phones.
Movie: (1958) After his rocket crashes, an astronaut discovers he is carrying alien embryos.
Turkey Day bumpers
1: Dr. F. is at it again, planning to rule the world using his collection of MST3K experiments. His mother is stopping by later, and he wants to rule the world before she gets there. Then, Jack Perkins arrives. He explains that TV’s Frank invited a bunch of guests for Thanksgiving dinner months before he was assumed into second banana heaven.
2: Mr. B Natural pops up.
3: Pitch appears.
4: The Kitten With The Whip arrives.
5: Dr. F is unhappy until he hears piano stylings of Michael Feinstein.
6. The party continues but nobody hears Pearl banging at the door of Deep 13.
7: Pearl arrives. She’s upset that Frank is gone but joins the party.
Turkey Day host segments–aka 701T
First shown: 11/23/95
Opening: M&tB rain sports cliches on a baffled Gypsy
Intro: Dr. F.’s party continues with Pearl providing the movie
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom present: “Stuffing vs. Potatoes”
Host segment 2: “Art” and Pearl have a chat
Host segment 3: Thanksgiving dinner on the SOL and in Deep 13
End: Tom is mincemeat; Pearl’s “Turkey surprise” is a hit in Deep 13
Stinger: “Wounded animal that large isn’t good”
Regular show host segments
First shown: 2/3/96
Opening: Crow and Tom are concerned about their personal security, so they taze Mike
Intro: Dr. F. has a traumatic trombone recital, but Crow shines
Host segment 1: M&tB sing about decorating with phones
Host segment 2: Pearl makes Dr. F. apologize
Host segment 3: Crow claims he’s pregnant with shrimp babies
End: Crow’s rant about babies disrupts Mike’s attempts to read letters; Pearl wants Dr . F. to act like a baby
Stinger: “Wounded animal that large isn’t good”
• I want to start out by saying that, when we last discussed this episode, a number of commenters dreamed a wonderful dream that someday Shout!Factory would release this episode with both sets of host segments and the Turkey Day bumpers included. That dream came true in December of 2009, when “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVI” was released with this episode, and all the extras that were asked for. Thanks, Shout!
• Also, we are proud to point you to our EXCLUSIVE season-seven continuation of the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, here on this site. We paid good money to get these! You’re welcome. Read them! Mike talks about the main episode here and Bridget offers some thoughts on the Turkey Day version here. Now on with the discussion…
Turkey Day bumpers
• Of course, there’s no way any of the following Turkey Day bumper sets could ever rival the fun and delight of the first one, but these were okay. They got the job done and there were some genuine laughs.
• In the third segment, Dr. F says “I will rule the WORLD!! AHAHAHAHA!” almost exactly like he does in the opening of MST3K the Movie.
• Mike’s song goes on too long.
• Mike is hilarious as a smitten Jack Perkins, prepared to “change teams” if necessary to the enjoy the pleasures of Mr. B Natural, and Bridget is equally funny as a guy who isn’t really into what Jack has in mind.
The Turkey Day host segments:
• According to our records the host segments, that debuted on Nov. 23, 1995, ran three more times, on Dec. 2 (at 5 p.m.) Dec. 3 (at 10 a.m.) and Dec. 4 (at 2 a.m.). So that makes a total of four showings.
• For the record, the stretch between the end of season six and the beginning of season seven was 243 days (more than eight months!), the second-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes. (The stretch between seasons 7 and 8 was the longest.). Fans were jonesing bad.
• Of course, we have new theme song lyrics, mostly involving changing the personal pronouns from plural to singular, reflecting the departure of Frank. There’s also some great new footage in the opening.
• The opening is fun and breezy, with poor Gypsy trying to make sense of M&TB as they spout endless sports cliches.
• Why does Pearl call Crow “Art?” [Deep breath] Calling Crow “Art” is an obscure BBI in-joke. During a host segment in episode 203- Jungle Goddess, Joel was introducing the ‘bots at the end of a sketch in the same manner Jackie Gleason used to use at the end of his TV show: bringing out each cast member to take a bow. In fact, when he got to Crow, he got so into the Jackie Gleason premise that he introduced Crow as “Art Crow!” much as Gleason would yell “Art Carney!” when introducing his long-time co-star. Well, apparently some little kid saw that, didn’t get the Jackie Gleason reference, and assumed that Crow’s name was actually Art. That kid wrote a letter to the show, which was read in episode 402- The Giant Gila Monster. The letter included pictures of each of the robots, and the drawing of Crow was labeled “Art.” When Pearl calls Crow “Art,” it’s a reference to that. [Exhale]
• The stuffing vs. potatoes bit is very funny. “Nature’s Bouncing Betty…”
• Although Dr. F would be browbeaten and henpecked by Pearl — to the dismay of some fans (see below) — this season, the two also seem to work reasonably well together, working together to defeat the unpleasant guests.
• I had forgotten Pearl’s hilarious “Turkey Surprise” recipe: “Bake at 200 degrees for one hour and then rub with a turtle.” Brilliant.
The regular episode:
• This was the first new episode (sort of) in six weeks.
• If the scenery looks familiar, it should: Yes, this was another movie featuring exterior shots done in Bronson Canyon. Other movies where that location was used include: “Robot Monster,” “King Dinosaur,” “It Conquered The World,” “Viking Women,” “War Of The Colossal Beast” and “Teenagers From Outer Space.”
• Note that in the background of the redecorated Deep 13 is the projector from Deep 13 set of MST3K: The Movie.
• The opening, with the bots torturing Mike for no discernible reason, is the beginning of what will be a season 7 running theme.
• Ah, the trombone recital. The beginning of all “the troubles” in the view of some folks (again, see below). I will be honest: I laughed. I thought it was pretty funny and I think Trace and Mary Jo do a great job in the scene. But not everybody thought so. Another reason there was some dismay about this segment came later: the outtake that appeared in “Poopie 2,” when it appears that Trace actually was injured slightly during the filming. A bit disturbing.
• Crow’s solo is the same song — “Getting Sentimental Over You” — that our hero plays at the end of Mr. B Natural. And, hey! Crow’s arms work!
• Nice job on the prop trombone that constantly shoots spit.
• Pearl again calls Crow Art.
• Pearl makes several references to wishing she’d had a girl, topped with the announcement that Dr. F’s two middle names are “Deborah Susan.”
• The short is a gem: One of those weird promotional things that never actually comes right out and says what they’re selling.
• The little song “Line em up against the wall and pop goes the weasel,” is from “Duck Soup.”
• Crow mispronounces Ray Manzarek’s name.
• During the riffing they do a parody of Eddie Bauer — “comes in loden, pant and twerp” — that they would expand on in a later episode.
• I love Tom singing the sign in the movie.
• One riff, “We learned not to send Polacks into space” caused a small kerfuffle after the episode aired. Some felt it was an uncharacteristically mean-spirited riff.
• A couple of times they make a reference to “undercupping.” Read the “A Modern Woman” section of this site, for an explanation of what that term means.
• The whole “Steves” running gag was funny and all, but there was only one character in the movie named Steve. Don’t really see where it comes from, is all…
• Okay, I want to address what happened in the fan base when Pearl arrived and the whole dynamic in Deep 13 changed. What happened, I believe, was an unfortunate disconnect between the writing staff and the fans, and although the fans might have made more of an effort to understand what was happening, I must lay most of the blame at the feet of the writing staff. Let me lay it out for you.
In the writing room, it’s clear they felt they were running out of fresh comedic permutations for the characters. I think they felt they’d taken these characters in every direction they could possibly go. And I got the sense that they were thrilled at the arrival of Pearl, and the chance to “shake things up” — a phrase they would use often later on, when fans began to ask them what the hell was going on. From their point of view, Dr. F and Pearl were simply characters on a page, representing a whole new set of comedic possibilities.
But for a lot of fans, Dr. F was not a concept on a page, to played with any way the writers liked. He was an established character, a personality they had come to love and appreciate. And when the writers took that established character and began to take it in new directions, some fans didn’t like it. Put simply, they liked to see Dr. F. evil and in charge. They didn’t want to see him henpecked and timid, even if that allowed the writers to try new comic ideas. It was really one of the first times on this show that the fans and writers parted company.
In public appearances and interviews, Mary Jo and Trace expressed genuine confusion when fans questioned the direction they were taking Dr. F (and that’s when the “we just wanted to shake things up” explanations began coming out). It was pretty clear they simply didn’t see any reason not to change the characters any way they liked, as long as they thought it was funny.
In the end, for most fans, it wasn’t a deal breaker (though for a few it was). But it was something new for a show where, previously, the cast and the writers could virtually do no wrong.
• Cast and crew round up. I am not going to do the Arkoff or Roger Corman litany again. Producer and story writer Gene Corman was also the producer of “Attack of the Giant Leeches. Director Bernard L. Kowalski also worked on “Giant Leeches. Cinematographer John Nicholaus worked on “Giant Leeches” and “High School Big Shot.” Editor Jodie Copelan worked on “Ring of Terror” and “Laserblast.” Editor Richard Currier also worked on “The Unearthly.” Makeup guy Harry Thomas also worked on “The Unearthly,” “High School Big Shot,” “The Mad Monster,” “Project Moon Base,” “Bride of the Monster,” “Invasion USA” and “Racket Girls.” Production Manager Jack Bohrer also worked on “Giant Leeches” and was assistant director on “Teenage Caveman” and “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Art director Dan Haller also worked “Giant Leeches” and “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” Prop master Karl Brainard also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Teenage Caveman,” “The Undead” and “The She Creature.” Sound guy Herman Lewis also worked on “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent” and “Mitchell.” Score composer Alexander Laszlo also worked on “Giant Leeches,” “Manhunt in Space” and “Crash of Moons.
In front of the camera: Michael Emmet was also on “Giant Leeches” and “Untamed Youth.” Ed Nelson was also in “Teenage Caveman,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Riding with Death” and “Superdome.” He was also a costumer for “Giant Leeches.” Tyler McVey was also in “Giant Leeches. Ross Sturlin was also in “Teenage Caveman,” “”Viking Women” and “Giant Leeches.
• CreditsWatch: Beginning with this episode, Best Brains began to behave in a way they hadn’t had to behave in several years: When they got an order for episodes, they assembled a crew and pumped them out. When the order was complete, they laid people off and closed down the studio until another order came in. In other words, there were a lot of new faces. And many longtime regulars had departed.
Gone from the season six list of writers are Frank Conniff and Mike Dodge. Gone from contributing writers is Colleen Williams. The Turkey Day host segments were directed by Jim Mallon. The regular episode segments were directed by Trace Beaulieu. Replacing Jann Johnson at production manager (the separate job of production coordinator goes away completely) is Wendell Jon Andersson (formerly an intern–something that rarely happened!). In the job of “production assistant,” held by the departing Sarah Wisner since season four, is Mary Banovets and Michael D. Parker in the Turkey Day episode. Parker took over the job by himself during the regular season. With the departure of Toolmaster Jef Maynard, the new job of “prop master” appears. One Dean Trisko did the job for the Turkey Day segments. During the regular season the job was held by Helena Espinosa. There was also a new “prop assistant” job. One Beth McKeever first appears in the credits in that role for the Turkey Day episodes, along with a Wilson Webb. Dean Trisko was in the role for the regular episode. The “Audio” credit is gone. Tim Paulson no longer appears under “Editors” leaving Brad Keeley in that post alone. Jann and Ellen McDonough are both gone from the “post-production coordination” job and in their place are Wendell and Brad. Andrea DuCane did hair and makeup for all episodes this season except 704. Working as an intern both on the regular show and the turkey day segments was Debra Baxter. Danika King and Kelly Schrandt worked as interns for the entire regular season. Beth McKeever intern for the first two episodes (despite already having a credit in the Turkey Day show). The “additional original music written and arranged by” credit, which went to Mike for all of season six, again goes to him for the Turkey Day segments and for the rest of the season, but not the regular episode, where Kevin’s name appears instead. Barbara Tebben appears in the credits for the first time, with the title “assistant poobah,” as Julie Walker eyes the exits. The “special makeup effects” credit for the turkey day segments went to Crist Ballas and Gary Bohem.
• Fave riff from the short: “What would Liberace do? Oh, better not do that!” Honorable mention: “What rhymes with blue balls?”
• Fave riff from the movie: “No more questions! More boobies!” Honorable mention: “You ever seen stroganoff?”