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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: 803- The Mole People

Movie: (1956) Pompous archaeologists find a lost civilization underground.

First shown: 2/15/97
Opening: Crow’s thinks his goofy eyes make him a “space child”
Intro: The space child is overthrown. While Bobo suffers through the 32nd Annual Lawgiver Daze, Tom offers baked goods and Crow takes a fall
Host segment 1: Mike tries an imitation of the gesture professor from the movie. It brings everyone down…down…down…
Host segment 2: Tom tries–and fails–to sing a ballad about his adventures in space
Host segment 3: Crow the archeologist, searching for evidence of a previous him, has a breakthrough
End: Crow believes there’s life beneath the floorboards…and he’s right. Meanwhile in Deep Ape, The Lawgiver is presented with a hunky gift
Stinger: “The Load” hits the wall
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (242 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)

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• We’ve had a number of examples where the riffing is good and the segments are good but the movie just drags everything down. Well, let’s also note when it’s other way around. I think this episode is a good one, but I think a lot of the credit goes to the wonderfully stupid movie. I mean, you got The Gesture Professor, Ward Cleaver, Alfred the Butler, John Agar and Nestor “The Load” Paiva. And you got ropes and asses, whipping the mole and all sorts of outlandish stuff. The segments are okay and the riffing is good, but I think it’s the movie itself that puts this one over the top.
• References here.
• Mike’s take on this episode can be found here.
• Pearl’s float is not very convincing — but, then, it’s pretty tough to approximate a full-scale parade in about 10 square feet of set space.
• The strange blue light still suffuses the set, and it’s especially strong in segment 2. Stonehouse was experimenting.
• The concept of “the sketch that never really gets started” is a long tradition on this show (see “The Emotional Scientist” or “The Life of Fu Manchu” or “Joel wants to be a soda jerk”). This episode has not one but TWO such segments—Mike’s attempt at being the gesture professor and Servo’s aborted folk song.
• Crow finally remembers who he is, and who Mike is. At last.
• Crow’s voice begins to settle down a bit in this episode.
• Robert Smith was the first actual guest star for the show.
• Ward E has a list of the pastries in the intro segment.
• That huge underground cavern and those Mole People should look familiar to you … they were briefly (and incongruously) seen in episode 515-THE WILD WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN.
• It’s been widely reported that this movie’s original ending had Dr. Bentley and Adal happily strolling off together. The studio insisted that a new ending be shot two weeks after filming was completed, because there was reluctance to imply an inter-racial relationship. After all, Adal was a Sumerian. So she got clobbered with a column instead. Sheesh.
• By the way, Dr. Baxter, the gesture professor, was a University of Southern California professor of ENGLISH, not science.
• That’s Paul and Patrick, of course, as “pale day players.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer William Alland also worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Space Children” and “This Island Earth.” Screenwriter Laszlo Gorog also worked on “Earth vs. The Spider.” Cinematographer Ellis Carter also worked on “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Leech Woman.” Editor Irving Birnbaum also worked on “The Phantom Creeps.” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “This Island Earth,” “The Creeping Terror” and “The Thing That Couldn’t Die.” Costumer Jay A. Morley Jr. also whipped up some gowns for “Revenge of the Creature” and “The Deadly Mantis.” Makeup guy: Bud Westmore worked on lots of MSTed movies. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger also worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “This Island Earth and “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Art Director Alexander Golitzen, set designer Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey and music supervisor Joseph Gershenson worked on a bunch of MSTed movies too. Score composer Hans J. Salter also worked on “The Brute Man” and “This Island Earth. Score composer Herman Stein also worked on “Revenge of the Creature and “This Island Earth. Score composer Henry Mancini worked on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Deadly Mantis,” “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “This Island Earth.”
In front of the camera: John Agar also appeared in “Revenge of the Creature and “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Hugh Beaumont also appeared in “Lost Continent” and “The Human Duplicators.” Nestor Paiva also appeared in “Revenge of the Creature.” Robin Hughes also appeared in “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.” Marc Hamilton also appeared in “This Island Earth.” Patrick Whyte also appeared in “Kitten with a Whip.” Eddie Parker also appeared in “This Island Earth,” “Bride of the Monster” and “Undersea Kingdom.” Regis Parton also appeared in “This Island Earth.” Ben Chapman was production manager for “The Giant Gila Monster” and appeared in “The Killer Shrews.” Robert Hoy also appeared in “Revenge of the Creature” and “Master Ninja II.” Bob Herron also appeared in “The Slime People.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim gets the “produced and directed by” credit this week and Kevin gets the “associate producer” credit. This is the last episode, for the duration of the show’s run. for which Jim gets a “contributing writer” credit.
• Fave line: “Disney’s Dominatrix World!” Honorable mention: “Why, thank you! Oh, you mean the flashlight.”

160 Replies to “Episode Guide: 803- The Mole People”

  1. bartcow says:

    The Original EricJ:
    (Stupid new edit button)

    And while the “Kids who grew up without 4th-grade science class Bell Labs/Hemo the Magnificent” issue was addressed the last time round, the Professor was ahead of his time:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg

    (And he looked like my dad, too, who taught college science, that always freaked me out.)

    Yes, I’ve put some Bell Labs DVDs on my wishlist. I think the guy is awesome. I guarantee I never would have been bored in one of his classes.

       0 likes

  2. Sitting Duck says:

    Tom Carberry:
    The high priest was played by Alan Napier… A cousin of the former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain…

    He probably didn’t bring up that little fact too often.

    Cheapskate Crow:
    The Brains were psychics, I thought of last year’s protests in Wisconsin when I heard the line:
    “Sound and welfare reform by the governor of Wisconsin”

    I believe they were alluding to Tommy Thompson, who was governor of Wisconsin 1987-2001.

    Cornjob:
    I always thought the slaves were the titular Mole People and the Clorox crew were just humans that lived underground.

    Don’t feel bad. The Medved Brothers made the same mistake in The Golden Turkey Awards.

       1 likes

  3. Raigely says:

    The Gesture Professor segment is by far the most referenced segment of the show between my boyfriend and myself, so it must have made an impression, the bots’ opinions be damned. Down, down, down…

    Speaking of Mike stuff, his ACEG entries are always my favorites, though I’m not sure how many people click those links when provided, and this one may be my fave-of-faves. “Windy pontificating through [his] muscled piehole” is a phrase I’m trying to wedge into my life wherever possible.

       5 likes

  4. Lisa H. says:

    Raigely: “Windy pontificating through [his] muscled piehole” is a phrase I’m trying to wedge into my life wherever possible.

    You must be spoiled for choice in the current political climate.

       3 likes

  5. Kenneth Morgan says:

    If you want to hear more with Frank C. “Gesture Professor” Baxter, you could check out his three appearances on “The CBS Radio Workshop”. I prefer “Colloquy #1”, which has a debate over who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays, and includes an “interview” with Shakespeare and his challengers.

       1 likes

  6. thequietman says:

    “It’s a fiction, it’s a fable…” It’s a fabulously funny freakout!

    If it wasn’t for John Agar and the roasting he gets in this episode it would have been rather forgettable. Perhaps it’s because I only saw it once, maybe twice during the original airings and reruns. The story of the film’s ending sounds rather par for the 1950s course, but whose bright idea was it to put Professor Down, Down, Down’s little skit at the front, when it has no bearing on the plot of the film whatsoever? At least it kind of gave us a little taste of what shorts in the Sci-Fi era could have been like.

    My favorite part of the host segments was Mike’s deadpan comments to Crow at the top of the meringue pie (“Just a skoosh. Oh, my hips.”) and of course Gypsy’s helpfulness with Servo’s ballad (“It was twenty score, now hush!”)

    Fave riffs
    Now that we have two kids I really oughta marry June!

    Now collect the holy drippings to make the sacred gravy.

       0 likes

  7. SaveFerris says:



    This episode’s host segments rub me the wrong way. Mike’s aborted attempt at playing the gesture professor is another example of the bots’ sudden upswing in cruelty…..




    Wow…….I just CANNOT get on board with this sentiment. I think I can honestly say that there has NEVER been a movie ‘character’ in the ENTIRE history of MST3K that literally cried out for parody…..no, actually cried out for SAVAGE parody, as the ‘gesture Professor’ did in this movie (okay….”Mikey”, the incredibly whiney, hornrimmed, fey man-child from 514’s “Teenage Strangler” also comes to mind).


    My god……I think we could have a VERY spirited debate here that MST3K was put on this Earth SPECIFICALLY for moments, and characters, just like this one !!!

       3 likes

  8. docskippy says:

    SaveFerris:


    This episode’s host segments rub me the wrong way. Mike’s aborted attempt at playing the gesture professor is another example of the bots’ sudden upswing in cruelty…..




    Wow…….I just CANNOT get on board with this sentiment.I think I can honestly say that there has NEVER been a movie ‘character’ in the ENTIRE history of MST3K that literally cried out for parody…..no, actually cried out for SAVAGE parody, as the ‘gesture Professor’ did in this movie (okay….”Mikey”, the incredibly whiney, hornrimmed, fey man-child from 514’s “Teenage Strangler” also comes to mind).


    My god……I think we could have a VERY spirited debate here that MST3K was put on this Earth SPECIFICALLY for moments, and characters, just like this one !!!

    I seem to recall the bot’s “savage cruelty” to Joel on a number of occasions (e.g., Joel’s attempt at recreating a soda parlor, completely derailed by the bots, resulting in a rare Joel meltdown).

       1 likes

  9. Sitting Duck says:

    docskippy: I seem to recall the bot’s “savage cruelty” to Joel on a number of occasions (e.g., Joel’s attempt at recreating a soda parlor, completely derailed by the bots, resulting in a rare Joel meltdown).

    Let’s not forget the most savage cruelty of them all, turning Joel into Arch Hall Jr.

       1 likes

  10. You know, a simpler solution to Universal’s issue of the original ending would have been to have her not romantically involved with either of the men? But I suppose they had to have their romantic subplot.

       0 likes

Comments are closed.