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Sampo & Erhardt

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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode Guide: 409- Indestructible Man (with short: ‘Undersea Kingdom’–Episode 2)

Short: (1936) In part two (“The Undersea City”) of a serial, our heroes are menaced by Atlantean soldiers.
Movie: (1956) A vicious criminal is executed, but then resurrected by scientists. Discovering that he is now invincible, he vows vengeance on those who squealed on him.

First shown: 8/15/92
Opening: Something’s different about the bots (and Magic Voice), but Joel can’t quite figure it out
Invention exchange: The Mads’ have an invention, but they can’t show it to us; J&tB show off their cereal novels
Host segment 1: Tragedy strikes the Undersea Kingdom parade goes awry
Host segment 2: Joel asks: “What would you do if you were indestructible?”
Host segment 3: Joel tries the Lon Chaney “eye thing,” Tom and Crow are no help
End: J&tB sign the “no cop/doughnut joke” pledge, while the Mads deal with cops in Deep 13
Stinger: Indestructible man struggles with a manhole cover
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (207 votes, average: 3.96 out of 5)

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• We’re getting into the meat of season four, and this is another of those great, seemingly effortless episodes. Terrible but watchable movie, great riffing, funny segments. Another winner.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 11.”
• Joel mentions Crow’s Billy doll, last seen the last time “Undersea Kingdom” was featured.
• I assume Trace was running Tom and Kevin was running Crow in the opening segment. I wonder if that was the only time that has ever happened…
• A little biting literary commentary as Tom refers to the “controversial-yet-all-but-forgotten” novel “American Psycho.”
• This episode contains a notorious goof by the Brains: Dr. F says that the movie features “Casey Adams of ‘Catalina Caper’ fame.” In fact, Adams does not appear in “Catalina Caper.” The Brains are confusing him with “Catalina Caper” star Del Moore, whom Adams somewhat looks and sounds like … but not that much, really. Throughout the movie, when J&tB are supposedly doing impressions of Casey Adams, they’re really imitating Moore’s campy portrayal in “Catalina Caper.” They don’t really much sound like Adams at all.
• How could they make such a dumb mistake? Not to sound too much like an old “I walked uphill in the snow to school” fogey, but it’s important to remember that this episode was done before the World Wide Web—and the ability to just pop on to the IMDB and get your cast information straight — existed. My sense is that Best Brains’ entire movie research department, at that time, consisted of a dog-eared copy of the Leonard Maltin Movie Guide — which would have given them the correct name of the “Catalina Caper” actor, had they bothered to consult it.
• This is the only episode I’m aware of in which an actor appears in both the short and the main feature. It’s Lon Chaney Jr., the star of the main feature, who also appears in the short and actually has a few lines.
• The Rodney King incident was fresh in the writers’ minds. There are several references to it.
• Several times during the short, when a character refers to the “strange prisoners” or “strange captives” J&tB respond with “…weeeeird prisoners…” and “…weeeeird captives…”. For those wondering what that’s about, it’s reference to the early Marx Brothers movie “Animal Crackers.” In it, Groucho briefly parodies the trance-like intonations used in the monologues that are the gimmick in Eugene O’Neill’s play “Strange Interlude” (which was playing down the street when “Animal Crackers” was a Broadway musical). Aren’t you sorry you asked?
• Whoa! A somewhat startling reference to future Vice President Dick Cheney. I forgot he was SecDef when this episode was made.
• This installment of “Undersea Kingdom” is largely people running and riding around. It doesn’t really advance the plot very much…
• In segment 1, Crow’s little commercial for pepper sounds like a lot like the ones Garrison Keillor does (used to do? I haven’t listened in a while…) on his St. Paul-based radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.” I wonder if it’s an homage or just a coincidence.
• There’s also something incredibly silly about “Pollixfen, for your den-fen-tures….” That’s about three levels away from an actual joke, but it’s still funny.
• Props to Jef Maynard and the rest of the props team for the parade in segment 1. Very cool.
• As segment 1 ends, Crow says “I’m just going to step into this doorway,” a reference to Les Nessman in the famous “Turkey Drop” episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati.”
• J&tB get mighty cranky during the incredibly static car conversation. Maybe I’m just hardened off to boring movie scenes, but it doesn’t seem that bad to me.
• They still make Old Smuggler. From one who knows.
• The cop-donut thing is funny, but by my count there were only three of them in this episode. Doesn’t seem like Joel overdid it to me…
• Another overtly religious remark from Joel: “…only millions of Christians…”
• The Brains treat Joe Flynn’s appearance in this movie a little strangely. The recognition of him comes when they make a joke that he’s a Joe Flynn lookalike. Later they acknowledge that it IS Joe Flynn, croaking “McHale!” several times and they even make a great “Inspector Henderson and Captain Binghampton” joke. I wonder if that first riff was a leftover from an early pass through the movie.
• This movie offers extensive footage of the Angels Flight trolley, a popular (and, in 2001, deadly) L.A. tourist attraction.
• Lon must have loved this role—there were hardly any lines to learn.
• Try to not blink as long as the witness lady goes without blinking. It’s tough!
• Fans of Joel got about as close as they’re ever going to get to their hero in segment 3. You can count the pores!
• Callbacks: “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet). ”Want some?” (Daddy-O). The routine Tom and Crow fall into at the end of segment 3 is from “Sidehackers.” That they are still going on about it two seasons later is amazing.
• Obscure ref: “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster” – the name of a very short-lived ’60s TV series. Also, Tom refers to “that Crazy Glue demonstration,” a reference to an all-but-forgotten TV commercial in which an actor playing a construction worker Crazy Glues his hardhat to the bottom of a girder and then hangs from it.
• Gypsy’s a notary?
• Mike and Kevin are great as the cops in the final segment. By the way, that scene also provided a wonderful poopie moment, with Mike and Frank cracking each other up.
• Cast and crew wrapup for the short: Some people who worked on this short also worked on “Radar Men from the Moon” including special effects guys Howard and Theodore Lydecker and production support guy Barney A. Sarecky (who also worked on “Radar Secret Service” and “The Corpse Vanishes”). In front of the camera, Jack Mulhall was in “The She-Creature,” Edwin Parker was in “This Island Earth,” “Bride of the Monster” and “The Mole People” and Tom Steele was in “Radar Men from the Moon.”
• Cast and crew roundup for the feature: producer-director Jack Pollexfen also worked on “The Atomic Brain,” as did screenwriters Sue Bradford and Vy Russell. Cinematographer John Russell Jr. also worked on “Girls Town” and “Invasion USA.” Art director Theobold Holsopple also worked on “Rocketship X-M.” Of course, score composer Albert Glasser worked on lots of MSTed movies.
In front of the camera, Ross Elliott was in “The Crawling Hand,” Kenneth Terrell was in “Radar Men from the Moon,” Robert Shayne was in “Teenage Caveman” and “The Rebel Set”) and Robert Foulk was in “Untamed Youth.”
• CreditsWatch: Andrea Ducane does the makeup for the second of three shows this season (Clayton James was the main makeup guy at this point). Suzette Jamison finishes up her internship. Additional contributing writer: David Sussman.
• Fave riffs from the short: “This looks like a set the Monkees would end up on.” Honorable mention: “It’s Jim Henson’s Birth of a Nation Babies.”
• Fave riffs from the movie: (As Irish cop) “Alright, gather round everybody, lots to see, show’s just startin’.” Honorable mention: Detective in movie: “You wanted me?” Joel: “For years!!”

91 Replies to “Episode Guide: 409- Indestructible Man (with short: ‘Undersea Kingdom’–Episode 2)”

  1. Brandon says:

    At the end of the episode it’s hinted that Frank has a car (parked in a bad spot), but in Mitchell, Frank says he doesn’t have a car. If he did have one before, he certainly lost it after this episode.

    BTW, Sampo you only counted 3 donut jokes? I heard at least 5.

       2 likes

  2. The cop-donut thing is funny, but by my count there were only three of them in this episode. Doesn’t seem like Joel overdid it to me…

    Also, they didn’t live up to the agreement… or at least Mike didn’t. During “Out of this World” from the “High School Big Shot” episode, Mike shouts “I got donuts! Come back!” at a policeman (who’s really the Satan of bread salesmen). The funny part is that right afterwards, Tom laughs nervously, as if to say, “We’re not supposed to make jokes like that…”

    (Boy, I’m a nerd.) :smile:

       6 likes

  3. RCFagnan says:

    I think it’s kind of neat/interesting that Lon Chaney Jr.’s in both the short and the feature this experiment…I don’t think that’s happened at any other time with any other actor or actress. I wonder why they stopped with the Undersea Kingdom serial, they were doing such a great job with it and it seems perfect for their purposes…

       2 likes

  4. Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    I caught a couple more Zappa references in this one.

    1. Joel mentions “Centerville…” in the beginning of the feature film.

    2. Tom says “Cruisin’ For Burgers” during the chase scene at the end.

       2 likes

  5. skenderberg says:

    This episode has my favorite gangster name of all time–“Squeamy.” Also, Lon Chaney’s independently mobile eyebags are really bizarre.

    Favorite riff: “I guess he’s just the incredibly resilient man.”

    My full review of this episode is here.

       2 likes

  6. Mac says:

    From the ACEG, it seems likely that there were a lot more cop-and-donut jokes in the writing room than made it to the screen. The agreement may have been necessary just to keep the movie from being completely overwhelmed.

       3 likes

  7. Sean74 says:

    RCFagnan stole my thunder about Lon Chaney Jr. being in both the short and the movie. As far as I know, he’s the only actor to do that in MST history, although I’m sure Sampo or other hard-core MSTies may have more info on that.

    This was a bizarre movie. I do love the continual cop-donut joke gag J&TB engage in, and the eventual contract they draw up by show’s end refraining from such jokes. Too bad, those never get old to me.

    The scene in which Casey Adams and the woman playing Eva Martin have that long, extensive scene in the car did feel like forever when I first saw this episode. Having watched it again recently, it’s really not that painful compared to other scenes (the sandstorm scene in “Hercules Against the Moon Men” comes to mind). I agree with Servo about Casey Adams in a flirting situation, it’s just plain spooky.

    Most ridiculous moment: after Squeamy Ellis is found dead from being pushed off by Butcher Benton, Eva asks about the identity of the victim. The local bartender mentions some guy named Squeamy. She then inquires, “You mean Squeamy Ellis?”, to which Tom says,”how many Squeamys do you know?”

    My fav riff: as Lon Chaney Jr. is putting a coat on, Joel says, “He’s indestructible, but he needs a light wrap.”

    Mike and Kevin as the cops visiting the Mads in Deep 13….classic stuff! The part where Frank laughs at the remark of Mike being Danish always gets me.

       6 likes

  8. Bob says:

    Regarding the misidentification of an actor in this film, it’s not the only time this error was made by the writers at MST3K. Here are two more:

    During Hellcats, there are repeated jokes about the director of the film also being an actor in it. There are comments like, “I make the music more dramatic when the camera is on me.” However, the director, Bob Slatzer, is the heavier-set man playing one of the two major crime bosses in the film, “Mr. Adrian” I believe is the character’s name, not the slimmer fellow that Joel and the ‘Bots keep referring to as the director.

    In the Amazing Colossal Epidode Guide there’s a funny rant about Wendell Corey being the horrible comedian who does the “hi-keeba” bit in the film. The problem is that Wendell Corey is the older actor playing the admiral who is also Linda’s father. He is not the “hi-keeba” guy.

    I love this episode. I’m a fan of the old Universal horror pictures and like to see Lon Chaney, Jr., even in a dog like this. I actually bought this film on a budget VHS tape a few years before MST3K did it just for fun as I hadn’t seen it before. I definitely like what they did with it on the show.

    A couple of my favorite riffs are the “indestructible whiz” comment and the jokes about him being just the “very resilient man” and such after the main character gets toasted with a flame thrower.

    The sketch about “what would you do if you were indestructible” is one of the best ever to me. Joel: “Every indestructible fantasy doesn’t have to be gruesome and horrible.” Crow: “Yes it does!” Really, really funny stuff.

       6 likes

  9. Diamond Joe says:

    I always find the slurred words and other drunk jokes about Corey kind of tough to laugh at, knowing alcoholism did him in only two or three years after making his two MST3K-riffed films.

       1 likes

  10. Morgan says:

    Not to pile on with the “mis-identification of actors” theme, but the one that always bugged me was “Master Ninja” and Sho Kosugi. Sho Kosugi did do the fight choreography and was the evil Ninja “Okasa” in the television ser-…I mean movie. That said, in the second half of the episode, when they pile on with the Sho Kosugi references, he is not actually in the scene. They seem to be referring to Song-tek Oh (the evil Yakuza henchman) as Sho Kosugi. Always kind of bothered me.

       0 likes

  11. Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    I dont think it’s such a “dumb mistake” really about Adams and Moore. I think they really do look alike and i sure alot of other people thought so too. Ever seen the pilot for Leave it to Beaver? If you didnt know any better, you would swear it was the same guy from Catalina Caper if not his brother or something. I thought so. And who knows but maybe the Brains were playing off the fact that they were considered look-alikes? :???:

       3 likes

  12. Joel Kazoo says:

    Yes, Garrison Keillor is alive and well and still doing “A Prairie Home Companion”. Got a chance to see him when he took the show to Morris, MN back in 2003. As a former radio guy, I can tell a guy who knows how to put together a radio show, and Keillor is top-notch. He accidently ran into a woman getting back to her seat, and he embraces her and says he loves the area because “people just run into your arms!” He also told some of the background history of the area, which I was unaware of (he does his homework!). My friends were a bit distressed about a couple of “fart jokes” he sneaked in (quite tastefully done, actually, he just says “gas”), but the man knows his audience. When 70% of them are in John Deere hats and the other 30% in Grateful Dead T-Shirts, you go with what works.

    Also, the “I’m just going to step into this doorway” line was also said by Murrow (it WAS Murrow, right?) right at the very end of his coverage of the Hindenburg explsion, so it was WKRP reffing Morrow, not MST reffing WKRP.

    Oh, what a nerd be I!

       5 likes

  13. Dylonius Funk says:

    I was thinking the same thing Thomas Dye, about that short and the pledge. Also not really a misplaced actor, but i know they were calling the thin mobster in Hellcats the guy who was played by the director, Robert F. Slatzer, It was actually his more husky companion. Luckily they weren’t in enouhg scenes where the mistake got annoying unlike other mistakes i could mention *COUGH*SODIUM!*COUGH*

       0 likes

  14. Shenny says:

    Sampo, you mention how nothing really happens in this installment of Undersea Kingdom.

    I’ve seen the original Undersea Kingdom…well, only the first four eps because it got really boring. Each ran about half an hour long, so they really cut them short for MST. Every ep after the first one recaps what happened in the previous one in the “yearbook” format we see in this one, and it gets extremely tedious to see after about two of them.

    It’s understandable why they didn’t show any UK (heh, UK) eps after this one. You’ve got the fact that they would’ve had to show the opening for each episode, which they pretty much ran out of riffing material for in the second one. So much of it had to get cut that it made it hard to follow the story. It’s been a while since I saw them uncut, but I remember the first ep had more exposure to the comic relief guys and their parrot, and Billy stowed away on the submarine and got caught some kind of way. I had only watched the first ep MST’d before seeing it uncut, so nothing really stuck in my mind about the second ep that was cut, since, ya know, I hadn’t seen it cut yet. IIRC, Crash ended up proving that they weren’t in league with Unga Khan and he ended up becoming a gladiator/soldier-type thing for the priest with the popcorn bag hat. Like I said, it dragged on so much that my interest couldn’t hold to watch the entire serial. I could always try renting it from the library again if anyone’s interested in finding out what exactly happened.

       3 likes

  15. ThorneSherman says:

    lol, good of you Shenny, to risk your mental well being watching Undersea Kingdom, but i strongly doubt anyone would really care what went on in the last couple episodes, it was such a slow, turgid series.

       2 likes

  16. Dan in WI says:

    I just can’t place either what is different about the bots in the opening bit. But whatever it is, it sure creeps me out.

    I’m really not sure how the Mad’s invention ties in with the party they are throwing. But I vote this their best and most useful invention ever. Joel’s isn’t bad either. I think the entire world can relate to it. Who didn’t star intently at one point of their life or another at the cereal box?

    The parade host segment was cute. Can anybody identify soldiers “float?” The action figures look like some sort of Magneto of the X-Men and Commando Cody hybrid.

    Call back to Daddy-O. “Want some?”

    I have to side with those who say Casey Adams really doesn’t bare that much resemblance to Del Moore. There is enough resemblance to notice but not enough to mistake identity

    What would I do if indestructible? My favorite was bobbing for donuts in the deep fryer vat.

    Kevin sure looks different with only the mustache in the cop closing scene. But those above discussing TV’s Frank having or not having a car, well how do we know Officer Mike isn’t speaking to Clay? There is no video with this statement to know who is is looking at.

    Favorite Riffs:
    The ledge Crash and Billy are standing on crumbles from beneath them. Joel (sings) “I feel the Earth move under my feet.”

    Atlantean soldiers ride by. Joel: “Jim Henson’s Birth of a Nation Babies.” (This is my favorite of the Jim Henson’s _________ Babies series of riffs.

    Joel “Have you no sense of decency? Would you please end this scene?”

    Lon Chaney tosses a body. Tom “Oh look he just killed Resusci Annie.”

    Lon tosses another victim to his death. Crow “Op. He didn’t come out of his tuck in time.” Tom “I’m tired but it’s a good kind of tired.”

    Cop at a crime scene. Tom “Ah right everybody gather round here. Lots to see. Show’s just starting.”

    Casey Adams talks on the phone. Crow “He’s the other end of a Bob Newhart routine.” (How many people remember Bob Newhart got his stand up start doing half of a phone conversation? How many people remember Bob Newhart?)

       3 likes

  17. snowdog says:

    The “Me, I’m Danish” joke is one of the hardest laughs I ever got out of MST-dom! It’s amazing that they managed to get Frank to stop laughing so suddenly. Fave riff “Now they call him Squishy.”

    For some reason, I find this movie brutally dull. But the riffing and all the host segments are great. I love that even Magic Voice was in on the gag in the opening segment.

    “Richard Basehart remark in 5.. 4.. 3…”

    Four stars.

       6 likes

  18. robot rump! says:

    the whole sewer sequence in a movie always seem to provide alot of fodder for J&tB. this one and Monster a GoGo reeked with sewer humor. sorry. ‘nobody has to hide THIS bad’ and ‘Just imagine how many bean burritos they eat in this town’ are a couple of riffs from this one that get me everytime. even though the “switched, with Jimmy Smits” bit does drag on, i do like this one quite a bit.

       0 likes

  19. Tom Carberry says:

    By 1955 it was very clear that alcohol had taken its toll on Lon Chaney, Jr., the star of this 1955 B-grade programmer released by Allied Artists. This movie serves as an interesting time capsule of mid-1950s downtown Los Angeles, highlighted by the Bradbury building, Angel’s Flight funicular, and the old Hall of Justice building. The cinematic frosting on the cake for me was the billboard of “Brew 102” a local brewery that produced probably the worst local beer in the country—my Dad used to drink it and confirms it was nasty, but very cheap.

    Favorite lines from Indestructible Man:

    “I headed for Eva Martin.” But then who didn’t.
    Even criminals have to punch in.
    [a la Hitchcock] No one will be seated during the frightening letter folding scene.
    Then he hired the winner of the Joe Flynn lookalike contest to come on down…McHale!
    GE, we bring Lon Chaney to life!
    What am I smelling? Did somebody die in here? Oh, I did.
    Look, my back teeth are floating, I’ve got to go to the bathroom.
    No, not her life story…Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!
    [of Madge Cleveland] Aunt Bee, after dark. Eeewww! She’s covered with dead things.
    [of Ross Elliott] He’s got kind of a Bruce Willis smirk there, doesn’t he?
    I gotta take a big indestructible wiz. Oh, that’s tasteless.
    “…who in their right mind would believe a man returned from the dead?” Only millions of Christians.
    [close up of Lon Chaney’s eyes] Hey, Lon can you pretend you got the DT’s.
    Packed with minerals, booze really satisfies.
    [Killing Squeemy Ellis] Scream all you want, but take all you scream. He didn’t come out of his tuck in time. I’m tired now, but it’s a good kind of tired.
    [sewer search beings] Mickey Rooney’s summer place is searched.
    Think of all the burritos they sell in this town.
    It’s the Treasure of Sewer Madre.
    Now that put me off my dinner.
    I think he’s incontinent man now.
    He hijacked a crane? I think he’s improvising now, he’s completely off script.

    Final Note: Poor Lon Chaney, Jr. With the possible exception of Spiderbaby, I think this was the lowest moment in his film career.

       5 likes

  20. Ericb says:

    “Another note: Lon Chaney Jr., the star of the main feature in this episode, is listed in the credits of this serial! But I don’t think we ever saw him in the episodes we saw”

    He did appear in Episode 2. He was one the minions in Khan’s in the control room. He had one line and made a salute and that seemed to be it.

       1 likes

  21. dsman71 says:

    Another solid episode – I also love the parade segment. I cant get enough of Lons baggy squinting eyes in this. Its a low budget semi-remake of Man Made Monster – where Lon was also electrocuted and came back to life…
    Poor Lon , who’s career started so mightily with the Wolf-Man and other Universal delights wound up in films like this, The Alligator People, Dracula vs. Frankenstein and other drek
    Joel’s Hair ( grew out a bit since Hercules Unchained)
    Joels Knees
    Lons baggy eyes
    Time for some Indestructible therapy

       3 likes

  22. JBagels says:

    A few really good Poopie moments from this episode, Frank’s laugh at the “I’m Danish” line is teriffic, and Joel’s goofy face after “oh you didn’t invent anything”. I can’t watch that scene now without laughing. Also, Frank cracking up at the “Ya got me” line is classic which happens to follow another non invention by the mads. Lots of those this season.

    Besides that, this episode is kind of forgettable for me. Not that it isn’t good, but I just literally forget it even exists until it’s brought up in episode guides, etc. I guess mixed in with all the Hercules movies it just kind of gets lost in the shuffle.

       2 likes

  23. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    Not much to add here…I wonder who’s eye-bags were scarier, Lon Chaney Jr.’s or Bela Lugosi’s? Makes a fella really want to hit the hootch, it does…

    My two favorite lines from this movie…

    [Lon climbs out of the sewer] CROW: “Now I’m the scariest clown in the circus!”

    “By the way, is that your car out front?”

       1 likes

  24. Cheapskate Crow says:

    This episode was a very pleasant surprise, 5 stars for me, much better than I remembered it. From the Toys in the Attic Pink Floyd reference at the beginning to the constant Catalina Caper impressions (I thought they were the same guy), this episode had me laughing the whole time. It helps that every time I see Catalina Caper, I have to talk like Casey Adams/Del Moore for a few days afterwards, perhaps the Brains had the same problem. I thought they were the same actor Also like to hear obscure references to things like the dog from Pogo (my dad’s favorite political cartoon). The sitting in the car scene was quite painful but I always love Servo’s “Turn it off!”. This movie suffers from severe over-narration but that just makes this episode funnier.

       2 likes

  25. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    This one is a lot of fun. Favorite riff: “Look at all the neat shops!”

    I always get creeped out by the scene at the end where Casey Adams explains to his lady that she is now going to be his wife by getting her fired from her job. How did he do that, anyway? What a dickweed!

       5 likes

  26. Insect Man #47 says:

    Ahhhh… one of my favorites, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I loved this movie when I was a kid. It scared the poopie out of me. That being said, when I saw in the TV guide that MST was doing The Indestructible Man, I was stoked! I happened to be at my parent’s house, and I convinced my dad to watch this episode with me. I explained the premise, and we watched it, but alas, my dad simply didn’t get it. But I love this episode, and if you want to see the movie sans riffing, you can download a really pristine, non-edited version at archive.org

       1 likes

  27. Kenneth Morgan says:

    I thought this one turned out OK. The opening is one of my favorites (“No, Joel. I think you’re craaaaaazzzzzzy!”) and the parade segment is also funny.

    Re: “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster”, it may not be all that obscure after all. I believe they just released some episodes of the show on DVD. All we need now is “Camp Runamuck”.

    Re: Dan in WI (#16), a couple of things. First, if you Kevin looks different with just a mustache, I watched an MST-related segment on Bravo a while back where he’s actually clean-shaven. And I spent a large part of my childhood memorizing all five of our family’s Bob Newhart LP’s; he is definitely well-remembered.

       2 likes

  28. crowtdan says:

    I kept waiting for a Little Eva “Locomotion” joke. Maybe they only know of the Grand Funk Railroad version. When they show the dead mangled body on the stairs and someone say Father Merrin! That was Fun-Neeeeeeeeeee.

       0 likes

  29. dad1153 says:

    This is the first episode of S4 that spells ‘Dr. Clayton Forrester’s’ name for Trace correctly during the credits. It was spelled ‘Forrestor’ in the previous eight episodes. So hooray, our (OK, my) national nightmare is over! :pray:

    I’ve owned the MST3K Collection: Volume 11 Box Set shrink-wrapped since I bought it years ago but never got around to opening it until now for “Indestructible Man” (and in a few weeks for “Tormented” when it comes up in the rotation). Nice to see memorable Deep 13/SOL host segments where we got some of the funniest ‘Poopie’ bloopers (I too cannot look at Joel’s face without imagining his ‘orgasmic’ face :cyclops: ) as well as more dumb ‘Undersea Kingdom’ fun. Love the way Servo outright boos and hisses the resolution of part 1’s cliffhanger and the ‘DIANA’ callbacks, but we only get one “UK” short (last time we got two segs.) and a few memorable riffs (‘The Man Who Would Be Queen’) before the show’s done and over with “UK” without any fanfare. I was momentarily shocked that many Atlantis characters were doing what seemed like Nazi salutes to their leaders, but then I remembered the short is from ’36 and nobody in the States was taking the German-Nazi party threat seriously-enough to not think much of making that salute. The movie is supposed to have monster/horror/mad scientist flick DNA (hence having Chaney in the title role) but that’s only featured in passing for what seems an otherwise routine low-budget 50’s crime drama. We spend as much time with Butcher as with Det. Chasen and Eva Martin, the latter just dull an uninteresting characters (who knew watching Casey Adams put the moves on a lady could send Joel and the Bots into hysterics!) while there’s something about Chaney that captivates one’s attention even when he’s in a movie beneath his talents like this one. For an ‘indestructible man’ Butcher only seemed to take bullets from fellow criminals pretty well. Everything else the cops threw at Butcher could easily cinch him (flamethrower fire from a ‘Ghostbuster’ :laugh: ), push him around (by an RPG launcher!) and made him operate heavy machinery so badly Butcher ended up electrocuting himself (and probably causing blackouts throughout L.A.). “Indestructible Man” joins a small but memorable group of movies (“Robocop 2” and “Re-Animator” come immediately to mind) in which audiences are asked to buy without questioning that a scientist brings back to life THIS particular individual, instead of an easier-to-subdue or less-dangerous person. Only in movie land do psychos and criminals make for ideal guinea pigs in the quest to master resurrection.

    Although I didn’t laugh very much (rarely do when I watch new-to-me “MST3K” at 9AM) J&TB’s riffing is pretty solid and consistent although I saw missed riffing potential in the L.A. sewer chase scenes in which they didn’t make a single Orson Welles and/or “The Third Man” joke… come on, that was a gimme! I don’t get the constant ‘Jimmy Smits’ name-dropping, was that just because he was on “L.A. Law” and a lot of the movie happens there? If so that’s super-lame. Joel’s ‘millions of Christians’ remark is funny but also deep… think about it, won’t you? ‘Thanks Mr. Lithgow’ (‘You’re Welcome’) and ‘Father Karras!’ (‘Regan!’) had me howling from laughter; can’t go wrong with “Garp” and “Exorcist” references in the most unexpected places. Was anybody else a little creeped out at seeing the Servo puppet in the float skit (before he bursts into flames) totally lifeless and without movement? I know there was no way to get Kevin to move him without strings visible, but just seeing Tom there flat as a board just creeped me out. Joel would get another flattering close-up when the bots performed plastic surgery on him during a host segment in ‘Eegah!’ I personally cannot get enough ‘cops eating doughnuts’ and ‘L.A. cops beating civilians’ jokes. Signing that pledge at the end is a self-inflicted handicap that we’re still suffering through decades later in the post-“MST3K” Cinematic-Rifftrax-Titanic era of target-rich riffing comedy.

    THREE STARS (out of five) for “Indestructible Man.” A few more viewings and I could see this one becoming a 3.5 star show, easily. FAVORITE RIFF: ‘And Camelot is opening across the street’ (I can so easily picture Corman shooting a cheap medieval flick below/behind Casey Adams & Co.’s window during that scene :evilgrin: ).

       4 likes

  30. Castle Monster says:

    Missed me, missed me, now ya gotta kiss me!

    I hardly ever watch this one. Chaney’s humiliation throws kind of a drag on it. Of course he’s humiliated even worse in Dracula vs. Frankenstein, but at least that’s a fun movie.

       2 likes

  31. Castle Monster says:

    Edit button?… Deletion feature?… HUZZAH!

       0 likes

  32. John Ellis says:

    Wow. I’m surprised that the star-meter seems to show this one isn’t much of a favorite. This is one I can always rely on for belly-laughs, from the innocently ridiculous short to the great fun the SOL crew take in deconstructing the alleged powers of the main film’s titular super-villain.

    I consider it a classic of the Joel years.

    Sure, the main film is a bit dark and oppressive, but that just seems to make them quip all the more creatively.

       5 likes

  33. Matthew Shine says:

    “COMMERICAL SIGN! COMMERICAL SIGN! COMMERICAL SIGN! PRETTY SOON!”

    Poor Lon Chaney Jr, going from The Wolf Man to this in only a decade…
    Arguably, he got the worst deal out of the Universal horror stars.

    Karloff had a pretty stable career for the rest of his life, so did Claude Rains.
    As for Bela Lugosi………Lugosi had Ed Wood to help him.

    But Lon?
    He was reduced to Dracula Vs Frankenstein and Bride Of The Gorilla. Nobody loved Lon.
    I remember reading somewhere that Benton was meant to have lines after he was revived but Lon was too drunk to remember his lines, so the producers decided to make him a mute.

    I still think the riffing hilarious though, with my favorite line being when Benton is told he’s going to be executed:
    “Oh and your father STILL is a better actor then you.”

       1 likes

  34. Stressfactor says:

    And people complain about “The Castle of Fu Manchu”? Oh well, taste is subjective. This one was a snooze fest for me. I got more chuckles out of the riffing for the short than for the feature and the feature didn’t warm up for me until pretty much the very end.

    I liked all the host segments though — I thought those were a real hoot this time around.

       1 likes

  35. Stressfactor says:

    @ Dad1153…

    No, the Jimmy Smits comments were for every time a character said the word “Switch”. See, Jimmy Smits co-starred with Ellen Barkin in a movie called “Switch” in which a man (Smits’s friend) who treated women shabbily, was killed and brought back to life as a woman, played by Ellen Barkin. Smits’s character in the movie eventually falls in love with Barkin.

       4 likes

  36. Big61al says:

    This is a very good episode and I enjoyed it very much. Look at the sign on the wall just after the gimp gets thrown down the stairs. It says “Drapes, rugs and hats!” What a weird combo!

       3 likes

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

    #30. I was just about to mention that movie re the earlier comment that only “Spider Baby” was worse for Lon. Good catch.

    At least in “Spider Baby” he got to sing…

       3 likes

  38. Cubby says:

    Dad1153 asks, I don’t get the constant ‘Jimmy Smits’ name-dropping, was that just because he was on “L.A. Law” and a lot of the movie happens there? If so that’s super-lame.

    No. That’s not why they do it. If you have the ACEG, it’s explained in the back, but long story short: It’s a reference to a tv spot for Switch (jimmy smits), in which a voice over says “Jimmy Smits” right after the title. The trailer, which can be seen online, doesn’t have the voiceover saying “Jimmy Smits.” that amused them so much, but I remember it from the time, and might have it somewhere in my old MST tapes.
    It’s not the funniest thing they’ve ever done, no.

    I have always really liked this episode. It was never a top 5 ep for me (and I would gather for most people) as it usually ranked near the bottom on Rhino polls, but it was always an “and the rest” ep for me. That lady’s ability to keep her eyes cranked open with a very bright light shining in them? That’s some acting focus, that is.

    I knew who Casey Adams was the first time I saw this episode (he was also known as Max Showalter, and he was in Sixteen Candles, and in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as Strawberry’s Dad – He sings!), but I’m glad they confused him. It gave them a riffing vein to mine, and it was rich: “That was Jim Begg*. We’ve got to go pick him up after his shift at the 7-11.” I was a little surprised they were confused, but maybe they aren’t the Jerry Lewis fans I thought they might be: Del Moore was in several of his ’60s films (Nutty Professor, Errand Boy, Who’s Minding The Store, Cinderfella, Disorderly Orderly, The Bellboy, and more). But, as in the case of them not noticing Coleman Francis in This Island Earth, maybe they just didn’t know. (On the other hand, the Mom in Catalina Caper was played by Sue Casey, so maybe that was a source of their confusion, all mannerisms aside.)

    *Sidebar: My favorite Jim Begg non-MST moment is on WKRP, where he plays the waiter in the episode, “Never Leave Me Lucille” (his part starts at the 17:44 mark) “Little guy with bowtie, tall black man, cowboy, and longshoreman.”

       2 likes

  39. Ericb says:

    Favorite riffs:

    “Honk if you’re indestructible”

    “Aunt Bea … after dark!”

       2 likes

  40. touches:

    Spider Baby is one of my favorite movies. Director Jack Hill and actress Beverly Washburn are friends of mine. And it was an early role for Sid Haig. Anyway, Chaney was very happy to be in that one and he was actually pretty good in it (he stayed relatively sober during the shoot). The Indestructable Man was far more of an embarrassment , IMO.

       7 likes

  41. Twiggins says:

    Back to the Del Moore/Casey Adams discussion. I was watching the classic film “Niagra” the other night and thought I spotted Del Moore, playing the part of the husband of the Jean Peters character. After a little research, I discovered that part was played by an actor by the name of Max Showalter, who sometimes acted under the name of Casey Adams. All of their performances are alike, that is, they portrayed mildly feminine males. I mean that in a nice and positive way:)

       2 likes

  42. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    YES! Thank you Castle Monster (#40), the bashes against SPIDER BABY were starting to rub me raw. That movie is fantastic, a weird little gem, and yes, Lon SINGS the opening credits theme. Such a great film, miles and miles above INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN and DRACULA V. FRANKENSTEIN, and for my money, it’s his best film.

       6 likes

  43. Kathy says:

    “This installment of Undersea Kingdom is largely people running and riding around. It doesn’t really advance the plot very much…”

    Welcome to the “padding episode” of this particular serial. Every serial had one or several…although usually not so early in the series. Probably thought after introducing the robots in the first episode they had the kids hooked.

    And Lon Chaney Jr. was the Commander of Khan’s horse soldiers in “Undersea Kingdom”. He’s the one telling them to saddle up in the first one…his lines were later in the story (yes, I’ve seen the whole thing).

    As for Chaney “enjoying” Indestructible Man because of no lines to learn….

    This was around the time that he had bouts of drinking heavily. Wasn’t long before this that he was playing the Frankenstein monster on live television and the infamous bit where his monster was supposed to be rampaging through the lab…Chaney got mixed up (had been imbibing most of the day), thought they were still in dress rehearsal and instead of breaking up the furniture as he was supposed to he would pick stuff up and then put it back down gently (saving the trick furniture for the real scene, he thought).

    It’s probable that they made The Butcher a mute for the majority of the film just to make sure that it got finished and on time.

       2 likes

  44. Kathy says:

    BTW…

    Just after Indestructible Man, Chaney starred in an episode for a dramatic series as “The Golden Junkman”. It was about a Greek immigrant who after putting his sons through school decides to go to college himself.

    It’s available on a Chaney DVD set and it’s a must see for anyone who doubts Lon Chaney, Jr. acting talent. Should change your mind.

       0 likes

  45. dad1153 says:

    Stressfactor, Cubby, thanks for setting me straight on where the ‘Jimmy Smits’ mentions came from. I actually saw “Switch” in theaters back in the early 90’s, it was a bad flick (not funny) that I totally put off my mind as soon as it ended. Guess some of us MiSTie laymen better get acquainted with the ACEG book. :-)

       2 likes

  46. Kathy says:

    Oh…and speak of the devil…”I’m Dickens..He’s Fenster” is on DVD now.

    http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/imdickenshesfenstervol1.php

       0 likes

  47. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    I’ve seen this episode a bunch, it was an original member of my VHS collection of MST episodes taped off Comedy Central. I really like the opening and the Invention Exchange, and I agree that it’s hard to watch and not think of the Poopie-tape moments (include also, the closing with Mike/Kevin cops). I really like the “Cereal Novels” invention, I find the ‘American Psycho’ “controversial but all but forgotten” joke to be a little odd though, I guess because the book itself hasn’t been forgotten (it was made into an excellent movie in 2000) but because the controversy surrounding the book has been. I do find the Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ w/ Lucky Charms combo to be great. “It’s magically obscure!”

    The Host Segments are all good, but nothing that would show up in my all time faves list. The parade is nice, tho…


    RIFFS and THINGS:

    from Undersea Kingdom:

    about Billy,
    Joel: “You may remember him from the Cracker Jack box, they opened him up and found a prize inside.”

    Joel: “Jim Henson’s Birth of a Nation Babies.” —–One of the best of these jokes!


    from Indestructible Man:

    Lon Chaney screen credit,
    Crow: “He any relation to Dick Chaney?”
    Joel: “I don’t think so.”
    Crow: “Oh..” —-This too made me take note, had to look up and see what ol’ Dick was up to in ’92.

    the sounds warbles,
    Crow: “Sounds like the soundtrack is drunk.”

    Servo: “GE, we bring Lon Chaney to life!”

    Crow: “You see, it goes all the way to eleven.” —-Spinal Tap reference

    Servo: “Old Man Liver!!”

    Joel: “He’s got a saggy diaper that leaks!”

    Joel: “You bent my needle, you freaked out maniac!”


    Love the boring scene of the couple talking in the car, the snoozing sounds that J&tB do, very funny.
    Servo: “When is this scene going to end, I’m getting tired and cranky.”
    Crow: “Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!!” —–George C. Scott in ‘Hardcore’ reference.

    Chaney stabs own hand,
    Joel: “I think scissors beat hand.”

    close up on Lon’s eyes,
    Joel: “Lays Potato Chips, no one can eat just one.” —-So apropos of nothing, so funny!

    Joel: “This has all the suspense of a Brian De Palma version of a Hitchcock film.” —–BOOOOOOOO!!! Gotta disagree with Joel; I like De Palma’s early films, especially Carrie, Sisters, and Phantom of the Paradise.

    Joel: “Guess I’ll climb into this Metallica video.” —-For those that don’t know, in the scene, Chaney crawls into a drain pipe, similar to a shot in Metallica’s video for ‘The Unforgiven.’


    The “Saturday Mystery Movie” joke rears it’s head again, Joel complains, but Servo counters with Joel’s insistence on cop/doughnut jokes, which I guess leads to the contract signed at episodes end.

    stinger,
    Crow: “I’m the scariest clown in the circus!”


    Another solid Season 4 outing,
    4/5

       7 likes

  48. dsman71 says:

    im glad its on one of the MST3K volumes. Its a lot of fun and I do also enjoy the poopie segments – this episode is easy one to sit through and Undersea Kingdom is pretty cool – at least good imaginations of nothing else. Ive watched this and also watched it to help me snooze actually..since Ive seen all of the Joels several times I dont mind if I pass out watching..its relaxing to watch and if I pass out I can just play it again.
    Comparing this to Fu Manchu..hmm…Joel and the Bots were crying 75% during that episode…its actually one of the worst films theyve ever done – Id say in the top 5 worst films theyve done. Indestructible Man falls in those low budget campy black & white films that are harmless..

       3 likes

  49. Tom Carberry says:

    Just FYI, the “you freaked out maniac” line is from “The Boys from Brazil”, and is delivered by the teenaged Hitler-clone character.

       2 likes

  50. JCC says:

    @42 Someone was bashing Spider Baby? What a great movie…Mmm…Jill Banner…

       4 likes

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