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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: 814- Riding with Death

Movie: (1976) Two stitched-together episodes of the TV series “Gemini Man,” about a hero who gains the power of invisibility.

First shown: 7/19/97
Opening: Mike, who was once a teppanyaki chef, has a relapse
Intro: Pearl and company are under fire! She begs Mike for air support … and she gets it, and then some
Host segment 1: Tom sings about the 70s (and the 50s, too)
Host segment 2: Tom acquires a buttless truck driver body
Host segment 3: Crow is Turkey Volume Guessing Man!
End: Mike, Crow and Tom spoof the end of the film, while Pearl is weighed down with medals
Stinger: Jim Stafford is really happy!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (286 votes, average: 4.78 out of 5)

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• I like this one. The movie — two poorly spliced-together episodes of a forgotten ’70s TV series (a la “Master Ninja”) — is not painful to watch, but gives them plenty to work with. The riffing is great and the segments are mostly pretty good. So rock it, you turkeys!
• Kevin offers his take here.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “MST3K: Volume XXXVI.”
• The opening, with Mike as the mindless teppanyaki chef, is hilarious. “There’s about a 1-in-4 chance were gonna get out of this alive!”
• This episode is the last one in which Jim is listed as providing the voice and puppetry for Gypsy, but Gypsy isn’t in this one. I had thought that meant his last actual performance as Gypsy was the previous episode’s “Lord of the Dance” sketch, but a commenter corrected me. More on that in the next episode’s writeup.
• Daleism: During the bar fight, the big guy tries to punch Buffalo Bill, but his fist is held back by invisible Sam. He looks at his fist. Crow: “Thought I was Dale.” Big guy tries again, and is again held back. He again looks at his fist. “Again, I thought I was Dale.”
• I love the way Mike answers the phone in this episode. His cheery little “Helloo?” is great.
• Mike destroys his third planet so far this season. This sets up the premise for the segments in the next episode.
• Crow and Mike reenact a memorable moment from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
• A perfect example of the genius of this show is the scene early on in which four characters are just standing around explaining the plot. Not much to work with. Then they pick up on Ben Murphy’s boss compulsively wiping his (apparently filthy!) glasses and suddenly the otherwise dull scene is a riot.
• Tom’s songs about the 70s and the 50s are a lot of fun. “The apostle Paul traveled to Greece…”
• I think the “Tom’s trucker body” segment seemed funnier on paper. Nice job on the body creation, however.
• Tom still has his trucker body in the theater. Mike and Crow are already there.
• The Turkey Volume Guessing Man segment is another gem, another hilarious example of Bill’s slightly deranged Crow.
• The “Pearl gets medals” bit at the end is cute, but doesn’t really go anywhere.
• This movie has two completely baffling elements, which probably only made sense in the context of the series, context which is completely lost in the movie. First there’s this Elliot guy, who angrily, even bitterly, berates Driscoll, who I think is his boss. Why is he doing this? Is he working for Denby? Is he just naive? As the movie plays out, it becomes clear that Denby is exactly the elusive crime boss Driscoll thinks he is. But we never see Elliot admit he was wrong (though he does seem a bit less grouchy in a later scene — maybe by then he’s seen the light).
Then there are the shots of Abby in the lab, watching some sort of super duper camera feed (it can pan and change angles and do closeups). Apparently the makers felt the need to include Abby, but why? (Note: A commenter had a plausible explanation for this.)
• On a related subject, you’re not seeing things: two different actors appear as Driscoll: Richard Dysart portrayed Driscoll in the pilot (and is seen briefly in the flashback sequence, which was taken from the pilot), while William Sylvester played Driscoll in the series.
• Then current reference: Kelly Flynn.
• Callback: “Look, a couple of VAAAAAANS!” (“Giant Spider Invasion”)
• Cast and crew roundup: “Village of the Giants” also gives H.G. Wells an amusing story credit. Costumer Charles Waldo also worked on “San Francisco International.” In front of the camera, Ben Murphy was also in “Being from Another Planet.” William Sylvester was also in “Gorgo.” Ed Nelson was also in “Superdome,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “Night of the Blood Beast,” plus he did costumes for “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Austin Stoker was also in “Being from Another Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Brad, who has been listed as “Editor” on and off since season five, is listed as “Editor” for the first time this season, a credit that will continue until the end of the series. Bob Seabold begins a two-episode stint as grip. Intern Joseph Olson begins a four-episode stint; intern Meshach Weber begins a six-episode stint. The music for “The Funky Seventies” and “The Fifties” was written by Michael J. Nelson, with lyrics by Bill Corbett.
• Fave line: “Dear, sweet, homicidal Murray.” Honorable mention: “Okay, now, who wants their butts kicked first?”

210 Replies to “Episode guide: 814- Riding with Death”

  1. So many great riffs were in this episode. THey truly reached new levels of riffing in this episode. It’s a shame that it tends to get overlooked in discussions of “Best OF”

    But I have to ask, is this episode the first reference of Bobo’s undying love of the band Asia?

    Seriously, did Kevin just really love the band or was this someone getting a gag going for the sake of a funny gag?

       2 likes

  2. mstgator says:

    So, have any linguists translated what the hell Buffalo Bill actually says that sounds like “New England journalists”? I listened to it over and over and it’s still a mystery to me.

    During the Abby inserts in the second half of the “movie”, it’s also fun to watch the part in her hair switch sides occasionally (either they just flipped the frame to make it look like a new shot, or they pulled the shots from multiple episodes).

    “You think you can get a little more spittle on your fishy lips?”

       3 likes

  3. snowdog says:

    Awesome ep! One of the absolute best from the Mike era. Watching this time, I realized that, after Bobo plays a chorus of “Only Time Will Tell”, he breaks into “Flight of the Bumblebee”. That’s probably something of a callback to Mr. B-Natural when Buzz was playing something on the trumpet that sounded vaguely like it.

       4 likes

  4. littleaimishboy says:

    Great episode.

    I like that Buffalo calls Cupcake “Cupcake” not as a down-homey term of affection, but because she’s the Official Spokesmodel for the Auntie McFrank Cupcake Corporation, or some such outfit. He takes the trouble to explain it at some length. That’s the mark of a truly dedicated professional writing staff …

       3 likes

  5. wylliam says:

    The turkey stuff became too annoying for me after awhile (because I always hated that expression). But there are so many great parts, my favorite – “To whom it may concern, I’m breaking up with you and burning down the warehouse”.

       0 likes

  6. jjb3k says:

    I haven’t watched this one much – there’s a glitch in my digital copy where the sound gradually becomes more and more de-synchronized as the episode goes on, to the point where it’s a good two seconds ahead of the video by the end. And that’s a real shame, because this episode is hysterical.

    This has got to be one of the most astonishingly stupid movies MST3K ever did. It’s a weird combination of some of the ’70s-est behavior ever captured on camera (I’m so glad I wasn’t alive to witness this whole CB radio fad) and a horribly ham-fisted attempt to smash two episodes from the opposite end of “The Gemini Man”‘s run together into something not even remotely resembling a feature film. I mean, jeez, even Fugitive Alien and Master Ninja used episodes that aired right after each other.

    Mike and the bots absolutely kill this one. I think the stupidity of the movie must have gotten to the Brains in the writing room this week, ’cause there’s a lot of overt hostility in the host segments – everyone’s yelling and strangling each other and blowing up planets. It was probably therapeutic. “ARE YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR STUPID ROTTED SKULL, YOU DUMB MAN?!”

    I just can’t get over how baffling this “Gemini Man” show is. Like, why won’t that one guy stop cleaning his glasses? What made the director decide that “OP-TI-CAL IL-LU-SION!” was a good line read? And all the horrendously dumb editing tricks they used to staple these two episodes together into a “movie”, from face-slappingly obvious ADR (“You’re as elusive as Robert Denby!” – now that was just gratuitous) to Abby spying on Ben Murphy from purgatory. “Give it the ol’ college try!”

    All these elements come together to form one of the most delightfully surreal episodes of MST3K ever made. I’m hoping for a DVD release so I can replace that crummy digital copy, ’cause I’d really like to see this one again.

       7 likes

  7. stefanie says:

    This was the first official MST episode that my family and I watched. It is 100% perfect!! We watch this episode every Thanksgiving.

       4 likes

  8. Joseph Nebus says:

    @150 F Burroughs says:

    Why then, the running around in a high-tech Dodge van, why the car-racing enterprise, why blow up your own car, why during a race, why do they need to finish 3rd for an inspection (can’t they just inspect it themselves?), why does Intersect need to wait for the race to arrest Denby; why does Cupcake need to give herself to Buffalo, just to get him to drive the car, which he obviously wants to do anyway?

    I remember asking many of these questions on rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc back in the day and someone was good enough to have figured out the evil scheme in the car-racing story well enough to explain it and it all seemed to make sense. I forget what the answers were, although if there were someday a Google-like search engine competent to retrieve Usenet posts that might be able to dig it up.

    I’m pretty sure the entire point to Robert Denby blowing up his own racecar is that way he gets to blow up Jim Stafford, which I have to agree is worth all the bother of setting up a vast multinational criminal enterprise.

       4 likes

  9. Man, another classic! The mid-Season 8 series of greatness continues!

    This is a fan favorite (deservedly so) and when Shout! Factory finally gets around to releasing this one, there will be much rejoicing. Much, mellow rejoicing…

    Riding with Death is my favorite of the “TV-shows-made-into-movies” episodes. It’s the silliness and the redneckiness of it all that sells it to me, compounded by the outright 70s funk reverberating off of everything and everyone (despite it being the “future 80s”). Sam Casey is equally smug and mellow, a combination that has been rarely pulled off since the 70s (I should clarify: the NINETEEN-70s), and Buffalo Bill is equal parts doofus and cracker. Naturally, they make quite the formidable duo.

    The riffing is great in this one, the entire Truck-Sex scene (as recounted up at post #119: thanks Finnias Jones) is hilarious, and along with the camel toe jokes, I’d have to say this ranks as one of the “naughtier” episodes of MST.

    The opening with Mike as the crazed Japanese chef is one of the weaker moments of the episode (along with HS#2 and Trucker Servo), but we do learn that Crow is made of maleblirium(sp?). After that we get an unseen war going on down on the planet (with renegade war-like robots? So, this is a Terminator reference, right?) and some silliness with Bobo and Pearl, but my favorite is Brain Guy dressed as a nurse and that we find out that Observers are pacifists and that they “only kill out of personal spite.”

    And yeah. . . this planet destruction was TOTALLY Mike’s fault…… That million-mile-dead-eye-stare that he does is creepy man… that’s like the third time he’s done that… Just let it go, man. Let it go. . . . . .

    Also, in the closing segment, Pearl refers to Mike as “Mike Nelson: Destroyer of Worlds.” First use of that phrase??

    The song in Host Segment #1 is pretty funny but my favorite thing is Servo’s tracksuit. And HS#3 (following last week’s Crow as bear) finds Crow once again being weirdly affected by the movie. Turkey Volume Guessing Man shouldn’t work, but Bill really sells it, especially his disappointment in finding out that Mike is pretty good at turkey volume guessing as well.

    Up at post #92 I give some love to Andrew Prine, who I genuinely enjoy in a few exploitation B-movies, and I think his line of “NO! This can’t BE! You’re DEAD!,” has got to be one of the funniest lines in a movie full of (unintentionally) funny lines.

    I also got to give some love to the elusive Robert Denby. Actor Ed Nelson was in a bunch of Roger Corman movies, like A Bucket of Blood and Attack of the Crab Monsters (where he had an onscreen role and also played the crab monster) and all those other MST episodes that Sampo lists up in his Cast-and-Crew Roundup, and he was also in a really weird 1991 horror movie called The Boneyard that co-stars Phyllis Diller and a giant poodle monster… I wrote a review of the movie recently over at my blog…you can check it out (SHAMELESS PLUG) here: http://squealingtiresondirt.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-boneyard.html (SHAMELESS PLUG).


    RIFFS:

    Mike: “Intersect: making lines meet for over 50 years.”

    Crow: “Backstory database…”

    movie: “You got any idea who those turkeys were?”
    Crow: “Were they Butterballs?”

    Crow: “I’ll do a little pinch hit, pop in some Deep Purple, and get this secret government project on the road.”

    -sudden slo-mo-
    Mike: “Whoa..the acid kicked in.”

    Crow: “Operation: Camel Toe.”

    Crow: “Fade away jerk handshake.”

    Crow: “MEL-LOW OUT!”

    Servo: “They don’t call me Karl for nothing.”

    Crow: “The rare male camel toe.”

    Mike: “Hey don’t hit Marjoe Gortner!”

    Crow: “See, crackers and hicks CAN get along.”

    about Abby in the 2nd half of movie,
    Crow: “Is she in heaven, Mike?”

    Crow: “I like to get to the Weed Fest 8 months early.” —-this riff works two ways: one, they pull the car up into a field with a lot of weeds and stuff so it could be about the poor kept grounds, or two, it is a reference to smoking marijuana because it’s the 70s and that’s what people did back then. – Both work. –

    Mike: “All characters depicted are really stupid and disgusting.”
    Servo: “Any similarities to actual persons would be really sad.”

    WWOOOOO-HAAAAA, LAZY RIDER!
    WE GOT OURSELVES HERE A REGULAR
    CLASSIC EP-I-SODE!

    5/5

       6 likes

  10. Cornjob says:

    “My race is pacifist and doesn’t believe in war. We only kill out of personal spite.”

    I love this line. It reminds me a bit of a real story I heard about some Pacific island cannibals who, when told by anthropologists about the European concept of war, were horrified at the idea of killing someone you didn’t know and didn’t eat after killing. They thought it was barbaric.

    I think the phrase, “they just didn’t care” sums up the movie pretty well. Gemini Man comes across as being a bunch of pointless footage shot solely to fill air time when no one was expected to be watching. Then some genius mashed two episodes together with less care and precision than most people dump garbage and had the nerve to call it a movie. I never really even tried to follow the nuances of the 2nd half, and I like over analyzing things.

    What the hack was on those those glasses? Was the character trying to clean the tint off of some sunglasses?

    I think the actor who portrayed the annoying cracker sidekick played pretty much the same character in Any Which Way You Can, the Clint Eastwood film that was recently brought up during the discussion of Ape Movies on the camping/space children planet.

    Well, let’s sit back with a turkey sandwich after we chisel the congealed road tar off our glasses and enjoy the film.

       6 likes

  11. Sitting Duck says:

    So do you think Turkey Volume Guessing Man would fit in better with The Tick or Mystery Men?

       4 likes

  12. Depressing Aunt says:

    Oh yeah, it’s hilarious the way they tried to stitch these two episodes together. Let’s have ADR to explain Buffalo’s future plans to be a race car driver, or viewers at home will be totally lost. Let’s have ADR to explain the sudden mustache, or viewers at home will be totally lost. Then we have Abby observing the action from the void, because she is omniscient and uh…thingy! (It does TOO work, shut up!)

    I always notice that when a drugged-up Buffalo is tricked into talking about Intersect, he actually calls it “Intercept.” Whatever, this is just a fun episode, and I’ve watched it too many times. Excuse me, I’m about to go eat my own hand because I’m just that hungry.

       2 likes

  13. This Guy says:

    @159: Crow says he’s made of molybdenum, element number 42.

    Speaking of Usenet, this is the episode that gave us “DINOBOT HAS SPOKEN MY RIGID GRILL STRUCTURE.”

       1 likes

  14. @163:
    Thanks for the SCIENCE, guy!

       1 likes

  15. SOLDaria says:

    My BF and her boyfriend worked as indie pro-wrestlers for a while and were also super-MiSTies. The boyfriend wrestled sometimes as Ben “Turkey Killer” Murphy, his finishing move “The Riding With Death”.

       5 likes

  16. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Still one of my favorite episodes. Great lines, watchable “70s” movie, well paced, and they established the heck out of that building.

    Just a quick history lesson: This show was not a “6 million Dollar Man” ripoff as some have eluded too. Earlier in the decade (1975 I believe) there was a show called “The Invisible Man” staring former man from U.N.C.L.E., and current NCIS medical examiner, David McCallum. It was a one season wonder also and when the networks went to the “FOCUS GROUPS” (Arrrgh) they found the reason for the failure was no action, but audiences liked the idea of invisibility. So they took the invisibility idea, hired Ben Murphy, and the rest is a glorious set up for an MST3K episode.

    touches no one’s life, (post 142) was correct in that the limit of this invincible power was time. The watch would show how much time he had left and of course some episodes had him coming dangerously close to the expiration. This idea would be stolen, er I mean used again, by the Sci Fi channel in THEIR version of the Invisible Man in the early 2000s. It starred Vincent Ventresca. The show was good and the crew was at Comic-con touting their upcoming season when it was announced, to everyone BUT the cast, that the show had been canceled. It was interesting watching them continue with their press tour and signing autographs. AS good company of actors.

    Best Riffs for those of us who were actually IN the 70s:

    Gotta make sure I deliver this shipment of Billy Beer and Whip Inflation Now (WIN) buttons.

    Whoa, the LSD kicked it

    I’m some kinda gal (My daughter STILL uses this one).

       4 likes

  17. Hey guys, I think we will see this on DVD soon. Once Shout! takes care of The Thing That Couldn’t Die from Season 8, they will probably proceed with the other Universal titles: Riding With Death, Agent From H.A.R.M., and The Projected Man. (May also include San Francisco International. That might be Universal, but I can’t recall off the top of my head.)

       4 likes

  18. Dan in WI says:

    A lot of people seem to be upset with Abby’s ability to watch Ben Murhpy’s exploits remotely. That got me thinking what this epiode needed was some sort of Radar Secret Service callback. If it could be done then it stands to reason that surely Abby could so this same thing in the future.

       1 likes

  19. Dan in WI says:

    Come to think of it the peepers in Attack of the the Eye Creatures also had some pretty cool remote snooping technology. So come on here people. There is plenty of real world presidence for this.

       1 likes

  20. Angie Schultz says:

    #159 …the outright 70s funk reverberating off of everything and everyone (despite it being the “future 80s”).

    I love the first half of this movie. It’s like a concentrated pill of ’70s culture: the CB, the trucking, turkeys, the energy crisis, Sam’s bitchin’ chambray shirt, Abby’s Dorothy Hamel hair (been there, done that, didn’t have the hair for it), and the RIGHT ON handshake that Sam tries to lay on Dr. Hale when they first meet.

    But you get from the voice-over at the beginning that all this is supposed to be taking place in…1992! (Sam Casey was born in ’58. Ben Murphy was 34 when this was made. Assuming that Sam was supposed to be that same age, that would make the year 1992.) All those ’70s fads were supposed to be permanent fixtures of the culture in ’92. Aiieeee!

    Crow: “I like to get to the Weed Fest 8 months early.”

    Sorry to harsh your mellow, dude, but it’s the “WE Fest”.

       3 likes

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

    I’m mildly bemused at how many correspondents think that Driscoll’s glasses-cleaning is so odd. It’s called a QUIRK, people. It’s just something he does, like other people, heck, I dunno, crack their knuckles or fiddle with their hair or some such thing. Again, maybe it’s just something to keep his hands busy while he’s talking. At least one episode had a riff to that effect, with one of the guys giving some character the line “Uh-oh, what do I do with my hands?” OSLT. (in “The Sinister Urge,” I think) Or maybe it’s simply an outward sign of how uptight and un-mellow he is; he’s so obsessive-compulsive that even while he’s talking, he has to be tidying up SOMETHING, even if it doesn’t need any tidying up. Probably everything on his desk is at exact right angles…

    #162: Excuse me, I’m about to go eat my own hand because I’m just that hungry.

    In “Horror at Party Beach,” Crow mentioned that he’d eat his own head with drawn butter. LOTS of things going on with Crow…

       2 likes

  22. Angie: Even with a double correction, my mellow is unharshable. Keep on keeping on, sister. . .

       2 likes

  23. Depressing Aunt says:

    @ 171 It’s a funny quirk, and it’s nice that William Sylvester commits to his character in this way, being all eccentric and doggedly pursuing Robert Denby. There’s lots of crime procedurals in recent times in which this dude would fit right in. OP-tical illlloo-zionnn!

    Tom thinks his blossomed head would be pretty tasty, too, I think. Shoot, I can’t remember which episode, and I can’t remember if he gives in to cannibalism in that one. :)

       1 likes

  24. Abby says:

    I’m some gal.

       8 likes

  25. MSTie says:

    @152 — After listening to the “New England journalists!” exclamation a few times (here at 1:22:20 — http://www.club-mst3k.com/814-riding-with-death), I think it’s a clipped, mushy “You look like you’re enjoying this!” (Yew ek-lik [clip] jer-in-this!)

    Sadly, I do speak Cracker.

       4 likes

  26. pondoscp says:

    Easily one of the best episodes from the Sci-Fi era, if just for the movie segments alone.

       2 likes

  27. MSTie says:

    P.S. to my #175 comment. May be “You act like you’re enjoying this.” Makes slightly more phonetic sense.

       1 likes

  28. JohnnyRyde says:

    I’m hopelessly late to this, but this is my favorite episode. I didn’t have access to Comedy Central, so season 8 was the first time I could consistently watch the show (relied on VHS tapes until then). I knew I loved the show, but this episode was when I knew I’d be watching reruns of this show forever.

       1 likes

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

    So, who else here knows what “good buddy” REALLY means in trucker slang…?

    >>>MikeH says: Why take empty back roads to deliver this stuff, unguarded, in a civilian truck? I guess Intersect can’t afford their own airplane.

    Maybe they’re a just starting-out intelligence agency like back when NASA was just a car and a helicopter at a strip mall. Mike claimed that they’d been around for over fifty years but there’s no indication of how he arrived at that.

    >>>pablum says: What were they smoking in the 70s to get something like this produced?

    You should see some of the comic books from that era. Whatever it was, they weren’t just smoking it, they were pumping it in through the vents.

    >>>John M. Hanna says: Seeing Casey’s boss probably scratching the hell out of his glasses makes me think of all the dipsticks I’ve had to help over the years.

    “Dipsticks are rich; they’re in oil.” I’m quoting whom?

    >>>Ator In Flight says: Great episode. I like Tom’s “Goodbye Sister Driscoll” riff. Slightly obscure reference to The Who’s Who Are You album

    I thought it was some kind of “Sister Christian” reference. Shrug.

    >>>The Bolem says: But alas, in the one area where it should have been officially acknowledged, Michael Bay dropped the ball

    Michael Bay didn’t drop the ball. Michael Bay never had the ball. Michael isn’t within a hundred feet of the ball. Michael Bay doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with the ball.

    >>>Nicolletta says: Gotta love it when newly-invisible Sam is unwrapping the bandages from around his head…and there aren’t any air holes. :roll:

    (and here we go again…)
    Just how tightly do you folks think the bandages were wrapped? Not the characters, the bandages.

    >>>losingmydignity says: And Buffaloed Bill running into Gemnini Murphy again in another espionage situation (with the apparently not so efflusive Robert Denby no less) is a coincidence that would surely make even the ghost of Nabokov smile…

    Not in a TV universe.

    >>>Finnias Jones says: Still, anyone familiar with tranny disco singers from the (19)70’s could have corrected me first.

    There’s so much someone could say to that.

    >>>This Guy says: That they expected anyone to buy this crap, along with the blatant ADR lines, shows true contempt for the viewers’ intelligence.

    Well, remember, they were SEVENTIES viewers. The distinction is significant.

    >>>Jacob says: I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the spoiler Tom does near the very beginning, where, as the truck pulls out, he says “Hey, it fell over and exploded already!” This is before the viewers know that tripolodine breaks down and becomes an explosive

    This was back when a bullet striking a gas tank was like setting off a small non-radioactive nuke. It was just taken for granted that any kind of fuel would explode if not handled properly.

    >>>Smoothie of Great Power says: These 70s movies always look brown and drab. I keep asking people who grew up then if the world looked the same way.

    I was born in 1969 and was thus an impressionable child during the 1970s. Orange is my favorite color. Make of that what you can. ;-)

    >>>Dan in WI says: I’m not sure what Pearl was so upset about. She wanted a distraction right? She did get away, unpursued due to said distraction. Right? Where’s the problem?

    “You can’t destroy [that planet]! That’s where I keep all my stuff!”

    >>>frankenforcer says: man; if it stops being the Seventies, we’re all screwed.

    And it did, and we were.

    >>>This Guy says: @159: Crow says he’s made of molybdenum, element number 42.

    Should we thank him for all the fish, then…?

    :-)

       3 likes

  30. Loran Alan Davis says:

    Sampo – you forgot to mention in Cast and Crew Roundup that William Sylvester was also in Devil Doll.

       4 likes

  31. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Love this episode, probably in my top 5. The ’70s goofiness, the ’70s fads, bad made-for-TV action/inaction, and Ben Murphy doing what he does best — being Ben Murphy and being mellow. My favorite riffs are all the trucker/sexual innuendo slang phrases and the endless squeaky glasses-wiping sounds that Mike and the ‘bots make. That guy is wiping THE HELL out of his glasses!

       1 likes

  32. docskippy says:

    I love the movie and the riffing, but skip right over the host segments.

       0 likes

  33. Sitting Duck says:

    Riding with Death fails the Bechdel Test. Abby and Tina are the only female characters with speaking roles, and they never converse.

    Love how Brain Guy’s brain has a helmet in the Intro.

    Not sure why Riding with Death would be the Matthew Broderick Story. Did he rack up a bunch of DUIs?

    Considering typical L.A. traffic, thirteen hours from Torrance to Long Beach might be cutting it close.

    So is Carl in the employ of the bad guys (if so, it’s quite a coincidence that Sam stopped at that particular service station)? Or does he just get his jollies cutting brake lines?

    Curiously, there’s no comment on Tom losing his trucker body during the commercial break.

    So why would they have a stock car exhibition in East Berlin? You’d think all the capitalist pig dog corporate sponsorships plastered on the vehicles would give the commies hives.

    I could easily imagine Trace’s Crow doing Turkey Volume Guessing Man.

    The folks at Intersect sure love to live dangerously. During the exploding radio demonstration, the only apparent safety precautions are tinted goggles. Could you imagine all the shrapnel flying around, maybe hitting an artery?

    Was there a cut scene in the second half where it was indicated that the restraining order was revoked? Because if not, then wouldn’t the evidence gathered be inadmissible?

    The Ballyhoo interview with de Souza was a nice extra for the DVD. His convoluted path to Hollywood employment was an interesting tale.

    The Bolem:
    The result was the rather simple story of how Ulysses Solomon (U.S.) Archer, on the verge of adulthood and still mourning his deceased parents while raised by Poppa Wheelie and his wife Wideload, has his older brother taken from him one night as they’re run off the road by the “Blackrig” of the mysterious “Highwayman”, causing an accident requiring U.S.A.’s skull to be replaced with an experimental plate that can pick up C.B. transmissions (his “C.B. Skull” is essentially his superpower),

    Seriously? That’s C-list X-Men lame.

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    Also, in the closing segment, Pearl refers to Mike as “Mike Nelson: Destroyer of Worlds.” First use of that phrase??

    Looking back, I think it was first used in She Creature.

       2 likes

  34. thequietman says:

    Aaaannnd Step-ball-kick-change-GO!

    Was this one under a different rights agreement than the other Universal pictures that made up most of the first half of Season 8? Because I remember this one airing a lot during the final years of reruns. Good thing too because it led to lots of happy, hilarious memories to draw on between the final TV airing and it’s long-awaited Shout! DVD release.

    The host segments are hit-or-miss (Pearl as Patton while Bobo flails with what’s obviously a toy gun? Hit. Servo the Trucker? Meh…), but the movie itself is a grand slam home run. Having seen a few other episodes of ‘Gemini Man’ I really wish there had been a “Death Rides Again” or some other movie made from that show because it would have been such a wealth of riffing material.

    I love this episode…

    Fave riffs

    Start SEEING Ben Murphys!

    [Murphy puts hand on sun-baked metal trailer]
    Servo: *sizzling noises*
    Crow [deadpan]: Ow, this is hot…

    ‘Cupcake, call the smokies!’
    On what, the radiator?

    Buffalo: I figgered that out, but why?
    Servo [erudite]: Well, permit me to explain ‘whah’!

    [Buffalo’s singing]
    Ugh, listening to him is like flossing with a razor blade!

       1 likes

  35. jay says:

    I did a lot of highway traveling around the time this “movie” is set in and naturally I had a cb radio. Heading north out of Houston on I-45 one day there was a lot of the usual chatter about “smokies”, “clean and green”, etc. The FCC had just opened up the cb licensing procedure so EVERYBODY was blathering on channel 19. During a brief break a distinctive male voice came on the air and announced, “This is the Hairdresser here. Are you out there Epileptic Oyster?” The channel went dead silent as an overtly falsetto voice replied, “You got the Epileptic Oyster here, good buddy.” If they had written that into the script for Riding With Death even the target audience for that movie would have said, “That is BOGUS to the Max, man!”.

       4 likes

  36. docskippy says:

    Sitting Duck: Not sure why Riding with Death would be the Matthew Broderick Story. Did he rack up a bunch of DUIs?

    In 1987, while in Northern Ireland, Matthew Broderick caused a car crash, killing two people in the other car. He was fined $175 as a result.

       2 likes

  37. Johnny Drama says:

    Best of the Sci-Fi era. The remainder of season 8, well, the less said the better.
    But this one, the crown jewel of the Sci-Fi era.

       2 likes

  38. jjb3k:
    Mike and the bots absolutely kill this one. I think the stupidity of the movie must have gotten to the Brains in the writing room this week, ’cause there’s a lot of overt hostility in the host segments – everyone’s yelling and strangling each other and blowing up planets. It was probably therapeutic. “ARE YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR STUPID ROTTED SKULL, YOU DUMB MAN?!”

    Oh, don’t say that the Mike-era S8 was too cathartically hostile or gratuitously vicious in their riffing, people here might not LIKE you for it.

    Sitting Duck:
    So do you think Turkey Volume Guessing Man would fit in better with The Tick or Mystery Men?

    Well, considering that the Tick at least had the early proto-version of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, TVGM’s better off with the Mystery Men auditionees, like PMS Girl and Ballet Man.

    Sitting Duck:
    The Ballyhoo interview with de Souza was a nice extra for the DVD. His convoluted path to Hollywood employment was an interesting tale.

    And even for all of deSouza’s later crimes against action movies (well, Stallone’s Judge Dredd wasn’t that awful, considering the recent version), I refuse to say a bad word against the co-writer of the first Die Hard. Or the director of the Van Damme “Street Fighter”. :)

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    pablum says: What were they smoking in the 70s to get something like this produced?

    You should see some of the comic books from that era. Whatever it was, they weren’t just smoking it, they were pumping it in through the vents.

    This Guy says: That they expected anyone to buy this crap, along with the blatant ADR lines, shows true contempt for the viewers’ intelligence.

    Well, remember, they were SEVENTIES viewers. The distinction is significant.

    In 70’s TV–which, on HuluPlus, is starting to look better and better in our days of Thronie binges and network-finale drugpushers–Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman “Make your own superheroes” (basically Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman and Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno’s Incredible Hulk for network execs who didn’t read comics) was a license to print money, and basically How You Got Kid Viewers, 101.
    There were as many short-lived misses to fill SciFi Channel reruns as there were hits, and the “watch” thing was interesting, but David McCallum had the invisible-hero TV thing sewn up for the time.

    When you’re actually old enough to have lived through the 70’s and 80’s for real, not every single thing about them is milk-snortingly funny at the very isolated pop-mention of them.
    A fatal problem with the riffing in this episode, and didn’t do much for S11’s Avalanche, either.

    Next Poster says:
    Well, maybe you just need to MELLOW OUT!

    (…Say, that’s a good riff, wonder why they didn’t use it in the episode? ;P)

       2 likes

  39. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Apparently, in the actual TV show, part of the setup was that if Sam turned invisible for more than a total of fifteen minutes per day — or maybe it was more than fifteen minutes AT A TIME, I’m really not sure — he’d remain invisible forever. Since he seems to spend less than a total of five minutes being invisible in the course of two whole episodes, one of which (the racecar part) occurs over a period of SEVERAL days, I’m not sure how much of a problem that would’ve been.

    I actually remember the explanation they give in the original pilot.

    Basically, Sam is invisible from the moment the explosion hits him. The problem is, he’s on the verge of fully disintegrating. The watch gadget stabilizes his condition, keeping him visible and alive. He can switch it off for brief periods, becoming invisible again. However, if it’s off for more than fifteen minutes during any twenty-four hour period, he’ll lose consciousness and disintegrate. That becomes a problem in the full pilot and at least one other episode, but not in the “movie”.

    So, why can I remember than from decades ago, but it takes me several minutes to recall how much I spent on my lunch yesterday?

       9 likes

  40. McLargeHuge says:

    Not much to say, except BEST EPISODE EVER. That is all.

       6 likes

  41. littleaimishboy says:

    Lots of references to “as I said in post number [whatever]” in these discussions of seasons 0 through 10, aren’t there?

    Wonder what ever happened to the numbers.

    Oh well, maybe if nobody answers that we won’t notice they’re not there anymore.

       3 likes

  42. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Kenneth Morgan: I actually remember the explanation they give in the original pilot.

    Basically, Sam is invisible from the moment the explosion hits him.The problem is, he’s on the verge of fully disintegrating.The watch gadget stabilizes his condition, keeping him visible and alive.He can switch it off for brief periods, becoming invisible again.However, if it’s off for more than fifteen minutes during any twenty-four hour period, he’ll lose consciousness and disintegrate.That becomes a problem in the full pilot and at least one other episode, but not in the “movie”.

    So, why can I remember than from decades ago, but it takes me several minutes to recall how much I spent on my lunch yesterday?

    Hey, thanks for that. And I agree with you — why can I remember a sitcom theme song that I haven’t heard in 40 years but can’t recall something that happened yesterday?

       2 likes

  43. Johnny Drama says:

    littleaimishboy:
    Lots of references to “as I said in post number [whatever]” in these discussions of seasons 0 through 10, aren’t there?

    Wonder what ever happened to the numbers.

    Oh well, maybe if nobody answers that we won’t notice they’re not there anymore.

    Forget it Jake, it’s Number-less town.

       4 likes

  44. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Johnny Drama: Forget it Jake, it’s Number-less town.

    That was number five!

    Thanks, Big Jake.

    You think you can get some more spittle on your fishy lips?

    I love how Emperor Cupcake defends Buffalo when he’s called a “dumb” jerk. Don’t you call him no jerk!

    Well, better get back to my papers.

       1 likes

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

    The Original EricJ: Oh, don’t say that the Mike-era S8 was too cathartically hostile or gratuitously vicious in their riffing, people here might not LIKE you for it.

    Well, considering that the Tick at least had the early proto-version of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl

    Oh, no.

    No.

    No no no no no.

    Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, created by STEVE DITKO, debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #8 (January 1992). “The Tick vs. Education” first aired on November 24, 199*6*. Doreen Green is the Mark II version of NO ONE.

    Upon reflection, I’ll admit that I have no idea whether or not the Tick’s Squirrel Girl appeared in a comic book story “prototype” of the animated episode, let alone whether or not such a story was published prior to January 1992.

    Nevertheless, Steve Ditko ripping off Ben Edlund? Oh, I Don’t Think So.

    ;-)

    https://www.comics.org/issue/106093/

       3 likes

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

    Sitting Duck:

    Seriously? That’s C-list X-Men lame.

    Well, it’s not like anybody’s hoisting the EIGHTIES onto any pedestals around here…

    The word “obscure” gets thrown around a lot around here. The managers of the below site are MASTERS of the Obscure:

    http://www.marvunapp.com/list/appusone.htm

    Seriously, that’s the group’s designation:

    http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/appmasts.htm

    And (referring back to my preceding post) for several years, it was one of very few places on the internet that gave any love at all to Squirrel Girl. Her fortunes turned much for the better in 2005, of course.

    http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/sqlgrl.htm

    (The GCD says January 1992, marvunapp says Winter 1991, po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe…)

       1 likes

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

    I think Turkey Volume Guessing Man would be more suited to joining The Amazing Rondo, Coatimundi Man, and any number of others* in filling up space in the Fantastic One-Hundred-and-Eighty-Five.

    No one’s expressed an interest, but that won’t stop me! :-) Other super-based theatrical release, TV movies, and TV series of the 1970s include:

    The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972)
    The Six Million Dollar Man (1973; 1974-1978)
    Baffled! (1973)
    Men of the Dragon (1974)
    The Questor Tapes (1974)
    The Ghost Busters (1975) (oh, it’s TRUE…)
    The Invisible Man (1975-1976)
    Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976)
    The Bionic Woman (1976-1978)
    The Monster Squad (1976-1977)
    Ms. Magnificent (1977) (yes, it’s a porn film, so what?)**
    Abar the First Black Superman (1977)
    The Man with the Power (1977)
    Exo-Man (1977)
    The Man from Atlantis (1977-1978)
    The Clone Master (1978)
    Super Soul Brother (1979)
    Hero at Large (1980) (close enough)

    There was also a TV-movie about a government agency named… Intertect (1973). What are the odds.

    Kenneth Morgan:
    So, why can I remember than from decades ago, but it takes me several minutes to recall how much I spent on my lunch yesterday?

    It’s an observable phenomenon that people frequently remember things from their formative years with better-than-average vividness. That’s why it’s a legitimate concern as to what “impressionable children” are exposed to by the media; it’s IMHO not anything to PANIC about, but it IS a legitimate concern. If I could remember practical and important stuff nearly as well as I remember commercials from the 1970s, well…

    The Original EricJ:

    When you’re actually old enough to have lived through the 70’s and 80’s for real, not every single thing about them is milk-snortingly funny at the very isolated pop-mention of them.

    Well, I am, and I said nothing about “every single thing,” so it works out. :-) As comedian Harry Anderson once noted, “If you can’t laugh at yourself…you’ve never seen what you look like sleepin’.’

    And I am NOT kidding about 1970s comic books, particularly Marvel. Admittedly, a lot of it was Steve Gerber but not all of it.

    docskippy: In 1987, while in Northern Ireland, Matthew Broderick caused a car crash, killing two people in the other car. He was fined $175 as a result.

    Well, I’d heard that life was cheap in Northern Ireland, but…

    ===

    *The PRECISE number of others depends upon (1) how many Buttercats there are and (2) whether or not Dr. Doorknob’s Incredible Electro Magnetic Thing, Prof. Hitler’s Invisible Knee Machine, Perfect Paul’s Magnetic Spleen, and Bobby Van Luke’s Radioactive Sweater Vest qualify as sidekicks or paraphernalia. How ever so mildly odd that Leather Woman, Velvet Woman, and Weasel Woman, all of whom sound independent enough, were relegated to “and” status alongside Sergeant Spike, Super Dana Andrews, and Steakface, respectively, when it seems like they could just as easily stand on their own as Super Kim Cattral Woman. And I think I just officially gave the concept of the Fantastic One-Hundred-Eighty-Five more thought that the Brains ever did. ;-)

    **one might reasonably think that there were a noticeable number of 1970s super-hero porn films, but detail remain elusive

       5 likes

  48. Sitting Duck says:

    Yeti of Great Danger: why can I remember a sitcom theme song that I haven’t heard in 40 years but can’t something that happened yesterday?

    It’s worse if you can remember the song but not the title of the show.

       1 likes

  49. touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    No one’s expressed an interest, but that won’t stop me! :-) Other super-based theatrical release, TV movies, and TV series of the 1970s include:

    The Eyes of Charles Sand(1972)
    The Six Million Dollar Man (1973; 1974-1978)
    Baffled! (1973)
    Men of the Dragon (1974)
    The Questor Tapes (1974)
    The Ghost Busters (1975) (oh, it’s TRUE…)
    The Invisible Man (1975-1976)
    Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (1976)
    The Bionic Woman (1976-1978)
    The Monster Squad (1976-1977)
    Ms. Magnificent (1977) (yes, it’s a porn film, so what?)**
    Abar the First Black Superman (1977)
    The Man with the Power (1977)
    Exo-Man (1977)
    The Man from Atlantis (1977-1978)
    The Clone Master (1978)
    Super Soul Brother (1979)
    Hero at Large (1980) (close enough)

    (tweet!) Flag on the play!–No Saturday-morning live-action series in a discussion of prime-time’s techno-super obsession! If Shazam, Isis, or Bigfoot & Wildboy was mentioned, we’d have to award a penalty!

    But yes, any superhero shows that didn’t want to follow Batman ’66’s lead in being “campy” (like the first season of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman desperately tried to), and capture the growing interest in space, computers and UFO’s that Star Wars or Christopher Reeve hadn’t yet hitched up to a cart yet, Six Million Dollar Man, and other super-Misfits of Science, was a network’s easiest road to the 70’s “Science-fiction” demographic they’d lost after canceling Star Trek.
    Here, if bionics, alien strangers or radiation accidents were sci-fi “possible” in the 70’s, well, they weren’t campy, then…..Mmmuch.

    (And while Steven DeSouza only wrote the one Gemini Man episode featured in the movie, he did also go on to create “The Powers of Matthew Star” for NBC–But that was 1983, so that’s way outside the timeframe. No Knight Rider discussions allowed in a 70’s-show discussion.)

    It’s an observable phenomenon that people frequently remember things from their formative years with better-than-average vividness. That’s why it’s a legitimate concern as to what “impressionable children” are exposed to by the media; it’s IMHO not anything to PANIC about, but it IS a legitimate concern. If I could remember practical and important stuff nearly as well as I remember commercials from the 1970s, well…

    The fact that we CAN remember corny TV-shows and commercial lines with unsettling clarity–and our cringing embarrassment that we can, and we’re not the only ones who can (yep, I’ve got clear memories of Monday nights)–is the very founding principle of the Joel-era humor of the CC show.
    Without this bit of mental wiring, well…what are we? Just a bunch of Bill Corbetts sniggering over expired pop-lore 80’s lyrics that people in bell-bottoms, big hair and painted VANS musta listened to?

    And I am NOT kidding about 1970s comic books, particularly Marvel. Admittedly, a lot of it was Steve Gerber but not all of it.

    Let’s be honest, comics were a mess before the 80’s. A different kind of mess, but not the same kind that you’d think of from John Byrne, Todd MacFarlane or Chris Claremont.

       1 likes

  50. Also:

    The Original EricJ: The fact that we CAN remember corny TV-shows and commercial lines with unsettling clarity–and our cringing embarrassment that we can, and we’re not the only ones who can (yep, I’ve got clear memories of Monday nights)–is the very founding principle of the Joel-era humor of the CC show.
    Without this bit of mental wiring, well…what are we?Just a bunch of Bill Corbetts sniggering over expired pop-lore 80’s lyrics that people in bell-bottoms, big hair and painted VANS musta listened to?

    (I mean, when that David Hasselhoff song from “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” couldn’t even seem to tell the Disco 70’s apart from the Big 80’s, and thought it was just one big nebulous formless amoeba-like globule of Decade-Shame, we’ve got major problems.)

    jjb3k: I think the stupidity of the movie must have gotten to the Brains in the writing room this week, ’cause there’s a lot of overt hostility in the host segments – everyone’s yelling and strangling each other and blowing up planets. It was probably therapeutic. “ARE YOU COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR STUPID ROTTED SKULL, YOU DUMB MAN?!”

    One might want to refer back to:

    CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin.

    for a possible explanation as to everyone in selected S8 & 9 host segs seems to inevitably end up screaming like psychotic axe-murderers.

    And only recently going back to finish up my old unbought Shout DVD boxsets (yep, gotta stock up on the bottled water and canned food, if there ain’t gonna be no more… :( ), just happened to be watching back over 405, “Being From Another Planet”, and…remember when the worst you could say about Ben Murphy were endless strings of jokes about “Alias Smith & Jones”?
    There’s a 70’s show even I don’t remember!

       1 likes

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