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Sampo & Erhardt

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Episode Guide: 411- The Magic Sword

Movie: (1962) A knight tries to save damsel from an evil sorcerer with the help of his magical foster mother.

First shown: 8/29/92
Opening: Joel fancies himself a caricature artist
Invention exchange: J&tB demonstrate their Big Gulp berets; The Mads have created designer bio-hazard absorbent throw pillows and Frank performs a one-act play to explain them
Host segment 1: J&tB present their commercial for Basil Rathbones for dogs
Host segment 2: Joel, Gypsy and Crow, in medieval costumes, present a pageant on life in the middle ages, but Tom ruins things
Host segment 3: Crow sings: “Estelle”
End: J&tB discuss words you can’t say on TV, Joel reads a letter, TV’s Frank’s not looking good
Stinger: Estelle’s two-headed assistant
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (174 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)


• I agree with Joel (in the theater), Tom (in a host segment) and Paul (in the ACEG): this movie is not that bad for a Bert I. Gordon movie, which makes the whole affair more watchable. The riffing is decent and the host segments are fun. This one may not be great, but it’s very good.
• This episode was included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXVI.”
• RiffTrax has re-riffed this movie.
• In the opening bit, Trace and Kevin must have been crouching in front of the SOL set. Probably uncomfortable.
• That’s Maili Nurma, aka Vampira, as the enchantress/hag who tempts the Frenchman.
• Nice cartoon sound effect as the needle is removed from Frank’s neck.
• I love the phrase “criminally-priced spring water.” It hasn’t gone away.
• One thing I’ll say for about this episode, it answers at last the question of who Merritt Stone is … he’s the guy who plays “King Grady.”
• Callbacks: “Hey, it’s the Undersea Kingdom…” “I say it’s foggy!” (The Crawling Eye), “Ya got me!” (Catalina Caper), Crow imitates Del Moore from Catalina Caper, “I’m so sleepy I can barely keep awake!” (The Hercmeister) “Hikeeba” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet) and “…Happy king…” (Mr B Natural).
• Joel mentions a “Jane Fonda video.” It’s been decades since she’s made one, so a lot of people may not remember that Fonda was once the queen of exercise and fitness videos.
• Joel does another overt religious (or Biblical at least) riff: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
• As they head out of the theater toward segment 1, they start talking about the host segment they’re about to do. I like when they do that. Adds continuity.
• Great reference: “They’re packed with bits of Nigel Bruce!”
• Note the LOTR reference before LOTR references were commonplace.
• Crow’s song is easily a highlight, though I confess I like Tom’s list of people better looking than Estelle ever better. (However, hate to break it to Tom, but Jesus Jones is not a person.)
• Alas, Crow’s love was not to be. Estelle died in 1984.
• Joel mentions Ashwaubenon High, his alma mater.
• While reading the letter, Joel actually says “keep circulating the tapes.” I think it’s the only time he ever did that on the show.
• Poor Frank at the end — and, hey, didn’t something very similar happen to Dr. Erhardt?
• Cast and crew roundup: Of course, we’ve already suffered through Bert I. Gordon’s “King Dinosaur,” “The Amazing Colossal Man,” “Earth Vs. The Spider” and “War of the Colossal Beast.” In the future we’ll get “Tormented,” “Beginning of the End” and “Village of the Giants.” Scriptwriter Bernard Schoenfeld also wrote “The Space Children.” Cinematographer Paul Vogel also worked on “Village of the Giants.” Editor Harry Gerstad also worked on “Rocketship X-M.” Costume guy Oscar Rodriguez also worked on “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” and “The Phantom Planet.” Assistant director/production manager Herbert E. Mendelson also worked on “She Devil.” Art director Franz Bachelin worked on “Village of the Giants.” Set designer George R. Nelson worked on “Code Name: Diamond Head.” Score composer Richard Markowitz also worked on “Stranded in Space.” In front of the camera, Gary Lockwood has a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” role in “Kitten With A Whip.” Angelo Rossitto also appears in “The Corpse Vanishes.” And don’t get me started about Jack Kosslyn and Merritt Stone.
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim. Crist Ballas did the hair and makeup, the only episode he worked this season. “Ode on Estelle” was written and arranged by Mike and Paul. “Ammendment” is misspelled.
• Fave riff: “Just came to freak you out, baby…” Honorable mention: “Ga-nish!”

104 Replies to “Episode Guide: 411- The Magic Sword”

  1. Prime Minister Jm J. Bullock says:

    Enough Charles In Charge, I need to get to work on that hearty new strain of dysentery.


  2. trickymutha says:

    My GF was a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)- if follows she loves Medieval (on your ass) themed films. This one, along with 703 and 913 are an excellent trio for our viewing. This film is also the closest to a Children’s film- and, that works well for Joel. Dearly love this one.


  3. Captain Cab says:

    Bert I. Gordon movies and medieval/fantasy flicks make for great episodes and this is no exception. The thing I like about Gordon is even though his movies are so cheesy, he always seemed to put a nice amount of real effort into their production. This is a nicely shot movie for the time. Not much else I can add that hasn’t been covered, very good riffing and fun skits, the movie and the show just compliment each other. The Brains are obviously medieval fantasy geeks and they have a lot of fun with it which is infectious.

    Just wanted to also note that the fate of the villain having his head magically removed by the sorcerer and instantly mounted on the wall is a pretty creepy and disturbing visual for an old fantasy movie.


  4. cvbwe says:

    >Just wanted to also note that the fate of the villain having his head magically removed by the sorcerer and instantly mounted on the wall is a pretty creepy and disturbing visual for an old fantasy movie.
    Yeah, like some “Stardust The Science Wizard” stuff.


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