Movie: (1956) When the chickeney Phantom of Krankor attacks Japan, a slim-hipped hero arrives to save the day.
First shown: 8/16/97
Opening: Crow and Tom’s “Dog and Bear” game gets out of hand
Intro: Bobo, then the Widowmaker, then the SOL are dragged into a wormhole
Host segment 1: M&tB are unstuck in time
Host segment 2: Mike is transformed into a small robot
Host segment 3: The wormhole deposits M&tB in a rather lovely sylvan glen
End: All seems normal again on the SOL (except for the presense of Krankor), but Pearl and Observer have arrived on Earth in Roman times!
Stinger: The Phantom says: “Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah!”
• Bridget’s take on this episode is here.
• Of course, with this episode, into the wormhole we go. And while the “Roman times” story arc is, in my view, a mixed bag at best (more on that starting next time), this episode, which takes place in the wormhole itself, is one of the best of season 8. The movie is profoundly stupid and feels very season-three-ish, the riffing is excellent and the host segments are clever and fun.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 7.
• References. http://www.annotatedmst.com/episodes/princeofspace/index.htm
• Is that “dog and bear” dialog from something? (A commenter suggested it was inspired by Jack London’s “Call of the Wild.”)
• “I like it very much!” became an immediate catchphrase and soon appeared on an MST3k bumper sticker.
• Some fans got a bit fed up with all the Japan bashing in this episode, and while I don’t agree that it was as bad as they made out, I WILL acknowledge that this show has FOUR “cram school” jokes.
• Did you enjoy the “Hardrock and Coco and Joe,” reference. Watch the whole thing here.
• Also: When there is a high-pitched, evil laugh, Crow intones “Rrrrraceway Park!” that’s a reference to radio commercials for this drag racing venue. I assume that riff came from Bill, who at this point replaced Frank as the source of East Coast references.
• Kudos to the Brains on getting the complicated time lag sketch right! That must have been tough to write! After the sketch, Mike and Tom are already in the theater and Crow, still lagging, joins them.
• Robot Mike does a theater segment. I like a nice detail on the Mike puppet in theater—he has a headset!
• Very typical of this show, when Mike returns as himself, he simply announces that he “got better.” Nuff said!
• Callback from the old days: a Gamera reference!
• Note that the door sequence leading to the “sylvan glen” segment ends with a real bone slamming over a wooden door. The segment is a little startling: It reminds you how studio-bound the show was. I don’t remember where I saw this, it may have been one of the Scifi.com IRC chats, but at some point one of the Brains said that the sylvan glen was only a short walk from the studio. I believe that. The area around the studio was definitely a mix of office park and what I presume was as-yet-undeveloped former farm land.
• That’s Bill as Krankor, or course.
• Cast and crew roundup: The producer of the American version, Walter H. Manley, did likewise for “The Green Slime. Screen writer Shin Morita also wrote–dull surprise–“Invasion of the Neptune Men.”
• Creditwatch. That’s Kevin, of course, as Callipygeas (which roughly means “fat ass”) and Bridget as Favia. Kevin produced and directed. Andrea Ducane did hair and makeup for every season 8 episode except this one, when one Sharon Davis filled in. Mike Parker is back as grip (after two episodes off) and will be for the rest of the season. John Simms, who had an “SFX/foley” credit for six episodes earlier in the season, reappears as “boom operator,” which will continue for the rest of the season.
• Fave riff: “Oh, fer cryin’ out loud … EACH OF YOU…” Honorable mention: “Oh the inanity!” “Oh the Japanity!”