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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: 901- The Projected Man

Movie: (1966) A scientist builds a teleportation device and tests it on himself. It doesn’t go well.

First shown: 3/14/98
Opening: The SOL exits the wormhole; they’re back orbiting the Earth in the present
Intro: Pearl arrives at Castle Forrester, the Forrester ancestral home; she decides to move in
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom have invented a projecting machine–or have they?
Host segment 2: Mike tries to convince Lembach to stay; Pearl learns more family history
Host segment 3: Crow acquires the Touch of Death, and accidentally kills Mike
End: Tom and Crow vie to get funding from Mike’s new foundation; while in Castle Forrester Pearl rededicates herself to taking over the world
Stinger: Lembach is staying!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (252 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)


• There are many terrific episodes ahead of us in season nine, but, in my view, this is not one of them. The riffing is steady and most of the riffs make me smile, but there are too few real gut busters. The host segments are clever but not really memorable. And the movie … you know, it may actually be a little TOO good. Plus, there was a terrible technical screwup for the debut. All in all, a less-than-rousing start to the season.
• Paul’s take on this one is here.
• The stretch between the end of season 8 and the beginning of season 9 was 98 days, the shortest amount of time MSTies had to wait between seasons.
• This episode is included on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXX.
• One reference not in the list: Rosemary Woods.
• During the debut of this episode, as soon as M&tB headed into the theater, viewers could tell something was wrong. Essentially, it sounded like their individual mics were off, and all the riffing was being picked up by one mic that was about 10 feet away. Surprisingly, it took online fans a couple of days of complaining before BBI or Sci-Fi Channel would even acknowledge that there even WAS a problem. Eventually, the problem was fixed, but it would be 4-and-half months before the cleaned-up version made it to air. (Incidentally, somebody in the comments said that he/she recalls that “getting warned a day or so ahead of the premiere that there was an audio issue in the theater” and that it may have come from this site. I don’t have any memory of the former and I very much doubt the latter.)
• This movie is a bit overwrought, and the premise is wacky, but it’s not dreadful. Perhaps the worst aspect, in terms of watching it on a regular TV, was that it was that it was a wide-screen movie, forcing the print to resort to some major “pan and scan” — as Tom mentions at one point. You can tell what you’re in for with the very first frame of the movie when the studio logo is seriously elongated.
• Of course, the most notable plot development of this episode was the arrival of the Castle Forrester premise. I remember thinking on a previous viewing that the bit with organ — in which Pearl sits down to play but can only pound out baseball stadium tunes — went on a bit long. But on this viewing, it seemed okay and pretty funny.
• Callback: “Mitchell!” “And bring some ham” (and several other lines from Devil Doll).
• Turns out St. Blaise really is a patron of the throat, but who knew Mike was Catholic? Or maybe it’s just his relative that is?
• After Mike is killed by Crow’s “touch of death,” the bots drag his lifeless body back into the theater and prop him up for some of the riffing.
• There are not one, not two, but three Pink Floyd references: a mention of “Mister Floyd…”, a little chorus of “Pigs” and an observation that a shot of a factory belonged on a PF album cover.
• A character says “You cahn’t!!” in a very English accent and Tom asks: “What’d she call him?!” Pretty spicy!
• You can clearly see there’s no wine in the bottle during the last host segment.
• As the final segment ends, Pearl firmly re-establishes why she’s sending movies to Mike. I have a suspicion the suits asked for this.
• Cast and crew round up: Surprisingly short, considering how many British movies they did. Sam Kydd was also in “Moon Zero Two.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. For many seasons there was a post production “coordinator” but beginning with this ep Brad becomes post production “supervisor.” (I suspect he was the one stonewalling — and eventually taking the blame — for the audio snafu.) The entire season of episodes is produced by Kevin. Jim is executive producer and that’s it.
• Fave riff: “Oh sir! Finally!” Honorable mention: “I declare this movie suddenly great!”

146 Replies to “Episode guide: 901- The Projected Man”

  1. This Guy says:

    I usually give positives to the Brains for their efforts, and I still will here, even though the first Castle Forrester segment feels far too long. If only the Sci-Fi Channel had eased up on letting them do shorts, we might not have had that problem. Still, the episode is a real letdown after the awesomeness that was the conclusion of Season 8. The riffing tries, but as has been mentioned, the movie is dull beyond belief. It contains in its c. 80 minutes of screen time only enough incident to fill about 15 minutes. When M&TB got up for Segment 3 I thought for about a minute that it was only the midway point of the film (forgetting temporarily that they’d already done the second movie sign) because virtually nothing had happened in the movie to that point.

    They also used the same gag in The Film Crew’s take on “Killers from Space,” and in a similar vein, there’s their sarcastic singing of the James Bond theme throughout “Agent for H.A.R.M.”


  2. fathermushroom says:

    I liked it okay. I still watch it now and again. Sheila is nice.

    Like others, I’d almost pay money to find out why the boss didn’t want Paul’s experiment to succeed. Makes no sense.


  3. Cornbred says:

    Had to give this one a 2, despite the presence of underwear. Not that I think it is all that unfunny (I enjoy almost all of them), it just pales in comparison to the episodes surrounding it.


  4. Fantagor says:

    Count me in the minority of people who like this episode. It’s not in the top ten, but it sure beats the dreary slowness of anything during Season 1. And Shelia is in her underwear.



  5. Cornjob says:

    I think this is the first of the “Paul” monsters. The Wurwilf from Werewolf and the man-bat from It Lives by Night were to follow. Any More?


  6. kismetgirl88 says:

    As much as the Chase through space” was fun and had some good jokes and set up and nice planets. It must been pain for MST3k to make another set, just for few shows just make another one. Plus Mst3k was not big budget show. If ever heard anyone talk about it the Puppets would fall apart allot, movie where gotten cause they were cheep or free, etc. Castle Forrester though was kind like Deep 13 (I think was meant to be) was cost cutting move.
    Plus Mst3k crew never like whole plot/arc idea going over there show since there show only shown in order once and only once. And There were no Dvd box set yet back the (Strange but true). If Episodes did come out it would be on VHS tape. So I think MSt3k crew took first shot to kill whole plot of “Chase in space” thing they could. And bring it to earth present time did give Trace, Joel, and Frank a chance to guest star (sure only two them did, but it is better than nothing.)
    I like Castle Forrester.


  7. The Bolem says:

    #55: Meteor Man–I mean the Gorn–I mean the guy in Track of the Moon Beast was also a Paul.

    On that note, was Devil Fish the only one with a Peter, and did he get robbed a lot?

    “Pasty-Labs (TM), where nothing is distinct!”


  8. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    #55Cornjob – I’m pretty sure it was Johnny in It Lives by Night. But he does have the same spirit as a Paul.


  9. Finnias Jones says:

    In the intro, having left the wormhole and back in “present time” Crow sez: “Our own time? Cool, we can see Ethan Hawke movies again!” (everyone cheers, then have second thoughts)

    This was especially funny to me because just this week I saw “Daybreakers”, a decent horror/sci-fi flick starring Ethan Hawke (still as wooden as ever). So this leads me to wonder if the Earth the SOL is orbiting is 1997 (when they first entered the wormhole), 1998 (when this episode aired), 2010 (when EH is still making movies), or the undetermined year “in the not so distant future” when Mike was first sent into space.

    As for this episode, it’s not a favorite, but at least it’s in color. And I like Bryant Haliday, wish he’d made more films. He co-founded Janus Films which immediately increases my respect for him.


  10. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but having a villian named Paul ranks right up there with a hero named Kevin (who drives a prune-colored muscle car).


  11. Markedman247 says:

    Honestly, I like this episode.

    I actually believe that “The Projected Man” shout was actually happening while the heroine/exGF was talking about Paul to the bland assistant there by projecting her feelings to that guy. So, it may not just be the random yell of the title vs the humdrum tedium of the film.

    I think my favorite riffs are:
    As mentioned previously “the Tin of whoopass”
    The British version of “Warriors! Come out and play-ay.”
    The “Cram it line.”

    As for the plot as to why someone would want Paul to fail, it pretty much is so that they could steal the records and come out with the same project. Simple as that. I am unsure as to why there was a Bond Villain with a cat outside of that capitalize on the Bond theme of the era.

    Oh, and Shiela may be a grand mother of many years by now, but back then she had it going on.

    Now let me get back to my henna rinse.


  12. Clint says:

    I still remember the Kahlua ad with “Brown Sugar” being played over it.


  13. Clint says:

    As for the audio problem, I have both versions taped and now transferred to DVD. I think it’s part of the show’s history.


  14. Nicias says:

    So many good episodes were covered while I was away on my winter holiday!

    This one however, is not the most exciting episode. Like the Deadly Bees, this film isn’t so much awful as it is tepid. The acting is competent and the film is technically acceptable, but it mainly just sits there, offering no real thrills. Mike and the bots struggle a bit with it as a consequence. The Lembach thing felt pretty forced to me.

    This will undoubtedly be a minority opinion, but I liked the switch to Castle Forester. The endless chase premise was unsustainable, and the new set allowed them to return a familiar and successful format. Pearl’s half-baked experiments and absurd conclusions (“robot misidentified candy bar”) had a similar feel to the old invention exchanges. The new format also had to spend less time establishing new locales (with mixed success, eg Roman Times) and more time showcasing the great character interactions between Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy (especially the latter!).

    Favorite character in this film: Sheila (fairly obvious)


  15. pablum says:

    I preferred the switch to Castle Forrester due specifically to the reason the Brains didn’t like the season-long storyline stuff. I had no idea what was going on when I was originally watching MST3K’s season eight. I watched the show, but I would miss a week or there would be a re-run of an episode I hadn’t seen before and I was clueless as to why Pearl, Bobo, and Brain Guy were wherever they were or what they were doing. MST3K does not need a storyline and shoehorning one in left me very lost.

    I only understood season eight through reading online material on it and acquiring access to online copies of the show that allowed me to see the season as it was originally intended.

    The Castle Forrester setting took the show back to where it needed to be, for me anyway. If only to make the series make just the slightest bit more sense.


  16. #1 post, MigelDotCom, mentioned the mysterious hum-diddy-he-he-hoo-hah tune Observer and Bobo march to at the end of the episode: nice observation! :)


  17. Uncle Beeel says:

    I enjoyed the Devil Doll callbacks. And it seems like I find a new one each time I watch it.


  18. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Season 9 is a mixed bag and this is a fair-to-meh episode; not as good as some of the gold they mine later in the season (Werewolf, Final Sacrifice) but definitely not the worst of the season (Phantom Planet and/or Space Children). I think the British-ness of The Projected Man is too much to overcome, but the movie and the riffing both pick up after The Great Vorelli projects himself and get all monstrafied, but unfortunately it’s not enough to save this from being a less than memorable experiment. Oh, but I think that the hot little number bouncing around her apartment in her undies is real nice.


  19. RockyJones says:

    Just watched this one the other day. I agree that on the whole, it’s mostly a middling episode. The host segments feel a little forced, and the movie is one of those that seems to go on for about nine hours instead of ninety minutes, but it does have a few hilarious, memorable moments.

    Like a few others, I’m always baffled at how they never take any time to explain the motivation for this handful of shady, foppish men who are trying discredit Paul and his discovery, or what they hope to gain from it. I dunno…having never seen it “un-riffed”, maybe there was a scene clarifying it early in the film that the Brains decided to edit out for time or something. If not, then it’s a pretty sloppy flaw on the part of the filmmaker and/or the screenwriter. But then, of course, there’s also that whole question of why Sheila needed to take her clothes off because her eyes hurt…(?) (“I believe this is NOT gratuitous!”)

    A few of the moments that always make me laugh out loud:

    “Hallo there”…..”Got any salad cream?”

    “Go away! I’m chatting up the freak!”

    Paul: “You just want me out of the way!”…..Mike: “You ARE out of the way!”

    “Mr. Limpy”

    “Can I get on?”….”Sure, he’s dead, but knock yourself out!”

    “You want me to destroy myself!”….”Oh, would you Paul? That would be just smashing!”

    And…I’m SO glad others have pointed out the trend of naming the leading men/monsters in so many of these movies “Paul”. Coincidence….or something more….? You decide!


  20. Thanks for helping me realize another Fawlty Towers reference, RockyJones. I forget which episode it is but Basil gets into an argument with a spoiled brat kit over salad cream, so that is very a likely reference to that moment.


  21. Wampa Joe says:

    I’m one of those who rather dislikes Castle Forrester. When they first arrived I thought this was merely to be the next location in the endless chase, where they would spend four-to-six episodes doing old gothic horror archetypes before moving on. Then, around episode three, when they weren’t actively exploiting the setting, I started to realize it was the new status quo.

    While I agree that the endless chase must have been costly (although several of the planets actually had no set at all… the Observer world and Camping Planet were both empty rooms creatively disguised), this felt like a step down and the energy of the Pearl segments suffered as a result. Pearl as mad scientist never really worked for me. They had finally hit on a golden concept for the character (space trucking trailer park queen), but here it felt like they threw up their hands and tried to make her Clayton Forrester 2.0.


  22. Brandon says:

    Incidentally, Tracy Crisp, who plays Sheila, was in another crappy British film:

    “Inspector Clouseau” (1968) starring Alan Arkin.


  23. Warren says:

    This one was OK, but it does drag. There was a reference to a Duran Duran video, was that referring to a specific music video, and if so which one?
    SCENIC LONDON! (as we see a mild suburb with 1-story buildings)


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

    Much like the Sci-Fi era SOL and the Comedy Central era SOL, Castle Forrester is a bleak, depressing alternative to an earlier, colorful environment. IMHO.

    So, since Pearl’s ancestors are Forresters (instead of whatever her maiden name is), does that mean she gave Dr. F out of wedlock? Did Dr. F’s father die before he was born? Surel, Pearl could have kept her maiden name after marriage, but it would be unusual for her son to also go by her maiden name, wouldn’t it? Then again, it was unusual that her son’s full name was “Clayton Deborah Susan Forrester,” so I should probably just relax…


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

    that should be “gave birth to Dr. F”…


  26. GizmonicTemp says:

    This is about the time that the host segments were in full suckage. Well, at least on the ground they were. I couldn’t really care less about Pearl’s ancestory. Even on the SOL, it was a relative rarity that host segs would concern the movie. That’s why the seg where Mike calls Lembach is so refreshing! Such a little thing, milked for all it’s worth and much more!


  27. Tim S. Turner says:

    “C’mon, now. Don’t go mucking about…..” WTF?!?


  28. RockyJones says:

    “Yeah…she’s laying there electrocuted by a guy with the touch of death, and she’s ‘mucking about’.”


  29. RockyJones says:

    #70: Smoothie Of Great Power…

    I agree…that’s GOTTA be a Fawlty Towers reference.

    Spoiled Brat: “I want salad cream!”
    Brat’s mother: “He’s very clever…very high strung…”
    Basil: “Yes…he should be…


  30. Bigzilla says:

    kcot kcit kcot kcit kcot kcit :grin:


  31. sirhamhat says:

    I was not aware of the audio problem on this episode, because I stopped watching MST3k after they left Comedy Central, and I didn’t start watching (and recording) the SciFi episodes till late in season 9… Apparently the copy I own is the “good audio” version of the movie, because I didn’t notice any issues… but a similar episode, “Deadly Bees” has horrible audio issues… at least on the two different copies that I have. It makes the episode nearly impossible to watch. Did they make the same error four episodes later?


  32. Finnias Jones says:

    #73 The Duran Duran comment refers to the mad scientist Doctor Durand-Durand from the Jane Fonda/John Phillip Law 1968 film “Barbarella”. The projecting table is a little like the torture device used in that film. The band got their name from this character.


  33. crowschmo says:

    I didn’t keep this episode, so I’m guessing I hated it. Don’t remember much, but I do remember one thing: Being angry that they had made the Forrester legacy to have captive people watch bad movies, bad cave paintings, whatever. That would mean that Dr. F hadn’t really thought up this goofy mad plot on his own. Even if he was just UNKNOWINGLY continuing on with the family trait, that just plain sucks. :evil:

    It was kind of like they were just disregarding his character altogether. It would have been better if they had left that unique goofy mad aspect of him untouched. It was HIS idea, dammit!!


  34. This Guy says:

    Just remember the mantra…


  35. DamonD says:

    Just a little too dull to be all that memorable, Projected Man takes itself a bit too seriously in the end. Decent riffings and segments but this isn’t one that stays in the mind much.

    There are still good parts of it though, such as Bill’s fearful speech. “Nepenthe! NEPENTHE!!” The “gone wherever good rats go” in the film was actually funny and the guys getting all giddy about Sheila was amusing.

    I personally felt the Lembach stuff was the most memorable thing so I’m fine with them running with it. Most of all the Lembach jokes, Mike gives an excellent, despairing reading of a line that is flat on the page:

    “Lembaaaach! Where are youuuuu?!”


  36. Slartibartfast, maker of Fjords says:

    I can’t believe all of the venom hurled at this film. Maybe it was too good, but I think that the British sci-fi films all in all are of a better quality and more cerebral than most of the American ones. It may not be in my top ten, but it is watchable and I find the riffs funny. The high point might be Sheila, but I do not find the downside that seems to be the prevalent opinion. And I think the whole premise of tunneling into a modern building leaving a woman guard to talk up any passersby rather humorous. And if the Castle Forrester gig gets us 26 more MSTied movies, so much the better.

    And BTW I like The Deadly Bees.


  37. mikek says:

    I forgot to mention the callbacks to Devil Doll. My favorite is this one, “Get me some ham. I love it.”


  38. Warren says:

    #82-I thought for sure they said “Duran Duran video”, but it had been years since the last time I watched it.


  39. kismetgirl88 says:

    #74 “So, since Pearl’s ancestors are Forresters (instead of whatever her maiden name is), does that mean she gave Dr. F out of wedlock? Did Dr. F’s father die before he was born? Surel, Pearl could have kept her maiden name after marriage, but it would be unusual for her son to also go by her maiden name, wouldn’t it? Then again, it was unusual that her son’s full name was “Clayton Deborah Susan Forrester,” so I should probably just relax…”
    I always though The Forest tree kind of interseceted and that was her maiden name. (Heck it happens in South,the whole kissing cousins.) You know lets forget and talk about something else.


  40. Ed says:

    I feel it’s a very middle of the road episode. When the host segments make me chuckle more than the theater stuff, it’s not a good sign. Fortunately, this was an oddity for the season as the rest of it (with a few exceptions) was uniformly excellent.


  41. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Completely Disagree with Sampo here.

    This is one of my favorite episodes ever.
    Full of hilarious riffing and funny host segments.

    I give it a hundred stars.

    Best watched right after Devil Doll, another of my all-time favorites for great riffing.

    This is one of my episodes that I can still watch over and over without getting the least bit sick of it. It has so many classic riffs that it’s like listening to a long-time favorite song. It hits me in the right spots and soothes my brain, and always makes me laugh.

    Rarely a month goes by that I dont pop it in multiple times and listen to it while doing other activities, something I do quite often with mst episodes.
    (Such as working on the computer or cleaning the house).

    “I Cahn’t believe I have to re-take third grade”

    “Bullets bounce off his face-diaper!”

    “Call me Pig again”


  42. The Bolem says:

    Something I’m surprised no one’s mentioned about the ‘Projecting’ Mike’s Posessions skit, or long before for that matter: It’s a little surprising it doesn’t actually work, since Mike’s stuff would’ve had to be projected aboard the SOL in the first place right? Yeah, I know, it’s just a show, but they could’ve had fun explaining how so much of his stuff got aboard, considering how abruptly he was shanghaied.

    My best guesses are:

    a.) His family or an ex remembered him just long enough to send up care packages. Or better yet, that could be something Crow did the first time he went back in time in TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000!

    b.) During his temping, he was sorta’ living out of his car at the time, so everything from the Digger Smolkin album to his stuffed toys, to that last precious gift from his late girlfriend was just sitting there in the backseat and trunk for Dr. F to shovel into the rocket with Mike, somewhere between Mitchell and TB/HTC’TD.

    Or did a CC host segment actually address this?


  43. Dr. Fysh says:

    Don’t think anyone mentioned this yet, if so, sorry.
    For some reason the line that cracks me up MAYBE the most in this ep is when I think Tom (could be Mike) sees the title and sings-warbles out in this weird loud voice..
    ‘I WiLL pRoJECT MY lOVe On YOUUUUU!!!!!’
    (Wow, now that I type that out I see it COULD have a filthy second meaning, lol.)
    Just the way its sung and thinking about it always made me crack up. :)


  44. Captain Cab says:

    Yeah, I remember watching this debut back in ’98 and it felt really lackluster especially after dynamite episodes from the year before like Horror of Party Beach, Giant Spider Invasion, Prince of Space ect. But I watched it on Youtube a few weeks ago for the first time in many years and I really liked it! The Devil Dummy connection, the Mitchell lines, and Tom’s beloved Sheila (anybody see the uncut version of the movie? Did she die in the fire? :( ). My favorite line results from the ludicrous “analysis” from the detective as to why he killed the crooks. “Maybe he panicked.” Er, yeah. Then later when Dr. Steiner’s climbing a stairwell Mike says in an exasperated voice, “What a day! My ‘panic’ made me kill nine people and a cat.” :lol: And you can never have too much of Lemback staying around.


  45. Slartibartfast, maker of Fjords says:

    #92 – The Bolem: Mike’s stuff could have been sent up by Dr. F in the Umbilicus during Season No. 6

    #94 – Captain Cab: Sheila was rescued and taken to the hospital.


  46. Captain Cab says:

    “#94 – Captain Cab: Sheila was rescued and taken to the hospital.”

    Huzzah!!! :grin: Then at least there’s ONE good thing to say about this movie, the uncut version anyways. :razz:


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

    Re Mike (and Tom’s) lost priceless possessions, good thing there’s an omnipotent guy able to create anything from thin air hanging around in their lives. They could have caught Observer in a good mood or, contrariwise, tricked him into re-creating their stuff.


  48. John says:

    I really really like this ep. The repeated pleas to project the knickers; the tin of whupass; and the Mr. Limpy jokes (answering the phone “Unsatisfied…” just kills me). I love the inventory of the obscure ointments & powders in the chemists’ shop. Great stuff.


  49. Sean says:

    There is one bit of interesting irony that I can’t help but love: Pearl is a lousy mad scientist.

    Pearl was always ragging on Dr F for being a failure, but he seemed to be a fairly successful mad scientist. He was able to conduct experiments and whatnot, and seemed fairly good at it, apparently already a member of the Association of Mad Science.

    Pearl was a bigger failure than her own son.

    I can’t help but grin at the poetic justice.


  50. rcfagnan says:

    #99: And Pearl even had more to able assitants: a distinguished professor of anthropology from a future where apes evolved from men and an all-knowing all-powerful albino who carried his brain around in a salad bowl!


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