Short: (1963) A few scenes from the soap opera “General Hospital.” Nurse Jesse throws the most tense and awkward party ever.
Movie: (1960) Hoodlum and wannabe singer Tony gets his big break, but can’t shake his psycho pseudo-beatnik buddies.
First shown: 11/25/92
Opening: A uncharacteristically mean Joel dominates the bots in a game of rock-paper-scissors
Invention exchange: The Mads have donned troll doll costumes, Joel demonstrates pocket pool
Host segment 1: Joel, Crow and Tom present: Either you are or aren’t a beatnik
Host segment 2: The bots’ slumber party gets a call from Tony Travis!
Host segment 3: Tom Servo stars in a dramatization of the life of a ’50s rock star
End: Crow is in Moon mode, Joel reads a letter, while the Mads are a hot property
Stinger: Moon gets hysterical
• There’s so much to love about this episode. The movie is both watchable and eminently stupid, a perfect combination for MST3K. The riffing is solid, and you would expect no less at this stage of season 4. Even the segments are uniformly good. A great episode for newbies and just all-around fun.
• This episode debuted on the Turkey Day 1992 marathon, and was the first new episode to air in two months.
• As noted, Joel is uncharacteristically mean in the opening! Anybody who says Joel was always a father figure to the bots should watch this sketch. (Although he reminds me a bit of MY father a little.) Thankfully, GYPSY CRUSHES JOEL! and we have a happy ending.
• That’s Mary Jo as Magic Voice, for the first time.
• Naughty line: “You got a snooker down there!”
• During the short, J&tB do probably their best “commercial” for the Booze Council, featuring the classic line: “Booze takes a dull party and makes it better!”
• My recording of this episode is from August of ’93 and features those annoying commercials for the “premature” fall season (which I’d completely forgotten about) as well as commercial for one of the zillions of short-lived Comedy Central shows, “Everything You Need to Know” with an embarrassed-looking Christopher Hitchens. Also annoying: that was the era of Burger King’s “BKTV” spots, featuring the irritating catchphrase “I LOVE this place!” It’s a good thing they make good hamburgers…
• Callback: “Rock candy baby you’re mine, yeah!” (Daddy-O)
• You can hear director/scriptwriter Paul Frees (the voice of Boris Badenov) introducing Eddie when he makes his first TV appearance and also as the voice of the police detective in the hospital. Frees also did voices for Inspector Fenwick on “The Dudley Do-Right Show,” and the magpies on “The Heckle and Jeckle Show” among many many voice jobs.
• One of the funniest things about this episode is that all Eddie’s songs have these giant gaps after each line of lyrics, allowing J&tB to insert a riff after every one.
• Firesign Theatre reference: As segment 2 begins, Tom is singing the “Porgie Tirebiter” theme song.
• That’s Mike, of course, as the voice of Tony Travis. “If you’re a bill collector or if you’re with the military…”
• In segment 3, Crow’s wig falls off. They keep going.
• One of the weirdest things about this movie is the casting of the hatchet-faced Joyce Terry (aka “Donald Sutherland in drag”) as Helen. Her beauty is supposed to tempt Eddie away from the dim-witted, co-dependent Iris, but it’s hard to understand what Eddie could possibly see in her.
• The letter they read at the end is from a kid who got in trouble for calling his mom a “dickweed.” J&tB state that it is NOT a swear word and they’re right … but you still shouldn’t call your mom a dickweed.
• Cast and crew round up: Editor Harold White also worked on “Daddy-O.” ?Musical director Stanley Wilson also did the score for “Radar Men from the Moon.” In front of the camera, Karen Kadler was also in “It Conquered the World. And of course Peter Breck was also in “The Crawling Hand.” And Frank Worth, who had a bit part here, wrote the score for “Bride of the Monster”!?
As for Paul Frees, besides doing the grunts and groans for Glenn Manning “War of the Colossal Beast,” he’s the voice of Kalin in “The Sword and the Dragon” and the narrator in “The Deadly Mantis.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Joel Hodgson (the first of four eps this season). But the big news is the departure of Alex Carr, causing everybody to move up a rung: Jann Johnson becomes production manager (Alex’s old title) and Ellen (Ellie) McDonough becomes production coordinator (Jann’s old title). Alex’s name comes off and Ellen’s name is added to the “post production coordination” credit along with Jann. Ellie comes off the list under “production assistant.” Clayton James did hair and makeup for all the rest of the episodes this season.
• Fave riff from short: “This is Pete from props. Don’t eat the cake!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Dish of ice cream! Don’t tempt me!”