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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 906- The Space Children (with short: ‘Century 21 Calling’)

0906s

Short: (1962) A couple of clean-cut kids tour the phone company exhibit at the Seattle’s World’s Fair.
Movie: (1958) The children of rocket technicians come under the control of a mind-controlling blob.

First shown: 6/13/98
Opening: Tom has a kissing booth
Intro: Pearl attempts to take over the worked through officing
Host segment 1: Mike’s the kid from the short! Bonk!
Host segment 2: M&tB have a model rocket; but Pearl has a space program
Host segment 3: Crow lashes out with Jackie Coogan fashions
End: The peace loving blob visits; Pearl’s space program has a problem
Stinger: Dead Professor
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (230 votes, average: 4.01 out of 5)

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• There’s much more good news than bad with this one — a short, some funny segments, great riffing, TV sitcom stars galore — that I can forgive the drab little movie at the center of it all, and a foulup by the Brains.
• This episode is not on DVD and, according to Shout, never will be.
• Paul’s observations are here.
• The opening is light and fun. Mike’s delivery of the line “A kissing booth? WHAT FOR?” is hilarious.
• That’s Patrick as “Lacks” the phone guy.
• The officing sketch goes on a little long, but you can tell Mary Jo is into it. She’s written about “officing” experiences in some of her short stories, so she knows whereof she parodies.
• This was the first short of the Sci-Fi era. There was much rejoicing among fans.
• Short producer Jerry Fairbanks made other shorts for Ma Bell, including ‘Once Upon a Honeymoon.’ Fairbanks was nominated for two Oscars and won one.
• Sharon Lawrence was born in 1961, so that is definitely not her in the short. But wow, it sure looks just like her.
• Naughty riff: Singer: “You’re seeing it all…” Crow: “…at the Annie Sprinkle show…”
• I like how Tom leans over to tell us one more thing as Mike carries him out at the end of the short.
• Segment 1 is one of those “here’s a bit that’s not funny” bits. Again, a little wry for my tastes, but any segment where somebody gets hit by that big clown hammer is okay by me.
• It may not be quite as bad as not recognizing the “Battlestar Galactica” spaceships in “Space Mutiny,” but a lot of fans were stunned that the Brains failed to recognize (or at least comment on) Raymond Bailey, who played Milburn Drysdale on TV’s “Beverly Hillbillies.” Were they too busy coming up with bald jokes (there had to have been dozens) to notice?
• Segment 2 is just really, really funny. Mary Jo really channels Trace in this one and it works brilliantly.
• Nerdy reference that was obscure then and is about to enter the general public’s consciousness: Smaug.
• Second reference this season to St. Blaise, patron saint of ailments of the throat.
• Segment 3 is very reminiscent of seasons 2 or 3, and actually it works pretty well.
• Then-current reference: Let’s get in line for Beanie Babies.
• Behind the scenes: Fans, glum after the announcement a few weeks ago that “the back nine” would not be picked up, were cheered up slightly on June 4, about a week before this episode debuted, when it was announced that Sci-Fi Channel had renewed the channel for season 10 (though privately cast and crew members were all saying that it looked like the last one).
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer William Alland also did “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “This Island Earth.” Director Jack Arnold also did “Revenge of the Creature” and “This Island Earth.” Scriptwriter Bernard C. Schoenfeld also worked on “The Magic Sword.” Cinematographer Ernest Laszlo also worked on “Tormented.” Process photography guy Farciot Edouart also did “Village of the Giants,” as did makeup guy Wally Westmore and sound recorder Charles Grenzbach.
In front of the camera, Peggy Webber was also in “The Screaming Skull,” Johnny Crawford was also in “Village of the Giants.” Russell Johnson was also in “This Island Earth. Vera Marshe was also in “Tormented.” Eilene Janssen was also in “Beginning of the End.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. Dan Breyer begins a three-episode stint as both intern and grip (they must have really liked him). Additional music written and performed by Michael J. Nelson.
• Fave riff from the short: “How do animals learn? Well, as long as they learn to taste good…”
• Fave riff from feature: “Hang on. Niels Bohr’s using the toaster.” Honorable mention: “Go find out what he put on his job application under ‘Do you drink a lot?'”

143 Replies to “Episode guide: 906- The Space Children (with short: ‘Century 21 Calling’)”

  1. badger1970
    Ignored
    says:

    For me it was a painful episode without the charm of obnoxious Japanese children, just dull American ones. A blob, trailers, Coogin in shorts, dumb/polarizing parents and a cave with some mumbo-jumbo politiks mixed in. Ugh. Riffing didn’t save it.

       0 likes

  2. GizmonicTemp
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    says:

    Those of you who know me, know I love MST Shorts.

    I just realized that this short was the first one since “Chicken of Tomorrow” shown before “Brute Man”. Wow! What a long stretch! Also, it’s the third to last short (not counting “Assignment: Venezuela”).

    It kind of makes me wonder why MST3K just, POOF!, stopped doing shorts. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a short in season 6 (which were some the best shorts!) and then… nothing. Hmmmm….

    Wasn’t “Soapy the Germ Fighter” public domain yet?

       0 likes

  3. Miss Mary
    Ignored
    says:

    Whenever I serve hot dogs, I always say “Intestines stuffed with nitrates and pig snouts!”

       1 likes

  4. fathermushroom
    Ignored
    says:

    “Come back here!!! I’ll break your NECK!!!!”

    Crow: Kind of a dis-incentive, really….

       1 likes

  5. GizmonicTemp
    Ignored
    says:

    I forgot to add that the transition to Sci-Fi could have had a big impact on the prolification of riffed shorts, what with Sci-Fi wanting MST3K to show sci-fi oriented movies, but if a talking bar of soap isn’t sci-fi, then I don’t know what is!!

       2 likes

  6. Roman Martel
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    says:

    #52

    If I’m not mistaken, Sci-fi was really resistant to Best Brains taking on shorts for some reason. They were very specific on what types of films they could riff for Season 8 (science fiction, fantasy or horror genre only). Season 9 seems to be where a lot of those rules were loosened.

       0 likes

  7. Smoothie of Great Power
    Ignored
    says:

    I probably enjoy this episode more than most fans, but it still isn’t nearly as great as many others in this season.

    Short:
    * I nearly forgot to type this section up. Just shows that it’s been too long since the last short.
    * I don’t know much about phone companies nowadays, but is there still the $2 surcharge for push-button dialing?
    * Favorite riffs:
    “And fifty years from now there will still be a two-dollar surcharge for this service despite the technology having proliferated EVERYWHERE ON THE PLANET!” – Mike
    “Hey, hey, hey, we’re young and perky; get the HELL out of our way!” – Crow
    “The phones! They’re coming!” – Servo

    Movie:
    * I’ll say it now, but did anyone else also think that the guard was also telling the other guy to phone “Evil Point” after phoning the devil?
    * Another Nerdy/LotR reference: “And Jackie Coogan to rule over them all.”
    * Despite the weirdness of it all, I do like the message in the movie that, in the end, children are smarter than adults. The holy blob thing makes absolutely no sense though.
    * My alternate title for this movie: “Seaside Village of the Damned.”
    * Another running gag against poor Dr. Wahrman is calling him, “Dr. Woman.” I love it though. XD
    * Favorite riffs:
    “I just watched Gilligan’s Island…” – Mike
    “Phone the devil?” – Crow
    “It’s Uncle Fester in tiny shorts!” – Servo

    Host Segments:
    * I hate phones too. That’s all I’m saying about that.
    * This is another episode that shows simply how cruel Crow and Servo can be, but it’s still not as bad as their prank in “Projected Man.”
    * Favorite “line:” Mike’s acting like the kid from the short and subsequent wrecking ball whack.

    Things I Learned From This Episode:
    * Only white people were admitted to the World’s Fair in Seattle unless they were on display.
    * The company’s ideas for functions of phones in the future were just as impractical is 99% of iPhone apps today.
    * The origins of the Church of Bud.
    * Jackie Coogan has the One Ring.

       1 likes

  8. creepygirl
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    says:

    @ #56

    I agree with you completly. Those restrictiions are the very reason I do not visit Seasons 8, 9, & 10 as often as say 2 thru 7. I can watch the first 8 of season 8 once in a while, but not in order or in a short time period. They all need to be spaced out over years and with lots of CC episodes in between for me. I do like the Sci-Fi years, but for me they just need more time to rest between screenings. That’s just me. ;-)

       1 likes

  9. Emily
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    says:

    #57 Yes, I heard “Evil Point” as well. Jeez, what was in the truck??

       1 likes

  10. fry1laurie
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    says:

    I thought the woman in the short looks more like Glenne Headley than Sharon Lawrence. The Jackie Coogan sketch is one of the all-time best things the show ever did.

       0 likes

  11. MiqelDotCom
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    says:

    ‘Meh’ on the host segments, the part with Pearl in her oversize glasses with the rocket just goes nowhere and annoys me. Pretty funny short but the riffing on it is hit-and-miss. I sorta enjoy the movie, I don’t find the Brain’s writing on this one to be particularly inspired … there are some very funny moments but overall I’d only give the episode 3 stars.
    I found the biblical references in the film kinda interesting, it’s the planetary salvation by angels-as-aliens theme but with the angels as mind-controlling glowing blobs who kill anyone who gets in their way.

    “Nellie Manley, whose real name is Sissy Macho”

    “Tornado Magnet trailer park welcomes you”

    “The Edward Teller home security system”

    Kids eating ice cream
    boy: “Mine’s bacon!” girl: “Mine’s horseradish!”

    “Where’s the other arm-hole dammit! how do you get these things on?”

    “i think i just got the bends from that analogy”

    (as part of the running riffs about “Dr. Woman’s” baldness)
    “Also sometimes when you’re bald random thoughts bombard your head and just worm their way in”

       0 likes

  12. fathermushroom
    Ignored
    says:

    “It would have been a completely different White House, I guess is what I’m saying.”

       0 likes

  13. WhereTheFishLives
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    says:

    This episode contains what may be my favorite host segment of all time. The Jackie Coogan outfits are disturbing and hilarious!

       0 likes

  14. Brandon
    Ignored
    says:

    I haven’t seen the movie in years, as I lost my tape with it on it, but I still have the short thanks to Rhino. So many great riffs:

    -“PUSH BUTTON PHONING!!!!!!” (not a particulary funny riff, but I love the way Servo yells it out).
    -“You tell mom I’m pregnent!”
    -“A phone hanging on a wall, what will they think of next?”
    -“Yeah just mow down all the old people.”
    – (referring to the Space Needle) “The only bathroom in the fair is up there.” (there actually was one day in 1997, where all the bathrooms were closed down for repairs, and people could only use the restrooms on the top of the Space Needle. Very inconvenient. I wonder if the Brains were deliberatly referencing that, or if it was a coincidence).
    -“As long as they learn to taste good, I don’t really care.” (and, this was before the now-infamous PETA joke).
    -“How do you like it when the lawn piddles on you?”
    -“So you can go on with your drinking and your pill-popping!”
    -“Ren & Stimpy music!”
    -“It’s just a peep show! It’s not like I’d be cheating on you!”

    I’ve been to the Seattle Science Center many times, and actually did see this short displayed there. It’s the only short I ever saw before seeing it on MST3K. Most of the Center has been changed from how it looks in the short (being made in the 60s). However, there’s one area shown in the short that actually still pretty much looks the same as it does now. The area with the water fountains seen near the end. Except now there are dinosaur statues. Also the building in the background of that one shot now showcases robots (ironic, no?).

       1 likes

  15. This Guy
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    says:

    Regarding the Sci-Fi Channel’s restrictions on the kinds of movies they could riff, it certainly seems like that could have been the main reason they didn’t do many shorts in seasons 8-10. The two shorts in season 9 could broadly be considered science fiction if you stretch it a bit–the first is about speculative future communications technologies, and the second is about robots gone mad. “The Girl in Gold Boots” in season 10 seems to be the first time they really let the Brains break free of the genre requirements.

    The short is great fun and a welcome return. The riffing on the movie was pretty funny when I watched it yesterday. I do like it when all M&TB can think to do is laugh, as at the “go phone the devil” line.

       1 likes

  16. Shinola
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    says:

    As I wrote last week, this episode and Deadly Bees are easily among my top Sci-Fi era favorites.

    I know the movie’s dreary and gray, but darn it, I like it. Add to it the short (see below), and you’ve got yourself a fine episode. I liked the host segments, especially the kissing booth open and the Pearl-starts-a-space-program subplot.

    Personal note: I didn’t start watching MST until season eight, so I was unfamiliar with the concept of shorts. When this episode aired, I was blown away by how on-target M&TB were. Little did I know that blazing performance is typical of the shorts. It helped that I’ve always been a fan of American culture of the ’50s and ’60s, so the subject matter was right up my alley. I think that’s one reason this one always stood out in my mind, and why I wish I could find my VHS copy.

       2 likes

  17. Spector
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    says:

    Another episode where the host segments and the short is more memorable than the movie itself. Just couldn’t get into this one no matter how often I watch it, but I love the short “Century 21 Calling”, in part because this was the first one they did during the Sci-Fi period. I’ve always loved the shorts and missed them during season eight. On the basis of the short and the host segments, 3.5 out of five.

       0 likes

  18. Cabbage Patch Elvis
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    says:

    I just remembered my favorite riff from the short!

    As a weird-looking blond kid walks past the camera, staring right at it:

    TOM: “A young Mike Nelson visit’s the World’s Fair!”

       0 likes

  19. mikek
    Ignored
    says:

    #

    “#
    56
    Roman Martel says:
    February 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    #52

    If I’m not mistaken, Sci-fi was really resistant to Best Brains taking on shorts for some reason. They were very specific on what types of films they could riff for Season 8 (science fiction, fantasy or horror genre only). Season 9 seems to be where a lot of those rules were loosened.”

    I think the slightly looser format of today’s “SyFy” Channel might have been better for MST3K.

       0 likes

  20. Eric in NJ
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    says:

    great episode with one of the funniest segments (coogin fashon)!

       0 likes

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

    #48: Does the super secret missile project need a great secretary?

    Well, of course it does. It also needs cafeteria workers, janitors, switchboard operators, infirmary nurses, groundskeepers, parking attendants, and everything else a large 1950s government facility employing hundreds of people would have. All of whom would need security clearance of some sort or another. Come on, THINK. ;-)

    That being said, maybe she was herself a scientist, or at least an assistant. It wasn’t *impossible* for women to be scientists in the 1950s, it was just really hard for them to get any recognition for it.

       5 likes

  22. The Bolem
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    says:

    #49: Yeah, pronouncing it can make you want to start mimicking some sort of engine. Thunderererererererererererererererererer…

    And does all this talk of iphone apps make anyone else regret that they couldn’t do any Baby-Shaker-app jokes back in ’98? No? Yeah, it’s probably for the best if that’s just me…

    Sometime last year, one of Sampo’s annoying commercials was the one that tried wowwing us with great potential technical innovations, “…and the company that’ll bring it to you? AT&T.” I always added “Do not attempt to resist us”, to the end. Phone company promotions didn’t change all that much in 35 years, huh?

    As for the movie, it’s refreshing to see one of its genre this pacifist, as I’ve heard of some even more ludicrous that the ones the Brains tackled. Has anyone here seen ‘Red Planet Mars’, where it turns out said planet is actually home to God, and He’s sending radio signals telling us to stop communism? Seems like a waste of time on a rather roundabout route.

    Still, it may have been the Space Children’s religious angle rather than the authoritrian one at the end of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ that made it seem even lighter, but then again the blob does have to resort to killing people, so you get the feeling these aliens aren’t divine, but just nosily butting into our business. I wonder if a blob payed Reagan a visit only to find he didn’t want to give up his Star Wars Program, so it had to talk Gorby into scuttling the whole U.S.S.R. instead.

    I mean, considering enlightened aliens were against all nukes in TDTESS, and weaponizing space here, and that sun-destroying gas can in Plan 9, it makes the line our weapons technology crosses in these morality plays seem a bit arbitrary. Is there some race up there so fussy that they give planets a lecture once their natives master the sharpened stick? I think we all need to rewatch ‘To Serve Man’ and think about their motives…

    Wait, why the hell am I thinking about this? It was just another depressing movie made entertaining enough to add even more variety to the cornucopia of Season 9. And now the sand’s creeping in and ruining everything…

       1 likes

  23. ck
    Ignored
    says:

    #72
    Is there some race up there so fussy that they give planets a lecture once their natives master the sharpened stick? I think we all need to rewatch ‘To Serve Man’ and think about their motives… ================================================
    What? Just because they’re using a book entitled
    “How To Cook People”,
    I mean “How To Cook For People”,
    no wait, “How To Cook Forty People”,
    Oh, wait…

       2 likes

  24. losingmydignity
    Ignored
    says:

    This is another one that I initially didn’t care for, but has really grown me after subsequent viewings. That doesn’t happen to often, but I’m pleased to say this is a solid ep.

    Yes, the Jackie Coogan fashion cracks me up too for some reason.

    B+

       0 likes

  25. RockyJones
    Ignored
    says:

    “…so you’re saying I’m bald…”

       0 likes

  26. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    Call the Devil…

       1 likes

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

    >>>Why is it a big deal to Pearl to have a rocket when she’s already got a friggin’ satellite orbiting the planet? And she’s travelled through wormholes and visited numerous alien planets in her own vehicle, the Widowmaker?

    Well, her SON built (or at least launched) the satellite and I’m presuming the Apes built the Widowmaker for her. Just wants to do it for herself, I guess.

    It occurred to me that “Phone the Devil?” missed a chance to get a callback in “Hobgoblins.” Tom or Mike could have offered it as a quiet “reply” to Crow’s riff: “Satan’s on the phone!”

       3 likes

  28. Slartibartfast, maker of Fjords
    Ignored
    says:

    Note 1: Russell Johnson currently resides on an island in Puget Sound near Seattle.
    Note 2: I avoid Seattle as much as I can.

    The movie 0 stars the short, etc. bring it up total to one star. In my bottom list of eps. But the Coogan skit is in the top ten. He had it coming.

    The movie starts off with a logic error and continues from there. Our hero starts his employment on this important project the day before launch. Just why is he so necessary, if the thing is already a go? Then there is this pacifist blob that can control people’s minds, but it resorts to killing in the name of peace. Dull, talky and sleep inducing.

       0 likes

  29. DamonD
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    says:

    I just recall utterly nothing about this one, except (good job I noted it down) that I really didn’t like it.

    I may have to try again to see if this one’s a ‘grower’ or not…

       0 likes

  30. Watch-out-for-Snakes
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    says:

    This one is another ‘meh’ episode that really doesn’t do it for me, but it does have some good stuff, particularly the short and the “Coogan Fashion” segment 3. Very funny. But, I really find the whole rocket segment with Pearl and Co. to be really, really crappy. Doctor Clayton Forester is a friend of mine, and Pearl, you are no Doctor F.!!
    As far as the movie goes, it is fairly forgettable, but Coogan’s wardrobe is a delight to all. It really does take a special kind of man to wear a fuzzy white robe like Coogan does.
    This one seems to be in the running for worst of the season, but that’s really just because season 9 kicks so much ass. I think I would rank this one above The Projected Man, but below The Deadly Bees. Or maybe above them both. I’ll have to think about it.

       1 likes

  31. Watch-out-for-Snakes
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    says:

    You guys wanna know what Joe Dante thinks of The Space Children? Sure, we all do!

    http://www.trailersfromhell.com/trailers/374

    Trailers from Hell is a site all MSTies and movie buffs should check out and enjoy. And love. Don’t forget to love!!

       2 likes

  32. I'm Evil
    Ignored
    says:

    Not much to add, as I rate this a decent, but ultimately, forgettable episode with a standout short. The movie riffing had me laughing but nothing stands out too much apart from the bald jokes.

    In response to why Russell Johnson was so unlikeable, I think they wanted to show the blob/ alien’s power. With the catch at the end being that this was all about pacifism and saving the world, however, they had make sure anyone killed by the blob was indeed odious…cue the drunken, unemployed step-dad.

    I certainly see host segment two’s similarities to the Fonz bit, but I was actually thinking of how much Mike’s rendition of uber-white World’s Fair kid reminded me of Mike’s version of Urkel.

    Oh, and Mary-jo really sells the centrifuge bit for me.

    Coogan Fashion is a funny segment, but I also feel like it is more a parody of the MST tradition of doing sketch card discussions. And, while the shorts were awful, the robe with shoulder pads was astounding.

    It’s just nice to know that the future will have CONSTANT ORGAN MUSIC!

    Hmmm…had more to say than I thought. Probably means it’s mostly nonsense.

       0 likes

  33. Warren
    Ignored
    says:

    This one is average for me, probably worth another viewing. About the Ren & Stimpy music (i.e., domestic material bliss of the 1950s music), the Ren & Stimpy episode ‘Space Madness’ featured music from the Giant Spider Invasion end credits. Specifically when Ren is going mad, eating a bar of soap. I remember seeing GSI for the first time and recognizing the music.
    Let’s grope that Eskimo!

       1 likes

  34. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    The stinger was really creepy, like the professor was staging his one drunk version of “Gilligan’s Island: The Wall”

       0 likes

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

    #78 The only person the blob killed was the abusive father, and that was to save his stepson, right?

       2 likes

  36. Ah, I’m late to this party for various reasons, but it occurred to me that the reason there were no Beverly Hillbilly jokes was because, without his wig, Raymond didn’t look like Mr. Drysdale. Let’s face it — the real joke is when someone resembles someone, not whether they are actually that person. (Indeed, an argument could be made that it’s better if they AREN’T that person, that the real joke is just the look alikeness, so to speak).

    If they were going to try and touch on BH they would have had to do something along the lines of “Granny, I think that hair tonic you gave me backfired!”. IOW, it would have had to account for the fact that he was missing his hair and perhaps they felt it just wasn’t worth the stretch or wasn’t funny enough (there’s only so many dual level jokes you can make — in this case perhaps one was one too much).

       0 likes

  37. Manny Sanguillen
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    says:

    I havent got much time, so I just want to say my favorite riff from the short & the movie real quick and will come back later for more details.

    Just to say, I didn’t care much for the movie at first, but I now really like it alot because it’s riffed so good.

    I care about the riffing first always, so I dont really care what the movie is about or how bad or good it is, ever.

    I always loved the short from day one, and I love Mike doing the kid in the short and getting hit with the wrecking ball (not a clown hammer, thats MPFC thinkng of).

    Favorite short riff – “At the Annie Sprinkle show!” Bill Corbett

    Favorite Movie riff – Johnson…”Stuck in zipper” Bill Corbett

    I’ll come back later and mention more of my favorites. There is a lot.

       1 likes

  38. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite
    Ignored
    says:

    MxgK@86

    There is nothing wrong with your analysis in theory, but from a practical standpoint MST3K clearly doesn’t work that way. In this film alone at least 3 other actors ( Coogin, Johnson, and the ‘Paw’ kid ) where riffed on because of characters they portrayed in other contexts. These in fact made up maybe 1/4 of the total riffs ( just guessing ). Are you consigning all those gags to the dustbin as not real jokes ?

       0 likes

  39. No, but those folks looked quite a bit like the characters they played (even Uncle Festus :>). If, for example, Johnson had been bald I doubt whether they could have possibly made a “Professor” joke unless they also took the baldness into account (“I guess you couldn’t build a coconut wig, huh Professor?”

    IOW, it’s not enough for the person to be who they are — they also must resemble the character they played. That’s why they do the reverse quite often (when people just have a passing resemblance to a certain character, even though they never played them). The joke isn’t funny without at least a context in which that character could look like that.

    Take another example: if they were making a joke about, say, Don Knotts and for some reason he had gained around 200lbs (so he looked like one of those contestants on “Losers”) there’s absolutely no way they would make a Barney Fife joke without taking into account the weight gain and the resultant appearance change (“Andy, I’m going to Mount Pilot to pick up a case of Snickerdoodles”).

    So whether they knew who Raymond was or not, it would have required another bald joke coupled with a Hillbilly reference, and that kind of duality might just not have suited them. At the very least they could have only done it once. So it doesn’t bother me in the slightest they didn’t do it at all.

       2 likes

  40. creepygirl
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    says:

    My take is simple. Frank, Trace. and Joel were the classic TV watchers. Frank would have noticed Mr. Drysdale in a second and the Battlestar Galactica ships from SPACE MUTINY even sooner. This is not to say the other Brains kept their noses in books or only listened to records. A couple of pop culture situations got by them. No big deal.

       1 likes

  41. The problem with *that* theory is that Mike and co. did indeed make all kinds of TV references — they obviously watched just as much TV and were just as familiar with that pop culture. So I don’t buy that at all.

    Now, they did indeed have different sensibilities, and what one group thought was funny (or important) might well be very different from the other. But I think it’s safe to say that everyone who worked on the show was very hip to pop culture (at least the mainstream stuff — Frank’s Mexican wrestling movie knowledge was obviously beyond compare :>)

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  42. In any case, it’s all good — I’m guessing the mere fact that we are debating who knew what and when it’s pretty amusing to all involved.

    I’m just glad we have all of these episodes — I don’t think I’ll live long enough to get tired of them.

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  43. creepygirl
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike @ 91 @ 92:

    I totally agree with you on “not getting tired of” comment. There are still many episodes I only watch every couple years and they’re like new! I always seem to remember the host segments and bits of the movie, but the riffs are always so fresh after a time away. I have to believe this is only one more magic reason MST3K continues to grow and grow and grow with new and classic fans. ;-)

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  44. mikek
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m not a medium, I’m a petite says:
    March 3, 2010 at 8:03 am

    MxgK@86

    “There is nothing wrong with your analysis in theory, but from a practical standpoint MST3K clearly doesn’t work that way. In this film alone at least 3 other actors ( Coogin, Johnson, and the ‘Paw’ kid ) where riffed on because of characters they portrayed in other contexts. These in fact made up maybe 1/4 of the total riffs ( just guessing ). Are you consigning all those gags to the dustbin as not real jokes ?”

    I think he’s correct. There probably just weren’t any good Beverly Hillbillies jokes to get out of the actor who played Mr. Drysdale; I admire such restraint. There is also the possibility that the Brains didn’t think he looked much like Mr. Drysdale. They either really didn’t recognize him or did and thought others would not, like a few of us here. Then there is the fact that Russel Johnson and Jackie Coogan were playing characters that are really different from how they are normally perceived. That, coupled with their familiar faces, made for good riffing material. The Rifleman’s son has jokes that are limited to, “Hey look, it’s the kid from The Rifleman.” Raymond Bailey (Mr. Drysdale) pretty much plays a duller version of Mr. Drysdale. In addition to that, he also has few scenes, most of which are short and, without hair, he is hard to recognize as Mr. Drysdale. That character also wore a hat most of the time on The Beverly Hillbillies, so you can add that to the character’s overall appearance too.

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  45. The Toblerone Effect
    Ignored
    says:

    Just an okay episode for me. The riffing was middling-to-good, but even with all the recognizable faces, it just wasn’t a laugh-out-loud experience for me. Three stars.

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  46. Dan in WI
    Ignored
    says:

    This film ranks pretty high on the One Weird Mammajamma of a movie list for my money.

    Which was stranger: the children in this film or the Mads after discovering the throw pillows/zucchini on the camping planet in 810?

    This is the first time I recall an opening segment that seems to exist solely to set up the short about to be shown.

    The Mike as the kid from the short is a quick grin but little more than that. It reminded me a bit too much of his Urkel but thankfully it doesn’t go on that long.

    Some have said Pearl channels Clayton in the first space probe host segment. Frankly I don’t see it. You just can’t touch Clayton and he would have done this better. The highlight of this segment is the joke grenade delivery of Tom walking on after Pearl’s rant saying “Oh, don’t turn it on…live and learn” after injuring Mike with the model rocket.

    Fashion is Coogan: I have to agree with others in suspecting this segment was having more than just a little fun with a Joel sketch card host segment. It actually seems hostile. Why? I used to love those.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Short:
    Girl hands phone to boyfriend: Mike “Here you tell mom I’m pregnant.”

    Mike “That phone is hanging on the wall. What will they think of next?”

    Movie:
    The children go to see the rocket. Crow “Say have any of you said the darndest thing lately?”

    The kids run through a rocky set. Mike “Are they visiting Fred Flintstone at work?”

    Ken Brewster collapses in front of his boss. Tom “Go find out what he put on his application under ‘do you drink a lot?’”

    Dr. Wahrman “There may be trouble launching the Thunderer.” Crow “If all the stalls are taken yes.”

    Mike “I can’t believe you like making love on the dunes on the cape. This is going to be great.” [great callback to all time favorite host segment]

    Tom about blob “Jabba the Hutt really let himself go.”

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  47. Sitting Duck
    Ignored
    says:

    The concept of remote-controlling appliances from afar is still floating around. It’s just that, as AlbuquerqueTurkey in comment #34 noted, the medium is the internet rather than the phone lines. The one aspect that hasn’t changed is that, for the most part, they’re still pretty stupid and pointless.

    Having the alien “angel” as a blob could be seen as a callback to the Old Testament. In the cases when the appearances were described, they were typically bizarre and/or horrific. Little wonder that the first thing they usually said when encountering a human was, “Do not be afraid.” The popular image of winged humans comes primarily from Renaissance art.

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  48. Creeping-Death
    Ignored
    says:

    An average episode. I was tempted to rate it above average due to the good short. Last year I bought a el cheapo “Christmas Classics” type set that had Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Santa Claus among others and a 1955 TV version of Miracle on 34th Street. I was surprised to see the girl who played Eadie in the role of Susan Walker.

    Bell Woman: That’s easy, too. Flip the switch button, then dial a code number and the number you want, and… presto!
    Mike: Well, andante, maybe.
    Crow: Soon you’ll have all your friends hanging up on you and dreading your calls.

    Little Girl: Hello, Grandma?
    Crow: Where’s my money?

    Mike: Oh, I’ll just go wish myself into the cornfield.

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  49. Doug
    Ignored
    says:

    I always feel bad for “The Deadly Bees” and “Space Children”. They have “Werewolf” and “Puma Man” on one side and “Hobgoblins” and “The Touch of Satan” on the other. It’s not their fault they’re crammed between four of the best episodes of the series.

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  50. MSTie
    Ignored
    says:

    Just an average episode for me but I never, ever tire of the short. I get exhausted just watching the white-bread perky teens dash from one place to another with those maniacal expressions. Oh, and the phone stuff is fun too.

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