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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: 909- Gorgo

Movie: (1960) It’s an anglo-saxon mashup of Godzilla and King Kong, as a dinosaur-like creature is caught off the Irish coast and then exhibited at a circus in London.

First shown: 7/18/98
Opening: Crow’s head has become a nesting place of the Spix’s macaw
Intro: Observer & Bobo’s arm wrestling match is interrupted by a transmission from Pearl and…Leonard Maltin!
Host segment 1: “Waiting For Gorgo”
Host segment 2: The William Sylvester edition of Trivial Pursuit
Host segment 3: The Nanite’s circus encounters tragedy
End: The women of “Gorgo,” Pearl & Leonard continue to plot
Stinger: Irish fisherman says “Blow it out your…” something.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (224 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

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• This is as close as we ever got to a real “lost” episode. It aired once (or, rather, twice, once in the morning and once in the evening) on July 18, 1998, and then apparently somebody with a claim on the rights to the movie contacted SciFi Channel and made them pull it. It never aired again. And that’s a shame, because it’s pretty good. Not a home run, but a solid standup double of an episode, notable for the guest starring appearance of none other than Leonard Maltin. The movie is pretty watchable, clearly an “A” movie put together by professionals (shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Freddie Young) with a big budget, which is definitely a departure for the show. The non-Maltin host segments are, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide would say, mostly harmless.
• Paul gets a break and this week it’s Kevin turn to offer observations.
• For a long time, if you owned a copy of this one, you either taped it back in 1998 or you got it from a tape trader. Now, of course, it was recently included in the Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition.
• Bill does a nice bit of physical comedy in the opening bit when he convincingly launches himself out of frame.
• Maltin does okay, in my book. He’s not an actor and it shows, but he delivers his lines well.
• Actually the Spix’s Macaw is a kind of parrot and not nearly as large as depicted in the sketch. Incidentally, it is believed to be extinct in the wild.
• Callback: “We’ve got to go find Robert Denby!” (“Riding with Death”)
• Segment 1 is cute and silly, but there’s not much to it.
• Segment 2 is kind reminiscent of the “City Limits” trivia game in episode 403. I wonder if they remembered that they did it.
• That’s Kevin and Paul, of course, as the voices of the nanites in segment 3. As near as I can tell, this episode features the very last appearance by the nanites.
• Some may be baffled by the “Hey! Mike Nelson!” “Hey! Tom Servo!” bit. Mike Nelson was the name of the character Lloyd Bridges played in the TV series “Sea Hunt.” The character was a scuba diver (it’s where the phrase “By this time my lungs were aching for air” came from).
• The exchange “Well, whaddaya know?” “Not much, you?” refers to Michael Feldman’s long-running radio quiz show “Whad’Ya Know?”
• In the final segment, Maltin suggests that a Mickey Rourke movie will be a painful selection, and Pearl adds that he should cross reference that with Eric Roberts. So, “The Pope of Greenwich Village”? I don’t know…
• Cast and crew roundup: Camera Operator James Mills also worked on “Phase IV.” In front of the camera, William Sylvester was in “Riding with Death” and “Devil Doll.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. Intern Dan Tanz joined the show and would continue for the rest of the season.
• Fave riff: “Am…in…Ireland. Send…real…food.” Honorable mention: “Let’s go steal the captain’s strawberries. That’s always funny.”

125 Replies to “Episode guide: 909- Gorgo”

  1. Green Switch says:

    Great episode, but no Torgo-related riffs over the title screen?

    I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get something like “I take care of the place while the Master is away.”

       2 likes

  2. Cornjob says:

    When I watch this episode I’m always amazed that a “Godzilla” type movie could be rendered so boring.

       2 likes

  3. DamonD says:

    Solid but unspectacular, Gorgo is just ‘one of those’ experiments where you can have a perfectly fine time watching but you won’t be beating down the doors to do so again.

    However, “Waiting for Gorgo” is an absolute gem. I cherish that sketch, sold so very well by Tom’s panicky “Arggh, and here he is!”

    Completely subverts the whole point of Godot for the sake of a pun and a guy in a cheap monster costume. That’s solid gold.

       2 likes

  4. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Not one of my favorites but I can enjoy it once in a while.
    The riffing is good enough to keep me from falling asleep from the overly boring movie.

    favorite riff –

    (Announcer) – although the creature is very dangerous, he has been filled with massive amounts of tranqilizer…If I get any closer to this thing, I could use some myself…It’s no joke…(Crow) “I need drugs!”

       4 likes

  5. Manny Sanguillen says:

    #102 –
    I have a different take on that. I would be surprised if a godzilla type movie could ever be anything BUT boring. They do nothing for me.

    Giant insects, now that’s different! (especially if Bert I Gordon is involved)…Even rogue body parts on the loose are more exciting to me than giant fake monsters.

       1 likes

  6. Tim S. Turner says:

    Along with “Hamlet”, this is the worst of the SciFi bunch. I try to like it, but it just lays there. Dull, dull, dull.

       0 likes

  7. NormalView82 says:

    Having yet to see this episode I had nothing to contribute to this discussion until last night when I began re-reading my copy of “Kiss and Make-up” by Gene Simmons of KISS. In chapter 2 of the book he references “Gorgo” not once, but twice as a Godzilla rip-off, but one of his favorite films growing up. Along with MST3K episode #1 itself, “The Crawling Eye”, saying that creature freaked him out. So there ya have it, Gene Simmons for “Gorgo”.

       2 likes

  8. Erik says:

    This was a pretty good episode. I did not see it originally on Sci Fi, I watched it on Youtube a while back. There was a riff in here that made me almost fall out of my chair laughing.

    Somewhere near the end, when Gorgo’s mom is rampaging around the countryside tearing down power lines and such, there’s a moment where the camera zooms in on her face. At that point, she opens and closes her mouth twice. Crow then sings in “Downtown” (a reference to the 60s song). The words matched the mouth movements perfectly, and since it was so out of nowhere and random, it had me laughing very hard.

    :lol:

       3 likes

  9. Tad Ghostal says:

    I enjoyed this one and got a lot of laughs out of it. From start (The Vice Presidents unimaginative campaign slogan) to finish (Don’t bother the man, he’s Dorkin). Love Crow’s take on the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and the simplistic, “The Infant” – “The Outfant” riff. LMAO – Good stuff all told.

       6 likes

  10. Dan in WI says:

    I never saw this one until now. I was excited since it was a rare new (to me) MST episode. I have to say I came away pretty disappointed. The movie was blah. I’ll give it credit for good production value. As the Ballyhoo featurette points out they used well made models giving them so heft so they looked solid crumbling and crashing. But the biggest letdown for me was the riffing. I don’t have any specific complaints but it was just plan lacking and sub par.

    Waiting for Gorgo was the one highlight for me. I actually cringed hearing the glass breaking sound effect when Gorgo tossed Tom Servo. So am I alone in thinking that Mike in the costume was a cross between Gumby and Hannibal Smith in a monster costume?

    Favorite Riffs:
    The kid mutters something unintelligible. Crow “Is this kid speaking in Bam Bam language?”

    Tom “Can one repent if one hasn’t yet pented?”

    Mike “Come on son, as a treat let’s go crush France.” Tom “Hooray”

       2 likes

  11. Cheapskate Crow says:

    Not a great episode in my book, the riffing didn’t do a lot for me and the movie wasn’t bad or good enough to be interesting.

       1 likes

  12. Of no Account says:

    ‘Oh Gorgo boy, the Gor the Gor is going, from Gor to Gor’

    YES! My #1 all-time favorite episode (actually, it’s tied for 1st place with Godzilla vs Megalon). It’s always a good day when I actually like the movie by itself, and then having great riffs on top. I just wish Gorgo had gotten a sequel (Gorgo Strikes Again!, or something similar). Looking through Leonard Maltin’s movie guides, it’s pretty unusual that he & I actually agree on movies.
    There was a Godzilla game on PS2, and one of the maps was London. Just made me wish they could have added Gorgo as a playable character…
    The ‘Waiting for Gorgo’ sketch is one of my favorite host segments of all time. It’s just so silly. Plus I wish more plays ended with giant monsters attacking & killing the cast.

    Now everybody get back to Dorkin!

       3 likes

  13. MikeK says:

    This episode has the distinction having the biggest failure at a “naughty riff” ever. Saying “Dorkin” all the time, like a kid who just learned a new curse word, just doesn’t work. I guess it’s intended to remind one of the slang word “porkin”, but it’s just not funny.

    Anyway, the movie itself was well made and I like those freaky, pre-historic fish with the legs.

       0 likes

  14. John Seavey says:

    @MikeK: It’s actually intended to remind one of the slang word “dork”, which has come to mean “socially awkward or unfashionable person”, but which was originally a term for a portion of the male anatomy. Those jokes are according to taste, of course.

       3 likes

  15. MikeK says:

    Yes, I see it as that too, a mash-up of “dork” = “penis” and “porkin'” = “sex”. They tried, but like “Don Evinrude and Sonny Crockett,” it’s just not firing.

       0 likes

  16. Happenstance says:

    Solidly hate this movie just on the basis of its humans. Its two “heroes” are interchangeably drab; their li’l sidekick, like the kid in Gamera, is the movie’s true monster (inexplicably concerned for the main characters from the moment they meet, yet delighted by Mama Gorgo’s rampage through a burning metropolis with thousands of casualties); the whole “grouchy harbormaster” thing just pads out the woefully threadbare story in lieu of characterization…and aside from Dorkin’s standard-issue showman-promoter, the rest of the cast is nothing but walk-ons.

    I’m glad the Ballyhoo feature in the Shout! Factory set reveals the King Bros’ huge amount of meddling in making the film, because I like Eugène Lourié and this is a huge step down from his other sci-fi outings–The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The Giant Behemoth, even that clunky goofball The Colossus of New York. None of them are great, but they’re each better than Gorgo.

       0 likes

  17. JeremyR says:

    TCM shows this movie from time to time.

    It’s actually surprising how many movies TCM shows that have been on MST3K, and even more that have been Rifftrax VODs.

       0 likes

  18. And now, with my viewing of Gorgo earlier this week (from my fancy new 25th Ann. tin set from Shout!), I have seen ALL 194 AVAILABLE EPISODES OF MST3k. BOW BEFORE ME!

    This was the last episode for me to catch up with, as I had missed taping it when it originally broadcast back in 1998, even though by that point I was obsessively taping episodes weekly (not really sure how I missed it, and I kept waiting for a re-broadcast that never happened. It was some years later when I read that it was shown only on one day and then pulled from rotation).

    I even had an opportunity to get a copy of this one from a guy I knew in college back in 2002/03, as we were tape sharing at the time (mainly he was borrowing my extensive tape collection) and he happened to have Gorgo, but I knew he was bad about getting whole episodes onto tape, so I asked, “is the whole episode on here?,” and he replied, “yeah, except for the opening credits. And the end, too,” So I said, “no,” as I was (and am) OCD about my MST so I had to have the whole thing or nothing. So I passed. Took me ten years of checking other episodes off my to-see list before I got down to this one and finally watched it. . .

    . . . So? Was it worth the wait? Well, yes and no.

    Watching a MST you’ve never seen before is a great experience. I relished watching Gorgo, if just for the experience of new riffing and Host Segments. It gave me a nice feeling, very pleasant but also a little bittersweet, as this was the last one that would be “new to me.” . . .

    . . . But? How was the episode itself?

    Well, it was pretty good, not great.

    I will say this for Gorgo; it is my favorite of the three British movies of Season 9, that’s for sure. Overall though, I found some of the riffing to drag a bit, and while the movie itself is a fine production (easily a candidate for “best movie riffed on MST”), it also is very dry at times with some weak characters that don’t really light the screen on fire (guess that was Gorgo’s job..).

    As for the Host Segments, HS#1 is the best and goofiest, and I especially like Gypsy’s throwaway line of “we’ll be back after these messages for whiskey and cigarettes.” In HS#2 Mike makes me feel very uncomfortable with his gloating, awkward dance; it was kind of creepy. HS#3 is the worst, but I don’t like the nanites one bit, so that has everything to do with it. If this is the last of the nanite sketches, good.

    Leonard Maltin’s appearance is notable and completely serviceable, but not really that funny. There was also something about the flat video-ish-ness of the look of those scenes that I found really off putting. Plus, Mike and the Bots didn’t mention Laserblast, which would (and should) be the whole point of having Maltin on in the first place, or at least I would think. Strangely, I give Leonard Maltin’s appearance two-and-a-half stars..


    RIFFS:

    Servo: “I put the propane tanks on by mistake.”

    Crow: “Fine, I’ll spend my Euros elsewhere!”

    Crow: “So did Gorgo just cooperate and wrap himself in the net..?”

    Crow: “Go play on Gamera’s back, kid. I’m not into it.”

    movie: “Actually, it’s no joke..”
    Crow: “I need drugs.”

    Mike: “Lt. Modest Crotch.”

    Crow: “This is the same thing they do when Oliver Reed’s in town.”

    Mike (in British accent): “This simply isn’t done. You’ll be hearing from my solicitor.”

    Mike: (doing his “Gorgo laughing”)


    Gorgo,
    not too bad of a movie,
    only a pretty-good episode,

    I give it 3 out of 5 Dorkins.

       2 likes

  19. littleaimishboy says:

    “Waiting for Gorgot”, another Top Ten interstitial.

    BTW, am desperately searching eBay for the Playboy issue featuring “The Girls of Gorgo”, if anybody has will pay big money … :-D

       1 likes

  20. littleaimishboy says:

    PS –

    #92 – how about those who “graduate college”?

       0 likes

  21. MikeK says:

    “Girls of Gorgo?” What girls? Is there a burlesque scene that got cut out of the Mstied version?

       0 likes

  22. Shrike says:

    A great ep. For some reason I find it much more enjoyable than the Gamera movies.

    #54: Regarding Space Mutiny, you say “Yet so many MSTies continue to rate it as the best episode ever, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s based entirely on their love of the movie, not the riffing.” Your conclusion is wrong; Space Mutiny is an utter piece of crap film saved only by M&TB. So the problem could either be that a seemingly large majority of MSTies for some strange reason love a piece of crap in spite of the fact that you (and apparently ONLY you and a small handful of others) claim the riffs aren’t funny, or it could be that you just don’t care for the episode.

       2 likes

  23. Sitting Duck says:

    Gorgo fails the Bechdel Test. There is no instance of two females conversing, and in fact Mike and the Bots make note of the lack of feminine presence in the movie.

    Personally, I thought the Trivial Pursuit sketch was kind of weak.

    While there seems to be some hostility towards it, I thought the Nanite circus was hilarious. Though the scale of the props compared to the Nanites was completely off. Also, it appears to have been the only time the Bots have expressed sympathy for clowns.

    I agree with Crow regarding the reporter. I wished he would’ve died, too.

    And speaking of characters I dearly wanted to die, Sean appears to have been a precursor to Kenny and his fellow half-pint misanthropes.

    @ #5: So it was from before the Sydney Opera House was built?

    Favorite riffs

    The H.M.S. Over Easy.

    Stop shaking the boat. I’m gonna puke.

    Watch for sharks. I accidentally bathed in fish blood this morning.

    Counting plankton is really hard.

    Clear the stage for our campy musical revue.

    May your corned beef not pickle correctly.

    The poor Irish. You know, if they’re not invaded by Cromwell or infested with leprechauns, they’ve got this guy.

    I’m a little lost. Can you tell me how to get to Tokyo?

    Open the pub! Come on, it’s nine AM.

    If they don’t let me up to go soon, it will be a yellow submarine.

    Go play on Gamera’s back, kid. I’m not into it.

    “There are rumors that the animal has killed a number of persons already in the process of its capture.”
    But they were all Irish, so it’s okay.

    Come see Gorgo, he’ll kill your family. Come get killed by Gorgo.

    We are a submarine, right?

    The Queen Mum is brought out to fight the beast.

    Maybe Mary Poppins flies in and kicks his ass.

    Oh, not Her Majesty’s Certified Paper Clip Works, purveyors of paper clips to Her Majesty’s Court since 1743.

    “We prayed for a miracle.”
    Now to cricket scores.

    As a treat, let’s go crush France.

       2 likes

  24. Depressing Aunt says:

    I’ll never be one to say, “Bollocks, Gorgo!” I rather like the movie, and the riffing is just fine. It’s a couple of the host segments that could use more pizzazz. “Waiting for Gorgo” is a treat, and Mike’s insanity during the William Sylvester game (a mysterious item indeed to show up on the SOL) is funny and disturbing. But it’s not that hard to recall that that reporter with the black sunglasses and bright red lipstick was a “Gorgo” babe, and as for Pearl’s last collusion with Leonard Maltin…what a missed opportunity! Of all things they could dream up to torture M&TB with, why must it be “The Pope of Greenwich Village”? Were the Brains just bitter about that guy getting his thumbs taken?

    The guys see Steven Seagal and a Baldwin brother in Joe’s face. Anyone besides me see Jason Bateman in there, too?

    Sometimes it’s the little things that amuse me: There’s a part in the film in which the Admiral says, “Nara Island has been destroyed.” They cut to a shot of Joe and Sam exchanging a surprised glance, so Crow snaps his head to the left as if to join in.

    #118 I had a similar experience when, thanks to a Shout box set, I saw a film I’d totally missed, and I agree that it’s kinda thrilling! For me, it was “Project Moonbase.” Weirdly, I had always confused it with “Moon Zero Two.” I never ordered the tape from my source, always thinking I already owned it. So I was like, OMG, this is from Season One and I’ve never seen it? Yay! :)

       1 likes

  25. pondoscp says:

    Charlie! They took my thumb!

       0 likes

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