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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: 1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders

Movie: (1995) A grandfather tells his grandson a pair of stories featuring the legendary wizard Merlin.

First shown: September 12, 1999
Opening: M&tB are into 1920s-era college pranks
Intro: Pearl’s latest IMS assignment makes Servo a despotic ruler, briefly
Host segment 1: “Niche reviewers” Crow and Servo review each other
Host segment 2: Servo acquires a magical spell book, which turns Mike into an infant. Waah
Host segment 3: Mike shows off his collection of Ernest Borgnine childrens’ books
End: Bobo is disguised as an evil toy monkey
Stinger: Little kid sings: “Rock ‘n’ roll martian…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (290 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

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• I’m doing these in episode number order, but in fact this was the last new episode of MST3K shown until season 11 came along. A rights problem developed with the movie, and the episode was put on the shelf for many months, and it was still on the shelf when the series finale aired in August of ’99. Finally, a few weeks later, it was finally cleared and shown. It WAS nice to get one more episode, but watching it was a little weird.
• But taken on its own, and leaving out the context, this one is pretty much in line with the “very good not outstanding” level of work we’d already gotten in the previous two episodes. The riffing is great, most of the segments are at least mildly amusing and this movie is very watchable.
• Mary Jo’s thoughts are here.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 5
References.
• It’s certainly not the first time we got a movie that was in fact two shorter films slammed together (see “Monster A Go Go” or any number of combo TV episodes) but it’s happening here too. The second half, the one involving poor bedeviled David and the evil monkey, was originally a short film called “The Devil’s Gift.” More about it here. The movie the kid is watching is clips from “The Devils’ Gift.”
• Lots of then-current references in this one, including then-household names like Madaleine Albright, Larry “Bud” Melman and Kenneth Starr.
• Segment 1 is great fun. Very well written.
• Obscure reference: “Mona!” It’s a reference to this commercial.
• I’d forgotten about all the many John McEnroe jokes. The guy does look like him. “Grow some hair, son.”
• Segments two and three are low-key and fun but not hugely memorable.
• In joke: “They just got ‘Barb Wire’ at Blockbuster!” The Pam Anderson movie “Barb Wire” came out, produced by the same movie company, as “MST3K: The Movie.” The cast managed to find out that a shortage of funds meant that only one of the two movies was going to get a wide release and plenty of promotion. “Barb Wire” was the horse they backed.
• LOTR reference: Shadowfax
• It’s not like this movie has any shortage of stupid dialog, but the line “You look like a man who likes his trinkets” takes the prize.
• I wonder who’s running Servo in last bit. Probably Patrick.
• The end segment, with Pearl addressing the camera while Bill and Kevin upstage her with a parody of the vacuuming bit from the movie, is very funny.
• Cast and crew roundup: No crew and only one member of the cast: George Milan was also in “War of the Colossal Beast.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike.
• Fave riff: “Remember to believe in magic, or I’ll kill you.” Honorable mention: “Tonight on ‘Old Lady Gets Killed.'”

193 Replies to “Episode guide: 1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders”

  1. mikek says:

    Here are my favorite riffs from the second part of the movie.

    Crow, regarding the bearded neighbor: “It’s uncle pusher from next door.”

    Servo, as the bearded guy removes the party hat, “Ugh, too many Seagram’s Golden Coolers.”

    Mike, when the dad’s girlfriend comes home, “I’ve got Tang and Bugles.”

    Man in Ringo hat: “You look like a man who likes trinkets.” Mike: “ADULT trinkets.”

       0 likes

  2. Johnny Ryde says:

    Just looked up Devil’s Gift on Youtube to see the real ending… While doing that I noticed that the Larry ‘Bud’ Melman fortune teller footage from MERLIN is *also* from Devil’s Gift (I had sort of assumed it was footage from some uncompleted third movie). It’s the opening scene and then it goes into the John McEnroe guy taking his kid to the local fair…

    So, presumably, Borgnine had seen Devil’s Gift previously, and then when the power went out, told the rest of the story (after detouring into Merlin-land) and took credit for it.

    Oh, and I still can’t figure out what Larry ‘Bud’ Melman is spelling out in the beginning. It starts with ‘A’ and then she just starts moaning AAAAA GOOOOOOO OWL DOWN TOWEL.

       1 likes

  3. Johnny Ryde says:

    Oh, and in Devil’s Gift, the monkey begins the movie by killing the fortune teller (for no real reason that I can tell). But when it gets to the family, it starts by killing plants, then flies, then a dog and finally people. I kind of like the way it builds up like that, like it was just learning to harness whatever evil power it possesses. But that’s totally lost in this version since it can explode houses and fortune tellers right from the start.

       1 likes

  4. This Guy says:

    I don’t know where people get this “cats are mean” business. How many newspaper headlines have you seen that read “Small child viciously mauled to death by house cat”? And why the hell did I have to read 12,000 books about frakkin’ dead dogs when I was in school? (That’s probably hyperbolic, but that’s how many it felt like I was forced to read.) They’re all the same anyway. Jack London certainly had a pretty sweet scam going there, repeatedly publishing the same book under different titles and with different character names. In Hollywood, a saying goes that if you kill a dog, you’ve lost the audience. Kill a cat, on the other hand, and most people won’t bat an eye.

    Mike’s riff about “Japanimation” reminds me of the time some members of my former college anime club were in Tennessee and were told by some people there that the whole medium consisted of “Japanese devil porn.” Fortunately, Tom’s follow-up riff about “this is the anime version of Peter Rabbit” uses a term actually used by people in the 21st century and is pretty fair, really. Several years later, we would see the debut of Soukou no Strain, an anime about giant mecha that is, and I am not making this up, an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess.

       3 likes

  5. Jamie says:

    I love the Steve Martin-The Jerk reference. “I’m taking the flashlight, the basket and the (something). Thats all I need.”
    I also love the sounds that Mike and Crow make when Borgnine gets up and sits down: The big fart sound as well as the grunts. very funny.

       0 likes

  6. Son of Bobo says:

    Better the second time around for me. I am surprised that no one has mentioned Mike in diapers. For a cow town puppet show on its way out, I gotta give it to Mike for committing to the bit. I just assumed the diaper, what with his being shirtless and all, but he does reveal it. You are a bigger man than me, Mike Nelson.

       0 likes

  7. Trilaan says:

    As I said in my post, there’s always been an odd slant towards adult baby or adults in diapers community. References to characters wearing “saggy or shaggy” diapers that leak(From riffs from Catalina Caper and, I think, The Skydivers, plus others.), Frank’s giant baby growth formula from Time of the Apes, Mike’s transformation from Merlin’s Shop, and several others I know of. Plus, Trace’s Here Come the Big People comic, being similar. There’s even a sort of reference in the Avatar rifftrack.

       0 likes

  8. Wampa Joe says:

    Commenting on another point people have made, I agree that sometimes the best “riffs” of this era were when Mike and the others would simply laugh incredulously at the goings-on. The Mike Sci-Fi era was the closest the show came to replicating the feeling of a bunch of friends just sitting around and riffing together, and it’s these little touches that made the show feel less scripted and more relaxed (while ironically at it’s most polished and tightly written).

    Mike’s giggle at “YES! We must remain YOUNG and VITAL!” gets me every time.

       7 likes

  9. Joe Raygor says:

    @Jamie: That type was riff was used on “I Accuse My Parents”, except Crow used “Peanut Butter” and “underwear”. It was hilarious.

    Nice to know where the origin was.

       0 likes

  10. Krepta says:

    Trilaan: Having a fetish means that what you want to see always stands out in sharp relief. Thusly, if a TV show or something keeps hitting your button, eventually you think they might be doing it on purpose. I’m pretty sure I share a fetish with the guy who draws the comic strip Jump Start, for example, but it’s probably just my own coincidental overlap with a not-unusual plot thread. The diaper thing is likely the same– you don’t have to think wearing diapers is hot to think an adult wearing diapers is intrinsically funny, after all.

    Anyway, back on topic: “Oh, it’s the Wallace method of coming down to breakfast!” Mike’s Wallace voice cracks me up every time, especially his overly British pronunciation of ‘down’.

       1 likes

  11. Sitting Duck says:

    Regarding the furor over Raptorial Talon’s friends mentioned in post #54, a lot of people do get upset when animals get killed in films. In fact, Douglas Adams was addressing this phenominon in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the bit with the whale (“Ground! That’s it! I wonder if it will be friends with me?”).

       0 likes

  12. mikek says:

    What’s really stupid about the over-reaction to the dog’s death is that the dog is barely in the movie.

       0 likes

  13. Yeah, when I heard there were some horses hurt in the Crimean War it ruined war movies for me forever.

       1 likes

  14. Trilaan says:

    @Krepta (110) “Oh no, they’re onto me!” :grin:

    Naw, my somewhat rabid fandom for the show(through who knows how many repeat viewings of episodes over the last 20 years) has resulted in my having noticed repeat jokes and although I know of it now, thanks to the wonders of the Information Superhighway(“Let me on the Information Superhighway! I want on the Information Superhighway!”) I had no clue there was such a fetish until after the show ended.

    And you’re thinking “Sure.”
    I’m thinking “Yes.”
    And you’re thinkin “Uh huh.”
    I’m thinking “Go away, you’re upsetting me. Waah.”
    And you’re thinking “Thought so.”

       0 likes

  15. Fart Bargo says:

    @98 Ah, er Yes, that’s right. I can’t hand el malt I sill a bull woids.

       0 likes

  16. Rex Dart says:

    “Good not great” Sampo strikes again. :razz:

    Definitely one of the very best of season 10 for me. I almost fell out of my chair laughing just remembering some of these lines.

       1 likes

  17. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    4 stars.
    I’m generally a fan of horror/supernatural/fantasy genres anyway, so I was predisposed to like this episode.
    I’ll go on a limb and suggest the reason this one works so well is that the source movie is actually enjoyable. Held up against the average “Tales from the Crypt” episode or Amicus anthology-style film, the two stories are decent and the attempt to connect them, through the device of Merlin, works pretty well. Seems like a proposed TV pilot or a demo reel for the director (Thomas @ #81 said something similar). Part one is very Full Moon/Charles Band-ian in its production design and overly “whimsical” score. The second Part (F**kin’ Old Martian!) is different in period/look/detail but has a charming quality to it, mixing suburban bliss with sinister goings-on, similar to Spielberg/Hooper’s Poltergeist

    The riffing is fine, but not exceptional overall. Some bits involve M&tB just chuckling at the onscreen goings-on. Love how they are sympathetic to the kid hearing the tales, usually laughing along with him instead of critiquing his statements.

    Observations:
    • Pearl kind of channels Dr F. in intro. She never really struck me as a “mad scientist,” more of a “megalomaniac.”
    • Servo: “Tito Puente!” then the more accurate “Cal Tjader?” who did in fact play vibraphone.
    • Personal note: Ernest Borgnine reminds me of my grandmother. Perhaps not a compliment to her, but explains why I find him so endearing.
    • Vaguely dirty riffs @ the 11 minute mark – After “Shaft. John Shaft”:
    Magical things – ahh, crystal balls – hmm, enchanted stones – eww, wondrous objects – haha.
    • Crow (as Merlin): I have my own private fertility clinic in back, baby.
    • Servo: She’s Julie Hagerty-an.
    • The first story gets its fertility issue continually brought to the forefront thanks the riffers. Joel might have called this “going too dark” but it all pays off at the conclusion when Jonathan becomes a baby. Servo: Based on a story by Sigmund Freud.
    • Obscure Arthurian reference to “Nimue,” mythical lover/protege of Merlin.
    • Multiple Captain & Tennille jokes/quotes work for me as they were one of my first pop music loves. I owned a few of their LPs and watched their short-lived variety show on TV in the late 70’s. Obviously Kevin and the Brains remembered them too.
    • Mike: You know, Frampton really did Come Alive… (Another good music reference, highlighting that The Devil’s Gift seems like it was made in the 70’s rather than the early 80’s)
    • Mike: Does he have a sea turtle under his sweater vest?
    • Crow: Satan subcontracts with God to arrange a storm.
    • Crow: Doesn’t he know it’s “Dig a pony” and “Shock the monkey”?
    • Pearl in closing: Schumacher/Eszterhas cinematic pain differential & Wood/Gordon tedium inventory.

       1 likes

  18. mikek says:

    There’s a Dr. Phillip Zimbardo reference at the start of the episode, when Pearl describes her experiment of granting power to Servo. As seen on his own PBS program, Discovering Psychology, Dr. Zimbardo himself conducted an experiment in which one group of people was granted power over others in a prison setting.

    Another thing about the movie, I think this one is the best of the “pieced together” movies that have been used on MST3K.

       1 likes

  19. John Seavey says:

    Yes, I had to be corrected by my roommate when I insisted that there couldn’t be a real “Doctor Zimbardo”. In my defense…come on, his name is “Doctor Zimbardo”! :) The actual accounts of the experiment are interesting; it was terminated early, because Zimbardo’s then-girlfriend (later wife) argued that it had become nothing more than an exercise in sadism. Zimbardo started to argue that he was getting good data, then realized that he himself had fallen victim to the phenomenon he was documenting; he was enjoying his power over both the “guards” and the “prisoners” in the same way the former was lording it over the latter. Fascinating, chilling stuff.

    Best line for me was, “I’m going to break things off with Nimue. It’s not fair to Zurella.” Perfect gag that highlights the total lack of knowledge about Arthurian lore in a production about Merlin.

    And speaking personally, the first time I heard it, I thought the kid was saying, “F***in’ robot s***.” So yes, it can be misheard. :)

    Five out of five.

       0 likes

  20. Alex says:

    Ernest Borgnine, isn’t he an academy award winner? I guess that’s what you get from that prestigious prize.

       0 likes

  21. mikek says:

    Another thing I forgot to mention was the riff on the title.

    Mike: “Try the Merlin Chop. Half a pound of Merlin served with steak fries, ve-ge-table of the day and quick dessert.”

       0 likes

  22. Scott says:

    Watch the kids’ lips the second time he says it. Looks like he’s forming an “F” to me.

       0 likes

  23. Rich says:

    Not to be a know-it-all- but I loved Mike’s line too- and I took it as “Try the Merlin Chop. Half a pound of Merlin served with steak fries, ve-ge-table of the day and ha-whipped(whipped)dessert.”

       1 likes

  24. rcfagnan says:

    Today’s special, the Merlin’s Chop, 2.95 a pound! (or something like that…) My college roomate (or one of his drunk frineds) taped over my copy of this episode, so I was floored when it came out on dvd. When I went overseas for a few years I took my MST boxsets with me, so I’ve seen this one a number of times now. I LOVE Host Segment three (I think Monty Python did a similar sketch about children’s stories that take a dark/inappropriate turn), my favorite riff has got to be “So now she has to raise her horrible husband?” “That’s what most wives think they do anyway!” I think we should put fire ants down the pants of ALL the world’s leaders. You know, in the name of Science. Taste the rainbow of fruit pain!

       0 likes

  25. Richard the Lion footed says:

    Another “movie” I actually saw on HBO before it was riffed.
    Always got the impression it was a patch job from some Canadian T.V. series or something.

    So, where did the first segment come from? If the second was an actual made-for-theater movie
    (no wonder Canadians are flooding across our borders entering the U.S. illegally. Crappy movies!)
    was the first segment made for THIS film????

    This is the type of movie that the crew of the SOL did best.
    Modern attempts at either cheap horror or childhood innocence.

    These are hard movies to get right. If you don’t, you get what you deserve from Mike and the bots.

       0 likes

  26. The Toblerone Effect says:

    This one was a four-star for me, pretty good but somewhat short of being a classic. I missed it during its brief time on Sci-Fi, but was thrilled when it arrived on Volume 5. At times its tough to see the silouettes on the screen – does any one else have this problem? – and there are a couple of scenes that are too creepy for kids imo, but its goofy and the kid Ernest Borgnine is reading to is actually funny, so it is overall watchable. The riffing and host segments are above average but again, not up there with the greats.

    Fave riff: As the two women in the first story are talking, Crow turns to Mike and whispers, “Are we watching the Lifetime Channel?”

       0 likes

  27. Melanie Long says:

    Fertility Clinics really helped a lot in getting my wife to conceive a child. Just make sure you get a reliable one..;`

       0 likes

  28. Sitting Duck says:

    Merlin passes the Bechdel Test. Madeline and Zurella talk about the wishing stone.

    I have a hard time believing that Bob Jackass could do that for a living at the time the movie was made. Nowadays of course he would probably have his own Youtube channel.

    Why would anyone see nothing wrong with such a blatantly evil toy monkey?

    The kid is clearly saying, “rock and roll Martian” (why is another matter). Those claiming it was something else are just indulging in wishful thinking.

    @ #104: I’ve seen that one, though it had more lesbian hijinks in it than I recall being in A Little Princess. However, let’s not forget about Gankutsuuo (the anime version of The Count of Monte Cristo) or Romeo X Juliet (the anime version of… well, you know).

    Favorite riffs

    The Fudge Stripe factory’s been hit!

    Merlin was a thieving crackhead who fenced VCRs to feed his habit.

    I’m here for the dwarf job.

    My reviews have destroyed whole cities.

    But I should probably get around to destroying Koslax Hardware.

    It’s time for a strongly worded review of my cat Miffy.

    Come out or I’ll review you.

    Magic makes me hungry for grilled brats.

    And the devil cat grabbed his throat and pulled out bloody strips of sinew and flesh.

    I got old and roasted the cat with my breath, but I’m fine.

    Satan could have blended the edges of his bald wig better.

    I’m going home to mother. Oh wait, she’s a demon, too.

    Hi, I’m Satan Approved.

    Every time a bell ring, a devil gets his horns.

    He puttered around the kitchen for a while and got himself a cold drink.

    This is the Evil Toy Monkey for Polident.

    And then the guy with the receding hair drove a blue car, carefully signaling his turn and pulling into a suburban driveway.

    See, here’s his problem. He’s going around dressed like that, asking women, “Have you seen my little monkey?”

    My point is, Billy, man dies with a whimper, looking into the face of ultimate darkness.

    You do this and I will call the Legion of Beanie Babies down on you.

    So evil wins, Grandpa Borgnine?
    That’s right. Even your tiny soul is doomed, Billy.

    No, Grandpa Borgnine! Leave hope and light for me, please!
    Get out from behind that cushion, Billy. It gets worse.

    I keep a full dossier on evil monkey buyers.

    Remember to believe in magic, or I’ll kill you.

    I just feel all mystically magical, Mike. I’m gonna go rip someone’s guts out!

       2 likes

  29. goalieboy82 says:

    what was the rights issue that come up.

       0 likes

  30. Dan in WI says:

    Anybody else a fan of the Saturday Night Live Sketch “What Up With That?” Back in 2010 Ernest Borgnine had a walk on as one of the guests who never gets to talk. DeAndre Cole introduced him as “93 year old sex machine: Ernest Borgnine.” I haven’t been able to look at him the same ever since.

    So dare I ask if any goldfish were harmed by Mike in the making of the opening?

    It always amazed me that Tom Servo didn’t seize absolute control of the SOL in a junta seasons ago. He is good at it so long as he isn’t faced with fire ants.

    I’m really coming to like the labeled film canister prop during the introduction of the movie. For my part they could have done that years ago.

    So is Borgnine telling the stories to the grandson supposed to be some sort of answer to Peter Falk in the Princess Bride?

    Missed Riff Opportunity: When the kid throws the chicken in Merlin’s shop some sort of Alice Cooper reference should have been made.

    I have to go with it does sound like the kid is swearing the second time singing Rock ‘n Roll Martian in the stinger. I only get that just that once. Any other time it sounds the way it should.

    That was a real good interview with Mike and Kevin as a rare quality bonus from the Rhino era. The history they talk about is old hat to us now but I suspect I was hearing some of this for the first time when initially watching this interview. Again I’m struck how Kevin can just sit back and tell a story. He was the storyteller that this episode wanted Borgnine to be. It was interesting re-watching this as they talk about their future projects. I guess when this was recorded sometime in 2003 neither Rifftrax nor even the Film Crew was on the radar yet. But the thing that struck me the most was Kevin commenting on the low budget charm of the show. At one point he gives a nod to local horror hosts like Svengoolie (and I’d like to give a shout out to my own local host Ned the Dead) and then describes the appeal of the watching the show late night and thinking I can’t believe this is even on TV.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Kid “Where’s Sparkle?” Mike “I quickly sold Sparkle to a farm where he’ll be happier.”

    Mike about Borgnine: “Does he have a sea turtle under his sweater vest?”

    David gets in the car hurriedly right after the car almost hits his kid. Tom “I gotta go. They just got Barbwire at Blockbuster.” [Nice slam on Gramercy.]

    The ground swallows up David. Mike “Bugs Bunny must have taken that wrong turn at Albuquerque.”

       1 likes

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

    “A grandfather tells his grandson several stories featuring the legendary wizard Merlin”

    Two isn’t “several.” ;-)

    #25 (no idea if Mark J. Hansen still hangs around here, but just in case): Local TV stations often used to compile their own cartoon “shows” to fill blank time slots, using whatever public domain material was available (often with some guy dressed as a clown or a spaceman or whatever as “host”, with some puppets if the station could spring for them), under the (pretty much accurate) presumption that kids will watch *anything*. I’m sure any number of cartoons even weirder than “Balloonland” hit the air under such circumstances. MST3K’s very own Aldo “Henry Krasker” Farnese from “The Dead Talk Back” used to host such shows:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dickory_Doc_and_All_his_Friends.jpg

    (Oh, it’s TRUE.)

    And if TV station eventually sold its inventory material, including a cobbled-together kids show of the type just described, to another station, said show could easily make its way from station to station and be aired again and again, because the bottom line was: Fill The Time Slot. Anything Is Better Than Dead Air. Give ‘Em SOMETHING To Watch.

    Admittedly, I don’t know if local TV stations were still using such tactics as late as the 1990s, but still.

       3 likes

  32. MSTie says:

    Agree with some who say this is a solid ep but not a classic. Not one I reach for when I need a ton of laughs.

       0 likes

  33. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    “Movie: (1995) A grandfather tells his grandson a pair of stories featuring the legendary wizard Merlin.”

    And can you really say “featuring” Merlin when all he does, especially in the second, is pop up on camera now and then to have interaction with characters that have nothing to do with the plot? Maybe “a pair of stories that have something vague about the legendary wizard Merlin.”

    Look at what we’ve become! Now we’re riffing even on Sampo’s movie summaries!

       2 likes

  34. schippers says:

    The second “film” in this patch job, “The Devil’s Gift,” is so blatant a copy of that Stephen King story “The Monkey,” but I’ve never done the research to find out when the respective “originals” were published/filmed. So, while I presume that the filmmakers were ripping off King’s story for their cruddy movie, it COULD be some sort of bizarre coincidence. Anyone know for sure?

       0 likes

  35. Of no Account says:

    If this episode has taught me anything, it’s that psychics are filled with inexplicable rage. That scene cracks me up every time.

    As someone who works at a library, I can safely say that a lot of our kids books are FAR more disturbing than this movie.

    Merlin’s objective was to reawaken people’s belief in magic. He said nothing about that being a good thing or not. You can bet that family now believes firmly in magic! Believes & utterly despises! Mission Accomplished!

    Oh, and… You’re welcome.

       3 likes

  36. JCC says:

    Dan In WI – If that freaked you out about Borgnine (Star Trek character?), don’t search for “Ernest Borgnine Secret to old age”…

       2 likes

  37. Of no Account says:

    @126 – The Toblerone Effect – I have that problem too. Actually, I think the picture quality on the Rhino DVD for this episode is really bad overall. A lot of the Rhino DVDs aren’t fantastic, but this is definitely one of the worst. I think my VHS copy off TV looked better…

       0 likes

  38. Dan in WI says:

    JCC #136> Borgnine played himself in the Saturday Night Live sketch I’m referring to. I didn’t say I was freaked out. I just haven’t looked at him (or other 93 year olds) the same since. Now, must… resist… urge to search Secret to old age…

       0 likes

  39. Tarantulas says:

    No one (except me) ever seems to talk about how TERRIBLE the quality is on the Rhino DVD. It’s much darker than any other release they’ve ever done, and it’s aliased horribly.

    Here’s hoping that Shout! does a remaster/reissue some day.

       0 likes

  40. Joseph Nebus says:

    Hey, I got to play Intellivision this past weekend! Or, well, one of those game console things that includes a bundle of a couple dozen Intellivision games in a joystick you plug into the TV. It’s … well … hum …

    You know, of all the video games out there, Frog Bog is one of them.

    And my Dearly Beloved was delighted, laughing with no exaggeration to the point of acute physical pain, at me trying to play the Intellivision baseball, at which I lost 33-0. That may be a terrible score, but in my defense and in all honesty, it took me four and a half innings to figure out whether I was controlling the pitcher or the batter.

       4 likes

  41. jaybird3rd says:

    One shouldn’t judge the Intellivision by the quality of the games in those plug-and-play TV game units; they’re rather poor knockoffs of the original games. I own a sizable collection of vintage video games and computers, including several Intellivisions, and I can tell you first-hand that the real thing is much better.

       1 likes

  42. jaybird3rd says:

    … but more on-topic, anyone reading this should take a moment to check out the interview that Ernest Borgnine gave to the Archive of American Television:

    http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/ernest-borgnine

    A fascinating life and career.

       2 likes

  43. pondoscp says:

    I noticed the incredibly dark transfer on the Rhino copy this time I watched it. Everything disappears when the screen goes black. I like this episode more each time I see it. This “movie” is so bad it gives “The Room” a run for it’s money!

    And for me, that kid is saying “Rock And Roll Machine!” The scary memories of the eighties are alive in well in the second half of this movie. That’s really starting to feel like a long time ago. (in a galaxy far far away) I spotted an Imperial Transport! I think they took that and the AT-AT right out of the box, and didn’t assemble them or put the decals on. Yes, I’m an old-school Kenner Star Wars toy geek. I can’t help it, I grew up on that stuff :)

    And seeing the bad haircuts of the 90s merge with the bad haircuts of the 80s was also a surreal moment in this movie for me. How far we’ve come!

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  44. Bat Masterson says:

    I talk to myself a lot. Long monologues… complete with sarcasm!

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  45. Manny Sanguillen says:

    “Felix I’m Gonna Kill You!”
    (excellent Jack Klugman imitation by the evil monkey and the riffers)

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  46. This Guy says:

    I STILL don’t get what this movie is trying to say about Merlin. What it IS saying, of course, is that he’s basically the worst. A guy is kind of a dick to Merlin? Well, death to him and his pets! A demonic toy gets out into the world and nearly murders a whole family? Oh, you scamp, it’s back to the unsecured store shelf for you! No attempt to banish the monkey to the Phantom Zone or whatever the hell. He could just ditch the whole magic bit and leave big jars of nitroglycerin out on rickety pedestals, get the whole thing done faster.

    @128: Ah, yes. Of course, Gankutsuou is pretty damned awesome, in my opinion. I didn’t see Romeo x Juliet, or (for that matter) Soukou no Strain.

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  47. Of No Account says:

    @128 & 146 – Don’t forget the classic anime series Tosho Daimos. That’s Romeo & Juliet with an alien invasion (winged people!), giant robots, and karate. It’s one of my favorites.

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  48. Cornjob says:

    The riff about Merlin and his holy demons sums up the confusion about Merlin’s portrayal in this film nicely. His mission to bring wonder into the world has more collateral damage than Vicki Lawrence’ visit to bee psycho island. Was he going to start passing out copies of the Necronomicon to disgruntled postal workers? And Merlin clearly needed the maid from Horror at Party Beach to tell him to get off his keister and find that death monkey. After she got that shiftless white boy to make more phone calls and find that Sodium.

    “My reviews have destroyed entire cities!”

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  49. ck says:

    Ernest Borgnine’s Secret to Old Age…

    Oh, the horror!…now Kim Cattrall, she rings my bell, I think
    she’s swell. Kim Kim Kim Kim Kim Cattrall. She was in Mannequin
    and that was a really good movie, You’ve never made a bad film.
    Oh, what the hell, Let’s go to the Dells, Our relationship will gel.
    I like your smell, You’re really swell,

    Anyway, it apparently doesn’t work past age 92.

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  50. I have never heard anything other than “Rock and Roll Martian” come out of that little kids mouth. To find that other people are hearing swear words is. . .interesting. I can’t really judge though… as I mishear things all the time, such as with MST3k’s 3rd (and 4th) version(s) of the theme song (eps 513-624[-706]) in which during Robot Roll Call I still (after all these years) hear Crow respond to his name with the phrase “catch a porno.” Can’t help it, it’s just what I hear.

    Anyway, let’s take a visit to MERLIN’S SHOP OF MYSTICAL WONDERS!

    This is a fun episode. As Sampo noted, this episode aired after the series had ended, making this the final “new” episode of MST to air on television. It was nice to get one more ep after the series finale, but (as already said) it was kind of weird.

    Personally I find this to be a fairly great episode, the hodgepodge nature of the movie makes it that much more enjoyable, like we’re getting a couple shorts smashed together with the presence of Grandpa Borgnine all around to tie everything together. I love me some Borgnine (Cabbie in Escape from New York is one of my fave characters of his) and even though you can tell he was hired for a single days worth of work, you can also tell he’s not phoning it in (as any problems with his line delivery has to be attributed to the fact that he was only on set for this movie for one day, and as such, he most likely only saw the script on that day).

    I used to think I liked the front half of this movie better (“my reviews have crushed whole cities!”) but now I think I might like the Devil Monkey back section a little bit more. The cheesy horror nature of it beats out the cheesy Amazing Stories nature of the first half, in my opinion at least.

    The Devil Monkey segment also gives us glimpses of E.T., Star Wars (in the form of AT-ATs and the kid’s Jedi shirt), and some anime (after reading all the comments above, I’m still a little confused. Is it Ultraman? I don’t watch anime, so I really don’t have a clue), all things which are very 80s and remind me of my childhood. It also reminds me of the heavy toy product placement in Poltergeist. . . so could the presence of these things in the Devil Monkey movie be a reference/criticism of the earlier (and very successful) film from Hooper and Spielberg? Maybe. . . .but probably not.

    And for the record, I know that the movie isn’t called Devil Monkey, but that’s what I refer to it as, so there.

    Back to the MST episode…
    The opening with the college pranks is okay, but I wonder how many times we’ve now seen ridiculously tall objects on the bridge of the SOL and how many times we’ve seen Crow fall from said tall object. I’d say four or five for the former and at least two of the later, by my count.
    The Intro with despotic Servo is funny.
    Host Segment #1 with the Bots reviewing each other, very funny.
    HS#2 with baby Mike, not so much funny as it is disturbing. (“That upsets me. Waa.”)
    HS#3 with the Borgnine children’s lit, also funny.
    The Outro with Bobo as the Devil Monkey is an obvious bit of comedy, but they pull it off. Brain Guy trying to knock him off the table into the bag is funny, but the bit goes on just a little too long….


    RIFFS:

    Mike: “I forsee I’m going to get hammered.”

    Crow: “Look at all these gordita wrappers. What have I been doing..?”

    guy gets blown over in his chair,
    Servo: “AH, a derecho!” —–this is funny to me now that I know what a derecho is. When I still lived in Southern Illinois, 5 years ago there was a powerful derecho (best described as an inland hurricane) that moved through the area. It was messed up. The town was in shambles, trees and powerlines down, I didn’t have electricity at my house for a week. Had running water though, so that was okay.. Yup. Good times…

    Mike: “Satan could of at least blended the edges of his bald wig a little better.”

    Crow: “It’s Uncle Pusher from next door.”

    Servo: “We’re gonna change the dog’s name to Crispy..”

    Crow: “Remember to believe in magic. . . or I’ll kill you.”


    A few times during this episode, Mike and the Bots are just kind of watching the movie and chuckling to themselves,
    most notably during Jonathan’s scenes of him rambling to himself and in all of Ernest Borgnine’s scenes.
    In this instance, this works, because the weirdness of this movie speaks for itself.
    I like this one,
    I give it 4 out of 5 devil monkeys.
    :monkey: :monkey: :monkey: :monkey:

       4 likes

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