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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: 420- The Human Duplicators

Movie: (1965) An alien takes over scientist’s human duplicating machine, hoping to infiltrate the government. But a top agent is on the case.

First shown: 12/26/92
Opening: The bots have suggestions for ways they could be improved.
Invention exchange: The Mads have the a case of the sillies, Joel demonstrates the beanie chopper, the Mads have invented the William Conrad fridge alert
Host segment 1: Joel has assigned the bots a craft project: to make spaceships made from household items
Host segment 2: Tom Servo duplicates himself–many times over!
Host segment 3: A grumpy Hugh Beaumont revisits on the Hexfield
End: Crow and Tom come out as robots, meanwhile, in Deep 13, William Conrad shows up
Stinger: Duplicates cracking up as they choke each other
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (152 votes, average: 4.34 out of 5)

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• I said last week that this was the beginning of a stretch of good to very good episodes. but I forgot about this speed bump on the road to those goodies. The movie is strange but dull and talky, and the riffing, while okay, isn’t up to the level we’ve had in the last couple shows, and will have going forward. There’s some pretty good host segments, though! (By the way, a lot of commenters disagreed with me the last time around, so I may be completely offbase on this one.)
• This episode has not yet been included on a commercial DVD.
• I’m sure “the sillies” bit is an approximation of many moments on the set. I wonder how much of the laughter we see is genuine.
• In a “Simpsons” episode called “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy,” which came out two years after this episode, Homer says: “Maybe I could have been something more than I am. Like a travel agent to a great scientist, or the inventor of a hilarious refrigerator alarm.” Can that be anything but a reference to this invention exchange?” (Note: a commenter said I’m wrong.)
• Callbacks: “Calling Scott Tracy…” (one of the SuperMarionation movies they did at KTMA), “I’m a grimaldi warrior!” (Viking Women), o/` S-A-N-T-A…o/` (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”), “Knew your father, I did!” (Mr. B Natural), “To think like the hu-man!” (Robot Monster), “And a good friend” (Rocketship XM).
• Firesign Theatre reference: “Everything You Know is Wrong!”
• The movie makes the same comment at the same time one of the riffers does, and Crow calls it “riffback.” I’m sure that came from writing room experiences. It’s one of those little things that helps the show feel improvised.
• Movie comment: Um, casting people? Why exactly did you think Adelaide from “Guys and Dolls” would be good female lead? I keep expecting her to break into “Take Back Your Mink” any minute.
• Trace built that SOL model shown in segment one; it spent a lot of time sitting in a corner of the studio. To my knowledge he has not, as of this date, put lighter fluid on it and burned it in the driveway.
• I love segment 2. It may be one of my top ten segments. How did they control them all? However they did it, they really created a sense of each one moving independently. (A commenter explains below.)
• Then-current reference: “Oh did you see Madonna’s book?” A reference to the singer’s once-scandalous nudie book “Sex.”
• Hugh: “…resembling a human.” Joel: “See David Geffen.” Ouch!
• Segment 3 is Mike’s second visit as Hugh; and of course that’s Kevin as William Conrad.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer/director Hugo Grimaldi was the producer of “First Spaceship on Venus” and the editor of “Hercules and the Captive Women” and “The Phantom Planet.” Producer/screenwriter Arthur C. Pierce had the same titles for “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Cinematographer Monroe Askins also worked on “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Editor Donald Wolfe also worked in “The Phantom Planet.” Special effects guy Roger George also worked on “The Amazing Transparent Man.” Makeup guy Bob Mark also worked on “Radar Men from the Moon.” Art director Paul Sylos also worked on “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.”
In front of the camera, George Nader was also in “Robot Monster” and “The Million Eyes of Su-Muru.” Dolores Faith was also in “The Phantom Planet.” Hugh Beaumont was also in “Lost Continent and “The Mole People.” Richard Arlen was also in “The Crawling Hand. Walter Maslow was also in “SST: Death Flight, Lori Lyons was also in “The Phantom Planet.” Richard Kiel also appears in “The Phantom Planet” and, of course, “Eegah!”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy.
• Fave riff: “The boys did what? They duplicated Lumpy???” Honorable mention: “Phil Harris and Bubbles Rothermere back there, for those of you playing along at home.”

134 Replies to “Episode Guide: 420- The Human Duplicators”

  1. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Another of my favorite episodes! This is no speed bump, it’s a glorious highway of riffing goodness! Everyone’s Kiel impersonations make me laugh every time. There’s not a moment of this episode that’s not pure gold.
    One question – is that yellow ball gown Lisa’s usual ‘around the house’ outfit? It’s not like she was expecting company. Or is the movie saying that because she’s blind she has no idea what she put on? Not that I’m complaining, mind you….

    The only downer of this episode was Joel’s invention. I guess… I just thought he’d go through the ceiling.

       4 likes

  2. Dornheimer (Giggle) says:

    Please tell me why the

    (second part of your posts are always in parentheses? If you don’t you will be branded a fool.)

       0 likes

  3. XXX says:

    EricJ: Ohhh, that’s why–Always wondered why the RiffTrax live shows always get a cheap live-crowd laugh throwing out a riff like a character looking at a clock, and riffing “It’s 4:20, already!”

    (The day RT realized they had a “built-in” audience from Legend forcing them to do Reefer Madness, was the day they started putting axle grease on the slope… )

    Really?!?!? Nobody mentioned Mike/Rifftrax/SciFi in anyway during the 420 comments and yet you still feel the need to work that dig into the conversation?

       6 likes

  4. EricJ says:

    Dornheimer (Giggle):
    Please tell me why the
    (second part of your posts are always in parentheses? If you don’t you will be branded a fool.)

    Anything after the punchline is always extraneous. :) Only a fool believes otherwise.

    XXX: Really?!?!? Nobody mentioned Mike/Rifftrax/SciFi in anyway during the 420 comments and yet you still feel the need to work that dig into the conversation?

    No, just the discussion helping me suddenly understand an otherwise completely mystifying secret-club-handshake joke that was pitched to the Wrong People Who Would Get It, at the expense of the Right People who wouldn’t.
    Even if it does start to bring up the nagging RT Live issue of the Company They’re Keeping.

       0 likes

  5. robot rump! says:

    the line about saran wrap and stiletto heels is greatness.

       2 likes

  6. Ro-man says:

    EricJ: …the RiffTrax live shows always get a cheap live-crowd laugh …


    Ouch….! Huge slam from EricJ on RiffTrax from out of nowhere!


    who saw THAT coming?!


    ;-)

       15 likes

  7. Mr. Krasker says:

    No, just the discussion helping me suddenly understand an otherwise completely mystifying secret-club-handshake joke that was pitched to the Wrong People Who Would Get It, at the expense of the Right People who wouldn’t.
    Even if it does start to bring up the nagging RT Live issue of the Company They’re Keeping.

    EricJ, if you’re one of the Right People, I’ll happily be Wrong.

       14 likes

  8. Into The Void says:

    Cornjob:
    A friend told me that 420 was the number of individual psychoactive chemicals in cannibus. They could have been wrong, but that was my impression.

    4/20 is also a special day for Nazis since it’s Hitler’s birthday. I guess for pothead Nazis 4/20 must be like Christmas or something.

    For some reason whenever I consult Tarot cards about when to get high it turns out I already am. I’ll have to contemplate that for awhile, puff, puff.

    As a lifelong user (mid-forties now, began getting high around age 10) the “420” mythology has its origins–from what I gather–in CA police (radio) code for busting smokers back in the day…way back in the day, I’m guessing.

    The Nazi/Hitler’s b-day thing? I’d doubt you’d find many pot smoking authoritarian/rightwinger types as they’re usually the sort who buy into blatantly ridiculous anti-marijuana propaganda. But hey, who knows…strange days we’re living in, ha

       4 likes

  9. Prime Minister Jm J. Bullock says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJe1iUuAW4M

    ;)

       1 likes

  10. I can agree that the movie was kind of slow and “talky”, but the quality of the riffing is where we split the dog.

    The riffing in Human Duplicators was, for me, some of the best in the series; riffs came fast and furious, and kept me laughing almost constantly, sometimes so hard that I’d miss 20 or 30 seconds of dialogue.

    This episode totally busts me up, with or without the aid of my “420” (smoking it legally here in Washington DC).

    My favorite riff:
    “I oughta kick your so-called butt!”
    –Crow T. Robot

       2 likes

  11. thequietman says:

    “It’s ‘The Pawnbroker’ meets ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’!”

    I’d never seen this one before, and I was looking forward to hearing Richard Kiel actually talk since all he does is grunt in ‘Eegah’ and I haven’t seen his turn as a Bond villain (was this before or after that role?).

    I must say that Kiel’s performance is unique among hypnotically bad performances with that laconic delivery and slow, deliberate movements.

    What really put this one over though, was the return of Hugh Beaumont. The second the houseship started smashing the SOL and I realized what was about to happen I got a huge grin on my face, and from there until the end of the segment I was on the floor laughing.

    Oh, how I hope now Shout manages to get this one out one DVD soon.

       2 likes

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

    #108: pot smoking authoritarian/rightwinger types

    I think that’s the definition of “libertarians.”

       1 likes

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

    Jbagels:
    April 20th is basically national weed day during which there are numerous protests and concerts etc.

    It’s also my birthday, and this is the first I’ve heard of it being “National Weed Day.” Shrug.

       0 likes

  14. A.J. (A Jerk) says:

    “Richard Kiel’s got a butt collection!” pops into my head every now and then. Good ep.

       0 likes

  15. Bruce Probst says:

    Dan in WI: I disagree. Those who like Hamlet are a very small minority. There is a clear consensus that isn’t their finest episode.

    Really? When was that vote taken? What percentage of MST3K fans was polled?

    “Hamlet” (the MST3K episode) is pure gold. The more familiar with the original play you are, the funnier it is (IMO).

       3 likes

  16. Into The Void says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    #108: pot smoking authoritarian/rightwinger types

    I think that’s the definition of “libertarians.”

    The few people I’ve met who cast themselves as libertarians are fiscally conservative, and like inhumane RWers, would prefer to see all social safety nets gone, yet tend to be more “liberal” re social/wedge issues.

    No, Cornjob referenced the Nazis, and my comment re authoritarianism was about fascists and fascism. Tip-toe totalitarianism has unfortunately thrived quite well here, to one degree or another, for many, many decades …with its current manifestation from 2000 to present (COUP-not unlike the infamous “Business Plot” of the 1930s, only this time ’round it unfortunately WORKED) doing remarkably, horribly well ..that is, provided you’re someone who either enjoys, or is oblivious to, existing within a techno-totalitarian, corporate-militarized surveillance state, where the Bill of Rights has disappeared via C.O.G., the Patriot Act and NDAA legislation (all blatantly fascist) where all mainstream media has been reduced to tabloid and corp/state propaganda dispensaries–less trustworthy than Pravda–and whereby the citizenry are clearly the opportunistic enemy of the state’s (phony) war powers i.e. countless fascist “intel” agencies that nowadays work hand in hand with civilians re snitch/snoop/narc programs …you know, to “protect” National $ecurity, ha
    (hey, when there aren’t any actual, real enemies, ya gotta manufacture ’em to keep the sickness of war mongering ideology, along with those MIC “defense”(ha) contracts, alive and lucrative!)

    Don’t get me going on this stuff…from what I’ve gleaned the short time I’ve been stopping by this place, political discussions aren’t welcome…which I find odd given MST was largely all about making cultural observations, which by definition means those observations cannot not include a sociopolitical worldview since everything intersects anyway, and doesn’t operate within a social vacuum.

    Anyway…carry on, and thank God it’s Friday.

       8 likes

  17. Cornjob says:

    “EricJ: …the RiffTrax live shows always get a cheap live-crowd laugh …”

    I grow more and more amazed at your Talmudic store of knowledge regarding Rifftrax. You know more about it than most people know about things they like. Do you have a big wall of your home done up conspiracy theorist style with news clippings, photos, maps, and timelines connected with different colored string between the data points?

       14 likes

  18. rice off pipples says:

    I think Hugo Grimaldi had other things on his mind than “Adelaide”‘s voice. 40-32-36 can open some doors. Probably ran out of budget to dub because of those realistic androids.

       1 likes

  19. Bad Wolf says:

    Cornjob:
    “I grow more and more amazed at your Talmudic store of knowledge regarding Rifftrax. You know more about it than most people know about things they like….”

    Ironically EricJ is always the first in line at a Rifftrax Live! Sure he spends the whole time telling people how much Mike sucks and how they’re the “wrong kind of people” to watch it anyway but he never misses one.

    I believe this is where the term “Mass-hole” comes from, incidentally.

       1 likes

  20. Sampo says:

    Folks, I am no fan of the attitude we sometimes get from EricJ, but let’s try to keep the personal back-and-forth to a minimum. And that goes for discussions of Libertarianism, as well. :-/

       4 likes

  21. Dan in WI says:

    Bruce Probst: Really?When was that vote taken?What percentage of MST3K fans was polled?

    “Hamlet” (the MST3K episode) is pure gold.The more familiar with the original play you are, the funnier it is (IMO).

    It’s unscientific but I’m judging by the comment thread for that episode on this website.
    If you like it more power to you. I just think you are in the minority. Nothing wrong with being on either side of Sampo’s Theorem.

       0 likes

  22. ThorneSherman says:

    This is just about a perfect ep for me, it has all you could ask for, bland star, lame effects, and Richard Kiel at the top of his game. I found the riffing quite strong on this one, and it’s one of my go to episodes…ok, fine, i have like 100 of those. Still, this one always stands out for me.

       3 likes

  23. EricJ says:

    Cornjob:
    “EricJ: …the RiffTrax live shows always get a cheap live-crowd laugh …”
    I grow more and more amazed at your Talmudic store of knowledge regarding Rifftrax. You know more about it than most people know about things they like. Do you have a big wall of your home done up conspiracy theorist style with news clippings, photos, maps, and timelines connected with different colored string between the data points?

    Hey, if they’re going to show them for free on Amazon…Like Boromir says, the weapon of the enemy is a gift, let us use it against him. :)
    Besides, the comic lives in a world where he’s always right and the heckler is always wrong, because he’s probably drunk. But what if the heckler happens to be sober and encyclopedically indexed about why You’re Not Funny and might benefit from Getting Off the Stage?
    A little harder to throw the “I remember when I had my first beer too” line and go on with the act for the fans, like a protestor being laughed out of a Trump rally.

    (And yes, I’d make more Duplicators-based comments if….I could remember anything about the episode without running back to YouTube.)

       0 likes

  24. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Into The Void: As a lifelong user (mid-forties now, began getting high around age 10) the “420” mythology has its origins–from what I gather–in CA police (radio) code for busting smokers back in the day…way back in the day, I’m guessing.

    The Nazi/Hitler’s b-day thing? I’d doubt you’d find many pot smoking authoritarian/rightwinger types as they’re usually the sort who buy into blatantly ridiculous anti-marijuana propaganda. But hey, who knows…strange days we’re living in, ha

    Nazi stands for National Socialists, you dig? Plenty of socialists toking up, I’m sure.

    Are you ready for some fussball?

       0 likes

  25. littleaimishboy says:

    Johnny’s nonchalance: Nazi stands for National Socialists, you dig? Plenty of socialists toking up, I’m sure.

    National Socialism is as close to Socialism as the People’s Republic of China is to Republicanism.

       4 likes

  26. goalieboy82 says:

    i am surprise they didn’t to Riffer Madness for episode 420.

       0 likes

  27. Lex says:

    “Next time on Human Duplicators.”

    I have to say, this movie has a mostly coherent plot. I think it’s a great episode, too. Good times.

    “Now I have to look up robot!”

       2 likes

  28. Ro-man says:

    I think this is a pretty darn good ep. Just Richard Kiel’s presence and the guys mimicry of his robotic delivery (was this bad acting or great acting?) makes it worth my time. E.g.:

    Kolos: “You are only imagining these things.” Lisa: “Am not.” (as Kolos): “Are too.”

    Some other favs:

    “Dr. Heimlich, the early years.”
    “Hey, its a Very Brady Renaissance!
    “I am Kolos.” “And Diet Kolos!”
    “I must return to a world of cold and unemotional galaxy beings.” “Minnesota?”

    Oh, and the invention exchange was GREAT on both ends. The William Conrad Fridge Alert? And, the Mads with a case of “the Sillies”?

    Woo hoo! Good times! :laugh: :-D :-)) :-)

       3 likes

  29. Sitting Duck says:

    @ Dan in WI #121:

    Being the sort of guy I am, I went and checked the Hamlet discussion to see if your statement held up. While you are correct that it’s lopsided, you are in error as to which side is in the minority. All total, seventy-seven posters expressed a positive opinion, while forty-four expressed a negative opinion. However, some came across as rather wishy-washy in their love or hate. When you remove those, it comes out as fifty-nine love and thirty-six hate. There were also a few posters who were as indecisive as Hamlet, so I didn’t count them either way. Below is the raw data should you wish to double check it. Names in each category are listed in the order they posted. Names in brackets are those who were less committed in their love or hate of the episode. This being the Internet, I cannot vouch on whether each was a unique poster (and there are a few which I find suspicious).

    Love: swh1939, GregS, robniles, rcfagnan, [creepygirl], ck, Emily, Laura, Colossus Prime, Sitting Duck, Dark Grandma of Death, trickymutha, Son of Bobo, I’m not a medium, I’m a petite, utter scoundrel, Stefanie, [Mela], Smirkboy, [Shinola], Roman Martel, Shenny, Clu Gulager, mikek, Not Merritt Stone, fish eye no miko, MPSh, [Finnias “Critter” Jones], thedumpster, Katana, The Castle Monster, fireballil, Chief?McCloud!, [Johnny Ride], ghlbtsk, losingmydignity, Htom Sirveaux, Clint, [Pixiesnix], This Guy, Clark Stooksbury, [Joe Raygor], [Luther Strickland], HamletFan, [DaWurmFace], [Garth Arizona], WhereTheFishLives, H, RockyJones, pat f, Tigermilk, Richard the Lion footed, Rachel, Cornjob, Green Switch, MST3KnISLESfan1, [bdtrppr6], Lloyd’s Lungs, [dad1153], [DJurgServo], ReptilianSamurai, [ThorneSherman], [bobhoncho], ChaoticYak, [Maxwell], Shrike, Sean, itsspideyman, [Kenneth Morgan], Bruce Boxliker, JC, GROGNARD, pondoscp, GonzoRedux, Duane Zykov ,[Creeping-Death], thequietman, ready4sumfootball

    Hate: Mike “ex-genius” Kelley, Fart Bargo, [Rich], klisch, Graboidz, [GizmonicTemp], Tim S. Turner, ducksoup, Papsmear, JimmyBruce, Captain Crouton, Spector, [Yipe Striper], [Smoothie of Great Power], Mark Honhorst, Gummo, sirhamhat, [Creeping Terror], Wilford B. Wolf, Mike in Portland, fantagor, SuperSwift, trennerdios, MLD, pablum, Dr. Batch, Hermie, crowshmo, Tork_110, [monoceros4], Matt D., Watch-out-for-Snakes, [Warren], trennerdios, DON3k, erasmus hall, The Toblerone Effect, Really old Teenager from Outerspace, spap oop, Mighty Jack, [MigelDotCom], Howard, BeefStumpKnob, Darkknight

       0 likes

  30. Dan in WI says:

    Sitting Duck:
    @ Dan in WI #121:

    Being the sort of guy I am, I went and checked the Hamlet discussion to see if your statement held up. While you are correct that it’s lopsided, you are in error as to which side is in the minority. All total, seventy-seven posters expressed a positive opinion, while forty-four expressed a negative opinion.

    What can I say? That’s what I get for trusting my biased memory.
    I stand corrected sir.

       0 likes

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

    In regard to the top-secret government facility in a motel…hey, buildings don’t grow on TREES, y’know. The budget short-changed them on allocation for real estate acquisition, so they bought what they could afford. Really, when you think about it, it’s brilliant, because who’d suspect a motel to conceal a top-secret government facility?

    Compared to what a LOT of other government programs have to work with, they were lucky to even afford to buy a motel.

       1 likes

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

    “Well, I didn’t think they piled human stuff that high.”

    Since Richard Kiel in fact consisted precisely of “human stuff piled that high,” that seems like an odd remark.

       1 likes

  33. 70's run on car says:

    I love Kolos riffs. I love Hamlet. 4:20 was the time after football practice in Humbolt Co. Ca.

       1 likes

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

    If Kolos didn’t expect Lisa to be so beautiful, what did he expect?

       1 likes

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