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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: 1007- Track of the Moon Beast

Movie: (1976) A New Mexico mineralogist is struck by a meteor, and is transformed into a mindless humanoid-lizard monster.

First shown: June 13, 1999
Opening: Crow and Tom are blossoming everything
Intro: Mike’s attempts to escape using a remote-control Bobo
Host segment 1: The bots rush the Halloween season, and hollow embarrassment ensues
Host segment 2: This week on Legends of Rock: The Band That Played “California Lady.”
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom rig a remote camera, and catch a glimpse of Mike’s disturbing bedtime routines
End: Tom has injured a baby satellite, but soon all is well; Brain Guy and a brain-exposed Bobo bond, much to Pearl’s displeasure
Stinger: “Moon rocks? Oh, wow!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (261 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)

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• I like this one a lot. The movie is only marginally watchable and on this viewing I really noticed what a mostly placid, quiet little movie this is, which gives the riffers a lot of elbow room. It’s a classic example (“Teenage Strangler” is another one) of a group of people who got together in a town to make a movie, and didn’t really know what they were doing. The riffing is solid and just about all the segments are a lot of fun.
• This episode, sadly, is not yet available on DVD.
• Mike offers some thoughts here.
• References are here.
• Once again, props to the prop makers for the exquisitely blossomed objects.
• Servo’s head is still blossomed in theater and Mike crunches on some while watching the movie.
• In his comments, Mike makes reference to the classic moment where Johnny Longbow recites the ingredients of his stew recipe with a level of world-weariness more befitting the reading of a will. From that point on, they just won’t let the stew jokes go.
• The intro segment definitely has a late season 5 feel. It’s been a while since “bringing the satellite down” was the goal of a scheme.
• Mike’s face in segment 1 is classic; complete neutrality in the face of Crow’s increasing embarrassment and humiliation. Those pea pods look good, too. Oh, and this time I noticed that Tom’s arm is taped around Gypsy.
• Segment 2 is another gem, perfectly capturing those nostalgia/biography shows.
• Segment 3 is probably the weakest of the episode, but the Mike’s little puppet show on his bed is worth the price of admission. And I guess this is our one and only look into Mike’s bedroom.
• Fans have tracked down Frank Larrabee, the lead singer (aka the fish-lipped guy) in the band that played California Lady. He still lives in New Mexico and is a professional Appaloosa breeder. Fans who’ve tried to contact him for some backstage remembrances have gotten no replies, Maybe he didn’t appreciate being called “the fish-lipped guy.” No word on the eskimo and the friendly looking backup singer.
• Riffs that made you want to slap them: “His pants are Hagar, and they’re horrible.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Screenwriters William Finger and Charles Sinclair also worked on “The Green Slime.” Special effects makeup guy Joe Blasco did makeup for “Parts: The Clonus Horror” and “The Touch of Satan.” Special effects guy Rick Baker (who was uncredited here) also worked on “The Incredible Melting Man” and “Squirm.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. A Bill Gibb is listed, along with Brad, as an editor for this episode and three more after it. Ed Dykhuizen and Sarah Lemanczyk begin their stint as interns that continues to the end of the season, except for one episode.
• Fave riff: “I need a wheat penny and a Glock.” Honorable mention: “They shot two klieg lights and a gaffer.”

148 Replies to “Episode guide: 1007- Track of the Moon Beast”

  1. Mighty Jack says:

    #86 – Sorry CK, but I don’t care for Spider Isle and the Joe Don ep clocks in at the ‘okay’ range for me. As I said, this is just my humble opinion – and opinions (humble or otherwise) are all any of us can offer ;-)

       0 likes

  2. Pixiesnix says:

    @GizmonicTemp I thought so! It reminded me of my college days, listening to the radio and studying.

    @thecorman Just goes to show that tastes vary. All part of the lovely salad that is teh internets.

    I’d forgotten about the Wahoo McDaniel joke. That one had me rolling.

       0 likes

  3. Sitting Duck says:

    If you really want to see how tastes vary, wait a few weeks for when we do Hamlet.

       0 likes

  4. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    4 stars (could be a 5 if the print looked better or the movie itself had any compelling scenes). First time I saw this I found it pleasant enough. But in the time since then I’ve found on many online MST forums/review sites that it is considered a classic by some hardcore fans; after a couple more viewings I have come to agree. Even the host segments sing (and I’m generally unimpressed by Season 10 skits).

    As usual for me, the presence of a cute female in sexy clothes (“J.C. Penney hooker-wear”) increases my enjoyment of a movie, but it’s funny that she and the male lead are so bland. Truly Johnny Longbone gives the most charismatic performance in this sleeper of a film. Also strange how this movie ties in thematically with other Sci-Fi era episodes like Werewolf, Dr. Z, and the upcoming Bat People/It Lives By Night.

       0 likes

  5. Cornjob says:

    “Also strange how this movie ties in thematically with other Sci-Fi era episodes like Werewolf, Dr. Z, and the upcoming Bat People/It Lives By Night.”

    Right on, of the 3 season 10 quasi-lycanthrope films, this is my favorite. Like Pumaman this movie gives us a sidekick/mentor who is really the hero. Longbow is far more competant, involved, and more interesting to watch than Paul, who does little more than be shirtless, get hit by a rock, and fail to kill himself for the whole 3rd act. here we also have one of the many Sci-fi era Paul monsters. Did anyone ever tally them?

       3 likes

  6. pat f says:

    I have only one things to say about this movie:

    Fitzhugh Emerson III, of the MOONBEAST Emersons.

       1 likes

  7. Scott says:

    Favorite riff: ” Smile Paul’s ass”.

       2 likes

  8. Richard the Lion Footed says:

    This is one of the best episodes of season 10.
    The movie is your typical indie film of the 70s and 80s.
    Films that got played latenight when there were independent T.V. stations around.

    I really liked the song, “California Lady,” but then I like the soft rock of the 70s. Given what DID make the charts then, I am surprised this one did not not.

    Fav riff: “J.C. Penny line of Hookerwear.”

       1 likes

  9. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Surprise!
    It was me running the slides.
    Now I’m over here!

       3 likes

  10. you can avoid kidney stones by drinking lots of liquid.*-‘

       0 likes

  11. Sadie says:

    5/5. One of the funniest episodes of the last three seasons (and one of the funniest, period, in my opinion). The acting was mind-numbingly awful, especially from Paul and Kathy, Johnny “Longbone”‘s suggestive name and strangely pompous demeanor were a comedy goldmine, and the interactions between Johnny and the sheriff were classic. Mike and the ‘bots were at their best in this episode.

       3 likes

  12. Kidney Stone is a deadly disease specially if it has not been checked regularly..”`

       0 likes

  13. Yipe Striper says:

    need more fish-lipped guy.

       1 likes

  14. robot rump! says:

    has there been a weekend topic covering ‘riffs that made you want to slap them?’
    the riff “..and i’ve been a square kid” responding to Rowsdaower’s statement ‘I’ve been around, kid.” is one i grit my teeth through.

       4 likes

  15. Dan in WI says:

    That bloomed onion looks good on Tom Servo. What will they think of next?

    California Lady: A lot of people seemed to like this band and song. I guess they are good if you happen to like folk rock. It doesn’t really float my boat. The bands I like best in MiSTie movies were the handful of beach party bands even though they isn’t my favorite genre. They at least had energy and enthusiasm.

    So yeah, perhaps Behind the Music was a bit formulaic. Though I’ll admit I enjoyed watching that show whenever the subject was a band I liked. My question: What was with Mike’s country drawl when he did the narration for this sketch?

    The spying on Mike sketch was a good one. But why are the bots so interested in what kind of underwear he wears? And since when was there enough time for a nap between movie segments? Oh. It’s just a show? I should really just relax?

    Favorite Riffs:
    Old hag yells at person knocking at door while chaining it shut “Go to hell.” Tom “No that would mean letting him in the house.”

    Cop to Johnny Longbow “I would agree with you except for one thing.” Tom “You’re wrong.”

       1 likes

  16. revlillo says:

    Possible weekend discussion topic…

    While watching this episode this week with all of its references to Albuquerque, I couldn’t help but think of the Breaking Bad riffs they would have made if they had done the episode today. (I know from the Cinematic Titanic performance in Milwaukee last year that they were all huge Breaking Bad fans.) It got me wondering if there are any other obvious riffs they would make in certain episodes if they were doing the episode now rahter than 20 years ago.

    One other recent example — In Werewolf, the grizzold survivalist is a dead ringer for the grandfather in Duck Dynasty. I’m sure that would have inspired a few jokes.

    What do you think, sirs? :laugh:

       3 likes

  17. Bruce Boxliker says:

    I got hit by a moon rock once. Every full moon, I turn into the exact same person. It’s a disturbing experience.

    My favorite episode of season 10, and in my top 10 of all time! The riffing is just 100% fantastic! Johny Longbone’s acting style makes this whole movie. He’s in the range of over-the-top acting I call super drama.
    And what’s with all the Pauls in these movies? We’ve had several Pauls that turn into some sort of monster, often with an woman repeating his name over & over… Projected Man, Werewolf… Moonbeast….

    Anyway, time to rush the Halloween season!

       3 likes

  18. snowdog says:

    @115 – I think Mike was channeling this guy from VH1 Legends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP7y4ucNiqo
    I also love how the kept using the same short piece of footage over and over just like those shows, trying to disguise it by slowing it down or flipping it.

    One of my favorite latter days eps, as much for the host segs as the movie. The riff about throwing up corn… chicken… onions… still makes me laugh hard. The movie starts to drag a bit toward the end, but the riffing is top notch throughout.

    Tomorrow is Friday, so I plan to drink more than I can stand in honor of this viewing.

       4 likes

  19. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I have to give this movie bonus points as I grew up near Albuquerque and visited there many times in the ’70s. I would call it good but not great overall, loved the peek into Mike’s room.

       0 likes

  20. ck says:

    #115 Not sure about Crow but Tom has quite an underwear collection,
    which you get to see in the This Island Earth movie(good thing
    there isn’t smellavision yet).

       2 likes

  21. maclen says:

    For anyone who is not aware yet, someone posted a “studio recording” of California Lady by Frank Larrabie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RUT5iGspgc

    The sound quality isnt great, but it does give for a different vibe on the song. This is one of my favorite episodes. Like the “johhny longbone” bit and the riffs on the dresses Kathy wears. “won’t you shorten your dress for me”…”she’s wear as cherry cloth onesie.”

       2 likes

  22. Shrike says:

    STOP TALKING, JOHNNY LONGBONE!!!

       3 likes

  23. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    One of the dumbest, most awkward movies they’ve ever done.

    I’ll explain the joke more at lunch.
    Don’t take my face grease!
    I hope she says “Paul, help me!” again real soon.
    JOHN-ON-ON-ONNY LONGBONE, JOHN-ON-ON-ONNY LONGBONE, JOHNNY LONGBONE THEEEEEEEEEEME
    Professor of Stew
    CALIFORNIA LAAAAAAADY
    Her dress started out as a baby blanket but then she added a bra to it
    It’s that tissue I just threw! HI TISSUE!!!
    What th- they’re going for night shots at twelve noon!
    Drink me in, world. I’m freshly oiled and ready to rock!
    Your brain is the size of a chickpea
    Longbone goes into his windup!
    Oooh I’m sick, I can’t do the dangerous trick anymore!
    I’d unhook my thumbs for her…
    Wow, all this AND he lives with his mother!?
    Aww, she’s sleeping so pinkfully…
    Watching you turn into a moon beast was like watching paint dry…
    They’re both so furtive and uncomfortable, it must be love!
    *shoots arrow* Got her!
    It’s cozy… snuggling here… watching your boyfriend die…

       3 likes

  24. Gare.Chicago says:

    As I’m sure some of you already know, the lovely woman who played Kathy wrote a response to a review on the old ColdFusion site (currently down, according to the link I’m including below, due to some sort of catastrophic event). Here’s a link to a post on the MST3k Discussion forums, as well as the text of the pertinent post:

    http://forrestcrow.proboards.com/post/942521/thread
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I found this letter in response to a Track of the Moonbeast review on a different site. I thought it was kinda cool. Always nice to see that some actors “get” MST3K and even bad movies can be profitable!

    http://www.coldfusionvideo.com/mailbag/mailbag-012007/

    date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007
    name: Donna Leigh Scott (Drake)
    subject: Track of the Moonbeast

    Well Nathan, I agree with you, this is a pretty awful movie and even though I “starred” in it, I was pretty bad…however, when I received the script, it became apparent that it was almost impossible to give those wooden words some life! And it was the director’s first gig. We all thought the movie would never be edited and put out there (whew!) when much to my surprise, folks started recognizing me from it around the country. When I first saw it, I sat there and cried. My husband, a wonderful actor named Tim Scott (Lonesome Dove, Fried Green Tomatos, Butch Cassidy, inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame for Ned Blessing, died in 1995) pointed out to me how funny it was and sure enough, it was picked up on his favorite show, Mystery Theatre with those little robots really dishing me…Did I mention I earned enough money to buy a house from that one movie that is now worth 7 figures? That dreadful movie, but still playing at 4 a.m. someplace, is 30 years old and I have reinvented myself as a singer and am a member of the Academy of Country Music.

       15 likes

  25. JJ Johanson says:

    #114

    Some of us have a weakness for puns, I guess…I LIKE “I’ve been a square kid”, just as I really enjoy:
    “Johnny, you’re an anthropologist; I thought you’d–”
    “–anthropologize.”

    I like to think that the writer of the “anthropologize” joke was also the one who wrote:
    “Even George S. Kaufman won a prize!” for the Junior Rodeo Daredevils short.

       7 likes

  26. This is another good one. The movie plods along mostly, filling the gaps between the monster action with long stretches of dialogue scenes and stew recipes. Mike and the Bots do a great job of keeping the riffing lively and the movie watchable. Johnny Longbone, Paul (another hero named Paul?!??), and Kathy make for a memorable movie trio, even if they are particularly bland. “Moon rocks? Ohwow!”

    This episode also has some quality Host Segments. The lame joke in HS#1 is, well lame, but Crow takes his apology BIG, which saves the scene (and yeah, one of Servo’s arms is wrapped around Gypsy, but she has an arm wrapped around Servo too. Huh??). HS#2 is classic and cements The Band the Played California Lady as one of the better musical acts featured on MST (not THE best, mind you, but I have to say that it is an okay song). I was watching a lot of bad cable shows back then, VH1’s Behind the Music was a “fave” so this segment was an instant favorite for me. HS#3 is the weakest of the three, as there isn’t much payoff. Also, am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that the Bots want Mike to take off his robe? Creepy! :shock:

    Oh, and the onion blossoming of Servo’s head looks delicious.

    And hey, good job GizmonicTemp (#26) with that quality cover of California Lady.


    RIFFS:

    after the two assistant to the producer credits,
    Crow: “Man, the producer got the hell assisted out of him.”

    Crow: “I just want some peyote.”

    big thunderclap,
    Crow: “STOP TALKNG, JOHNNY LONGBONE!”

    Servo: “She gets off the ground saying ‘what happened’ a lot!”

    initial reaction to fish-lipped guy,
    Mike: “Shelley Duvall!”

    Crow: “The original Smashing Pumpkins.”

    Servo: “I picked at it!”

    Mike: “Guys are lining up to take her home.”

    Mike: “He’s transforming into the exact same person.”

    Mike: “I’m fine, I know what I’m doing!”


    I didn’t think it was possible, but Track of the Moon Beast may actually have a WORSE transformation scene than the one featured in Werewolf. However, the monster in Moon Beast looks better than the sorry excuses for warwilfs in Werewolf. I have no idea who would win in a fight between the Pauls though. That’s a tough one…

    Track of the Moon Beast? Ohwow!

    I give it 4 out of 5 stew ingredients, such as chicken…corn…green peppers…chilies………onions . . .

       3 likes

  27. Jason says:

    I adore this episode, and considering it’s (supposedly) public domain I’m always disappointed when a set gets announced that does not include it. A weird complaint now that we live in a reality where The Pumaman, Gamera and the Universal episodes get official releases. Perhaps it’s not the low-hanging fruit I’m assuming it is?

       5 likes

  28. AmazingRando says:

    I agree with #118, that Mike was doing the VH1 Legends guy, although the style of the mockumentary reminded me more of the more popular Behind the Music of the time. I think Kris Kristofferson was the VH1 Legends narrator.

    The Johnny Longbow stew recipe is one of a handful of timeless movie clips that continue to inspire jokes and laughs after the show itself ended. I was happy to see it referenced in a RiffTrax short (or maybe it was a movie?). They throw a few bones to the fans during live shows, I notice, but it seems rare when they reference them in the website shorts and VODs.

    I really like this movie, at least the riffed version. Like someone else confessed, I have a soft spot for ’70s schlock. Southwestern scenery and mellow folk rock also charm. I’m not well.

       5 likes

  29. goalieboy82 says:

    the movie is on amazon instant video by the way.

       1 likes

  30. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    I’ll never understand how Mike keeps such a straight face for segment 1, especially during Crow’s apology. Maybe the pea pods were bitter.

       4 likes

  31. littleaimishboy says:

    Hey #124, Thank You for typing out that whole paragraph,
    and
    Hey “Kathy”! Thank You for being totally cool!

       4 likes

  32. JC says:

    “Harris was killed by some kind of thing that…” “…killed him.”

    Haha. I thought it would be funny to quote that riff for you all. It’s just that I was screwing around on my computer here, and then I saw that you were talking about Track of the Moon Beast, and then since I already knew the riff, well… posting the riff was my idea. Then when I saw that I got such a huge reaction out of you guys, well, it was just really unexpected. Kind of like the bird calls I do: HA-ROO! HA-ROO! Haha. Look, I promise I won’t use the shot. I mean, I know you were just talking about Track of the Moon Beast here, and it WAS my idea to post that riff, but… God, I just didn’t expect such a HUGE REACTION!! Anyway. I’ll explain the riff more at lunch.

       16 likes

  33. Larry P. says:

    I’ve always LOVED this episode. Great riffing, and some of my favorite host segments of the latter-half of the Sci-Fi era. The movie is bad, of course, and reeks of 1970’s-ness, but in a good way, IMO; it leaves me gloriously entertained for all the wrong reasons, like The Giant Spider Invasion, as opposed to, say, The Incredible Melting Man, which just leaves me depressed. Speaking of the big ol’ spiders, this ep reminds me of the second half of season eight, when the show was really firing on all cylinders. It’s not just the movie, either; I find this one of the most consistently enjoyable eps since that eighth season ended.

    “I was so hot last night” “So I killed a tent full of old guys.”

    Also, with all due respect to Final Justice and Squirm (as well as the series finale, which is good but really all about the host segments), I feel this is the last truly great episode of the series. Everything about it just just clicks. Maybe that’s just me, though. It’s certainly the season ten episode I revisit most.

       5 likes

  34. Feyd Rautha says:

    I always like it when the movie makes MorJ&TB laugh. In this one, the subtle jump-cut where the police officer and Johnny Longbow walk in the back of the house where the drunk was killed shows one of them abruptly saying “whatever” as the scene begins. You can hear stifled laughter in the theater which was probably genuine, and the scene makes me laugh too. So, it’s a bit like you’re sharing the laugh with them, which sort of makes you part of it too.

    Or maybe I’m just overthinking it.

       3 likes

  35. Geoff says:

    “I forced my skull right through my face and refused to wash my stringy hair!” That’s all that needs to be said here.

       1 likes

  36. Sitting Duck says:

    Watch-out-for-Snakes #126: I have no idea who would win in a fight between the Pauls though. That’s a tough one…

    It would probably be a battle of epic ineptitude, with both constantly stumbling and whiffing their blows.

       3 likes

  37. Eric Fell says:

    Fun fact: Screenwriter Bill Finger is the uncredited co-creator of Batman! He also co-created The Penguin, The Green Lantern, Calendar Man… onions…

       5 likes

  38. Depressing Aunt says:

    #124 Thanks for this! What a cool actress!

    I wouldn’t want anyone to assume my late-ish post means I’m not into this episode. (I’ve just been sick the past few days from eating too much of Johnny’s stew. *sigh*….onions….) Because I really really like it.

    And Crow’s rushing the Halloween season is one of my favorite performance from Bill’s Crow. I love his manic meltdowns. (Just today, I was watching the Rifftrax short “Eggs to Market” and broke up over Bill’s performance as a freaked-out chicken: “I gotta go peck something!”) Mike being stone-cold bored by the routine was great, too.

       2 likes

  39. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Wow, Gare, that letter from Donna leigh Drake is awesome! Thanks for finding that.

    This episode is CLASSIC in my mind. I never fail to laugh and I’ve watched hundreds of times.

    A couple years ago I had it on New Years eve and just as the clock struck midnite, the riff “And the monsters red glare” was said, just as all the peoples home celebration firecrackers were going off all around my neighborhood. I called it ‘the year of the moonbeast’ because of that.

    Now I play it every new years eve along with other episodes in my own little marathon.

    Shout really needs to release this one (along with ‘Riding with Death’) as soon as possible.

       3 likes

  40. Manny Sanguillen says:

    Depressing Aunt #138 – I love Bill in that short ‘Eggs To Market’ when he sees the sign that says ‘Cackle Fresh Eggs’ and proceeds to cackle “fresh eggs! heh heh heh, fresh eggs!”. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.

       2 likes

  41. Manny Sanguillen says:

    By the way, there is a fantastic call-back to ‘Track of the Moon Beast’ in the Rifftrax short ‘Nutrition’. It’s worth it just for that, but it also has a great call-back to ‘Buying Food’s Henry Slinkman. Plus I can never get Kevin’s ‘fat guys in the park’ song out of my head whenever I watch ‘Nutrition’.

       1 likes

  42. Cornjob says:

    Another fantastic episode. See #105 for my previous comments. A huge shout out to the Kathy actress for being a good sport. I’m glad she got to cry all the way to bank. So many great riffs. The whole stew thing. “Soon I’ll be throwing up onions… corn… chicken…” I thought Johnny Longbow (bone) was a great character. Smart, educated, compassionate, slow to take action but decisive when need be. He was a far more interesting character than old no shirt.

    I can’t help wonder why the meteor fragment didn’t blast a hole through Paul’s head at the least considering the heat and velocity associated with rocks plummeting through the atmosphere. The orientation of the film seemed to straddling Sci-Fi and supernatural horror. The moon rock in the head part is more sci-fi, while the transformation by night seemed more along the lines of traditional lycanthropy albeit with a lizard twist.

    I’m getting married in a week, so if you don’t see me posting for a while it’s for a good reason. Soon there will be a Mrs. Cornjob. May you all be as happy as I am.

       9 likes

  43. Manos Bride says:

    Congratulations, Cornjob!

       1 likes

  44. pondoscp says:

    Another fine episode from Season 10. My favorite part is probably when taking a picture of the moon rocks causes a little laser beam to hit Paul in the face. So random and silly.

       2 likes

  45. Cornjob says:

    “Smile Paul’s ass.”

       1 likes

  46. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #142: But are you ready for marriage? Or will the wedding end up like the one in Racket Girls?

       2 likes

  47. MSTie says:

    Hats off to the actress who played Kathy for having a sense of humor about the whole thing, and also for parlaying her salary from this turkey into a good investment.

    A solid 4 stars from me. Fave riff was the “Fame…. fame…. fame…. fame….” Davie Bowie song one.

       1 likes

  48. Cornjob says:

    Re#146:

    Thank you for your concern, but I think we’re ready. We’ve known each other for more than 20 years, I think we have enough in common to keep the rubber band from breaking, and we both worship Cthulhu. Plus I showed her the MST shorts pertaining to marriage.

       4 likes

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