Short: (1954) A look at the 40th annual carnival of the Toronto Skating Club.
Movie: (1965) Authorities launch a search for an irradiated astronaut they believe has returned to Earth as a giant mutant.
First shown: 1/9/93
Opening: The bots have opened a micro-cheesery.
Invention exchange: After making a wager on an action figure invention exchange, the Mads present Johnny Longtorso, and the bots present three non-violent action figures
Host segment 1: Gypsy “doesn’t get” Crow (or is it Tom?)
Host segment 2: Joel and Servo play keep-away from Crow
Host segment 3: Examining “The Pina Colada Song”
End: Joel knights Happy King Servo and Sir Giggles von Laffsalot Crow
Stinger: Monster on the go-go
• This is a deservedly famous episode featuring a deservedly infamous short and movie. There’s plenty for them to work with here and they knock it out of the park. The riffing is top-notch, the segments are all terrific, just a really strong episode — if you can take the movie.
• How could such a horrible movie have happened? As Daddy-O tells us: Bill Rebane made some of the movie, but had run out of money before it was completed. Meanwhile Herschell Gordon Lewis was looking for a co-feature with his recently completed movie “Moonshine Mountain,” and he needed it quickly. So he bought Rebane’s unfinished film, added some new scenes, and presto … a movie with no continuity and no sense!
• The invention exchange reminded me of the wonderful movie “Local Hero.” How come you never see that playing on any of the movie channels? Gotta rent that.
• A hook falls off the peg board with a loud clang during the Mads’ invention exchange. They keep going. And there’s also a lovely crunch as Dr. F. steps toward the camera, right onto the blister packs on the floor.
• You can see Frank ALMOST crack up while singing the Johnny Longtorso theme song, as he actually does on the poopie reel.
• Frank does a nice little bit with the pitchpipe: he blows into several random pipes, making the whole thing pointless.
• Trace is hilarious as he introduces the movie, giving us Dr. F at perhaps his most maniacal. It’s an all-time favorite Trace moment for me.
• Terrific riffing in the short, and Joel doesn’t even try to keep them from getting too dark. The highlight is the great “pink girls” song.
• What does “with a filbert nut” mean? Joel sounds a little like Red Skelton when he says it. Is it a reference to him?
• Segment 1 is rightly famous (it even inspired a shirt). If you wanted to introduce the personalities of all three robots to newbie, this would do it very well in just a few minutes.
• Does ANYbody know what that song Crow is singing (“hum-did-a-hee-hee…”) is from? It’s one of the unsolved mysteries of this show. (Several different commenters are certain they know, but each thinks it comes from a different place.)
• Joel opens a can of “pop” (or as normal people call it, soda) in the theater! What a rebel!
• The workings of Tom’s hoverskirt are never explained in detail, but in segment two we see a new use demonstrated: sports!
• Is that a velcro ball Joel throws to Tom when they return to the theater? Still, it’s a pretty good toss.
• Then-topical riff: “Matthias Rust!”
• J&tB do a little of the Richard Kiel voice they did a LOT in the last episode.
• When the movie ends up in what looks very much like Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive, they begin to rattle off some great Chicago references, including McCormick Place and the Arie Crown Theater.
• Both a callback and a call-forward in closing segment: Joel crowns Tom a “happy king,” recalling the “Mr. B. Natural” short and Crow is holding the stick with the tiny Crow on it, which we will see again in jestering segment next season.
• Cast and crew roundup: Tom is right, nobody involved with this movie went on to do anything else. The exception is Bill Rebane who later gave us “Giant Spider Invasion.” But I have to assume the writers were just guessing.
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Joel Hodgson.
• Fave riff from the short: “Vomit sprays out in a beautiful Technicolor dream.”
• Fave riff from the movie: Narrator: “There is one terrifying word in the world of nuclear physics.” Tom: “Oops.” Honorable mention: “He made her bark!”