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Episode guide: K04- Gamera vs. Barugon

First shown: 12/4/88
Movie: (1966) In the second outing of the series, a group of conspirators travels to a remote jungle island to retrieve what they believe is a giant opal. In reality it is the egg of a mythical lizard-dog creature Barugon … and it’s hatching.
Opening: Joel introduces the movie and plays a message from a happy caller
Host segment 1: Joel plays two more messages: one negative, one positive
Host segment 2: Joel plays another call, which upsets Gypsy
Host segment 3: Crow discusses his favorite body orifices
End: Servo and Crow make prank phone calls and Crow explains doggie-do.
Joe’s notes: This is the earliest KTMA episode that has been found by fans, and it’s quite different from the show we know. The Mads have not yet appeared, and Josh’s Servo speaks with a high-pitched Kermit the Frog-type squeak, very different from the laconic “seen-it done-it” voice he later adopted for the character.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (139 votes, average: 3.86 out of 5)


• First of all, I want to extend a big thank you to my pal Joe Barlow, who years ago sat through all these shows and put together a fine first draft of this section of the episode guide, which has now been thoroughly revised and extended. He did a great job and we will be eternally grateful.
• Joe and I exchanged some emails the last time around. He said he watched this one over several days and noted: “It’s quite a slog!” Indeed it is, unless you are a hardcore kaiju fan. This time I was able to get through it in one sitting (but I admit I dozed off for about 10 minutes). The movie is dark and chaotic and violent, but I will give it this: at least it’s a story aimed at adults, rather than the kiddie stories several other Gamera movies were.
• No sign of the Mads, yet.
• In part 1 of our KTMA Q&A (hereafter referred to as “the Q&A,”) they explained that the monster is repeatedly referred to a “Gameron” because they mistakenly thought that was his name. Just a silly mistake. (By the way, I “am” planning a Q&A part 2.
• The caller in the opening had clearly just watched episode K03. She mentions it was on “the 27th,” which was the date that episode aired. Her three-year-old liked it. That kid is now old enough to have graduated college.
• Servo just kind of pops up behind the seat at the beginning of the first theater segment, and he seems capable of getting in and out of the theater on his own power, though Joel does carry him a couple of times.
• The scarcity of riffs in theater takes some getting used to. Did you, almost by force of habit, start thinking of jokes for the quiet spaces? I sure did.
• Even back then they were playing with the screen. At one point, a character points directly at Servo and he panics.
• The two calls in segment one pretty much sum up the two sides of the debate over MST3K. I have referred to the second caller as “the very first MSTie.” Wonder who it is. This segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• Among the many things that are different about this show from shows in later seasons: Joel and the bots get up and leave, and the movie continues for several minutes, playing to an empty theater, before the show goes to commercial. I have to admit that I fast-forwarded through these sections.
• Something else that’s different: Crow’s arms work!
• Segment 2, the Chapstick segment, is very funny. But there is NO WAY that the caller actually said “slapstick.” He clearly said “chapstick.” Why, I have no idea, and it again makes me suspect that some of the calls they got were staged, though nobody remembers doing that.
• Sometime between the pilot and this episode, Gypsy has become a girl. I fully support this.
• The phone number is thrown up on the screen during a theater sequence, and Joel thanks Cambot. He’s so polite.
• Kevin Murphy is already listed as one of the show’s writers in the credits.
• Fave riff: “Way to go, mister Freudian slip!” Honorable mention: “This monster does not know the concept of ‘around.'”
If you don’t have copies of KTMA episodes, you may want to check various internet sources, including the Digital Archive Project. I got mine on DVD from my old pal Mike “Cheepnis” Slusher at

77 comments to Episode guide: K04- Gamera vs. Barugon

  • 51
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Thanks dad1153!
    Right on the money, those are the 3 movies they’re yaking about over the end credits.

    I can’t hear the instrumental theme. We should all write letters and make phone calls and complain to KTMA about their misdeed.

    er. . . , um. . .


  • 52
    Hayley says:

    I love that background noise they use, with the pinging and the beeps. I actually spent some time looking for a copy of it online – I’ve gotten so used to the internet that I forget that some things don’t exist in easily-accessible mp3 form. *sigh*

    If anyone has it and is willing to share, let me know!


  • 53
    MiqelDotCom says:

    @ ThorneSherman #50
    Even if you don’t have them you can watch them on youtube (links are posted in this thread above), but i realize for many this isn’t possible because of slow connections. The hard part isn’t getting access to them, but adapting to the raw, unrehearsed and embryonic phase of the show.
    I love it now after watching all of them … a few of the KTMA episodes are definitely in my top 30 faves (Last Chase and Hangar 18)


  • 54
    ThorneSherman says:

    Thanks MigelDotCom…i will have to start tracking thme down.


  • 55
    Ern2150 says:

    Hey Steve pop I’d love to see your hybrid version…


  • 56
    StumpBeefKnob says:

    Cornjob has a great topic idea! And I thought I had read-or heard, maybe one of the new intros?- that the crew tried once to do the show that way, but just couldnt pull it all together and gave up on that idea!
    Regarding these KTMA shows, still enjoyable enough to own in my book, so a professional copy would be great!


  • 57

    It’s nice to see the KTMA season getting the full treatment it deserves. I did my own episode guide to KTMA several years ago (it was meant to be a full MST guide, but I got distracted by life).

    The KTMA season is my favorite overall season, as there is some wonderful, crazy little thing to be found in every episode. Although later seasons would be scripted (even to the point of being formulaic), the KTMA season is fresh and unpredictable.

    I don’t care how much riffing there is, as long as it’s good and it usually is (particularly from Josh). The KTMA season had the widest range of movies and many great aspects of MST can be found there. I’d rather watch any KTMA than any Season Seven (or most of Season Six).


  • 58

    “…that background sound. You know, that low hum combined with the plinks and fluttering noises that plays in the background during the host segments. Where did it come from? Who created it?”

    You know, this is probably the number one question that I’ve always wanted to ask Joel.


  • 59

    @Hayley The best place to grab that from would probably be from the original pilot tape. The opening has the sound playing with nothing else going on. Next time I come across the Scrapbook online I’ll try to grab it.


  • 60
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>He clearly said “chapstick.” Why, I have no idea

    Either a slip of the tongue, or he honestly thought “chapstick” was the word for (checking Wiktionary) “physical comedy, e.g. slipping on a banana peel, exaggeratedly losing balance, walking into walls etc.” People make mistakes like that all the time. Former Vice-President Dan Quayle guaranteed himself a sliver of immortality by making mistakes like that.


  • 61
    pondoscp says:

    Here’s those K01-K03 clips one more time if you missed them:

    Yep, here we go again, the K’s. I watched K04 a few weeks back, and it plays much better with a small crowd. The riffing may be sparse, but there’s a few zingers here and there.


  • 62
    Dan in WI says:

    I’m having no luck finding that four year old KTMA Q&A part one. Can anybody link to it?


  • 63
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    I have to say, I like the SOL interior design in the KTMA episodes much better than the flatter (and brighter) one in Season 1.
    As for the movie, it’s hard to watch any of the episodes with movies that were re-done in later seasons. I keep finding myself expecting certain riffs & not getting them. Plus, this is probably the worst of the Gamera films (and I’m a big Kaiju fan). Yes, it’s aimed more at adults, but that’s half the problem with it. As mentioned before, Gamera is hardly in it. If I remember, this version had more than the season 3 version, but in the uncut movie the initial fight between Barugon & Gamera lasts quite a bit longer (before Gamera is turned into a turtlecicle).
    Other than that, yes, it’s fun to watch the show evolve into the show we all know & love. And there are the occasional great riffs. I should really just sit down & re-watch all these.


  • 64
    Sampo says:

    Dan in WI: Dang it! Doesn’t look like a link to it was added into the features list.

    The Q&A (part 1) is here:


  • 65
    jaybird3rd says:

    As much as I wish we had K01 through K03, I think it’s amazing that fans of the show had the foresight to begin taping these episodes very early on, and that tapes of ALL the remaining KTMA shows were maintained long enough to be transferred to digital format. Some of these recordings may be a bit rough, but I’m very glad to have them, and very grateful to those first MSTies in the Twin Cities for preserving these shows for all of us to enjoy a quarter century later.

    Out of all the KTMA Gamera shows, this is the only one that feels like a bit of a drag to me at times, but I think that has more to do with the movie than the sparse riffing. Most of the dubbing is flat and lifeless (especially for the loathsome villain), Gamera himself makes little more than a cameo appearance, and as others have said, the movie itself is very tonally different from the later Gamera movies, much darker and more violent. That’s fine if you like that kind of thing, but it makes for much more challenging MST3K material. At this point, J&TB are still getting their sea legs when it comes to movie riffing, so #304 is obviously a stronger effort, but they still manage to work in some good lines here. On a positive note, I do like Kyôko Enami, who plays Karen in this film. She’s got a little bit of an Audrey Hepburn vibe about her.

    Watching the KTMA shows, I can see what Trace meant when he said (in one of the interviews on the Gamera DVD set from Shout Factory) that they are analogous to what it was like in the writing room. The jokes are at their best when Joel, Josh, and Trace are trying to make each other laugh. They all have fun with a clunky line spoken by one of the commanders: “If an expectant mother is exposed to radiation, a freak may be born.” Trace and Josh also manage to crack Joel up with a few good lines: shortly after Barugon is first shown, Crow says “Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather!”, and after a commander says “‘Operation Rear View Mirror’ is at an end”, Servo says “Now do ‘Operation Fuzzy Dice’!” Another silly line that I liked, early in the movie:

    Doctor: “I feel now that I belong to this peaceful village. I never even think of my own home any longer.”
    Servo: “I’ve opened up a fried chicken chain.”

    (It’s funnier when the doctor is on screen, dressed all in white and looking vaguely like a Japanese Colonel Sanders.)

    With K03 currently unavailable, this is the most we get to hear in a single episode of Josh’s “Marvin the Martian” voice for Servo. I can see how creating “cute voices” for the robots must have seemed like a good idea in the beginning, but as Josh says in the Q&A, it’s very limiting in the theater and must have been a bit of a strain to do, so I’m glad they decided to change it two episodes later. He does manage to have some fun with it in a brief moment, shortly after “Operation Rear View Mirror” is introduced in the film: Joel says that “they should have called it ‘Operation Rainbow Connection'”, and Josh starts singing “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie, sounding remarkably like Kermit the Frog!

    The host segments are fun, too. Crow’s scatterbrained rants are good early character moments, and the “chapstick” segment is enjoyably odd. I have no idea what would have prompted a caller to say that the show needed “more chapstick” (unless, as some have speculated, he really meant to say “slapstick”), but somehow I doubt these calls were faked or staged. I too am curious about who the other callers were: the one who watched K03 with her kids, the one who “hated the constant interruptions”, and “the first MSTie”. It would be fun to know if they continued to follow the show, or if they lost touch with it after it moved to the Comedy Channel. In any case, the phone messages are one of the things from the KTMA shows that I miss in the later seasons, although the reading of viewer mail on the air was a good substitute.


  • 66
    jaybird3rd says:

    Reading over the older comments, I have to say a (belated) thank-you to dad1153 for posting the list of movies that were mentioned in the voiceover during the end credits. It really adds to the local appeal of these old KTMA recordings to see the weather updates and to hear the announcements about KTMA’s other programming at the time. Spalanzani‘s observations about the “Uncanny Valley Effect”, and how the eclectic selection of movies from the KTMA library add to the appeal of these shows and help to make up for the sparse riffing, also ring true for me.


  • 67
    snowdog says:

    I’ve had a hard time sitting through the KTMA eps in the past because of the sparse riffing, but I have to say, I kind of enjoyed it this time. As the movie progressed, the guys seemed to loosen up and let more riffs fly. And the ad-lib approach to it really felt like sitting in a room with a few friends poking fun at a fairly bad movie. Personally, I do prefer these darker Gamera films sans screeching children.

    One thing I noticed was that, along with the SOL background sound effects, the bumper music stayed the same throughout the entire run of the series.

    And as was mentioned above, I’d like to thank those early MSTies who had the foresight to start recording eps so early in the series. I’d probably never have seen them otherwise.

    Fave riff: What good is a depressed tongue?


  • 68
    JLH says:

    For some reason, the “rude junior high teenagers” phone call guy sounds an awful lot like Jim Mallon to me. Maybe it’s just the guy’s Minnesotan accent, but it would be funny if Jim was trolling his own show and didn’t tell the other guys.


  • 69
    Cornjob says:

    My comments at #36 still hold. I really do like the “This monster does not know the meaning of the word around” riff.


  • 70
    jaybird3rd says:

    In several of the KTMA movies that were redone in Season 3, I’ve noticed riffs that appeared in both versions (sometimes with minor tweaks), and “this monster does not know the meaning of the word around” is one of them. I doubt that the Brains ever re-watched the KTMA shows to mine them for riffs, so they probably “reinvented” them in Season 3. I think it speaks well of their improvisational skills that several of the riffs they came up with off the tops of their heads back at KTMA were good enough to stay in the scripts.


  • 71
    Brandon says:

    The “Chapstick” call does sound kinda staged. Like the guy was reading lines while calling in.

    Also, when Crow mentions that Gypsy has the “biggest lips”, I swear it sounds like Trace actually says, “biggest NIPS”.


  • 72
    BeefStumpKnob says:

    My love for all things MST3K is much like my love for herbal euphoria in my formative years. While the crops from subsequent seasons improved steadily, the KTMA scores were more like the occasional home grown crumbs in a baggie full of oregano.


  • 73
    Goshzilla says:

    Your so-called opal is no gemstone. It is an object of much greater value.

    Joel: It’s a container of panty hose.


  • 74
    Sitting Duck says:

    Regarding Barugon’s rainbow attack, that brings to mind something from Baccano (an anime series about immortal gangsters in Depression-era New York). At the beginning of the first episode, a little girl is admiring a rainbow. Her guardian then remarks to the effect that he finds it odd that rainbows evoke a sense of wonder when it could just as easily be perceived as a sign of divine wrath as the location at the end of the rainbow was being smote (I can’t recall the exact wording). Along with this movie, I get the impression that they have a more pessimistic view of rainbows in Japan.


  • 75
    Cornjob says:

    I still just love the totally wack design of Barugon. What 4 year old came up with this power set?:

    “OK we’re gonna make a giant radiactive lizard dog. And he’s got a battering ram tongue. And it’s a freeze ray. And he’ll have a death ray rainbow (deathrainbow?). And at this point an adult said, “Enough. we’ve got to start filming”.

    I imagine Superman got created in a similar fashion:

    “OK, he’s gonna be strong, and bullet proof, and can fly, and he’s got x-ray vision, and telescopic vision, and heat vision. And he’s got all that because our Sun is smaller than his home-world’s. Or maybe it’s the reduced gravity. Darn it! He can just do all this OK!”


  • 76
    Sitting Duck says:

    You’ll pardon me going off on a tangent, but many of what are considered Superman’s signature powers didn’t exist in the earlier comics. It’s just a case of writers adding new abilities until there was a big ball of do anything. A good example of this is how Superman originally couldn’t fly, just jump really high.


  • 77
    Cornjob says:

    Thanks for the Superman info. That makes the whole, “Able to leap a tall building in a single bound”, thing make more sense. That statement always seemed like a bit of an understatement for a guy who could fly.

    I’m enjoying watching this version of Gamera v. Barugon (it was a groundbreaking legal precedent) more than I did 4 years ago. I even watched it a few times recently to enjoy the unfamiliar riffs and the segments of the movie that got edited out in season 3, like the whole infra red treatment, and the longer first fight between our monsters.