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. The egg hatches and the creature goes on a rampage, the conspirators turn on one another, the authorities try and fail repeatedly to defeat the creature and all looks lost until Gamera arrives on the scene.
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 later shows. 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. [Note: every week we will try to include comments from Joe Barlow, who created our most recent version of our KTMA episode guide.]
Well, grab your Chapstick and let’s get started.
• First of all, I want to extend a big thank you to 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 is now about to be thoroughly revised and extended. He did a great job and we will be eternally grateful.
• Joe and I exchanged some emails this week. He watched this one on his laptop over several days and noted: “It’s quite a slog!” Indeed it is. I also had to watch this over several sittings, partially because real life called me away from the TV screen, but also because this is tough to get through in one go. I actually laughed really hard at one of the host segments, and that surprised me, but I was hard pressed to find a really funny line for the “fave riff” item I always end with. The movie is dark and chaotic and violent, but I will give it this: at least it’s a story aimed at adults. When the creators of this series discovered that kids were flocking to these movies, they began to aim them at kids, with the result that some of the latter ones are just insufferable. At least this one has a serious tone, and the actors are taking the situations seriously.
• Why does Joel think the turtle’s name is “Gameron”?
• One of the first things I noticed here, and also when I watched the pilot, is 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? I hadn’t realized that it was one of the features of the show that has been part of it from the very beginning.
• The caller in the opening had apparently 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, had me rolling. It was the one genuinely funny laugh-out-loud moment of the episode.
• Sometime between the pilot and this episode, Gypsy has become a girl.
• 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 cheesyflix.com.