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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 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 (149 votes, average: 3.94 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 Replies to “Episode guide: K04- Gamera vs. Barugon”

  1. Dan in WI says:

    Let me start out with a general observation. Many years ago when I first
    became aware of the show during its fourth (but before I knew of the
    existence of the KTMA season) I always longed to see episodes from
    season 1 as I watched the re-runs. Then when I did I was very
    disappointed about how primitive that was. Then years later when I did
    learn of the KTMA years I would read many negative things about how
    primitive this season was. So given my experience with season one, I
    really expected to find the KTMA years to be real turds. So when I first
    watched it a little over a year ago, I went into it with very low
    expectations. But these low expectations allowed me to enjoy this season
    for what it was…the seedling of future genius and I have to admit it had
    its moments along the way.

    Also, I’ve always loved the Gamera episodes. Seeing them here in the
    KTMA season allows one not only to compare and contrast the early stages
    of the host segments but get a direct riffing comparison since these
    movies would appear again in the show’s prime of season three. So the
    evolution is really evident on two different fronts here.

    Random observations:
    Why do the opening credits show Gypsy in the theater? I don’t ever
    remember seeing her there in this season?
    In this season we often see Servo leave the theater on his own. When Joel stands up you can actually make out his features as the light
    from in front illuminates him.
    There seems to routinely be 20-30 seconds of film between the time Joel
    leaves the theater and the host segment/commercial

    I enjoyed the host segment three. It’s funny how from time to time
    during the Sci-Fi years we’d remark here how this host segment reminded
    of us of something Joel would have done or how during that Crow moment
    Bill was channeling Trace. Well here Trace’s Crow really seems to
    foreshadow Bill’s as lubricant speech really reminds me of something
    Bill’s Crow would routinely do when he gave his reports (such as the one
    on Maltese men) in the Sci-Fi years.

    A while back there was a weekend thread on bad science in these movies.
    Well this episode has a really good entry into that debate. Because
    Barugon was radiated he’ll only be attracted to a radiated diamond.
    Makes perfect sense.

    Phone Calls:
    Seeing these phone calls as we’ve just finished up watching the Sci-Fi
    years as a group on this board remind me how much I missed letters in
    the Sci-Fi years. These phone calls and later letters really helped make
    the show ours. After all they were acknowledging us fans by airing them. Talk about foreshadowing; well take this first phone call for example.
    “I hope to see a lot more of it” Little did the caller know at the time… The second caller “hated the constant interruptions” If he thought the
    riffing frequency of then constituted “constant interruptions” what do
    you suppose he’d think when the scripted riffing found its groove?
    Actually, what do you want to bet this guy eventually became a fan? Then
    again this caller might well be the exhibit A in the “right people will
    get it” category.

    Joel’s comment “You’ll believe a giant anatomically correct mutated
    turtle can fly.” Really reminded me of the tagline for the first
    Superman movie. And keep in mind this was many years after that movie
    came out. This is an early example of an obscure reference I suppose.

    The evolution of Servo’s voice in these early episodes is really fun. We
    go from Kermit the Frog to mighty announcer voice.

    What are with the sea wave title cards on so many of the Sandy Frank films?

    The smaller shadowramma was the way to go if you wanted to see more of
    the film. I would have been content if the Comedy Channel never made
    them enlarge it. And Joel was still able to get in several sight gaps
    despite the size.

    I get a kick out of the KTMA official temperatures displayed through
    this season. It sure gave that independent station feel and charm. And
    what a cold winter this season would prove to be in the Twin Cities.

    Does anybody recognize the control panel Joel slaps for movie sign etc…
    It looks like it is something I should recognize.

    Favorite Riffs (even if the timing was as perfect as it would be during
    Servo: Mr. T-leaf
    Servo: Attention all personnel: Incoming… oh that’s MASH
    Call ahead (instead of a call back) The three explorers hear a noise in
    the cave after the first scorpion was shot. Joel: “Why don’t the shoot
    that too.” That makes me think of the Jungle Goddess.
    Servo: “The turtle’s kidney stone.”
    Crow: “Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather.”
    Crow: “I’m glad they’re working this out” during the fight scene with
    the crippled brother.
    Crow: “It looks so real.” He’ll get a lot of mileage out of that one in
    this season.
    Great Star Wars riff: Crow: “That’s no ordinary speedboat.” Joel:
    “That’s a battle station.” When you consider this was unscripted it
    shows we must be looking at two large Star Wars fans to have them both
    on the same wavelength.
    Crow: “oops. Sorry” while the torch was being used.


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

    As seen in Season Eight, Servo can enter the theater unaided from the LEFT side, so that might be how he can already be in the theater in some scenes. Or maybe the air vent just wasn’t working that day.

    I don’t always notice the background sounds, but I presume they’re sort of a homage to Star Trek: The Original Series, which always buttony blinkedy type things making sounds in the background. Bink bi-di bink…b-wang…bink bi-di…


  3. pablum says:

    I first bothered with the KTMA episodes in 2003.

    Its good that they worked out a lot of kinks on a local station before going cable.

    This “Gameron” movie is the most plodding of them all. The turtle in question barely even shows up in it. No crazy kids with stockholm syndrome cheering on the beast either.

    Riffing was essentially non-existant. All I watch this episode for is the host segments. And then only rarely. A good early effort, but I’m glad the show got more refined as it went on.


  4. John Paradox says:

    The mention of the phone calls/letters reminds me of when I started watching MST3K, about Season Three (then lost for a few years when my Cable Co. imploded). I wrote a letter.. to the Mads, with suggestions for other movies to use in their Experiments.


  5. swh1939 says:

    I noticed the background sounds the first time I watched MST3K. When I finally made it to the KTMA eps it just seemed so natural to have them there. I also took it as a kind of homage to all the sci-fi spaceships that had come before, particularly Star Trek.

    The closing music is not the arrangement of the Love Theme that would dominate the closing titles during the cable years. Rather it is the instrumental version of the opening titles. It is never heard in its entirety during any one episode, but some episodes join the song in progress so it ends at a later point on those episodes. This track, in its entirety, would have been a nice inclusion on one of the Clowns in the Sky CDs. And speaking of those, what songs do you like that never made it to those CDs? There’s a ton of them, and the instrumental of the opening titles is one for me (another would be “To Earth”).


  6. mataglap says:

    These first few KTMA’s are a slog. The riffs are few and far between and many of them are just observations and not even really riffs. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it did seem like the riff ratio increased in the second half of this movie relative to the first half, where two minutes could go by with no comments at all.

    It does make you wonder about the caller’s comment regarding the “constant interruptions”. Were there more riffs in the first few episodes, and they then dialed it back for these? Or was he considering the host segments the interruptions?

    This Gamera movie is considered by many to be the best of the bunch, not the least because there’s no “Kenny” and ironically not much Gamera. Interesting that the future Brains chose to do all five movies in a row, but didn’t start with the original.

    Can’t say that if I had tuned in for this back in 1988 that I would have kept watching, no matter how cold it was outside.


  7. jason says:

    The ktma episodes are like watching a preseason football game.


  8. Fart Bargo says:

    I know there are a lot (probably most) fans yawn at these first endeavors and I frankly have no issue with that at all. For me, I was brought up on Zacherly and Kukla, Fran & Ollie and was immensely impressed with Silent Running when it first came out. This episode seemed to roll up all these shows in one. It took a lot of courage to put this out there and then INVITE direct feedback and to actually address it. How many of us would do the same? Not a lot for sure.

    The seminal episode always gets a five from me.


  9. Spalanzani says:

    One good thing about the KTMA episodes is that they had some really crazy movies. The Gamera films, Humanoid Woman, Phase IV, Cosmic Princess, The Million Eyes of Sumaru, Hanger 18…all these movies are more than watchable if you’re in to weird, cheesy movies. So I think to a certain extent at least that does help make up for the lack of riffing. Can you imagine what this season would have been like if they had watched the Coleman Francis trilogy, Manos, Creeping Terror, etc?

    I’m another person who on the whole enjoys the KTMA episodes more than Season 1, and I think this is due to a sort of Uncanny Valley effect. Season 1 is close enough to the final, polished incarnation of the show that all the ways in which it’s still imperfect stick out like sore thumbs. The KTMA episodes, on the other hand, are so extremely primitive that it’s simply impossible to judge them in the same way as later episodes. So watching them, all the primitive stuff comes off as quirky and kinda of charming.

    Take Tom Servo for instance: the KTMA Tom Servo looks and sounds so radically different from the later Tom that part of the fun of these episodes is seeing him like this. In Season 1 though, Tom looks much closer to his final design, and so all the remaining differences look much more awkward. In other words, the KTMA Tom is so different that he’s almost like an entirely different entity unto himself, while the Season 1 Tom merely comes off as a crude version of the later Tom.

    That’s how I feel when watching the KTMA episodes anyway. Your millage may vary.


  10. If anyone is interested in seeing the host segments and some bits of the theater segments from this episode. I have a video review of it over at the link below). One of the goals of this show is to show the host segments in their entirety.


  11. Alex says:

    I think is is possible that in K01, Gypsy is probably now a girl. That’s just my understanding.


  12. Larry says:

    I first got into the KTMAs in 2000, I believe, and I started with this one. Actually, it was my interest in the KTMAs that introduced me to the world of tape trading. I mostly bought episodes (first from a cool guy named Jeff, and then later, and still today, from, Bob is THE man!). I did do some trading with the meager few episodes I had, until a bad deal soured me on the whole thing, however unfair that may be considering everyone else had been great traders (Ironically, the ep I got ripped off on was a supposedly better looking copy of this one, K04!).

    Anyway, having grown up on Son Of Ghoul, Big Chuck & Lil John (and The Ghoul, who was by far the best of them all IMO, was back on TV at this point as well), the cheap locally produced look of the KTMAs did nothing but endear me to them, and I still have a soft spot for them. They’re not exactly funny, but being a huge MSTie since ’97, to see it in these early stages was absolutely fascinating, especially since my exposure had mostly been Sci-Fi era and whatever CC eps had officially been released at that point. Plus, the KTMA season got stronger towards the second half, as they found some sort of groove; It still wasn’t hilarious, but eps like Superdome (my favorite KTMA), City On Fire, and Legend Of The Dinosaurs have some definite moments.

    Regarding the first three ‘lost’ episodes: One of my hobbies is collecting old VHS tapes from the 1980’s, finding ones with commercials, and putting the ads on my PC for further preservation and/or DVD compilations (I’ve always been an advertising buff, y’see). Point being, out of the hndreds of tapes I have, I’ve found some incredibly obscure things on those tapes, and I’ve even found ones from wayyy out of town in local thirft shops. Point being, whether you live in the Twin Cities or not, check your thrifts. Since there was at least print advertising for the debut of MST3K, it’s not out of the realm of possibility someone taped something; I know this sort of thing would have right up my alley (obviously).


  13. Smog Monster says:

    Well, this is the first KTMA episode that’s rewatchable for fans and casual observers alike. It’s very sad to have them say sooooooo little when there’s SURELY things to make fun of on the screen. But oh well… Nothing to do about that now.

    This is the only recirculated episode where Tom Servo talks like that that throughout the whole movie. I’m glad Tom Servo didn’t keep that voice throughout the whole entire season. It’s pretty bad. I don’t think this would ever make it onto even a Shout! Factory official extra, but, in hoping that they, maybe one day, take think of DVD appearances for KTMA episodes here’s a little idea towards that…

    Eary Season Quality Guide!
    X KTMA grade.
    _ Season 1 grade.
    _ Above Season 1 grade in many aspects…

    I hope that one day, those who produce the DVD box sets and settle copyright issues will one day, perhaps, work on a good KTMA episode and one day, actually present it as it’s own presentation. The idea being that if they could put on a ‘Season 1 grade’ episode like The Crawling Hand (Totaly uncreative jokes) or The Corpse Vanishes (not NEARLY funny enough to keep the viewer’s attention on the the riffing commentary) they could provide a good KTMA episode, if the issue is about quality. And they exist I’ve seen.

    And as for the answering machine calls … Funny stuff, actually. Kinda wish they didn’t end answering machine calls completely in the KTMA Season, but oh well…


  14. Brandon says:

    Something I’ve always wondered about the shadowrama in the KTMA episodes, is why when Joel enters and leaves the theater, does he seem to cast a shadow on the screen? Is it because of the way the lights are positioned?

    It’s weird hearing the way Servo talks in these early episodes. Like a cross between Kermit the Frog and Bullwinkle.


  15. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Spalanzani #9. I think your first paragraph makes a good point… extending further, Hamlet ( like it or hate it ) is perhaps the ultimate point in the evolution of the subject film ( If I am getting your point that is ).


  16. MiqelDotCom says:

    hmmm … It’s hard to rate these against what the show later became, so i’m not sure how many stars to give this one.
    Rating it just compared to other KTMA episodes i’d give it a 2
    First viewing last week was boring, then in the 2nd viewing i had more fun and saw more nuances. It just takes some adapting to the rawness of the concept and execution.
    Loooong periods of silence …. with some of the other KTMA episodes it’s fun to compare riffs & how the film was edited to the CC versions, but this has so few riffs that there’s practically no carry-over & i haven’t noticed and major differences in the film editing.

    They don’t seem fully comfortable in the theater talking to the movies, it feels sorta inhibited … but it’s just the 4th experiment & this is a whole new concept being explored & refined which is very different than the stand-up comedy scene they came from.

    Early show components first seen:
    -Movie sign routine with lights and slapping the button (or desk sometimes)
    -Joel speaking to Cambot and giving instruction for background and font for presenting viewer responses.
    -No mads yet except in the intro.
    -Servo still has his early goofy voice … very glad this changes soon!

    Things that became standard riffs:
    – “He seemed like a nice guy ….. At First!”
    – The “More Chapstick” thing continued on into the comedy central years. (maybe i’m imagining that? need reference)
    – “Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb”

    First bondage joke:
    (tying up the guy to a post)
    Crow: “I think he likes this part!”

    Trace makes Joel laugh:
    “It’s frightening because it looks so real”

    Pretty good riffs:
    “I’ve opened up a fried-chicken chain”

    Joel: “uh-oh he’s sending a rainbow over there, nothing missiles hate more than rainbows”

    Servo: “There’s a pile of *something* at the end of the rainbow”

    Commander: “Operation rear-view mirror is at an end …”
    Servo: “Now do operation fuzzy dice”

    Crow’s little rant about dogs at the end is cute too!


  17. Daniel says:

    MiSTie for many many years, but I’ve never seen this one. Hope to in the near future. I don’t know if this is brought out in the movie or not, but looking at the screen shot, my thought:

    Do the people making this movie not know their roman numerals?

    M – 1000 (thousands place)
    CM – 900 (hundreds place)
    IX – 9 (ones place)
    VI – 6 (ones place)

    First of all, the year they made fun of this movie was prior to 1996, so it doesn’t even make sense in that context. I can only assume they meant to put an L instead of an I, and the date is 1966 (LX – 60).


  18. dad1153 says:

    Sampo deciding to recap the KTMA season is the excuse I needed to get the DVD’s of that season (from Cheepnis), something I’ve been putting off for at least eight years. That would be a great topic for a weekend discussion: what excuse (real or imagined) did you or someone else use to get you (or you to somebody else) to watch “MST3K”? I’m not talking the typical ‘coming to a buddy’s home with a tape and saying “here, watch this”‘ scenario. I’m talking some elaborate, zig-zag plans/excuses/claims that became an out of the ordinary introduction to (at least a facet of) MiSTiedom.

    So yesterday I watched “Gamera vs. Barugon” (my first KTMA episode, ever!) with all the lowered expectations of a rough draft, early work in progress local TV production that I’ve been reading about online since forever. Imagine my surprise that, in its own low-key way, I actually enjoyed the “GvB” experiment a lot more than I had anticipated. I think it helps that it’s the 4th episode already. Whatever jitters and kinks there were in the first three “MST3K” episodes (if there were any) have given way to a show that remarkably didn’t change that much in tone and structure when it went national: phone messages vs. still store letters, etc. I was shocked to see Joel step into a light when he was exiting and emerge from black silhouette to human form inside the theater! :razz: “MST3K” was never a technical marvel of a show but KTMA is both so primitive looking, and yet so much better-produced than what I expected for a Minneapolis independent TV station in the 1980’s. How do you like them dual contradictions? :roll:

    People in this board that have attended Cinematic Titanic live shows (myself included) commented on how much fun it was to experience the communal feel of a spontanous shared laugh when the Titans would leave a piece of movie unriffed because that particular scene/moment was hilarious enough on its own. That’s how I felt through the many riff-free passages of “GvB”: the bad movie is unfolding and, without J&TB’s assistance, I have to come up with my own material. But even when not making my own sausage (EEEWWWW! :oops: ) just the goofiness of the Z-grade schlock being shown was amusing enough to keep me entertained. Of course the lack of jokes means that the KTMA season must be light of replay factor compared with the endless rewatchability of the regular “MST3K” shows. But, the same way Season 1 grew on me due to its leisurely pace and spontaneity (courtesy of Elvis-as-Servo improvising), I can see myself enjoying KTMA “MST3K” as an alternate, low-pace exercise in actually paying attention to what’s happening on the movie. I was surprised at how many ‘remember that earlier scene’ and ‘what he/she just said makes no sense’ comments J&TB’s made about “GvB.” These types of comments also made it into national “MST3K” but on that stage the show was already operating on so many levels of ‘meta’ humor that the gentile-by-comparison, movie-centric riffs of “GvB” feel quaint and almost childish.

    I might grow to become a bitter hater of KTMA “MST3K” but, on first taste, count me as an optimistic sampler of good things to come. And again, it’s all because of Sampo and his tireless efforts to keep the memory of “MST3K” (even the early childhood one’s) alive. Thanks. :cool: Now, how do we convince Joel & Co. to try and get some of these under-riffed KTMA movies (excluding impossible-to-get one’s like the Sandy Frank’s) a new coat of contemporary riffing on Cinematic Titanic?


  19. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Smog Monster (#13): “I hope that one day, those who produce the DVD box sets and settle copyright issues will one day, perhaps, work on a good KTMA episode and one day, actually present it as it’s own presentation. The idea being that if they could put on a ‘Season 1 grade’ episode like The Crawling Hand (Totaly uncreative jokes) or The Corpse Vanishes (not NEARLY funny enough to keep the viewer’s attention on the the riffing commentary) they could provide a good KTMA episode, if the issue is about quality.”

    My own feeling is that we will get a KTMA episode on DVD someday. By the time they get to the end of the season, as you suggest, they really aren’t any worse than some Season 1 episodes they’ve already released. They might not have much trouble getting “The Last Chase,” considering the number of other Crown International Pictures they’ve been able to license for DVD. And as for their saying they aren’t going to release any KTMA episodes… well, they once said that about Season 1, too, and we have several of those now.


    Brandon (#14): “Something I’ve always wondered about the shadowrama in the KTMA episodes, is why when Joel enters and leaves the theater, does he seem to cast a shadow on the screen? Is it because of the way the lights are positioned?”

    It looks like there’s very little space between the seats and the screen/wall in the KTMA studio. Take the moment when Joel first enters the theater in this episode. He seems to have to shuffle into the theater sideways (facing the screen), and step over Crow’s seat. It was probably tough to find a place for the lights under those circumstances where the actors wouldn’t cast shadows.


    MiguelDotCom (#16): “Servo still has his early goofy voice”

    When they released some K01-03 host segments on, it surprised me to find there wasn’t really “an” early voice: Josh was experimenting with it for a while. At one point, he did sort of a breathy dumb-guy voice, a little like a cross between Floyd the Barber and Ed Norton. I’m not sure if the Kermit-like voice in this episode is a step up or a step down from that one.


  20. oogie boogie says:

    I see these early episodes as an opportunity to add my own riffs without any danger of talking over Joel and the bots and missing their observations. Of course, I do this in my own home and with people who can join in and not be annoyed by my outbursts.

    I was amused about 45 minutes in when Barugon is rampaging and comes to an upside-down cone office building and Crow says, ” Uh oh, he thinks it’s a fire hydrant!” Joel then goes, ” I don’t like the looks of this.”


  21. MiqelDotCom says:

    @ Iggy Pop’s Brother Steve Pop (#19)
    Interesting about the voices! Crows voice gradually changed too.
    My theory is that they discovered it was easier to riff use something very close to their normal voice. Notice that Josh, Trace & Bill all used a fairly normal voice while riffing but had more cartoonish voices in their other on-screen roles.


  22. Drunken Fist says:

    I watched this last week, and it was definitely tough to get through. The movie is o boring, and the lack of riff support made it a rough one. (The very poor sound quality on my copy didn’t help; much of the time, I was struggling just to hear what was being said in the theater segments.) Aside from snippets in the scrapbook tape and the like, I haven;’t watched much from the KTMA season, and this was the first full episode for me. The novelty alone should sustain me quite a bit in watching these; in any case, I plan to keep pace with this guide and make it through the whole season.


  23. fish eye no miko says:

    It’s cool that you’re including comments from Joe Barlow. Thanks for all the hard work, Joe!

    As boring as this episode sounds, I wanna see it just for the historical value. SO I’m off to the digital archive to check it out!


  24. oogie boogie says:

    Joel also says, “He just got out of lukewarm water, too.” right as Barugon’s battering tongue makes an appearance. That one made me chuckle. :mrgreen:

    When I first started watching the KTMA episodes, I had my problems focusing on the action. The picture quality seemed fine to me knowing that these are fan copies and aren’t perfect. The low sound quality, though, made me strain to figure who said what or if it was just the movie actors. I know this falls in with the fan copies not being perfect, so I manage. I put the episodes on my ipod and enhanced the audio, so I can better understand Joel and the bots. I can carry any episode around while doing various tasks and watch the ep. with no breaks in the action. I did this only if the first viewing of an ep. made me fidget and lose concentration. With repeated viewings I can just sit and enjoy.

    We are lucky to view these episodes in order, minus K01-K03 of course. Imagine if K11-K18 were still missing, or even more. This season will be fun to study, and laugh.


  25. ety3 says:

    I have every episode, including the KTMA “season.” I watch a MST3K at least once a week and I’ve cycled through the 11 seasons three times since I acquired them all about a decade ago.

    I watched the KTMA “Gamera” episodes ONCE, years ago. Ever since then, if it was duplicated in season three, I skipped the KTMA version.


  26. JCC says:

    I believe there is a still of the guys in the “theater” riffing during a KTMA movie on the Scrapbook tape. They are crammed into a very tight place. Poor Guys.


  27. JJK says:

    I have a few of the KTMA episodes on DVD I got from Micheal Slusher and although I takes some getting used to the differences from the later episodes we all know, it was nice to see some “new” episodes from a show that has been long gone and greatly missed.


  28. The Professor says:

    It’s amazing how much of the atmosphere and charm of the show is already locked down by this fourth episode. By this time, they’ve already got one of my favorite elements of the show firmly in place: carrying what happened in the host segment over to the theater. It’s an element that really ties the two somewhat seperate parts of the show together. It happens in this one after segment 3, with Crow entering the theater spewing a bunch of pirate rhetoric that annoys Joel and Servo. It’s a great little moment and the first taste of the genius that is Trace.


  29. Brandon says:

    Hoo boy the next KTMA episode might be hard to sit through as that’s the one where Joel’s alone in the theater. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve heard people say it’s the worst of the known KTMA episodes.


  30. Gorn Captain says:

    (#1) Joel’s console is an Electronic Name That Tune game. You can see pictures of it here.

    I used to see these things in thrift stores. It was fun recognizing it the first time watching a KTMA tape.


  31. WhereTheFishLives says:

    Going to have to agree with most of the previous posts. Thank god for the host segments, which still have a very primitive feel to them. But they had to start somewhere right!?


  32. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    MiqelDotCom (#21): “Interesting about the voices! Crows voice gradually changed too.”

    Yeah, it’s interesting how Josh and Trace developed their characters. Josh was more overtly searching around for an approach early on, but once he hit on laconic Tom Servo, that was pretty much the way the character stayed for the rest of Josh’s time on the show. By contrast, Trace’s Crow seems to have the basics of his familiar personality from the beginning (for instance, in Host Segment 3 here, it’s not difficult to see this as the same ‘bot who, four-plus years later, would characterize himself as not knowing what he means most of the time, and panicking while making sandwiches), and the change was more of a refinement over time, going from what I think of as the “robotic toddler” of these early episodes, to a sort of manic pre-adolescent in the latter half of Joel’s era, to more of a teenager in the early Mike era.


  33. Cody Himes says:

    I just finished watching this one for the very first time (first time I’ve seen a complete KTMA ep, too) and I think it’s really cool to see how the concept evolved. Like others have said, this episode isn’t too funny (or interesting for that matter; thank god I enjoy these Gamera films on their own!). Joel said at one point that the original concept of the show was watching a movie with companions, kind of like the horror host “genre”, and you can still see that idea in play here. It seems to me that Josh and Trace, both of whom are very funny, were the ones that mostly added the humor to the movie segments.

    Best riff: “Now do Operation Fuzzy Dice!”


  34. fathermushroom says:

    Daniel #17: To me the Roman numerals look right: MCMLXVI, not IXVI. That makes a perfectly acceptible 1966. (IXVI wouldn’t be 96, anyway).


  35. H says:

    I actually enjoyed this episode. I know the riffing is far below the scripted riffs era but I don’t mind. It’s kind of fun to see them work off the top of their head. That’s partially what makes the host segments so great, that they were written and performed in such a short time and with no rehearsal. I love the messages segments best, especially the one where Servo rips on the negative guy. I even like Servo’s old voice. It fits the personality pretty well.


  36. Cornjob says:

    Not too bad for such an experimental stage. The riffing is sparse and somewhat unexceptional, but does shine here and there, especially, “This monster does not know the concept of around.”

    Even for a Godzilla type film, Baragon is one odd monster. A crocidile dog with a battering ram/freeze ray tongue and a deadly skittles ad. Talk about a rainbow of fruit pain. I did apreciate the lack of a “monster child”.


  37. trickymutha says:

    The KTMA episodes are like an old t-shirt (for me, maybe one of many, many Michigan State final four shirts) They always are comfortable around the house, but not for a big evening. That’s reserved for season two on.

    I usually watch about one per month- Hangar 18 was most recent.


  38. John Petrie says:

    What an earlier poster said really made something click for me. I like this season slightly more than the official first season because the show is so much closer to the “final Product” in season one than here. Therefore the differences–such as Josh’s voice versus Kevin’s for Servo–are more distracting. Here there is so much that is dissimilar to the later seasons, you have to compare it in a wholly different manner. I had never thought of it that way before but it sums up pretty much how I see it. Plus the movies chosen this season are fairly entertaining cheese in their own right. That said, I’ve haven’t watched every minute of every Ep in this season. I’ve fallen asleep a number of times trying to watch the Sandy Frank Eps that were done later on Comedy Central. I’ve also never watched more than a few minutes of “Superdome.” However I do quite enjoy “Phase IV” and “The Last Race.” “Hanger 18,” “City on Fire” and “SST: Death Flight” I’ve only watched once each, but enjoyed and cant wait to watch again when they come up in the rotation for the Ep guide. “The Million Eyes of Sumuru” is pretty bad, however–almost as bad as “Castle of Fu Manchu.” (Interesting that they were both based on Sax Rohmer stories if I remember right.)

    I do have to admit that as a whole my lack of enthusiasm for these first two seasons comes down mostly to one thing: I’m just not a huge fan of Josh. Maybe that’s heresy to say out loud, especially here, but it’s the truth. I know it’s not just that I saw and heard Frank as the sidekick and Kevin as Servo first, having discovered MST3K well into its run. I simply find Josh to be grating and irritating, both as Dr. Erhardt and Servo. Don’t get me wrong–he’s made me laugh on many occasions in numerous episodes, but on the whole he very often came across to me as a guy who found himself to be way funnier than those around him did. I certainly don’t want to start (or reignite if there has ever been one) a trash Josh thread, or a Josh versus Kevin thread. I can just honestly say that what Kevin and Frank did was and is so much more appealing and entertaining to me. But let me quickly add in Josh’s defense that it did take two talented people to replace him, so that speaks a lot for what he brought to the show, and his hard work did help get the show off the ground, so certainly I appreciate him for that and his place in MST3K history. I’d also note that having seen his work with the gang again in Cinematic Titanic, he is much funnier and personable now than then.

    The KTMA episodes are crude and clumsy, but also charming and entertaining. There’s a good half of the season I’d put on par with not only the official first season, but season two as well. (I’ve watched the two Eps I singled out above as often as any of the shows from seasons 1 & 2.) It’s well worth the time for any true MSTie to seeks these out and watch at least once.


  39. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    “Nothing missiles hate more than rainbows…”

    First I wanna say that the YouTube video of this, posted by LadyLindsay146 (thanks for the links last week, is better quality than the DAP copy I have for this episode. Mine is lower resolution and quite “blocky”. Still it’s hard to watch and I was tempted many times to stop and go to the Season 3 version I have which looks so much better. But to compare these early KTMA versions to the CC ones is not really the point here. I should note that when redone later, they cut some scenes for time – mostly character stuff on the boat.

    Of the many Gamera films, this is one of the best, as the drama of the brother and the quest for the “opal” is quite affecting. The creepy guy who betrays them is one of the more loathsome MST characters I can think of. When he finally “gets his comeuppance” via the long tongue of Barugon, everyone is relieved. The constant introduction of crazy new powers for the two “freak” monsters is fun, but it should be noted that Gamera is barely in this movie. The biggest plus is that there are no annoying kids.

    What can one really say about the riffing in this early, experimental, non-scripted era? It’s amusing, quaint, but pretty insubstantial. The mannered voices of Crow and Servo are annoying. And for long stretches they are silent as the movie plays out with men-in-suit mayhem and loud sound effects, begging the question of why are the riffers there at all? But the host segments are cool, and those recorded messages are priceless, though I can’t help but think I might have been one of the naysayers myself if tuning in to this late night in 1988. Still, as I was reminded when watching the clips of K00 – The Green Slime , the initial concept of the SOL and its inhabitants was a strong one, and that’s the key to the show.

    As Sampo noted, why does Joel call the turtle “Gameron”?

    From the end credits, “Hair Brain Productions” – never noticed that before.

    Grading these is hard. It was a big mistake to do 5 of these Sandy Frank/Gamera films in a row, as the KTMA season generally improves once the more diverse film selection kicks in and the riffers build up their collective style. But there are still worse episodes to come, so since I can’t vote a “0 Star” ranking for those, I’ll generously give this a “2”, reserving the “1 Star” for the true turkeys. In the end, I think we’ll all feel we are grading these on a curve, as an “average” KTMA is far below an “average” CC/Sci-Fi show.


  40. Son of Bobo says:

    Well, don’t you wish you had Hamlet to kick around now?
    So odd to see them go for minutes without riffing, especially since there were opportunities.
    Why does Servo think Carol Channing is a lizard?
    I am glad Josh quickly realized the voice needed to be changed.
    Good host segments, just lack of riffs in the theater.
    Watched this on youtube. With the slow stretches, I found myself on facebook, listening more than watching.
    Thankfully, they would get much better at this.
    Fave riff: Maybe he wants to direct.


  41. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    John Petrie (#38): “I simply find Josh to be grating and irritating, both as Dr. Erhardt and Servo.”

    I like Josh, then and now, but during this season, he did have the occasional bad habit of pre-empting the punchline of a joke Joel was in the process of telling. Must have driven Joel nuts.

    For some reason, this exchange from “The Last Chase” always cracks me up. It’s just after the female surveillance director speaks.

    Servo: Thank you, Dragon Bitch.
    Joel: (makes a couple incoherent sounds, then) Never say anything like that again.
    (longish pause)
    Servo: (mock-innocently) Dragon?
    Joel: (breaks up)


  42. Iggy Pop's Brother Steve Pop says:

    Incidentally, about the only way I watch K04 these days is as part of a compilation version I put together a while back from both the KTMA and CC versions, which features both sets of host segments, all the CC movie material, and only the KTMA movie material not featured in CC.


  43. MiqelDotCom says:

    Thanks “Finneas ‘Critter’ Jones” #39

    I just assumed the youtube vid was the same quality as the DAP. But i see the difference. colors are brighter and audio is a bit clearer. Therefore i’ll post the links again.
    and yeah, big ol’ thanks to ‘LadyLindsay146’ – shes got most of these KTMA shows on her youtube channel.

    the complete KTMA-04 ‘Gamera Vs Barugon’ on YouTube.
    Catch it while you can, these things come & go!


    “As Sampo noted, why does Joel call the turtle “Gameron”?”

    I’m just gonna come out and say it .. Joel was obviously pretty stoned in a few of these episodes. Trust me, i know, lol. Definitely smoking a bit but he doesn’t seem inebriated in any other ways. I always thought it was funny that one of the letters referred to him as the ‘sleepy eyed guy’
    There’s enough inside jokes about psychedelics (sometimes ones only other trippers would get) to indicate the writers experimented fair a bit on their own minds! :idea:


  44. spap oop says:

    watching the ktma’s is like watching the first couple seasons of the simpsons or cheers or newhart the first half season of newsradio.
    kinda fun to watch but nowhere near the great shows they became.


  45. Graboidz says:

    As a fan of Gamera I can enjoy these KTMA episodes, as it’s more like settling in and watching a fun kaiju film instead of settling in to watch an MST3K episode.

    One thing to note (and possibly why I like the KTMA eps in general) is that the source films don’t seem to be edited at all for the KTMA episodes. Hence the film segments that run even after Joel has left the theater.

    And on another note, I highly recommend the KTMA eps offered by “Cheepnis”. I traded for the KTMA eps quite a few years ago, and the quality was awful they were almost unwatchable. The set I got from Cheepnis is the best quality I’ve seen.


  46. Moochavelli says:

    The “control panel” they were using was a painted infant activity center. I had one just like it for my son about 6 years ago. They have a small mirror, a squeaky half bubble, a cylinder shaped spinny thing, and a couple other slap at it features. I’m sure you can still find them in the infant toy ailes in any department store.


  47. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Last year, thanks to DAP, I filled in most of the holes in my collection, which included hefty chunks of seasons 3 and 4. I had never seen all the Gamera movies (had only seen the original) so I of course watched the season 3 eps first. Therefore, I never got around to watching the KTMA eps, Gamera or not, really. I had previously only seen Hanger 18, so I knew what I was in for. So, here’s my thoughts:

    I’m not a big fan of the Gamera movies. This was kind of a slog for me. Very slow moving, lots of space between riffs (although the frequency does seem to increase in the second half), annoying Servo voice, no Mads, this one was really hard to watch. I started doing other stuff while I let this play in the background.

    The end credits sequence on my copy (which is fairly crappy) has an announcer voice telling me whats coming up tonight and next week on KTMA. I can’t recall what movies he’s yaking about, but there’s no mention of the next MST.

    It is kinda cool to see were it all started. The low budgetness of it is kinda endearing. The opening theme/credits is pretty bizarre and funny. As the KTMAs go on, I’m sure they’ll get better, it’s just gonna be hard to get through these Gamera movies.

    Fave riffs: riffs? Riffs? I don’t recall any riffs. Those that I do, were kinda lame. One thing I do recall, and found funny, was before movie sign and returning to the theater, Joel slaps Crow (how violent!) and says “movie sign! Let’s cheese it!”. I only find that funny because the term “cheese it” is an in-joke amongst my girlfriend and I.

    Oh yeah, another thing: In the opening credits (mentioned above) it’s really weird to see the early proto version of the SOL. Does it weird anyone else out??

    Can’t wait for next weeks Gameron movie. Er, um, I mean, Gamera movie. Boy, am I sleepy-eyed!!!


  48. dad1153 says:

    “The end credits sequence on my copy (which is fairly crappy) has an announcer voice telling me whats coming up tonight and next week on KTMA. I can’t recall what movies he’s yaking about, but there’s no mention of the next MST.”

    The VO announcer at the end of K04 plugs 1958’s ‘The Deep Six’ (with Alan Ladd and William Bendix: right after “MST3K” and, for the following day at noon, 1970’s ‘A Walk in the Spring Rain’ (with Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn: Coming a week from that day (guess the movie after K05 experiment) is 1956’s Canyon River (with George Montgomery:


  49. Cornjob says:

    “Joel was obviously pretty stoned in a few of these episodes.”
    Maybe favorite pot jokes would make a good topic of the week?


  50. ThorneSherman says:

    Having yet to see any of the KTMA eps, i can’t rate this, or the rest of the season. However, in answer to a number of posts here about Joel’s being seen in the light when he stands, in the ACEG, they mentioned being uncomfortably close to the wall the movies were being projected onto.


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