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Episode guide: K05- Gamera

Movie: (1965) In the first of a long-running Japanese movie series, a giant mutated turtle with super powers is accidentally revived from hibernation and, of course, attacks Japan. Meanwhile, young Kenny is fascinated by the beast.

First shown: 12/11/88
Opening: It’s Christmas time, and Crow has “volunteered” to be the SOL’s Christmas tree
Host segment 1: Servo is thankful he wasn’t frozen. A caller wants to know who does Joel’s hair
Host segment 2: Inspired by a caller, Gypsy does her Godzilla impression. Viewers are invited to take a Ted Turner quiz
Host segment 3: Callers offer opposing views on a Gamera fight, so Joel and Servo go to the video tape
End: Joel explains some Christmas traditions, then its time for carols.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (137 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)


• Joel watches the film by himself; as such, this episode contains what is surely the sparsest riffing in MST3K’s history. It’s not uncommon for Joel to go more than two minutes without making a single riff. Servo appears in the host segments, but there’s no explanation for why he does not join Joel in the theater. Trace was reportedly out of town during the shooting of this episode (and in the Q&A Josh suspected he had a standup gig at the time the theater scenes were being shot.
• This episode illustrates what seems to have been an incredibly casual situation with the show. Trace just couldn’t make it, so they wrote him out of the sketches, end of problem. You can hardly blame Trace. I think he was getting something like $35 an episode. Nothing to sneeze at, but not worth changing your holiday travel plans, either.
• That does not sound like Trace in the bit where he is frozen. It sounds like Josh. Which makes sense, since Trace wasn’t there.
• There’s a little teaser of Gamera mayhem at the beginning of the movie. They edited that out of the season 3 version.
• Without the support of Josh and Trace, Joel resorts to what he enjoys most, interacting with the screen. He does it a lot in this episode.
• Some may not remember, and kids may not be aware of, the whole kerfuffle in the late ’80s about Ted Turner colorizing classic black-and-white movies. Many movie buffs – Joel seems to have been one of them – were horrified at the project and he came in for much derision. He quietly backed off it after a while.
• Joel resorts to talking to himself. At one point Joel asks, to nobody in particular, “Would you consider that a plot device?”
• In these early episodes, many of the riffs are what Mary Jo later called “state park” jokes (i.e.: “That looks like a state park.” Not so much a joke as a simple observation).
• Questions for the movie: 1) So, the old eskimo is the latest in a long line of keepers of the ancient Gamera stone that’s been handed down in his tribe for thousands of years, and then these complete strangers show up in his village and he happily hands it over to them? (2) What’s with the scientist pretty much lying through his teeth when he vouches for the reporter? Is he just doing him and the lady researcher a favor so they can continue their tepid romance? He says the reporter guy has extensive knowledge of Gamera. What does he know that scientist guy and lady researcher don’t know? He never demonstrates any real knowledge of the situation, that I noticed. (3) Kenny thinks he has some sort of psychic connection with Gamera. But the movie never presents any evidence that this is the case. Yes, Gamera doesn’t kill Kenny when he has the chance, but that could just be luck.
• There’s a fun moment when Joel laughs heartily at the movie, when a scientist suggests that Gamera has “special organs that operate like a hydro-electric plant.”
• It’s pretty clear the two calls in segment 3 where made by the same person.
• Fave riff: “That could take years!”

74 comments to Episode guide: K05- Gamera

  • 1
    Graboidz says:

    This is the toughest of the “Season 0” episodes for me…and I love the Gamera films…with the exception of the first film. It’s a pretty boring movie overall, and Joel doesn’t have anyone to play off of in the theater which is kind of a drag as well. I’m glad they got to re-tackle this flick during the national run.


  • 2
    bad wolf says:

    I don’t feel like i’m missing anything here.


  • 3
    Two Bricks Shy of a Load says:

    Probably one of the strangest episodes in the theater….Joel is alone. Tom and Crow is just not there. Does anyone know what happened to Kevin and Trace? It’s as if everyone else took off for the week.


  • 4
    Dan in WI says:

    Okay, let me start by getting the obligatory out of the way. It’s well documented and for a good reason that yes this is the solo Joel episode and yes the silence between riffs is incredibly long. Again, not only are these the formative episodes of the show, but given that I’m guessing here) any budget they had went into production I’d have to wonder if anything at all ended up in their pockets. It’s very excusable that if Trace and Josh had other pressing matters to attend to that they did so.

    Now speaking of the production budget, just what did the freezing Crow effect cost them that we see it two times in this episode alone and
    another handful of times in the future before he was thawed out? It sure feels like someone felt the need to get full value out of whatever they spent on it. Not that it looks like all that involved of an effect in the first place.

    Sampo: I noticed the Gameron on bridge vs. Gamera in the theater thing too. There has to be an inside joke here.

    At many points when the movie is dark, Joel and the theater seats are near invisible.

    Just what war is that in 1965 that has come to that Eskimo village? I don’t remember studying that one in school.

    During the 45 seconds between Joel leaves the theater the first time and the beginning of the door sequence, I noticed the theater seats
    disappear for the final 5ish seconds.

    While Joel had us watching credit to answer the burning questions: who does his hair?, I noticed the credit for the MST *300* Theme Music. I wonder how many weeks that was wrong. Yet in the real end credits later on it was 3000 as it should have been.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Who’s got a head the size of a Harvestore silo?
    It’s a love triangle with Gamera


  • 5
    WhereTheFishLives says:

    The pain… this episode feels like a chore to sit through for me. I am thankful they revisited this movie later on. The show had to start somewhere and I still enjoy certain parts of this episode but I will certainly not be revisiting this one any time soon.


  • 6
    Son of Bobo says:

    During the one call, as they posted the dialog, I am pretty sure the caller didn’t say ship.


  • 7
    Alex says:

    I agree, the riffing was pretty poor in this episode, and because they didn’t do a white-screen effect back in the KTMA days, the black and white makes the sillohettes constantly dissapear, so it’s almost as if you’re watching the movie on its own.

    Speaking of the theater seats, did anyone catch how at the end of the second theater segment, after Joel leaves, the seats just suddenly dissapear?

    The host segments were okay for my opinion. I liked the Gamera VS Barugon fighting clip host segment. I’m guessing Servo wasn’t in the theater because they just assumed if one of the riffing bots were written out of the episode, that means any other riffing bot cannot come in, weather available in the host segments or not.


  • 8
    Alex says:

    But if the Daiei-Mst3k/J&J-KTMA feud ever ends, then this episode would make a nice little bonus on an upcoming Mst3k release. Have 302 as the main episode, with this one as a bonus. Sort of like what they did with Night of the Blood Beast. Razz


  • 9
    JimmyBruce says:


    Let me know when we start discussing season 1.


  • 10
    MiqelDotCom says:

    I have to agree with the people last week who said it’s very strange to see the SOL in pre dog-bone form, it looks like a bunch of kitchenware glued together.

    Joel is still saying GamerON and reapeats essentially the same Superman reference as last week.
    This is truly the most boring episode of MST3K, Joel is alone, riffing is still being invented and it’s a B/W Sandy Frank film – yikes!
    Joel gives it a good try, but the comedic chemistry between trace, joel and josh was the main fuel for the improvised riffing. With nobody else in the theater he goes for looong stretches with no commentary and many of the riffs are just bland observational remarks.

    Cool Things:
    Joel uses a Punky Berwster background when displaying the text of a phone call!
    Joel sneaks a forbidden word onto the airwaves during a viewer call who clearly says “they breathe fire and s**t” but on the sceen it reads as “they breathe fire and ship”

    Obscure Reference:
    During the dance-party scene Joel starts singing “Save the Earth, save the earth”. This is the song sung during the dance-club scene in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster

    Best Riffs:

    Open Question:
    What was the deal with all of the rocks Kenny was collecting?

    Most missed part of CC re-riff:
    Tom Servo’s love song about Kenny and the turtle!


  • 11
    Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    “Enough for you, you’re hammered.”

    If I could, I’d award this negative points for Joel being so non-funny and actually annoying in his few comments. I hesitate to call them “riffs” as most aren’t even jokes, but merely cranky comments, lesser than even you and your buddies might make if watching this movie. They really shouldn’t have aired this, as the absence of riffing partners in the theater proves fatal to the comedy. I’m about even on the Joel v. Mike debate, but if you happened to be anti-Joel, this one provides some fine ammunition for your argument against the “sleepy-eyed” guy. The simple fact is that Mike never made a MST episode this humor-free, and even though his initial solo Rifftrax efforts were sometimes stiff or monotonous, they were at least scripted and more riff-dense. But of course that was after years of honing his craft, so that’s not really a fair comparison. Still, Joel comes off here as if he “just didn’t care.”

    At least this time, I finally watched the whole thing. Luckily, the movie itself is well-made and so odd and funny on it’s own. Despite its quality production, it is my least favorite of the Gamera flicks. The Kenny character means to show us that Gamera is a misunderstood outsider, but the kid is portrayed as an insane goofball so he’s impossible to sympathize with – like G., he is always being disobedient and doing bad things. After the lighthouse incident, G. shows no further interest in saving human lives or Kenny himself. Kenny’s constant assurances that G. is a friend to children and is a good turtle is all part of his own delusion. All G. really wants is to do is eat fire, but K. champions this homicidal monster, more concerned for the mutant beast than his family and fellow humans. His advocacy does seem to influence the scientists/military to seek to banish the creature from Earth, rather than to to waste more resources in pursuit of destroying it. Perhaps in the original language Kenny comes off better, but here he’s unbearable.

    It seems fitting that MST tackled the Gamera series at length rather than Godzilla. It’s a more underdog/indie move on the Brains’ part. BTW, Joel’s “Gameron” seems to be an intentional joke.

    Maybe the lesson here is than solo Gamera + solo Joel is no good. Like the giant turtle, MST needs at least one partner to shine.

    1 Star, though really a Zero. Lowest point of the series for me…it only gets better from here.

    Note: just watched Lazlo The MST Guy’s video reviews of this and last weeks show. Great work, keep it up.


  • 12
    Graboidz says:

    @9 -JimmyBruce

    Oh…in about 16 more weeks you ginormous load. Rolls Eyes


  • 13
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>So, the old eskimo is the latest in a long line of keepers of the ancient Gamera stone that’s been handed down in his tribe for thousands of years, and then these complete strangers show up in his village and he happily hands it over to them?

    Well, it’s not as if he ASKED for the job, is it? He was probably glad to get rid of it. Who needs the pressure of a thing like that?


  • 14
    Alex says:

    And speaking about this episode being on DVD, if it does ever pop up, I think an intro for this version would be pretty neat. Maybe have one from trace explaining why he was out of town, then Josh explaining why Servo was not available. Just a thought. Wink


  • 15
    J Master says:

    Eskimos involved in a war in 1965?

    Why, that was the Cold War!

    Thank you, I’ll be here all thread! Try the links!


  • 16
    Alex says:

    Infact, even though I really don’t care for this episode too much, I could use a HQ copy of it, since the currenty post on YouTube is in very poor quallity (no offence, though).

    I’d imagine the KTMAs would be hard to cleanup once they can start popping up on DVD. That is, if Jim really did toss away his master tapes into his attic or something.


  • 17
    mataglap says:

    This wasn’t as bad the second time as I remembered. While it’s true that many of Joel’s riffs aren’t really riffs, I think a fair number of them are funny, and the frequency of comments seems greater than the previous episode. It also seems like he had done some homework because early on there’s a shot of a city and he says “this could be anywhere” right before it cuts to a sign saying its New York, so I wouldn’t say he was phoning it in. In a way it was probably an experiment on his part to see what the result would be with only one person in the theater, it doesn’t seem to me there was any chemistry yet with the robots in the previous episode, so it was worth a shot.

    What makes this movie painful to watch is that Kenny is so over the top. Whoever did the English direction and translation must have looked at the pained expression on the kids face and decided to play him as borderline psychotic, I would hope the Japanese version was a little more “nuanced”? If the original producers were planning for a series of Gamera movies, it makes sense to try to make Gamera somewhat sympathetic, and to give him some motivation for saving humanity’s bacon from various other radioactivity-induced monsters, but Kenny’s general demeanor should really just make Gamera want to destroy all humans in case there are more like him. Or maybe I’m reading too much into this…

    The “breathe fire and ship” text on the screen is hilarious, much easier than trying to bleep it out. I think Sampo is correct that the second Godzilla caller is staged.


  • 18
    Sampo says:

    Oops! Forgot the ratings thingy! It’s there now.


  • 19
    monoceros4 says:

    (3) Is there any solid proof that Kenny has any sort of actual psychic connection with Gamera? I didn’t see any.

    I don’t see it myself. That’s not necessarily what the filmmakers were after, I suppose; they may have thought that having a cute kid in the movie to be on the monster’s side (for whatever reason, not necessarily “psychic”) would automatically add some tension. (Basically they were ripping off Gorgo, made four years earlier.) If that’s what they wanted, they miscalculated horribly by making the kid into a total freak.


  • 20
    Brandon says:

    What does the second caller say exactly that sounds staged (other than it sounding like Jim).

    Josh confirmed once that he did voice Crow for the episode where Trace was absent. I think he said he voiced Crow in another episode, but I’m not sure which.


  • 21
    Larry says:

    You can’t ever go into a KTMA expecting to laugh out loud very often (or at all), but even so, this one’s a bit much. Probably the only KTMA I won’t watch again. I’ve never especially liked the first Gamera, so the movie doesn’t stand on it’s own for me, and the “riffing” (such as it is) is just way too weak to make any real difference. The only thing worth sitting through this ep is the host segments (I’ve always liked the Ted Turner quiz), but even they don’t save this one.

    I find the KTMAs interesting as historical MST3K eps, and yes, I even find them entertaining (not always funny, but entertaining), but this is easily the weakest of “Season Zero”, and probably the toughest ep of the whole series to get through (for me, at least).


  • 22
    Sampo says:

    Brandon: I will allow for the possibility that somebody was witty enough to call claiming to be “a member of the coalition for giant mutant turtles,” but I seriously doubt that, entirely independently, a second guy called claiming to be one of the “friends of the coalition for giant slimey lizards with long nasty tongues.” It seemed to me like they staged that one to set up the bit, playing off the first caller. On the other hand, a commenter on YouTube suggests it is the same guy calling both times. The voices aren’t that different. So maybe they just had a funny two-time caller and they took it from there.


  • 23
    Sampo says:

    Oh, and something else I forgot to mention about segment 3: At one point Josh adlibs something and totally throws Joel’s rhythm off.


  • 24
    Alex says:

    @ 20

    You’re probably thinking of Invaders from the Deep, since you can tell Josh (strangely) does Crow’s voice in that episode from seeing the clips in the Genises section.

    Still makes me wonder if Trace did Beeper’s voice in that episode of Josh was doing Crow…


  • 25
    OnenuttyTanuki says:

    To answer the open question in post #10:

    In the original, Japanese version og Gamera. Kenny (yes, I know his name is something else in the original Japanese) seems to belive the Tibby has turned into Gamera or they have become one being.


  • 26
    Alex says:

    What’s funny is in the original Japanese version, Tibby is named “Pee-wee”. XD


  • 27
    dad1153 says:

    I was expecting the worst (K05’s reputation precedes it!) but wasn’t as put-off as most purists here. KTMA episodes are curiosity pieces for fans of the show or those that actually want to watch the bad movie they’re showing (you know who you are!). Measured on that curve the only “MST3K” episode with a single person riffin ranks as must-see stuff, at least to experience how needed the bots are for the human host (Joel or Mike) to bounce off from. That hearty laugh from Joel when the scientist mentions Gamera’s “special organs that operate like a hydro-electric plant” actually matched my own laughter from hearing the same dopey line; it was weird to synch with Joel even though I’d never seen this episode (or the Season 3 redux version). My favorite riff/’observation’ from Joel: there’s nothing sadder than a warring Eskimo village’ (I laughed and then it made me think, then I got sad but ended up smiling in the end! Oops! Cry Rolls Eyes Alien ). Ted Turner gets slammed pretty hard in the host segments for his then-crusade to colorize old movies (how ironic that now one of the best channels programming classic B&W movies bears his name, Turner Classic Movies) and it was neat to see how Gamera’s flying turtle effect was done by simple hand-drawn animation instead of the ‘elaborate’ effect used in latter ‘Gamera’ movies. This was my introduction to Kenny (again, haven’t seen the Season 3 remake of this) and holy crap, either the translation brought out the worst in the original Japanese script or this was putrid all along and it only got worst (lost?) in translation. Even kind and gentle Joel begins to tire of Kenny’s turtle-loving antics and starts taking swipes at him as the movie unfolds; I can only imagine the abuse The Brains unleashed on this flick (and Kenny) when they got a second chance to do it right.

    I rate this a rather-generous TWO-AND-A-HALF STARS. The novelty of watching KTMA “MST3K” hasn’t worn off (though I agree there’s very little incentive to rewatch them afterwards) and, in its own goofy way, Joel sitting alone in the theater making “observations” complemented well the already-ridiculous parts of the flick itself.


  • 28
    Drunken Fist says:

    Yep, this one was a bit of an ordeal. Pretty good host segments, though. The “breathe fire and ship” text provided the biggest laugh for me. LOL


  • 29

    Going to repost a link to my KTMA episode guide (which also fully covers K01 – K03, K00 is at the bottom of the page) for those who aren’t going to revisit last episode’s thread (since I joined late):

    This one (as with many of the first half-dozen) is hard to get through because they haven’t found the pace of the show yet. Once they hammered that out (certainly by mid-season), it all flows so much better.

    As always with the KTMAs, though, there is plenty still to enjoy, you just need to stick it out to see those bits.


  • 30

    Oh, and unless someone objects, I’ll provide links to my entries on upcoming episodes. Here’s K05 – Gamera:


  • 31
    Spalanzani says:

    I’ve got a general Gamera/MST3K question: in later episodes when the crew references Gamera, they’ll often say “the turtle called Gamera is approaching the city”, or start off some different sentence with “the turtle called Gamera…” Is this a reference to some specific line from one of these movies that I don’t remember, or is it just a general imitation of the awkward way people talk in these dubs?


  • 32
    trickymutha says:

    Did anyone else see the number 3000 on the freight car when they’re rescuing stupid Kenny? Thought Joel might riff on it, but he didn’t.

    I have started watching the KTMA offerings again for the first time since 2006. K05 is an anomaly, for sure, yet- I enjoyed it. Comfort food. 2.5 stars.


  • 33
    Alex says:

    For me, I’d give the movie 2/5 stars since the host segments were ok.


  • 34
    pablum says:

    Nothing to talk about regarding the host segments or riffing here, so I’ll simply discuss the movie.

    Kenny is the worst example of a Japanese monster child I can remember. All the death, destruction, and chaos Gamera causes and yet Kenny sticks by the turtle through it all. The boy is mentally deranged. Stockholm Syndrome or something is all I can discern as to why Kenny would stick up for the death-dealing turtle other than perhaps the kid is just a sadistic little twerp. The season 3 riffs on Kenny were spot-on.


  • 35
    Fart Bargo says:

    Oddball episode for sure. If you listen carefully during the last half of the movie I can swear that Joel was munching on tater chips on the sneak. Always get a giggle out of Joel’s smart-allecky “He’s hammered!” comments. Joel seems a bit more ‘sleepy-eyed’ than usual during the movie.

    Some information please. Were all the KTMA’s totally ad libbed or it just seems that way? Thanks.


  • 36
    trickymutha says:

    @35 FB- I too could hear Joel snacking. Made me hungry. I believe the KTMA episodes were totally ad libbed- that is why Josh left after season 1- he liked the off the cuff stuff. Joel, I believe, was smoking the wacky stuff then, if not, I’ll have what he was having.


  • 37
    mstgator says:

    Not sure if the phone call was fake, but I do love the censoring job they did with the on-screen graphic (but not the call itself).

    Fortunately I found the movie itself to be pretty watchable (not good, but watchable) without riffing, so silent Joel wasn’t unbearable.

    I hate Kenny.


  • 38
    Fart Bargo says:

    TM, thanks for the response. Yeah, that’s what I liked about Josh was that he could do ad-libs but realize that ultimately, the shows would need scripts. On Joel; when I realized that he was snitching chips, LMAO when I realized why he was so quiet and ‘into’ Gameron.


  • 39
    mst3ktemple says:

    I think the funniest thing is that the high tech freezing effect, that looks suspiciously like a fire extinguisher, removes the paint from Crow, which can be seen in later episodes.

    @22 – from my first viewing of this episode I’ve thought that the two calls were from the same guy and therefore the second call was just part of the joke he was making.


  • 40
    LazlowTheMSTGuy says:

    I have a video recap/review of the episode here:
    It has the full host segments so you can check out the if it really was Jim calling in.


  • 41
    H says:

    Yeah, this one’s rough. I wonder what Josh was up to that he couldn’t do the movie segments but could do the host segments. Must have been some baking some of those muffins like he would later in Su-Maru.

    The host segments are ok, and I like the freezing Crow idea. They explained away absences well in this season (except for the Servo in this episode obviously). But the movie, that’s just a Bataan death march. Oh well, next week is MIGHTY VOICE time so that’ll be nice.


  • 42
    Fart Bargo says:

    @31 cugino, I think it’s an awkward translation more times than not, but the way many of these scripts are written (???????), you are probably correct in both your observations.


  • 43
    Cornjob says:

    A hard slog. Joel cracking up and the host segments were the best part. Every time I see this movie Kenny annoys me a little more. I’m usually sympathetic to outsiders and the put upon, but I wanted to slap this kid myself. Only 3 more Gamera movies to go before Phase 4, one my favorite all time episodes of any season.


  • 44
    Cornjob says:

    Freezing crow would be done again later in Eegah (I think).


  • 45
    JLH says:

    I concur with Sampo on the fake caller sounding like Jim. Unless Jim called them up from another phone and they honestly didn’t know it was him. Perhaps it was really Pat Brantseg…


  • 46
    Brandon says:

    @44 Crow gets frozen, AND breaks apart, which I believe happened in another Trace-less episode. I wonder if that was an in-joke of some kind.


  • 47
    Larry says:

    Well, Crow will still be frozen in the next ep, and in K12 (Fugitive Alien), Servo and Gypsy take him apart. Trace missed 3 episodes during the KTMA season.


  • 48
    JCC says:

    Don’t operate heavy machinery after watching this episode.


  • 49
    Kouban says:

    I didn’t notice before this viewing that Joel does the same self-referential riff at the film’s climax in this version as the bots do in the season 3 version. That would definitely go on my “best riffs of the KTMA era” list.


  • 50
    ern2150 says:

    Hey so I think that call is faked the same way the “more more more more MORE!” call is, which sounds suspiciously like Josh.


  • 51
    OnenuttyTanuki says:

    #34: As far as Kenny being mentally deranged or having Stockholm Syndrome I don’t really think so.
    After a recent viewing of the original Japanese version I was struck with the idea that maybe he has a form of Asperger.
    Before his meeting with Gamera , he is said to be a smart socially chanllenged kid obsessed with turtles( constanlty drawing pictures of them , brings Tibby/Pee-Wee to school with him, The other children tease/alienate him because of it).
    After meeting the giant terrapin Kenny is shell shocked (no pun intended) enough to believe Tibby is Gamera and his kindness to him when he was a wee little red ear slider is why he was saved from the lighthouse. He then starts his mission to convince those around him that Gamera is good and carrying around the stone home of Tibby/Gamera in hopes of returning it to him.
    Then his 2nd cousin gets rid of the rocks, causing Kenny to flip out and go inward even more which just happens to happen the same time has Gamera’s apperance in Tokyo. Leading to Kenny begging Gamera to stop destroying things and going to see him in the trainyard not realizing the mortal peril only to be saved by an army man.
    Lastly, he stowsaway in a ship crate to see Gamera on the island again not realizing the mortal peril he is putting himself in, witnesses Gamera being humanily taken care of, and vowing that one day he will travel to the stars to see Gamera again.


  • 52
    RaptorialTalon says:

    I dunno, kid’s with Asperger’s Syndrome can usually distinguish fantasy from reality pretty well – a kid Kenny’s age would probably know that there’s no logical way for a tiny turtle to become a giant tusked monster. Heck, he’d probably have read so much about turtles that he’d know they never have teeth, so Gamera would weird him out. At the very least, he wouldn’t assume that Tibby *became* Gamera.

    I’ve worked with a lot of Asperger’s kids (and have it myself, albeit a much less severe case than for many others, which is why I can do support work with them, etc). They can be stubborn and extremely protective of their preferred ideas, but they are also often deeply interested in what is logical and supported by the best evidence. On the other hand, Asperger’s is also “co-morbid” with a lot of other stuff – it tends to occur in conjunction more than would be expected by chance alone with stuff like ADD, Tourette’s, bipolar disorder, anger-management issues, schizophrenia, and a bunch of other genetically linked stuff. So if Kenny has Asperger’s AND some other condition . . . that could explain his obsession as well as his disconnect from reality.

    Speculating is fun, isn’t it?


  • 53
    Fart Bargo says:

    Re Kenny/Tibby/Gamera triad; I’m not weighing in on whats wrong with Kenny but I could have sworn that Kenny deduced that Tibby and Gamera were in fact related, not the same creature. He states this just prior to his “HE IS, HE IS, I KNOW HE IS!” delivery. Or not…


  • 54
    JeremyR says:

    I don’t think the kid was deranged, it’s just we’re seeing it through a different culture and era and language. Imagine what say, people in Korean would think about the 50s show Lassie.

    (Indeed, most children on TV shows in the 50s and 60s were incredibly annoying and obnoxious and come off as deranged today.)

    Anyway, in one of the Gamera remakes, the new Kenny’s turtle actually was Gamera.


  • 55
    Herc502 says:

    I had a great time watching “Gamera” and the previous ep “Gamera vs Barugon.” I can see why the favorable callers who phoned in messages enjoyed the show so much. And as far as K05 is concerned, its probably the closest any of us will ever get to hanging out with only Joel and watching a flick with him…or, at least to me, that’s what it felt like. Crow and Tom’s absence from the theater makes this episode incredibly special, despite the scarcity of riffs.

    I’m sincerely looking forward to the rest of this season and I can’t wait for the next ep “Gamera vs Gaos.”


  • 56
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    I personally think that Gamera let Kenny (Toshio, in the original Japanese) live because Gamera actually hates Kenny, and letting him live was the most cruel thing he could do to him. Smile

    As for the Tibby thing, Kenny states (while explaining his stone collection) that Gamera & Tibby are from the same family. Nowhere in the movie did I hear anything that made me think he thought they were one & the same.

    Kenny/Toshio just really wants a friend. All his classmates likely pick on him & beat him up (and sadly, being Japan, the teachers would let them – it’s considered Kenny’s fault for being weird). He really likes turtles, though. Then a giant turtle saves his life (after first endangering it). Kenny then immediately sees Gamera (who is the only being who has ever been nice to him) as his only chance for a friend (and Gamera could beat up the bullies at school!), so he’s constantly trying to get to him. Yes, he’s a little crazy, but what little kid isn’t?

    On the subject of kids in Gamera movies, I’ve often thought that Gamera was one of the earliest inspirations for Pokemon (especially Guiron). Kids yelling at a monster what attacks to use? Sounds like Pokemon to me.


  • 57
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    The CC version of Gamera is one of my all time favorite episodes but watching this just brings home how far the show came in such a short time. This is painful to get through, to the point that I can’t finish this episode. It really is amazing that the show was able to survive long enough to find its footing and become the classic we all know and love.


  • 58
    snowdog says:

    This is, without a doubt, my least favorite episode of the series. The riffs are just too far apart and there’s no one for Joel to interact with in the theater. The whole thing just comes across as kind of sad. The best thing is watching Crow get frozen. So nice, they showed it twice!

    And we do get our first introduction to the omnipresent “Kenny”.


  • 59
    robot rump! says:

    answers to Sampo’s 3 observations of the movie.
    1. everyone’s pretty eager to pass a stone.
    2. the old scientist was obviously very high and thought that he was with Henry Kissinger.
    3. being a 50ft tall turtle, you’re going to attract attention. and while eating Kenny was the natural and most desired course of action, the media would have blown it all out of proportion.


  • 60

    Yeah, I gotta say, this is the worst episode of the entire run of MST3k. Joel being alone in the theater is just too much to overcome, and it doesn’t help that this is my least favorite of the Gamera movies. To put it lightly, this is a tough one to get through.

    Also hurting its quality is the fact that my DAP copy has numerous bad edits and jump cuts. All of the commercial breaks have bad edits, the worst being the bad cut to Host Segment #2, which cuts out the intro and picks up with the viewer question on the screen “why don’t you hire Godzilla or something?”

    Yeah, the video quality of this episode isn’t very good. The screen is so black sometimes you can’t even see Joel’s silhouette.

    Some stray comments:

    Joel says “Gameron” in the Intro and the Host Segments and starts saying “Gamera” while watching the movie.

    Joel, alone in the theater, does lots of pointing, looking, standing, and even dances in his seat at one point.

    “There’s nothing more tragic than a war in an Eskimo village.”

    “All right, I’m a fighter plane.”

    “If you say Tibby one more time I’m going to belt you.”

    The way Joel laughs at the line, “certain organs function like a hydroelectric plant.” Laugh

    “That’s no way to kill roaches!”

    “Maybe Gamera will get bored and go away?”

    -yes, I think he would. Gamera would definitely get bored with this and go away.

    Like I said,
    this is the worst episode in MST3k’s run and ship.

    Coming up next on KTMA,
    Alphabet City.
    And on Sunday,
    Charlie’s Balloon.

    KTMA05 Gamera gets 1 out of 5 Tibbys


  • 61
    jjb3k says:

    “On the subject of kids in Gamera movies, I’ve often thought that Gamera was one of the earliest inspirations for Pokemon (especially Guiron). Kids yelling at a monster what attacks to use? Sounds like Pokemon to me.”

    I’m sure at least someone on staff at the Pokemon anime is a Gamera fan. The way Ash’s Squirtle unleashes a Hydro Pump attack is identical to the way Gamera flies, except with water shooting from its shell instead of flames, obviously.


  • 62
    pondoscp says:

    I will go on record as saying this is not the worst episode of MST3K. That honor goes to something in season 8, which in a way, was KTMA all over again.

    I used to be quite down on this episode, as well as the rest of the Gamera episodes from the K’s. This time around, I watched K05 in a group setting, and it made for much more pleasant viewing. As we discussed the movie, occasionally Joel would spout out a zinger that would crack us up, as if he was just sitting around watching the movie with us. With the recent discussion about old school movie hosts, this episode falls squarely into that category. Kind of a what if MST3K just hosted movies, not riffed them.

    Still, this is probably the bottom of the K’s, but for me, at least it had the vibe I look for in a great MST3K episode. There’s a handful of episodes that are devoid of all of that homegrown vibe, and this rest right on top of those.


  • 63
    JCC says:

    That honor goes to something in season 8, which in a way, was KTMA all over again.”

    Which is…what?


  • 64
    pondoscp says:

    @63, now I know my opinion on this matter is far from the popular opinion. The worst episodes of MST3K are 815-820 and 822. They aren’t completely without merit, but for the most part are dull and tired, forced by Sci-Fi to make the show something it never should have been. Once season 9 started up, the Brains got their footing back, and even that took until The Space Children, although I do have some fondness for Projected Man, Phantom Planet, Puma Man and The Deadly Bees. Yes, Werewolf is awful, too (except for the end credits, that was genius). I’m really more of a season 10 fan, now that’s a near flawless, hilarious season. Too bad they got cancelled right as they were kicking butt again. At least we have Rifftrax.

    So please don’t hate me because I’m the odd MSTie that has a different opinion about those episodes. I know a lot of you love them.


  • 65
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Even though the general consensus is that this is a lesser episode, I think I’ll see about picking up a copy. If nothing else, it’s about the only other Christmas episode the series did, so I can put it in rotation with “Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”.


  • 66
    SOLDaria says:

    @63 I know, even Invasion of the Neptune Men is better than this, and comparing it to KTMA? Dislike Season 8 all you want, just have a sense of proportion.


  • 67
    Brandon says:

    From the scene where Gamera is being blasted off at the end…

    KTMA riff: “This reminds me of me.”

    Season 3 riff: “Hey, Joel. Remind you of anything?”


  • 68
    Cornjob says:

    Again, I’m having more fun watching these Gamera movies from KTMA this time around.

    I noticed that in this version Joel wanted to smack Kenny. I’m usually pretty sympathetic to misfits, but even I wanted to beat him up.

    It also seemed a bit odd that Gamera was portrayed like the original incarnation of Godzilla, an out of control destructive force, than in later movies. And yet they still had the annoying monster child element that really didn’t fit with the giant monster being an unholy destroyer more than a protector and friend to children.


  • 69
    jaybird3rd says:

    I think #55 described this episode best: “incredibly special”. For better or worse, it’s the only one in the whole series with a human being alone in the theater. The KTMA Q&A sheds some light on how this happened (Trace was away visiting family for Christmas, and Josh couldn’t stay after the host segments), and when Joel said that he was “taking one for the team” in tackling the movie alone, I believe it.

    It’s true that, without anyone else in the theater to play off of or to help fill time, the riffing is as sparse as MST3K ever got. The absence of the Bots is clearly felt in the theater, but Joel still manages to make it fun; in fact, there are certain little moments in this episode that I like better than whatever replaced them when they revisited Gamera in #302:

    Shortly after Gamera’s first appearance:

    General: “Calling fighter planes! Answer! Calling fighter planes! Answer! Calling fighter planes! Answer!”
    Joel (exasperated): “All right, I’m a fighter plane!”

    After Gamera “rescues” Kenny (after nearly killing him first):

    Kenny: “I was so scared. Gamera saved me, didn’t he?”
    Dad: “Yes, Gamera saved your life …”
    Kenny: “… because he knows I like turtles!”
    Mom: “Gamera liked you!”
    Joel (in a tone of sarcastic patience): “Sure, Kenny!”
    Mom: “Gamera must has a good heart!”
    Kenny: “Yes, Gamera’s a good turtle!”
    Joel: “He’s a good turtle, Kenny!”
    Mom: “Yes, he is good!”
    Joel: “It’s all good, Kenny! You’re gonna be okay, Kenny!”

    (the movie cuts to the exterior of a building)

    Joel: “This must be the hospital where they’ve taken Kenny.”

    (Actually, Joel says “Timmy” instead of “Kenny”, but I liked that bit very much because it highlights the weirdness of that scene.)

    After Kenny is forced to release Tibby:

    Kenny: “Tibby! Tibby! Tibby!”
    Joel: “You say ‘Tibby’ one more time, I’m gonna belt you.”
    Kenny: “Tibby!”
    Joel: “*Bop!*(swipes at the screen)
    Kenny: “Tibby!”
    Joel: “Stop it!”
    Kenny: “Tibby!”
    Joel: “STOP IT!!!

    (This foreshadows Crow’s crankiness in “Monster a Go-Go” when he yells at the “Chinese music torture” soundtrack. It’s a bit out of character for Joel, but Kenny has already been so annoying at this point that it works.)

    After the reporter sneaks on the plane with the scientist and his assistant:

    Catherine: “How did you get here?”
    Reporter: “It wasn’t very friendly of the two of you to give me the slip. Not polite!”
    Joel: “They’re trying to ditch you! Can’t you see that?”

    (That’s just what I was thinking at that moment!)

    Shortly after Kenny “persuades” the scientist and commander not to fire missiles at Gamera:

    Kenny: “Thanks a lot! Gamera saved my life for me once!”
    Joel: (slugs Kenny in the jaw)
    Kenny: “Gamera’s really a nice turtle! Gamera is a good turtle, isn’t he, sir?”
    Scientist: “Well, son, I just pray that you’re right.”
    Joel: “That kid’s going to have a lot of problems when he grows up.”

    (Again, just what I was thinking!)

    Commander: “Is there anything else we can try?”
    Scientist: “There is one thing that has just occurred to me …”
    Joel: “Put salt on his tail!”

    (After Host Segment #2, Joel returns to the movie with a bag of potato chips and can be heard munching on them in the theater!)

    As the scientist is briefing the press on what they have learned about Gamera:

    Scientist: “… and thirdly, he has certain organs that function nearly like a hydroelectric plant.”
    Joel: (laughs aloud)

    (I don’t recall if Joel ever did this again later, but it was a perfect moment because the line was so awkward.)

    After Gamera plows through an airport control tower filled with people:

    Joel: “Good thing they ducked!”

    As Gamera roasts a building full of people:

    Joel: “That’s no way to kill roaches!”

    (Everybody sure forgot how violent Gamera was in this movie when they declared in the later films that he was a “friend to all children”!)

    As for the host segments … Trace’s absence is felt once again, and you know they’re desperate when they start riffing on their own end credits, but at least they have fun with the voice mails. I agree that the caller from the “coalition of friends of giant mutant turtles” and the caller from the “coalition of friends of giant slimy lizards with long nasty tongues” is obviously the same guy. Joel said in the Q&A that callers would sometimes leave funny messages as possible submissions for the show. It obviously worked for this caller, since Host Segment #3 was pretty much written around them. I liked that they used “breathe fire and ship” in the on-screen transcript, and also “Yeachh!” when the caller cleared his throat. I also liked their rendition of “O Tannenbot” in the end segment.

    My copy also has promos for “Alphabet City” and “Charlie’s Balloon” over the end credits. “Charlie’s Balloon” (aka “Charlie and the Great Balloon Chase”) actually sounds kind of interesting; judging only from the promo, it sounds a bit like a precursor to Pixar’s “Up”, with Grandpa Joe from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” as the old man. Too bad it doesn’t seem to have ever been released on home video.


  • 70
    Cornjob says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of thought jaybird3rd. This is a special episode. Compared to the later seasons the riffing is sparse, but compared to other horror/sci-fi hosts, even ones that would insert themselves into the movie a bit, Joel’s presence here is an embarrassment of riches. And what a movie. A giant enraged radioactive monster deliberately squishes and incinerates thousands while a seriously disturbed and persistent pre-schooler runs after it yelling that, “He’s really good! He’s good, I know he is!!” Yell a bit louder kid, maybe you’ll convince yourself.


  • 71
    jaybird3rd says:

    I wonder if “Kenny” was deliberately intended to be that disturbed, or if that was somehow added to the character through the dubbing. The speculation given in the earlier posts is interesting. It may simply be that we’re seeing it decades later and from the point of view of another culture (those of us who are not Japanese, anyway).

    I also noticed a clumsy bit of redundancy in the movie: after Gamera wrecks the research ship, Dr. Hidaka gives the TV interview explaining what happened as his assistant Catherine listens. Then, in the airplane a few minutes later, she asks:

    Catherine: “You really mean everyone on the Chidori Maru was killed, and that the three of us are the only survivors?”
    Dr. Hidaka: “Yes, my dear … it happened when we were at the Eskimo village, studying the ancient carvings on that stone.”

    Shouldn’t she already know that, from having been there herself and having sat through the interview? Maybe she really was as fast asleep as she looked.

    Dr. Hidaka also refers to her as “his daughter” in the interview, but nothing more is made of that supposed connection between them (again, maybe it was just the dubbing). If he really was her father, then it makes his vouching for the creepy reporter even stranger: not only is he letting the reporter stalk her through the whole movie, but he actually lies in order to keep them together, and at the end of the movie he even suggests that she should “give up science” and be the reporter’s “inspiration”. As Joel says, “That was a mistake!”

    By the way … is the actor dubbing the reporter the same one who dubbed Ken in the Fugitive Alien movies? They certainly sound very similar.


  • 72
    Mnenoch says:

    A really unique episode for sure. I remember seeing this the first time because my brother bought the whole KTMA season from a VHS tape trader and it had notes on the episodes about Joel appearing by himself and other “strange” things like that. It was definitely a curiosity to my brother and myself so much that we watched all the KTMA episodes in a weekend when we got the tapes in. This episode helps show that the one man team just isn’t enough. It reminds me of early Mike Rifftrax episodes in that regard. The human element of bouncing jokes off your friend(s) is such a defining aspect of the riffing genre that it feels like something special is lost with just a single riffer.


  • 73
    SATURN2 says:

    I can’t understand why anyone criticizes these KTMA episodes-They haven’t been officially released because they’re not up to standards of the folks that created them-They’re historically important to those of us that love the show and we’re lucky to be able to see them at all!-This one is particularly unique,with Joel alone in the theatre,so it’s worth seeing on that basis alone-If you can’t believe a giant mutated turtle can fly,what can you believe in?Relax,enjoy,it’s just a show in its formative years-


  • 74
    SATURN2 says:

    Oh,and the scientist’s THREE THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT GAMERA at the 57 minute mark:”And thirdly,he has certain organs that function nearly like a hydroelectric plant..”and Joel loses it-laughing like he’s going to fall out of his seat-That’s worth the price of admission on this one!