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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

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: K06- Gamera vs. Gaos

Movie: (1967) In third outing of the long-running Japanese movie series, the giant flying turtle monster takes refuge in a volcano. His arrival releases Gaos, a shovel-headed bat-monster with the ability to shoot laser beams. Caught between the two monsters are some nearby villagers, who want to stop the construction of a highway through their land (or at least get a good price when they sell it). The grandson of their leader is young Itchy who, after Gamera saves him from Gaos, becomes an instant expert on both creatures.

First shown: 12/18/88
Opening: After a complaint about the movies, Joel explains that he doesn’t control what movies are shown
Host segment 1: Joel changes Tom Servo’s voice. He’s very pleased
Host segment 2: Gypsy wants a new voice too. Joel explains again that Crow has been frozen. Gypsy has been snacking on decorations
Host segment 3: Joel and Tom offer birthday wishes to a young viewer
End: Joel and Tom preview the KTMA’s New Year’s Eve programming

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (109 votes, average: 4.01 out of 5)

• Leaving aside the theme song, this show contains the first mention of the Mads. There’s a kind of historic moment during the opening, as Cambot puts up a still from the opening theme, and the names of the Mads are spoken for the first time. It seems like Joel is laying the groundwork for the arrival of the Mads as actual characters.
• Joel’s comment about the Mads contradicts what he said in the opening segment of the previous episode. In that episode, Joel said that he “raided the movie library,” giving the impression that he, Joel, decided what movies they watch. In the Q&A, Joel admitted that, yes, they were “sloppy with the concept” in those early days.
• Trace is still away, so Crow is still frozen.
• Joel says “Your eyes won’t believe what your hands have done.” That’s the old Spirograph tag line.
• Servo is back in the theater for this episode. Note that Servo sits in Crow’s seat rather than his own.
• We seem to come in with the movie already under way but, just like last week, it’s just a teaser. Again, it was cut from the season three version.
• With this episode we get our first Sandy Frank comment.
• Let me just say: I hate Tom Servo’s new voice! Kidding. I’m sure it helped Josh that the new voice is much closer to his natural voice.
• Portions of segment 1 appear on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• The clip of Crow being frozen is shown again.
• In the theater, Joel shushes Tom twice!
• On the other hand, several times Joel is in mid-riff when Tom just blurts out a riff and interrupts him, something Trace called “runover.” Each time Joel, ever the Midwestern nice guy, stops talking and gives way to Tom. I think Josh was a little excited about his new voice. After Tom does this about four times, Joel covers his mic and saying something to Josh. Josh stops interrupting after that. In the Q&A, Joel admitted that something like that happened.
• Joel calls Servo “Josh” at one point. Servo calls Joel “Hodgie.”
• Movie stuff: Sometimes Gamera doesn’t have to spin to fly, though sometimes he does. Weird.
• Unlike Kenny in the previous episode, Itchy does seem to have a genuine relationship with Gamera. Why, I have no idea. Somebody in the comments suggested that the whole strange relationship between the kids and Gamera may be something that’s lost in translation.
• We had a weekend discussion thread about the dumbest schemes in MSTed movies. The whole “blood turntable” thing ranks right up there.
• The whole “Grandpa mooing” running joke is great.
• Fave riff: “Grandpa thinks he’s a saxophone now!”

54 Replies to “Episode guide: K06- Gamera vs. Gaos”

  1. Herc502 says:

    I’m enjoying these KTMA eps so much I went ahead and watched K07 “Gamera vs Zigra” and K08 “Gamera vs Guiron.” These make watching the last three seasons every week (seasons 8, 9, and 10) kind of boring by comparison.

    I was going to mention Operation Whirlybird in the weekned discussion thread about worst plans, but John M .Hanna beat me to it. I think it’s the worst plan in the history of film. They should be hanging their heads in shame over that one.


  2. MiqelDotCom says:

    This is a fun series to review. Each episode brings us a lot closer to the show we came to love … now Tom Servo gets his ‘mighty voice’ but Trace is still out of town so it’s just Joel and Josh, which is better than last week but trace has a special kind of wit that’s missing.

    Repeats Ideas from CC era:
    -Toms Servo’s new voice when Kevin takes over in Ep201 is a reworking of the ‘Mighty Voice’ segment.
    – “The ocean, the begining of all life and all Sandy Frank films”

    Different Film Edit:
    In this one there’s a long opening fight sequence at the start, before the traditional Sandy Frank credit sequence!
    – then another scene of scientists discussing volcanoes (not in the CC ep)& more credits

    -No Servo in the opening segment, I guess because was Josh doing gypsy too!
    -I think this is the first we see of the mads too!
    -Joel kills some time showing the Crow freezing sequence yet again.

    Best Riffs:
    After the 3 minute pre-credits fight sequence
    Josh: “One would think that would end a movie right there”

    Cool Moments:
    Joel: “All you scary guys with the low I.Q.s, don’t call anymore because you’re scaring Gypsy”


  3. Fart Bargo says:

    Pesky kid ‘Itchy’ is the shot caller in this one. With the extended footage, and less riffing, you really get to notice how inept the military complex, as well as the scientific community, is in post war Japan. Despite Itchy’s sudden psychotic episodes, he is exceptionally perceptive. For example, he knows the reporter is lying about his ID and intentions, he follows him into a dark cave in the middle of nowhere, brrrrrrrr. Itchy proceeds to waltz into ’high level’ military meetings, with his sister chasing after him, and provide both the military and scientist with vital observations that he has documented on how to defeat the evil Gaos. What does the military/science come up with to defeat Gaos? Operation Whirlybird! As John M has recently pointed, this was quite possibly the silliest solution to a giant monster problem; create a giant turntable to make Gaos too dizzy to go back to his cave before the sun rises. To bait the trap, a giant fountain of human blood! Gaos takes the bait and is spun for several minutes until the turntable breaks and Gaos easily flies away to his cave with no apparent dizziness? Of course Itchy knows why and where Gamera has gone and implores him to return to defeat Gaos which he does.

    On to the show and Tom’s new mighty voice. Josh, as Servo, sounds so relieved to have his more natural voice and so are we the viewers. Josh is very funny adlibbing. Although scripting is necessary, I really enjoy the adlibbing despite the lulls this sometimes cause. Crow is still frosty but at least Joel is more with it and calls Servo ‘Josh’ in theater. The show is starting to take form at this point. Love these early ones for the sheer guts they have to make lemonade out of lemons.


  4. Justin says:

    I seem to remember reading (and hearing, on the few KTMA eps I’ve seen) that Joel didn’t go by “Robinson” until the show went national.

    I did like listening to Gypsy freak out when the show of the mads came up.


  5. MiqelDotCom says:

    For those without DAP copies or whatnot, here’s the Youtube of KTMA-06


  6. SuperSwift says:



  7. I also have a video review of this show. Check it out here:


  8. Creepygirl says:

    My one was going to be the one when Joel called TOM SERVO Josh. SAMPO got to me first. A very good episode. This was way better than last weeks. I did enjoy the show but have to ask WHY SO MANY GAMERA episodes in a row? Joel also in many bits calls GAMERA, GAMERON. This is odd, Kevin is on set and I know he’d say something, right? Well it was all first take or NO take back in the day. I find this episode to be the first true ep.


  9. mataglap says:

    While Josh’s original Servo voice was kind of strained and obviously fake, the new voice, actually a little deeper than the real thing if possible, sounds jarring coming from a robot, particularly a little robot shaped like a gumball machine. You can tell by the repeated “me, Tom Servo” lines that Josh is relishing the new voice, though. He does keep interrupting Joel, and with adlibbed comments that tend towards lame free-associating. What you also get a sense of here is how Josh is the real SF movie geek, correcting Joel’s pronunciation of “Gaos” for instance, where Joel just likes the movies for their own sake (Joel still says “Gameron” 3 movies in, surely he’s doing it on purpose at this point?)

    Itchy would be really annoying in this movie except that Kenny was even more annoying. Gaos is a formidable opponent what with the laser beam in his mouth, and the gas from his nipples, and the nasty pointy teeth, and the amazing regenerative powers, much better than Barugon. Not sure what that red patch on his head signifies, but I don’t want to go back and watch it again to find out.

    Definitely an improvement on the previous two episodes, but still a seat of the pants enterprise, I can’t imagine any sort of market research would say to run 5 Gamera movies in a row.


  10. Even without Crow, things start to get on track with this episode thanks to Tom’s new voice, which really begins to establish his character as it would be for the rest of the show’s run. With the next episode and the first proper appearance of the Mads, the pieces would all be in place.

    Here’s my entry on this episode:


  11. Zeroninety says:

    Joel doesn’t become “Joel Robinson” until Rocketship X-M. In season 1, he’s never identified as anything but “Joel.”

    I can’t be certain, in the absence of K01-03, but I think it’s safe to say that this was the episode where Servo gained his first name. In the two previous episodes (and the opening theme song), he’s always just “Servo.”


  12. fireballil says:

    About Joel’s name, I thought the end credits listed Joel’s CHARACTER as Joel Hodgson. The bots called him as such several times throughout season 0, didn’t they?


  13. Brandon says:

    Also, isn’t Joel’s character referred to as “Joel Robinson” in the credits of season 1?


  14. Smog Monster says:

    Joel plus Tome Servo = good. Joel on his own, like last week, well…


  15. Drunken Fist says:

    This was definitely the best KTMA episode so far. The first two were a bit rough to get through, but this one was about on the same level as many season one episodes: not as good as the later episodes, but not a chore to watch, either. It probably helped that my copy had far better picture and sound quality that the last two episodes did.
    I was surprised when I heard Joel refer to Servo as Josh. That slip-up’s inclusion in the episode really shows the rushed, slapdash nature of the KTMA season. Josh’s tendency to interrupt and talk right over Joel can be pretty annoying. I didn’t notice Joel apparently covering his mic and saying something quietly to him. Anybody know about how far in this happens?


  16. Spalanzani says:

    I seem to remember Joel being referred to as “Joel Hodgson” by the Mads as late as The Sidehackers in Season 2.


  17. Alex says:

    Not one of the best KTMA’s, but much better than the previous episode. Has anyone noticed how when Tom says “My mouth doesn’t move with my words” at one point, it actually sounds like his DJ-type voice, when actually Josh was still doing his Kermit the Frog-type voice? Seems pretty strange.

    I ceartainly hope this episode can be released as an extra if 308 – Gamera VS Gaos gets released once Joel and Jim come out of their shell (and the Daei-Mst3k fued ends), because when I ordered a copy of this episode on tape from, it was in very skippy-condition (no offence to Sky, though).


  18. Cornjob says:

    The big news here is Servo’s Mighty Voice. Better episode, but I’m getting Gamera fatigue. It doesn’t help that there are better episodes with these same movies in season 3.


  19. mstgator says:



  20. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    Much better than last week’s solo Joel/Gameron fiasco. The film is more fun anyway as this is the kind of Gamera I love: a strange mix of kid-friendly silliness and vicious ultra-violence. He’s a hero in this one, and Gaos is a really nasty jerk. Itchy the kid is almost likable, but the highway vs. farmers subplot is so odd. It seems like the filmmakers were trying to insert some kind of political message, but the adults on both sides of the debate just come off as greedy goofballs. Still it’s a relief to not have Tokyo be the setting for this week’s wild rumpus.

    The return of Josh and the introduction of Tom Servo’s new “Mighty Voice” makes the riffing a lot better. Though as Sampo noted, Servo does get a little carried away at times. The host segment where Joel tweaks his voice and Servo runs through a series of impressions is one of my favorite Josh moments. The fact that Joel feels the need to identify each one for us just adds to the fun.

    The “moo-ing grandpa” series of riffs here is a good early example of the guys finding humor in a minor moment of oddly edited sound and/or image, making an association the filmmakers/dubbers did not intend. It is so subtle in fact that the first time I watched this I asked, “Why do they keep making jokes about the old man being a farm animal?” This time I caught it – you hear a cow, then you see the man. The grammar of film suggests that he was the one who mooed.

    I’m gonna give it a 3 star rating, on the KTMA curve.

    And again, great job on the video reviews Lazlow.


  21. H says:

    Yeah, this one’s pretty good by KTMA season standards. A lot of milestones and they do pretty well with the movie.


  22. RockyJones says:

    Of all of the “Pre-Schoolers Who Save Japan” in the Gamera movies, I’ve always thought that Itchy was the cutest and most likeable.


  23. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    FYI, IMDb lists the character’s name as Eiichi Kanamura (played by Naoyuki Abe – his only film credit).


  24. Gorn Captain says:

    I noticed in 1980’s “Gamera Super Monster” the name of the turtle loving kid was “Keiichi”. Kenny and Itchy combined?


  25. I mentioned the blood turntable in the dumb idea thread two weeks ago. Its just so overcomplcated and idiotic that I had to include it.


  26. Alex says:

    I guess we can assume Joel saying that he picked Gamera to watch for the 5th episode could’ve just been a flub-line. Who knows.


  27. Nutcase says:

    Josh’s impressions when his voice changed over the course of segment 1 are hilarious. I lost it when he began singing like Elmer Fudd.


  28. fish eye no miko says:

    @20: Oh, you think this Gyaos is a jerk, you should see Revenge of Iris… That dude is one of the nastiest kaiju I’ve seen.


  29. Angilasman says:

    In the ’90s Gamera movies directed by Shusuke Kaneko Gamera frequently flies in his “jet” form: going forward with legs retracted and arms and head still out. In the second movie he even got the ability to morph his arms into fins, which look like wings when he’s flying, making him look even more like a jet.

    I think they thought the spinning Gamera was silly (these guys admitted to being more fans of old Godzilla movies than Gamera), but they used it to nice affect in a few scenes.


  30. pablum says:

    Thankfully Itchy isn’t anywhere near as annoying as Kenny in this flick. He just has the usual Japanese Monster Child ability to go anywhere within the Japanese military and act like an instant expert that adults take seriously.

    Gaos was certainly the most threatening monster I can remember from the original Gamera cast of foes he had to fight. Although they did turn him into a wuss to show Guiron was stronger when that sequel came out.

    A good Gamera film. Got pretty goofy at the end with the blood fountain, but didn’t even try to reach the silly heights Guiron and Zigra gave us.


  31. JT in Austin says:

    @5 Thanks for the youtube link! Friday night = planned. This will be my first time viewing one of the earlier eps.


  32. fish eye no miko says:

    @29: the ’90s Gamera movies directed by Shusuke Kaneko

    These films are amazing. Ok, yes, they’re still movies featuring guys in rubber suits fighting each other, but they’re very well done, interesting movies featuring guys in rubber suits fighting each other. The second one, Gamera and the Rise of the Legion/Attack of Legion (it has a few names) is the best kaiju film I’ve ever seen.


  33. Sampo says:

    BTW, nice to see “fish eye no miko” here–longtime ratmmer and very knowledgeable about tokusatsu.


  34. Larry says:

    You know, I think this was the only Gamera KTMA I didn’t (er, don’t) have. Despite Servo’s new mighty voice, after seeing all the other Gamera’s (which should have NEVER been done all in a row), I was just Gamera’d out. I am looking forward to next week’s first real Mads appearance, however.


  35. fish eye no miko says:

    Hi, Sampo! Is Usenet still around? It seems like most people have moved to other fora…


  36. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    The previous two episodes are real slogs, this one really feels like a “first” episode. You can see things coming together, even if Trace isn’t there and Crow is frozen. The riffs are more frequent, even kinda funny, but there’s no flow or rhythum to it. Josh Servo steps on Joel’s lines (awkward!) and even though his MIGHTY voice is mighty fine, it’s obvious why he didn’t last beyond season one. His energy was just all wrong for Joel’s laidback attitude and delivery. As I watch these KTMAs for the first time it’ll be interesting to see how there onscreen relationship develops and how Trace’s Crow fits into the scheme.

    These arn’t necassarily good episodes, but they are really interesting to watch and experience. I’m still not digging the Gamera movies (only two more to go!) but I’m in this for the long hall.

    Oh, and the bizarro Satellite of Love shown during the credits still weirds me out.


  37. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Watch Out For Spelling Errors!


  38. Howard says:

    Wake me when it’s over, friend!


  39. dad1153 says:

    Wow, the KTMA “MST3K” era got funny and recognizable much faster than I was led to believe from reading about it (here and elsewhere). Either that or it just feels like it because we hit rock-bottom the week before. The riffing pace is still sluggish but it feels like a vast improvement over Joel’s solo effort. Having Servo’s ‘Mighty Voice’ finally established, a clearly-pumped Josh Weinstein eagerly taking on the movie (to the point he steps over Joel’s lines), a more relaxed Joel, the beginning of some long-lasting traditions (Sandy Frank bashing, 1st look at the Mads) plus a better-than-before Gamera movie all makes it already feel like Season One “MST3K.” Even the video quality of this particular episode looks better than before (based on my cheepins copy). In these early days of the show in which movie-watching is 80% of the experience a KTMA episode lives or dies on whether the movie is good-enough to laugh at on its own. By that standard “Gamera Vs. Gaos” delivers the goods because Gaos is such an unlikable douche of a monster that one can’t help but root for Gamera. Throw in some rather bloody (i.e. paint) scenes and the neatest laser-slicing toys you’ll ever see and this turned out to be fun. I’m ready to move on from Gamera-bashing but if the remaining KTMA one’s are as goofy-ass fun as “Gamera Vs. Gaos” I’m going to be ecstatic.


  40. snowdog says:

    Josh did seem a bit… energetic in this episode, but it’s much better than last week when Joel was alone in the theater. The riffing reaches a certain tempo and mostly stays there. One thing I noticed this time out that I’ve never seen before is that when Joel leaves the theater, at least once, you see him carefully step over Josh. I guess Trace and later Bill, always managed to get out of the way. The changing of Servo’s voice is one more step toward becoming the show we love.


  41. Bruce Boxliker says:

    As stated above, the kids name is actually Eiichi, pronounced a(as in hay)-double e(as in he)-chi (…as in chi). I’m guessing most of the dub cast couldn’t pronounce it, so they just called him Itchy (or everyone just mispronounced it that way).
    This is the point in the Gamera movies where Gamera has become psychic. He can actually form a mental bond with children (which is actually explored much more in the awesome 90’s trilogy), thus he actually does hear Eiichi when he calls. He can also sense when children are in danger. Innocence of youth, and all that jazz.

    @#9 – The red spot on Gyaos’ head is the first indication that the sun’s UV rays are starting to burn him. Good thing Gyaos doesn’t know about sunscreen…

    Oh, and Gamera may be the friend of children, but once you reach adulthood, you’re as good as dead. Sleep well, kids!


  42. Ryan says:

    Didn’t Sampo mention a while ago that he was going to review the Film Crew, Cinematic Titanic, and Rifftrax next? Or perhaps alongside the MST3K episodes?


  43. Sampo says:

    Ryan–We already had this discussion a couple of episodes back, but, briefly: A few years back I floated that idea, asked for feedback and got an overwhelming negative response, with people strongly urging me not to allow “mission creep” to take over. On reflection I realized they were right.

    I leave those entities to some other blogger to review. And if anybody decides to do that, let me know and I will post a link.


  44. Brandon says:

    Joel pointed out though in the Q&A that he probably didn’t say anything to Josh, because even if he had covered his mic, it’d still be picked up by Josh’s.

    I don’t have the episode on hand, so I can’t tell for sure, but maybe, he just leaned over and gave Josh a “dude, knock it off” gesture.

    One thing I gotta ask is, in the KTMA era was Gypsy’s role ever established, that she ran the ship and “higher functions”?


  45. Sitting Duck says:

    Bruce Boxliker #41: As stated above, the kid’s name is actually Eiichi, pronounced a(as in hay)-double e(as in he)-chi (as in chi). I’m guessing most of the dub cast couldn’t pronounce it, so they just called him Itchy (or everyone just mispronounced it that way).

    Which gives the impression that the kid had a chronic rash problem.


  46. MattG says:

    I see a lot of references to the Q&A these days, but have no idea where to find it and searching for it doesn’t help. Can I please get a link? It sounds like interesting reading.


  47. jaybird3rd says:

    @#46: Here you go …


  48. jaybird3rd says:

    This is a fun episode for several reasons. Joel said in one of the Shout Factory DVD documentaries that MST3K “solidified around the Gamera series”, and one can really see that process taking place in these first shows. In retrospect, the Gamera movies were just perfect for the early MST3K: they were goofy enough to provide plenty of opportunities for jokes, but fun enough to be watchable on their own, without the support of wall-to-wall riffing. They were not yet adequately equipped to take on the Coleman Francis films, or the likes of “Manos” or “Monster a-Go Go”, but Gamera gave them the ideal environment for finding the identity of the show and of the characters.

    I think the voice change for Servo was part of that process. In the very beginning, riffing wasn’t necessarily a core component of the show, so giving “cute voices” to the robots must have seemed like a good idea. Once they discovered that more and more riffing was the key, it became clearer that the “cute voices” were an encumbrance, so they simply changed them. Trace seems to have gradually transitioned to something more natural for him, while Josh’s change was more dramatic. But like the other major changes to the show that were to come later, they incorporated it into the story and had fun with it in the host segments, giving Josh the chance to show off some of his impressions in the process. Josh is much looser and more relaxed in the theater after that, and as a result, the show got better and grew closer to what it was to become.

    While I’m on the subject of Josh as Servo, I have to say that I’m generally very impressed with Josh’s contributions to the KTMA shows. Judging from the Q&A, Josh himself doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about them, and from his point of view, I suppose that’s understandable (after all, I doubt that many of us would want to go back and look at something we did on TV at age seventeen). But not only was he very quick on the draw in the theater segments, his hit-to-miss ratio was pretty good, and he was able to mine jokes from a remarkably varied pool of material, referencing everything from Mitch Miller to Isaac Asimov to music and TV commercials from the 60s and 70s. One wonders how he was able to absorb all this stuff at such a young age.

    It’s also remarkable how quickly the show gelled once all the elements were in place. Despite the reputation of the KTMA shows for “roughness”, the show has already found its stride only a few episodes in. K06 comes pretty close to the typical “riffing density” of the remainder of the “season zero” shows; only Trace’s absence makes this episode more sparse than the later shows. My favorite thing about this one is “Grandpa mooing”: they notice it in the Comedy Central version, of course, but they make much more of a meal of it in this episode, inserting random “mooing” sounds whenever Grandpa is seen on-screen.


  49. MattG says:

    Thank you, jaybird3rd! That was fascinating reading.


  50. jaybird3rd says:

    @#49: No problem!

    One thing I forgot to mention: Host Segment #3 doesn’t seem to have gotten any commentary yet, but I thought it was very sweet, and one of the reasons I love the KTMA shows so much. A young fan calls in to invite J&TB to his birthday party, so they play his invitation and then wish him a “Happy Birthday” on the air, complete with a giant birthday banner. It’s interesting how quickly the show gained a following among young kids, and if I was that kid, I know I would have been thrilled.


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