Movie: (1971) In the (sigh) seventh outing of the long-running Japanese monster movie series, aliens from a distant planet, called Zigra, send a spaceship, called Zigra, commanded by a strange creature — called Zigra — to Earth with a plan of world domination. Opposing him is a pair of concerned marine biologists, pesky kids Kenny and Helen, and of course giant turtle monster Gamera.
First shown: 1/1/89.
Opening: Crow gets unfrozen.
Host segment 1: Joel gets a call from The Mads. Joel asks when they will bring him back to Earth. They taunt him.
Host segment 2: Joel is depressed so Cambot plays some messages from callers to cheer him up.
Host segment 3: J&tB make their New Year’s wishes, then try to count down to the new year. Movie Sign interrupts.
End: J&tB review the movie.
• This episode contains the first appearance of the Mads as speaking characters. The footage of Josh Weinstein performing stand-up comedy in host segment 1 came from the “KTMA Melon Drop,” a KTMA-produced New Year’s Eve special starring Kevin Murphy (as news reporter Bob Bagadonuts) which aired immediately prior to this episode.
• This episode first aired just after midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1988-89.
• Trace is back, Crow is back and all’s right with the premise.
• We get to see the footage of Crow being frozen for the FOURTH time in three episodes.
• Trace is a little quiet during the first hour or so. He must be out of practice. He gets into the swing of riffing a bit the more as the movie goes on.
• Tom’s head is more transparent in the theater in this one.
• Segment 1 is included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• It’s the first transmission from the Mads and they are still being developed. Trace uses a sort of Gregory Peck-ish voice. Josh uses a sinister growl.
• First use of the word “dickweed.”
• Crow’s silent reaction to Zigra’s spandex-clad henchwoman cracks Joel up.
• A couple of times in the theater, Tom Servo extends his neck, something he did a lot more in season two.
• At some point they started previewing the movies. Proof: Crow warns the henchman about the stuff on the arm of the chair just before she knocks it off. Later, Joel and Tom foresee the whole fish-fin xylophone thing.
• Also, it would seem they have they been watching the other Gamera movies in the library. Twice, Tom Servo sings o/` “We believe in Gamera,” o/` even though that song with those English lyrics will not be heard until the next movie.
• In addition, the first germ of the “Gamera is really neat, he is filled with turtle meat” lyrics, which would be fully fleshed out in Season 3, can be heard here.
• It was actually about 1:30 in the morning on New Year’s Day when segment 3–featuring a New Year’s Eve countdown–happens. Joel covers by saying there’s a “time delay.”
• How come that Melon Drop special isn’t on YouTube? I KNOW it exists out there…
• Movie stuff: This is one weird mamajama of a movie, but I will start by saying that I’m guessing most of the weirdness can be blamed on a really bad translation. That said….
• Once again the little kid is named Kenny. What–as was asked in Season 3–is the Japanese fascination with that name? (Commenters had some answers.)
• I don’t really understand the anti-science message that floats through the movie. Kenny and Helen’s father and his pal are biologists. Doesn’t that make them scientists? And are scientists actively polluting the sea? So why are scientists the problem?
• After discovering that Kenny and Helen have come along on their fishing trip, the biologist guys see Zigra land and express a desire to investigate. One says “What about the kids?” The kids then express a desire to go along. This seems to settle the issue. The adults are, like: “Fine, let’s go.” So no concerns at all for the kids’ safety?
• Gamera now flies straight all the time, no more spinning.
• I have seen this movie a dozen times now and I still cannot make heads or tales out of the weird Zigra monster up on the shelf in the alien spaceship. It looks a little like a skeksis from “The Dark Crystal,” but what’s with the billowing cobwebs?
• How did “your Earth science” pollute a planet 400 light years away? I ran that back and listened to it again and that’s definitely what he says. Doesn’t make any sense.
• At one point the henchwoman runs by a bunch of guys and they all recognize her as “Laura Lee Barrett.” Why do those guys recognize her? (Commenters explained.)
• The appearance of the Japanese version of the Monty Python “It’s!” guy seems to go nowhere.
• Similarly, what was the point of the whole “who gets to buy the fish” subplot?
• Apparently thinking her spandex attire is too outlandish, the henchwoman hypnotizes some bathing beauties and steals a bikini from one of them. This makes her less outlandish as she walks through the busy streets of Tokyo?
• Uh, general guy? You MIGHT want to check with somebody before surrendering the entire planet.
• I love the way Gamera delivers the bath-o-scope like Lynn Swann scoring a touchdown.
• So they plan to revive the biologists and the kids with electric shock–but later we just see them shaking Helen awake. Did they have second thoughts on the electric shock thing?
• Fave riff: “Nice jammies, babe.” Honorable mention: “Perhaps they should start looking for Allen Funt.”