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Episode guide: K07- Gamera vs. Zigra

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.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (100 votes, average: 4.02 out of 5)


• 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.”

60 comments to Episode guide: K07- Gamera vs. Zigra

  • 51
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    Also, some Gamera trivia.
    The Gamera theme song actually debuted in the 1968 ‘Gamera vs Viras’, which came between Gyaos & Guiron. Parts of that movie are seen in a flashback in Guiron – it’s the one with the yellow & black space ship. If I remember right, Viras was a squid-like creature. This one featured kids in a mini-sub (as seen in the aforementioned flashback).
    In-between Guiron & Zigra was ‘Gamera vs Jiger’ (aka ‘Gamera vs Monster X’), which also featured kids in a mini-sub. This time they have to go inside Gamera to help him when he gets infected by Jiger.


  • 52
    AFFA says:

    One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned yet: on my copy the address for the MST3000 Fan Club is shown near the very beginning of the movie (2505 Kennedy Street NE, Mpls.) Any idea if this was the address for the KTMA station, or someone’s home address? It’s noteworthy, I guess, just as the first time the Fan/Info Club is mentioned and fans are encouraged to write in instead of calling.

    Also, in response to #3, Joseph Nebus, (though I realize the comment was from 4 years ago!), I thought it sounded really familiar too, but all I could come up with was this routine from comedian Mike Birbiglia, whose shows I’ve gone to half a dozen times:
    If you’ve never heard of Birbiglia, he’s great! But doubtful his bit has anything to do with MST/Melon Drop. Just where my train of thought meandered to this morning Smile


  • 53
    jaybird3rd says:

    @#52: I believe that “2505 Kennedy Street NE” was the actual street address of KTMA. If you have the 25th Anniversary MST3K DVD set from Shout Factory, you should check out the “Return to Eden Prairie” documentary feature; it’s spread out across multiple disks in the set in three parts. Part 2 (called “The Locations”) features Joel, Jim, Trace, and Kevin talking about how MST3K came to be, and as they’re telling the story, pictures of the various locations as they appear today are shown: Joel’s old house, the old KTMA building (which looked pretty derelict to me) on Kennedy Street, Best Brains’ former location in Eden Prairie, the local stores where they bought their supplies, etc. Very interesting.


  • 54
    Thom Sirveaux says:

    I noticed that in the end credits, Kevin Murphy is credited under “Puppet Operation and Voices”. Any idea which puppet he was operating at this point in the show?


  • 55
    jaybird3rd says:

    @#54: I get the impression that Kevin was in the credits because he was the “backup puppeteer”, in case Josh or Trace were absent or in case all three robots were needed for a sketch. I don’t recall any such moments in K07.

    One thing is certain, though … judging from the Mads’ New Year’s Eve party, KTMA was strictly a Pepsi shop! Even though I’m more of a Coke fan (just like little Helen!), I kinda miss the classic Pepsi can design, so it was cool to see a whole case of them at once.


  • 56
    Cornjob says:

    As I said in the other discussion thread, Josh is the great unsung hero of the KTMA years. ALL HAIL!! Or even snow.

    Thanks Bruce Boxliker for the trivia about the two other Gamera movies. I’ve seen the Gamera v Viras movie under the name Destroy all Planets or something via Netflix. I wonder if the two unriffed Gamera movies were unavailable to the MST crew both times around, or if they were just rejected.

    I realized that unlike season 3 for KTMA the Gamera movies were completely out of chronological order. None of the movies follow or precede the correct movie in the sequence (#2,#1,#3,#5,#4), even with Gaos in the right place. Not that it matters for us or anyone really. Sorry I brought it up.

    By now the Gamera movies had gone beyond silly into outright stupid. Aside from everything else the pandering to pre-schoolers was just embarrassing. Not only did the children who barely knew how to speak get to be instant experts on everything with Alpha level security clearance, the adults were reprimanded for not watching or approving of television, which is what made the children so knowledgeable and wise. I know as Misties we shouldn’t cast too many stones at TV, but a large part of what allows us to enjoy our favorite show is the fact that we have read so many Books! Amirite?


  • 57
    Sitting Duck says:

    Weird in retrospect is how Larry tells Clayton to send up the movie. It’s hard to imagine something like that happening in the Comedy Channel/Central episodes.


  • 58
    jaybird3rd says:

    I think that’s one of the major differences between Forrester and Erhardt and Forrester and Frank. Forrester and Erhardt were more like peers (they were both “doctors”), with Forrester being the senior of the two, while the relationship between Forrester and Frank was the relationship between the evil genius and his loyal henchman. I don’t want to take anything away from Josh, but I think the latter was a better fit for MST3K, since it allowed more comic potential.


  • 59
    Cornjob says:

    “Uh, general guy? You MIGHT want to check with somebody before surrendering the entire planet.”

    I also wondered if the general guy had exceeded his authority. And aside from the issue of sacrificing all of humanity to save four people, since the deal as I understand it was that all people would get turned into Zigra chow, that would include the bathescape 4! So no one would survive. That general guy isn’t much of a negotiator. I wouldn’t want to have him as my contract lawyer.


  • 60
    Mnenoch says:

    Wow what a step up with all three riffers back. It’s pretty awesome to see how far the show had come in just a few episodes. Like others have said this is pretty funny episode for KTMA era.