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Sampo & Erhardt

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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: K13- SST-Death Flight

Movie: (1977) Aboard the maiden transatlantic flight of a supersonic plane, mechanical problems and a killer virus cause a crisis for an all-star cast.

First shown: 2/19/89
Opening: Dr. F. is back from Vegas, bringing money, gifts and this week’s movie. They send it to Joel, catching him off-guard
Host segment 1: Joel shows Servo what it’s like to feel pain
Host segment 2: Gypsy has a sexy new voice … or does she?
Host segment 3: Joel, Crow and Gypsy have a limbo contest; Servo provides the music.
End: Viewer mail.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (128 votes, average: 4.35 out of 5)


• This is a movie I’d have loved to see them tackle again. It’s got everything: stupid plot, a huge “Fantasy Island”/”Love Boat” cast, hackneyed story lines, the works. And it sure is a breath of fresh air after so many weeks of Sandy Frank.
• The opening is very similar to a segment in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES.
• Portions of the theater segments were included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• Local jokes: “We can bail out Midwest Federal.” “They look like they got their suits at Foreman & Clark.”
• At one point Crow mispronounces a word and Tom immediately mocks him for it. It’s the kind of thing they seldom did later on.
• Pre-riff: I said, “You sank my battleship!” a few seconds before Servo did.
• In between segments one and two, in a jump cut between two scenes in the movie, it looks like they stopped tape and then restarted it. Servo is suddenly off his chair and Joel says “Whoa! Turbulence!”
• That’s make-up lady Faye Burkholder doing the sexy Gypsy voice and some puppetry in segment 2.
• Wow, can I just say that John DeLancie really does a good job of being a jerk. I met him once. He seemed really nice.
• Firsts: Crow mentions ram chips,” the Mads mention “pushing the button, “we get the very first reading of letters to the show and the first mention of Cambot’s “stillstore” function, which, at this point, appears to be a piece of cardboard and some masking tape.
• My DVD contains what is apparently a commercial for the show in which J&TB perform the “SST Death Flight Theme Song.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Cinematographer Joseph Biroc also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “Kitten With A Whip.” Score composer John Cacavas also worked on “Superdome” and “Hangar 18.” In front of the camera: Peter Graves was also in “It Conquered the World,” “Beginning of the End,” “Parts: The Clonus Horror” and did some narration in “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Burgess Meredith was also in “The Last Chase.” Robert Reed was also in “Bloodlust.” Robert Ito was also in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Tom Stewart was also in “Space Travelers.” Walter Maslow was also in “Human Duplicators.” Lorne Green was the narrator for the short “Johnny at the Fair.”
• CreditsWatch: We now begin an ongoing feature in which we note changes in the closing credits. In all the previopus episodes (as far as we know) Vince Rodriguez is listed as director and Todd Ziegler is credited with handling the audio. For some reason, in this episode and the next one, both their credits have vanished.
• Fave riff: “If I could do that I wouldn’t leave the house!” Honorable mention: “Put the masks on the important stars first!”

71 Replies to “Episode guide: K13- SST-Death Flight”

  1. Dan in WI says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this episode coming up in our weekly discussion. I like this movie in its own right. If I were to sit down and come up with a list of most watchable movies even if the riffing weren’t there. This film would be near the top of my list. (#1 would probably be another KTMA episode Phase IV. But while I’ll say that is the best of the entire lot it isn’t from one my preferred genres.) Now I’ll admit this movie certainly has a lot of the cheese associated with its collection of largely B level talent. But I grew up without cable and this type of ensemble cast made for TV movie was a staple of my TV movie diet since it was readably available on over the air TV. So this brought back memories. Hey we all have our guilty pleasures.

    Oh and this film includes one of my very favorite trivia question actors. I’m a big Star Wars fan and one of only a few who seems to have been a lifelong fan of the radio adaptation of that movie from 1980. Who voiced Darth Vader in that radio adaptation? It was none other than Brock Peters.

    Now I will say that this ensemble cast did increase the “state park joke” content. And was it just me or did the riff per minute ratio drop the deeper they got into the movie. But in my mind the strength of the covered this all up. This is one of the few times I found myself to hear the movie when they were riffing.

    And the heat wave continues. 6°!

    Favorite Riffs:
    Model leans over a Concord model and Crow says “Look at that wingspan”
    Then a little later “nice airfoil”


  2. TheDON3k says:

    This is an overall enjoyable episode, and I agree that it would have been spectacular if they could have redone this one later.

    Joel makes a call-back to a plot-point of SST Death Flight later in the S1-S5 run of MST3k, but I can’t recall now what the episode was:

    Someone is trying to diagnose a mechanical problem of some sort, and Joel says something to the effect of, “Maybe someone put dish washing liquid in the lines” instead of Detergent, which is what the barrel was labeled in SST.

    I think, besides “Hanger 18”, it may be the only KTMA call-back heard during the regular run.


  3. Graboidz says:

    I’ll have to look for that Call Back TheDON3K…good find!!!

    I love this type of film, and this is one of my fave KTMA eps, right up there with “Last Chase” (another TV movie). The movie is strong enough I think it would be fun to watch un-riffed.


  4. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    Adam-12 guy: I’m sorry Harry, nothing’s firm yet. You’ll be the first to know.
    Crow: Nothing’s firm?
    Joel: He IS getting old.

    This one’s right in my wheelhouse. I’m just old enough to recognize almost all the faces (and references) in this episode. Josh’s Servo says it right: as we are introduced to the cast, it feels like a mash-up of Love Boat with Fantasy Island, via Airplane! Lot’s of has-beens and never-were’s. What Hollywood casting agent ever found Bert Convy funny? He’s supposed to be providing comic-relief here, while a young Billy Crystal is stuck playing a fey flight attendant with no jokes. He’s even belted by Q! And maybe it’s just me but I find a sad poignancy in the flirtation between Troy Doug McClure and Tiny Louise, and am devastated to learn (SPOILERS!) Peter Graves dies at the end.

    Crow: Doug McClure – the career that time forgot.

    By the middle of the “film”, the plot is starting to mirror Marooned/Space Travelers/Apollo 13 where the ground crew simulates the conditions of the crisis remotely to find the solution. While this may be true to real-life events, it is rarely satisfying in a narrative sense, as it relies on an artificial distancing of our protagonists from resolving their own dilemma. But the corny plot and the hammy performances here provide Joel and the Bots a rich feast for riffing.

    This may be the first great MST episode. Somehow the combination of all-star made-for-TV disaster movie plus half-a-season’s worth of experience by our crew makes K13-SSTDF explode with funny. While I admit it’s kind of a “state park joke” to mention The Brady Bunch whenever Robert Reed appears onscreen, the sheer number of U.S.-based TV-centric pop culture references here wins me over, especially after weeks of struggling through foreign-made sleepers like Fugitive Humanoid Cosmic Alien Princess Vs. Gameron, etc.

    4 stars (KTMA scale = more in the 2 to 3 range for regular network MST episodes).

    Crow: Hi, you’re in the part of the plane that falls off.


  5. sixofone88 says:

    @ 2 TheDON3K

    The call back is in episode 208 “The Lost Continent.”


  6. Fart Bargo says:

    Very enjoyable trip down memory lane with all the stars. The basics for the show seem to be all there in this one.

    I do not know what qualfies for above note entries but since this was the first Peter Graves sighting should this not be included? Perhaps he dubbed for Sandy Frank?

    In closing “SST-DEATH FLIGHT, My God! It’s full of stars.”


  7. afrgarga says:

    It’s eerie how similar SST is to Airplane.


  8. Justin T says:

    This is one of the few KTMA episodes Ive watched recently and I enjoyed it. The riffing may not have
    been outstanding but it was solid with some excellent ones popping up here and there.

    Like Sampo, I really wish they had tackled this movie again. I mean you had Robert Reed, Burt Convey, Doug McClure, Lorne Green, Burgess Meredith, Tina Louise, Billy Crystal, Regis Philbin
    John DeLancie, Brock Peters and MST favortie Peter Graves! The ammount of riffs they would have
    been able to pull off on just the cast alone would have been fantastic.

    Still, for a KTMA this is a decent episode.

    Oh and Sampo, you forgot to put the star vote up for this episode. ;-)


  9. Sampo says:

    DANG IT! Thanks for the catch, Justin. It’s there now. I had a cold this week! That’s my excuse!


  10. Brandon says:

    # 7- “Airplane!” was actually inspired by a much older film called “Zero Hour”. I’ve seen that film and it is DIFFICULT to take that movie seriously because of how many scenes and lines are later used in Airplane. I don’t recall if the Zucker Brothers ever said SST Death Flight was an inspiration or not. It’s interesting that Graves is in both films.

    This is the only KTMA episode I’ve ever seen.

    It always intrigued me how Robert Reed and Tina Louise (two actors who came to hate Sherwood Schwartz) are present in this movie.

    Seeing young versions of Billy Crystal and Regis Philbin throws you for a loop. Billy looks like a teenager in this film. John De Lancie’s got some weird hair thing going.

    Joel’s “Come on! Form a Congaline!” never fails to crack me up. I had forgotten about Servo’s “Put the masks on the important stars first!” In fact you posting that riff triggered a memory of another mask-related riff that I remember liking. The pilot makes an announcement that everything is fine and the passengers don’t need the oxygen masks anymore. The passengers remove their masks, and Crow blurts out, “JUST KIDDING!!!!”

    This was also of course the first time I heard what Josh’s Gypsy sounded like. It’s basically his own voice, only much raspier. Jim Mallon started out that way in Season 1. You can see he was emulating Josh a bit.

    I still am confused as to why Joel says to Servo he’ll be sorry about having viewers say what they’re favorite pizza toppings are. Someone want to clue me in?


  11. MiqelDotCom says:

    What a crazy cast of characters! Peter Graves, Burgess Meredith, Lorne Green, Brady Bunch dad, Billy Crystal, Regis Philbin, “Q” from Star Trek TNG and many more. I’m guessing this is a made-for-tv movie based on the look and editing. Ultra cheezy, I wish they has re-riffed this in their later years!

    Not great but watchable & has a few good riffs but not many. 3 stars on the KTMA scale.

    Stewardess: “Hello mrs. Page, welcome aboard”
    Crow: “You’re in the part of the plane that falls off”
    (not as funny written, but the mater-of-fact way Trace delivers it is gold)

    Pilot: “We have to ask ourselves if there’s more to life than just surviving”
    Crow: “well ya took this film didn’t you?”

    Joel “That’s why they call it a cockpit … was that a cockfight they just had?”

    After passengers decide to land in Dakar
    Crow “Where is Dakar anyways?”
    Joel “In da garage”

    The Brains have mentioned that originally riffs weren’t the main focus, but the goal was to create the feeling of kicking back & watching a movie along with some wisecracking friends. I think by this point the show is very successful at that. It’s a different kind of enjoyment than the riff-dense later seasons.


  12. Creepygirl says:

    I agree with all above that this is a very entertaining episode. Oh so cheezey and a lot of fun.

    Thank you Joe for pointing out where the SST-DF theme song bit came from. My copy of the episode is very watchable and clear but the commercial that opens looks like a 15th generation dupe. I got really upset really fast that this may be the quality of the entire episode. I was able to calm down and enjoy only moments later.

    Does anyone agree that the stars in this film are either has beens or soon to be’s but at least stars.
    This is more than I can say for many of the folks on Dancing with the Stars. :grin:

    I gave this one 4 stars on the KTMA scale.


  13. Ralph C. says:

    “All the actors form two lines– ‘Love Boat’ on the left, ‘Fantasy Island on the right.”



  14. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    [ The following work has be edited to comply with the new Creepy-Girl guidelines for acceptable posts]

    First, it should be noted that there were three versions of this film in general circulation from the late 1970s to the late 1980s.

    The first is the ABC version which aired on February 25th, 1977. I actually saw this, for it was way back in the days when networks actually showed premium programming on the weekends. (anyone remember when Saturday night was “must see TV”?)

    The second version was “spiced” up for the European markets, and included a little nudity between Misty Rowe (who else) and Bert Convey, who always seemed to me to be a bigger star than he actually was. A sentiment I am sure Ms. Rowe probably shared. (Ba-doom-bop)

    The final version is the one we who watched Season Zero are familiar with. Mildly edited from the original to play during the “less progressive” afternoon hours in syndication.

    Not an original idea for a movie by a long shot, this “made for TV” feature was presented to capitalize on the disaster pictures Irwin Allen did so well. He made it look so easy that anyone with a film school diploma thought they could do it. This lead to a number of disastrous disaster films culminating with the 2009 disaster, “2012.”

    To his credit, the director, David Lowell Rich had about 102 titles under his belt, including the big screen version of this film, “The Concorde – Airport ‘79.” So I am sure that no one in the front office, where creativity dies a lonely death, thought “Death Flight” would be this much of a turkey.

    I always get this film confused with “Starflight: The Plane that Couldn’t Land” (1983) which also featured an “all star” cast in a doomed air vehicle. That would have actually been a better film to riff, but I am sure it was not in the KTMA library.

    This is a very pleasant entry into the MST3K library. It suffers from the same problems found in most of the early shows, but it is not weighed down by them. The film, for being a “disaster” film, is slow and the riffs should have been faster and more energetic to compensate. However, I am sure that Joel and the bots, like the rest of us, were just trying to stay awake.

    It was good to see everyone back together. Those of you who read the excellent interview Sampo did with the cast know that Trace was missing earlier because of “on set” in-fighting, ego driven back stabbing, and creativity differences that threatened to grind the whole production to a halt (not really of course. It is just that the movie is so slow I thought I’d add spice and excitement to THIS post).

    A “sort of” dated reference is made during the first show segment as Dr. Forester returns with all the money he won while at the Mad scientist convention in Vegas. He makes the hilarious joke of using some of the money to bail out “Mid-West Federal Saving and Loan.”

    You see kids, back in the 1980s, because of lax regulations and greedy speculating, a lot of banks and savings-in-loans were in trouble and needed Federal help to stay open. This, of course, could never happen today.

    I liked the gifts that Dr. Forrester brought back from his trip. The “Foundation Trilogy” gift set and the “I, Robot” bikini grooming kit. I am not sure who the Asimov fan was but his name seems to come of often, and not just in the scifi setting you would suppose.

    As I said above, this is a mellow disaster movie and so the riffs are mellow, the show is mellow, the whole thing is pleasantly mellow. No great ups and no real memorable lines. The host segments are uneven, but that is what you get when creativity runs amuck.

    I did like the idea of Gypsy getting a cold and having her (his?) voice get seductive. They never used Gypsy enough in this program so when the bits with her went well I appreciated them. For me, this is the best Gypsy moment in season Zero.

    Josh tends to get fixated on a style of joke and this episode it was jokes based on misheard lines. This is a problem with extemporaneous performances. Just because it is funny once or twice, does not mean it is funny eight or ten times. I admire good improv when it works. But it does not always work.

    Some good lines that they did have in this edition include;

    “They’re getting a lot of use from that set” (hallmark of a cheap movie)
    “Since when is “Return to Your Seat” a reason to Panic?”

    “Too many people in this World” – The movie
    “Too many people in this MOVIE” – Joel

    I always find it funny when comments made in the show go on to mean more or different things later.
    The SNL bailout for instance, and the comment at 59:00 about John Denver on the plane.
    Amusing jokes then. Ironic jokes now.

    Is that a sign of creative genius?

    (I’ll ignore the Challenger joke, “What does this button do” at 1:05. It was still too soon then)

    While I think that Joel and Josh did a good job last episode, it was good to see everyone back. This was a show that worked better with a “party” atmosphere, and you need more than two for a party (well, this type of party anyway).

    Two quick questions about this movie that I seemed to miss, because between the riffs I was watching the film.

    First, if they only had three minutes of stick time with the patched hydraulic system, how could they wander all over Europe and North Africa looking for a place to land?

    Second, why do they EVER let another pilot on as a passenger? THAT is always a recipe for disaster. It should be an FAA regulation that there can be NO pilots as passengers on commercial flights. It is a death warrant for anyone in the cockpit.


  15. schippers says:

    #14 – I’m guessing that Josh was fond of sniping at Asimov, for whatever reason (he WAS a goofy looking guy, and his writing DOES suck, so okay, snipe away). There are quite a few shots at Asimov in season 1, but then they all but disappear in subsequent seasons, hence my finger-point at Josh.

    Could Sampo confirm that in a later interview, perhaps?


  16. Dan in WI says:

    #14> You asked how they could fly all over Europe looking for a landing place if the patchwork hydraulics only gave 3 minutes of stick time. The answer was while they worked out the how and even set some if it up right away, it wasn’t turned “on” so to speak until the time of the landing came up. That’s why a very sick Burgess Merideth climbs down the ladder right before the crash. He’s heading down there to throw the final “switches” and give Caption Brady the three minutes of stick time.


  17. Watched this once, not much for riffing. Has Ginger from GILLIGAN’S ISLAND.


  18. H says:

    Ah, the star-studded Movie of The Week. One of my favorite genres they did on KTMA. There’s so much to work with and they do a great job. Even without the landmark first viewer mail segment, a good episode.

    Oh, and fun fact in reference to the whole Airplane!/Zero Hour discussion above- the Zucker brothers bought the rights to Zero Hour before they made Airplane! so that they could parody it so closely. Not really related to the ep but still cool.


  19. RockyJones says:

    RalphC @ #13:

    “All the actors form two lines– ‘Love Boat’ on the left, ‘Fantasy Island on the right.”

    THAT’S my favorite riff from this episode! For me, it’s kinda like my own personal moment when I felt the show shift into a higher gear and officially “evolve” into what we were to see in the Comedy Central years yet to come.


  20. Steelhawk says:

    “Wow, can I just say that John DeLancie really does a good job of being a jerk? I met him once. He seemed really nice.”

    I would like to second that. I saw Mr. DeLancie at a convention once. I was with a woman in a wheelchair and she wanted a picture with him. The people in charge were being real jerks..’no photos, no photos.’ But he got down on one knee and posed for a couple of pictures. Truly a class act.


  21. Cornjob says:

    Is John DeLancie the “Q” dude.


  22. Alex says:

    Ah, the first KTMA I saw. Not too bad actually. This one is probably their best out of their earliest season.


  23. StumpBeefKnob says:

    jees, #14, that was the EDITED version? JK!


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

    cornjob @21: yup.


  25. BIG61AL says:

    Another season zero highlight. A good solid episode that could have been a game winning RBI. ;-)


  26. My favorite KTMA ep, for all the reasons everyone has said. You don’t really need Joel and the ‘bots – the movie practically riffs itself.

    I think there are a couple of places where you can tell that the scripted riffing from later years would have been helpful.
    I don’t know how you can spend the whole movie going, “Look, it’s that guy from that show”, and you have both Martin Milner and George Maharis in the movie, and never once mention Route 66.
    And they should have known who Brock Peters was. He’d been at least a guest star on every series since TV was invented, and they have no idea who he is.

    But enough nitpicking.
    One of my favorite moments – Late in the movie, Lorne Greene says to Robert Reed, “I don’t want those people inconvenienced!!” At the time he says the line, half the passengers already have the flu, and I think some are sitting on the wing. The whole “inconvenience” thing is kind of out the door already.
    Also, I agree that the “Love Boat/Fantasy Island” riff is a great indicator of things to come.
    And really, the episode’s a laugh riot from start to finish.


  27. Zeroninety says:

    After all these years, it just now hit me that Dan Blocker was the only Cartwright who never appeaed in a MSTed film.

    (Oh, and hey IMDB, WTF?!)


  28. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Wow, what a line-up!  Peter Graves, Robert Reed, Burgess Meredith, Barbara Anderson, Burt Convoy, Lorne Greene, Doug “The Career that Time Forgot” McClure, Season Hubley, Tina Louise, George Maharis, Brock Peters, Susan Strasberg, Misty Rowe, Billy Crystal, Q from Star Trek: TNG, Robert Ito, and Regis Philbin.

    Heck, even Cynthia Jenner, mother of those trollops the Kardasians, is in there!  Look it up, it’s true!

    I must say, there has been some build up to this one.  Lots of talk in previous comment threads.  I have to say, without the nostalgia factor (this movie predates me by 3 years) this was really a sorta -meh episode for me.  Good, but not great.

    The movie is pretty watchable, and I would agree that they shoulda redone this one Season 3 style.  So much potential….

    Like, really, you got Burgess Meredith up there and not one quote or impression from Rocky??

    On the flipside, you got Robert Reed.  I now have a theory that the reason as to why there are no Brady Bunch references in #607 Bloodlust is because they remembered the overkill in this episode.

    The host segments in this one aren’t very good.  At least, I didn’t find them funny.   Servo sings a pretty good Day-O, tho.

    Things I liked:

    My copy starts with another intro (must have been a re-run) where Joel is slapping on the table and he and the bots are singing in a call-and-response form, “Has-been actors!  Put ’em in a TV film.  Put ’em in a fiery crash!!  Robert Reed and Burgess Meredith!  Oh no!”. It’s pretty funny but the video quality is awful.

    I like the spit-take Movie Sign Joel does at the beginning.

    The John Denver! joke is pretty good.  Joel did alot of those kinda jokes (hey it’s, fillintheblank) in the later CC years, is this the first time he does it in the KTMA era??

    Some sorta racy comments from Joel, when he says, “that’s why they call it a cockpit” and “did they just have a cockfight??”. Seemed out of “character” for Joel.

    @Brandon:  the reason Joel told Servo that he’d be sorry for asking people what their favorite pizza toppings were is because Joel probably thought they (the public) would do just that: send in letters addressing their favorites when it comes to pizza and clog there mailbox.  The old be-careful-what-you-ask-for lesson of life.



  29. mataglap says:

    This has to be the best KTMA episode so far, but it may just as much because the movie itself is so darn entertaining, particularly from the perspective of 30+ years since it was made. It was probably less watchable on its own in 1989 when most of the cast was still alive and the memory of all those 70’s disaster movies was still painful.

    You’ve got to love Burgess Meredith and Lorne Greene chewing the made-for-tv scenery, and what’s with both Robert Reed and Tina Louise, who several years earlier had turned up their noses at their respective successful tv sitcoms because they weren’t serious art, signing on for this turkey?

    What’s kind of interesting about the movie is it’s a double disaster, it’s bad enough to have a deadly virus on board, or to be the victims of sabotage, but to have both happen in the same trip? And then the plane basically crashes anyway, but nearly everyone survives. That was lucky!

    The riffing is much better in this episode, Trace gets some good lines in (and peeking ahead to next week’s Mighty Jack, where he calls Erhardt “Florence Henderson”, this movie must have made a lasting impression). The extended post-Vegas reunion at the beginning plays out like a comedy sketch, with some great deadpan delivery from Trace. The rest of the host segments feel like mostly improv, at this point they seem to have focused so much on the movie that the bits in the SOL were barely there, but that’s ok.

    Fave riff: “Wow, what a view!”


  30. Zeroninety @ #27:

    The cast of Gilligan’s Island is also well represented in MSTiedom, with Alan Hale, Jim Backus, Tina Louise, and Russell Johnson showing up – Hale and Johnson more than once.

    Do I smell a weekend discussion thread?


  31. This is a good one, but not as strong as later “star-studded” episodes. Still, solid and one I watch pretty frequently. Besides….Regis! That’s all it really needs, right there.


  32. JCC says:

    #28 –

    It’s actually Chrystie Jenner, and she had nothing to do with the conception of the Kardashian’s.


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

    Zeroninety @ #27:

    Are you forgetting about “Last of the Wild Hosses” ?


  34. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @JCC — You’re absolutly right. Oops! I need to fire my fact checker….. Chrystie Jenner WAS Bruce Jenner’s first wife, and to my knowledge, her spawn have never helped to contribute to the lowering of America’s standards for stardom. Sorry for the mix up.

    Also, another thing about this episode:

    over the end credits, announcer man voice says, “A small time crook unwittingly becomes the pawn of a federal agent. Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle star in, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. . . Next!”.

    That’s a really good movie, and quite the upswing from the previous Death Flight program. Mitchum is great in it, one of his best roles.


  35. Invasion of the Neptune Man says:

    I’ve never seen this MST episode but I remember the TV movie fondly although I tend to confuse it with Airport 75 (THERE’S NO ONE FLYING THE PLANE!!!). I might have seen it when premiered on ABC and definitely saw it several times in the 80s in syndication. A great cast of TV has-beens (who was available to gueststar on Barnaby Jones that week?) and still unknowns Regis, Billy Crystal, and John DeLancie.
    Bert Convy was at the height of his career at that point. For a few years in the 70s Convy was the hardest working guy on TV hosting game shows, guest starring on Fantasy Island and Love Boat and a lot of other shows and guest starring on game shows. He was a regular on $10,000 Pyramid. He seemed to be everywhere for awhile and always playing himself. It was really annoying actually. Then he dropped dead from a massive heart attack. He was still in his 40s. Poor guy. RIP Bert.
    Much as I dislike Youtube, I might search this out in the next few days.


  36. Invasion of the Neptune Man says:

    I went and checked myself and Bert Convy died shortly after being diasnosed with a brain tumor in ’91. He’s still the guy I think of when I think about cheesy 70s TV though.


  37. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Mike in Portland @26 –

    That is the best line I have ever heard (read) on a MST3K site.

    A movie so bad that, “You don’t really need Joel and the ‘bots – the movie practically riffs itself.”

    Bravo :!: :!: :!: :!:

    Watch-out-for-Snakes @ 28 –

    I noticed that Joel made a lot of the “crude” comments in Season Zero. You are right, in later years the bots would make the comments and Joel would rein them in. Now we know who “wrote” those comments. :cool: :cool: :cool:


  38. dad1153 says:

    Saw “SST Death Flight” earlier today at work (really slow around here on Friday afternoons) and absolutely loved it, my favorite KTMA experiment to date.

    Even though I could clearly see through the cheap made-for-TV effects budget and shameless ripoff of Arthur Hailey’s “Airport”/Irwin Allen’s disaster-movie formulas my reaction mirrored that of Joel and the Bots (i.e. Josh and Trace acting human-like instead of robots) of marveling at the number of recognizable faces in this disaster flick. I’m a huge gameshow fan (watch GSN almost daily for my daily dose of “Match Game” and “The $XX,000 Pyramid”) so to see Bert Convy both acting horribly and getting skewered by J&TB’s was a total delight. And good Lord, Regis and Billy Crystal looked like babies back in ’77. :grin: In my mind the endless ‘look, it’s that guy from that show’ reactions to the stars is a bookend of sorts to the Mike-era “MST3K” episodes where a recognizable face or scene (Reed again in “Bloodlust,” the Battlestar Galactica footage in “Space Mutiny,” etc.) would not be joked about/riffed as expected. It’s as if The Brains (and only Kevin would have been around by the time “Space Mutiny” came along to remind Mike and the others of the excesses of the celebrity-sighting riffing so prevalent in “SST Death Flight”) treated the obvious joke about a familiar face’s TV/movie work as anathema to what they stood for. Doesn’t explain why Alan ‘Little Buddy’ Hale and Peter ‘Biography’ Graves were exempt of this rule though. :roll: And, fitting the perception of KTMA being the tryout era of the show’s original ideas, there’s a child-like innocence in seeing Joel, Josh and Trace act overwhelmed at the amount of celebrities in “SST Death Flight” that would have felt out-of-place or beneath the Brain’s seen-it-all attitude from the show’s national run (they’d still react to known faces in an experiment, just not as overtly as they do here).

    The movie is fun to watch and, even though they don’t succeed at establishing a rhythm or landing any classic riffs, the perked-up interest from J&TB keeps them constantly yapping and some of the jokes (the aforementioned “Fantasy Island/Love Boat” separate lines, the ‘masks for the important celebrities’ line, etc.) have some bite to them. Joel’s borderline-blue remark ‘is that a cock fight they just had?’ was eye-opening to me. Of all the KTMA’s so far this is the one the guys seemed to be most into along with viewers, making it worthy of Season One comparisons. Loved the host segments (Tom/Josh sings a mean Day-O solo to set-up the limbo), the introduction of the still store is a milestone moment and the fake Gypsy voice had me totally fooled (didn’t know puppets could do ventriloqui :mrgreen: ). Is it me or are the Mads (particularly Josh) acting extremely gay in the opening segment? I know there’s always been a subtle hint of a homosexual relationship between Dr. F and his assistants but in this experiment (particularly the Vegas innuendo) it sticks out more than usual, no pun intended! :shock: My cheepins copy of “SST Death Star” comes with a still of a poster showing a Concorde airplane (the real deal, not the ridiculous-looking ‘plane with a beak’ toy model seen in the flick) crashing against a building (used for the international theatrical run of the flick, a common practice back then). Not only is this false advertisement but it took me back to when I was a little five-year old kid reading the local Spanish paper’s movie section and seeing that exact same artwork. The moralistic plot toward the end about whether to go to the London airport or an African one reminded me of the boat scenes in “The Dark Knight” with the passengers and the prisoners holding each other’s lives in their hand (except, you know, it’s more believable in the ’77 movie than on the 2008 one! ;-) :twisted: ).

    FOUR STARS (in the KTMA scale) for the “SST Death Flight” experiment and TWO-AND-A-HALF STARS to the movie itself (which is only marginally better than “Airport ’75” and on par with “The Concorde: Airport ’79” but is packed with so much celebrity cameos it becomes amusing to keep track of them all). Favorite lines (which I happened to say outloud seconds before I heard them from J&TB’s for the first time, which only added to my own amusement): ‘and his co-pilot is Ted Koppel’ and ‘how does Quincy figure into this?’ :lol:


  39. MightyJack says:

    I’m one of the very few that has never found this all that hot of an ep. There are a few chuckles, but comparatively it ranks low on my KTMA-meter.


  40. rcfagnan says:

    I’m with you Mighty Jack, this one left me cold. It seemed really lethargic (even on the KTMA scales); though I liked most of the host segments, especially Dr. F and Lar at the beginning (though I disliked the Day-O segment as it seemed to come out flat and lifeless. Just my opinion).


  41. Smog Monster says:

    The riffing is relatively good for one with no monsters in it. Very few ‘state park jokes’. It probably comes down to National Season One rate. It could be a lot better, though. I don’t think it’s a best of the season feature, though. There are better ones to consider, but it is indeed a good one.


  42. fathermushroom says:

    Critter beat me to it, but this is my first really “loved it” episode from KTMA. A good all-rounder for me.


  43. mr vito says:

    i haven’t seen all of the ktma shows but i’m wondering… after the guy smacks peter graves upon returning to his seat anne looks up and we hear DICKWEED. is this the first official use of the term?? to this day i call people that. love it when they get the letter asking if DICKWEED is a swear word!! in fact from now on mrvito is DICKWEED 1!!


  44. DICKWEED 1 says:

    new name new post. still wondering all these years later…. is DICKWEED a swear word????


  45. trickymutha says:

    No it is not- otherwise CC and KTMA would have not allowed it. Sounds like one, though.


  46. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    And no, Dickweed 1. This is not the first time Crow uses the term. He first uses it during one of the KTMA Gamera films, I forget which one. Even Servo uses the word, in homage to Crow, in the previous KTMA episode, K12 Fugitive Alien. They seem to usually use it in reference to the Mads.

    And I guess it’s not a swear word, but it sure is fun to say like one.


  47. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Dickweed WAS banned by CC until Best Brains asked them why.

    They could not come up with a reason, stating it just sounded “bad.”

    (this from a channel that NOW shows “South Park – The Movie” unedited)

    This is the first time I remember hearing it in a MST3K episode, but I DO believe it was said earlier.
    When I heard it here is did not register as “AH HA!!!”

    Meaning that at least my sub-conscience had heard it before.


  48. Better late then never…
    My video review of this episode:


  49. Rob says:

    After years of avoiding KTMA eps I’ve finally taken the plunge and I’m really enjoying them for what they are. I mean, it’s rough and jokes are few and far between during the films but I’m surprised by how much I’m liking it. Okay, I check my phone a LOT more than usual and may be playing games while watching most of the time, but I was expecting to last about 4 minutes into the first movie scene. It’s interesting to see it come together slowly and gives me a lot more of an understanding of S1, which I’ve never really liked much (bad Mistie, bad!). So I think I’ll follow along and watch in order, which I’ve never done (do what IIIII do…) to really get into it instead of jumping around like I always do. So thanks for egging me on Perpetual-Episode-Guide-That-Recently-Started-Over-(Again)!


  50. Bruce Boxliker says:

    One thing that impressed me with this as a movie, they didn’t go for the hollywood ending. People actually died! If only Leslie Nielsen had been there to save them. Also, did Peter Graves ever NOT have white hair? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a color movie otherwise.
    While the previous KTMA episodes might have had one real laugh-out-load moment for me (though frequent chuckling), this one had several.
    And on the subject of Joel’s dirty jokes, if you go through his run as host, he actually says a lot more of them than you might think. The fact that he’s usually the one to stop those kinds of jokes makes them all the funnier when he says them.


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