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Episode guide: 505- Magic Voyage of Sinbad

Movie: (1952) A sea-going adventurer sets sail to find the bluebird of happiness, which he believes will help his down-on-its-luck hometown.

First shown: 8/14/93
Opening: J&tB are presenters and nominees at the SOL-tie awards
Invention exchange: The Mads present chin-derwear, while J&tB show off the rat pack chess set
Host segment 1: J&tB have a meeting of the Junior Jester Club
Host segment 2: J&tB are the bearded town council debating the Sinbad problem
Host segment 3: Crow’s lifelong quest thingy goes awry
End: The bots are amazed by Joel’s channel cat puppet, letter, Frank meets Mr. Fistie
Stinger: Laughing horse
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (143 votes, average: 4.55 out of 5)

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• Oh my, oh my, oh my, what a wonderful episode. An all-time fave. Everything works, everything clicks. Great invention exchanges, great host segments, great riffing and a well-shot, expensive — albeit weird — movie. Despite my personal attachment to “The Day the Earth Froze,” I have to say this is the best of the Russo-Finnish movie episodes.
• This episode was included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XX.”
• You gotta assume the opening is perhaps a reflection on their “always a nominee, never a winner” TV award history.
• Both inventions, chin-derwear and the Rat Pack chess set, are not just clever, they are downright witty.
• That’s Mike, of course, attempting Frank Sinatra. He doesn’t sound much like ol’ Blue Eyes, but he has the intonation down pretty good. In any case, as we approach the switch in hosts, Mike is seen and heard more and more.
• He’s not Sinbad, and director Aleksandr Ptushko never intended him to be. But when this Soviet-financed film was released to American audiences, the lead character was given the name “Sinbad” in hopes of fooling American moms and dads, who, the American importers knew, would never allow their kids to see a movie made by commies.
• Comedy Central used this episode for a contest: viewers were asked to write in and guess what the riff would be after Morgana (or whatever her name was) said “You seem troubled.” The correct answer was: “Have some Prozac.” The winner was a lady in New Jersey named Susan Schneider (she’s at the beginning of this collection of ’93 Turkey Day bumpers) who was on, I forget, either Prodigy or AOL. The prize was one of those god-awful giant-screen rear-projection TVs that were unaccountably popular at the time (and five grand, which was pretty sweet, even if the ridiculous TV took up half the space in her rec room). She threw a party and invited some of the folks she knew on line for the weekend — a decision she came to regret, but that’s another story for another day. I’m sure that behemoth she won is moldering in a landfill somewhere now.
• Crow the jester is carrying the little mini Crow last seen in the possession of Sir Giggles Von Laughs-a-lot.
• Again, the writing in the Junior Jester Club sketch is off-handedly brilliant.
• J&tB are still wearing jester hats when they enter the theater after the first segment. Also, Crow has no net for a lot of the riffing.
• Arty reference: “I can’t tell if that’s a Magritte or a hole in the wall.” Did Magritte do many giant frescos?
• Odd riff: “…and a tetherball.” What’s that about?
• Too-harsh riff?: “Jell-O tonight!”
• Did anybody else notice a similarity between the creepy laughing horse in this movie and the creepy laughing reindeer in “Santa Claus”?
• As if the segments up to this point haven’t been great, the second sketch is a riot, maybe one of their best. It even has an ending! “I wanna be the Labor MP from Brixton!”
• Callback: “Tom Stewart killed me!” (Tormented), “Please give my best wishes to everybody!” (Minsky the robot in last week’s episode) “A sampo?” (Day the Earth Froze), “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• This is one of those episodes with some theater business: First Joel and Crow drift off under the spell of the magic bird, then off goes Crow on his lifelong quest thingy. I love how Crow flies in from above upon his return. I guess Jef Maynard or somebody was up on a ladder next to the riffing chairs?
• Obscure reference: the infant of Prague.
• The movie was already really strange, but in the last 15 minutes it really gets goofy.
• Gypsy seems a little hungry in the final segment.
• Firesign Theatre reference: “Those eyes! Weird!”
• There are not one but two uses of “wha happa?” in this episode.
• And just to finish things off, the appearance of an instant classic bit, Mr. Fistie!
• Cast and crew roundup: Some of the same folks worked on “The Sword and the Dragon,” including cinematographer Fyodor Provorov, costumer Olga Kruchinina, art director Yevgeni Kumankov and actors Sergei Stolyarov, Yelena Myshkova and Sovol (a.k.a. Sergei) Martinson. Actor Mikhail Troyanovsky was also in “The Day the Earth Froze.” And of course Alfred Pusco a.k.a. Aleksandr Ptushko, also directed “The Day The Earth Froze” and “The Sword and the Dragon.”
• CreditsWatch: Andrea J. DuCane is back for a 14-episode run doing hair and makeup. Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy.
• Fave riff: “And stock up on socks! You know, you’re never gonna have this chance again!” Honorable mention: “Is this really the best away team he could have chosen?”

110 Replies to “Episode guide: 505- Magic Voyage of Sinbad”

  1. littleaimishboy says:

    Thomas K. Dye:
    #92:Well, whaddya know.

    Look at the lower left, second row up.Sinbad has the dummy contingent locked up.

    Nah, they just didn’t have enough model release forms for all the citizens of Copasand so they were obligated to blur out some of their faces.

       0 likes

  2. Cornjob says:

    “Stop looking into my soul!”

    I love that riff. It matches what’s on screen so well.

       3 likes

  3. Happenstance says:

    But when this Soviet-financed film was released to American audiences, the lead character was given the name “Sinbad” in hopes of fooling American moms and dads

    They did it with a Toshiro Mifune movie, too! I wish MST3K had gotten around to The Lost World of Sinbad, better known today (I guess) as Samurai Pirate.

       1 likes

  4. Cornjob says:

    Regarding #103

    In the words of Tom Servo:

    “You have got to be kidding me.”

       2 likes

  5. Sitting Duck says:

    It appears to be real.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056975/

       1 likes

  6. Ian L. says:

    I love Servo’s freak-out in the last host segment.

    “WHOOOOOO AAAAAAAARE YOOOOOOUUUUUU?!?! (sobs) Help me God, help me…”

       2 likes

  7. goalieboy82 says:

    look at Wikipedia front page (at Today’s featured picture) today (May 3rd).

       0 likes

  8. Happenstance says:

    Cornjob:
    Regarding #103

    In the words of Tom Servo:

    “You have got to be kidding me.”

    It’s true. In fact, you can find the opening scene of the US version on YouTube as of this writing.

       0 likes

  9. Mr. Krasker says:

    NOTHING is better than starving to death!

       0 likes

  10. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Thomas K. Dye:
    #92:Well, whaddya know.

    NOT MUCH, YOU?!

       1 likes

Comments are closed.