Movie: (1978) A star-studded cast, each with their own subplot, descends on New Orleans for the Super Bowl, but a killer is on the loose.
First shown: 3/12/89
Opening: In a letter to his uncle, Servo recalls how he almost talked the Mads into bringing Joel back to Earth
Host segment 1: Still writing his letter, Servo recalls when Joel showed Servo what it’s like to feel pain
Host segment 2: Still writing his letter, Servo reveals that Joel isn’t really like his lovable on-air persona. His crabbiness seems to trigger recreations of memorable movie moments in the bots
Host segment 3: Still writing his letter, Servo experiences a sentimental montage
End: Joel and Crow show off some artwork sent in by viewers; then present the stuff you’ll get if you join the fan club.
• The host segments in this episode appear to be a spoof of sitcom clipshow, although only one segment, the one in segment 1, features an actual clip from a previous episode (it’s from episode K13- SST DEATH FLIGHT), but the others were made to look like they were.
• For years, the only known existing copy this episode was missing the final host segment. That changed in October 2004, when the missing final segment came to light in the possession of a Minnesota woman named Teresa Dietzinger. She sent some artwork in to the show (it’s the first one shown in the final segment, she says she included her name on the drawing, nonetheless Joel says he can’t remember it and mistakenly assumes a guy did it). She taped the episode and held on to the tape for 16 years. Although her father long ago taped over the rest of the episode with family footage and such, the final host segment remained intact.
• Servo is typing on an old IBM Selectric (probably some KTMA office equipment). For you kids, that unfamiliar object is called a “typewriter.” You couldn’t get Facebook on it, but it was useful sometimes.
• Servo has feet? (He claims to be typing with them.)
• “Is that your head or did your neck blow a bubble?” is a joke already used in an earlier episode. Sounds like it might have been a heckler putdown from Josh’s standup act.
• Callback: “Did these guys fly in on SST Death Flight?”
• This movie’s just chock full of late-’70s casual hooking up. Quite the time capsule.
• Servo coughs and kind of chokes in the theater.
• Servo seems to be malfunctioning in the theater. At one point he falls over into Joel’s lap. Joel casually shovels him back the other way. He recovers, mumbling something about “narcolepsy.” Later he sags to one side and suggests Joel needs to adjust his “equilibrium functions.” For a lot of the episode he bobs up and down in the seat as if Josh is having trouble holding him steady.
• Joel is smoking in segment 2 in order to telegraph that he’s a being a jerk. That segment reminds me of the host segment in episode guide: 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD in which Mike is mean to the bots.
• Some of the clips in the montage in segment 3 appear to be from K01, K02 and K03, of which no fan copies are known to exist.
• What do you bet they didn’t clear that Louis Armstrong song they used in the montage in segment 3?
• As they enter the theater after segment 3, Crow gets into his seat and then adjusts his position with a lovely mechanical noise.
• As the fan club address appears on the screen, Crow says, apparently to the audience, “Don’t call. Write.” This would appear to be the official shift away from taking phone calls and in the direction of letters.
• At one point toward the end, Joel admits to being completely unable to think of anything funny to say. This prompts Servo to recall the flashback in the opening segment, in which Crow ruins Servo’s attempt to get the Mads to bring them down to Earth. The two bots begin bickering. It’s a strange moment.
• Minneapolis joke: An overhead shot of the seats in the Superdome prompts Crow to identify it as “The Guthrie.”
• Movie stuff: There are a lot of extras in this thing. Were they all actors, or did they just shoot this on game day? I wonder what marching band that is that gets so much screen time. It’s not named in the end credits.
• Also, the announcer keeps hyping the madness that has descended on New Orleans with the arrival of the Super Bowl. He’s really overselling it. It’s not like New Orleans has never had tourists visit it before.
• J&tB stand up in the theater for the national anthem.
• It’s interesting that the fan club membership cards appear to be the same ones that were handed out for years later. Maybe they bought a whole bunch in the initial order?
• If you want to read that newsletter Joel is holding, it’s here.
• Although the final host segment was saved from oblivion, the closing credits of that show were not. If you have the copy of this that includes the final host segment, that DVD includes the closing credits from episode K20 “just for consistency.”
• Cast and crew roundup: director Jerry Jameson also directed “It Lives By Night.” Score composer John Cacavas also worked on “SST- Death Flight” and “Hangar 18.” In front of the camera, David Janssen was also in “Marooned” aka “Space Travelers.” Van Johnson also appeared in “San Francisco International.” Ed Nelson was also in “Teenage Caveman,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Night of the Blood Beast” and “Riding With Death. Michael Pataki was also in “The Side Hackers” and “It Lives By Night.”
• Fave riff: “And a gun FOR the doberman!” Honorable mention: “Women cause weak knees. It’s a fact!”