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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 507- I Accuse My Parents (with short: ‘The Truck Farmer’)

Short: (1954) A look at the then-new techniques that enabled farmers to rush produce to market.
Movie: (1944) Ruined by — but in astonishing denial about — his boozy, carousing parents, a neglected essay-contest-winning young man gets involved with gangsters.

First shown: 9/4/93
Opening: Tom Servo is naked!
Invention exchange: The Mads present cake ‘n’ shake, and Frank bakes the exotic dancer right into the recipe; J&tB demonstrate the junk drawer organizer
Host segment 1: Joel analyzes the bots’ art therapy projects
Host segment 2: J&tB reenact the night club scene from the movie
Host segment 3: J&tB analyze troubled Jimmy from the movie
End: The bots try to reenact the cafe scene from movie to scam a hamburger, Joel reads a letter, the Mads are digging out Rodney
Stinger: “What? What’s so funny?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (115 votes, average: 4.86 out of 5)


• Another in a string of wonderful episodes. The movie is a little bland, but the riffing is great. And, you know, I begin to suspect that, for any given episode you can sort of tell whether the movie held their interest and sparked a lot of discussions and ideas or whether their minds were wandering, based on how much the host segments have to do with the movie. You can tell they were really following the movie this time. I watched this on a big screen (with Joel sitting next to me) a few years ago and the audience was simply roaring with laughter all the way through.
• Early versions of the Rhino packaging of this episode had a small goof. It lists the episode number as 424. It got fixed in later printings.
• Great line: “How many times have you gone rootin’ through your junk drawer muttering to yourself ‘Where’d I put that gun?’” Toward the end of the movie, our hero roots through the junk drawer in the hall table of his parents’ house, looking for a gun. Think that moment may have been the inspiration for this host segment?
• Now, duck news! Here’s Hugh McQuacken! They do the “quacking” gag five times, and it gets funnier each time. For those who don’t get it (and I remember that every time this show aired, a number of people would post questions online asking, “Why were they quacking?”), look at the wall of the hallway outside the door.
• The short would be incredibly depressing if not for the riffing. As it is, it’s still a LITTLE depressing.
• Sam Newfield did NOT direct “Jungle Goddess” as Joel says when his credit appears. He DID, however, direct the movies in episodes 103- The Mad Monster, 208- Lost Continent and 520- Radar Secret Service. He also directed the infamous “Terror of the Tiny Town,” the all-midget Western. Again, this was the era when you couldn’t just look stuff up on the then-fledgling, Usenet-based IMDB. What could have led them to have made that mistake? I’ll bet it has something to do with the use of the phrase “hamburger sammich with French-fried potatoes,” which is used in this movie and in “Jungle Goddess.”
• In the previous episode Crow was shattered. This week Tom gets painted. They really started doing stuff to the bots in this period.
• Then somewhat current reference: Joe Bolster. Joel is an admirer.
• Host segment 1 is, um, quirky, and only vaguely movie-related. Peggy Cass is an odd element.
• Segment 2 is a riot, especially Joel’s takes to the camera. I think it works so well because it comes IMMEDIATELY after the actual movie sequence. Nice to see Gypsy was willing to go along. Also, listen for another “wha happa!”
• I love the PA announcements J&tB do during the second song. “Cheese fries are up!”
• Another VERY movie-focused sketch in segment 3, and very funny.
• Obscure reference: the religious TV show “Insight.” I remember watching that a little, but to me they always felt like defanged “Twilight Zone” episodes.
• Some people wondered why Anne Blythe’s name is written on the tank. I suspect they’re just trying for World War II authenticity.
• I remember that somebody in the AOL MSTie forum – or it might have been on RATMM – had an idea for a MSTie cookbook. My submission was a hamburger sammich with French-fried potato garnish, complete with handgun on the side and a required trip to church every Sunday.
• That’s Brad Keeley as Rodney in his first on-camera role.
• Cast and crew roundup: As noted above: director Sam Newfield also directed “Mad Monster,” “Lost Continent” and “Radar Secret Service.” Special effects (?!) guy Ray Mercer also worked on “Lost Continent,” “Radar Secret Service,” “Last of the Wild Horses,” “The Sinister Urge” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats. Art director Paul Palmentola also worked on “Teen-Age Crime Wave.” Set designer Harry Reif also worked on “Radar Secret Service.” “Women of the Prehistoric Planet” and “The She-Creature” and was assistant director of “Gunslinger.”
In front of the camera, super-hottie Mary Beth Hughes was also in “Last of the Wild Horses.” Edward Earle was also in “The She-Creature.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu.
• Fave riff from the short: “Texans!” Honorable mention: “A pre-teen is put to work; her beauty will soon fade.”
• Fave riff: How do ya like my swingin’ church, son? Honorable mention: o/` I knew I’d go from rags to riches… o/`

169 Replies to “Episode guide: 507- I Accuse My Parents (with short: ‘The Truck Farmer’)”

  1. Anyone else get the EZTakes email today? It looks like The Wasp Woman is only being offered as a download at this time. Too bad.


  2. eegah says:

    I agree that this is a great introductory episode. It’s one of the few good-all-around episodes, where all the movie/short and host segments are funny. My sister, who is no big MST3K fan, really liked it.


  3. Diamond Joe says:

    Can anyone tell me the source of the running joke in this ep, where J&TB chant, “Li-ar! Li-ar! Li-ar!” and then Crow (I think) makes a high-pitched “Reee!” sound?

    Whenever I’m suffering through the consequences of having done something stupid, I sing to myself, “I’m stupid! Yes, indeed, I’m stupid!” and I feel marginally better.


  4. Ms. Mary says:

    Diamond Joe – “Liar” was a top 10 hit song for Three Dog Night in 1971, in which the chorus of the song is basically the chant “Liar! Liar! Liar!”


  5. M "I Can Read Your Chakras, Too!" Sipher says:

    eegah #50: Yeah… I was actually thinking today of what episodes I would say are rock-solid from start to end and great ones to bring to someone new. (Ain’t no way I’m staring anyone with Manos. Actually, I’d probably leave that one the hell alone for a long time. Honestly, once you leave the short, I’m not a fan of it.) I mean, it’s a two-hour show. Slow points are inevitable, and frankly, there are a lot of slow points and semifailed skits.

    Parents certainly takes a slot of the top five. Not to waylay the discussion, but I’d probably put Mitchell, Escape 2000, Space Mutiny and Girl in Gold Boots in the lineup as well as “top five I’d give to someone who’s never seen MST before”.


  6. M "Sargeant, Take The Gun And Shoot The Corporal" Sipher says:

    … you know what? Replace Escape 2000 with Last of the Wild Horses. The mirror Mads and Tom are great.


  7. Neon Maetdreams says:

    I don’t know why, but when Joel and the bots start quacking when the duck portrait is on screen, I just piss myself laughing….it’s not that funny, but it is!


  8. fireballil says:

    Castle Monster: I got that too. Remember the problems that The Oozing Skull had? They couldn’t have the download available until March.


  9. Mike says:

    This is possibly my all time favorite, definitely top five. It’s hard to say, I am particularly partial to the episodes that ran on syndication way back when, because those are the ones I saw first. But I do remember getting this episode on VHS and thinking it was just about the funniest thing I had ever seen.

    I might watch it tonight actually! :mrgreen:


  10. Downshaw says:

    Excellent episode and the night club song sketch is one of my favorites.

    And Kitty’s hot.


  11. losingmydignity says:

    A superb episode…someone mentioned this being Joel’s fav ep. I did read that in an interview. I think there are a lot of reasons for that. The riffing is solid and, as someone else mentioned, the running gags work really well and all build on eachother. The film itself is more “character” oriented than most msted films and this allows them to do a lot of riffs that are not based so much on, say, bad lighting or goofy monster costumes, etc. as the characters’ motivations, flaws, and idiosyncracies (sp?). More so, anyway, than your average ep.

    I can never remember “The Truck Farmer”. One of those shorts that slips out of mind right after every single viewing.

    The host segs are great. Gypsy’s rendition of the “Happy” song is one of the great ones.

    My father fought in WWII. I always like to imagine him taking a break from fighting Nazis and going to the canteen and being greeted by this film. And doing some of his own msting. It’s possible but I’ll never know.

    This isn’t quite a classic for me–my laugh-o-meter never goes into 10 or 11 territory–but it is one of the great ones.



  12. bartcow says:

    This is the episode that pretty much solidified my burgeoning obsession with the show. Previously, I had been content to catch it whenever, but after this one, I began obsessively taping episodes and anxiously awaiting the next marathon (too bad I was naive and recorded them in EP mode (it was a setting on the VCR, for all you youngsters–sort of like the difference between 33 and 45)). It was also one of the first that Rhino released on video, which helped with the repeat viewings.

    I really wish I could find a recording of the songs in the movie. Their Evans/Livingston, surely Michael Feinstein has covered them at some point, right?

    I’d really like the Mary Beth Hughes versions, of course. Did she do her own singing?


  13. fishbulb says:

    It’s not top ten for me, but it’s a rock-solid episode, and the running gags really are a lot of fun. The Truck Farmer is one of my favorite shorts, too. The “Texans!” riff cracks me up every time.


  14. Truck Farmer says:

    I must concur with the majority and say this is one of the all time best episodes. My favorite Joel ep & #2 on my overall list. A very underrated short, and the riffing on this one is top notch.

    Favorite riff from short:
    Joel: A preteen is put to work her beauty will soon fade.

    Favorite riff from movie:
    Crow: Yes Satan, speak to me through this song.


  15. MPSh says:

    A great episode! This is one of the first episodes I ever saw, and the first in which the movie contained no elements of horror, sci-fi or fantasy. The host segments are OK, but it’s the riffing that really shines in this one: the jokes about Jimmy’s drunk party girl mom, his neglectful dad who keeps paying Jimmy off so that he doesn’t have to talk to him, Jimmy’s dimness about being in cahoots with the mob, Kitty’s hairdo, the ducks on the wall, etc.

    I even liked the songs – they reminded me of the theme music from a 1950’s sitcom.

    The riffing during Jimmy’s scenes in the small-town diner with the kindly Al were a high point in the entire series, right up there with the chase scene in “The Rebel Set”.

    Ny favorite riff: “How about a little sugar for Happy Chef?”


  16. MPSh says:

    Gizmonic Temp (#18): This show seemed to do quite a lot with religious riffs. Some of them were kind of esoteric, but it still might make an interesting list / discussion topic.


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

    The Great DVD Packaging Error Mystery.

    I suggested that it was the wrong episode number on the box, but when others talked about the photo and comments on the packaging, I figured I was mis-remembering.

    Then Sampo says that mine was the error he was looking for.

    I get home and check my box, and it has the CORRECT episode number. BUT, I can’t decode the cover art in a way that is consistant with the other posters comments.

    Do we have 2 totally different versions of the packaging ? Maybe we should post pics of our respective versions….

    ( somewhere in my collection I DO have a misnumbered DVD package, must dig that up ).


  18. MyMyMyMyMitchell says:

    For the Mary Beth fans – I learned a lot from this link:

    Quite a roller coaster ride – sad to see her go from starlet to telephone sales – then running into Robert Stack in the parking lot. Sad but fairly typical I imagine. Hollywood don’t pay the bills forever.


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

    Re Joseph Hebus #39 : an exc. & info. post, thx. Let me add…

    Truck farming stands in opposition to subsistence farming, where the farmer grows food only for their own use. Truck farming implies the existence of a cash crop. This is where the concept of ‘raising’ cash comes from ( like raising corn or beans ). Now of course to operate a truck farm you need to start with truck plants, like the Ford truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan…..

    ( There’s a joke up there somewhere desperately struggling to remain hidden. If anyone sees it, kill it. )

    But then again there is also truck farming, like the doo dah farming man, who once told me you got to plow your land…


  20. GizmonicTemp says:

    MPSh #66 – It seems like whenever there’s a church involved, the Brains never hesitate to jump on board with the religious riffs, which warms my heart, being the religious type myself. A discussion thread would be cool, just as long as no zealots show up. Zealots suck (unless you’re talking about Starcraft). I long for combat!


  21. #67 – I’m not a medium:

    Look at the guy on the right; it’s not Charlie Blake, Kitty’s “main squeeze,” but Jimmy’s father. However, the riffs at the bottom relate to Charlie and Kitty; one of them was even actually used in a scene with Charlie and Kitty (“No one’s gonna take you away from me,” etc.). It’s clear when they composited the photo they got the two characters mixed up.


  22. Gianni Cash says:

    Im watching this ep right now, haven’t watched it in years.

    BTW There sure is a lot of love for Mary Beth Huges in here! If we are talking hotties from the 40’s, I’ll take

    1) Gene Tierney
    2) Ann Sheridan


  23. And by the way, I kind of feel bad now for calling her C-list. It’s a shame her acting career never went where it should have; even in this film she has a winning, demure sincerity that the script doesn’t deserve.

    Although I have to be honest; I think Vivienne Osborne’s scenes where she breaks down and cries are genuinely touching in their way.


  24. Final post, I promise.

    For those who want to see Hughes acting alongside the Stooges, check it out. (The picture’s kind of squashed for some reason.)


  25. Sampo says:

    Hmmm… My copy (which was an early printing, I’m sure) says “show 424.” I vaguely remember people posting comments on various MST3K forums about the goof at the time. I guess they fixed it later printings…


  26. Kouban says:

    Ah yes, the John Bradshaw riff. It was especially funny to me because, around the time this show aired, they would constantly, CONSTANTLY play Bradshaw seminars on PBS, and my mom would watch and record them all, so seeing him get a little poke from J&TB was heartening.


  27. This was the third MST3K I ever saw and the one that made me a fan for life. The night club skit never gets old.

    “Ow! My area!”


  28. Omega says:

    Sampo- You forgot to note that Joel starts explaining the premise of the show AGAIN when he first walks out. Luckily the sight of a pink Tom Servo puts a stop to it :grin: .


  29. jjb3k says:

    This episode is pretty darn good. It’s not absolute brilliance in my book, but it entertains me solidly. Though I do know there’s one riff from the short that I consider one of the best ever – as the forest is being bulldozed, Servo says “The sad thing is, that guy doesn’t even work for anybody, he’s just doing this for kicks.”


  30. MPSh says:

    Gizmonic Tep #70: Actually, thinking about it a bit more makes me think a better discussion topic might be great esoteric or obscure riffs, not just the religous ones. That might dilute the possibility of zealots interloping.

    It would also give me a forum for mentioning their riff “Adolph Hitler on vibes!” (from “The Unearthly”, I think), which made me a permanent convert to fandom. A riff on the Bonzo Dog Band! These guys are the coolest!


  31. adoptadog says:

    Re #69, I’m Not a Medium, I’m a Petite, your comment made me laugh out loud tonight….Thanks, I needed that!


  32. Ralph C. says:

    Professor Gunther said, “As a singer, Mary Beth Hughes might not have been up to the level of a Jo Stafford, but she was pretty good all the same. (And she was WAY BETTER than JIM Stafford, IMO.)”

    Most likely both of them were better singers than Stafford Repp!


  33. Rotten as British Teeth says:

    I’m very impressed with the fact that this movie has opened up alot of different conversations.

    First though, this was up there with “Eegah” and “Teenage Strangler” as one of Season 5’s best experiments. The riffing is top-notch, especially when they hammer the point about the cheating, drunk parents and Jimmy’s winning of the essay contest. I actually like the Al character; nothing seems to bother him, even when a dim-witted kid like Jimmy walks in armed with a gun. He even offers him free food and a job in spite of Jimmy almost trying to rob him. How many guys in real life would be so forgiving?

    The “art therapy” segment was forgettable, but the next two are hilarious! What makes the “Are you happy in your work?” sketch so funny is Joel’s attempt at suave, instead looking absolutely goofy. MST at its best!!

    Many people here think Mary Beth Hughes was among the best looking women in MST-dom. While she certainly wasn’t ugly, she would only get an honorable mention from me if we were to compile a list of most gorgeous women in the show’s history. Just off the top of my head, I can think of five others hotter than her, most of which would be from the same time period too. (If Sampo ever uses it as a weekend topic of discussion, I’ll be happy to say who…and I won’t forget Mary Beth as a honorable mention, either!)

    Someone here mentioned sexy women of the 1940’s: allow me to include Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth, and Jane Russell to that list.

    The Truck farmer short doesn’t do much for me. I do remember when my dad and I first saw it, when they show a guy standing out in a field pointing, my dad said, “He looks like Lyndon Johnson”, to which Crow just a split-second later said, “Its Lyndon Johnson!”. Which reminds me, I still have to thank my dad for turning me on to this show…

    “Son, its been two months, and you still haven’t touched your hamburger!”


  34. Opus says:

    “I like Jell-O!”

    – This is my first, I wouldn’t know about Jim.

    “She’s putting on her tassels now.”

    “So Jimmy, do you like your kneecaps?”

    – Ladies and gentlemen, I have a big surprise for you this evening.
    “I’m Rudolph Hess!”

    – I want you to go the bank and open up a safe deposit box for me.
    “And whack somebody”

    “Walt Disney interviewing another Snow White.”

    “Does anyone know who Jack Taylor is?”
    “Jack Taylor’s got a great place!”
    “P.S. Hope you had fun at Jack Taylor’s”

    CLASSIC episode.


  35. jessiethegeek says:

    ahh i just love this episode.the short is funny and the one line that made me laugh out loud and choke on my own air was when his mother comes in drunk,and the old lady goes”Shocking”
    joel goes,”man eleanor roosevelts pissed”
    i swear i almost keeled over
    this is just a funny episode.and happy in ur work sketch is brilliance.ahhh i go off to watch thisnow lol


  36. Derek says:

    Well, since nobody seemed to notice the packaging error, I guess that I’ll mention it. Even if no one has posted here in 7 months.

    Along with the aforementioned episode number and character mix-up on the cover, there is another error. In the description on the back, they refer to the stripper that Dr. F and Frank baked into a cake as “her.” It was actually a male stripper.

    Okay Sampo, what do I win?


  37. RockyJones says:

    I LOVE the movies from the 30’s and 40’s they did, so this is definitely one of my faves! EVERYTHING about this movie breaks the goofy meter! And what makes it even funnier is the fact that they’re actually trying to make such a SERIOUS statement with this film. With the exception of the old guy who owns the diner, ALL of the characters are so clueless, conceited, and as Joel puts it…”Gawd! EVERYONE LIES in this movie!!!”

    Host segment 3, where they analyze Jimmy’s screwed up mind, has got to be one of the most brilliant and definitive moments of the entire series.


  38. RockyJones says:

    One other thought….

    I guess I can’t really blame Jimmy’s mother for drinking, considering the fact that she’s married to Jimmy’s father! As ‘The Young Ones’ might say….”What a complete bastard!”

    He’s even MORE unlikeable than Kitty’s shady hoodlum boyfriend.


  39. robot rump! says:

    probably my most favorite. this episode is the one i drag out for anyone who’s never seen the show. i do have a question though..was Jimmy really THAT stupid? i mean some of these movies have trotted out some real lu-lus (‘Winky’ i’m looking at you..) but really Jimmy takes the friggin’ cake. i’d pay real money to see him and George Costanza in a ‘lie off.’


  40. swh1939 says:

    My enjoyment of this episode has climbed due to the recent
    with-audience showing at the Colonial in Phoenixville. Joel and Sampo were there, Joel’s riffer class, and I hung with good friends that are still kinda new
    to riffing. It was a great night all around, capped by this episode. Good times.


  41. big61al says:

    One of my favorite episodes. While my prefered genre was the old spaceship movies of the 50’s & 60’s they really hit a home run with a old film from the 40’s. Five star effort!:rotfl:


  42. Colossus Prime says:

    I have to about how fun the “rooting through your junk drawer mumbling” line. Trace’s delivery, the dark silliness of the whole thing, the use ot the term “mumbling”, all so perfect. It is quite honestly, probably my favorite MST3K line of dialogue ever. Easily in my Top 5 at the very least.


  43. snowdog says:

    Near perfect ep for me. Watchable movie, funny movie-related host segments… almost makes me feel like writing an essay! …but no.

    5 Stars


  44. Sitting Duck says:

    Sampo’s Theorum is NOT in effect here. I didn’t spot a single negative remark about this one in the old comments (unless you count the ones who found the art therapy host segment to be kind of meh).

    Presumably they had confused Jungle Goddess with Lost Continent (which Newfield did direct), seeing as how they’re very similar looking films used in the second season.

    “So Jimmy, do you like your kneecaps?”


  45. itsspideyman says:

    Easily in the top three combos of shorts and features. SEPARATELY they’re in the top three.

    Fave riff: “He accused us!!”


  46. DeeJay says:

    My mother and sister are both psychiatrists/psychologists so there’s something really special for me about the art project host segment and the one were they analyze all the influences that push the main character into a cycle of denial. I performed at a lot of open mic nights back in my college days, so I also have a fondness for their impersonation of performances at restaurants. I confess to not hanging around male strippers much, but the cake dancer stuff is still hilarious. Between that and Servo’s paint job, they seemed to have nude males on their mind quite a bit.


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

    One might reasonably suspect that a fortyish single guy letting a high school droput (?) live with him rent free “wouldn’t look right” regardless of whether or not the latter went to church with him…


  48. Ian Lueck says:

    Easily in the top five episodes. Nearly every joke works, the host segments are a lot of fun (“Drunk folks.”), and the plot to the movie actually isn’t half bad and easy to follow (though yes, Jimmy is pretty slow on the uptake).

    Some jokes not mentioned yet:
    -“Worship the Truck Farmer at the church of your choice!”
    -“And this is my Aunt Harriet.” “‘Nuff said.”
    -“Seeing as it’s your birthday, you’re free to go.”


  49. Sharktopus says:

    Hey Sampo, tell us how Joel reacted to watching himself on the big screen. Did he seem to enjoy it? (Is it impolite to LOL at yourself?) Personally, I think I’d squirm seeing myself like that, even if the audience was enjoying it, and it was something I was proud of – which Joel clearly is, as he picked this episode personally. (I’m sure rights issues were involved too, but there are no shortage of PD Joel episodes to choose from.)


  50. Cheapskate Crow says:

    5 stars, top 5 episode if not #1, pretty much the same as everyone else is saying. I always thought MST worked best with a movie that takes itself very seriously but is completely inept and this one fits the bill. The icing on the cake really is the notice at the end that this was for the troops. This was the best Hollywood could do to support them?


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