Movie: (1966) A spaceship crashes on a prehistoric world, and its companion ship heads back to search for survivors.
First shown: 02/10/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel has redecorated and seems to be the host of a talk show; Crow made brownies
Invention exchange: Clay & Lar’s Flesh Barn, toilet paper in a bottle
Host segment 1: During “This is Joel’s Life,” a strange machine appears outside the ship, so Joel brings it inside
Host segment 2: J&TB try to disarm the Isaac Asimov’s Literary Doomsday Device, but the instructions are no help
Host segment 3: The device explodes, with horrific consequences
End: The effects wear off, letters, the winners of the “name the plant guy ” contest.
• I’m out of order?? This episode’s out of order! The whole show’s out of order!!
Sorry. Yes, this is the episode with the weird production number. In the ACEG, the Brains confirmed what many fans had long suspected: that this was the final episode BBI shot for season one but, for reasons that remain murky, it was given a production number of 104, indicating it was the fourth one shot, which it wasn’t.
• It was pretty clear to fans that something was up long before the Brains admitted it: this episode features a number of elements indicative of a late-season show, including an opening segment before the commercial, buttons on the desk in the SOL and a Movie Sign that looks much more like the Movie Sign we know. There were more clues in the references to several “later” episodes, most notably in the closing segment when Joel announces the winners of a contest that was announced in episode 110- ROBOT HOLOCAUST. Also in that segment, a letter refers to episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES and episode 109- PROJECT MOONBASE.
• So why aren’t I waiting to do this one at the end of season? It’s about consistency. I have no idea what other episodes were produced out of order from their production numbers (and I think there are some). If I had a complete, definitive list of every episode in the order it was produced, I might do them in that order. But if I can’t do them ALL like that, I’m not going to do any, and I will stick with the only ordering system I’m sure about.
• This episode is included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 9.
• The shadowrama seats are just straight black with no colorization that I can see. There’s also no blue tint on the movie that I can see.
• I’ve told the story before, but this was the episode that I stumbled on to when I discovered the show for the first time. I’d actually seen this movie on TV several years before and had been looking to catch it again, so my first delight was in recognizing the movie I’d been looking for for so long–then that delight was compounded by the commentary. I was hooked.
• So, all that said, this is definitely one of the best of season 1. The riffing is full-on and fierce, at full season 2 level. It’s got a big, bright, wacky movie with a typically smug John Agar, a clearly soused Wendell Corey, young Angel from “The Rockford Files,” the stupid “hi-keeba!” racist comic relief guy and on and on. It also has a nice story arc set of host segments that are, admittedly, more clever than funny (a problem we’ll encounter often in season 2), but they’re fun all the same. You can really see greatness in their future.
• In the opening bit, Joel says he has “redecorated.” That appears to mean only that they’ve lowered the desk and added a somewhat ratty-looking couch. Nothing else appears to be different.
• This episode contains the first original song on the national series: the “Clay and Lar’s Flesh Barn” jingle (and I would love to know who that is playing the kazoo in the background).
• The catchphrase “Wonder what SHE wanted?” arrives.
• When Joel wants to see the alien spacecraft that’s approaching, he shouts: “Give me an exterior of the ship.” No Rocket No. 9 just yet.
• Joel’s line “…and he’s nobody sweetheart” is a Firesign Theatre reference.
• This show features the first speaking role for Mike Nelson (he’s the voice of the killer satellite).
• Tom twice refers to one of the leading men as “Johnny Longtorso,” a name that would later be used in an invention exchange in episode 421- MONSTER A-GO-GO.
• Of course, this episode is where the oft-repeated phrase “Hi-keeba!” came from, shouted by actor Paul Gilbert (NOT Wendell Corey, as the ACEG incorrectly states).
• Great line from segment three: “Ah, the Samuel Becket method!”
• After being turned into Asimovs. when J&tB return to the theater they are still wearing their Asimov facial makeup.
• Tom’s head comes off in the closing segment. They keep going.
• This movie contains several needle-drops of some very familiar incidental music. I tend to think if it as the musical sting from “This Island Earth” (o/` Da-da-daaaaaaa! o/`) but maybe that was a needle-drop too. Any movie score experts out there know what movie this music was in first?
• Let the record show that there’s only one woman on that prehistoric planet … and she’s not FROM the prehistoric planet.
• Cast and crew roundup: Special effects guy Howard A. Anderson also worked on “King Dinosaur,” “12 to the Moon,” “The Amazing Transparent Man” and “It Lives By Night. Art director Paul Sylos also worked on “Monster-A-Go-Go.” Set designer Harry Reif also worked on “I Accuse My Parents, “Radar Secret Service” and “The She-Creature” and was assistant director for “Gunslinger.” Supervising music editor Igo Kantor also worked on “Monster-A-Go-Go and was technical supervisor for “Bride of the Monster.” Music supervisor Gordon Zahler also worked on “Monster-A-Go-Go,” “First Spaceship on Venus,” “Hercules and the Captive Women” and “The Phantom Planet.” In front of the camera: Robert Ito also appeared in “SST: Death Flight.” Glenn Langan also appears in “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Lyle Waggoner also appears in “Catalina Caper. Wendell Corey also appears in “Agent For H.A.R.M.” and John Agar also appears in “Revenge of the Creature” and “The Mole People.”
• CreditsWatch: Alexandra Carr and Jann Johnson both got “additional writers” credits. Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede were “additional production assistants,” probably proto-interns.
• The obvious stinger: “HI-KEEBA! HUT!” (THUD).
• Favorite riff: “Oh, I’m gonna go spank myself!” Honorable mention: “Let’s make some friction with these pelts.”