Movie: (1963) An astronaut’s capsule crashes in the ocean and his severed hand (controlled by an unknown alien force) washes up on a beach, where it is found by a moody teen. Soon both are on respective rampages.
First shown: 12/16/89 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise
Invention exchange: Joel demonstrates his scary safety saw; the Mads demonstrate the limb lengthener
Host segment 1: J&tB bowl, then Crow and Tom don’t want to play any more games with Joel
Host segment 2: J&tB do Shatner with their own crawling hand
Host segment 3: The bots: Why is a dismembered hand scary?
End: Good thing/bad thing, letter, Larry’s limbs are still lengthy
• Not too much to say about this one: bad print of a talky black and white teen scifi thriller (with a notable cast); riffing is adequate but not outstanding; host segments are relatively weak, particularly segment three, where the arrival of Gypsy in a giant hand costume is a “WTF” ending to a labored bit.
• This episode was released by Rhino as a single.
• References. http://www.annotatedmst.com/episodes/crawlinghand/index.htm
• THIS episode, not episode 104, is the REAL first time for the opening segment. It’s the first time, following the theme song, that we pull out into the door sequence and arrive at the bridge of the SOL instead of cutting to Deep 13. This is the first episode (not counting episode 104, of course) in which, during the opening segment, Magic Voice announces “30 seconds to commercial sign,” “Commercial sign in 15 seconds” and “Commercial sign in 5-4-3-2-1…commercial sign now.” It’s also the first episode where we can see buttons on the table.
• Joel explains the show’s premise slowly, like he’s talking to kindergarteners. He makes a point of gesturing to the buttons when Deep 13 calls. However, there are still no Bots are on the set during the invention exchange.
• This show is the first time we see Joel pop a grape into his mouth after tapping the buttons. Joel would later explain that the point of the bit was that the Mads were doing a behavior modification thing by rewarding him with a treat for pushing the button.
• Joel starts to mention the “vacuflowers” during the invention exchange. Vacuflowers were mentioned, I am told, in the first few KTMA eps, unfortunately fan copies of those episode don’t exist.
• Segment 1 is a re-do from episode K14 – MIGHTY JACK.
• Crow’s arms work during segment 1 and even Joel is surprised to learn that he can smell.
• The theater seats are, again, green.
• The role of moody teen Paul Lawrence is played by moderately successful teen idol Rod Lauren. His real name was Roger Lawrence Strunk, and in later life he became known as “the O. J. Simpson of the Philippines.”
In 1964, Lauren went to the Philippines to make a movie, and met Nida Blanca, a then-rising Filipina film star. The two became a couple and he married her in 1979 and moved permanently to Manila. Blanca eventually became a huge star in her native land. She would appear in more than 100 comedy, drama, horror and action films and in more than a dozen television shows, and was a beloved show business personality.
On Nov. 6, 2001, Blanca’s body was found in a parking garage, stabbed to death. The crime stunned the nation, and sparked a media frenzy in the Philippines. Suspicion immediately fell on Strunk: Authorities believed he hired an assassin to kill his wife because she had threatened to divorce and disinherit him. Philippine justice dragged on for a year or two (the alleged assassin and his cohort at first admitted the crime, then recanted claiming the confessions had been extracted by force) and Strunk was about to be charged at last when word came that Strunk’s mother in California was terminally ill. In a move that stunned many, authorities allowed him to return to the U.S. to be with her. She died not long after he returned home, and, a little while later, to nobody’s surprise, he announced he would not return to the Philippines, where he’d been charged in absentia. Philippine officials mounted an extradition effort, but their presentation to a U.S. magistrate was a contradictory mess, and the judge denied it. He lived a low-profile life after that, but died July 11, 2007, from a fall from second-floor motel balcony (which many observers assumed was a suicide). He was 67.
• What’s “murder ball” in the context of bowling? Or did Joel want to play a completely different game?
• Crow’s apparently still sensitive about the whole “foreshortening” lecture Joel gave him several weeks ago, because he’s still harping on it.
• This episode also has the first appearance of a “I thought you were Dale!” joke, which would become a staple of season eight.
• This episode also gives us the deathless line: “Dames like her always keep beer around.”
• Trivia: Producer Joseph F. Robertson provided his own hand as the titular character.
• Stinger: Paul and the grumpy old man exchange awkward looks after Paul’s failed murder attempt.
• Cast and crew roundup: producer Joseph F. Robertson also produced “The Slime People” and “Agent for H.A.R.M. ” Associate producer Edward Finch Abrams also worked on “The Slime People,” as did associate producer Donald J. Hansen. Special effects guy Charles Duncan also worked on “The Slime People” and “The Phantom Planet.” Makeup guy Don Cash also worked on “Rocketship X-M.” Sound guy Earl Snyder also worked on “The Amazing Transparent Man,” “The Giant Gila Monster” and “The Killer Shrews.” In front of the camera: Peter Breck will be seen again in “The Beatniks.” Tristram Coffin was in “The Corpse Vanishes” and will be seen again in “Radar Secret Service” and “The Brute Man.” Jock Putnam was also in “The Slime People.” Ross Elliott will appear again in “The Indestructible Man. Alan Hale Jr. will be seen again in “The Giant Spider Invasion” and “Angels Revenge.”
• We’ll meet Allison Hayes again in “The Unearthly,” “Gunslinger” and “The Undead.” Peter Breck will appear in “The Beatniks.”
• CreditsWatch: Melanie Hartley is still additional production assistant, and Jim Erickson is the entire additional production staff. Again, the post production audio was provided by Rich Cook of TeleEdit in Minneapolis.
• Fave riff: “Wow! Look! She really IS smart!” Honorable mention: “And then the tape ran out.”