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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: 109- Project Moon Base (with shorts: Radar Men from the Moon, Chapter 7: ‘Camouflaged Destruction’ and Chapter 8: ‘The Enemy Planet’)

Short 1: (1951) The thugs have a new ray gun in a disguised truck, but Cody and Ted are after them.
Short 2: (1951) Cody and his team return to the moon and drive off with a cache of lunarium, but some moon men give chase.
Movie: (1953) In the far future — 1970 — the U.S. space program plans its first flight around the moon, but a commie spy plans sabotage.

First shown: 1/6/90
Opening: Joel is cleaning the robots
Invention exchange: Joel shows off special paddles that let him juggle water, the Mads have invented the insect-a-sketch
Host segment 1: J&tB are playing Commando Cody and the moon man
Host segment 2: J&tB show off their line of neckties of the future
Host segment 3: SPACOM!
End: Crow and Tom are upside down reading letters
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (128 votes, average: 4.16 out of 5)


• I’m going to give this one a good-not-great rating. The movie is just so much fluff, with very little substance and Commando Cody is really overstaying his welcome. The riffing is fine and the necktie and SPACOM host segments are first-season gems, but, even grading on the season one curve, it’s not that memorable.
• Tom Noel has somehow unearthed a Cable Guide from the week this first aired and has confirmed the debut date, one of only two confirmed debut dates for season 1.
• This episode is included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XX.”
• This was initially intended as a pilot film for a TV series to be called “Ring Around the Moon.” When science-fiction movies suddenly became popular, producer Jack Seaman added enough footage to the film to bring it up to feature length. This was done without the knowledge of writer Robert A. Heinlein, and he disowned the result.
• Joel’s in a robe again in the opening, and so are both bots. I can’t believe I never noticed this before.
• The juggling water bit is from Joel’s standup act, but I’m pretty sure the insect-a-sketch is new.
• This episode has “thin” shadowrama. Crow looks a bit strange.
• Fun moment in the theater: during a fight scene, Joel’s produces “Batman” (the 60s TV show)-style letters saying things like “biff!” A very Joel moment.
• Joel seems to know what the caller is telling Cody in the first short, and Servo is amazed.
• During the second short, J&tB sing the lovely Commando Cody theme song.
• It’s interesting (to me, anyway) to compare “Project Moonbase,” in which a sinister nation is worried about America’s preeminence in space, and “Rocket Attack USA,” (shown in season two) in which a worried America frets about a sinister nation’s preeminence in space. Guess that’s the difference between the optimistic world view of 1953 and the nervous world view of 1961. Did I just give somebody a poly sci/communications masters thesis idea?
• Another funny bit in the theater: Joel holds up cue cards to help “Dr. Bellows” with his little speech about gravity.
• This ep features the first use of the riff: “By this time my lungs were aching for air.” In fact, they use it twice, once in the short and again in the movie.
• The word “hexfield” pops up in the second host segment.
• I think this is also the first use of the little “buckawow” song, meant as shorthand to indicate a spot where the sex starts in a dirty movie.
• And I think this is also the first use of the riff: “Get your shoes on, we’re at Grandma’s.”
• An example of how casual this show is: There’s a lovely closeup of Crow’s hand (claw?) during “mail call” and nobody has bothered to fix the chipped-off paint.
• Stinger suggestion: Brite Eyes writhes in super gravity.
• Something else about that letters segment: Early in 2013, a reader named JK Mangold wrote this to me:

“When they read the letters at the end, one of the letters is from one Sam Litzinger in Hawaii. This caused me a short circuit because I hear this name almost everyday. Sam Litzinger is an reporter/Washington anchor for CBS radio news. Same guy? Well, per his brief bio at CBS, he did attend university in Hawaii.”

So he asked Litzinger and got this reply:

“Ha! You’ve discovered my secret!
I used to watch MST 3000 all the time when I was supposed to be studying out in Hawaii. The highlight of my life so far (apart from meeting Lemmy from Motorhead!) was having my card read on the show.
Thanks for writing and reminding me of it.

So there ya go.
• Cast and crew round up: assistant director Leonard Shapiro also worked on “Bloodlust!” and “The Amazing Transparent Man.” Cinematographer William C. Thompson also worked on “Bride of the Monster,” “The Violent Years,” “The Sinister Urge” and “Racket Girls. Special effects guy Jack R. Glass worked on “Manhunt in Space” and “Crash of Moons. Makeup guy Harry Thomas also worked on “Bride of the Monster,” “Racket Girls,” “The Mad Monster,” “The Unearthly,” “Invasion USA,” “High School Big Shot” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Sound guy Joel Moss also worked on “Crash of the Moons.” In front of the camera, Charles Keane was also in “The Leech Woman.”
• Creditswatch: Additional production assistants were Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede. The additional production staff was again Jim Erickson. Also: “This episode is dedicated to the memory of Alan Hale Jr.”
• Fave riff from short 1: “It’s me! It’s always going be me. Whoever calls you, it’s me!” Honorable mention: “So I’m just gonna hit you with this crowbar.”
• Fave riff from short 2: “I can’t believe we’re trying to annihilate you! This is delicious!”
• Favorite riff: :::as Polly Prattles::: “You’re over by a metric ton!” (Isn’t it interesting how adding the word “metric” makes that riff funnier?) Honorable mention: “Spanking IS protocol in the high echelons of NASA.”

93 Replies to “Episode guide: 109- Project Moon Base (with shorts: Radar Men from the Moon, Chapter 7: ‘Camouflaged Destruction’ and Chapter 8: ‘The Enemy Planet’)”

  1. Kenneth Morgan says:

    At the risk of heaping more praise on the SPACOM segment, I remember when they had a showing of “Project Moon Base” at, I believe, ConventioCon I. When the SPACOM segment finished, the audience actually applauded. Does anyone else remember that?


  2. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Oh, and here’s an idea for some enterprising MSTie to do an essay on: compare and contrast the “buckawow” and “wackacheeka” songs and their use on MST3K.


  3. Dirk Squarejaw says:

    @49: “As for “gut wrenching patronizing sexism” (@13), I agree it is in this movie, but I did not notice it in Heinlein’s written work.”

    Not to antagonize the Heinlein fans here, but I’ll never forget the part in “Stranger in a Strange Land” where he has a female character say something like, “If a woman gets raped, nine times out of ten it’s because of something she did.” (Sorry if the wording is not 100% here.) I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry and disgusted at a writer as I felt when I read that. Heinlein may be a favorite writer of many, but that kind of statement is extremely socially irresponsible.


  4. Unga Khan says:

    Speaking of chauvinism, the clips of Briteis during the G-force accelerations – where she’s sprawled out on her cot with a contorted face – rank up there with “the dog’s meat” as the (unintentionally?) filthiest moments in a MSTied movie. I’m surprised they didn’t comment on it, although the riffs during season 1 tend to be on the very tame side.

    Also, IMDb says that the film “Cat-Women of the Moon” was made using the same sets and costumes as this film. There’s a joke towards the end about the supply capsule being intended for the cat-women of the moon, so I guess the Brains had also seen that film and maybe even considered having it on the show? I wish they’d played it in place of Project Moonbase, it sounds much more bizarre.


  5. Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ 22 “a minor role in the pseudo-classic Ray Harryhausen movie Earth vs. The Flying Saucers.”

    I’ll have to differ with the prefix, “pseudo” as in “false”. Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers is a true classic and it has been imitated time and again, especially the aliens’ penchant for blowing up spectacular historical landmarks. It’s a fun movie and for it’s limited budget a darn good one and I suspect it will continue to be imitated for many more years of SF movies both good and bad to come.


  6. jjb3k says:

    Oh, man…I hate this movie so bad. MST3K has done a lot of movies with some pretty awful opinions about women, but I think this one takes the damn cake. I feel unclean watching this episode.

    Joel’s invention isn’t really an invention this week, more of a skill he’s just showing off. I like the Insect-a-Sketch, though. “Now draw Jokey Smurf!”

    Once again, I have no recollection of what happens in this Commando Cody episode. If you guys say it’s the one where Joel holds up the Batman sound effects, then I unquestioningly believe you.

    Segment 1 doesn’t really go anywhere, but I still think it’s cute. I think they just did it to show off the set, really.

    The best thing I can say about this movie is that it’s at least mercifully light on plot. It goes by incredibly quickly – everything feels like build-up, and when things finally do start happening, it’s over. All the better to get it off the screen faster, I say.

    I want to punch this movie so bad. Especially when Briteis’ commanding officer threatens to frickin’ spank her if she doesn’t do what he tells her, and even smugly states that they’re in a soundproof room so nobody would hear her screaming. I have a real hard time not punching a hole in my TV screen during scenes like this.

    Joel and the bots are starting to do more voices in the theater now, and that really helps the riffing. Servo’s “You’re over by a metric ton!” wouldn’t have been nearly as funny without his ridiculous Polly Prattles impression.

    The cheap toy models of the ship and space station in the demonstration scene are bad enough. Then the movie goes and reuses those exact same models for the actual outer space scenes. Oh, the ’50s; they never stopped being terrible.

    “Oh, this is the future, when they sold the Dodgers back to Brooklyn.” Another one of those great “old future” riffs. Reminds me of that bit from 12 to the Moon: “Remember that, when we were all living on the moon in 1980?”

    The SPACOM sketch is a thing of beauty. I still use “Snaffles caps off bottles, jars, and the baby!” every chance I get.

    Boy, the Werhner double guy really fails miserably in this movie. All he does is not know about the Dodgers and then get crushed by a moon rock. What was he trying to accomplish again?

    Oh, the ending. This friggin’ ending, where Briteis and Bill get married for no reason, just so he can keep pushing her around. Robert Heinlein, bite every inch of me. I’d strangle this movie if I could.


  7. robot rump! says:

    I’m just going to ask….was bright eyes writhing in her seat supposed to be titillating or just kinda….weird.


  8. Sitting Duck says:

    Project Moon Base fails the Bechdel Test. At no point do two female characters converse with each other.

    For the stinger, I’ll go with Sampo’s suggestion.

    You can easily see that the Insect-A-Sketch still has Larry’s name on it when Dr. F. takes it away from him.

    Incidentally, Radar Men from the Moon was not from before Clayton Moore’s time on The Lone Ranger, but rather shortly after he got dumped in favor of John Hart.

    Something I’ve noticed while watching the Commando Cody shorts. Whenever there’s a gunfight between Team Cody and Team Graber, Team Cody always wins. When it comes to fisticuffs though, Team Graber always wins. But Team Cody fares a lot better in hand to hand with the Moon Men, who always get their spandex-clad hinders whupped.

    Last time we did Daddy-o, Sampo claimed it was the first instance of the, “Saaaaay!” riff. Several posters then went on to cite earlier episodes in which it was used. Once the dust had cleared, the earliest was Project Moon Base. It occurs when Dr. Wernher is entering his hotel room and it looks like the commie spy is checking out his hinder.

    Regarding the extent of Heinlein’s alleged sexism, the above quote from Stranger in a Strange Land (which I’ll admit I haven’t read) is regularly cited as damning evidence. However, it comes off as an instance of a quote being taken out of context by people who never actually read the source material. Perhaps it’s really as horrific as it sounds, or perhaps not. So can anyone who has read SiaSL confirm one way or another?

    Favorite riffs

    Al’s Café. Serving the underworld since 1923.

    Yes, Your Excellency. Get a bomb. Hire some thugs. Get new thugs. I’m beginning to not believe in this world conquering thing, anyway.

    “Here are the timetables and a map with the best points of attack indicated. Cover as many of them as you can today.”
    And then knock off for a light lunch. You guys have been working hard.

    “I’ve sent Ted out to the airport to stand by on a plane with some light bombs.”
    He hasn’t been able to lift heavy bombs since his hernia.

    Fly the plane, Ted. Get the girl, Ted. Oh, I’m gonna show him something.

    Why don’t they just turn the gun around?
    Because he’d shoot right through the back of the truck, Crow.
    But it’s a rented truck.
    Yeah, but it’s on Graber’s card.
    Yeah, but he stole that card.
    But he’s a thief. He’s suppose to steal cards.
    Yeah, but the card is the Ace of Clubs.
    No, it’s the Player’s Club card. He rented the truck and got two free hotel nights at Resorts International Atlantic City and a complimentary continental breakfast.

    Meanwhile, at the Cody Institute for Deceptive Editing.

    “Safety belts fastened?”
    No, it’s not a law yet.

    I can’t believe we’re trying to annihilate you. This is delicious! Hey, pass the jam, will you?

    “Take these two bags here, and I’ll take the briefcase.”
    Uh oh, he forgot to say please.

    “Of course, I could go through the Joint Chiefs to the President and make a squawk, but that would mean postponing the flight.”
    That would mean groveling, and you know how I hate to do that.

    Spanking is really protocol in the upper echelons of NASA.

    A simple yes or no would do, dickweed.

    This is the future where they sold the Dodgers back to Brooklyn.


  9. Kansas says:

    I noticed that the enemy agents operate out of a language school, just like the enemy agents in the Phantom Creeps serial of the 1930s. Language = Unamerican.


  10. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Cody! Cody! Cody! But really, what’s up with that truck? It’s a case of ‘This will fool them, unless they look at it!’. Simultaneously brilliant & immensely stupid. How do the mechanics working on the truck not notice the false back?

    I loved the SPACOM bit, but I can’t stare directly at the SPACOM. It hurts my eyes. That’s probably one of the safety warnings it should have.

    Not a terrible movie. As others have noted, simultaneously pro- & anti-woman. Maybe it balances out (yeah… not really). I do like that they try to bring in a little real science to it, unlike most sci-fi movies of the time. At any rate, it’s a good thing they don’t use baseball to certify that you’re really an American anymore, since I couldn’t even tell you what team is in what city (except the KC Royals, since I grew up there).


  11. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #60: Well back then, baseball was a lot more popular. As for the use of real science, that was probably due to Heinlein’s influence.


  12. schippers says:

    Mr. Bob –

    I agree, my use of “pseudo” was poor English. What I meant was “minor,” which I believe is an accurate modifier of “classic” when used to describe Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.

    But let me be very clear: I do love that movie, an awful lot.


  13. schippers says:

    Regarding the “Was Heinlein sexist in his written work?” question –

    I have only read Starship Troopers, and years ago at that, but from a description of Friday (a very late Heinlein novel) offered in the late Thomas Disch’s excellent The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, I strongly believe that Heinlein was probably a confirmed sexist of the old school.

    Looking at Project Moonbase, I imagine what Heinlein was probably going for with the female president surprise at the end was to play to both crowds, i.e., sop to the post-WWII feminist audience AND provide eyerolling bait for the sexist WASPy male crowd. Of course, my argument here is substantially weakened by the almost completely infantile Col. Briteis, who could not have seemed like anything but a sexist caricature to even the least sophisticated viewers.


  14. jaybird3rd says:

    This must have been one of the very first MST3K episodes that I ever saw; I probably caught it close to the original broadcast date. I remember the SPACOM “commercial” as being screamingly funny, of course, but the moment that made the deepest impression on me as a new viewer was Joel holding up the cue cards during the press conference scene with Hayden Rorke. J&TB telling jokes in the theater was a clever enough idea in itself to make me like the show, but Joel’s way of “putting himself into the movie” was a real epiphany for me; it was a simple, yet remarkably effective and creative way of using the Shadowrama effect to have fun with the movie. Joel can even be seen shaking the cards impatiently as Rorke stumbles his way through his lines.

    Several people have commented already on the portrayal of women in this movie. It’s easy to retrospectively see this as merely a reflection of the time the movie was made, but the 1950s was not quite the hopelessly benighted and backward period that it’s often portrayed as being, and I get the impression that the actors thought it was ludicrous even at the time they were making it. Watch Donna Martell closely during the argument with Hayden Rorke; when he says “You’re not a superwoman, you’re a spoiled brat!”, it certainly looks as if she’s desperately trying to suppress a laugh.

    Donna Martell (real name: Irene DeMaria) seems to be the last survivor of the cast of “Project Moon Base”; she’ll be 87 on December 24th. Here is an interview with her which focuses on her work in Westerns, which is where she seems to have spent most of her career:


  15. Wetzelcoatl says:

    I’ve always loved this movie for being one of the rare examples of sci-fi underestimating technological advancement (It’s 1970 and they haven’t landed on the moon yet)


  16. EricJ says:

    Regarding the “Was Heinlein sexist in his written work?” question –
    I have only read Starship Troopers, and years ago at that, but from a description of Friday (a very late Heinlein novel) offered in the late Thomas Disch’s excellent The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, I strongly believe that Heinlein was probably a confirmed sexist of the old school.

    Think we can say that Heinlein was a lot of confirmed things of the old school, to the point that he would probably have his own CNBC show today. Sexism would just be par for the course.

    Looking at Project Moonbase, I imagine what Heinlein was probably going for with the female president surprise at the end was to play to both crowds, i.e., sop to the post-WWII feminist audience AND provide eyerolling bait for the sexist WASPy male crowd.

    (Jon Stewart during the ’08 Obama vs. Hillary election): “In the movies, when there’s a black president or a female president, you KNOW it’s the future!”


  17. Very interesting about the letter-writing thing. It’s always nice to see what became of the MSTies who wrote into the show.


  18. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Interesting to see the comments about sexism in the film.

    The original series of Star Trek suffers from a similar problem. The attitude toward women and their depiction is the most dated aspect of the show. More often than not a woman is shown in scanty clothing. Even officers are susceptible to emotional decision making and deference to the nearest male.

    As a sociological artifact, the film is pretty interesting. Using the excuse of that was the cultural standard at the time doesn’t prevent the sexist offense from being egregious to modern sensibilities. But one would be remiss not to point out that all beliefs, including cultural values, are just beliefs. Just because you learned something, doesn’t make it real. Most of the ‘isms’ are subjective and not objective. We consider it sexist because she appears helpless and doesn’t seem to know any better. What if her depiction as a damsel in distress was all an act to manipulate the gullible, paternalistic men? My only point is projecting generational mores between eras is fraught with risk of mis-comprehension. Present-bias, thinking that the current era is inherently superior, is as significant a bias as any ism is.

    There are still plenty of pockets of humanity on this planet that do not honor the rights of women. But looking back at Star Trek, I’d say there is hope for us all.


  19. schippers says:

    #68 – Regarding your point “What if her depiction as a damsel in distress was all an act to manipulate the gullible, paternalistic men?”

    Well, if there were any textual evidence to support that contention, I’d say it’s one to run with. But, given that I can’t see any, it’s clear that that reading would be inserting elements into the text that weren’t intended by its authors. One would then be guilty of sinning against Occam’s Razor.


  20. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    #68 – Regarding your point “What if her depiction as a damsel in distress was all an act to manipulate the gullible, paternalistic men?”

    Well, if there were any textual evidence to support that contention, I’d say it’s one to run with. But, given that I can’t see any, it’s clear that that reading would be inserting elements into the text that weren’t intended by its authors. One would then be guilty of sinning against Occam’s Razor.

    Occam’s Razor is applicable to science, but less so to art. Is it possible to sin in science? I thought sin was a moral concept.

    Don’t you know that art isn’t about the artist’s intentions but the audience’s interpretations? Apparently Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 because he was worried that the increasing prominence of TV would mean nobody read books anymore. All the critics thought it was about the dangers of state-censorship. Who is right? BOTH.

    There is no one definitive, right, interpretation of art. It has a life of it’s own beyond the artist, writer, director, sculptor, etc.

    The only stretch is calling this film “art”.

    Art Crow!


  21. senorpogo says:

    Next to Kitten with a Whip, this is my least favorite episode. I’ve only watched each one once. As so many others have noted, the way the movie treats Briteis is just insulting. It’s so mean spirited that it’s hard to watch, even with Joel and the bots.


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

    #56 and others:

    Regarding the marriage issue, even as late as the actual 1970s, some people took it for granted that an unmarried man and an unmarried woman couldn’t possibly share a residence and NOT have sex with each other — it was like it was a law of physics or something — so obviously a film in the 1950s wasn’t about to “approve” of such an arrangement (once a couple was married, of course, they slept in *separate* beds, as any number of films and tv shows demonstrated, which…wait a minute…).

    That was the underlying premise of “Three’s Company,” that Jack had to pretend to be gay because Mr. Roper (and, subsequently, Mr. Furley) wouldn’t stand for having an unmarried straight man live with an unmarried straight woman, much less two. Ironically, neither Roper nor Furley ever seemed concerned that Jack might “choose” to be straight when they weren’t looking; even a pair of clueless buffoons in the 1970s knew that being gay wasn’t a “choice.” Unlike some clueless buffoons of today.

    Supposedly, some people seriously objected to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (storybook, movie, whichever) because it depicts an unmarried woman living with seven, count ’em, seven unmarried men. I can’t confirm that, though.

    Really, when you think about it (“So don’t think about it.”), the underlying premise of some religious schools of thought is that women must never EVER take the slightest chance of doing anything that men might find even remotely sexually tempting…presumably because men are weak-willed jerks who are incapable of resisting the slightest stimulation. The entire concept of a patriarchial worldview seems to be partially founded upon the presumption that women are morally superior to men. But we all knew that, anyway. ;-)


  23. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I agree with senorpogo, this film’s rampant sexism is hard to take and I think is easily the most unpleasant of any movie in the series’ entire run. And while Johnny’s Nonchalance has a point about interpreting art, I think the interpretation has to be in some way based on the art in question. If I interpret The Lord of the Rings as a bashing of ostentatious jewelry and therefore a bashing of all rich people who own such jewelry, I should have to back it up with examples from the books. I would say I have a right to my interpretation even if it’s horribly flawed but everyone else would be justified in ignoring it.


  24. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #70: I realize I’m drifting off-topic here, but I’ve come to regard the whole censorship interpretation of Fahrenheit 451 as reflecting more on the conceits of the reader than the book. The censorship interpretation allows the reader to feel smug about how he or she would oppose such knowledge destroying Neanderthals. The interpretation of books being regarded with indifference in favor of another medium however would require some self-reflection by the reader on how, perhaps, he or she could easily be complicit in such actions. I’ve come to prefer Bradbury’s interpretation (and he should know, since he wrote the thing).


  25. Cornjob says:

    “This is one of the worst films to get the MST treatment. Grayer than Coleman Francis’ soul, more misogynist than a drunk Andrew Dice Clay, and more boring than my Jr. High School History teacher.”

    That’s what I had to say 4 years ago and I stand by it, except that I now think this is the worst MSTed movie. I’d like to hurt this film, but there’s no way I can hurt it as much as it hurts me. Hobgoblins offers a better model for gender relations than this movie does.

    On the other hand, if Madonna had seen this movie and it’s NASA culture of rampant spanking as a child she might have gone into aeronautics instead of entertainment.


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


    Without knowing much about the example cited, it’s important to remember that what a character believes isn’t necessarily indicative of what the AUTHOR believes.

    Also, how significant was that character? Was the reader intended to sympathize with her or not? Were there characters of equal or greater importance who expressed opposite sentiments? Many factors in such a situation.


  27. thequietman says:

    I’m going to leave aside the discussion about sexism for a moment (although I dearly wish SOMEONE had decked Rorke’s character before the end of the picture) and comment about two other things.

    First, it may be a minor thing, but the way the opening credits are designed makes it look like the film’s going to be a Buck Rogers 1930s style sci-fi movie as opposed to the partway serious look at what people though the world of 1970 was going to look like.

    Going off of that, what is up with the costumes in this movie, particularly the SPACOM uniforms? They look like the Moon men from Commando Cody with those skull caps. Further, perhaps Breiteis could get herself taken a bit more seriously if she wasn’t wearing that kicky miniskirt.

    Anyway, I love the final line of this film “And I didn’t get you anything!” Of course you didn’t, Johnny, of course you didn’t. The smarmy way he says it too, like it’s supposed to be endearing or something. Ugh…


  28. Cornjob says:

    Well, now I’ve watched this episode for the last time until we discuss it here again. I did get a kick out of rocket landing sequence. I think it was while watching a Rocky Jones episode which had endless rocket launching and landing scenes that it struck me how absurd a landing rocket was. Imagine the precision necessary. It would be harder than flying the rocket motorcycle in Megaforce.

    Merry Christmas all


  29. pondoscp says:

    A silly old black and white space movie. It’s fun. It’s Spacom.
    And I love Kitten With A Whip. too ;)


  30. Johnny's nonchalance says:


    might have to change my handle to “clueless buffoon”


  31. schippers says:

    #70 – I like to think Occam’s Razor applies everywhere human reason can be deployed. My students used to LOVE to heap on needlessly complicated explanations for phenomena that have straightforward, elegant explanations, and I taught high school English.

    I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to the chaos that pure Reader Response theory can (theoretically) engender, although I do think it’s interesting what we can learn about readers from their (sometimes highly idiosyncratic) responses.


  32. Kali says:

    What’s with the reference to Franklin Ajaye anyway? They bring him up frequently during the Commando Cody shorts.


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


    I’m not sure I get your point but duuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh….okay.


  34. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:

    I’m not sure I get your point but duuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh….okay.

    Look back at your post, specifically the instance in which you refer to people as a clueless buffoons.

    There is no point, really, other than to politely disagree with the assertion that people are buffoons because of their beliefs. Based on your criteria, I’d probably be considered a buffoon, too. Name-calling isn’t really productive.

    Also, any comparison of sensibilities in the late 1970s to present day is problematic. Perhaps the landlords just took people at their word. Maybe they valued honesty, and weren’t quite so cynical as people seem to be today. Maybe they couldn’t imagine why anybody would lie about that sort of thing, especially considering the stigma. Thankfully, the stigma has diminished a bit since then.

    In and of itself, saying that something is a choice does not pass value judgment on an activity. It is my choice whether I decide to get married, be celibate, move to Canada, or go on vacation in Mexico. Even if most of my ancestors were alcoholics, I still have a choice what happens every time I get near an open a bottle.

    Just let people have their beliefs, without name-calling. As long as other people don’t pick your pocket or break your leg, why care what other people believe?


  35. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    #70 – I like to think Occam’s Razor applies everywhere human reason can be deployed. My students used to LOVE to heap on needlessly complicated explanations for phenomena that have straightforward, elegant explanations, and I taught high school English.

    I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to the chaos that pure Reader Response theory can (theoretically) engender, although I do think it’s interesting what we can learn about readers from their (sometimes highly idiosyncratic) responses.

    I reject your rejection of reader response. Consider it a theory applicable to all art forms. My biggest objection would be that placing all the focus on the author assumes the author is all-knowing. They may create a miniature version of the world, but it is inclined to be highly subjective. I also object because I believe that placing all the focus on the author/artist detracts from it and cripples its possibilities. I understand that an author/artist would want to own their characters/creation, but the second they submit it to public consumption it becomes bigger than the artist.

    If I consider the author’s intention should be taken as gospel approach I get some seriously conflicting messages. I read the Lord of the Rings once every year from ages 12-16. This was in the early 1990s before the films were made. I haven’t read it since. If I read it today, my impressions would be completely different. I would have a whole new trove of personal experiences and knowledge of the world to contextualize the story. I would have new analogies made available drawn from the day to day personal and world events of the last 20 years.

    How about a cheesy analogy… The Star Wars prequels taught me that George Lucas’ vision for his world was inferior to my own. The more he explored his fictional world, the lesser my opinion of his original trilogy became. Having an artist explain his creation can basically beat it to death. Let it live in the hearts and minds of the audience.

    As an artist, I would not presume to think that my explanation is definitive. As you say, some of those idiosyncratic interpretations are BETTER than the original.

    My theory of art is that art is a mirror for the audience to gaze at periodically. Art is not the thing itself, the painting or poem (and least of all the artist!), but its reflection of us… or our reflections of it.


  36. schippers says:

    #85 – You’ll note that I was critical of “pure” Reader Response. In no way do I hold the author or the text as the final authority on all matters; indeed, the more ambiguous and challenging the work, the more the reader’s disciplined interpretation must be privileged over whatever the author may or may not have intended (assuming that ambiguity, deliberate or otherwise, makes it impossible to ascertain with surety the author’s intentions). To roll back some of the many words and strike at the original heart of the matter, let’s boil it down to this: you proposed a what-if scenario involving Briteis as a means of manipulating the men around her. My rejection of that what-if scenario rests on the (in my view) firm logical footing that there is zero textual evidence to uphold it. I would also add that Project Moonbase does not seem like a particularly ambiguous or challenging work (confused, maybe, but not ambiguous or challenging) as regards sexual politics.


  37. Cornjob says:

    Please, let’s not let this movie tear us apart!


  38. Johnny's nonchalance says:


    Yeah, I stopped talking about Project Moonbase yonks ago.

    You’re right about the movie. It was straight up 1950s sexism. I was off in theory-land.


  39. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Please, let’s not let this movie tear us apart!

    Love lift us up where we belong.

    Where the Briteis flies….


  40. pondoscp says:

    You all need to watch Project Moon Base over and over again until you laugh! Otherwise, you’re missing the point. It’s funny because it’s ludicrous. It is Project Moon Base, after all. That alone warrants no serious conversation about it. What next, the politics of Sidehackers?


  41. Bad wolf says:

    At the end Joel and the bots ask the scientists when they were going to have color films. A little push for next episode, perhaps? The grey and black films and the slog of Commando Cody were really pushing what an audience would accept. And how strange that SciFi channel largely made the same mistake in the Eighth season.

    I note that as of this viewing i had just read a review of a new SyFy (yeah i know) miniseries called Ascension, which apparently takes the conceit of a generational intersteller space ship which was launched from Earth in 1964–thus featuring the sexism of the time as a constant presence. Sounds a bit like this, is what i’m saying.


  42. Dr. Bellows says:

    I think those of you who have a strong visceral reaction to this movie’s sexism are taking a seriously limited view of it. The movie features women outside of stereotypical female roles, but still acting (and being treated) in a stereotypically female manner. That’s definitely “progress” relative to women just having stereotypically female roles AND acting in a stereotypically female way, like in, for example, the previous episode, The Slime People. But we’ve seen so many examples of that kind of entirely old-school portrayal that we just unthinkingly accept it, whereas here, where we suddenly see women in more modern roles, we suddenly expect modern sensibilities in how they’re portrayed too, which is unfair. I see a movie like this more as an “intermediate stage,” daring to explore the idea of women in power, but not yet ready to imagine them not still “acting like women.” And that was already a big step for 1953 (how many other movies from that era featured a female president, or even a man serving under a woman?). Calling this “the most sexist movie MST3K ever featured” is crazy. It’s just one of the few from this era that bothered to bring women to the forefront at all, so the attitudes of the era are more blatantly on display.

    (The spanking thing is a little over the top though. I’m guessing that’s one of the things they added after Heinlein’s departure…)


  43. Mnenoch says:

    The Commando Cody shorts are really starting to grind at this point. The guys do a decent job of riffing this time plus we get several staples of the show. The movie itself is a hilarious piece of 50’s cheese along with V2 rockets, white men doing big things, women getting put in their place, communists bad guys. Overall this is a fun episode once we get past the shorts. The host segments are good and the SPACOM one is awesome.


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