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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 (123 votes, average: 4.12 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. Dan in WI says:

    Okay that water-juggling gag was legitimately cool. Someone teach me how to do it. Please!

    My Dad was a big fan of the 60’s Batman show. He’d tell tales of watching it in college in the dorms. Apparently the thing to do was shout out the “oof”, “pow”, “bam” and the like when they appeared on the TV screen. So seeing that used during the Commando Cody fight scene was fun.

    Two of these host segments were quite weak. Whatever you and I may think of the Commando Cody serial, it is quite obvious the Brains are tiring of them as segment one falls quite flat. Then to borrow Sampo’s critique, the necktie segment goes a long way for a rather thin joke. The host segments are saved though by the Spacom segment. This one reminds me quite a bit of one of my all time favorite Saturday Night Live commercial spoofs: Happy Fun Ball. It is similar in delivery as well as some of the features that were extolled. I wonder which was first.

    A while back there was a weekend discussion thread on bad science from the movies. This film has a good candidate with its treatment of freefall. So let me get this straight. If you wear magnetic shoes while weightless, you can walk on any surface (unless it’s posted not to) and do so perfectly erect in an appropriate orientation to the surface you are walking on.

    For me this is the second straight week where the riffing starts out very slow but finally picks up a little past midway through. I’d give two stars to the first half of the episode but four to the second half.

    Favorite Riffs:
    The whole slew of tool puns used during the chapter 7 Commando Cody fight scene were fun. What can I say sometimes the simple ones are just as good as the obscure ones that you get.

    Crow: This is the future when they sold the Dodgers back to Brooklyn.

    Gas noise, then Tom says “Oh that one set off the fire alarm” as an alarm noise starts.


  2. swh1939 says:

    Since we’ve already gotten into making sure that the titles are absolutely accurate … based on the screen capture above, this film is really titled “Project Moon Base” rather than “Project Moonbase”.


  3. Sampo says:

    swh1939–thanks for the catch!


  4. Joel: Oooh, I think it could really bruise a child’s tender psyche.
    Mads: Thank you!

    It’s too bad that we are reviewing this mere months before the official DVD release. Though my copy (featuring a prominent “MST 3000 Sundays” logo in a couple of spots) looks pretty good, I’m curious if the occasional audio drop-outs and video tracking lines during the early scenes of the feature will be present. Also, my DAP copy is missing the end credits.

    Ugh, a double dip of Commando Cody. Taste the pain.

    Joel: You ever kissed a dog? I mean like right on the mouth. (is this a reference or just a non sequitur?)

    A few cute puns during the shorts:

    (during fight in the garage)
    Crow: Look he’s getting tired.
    Servo: What a retread.

    (@ 20:40 a parachute descends, Cody flies by, then a trucks starts up)
    Crow says, “Chute” (shoot), followed by “truck.”

    Actually, after saying weeks ago how these Cody serials were bugging me, this pair seemed fine. The joke writing may have stepped up a bit out of desperation to find new angles to approach such familiar material. Whatever the reason, there are three long-time MST catchphrases that make their debut here:

    • Servo: Just put that stuff in the back, I kind of live in my plane.
    (in the future it will become car, van, etc. Anyone know the origin of this phrase?)

    • After Joel lists the benefits of having a Player’s Club Card (a riff on those Telly Savalas commercials from the 80’s) Servo mutters…

    “Atlantic city… Atlantic city! Slowly I turned, step by step…”

    The source is an old vaudeville routine famously done by the Three Stooges in the 1944 short “Gents Without Cents,” though plenty of other comedians had variations of it (Abbott & Costello, Lucy – they’re on YouTube). There is a Wikipedia page for the routine entitled “Slowly I Turned.” Usually the trigger word is “Niagara Falls.”

    • Servo: By this time my lungs were aching for air. (Sea Hunt)

    I mentioned this during our “Lame Science” Weekend Discussion a while back (July 2009 – ), but the horizontal takeoff (and landing) of Cody’s rocket looks very silly to today’s eyes. Plus the fact they seem to be sitting on standard issue office chairs while on board. At least during the subsequent feature, the act of landing on the moon via lunar module is more true to life, though the hammocks/loungers are still way off. Not to mention the ridiculous skullcaps and short pants worn by the astronauts.

    We also once discussed “Worst Attitudes Toward Women in MSTed Movies” (December 2009), and this episode came up a lot. Poor Colonel Breteis is told to “shut up”, “pipe down”, and is threatened with a spanking by a superior officer. The “overweight” female reporter is later told that she is “too fat to fly” (à la Kevin Smith) to the moon. From an article I link to in my blog post: “Women are shown in positions of great authority, but also unworthy of that authority. The men are the competent ones.”

    Servo: It’s Toody and Muldoon. (from Car 54: never seen that show so I had to look it up)

    Crow: Hey Canada, take off you hosers. (a good Bob & Doug/SCTV reference)

    Upon seeing the crater-covered surface of the moon…
    Servo: Looks like one of your prom dates, Joel.
    Joel: Thanks a lot.

    As the rescue supply rocket lands…
    Servo: Look, it fell right over. (a partial Firesign reference + lame science)

    And, (SPOILER) the president in 1970 is a woman!

    3 stars.


  5. gulliver says:

    I remember when this first aired — I thought the SPACOM host segment was the single funniest thing I’d ever seen on TV. I missed much of the second half of the sketch because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hear J&TB … I was so happy when it was rerun so I could record the whole thing. All these years later it still cracks me up.

    The other nice thing about this movie is Donna Martell — she is so cute! Can you believe she’s now 84 years old? I bet she’s still cute. And rootie-toot-toot. I bet she smells like Juicy Fruit.


  6. Matt Sandwich says:

    The show is definitely hitting its stride at this point, and this is another episode I’ve enjoyed revisiting to a degree that seems out of proportion with what’s going on– two dull shorts and a vapid movie (that’s nevertheless entertainingly silly, and gives us another “big name movie” with the Heinlein credit). The review reminds me why. There are a lot of fantastic bits here.

    But a question for commenters: that thing you call ‘buckawow,’ but my people call ‘chickabow’ (or is it ‘bow-chicka’?). In the time since the show aired, this has passed into meme status. It’s a cue that pretty much everyone immediately gets, even those who’ve never seen an adult movie from the era that inspired it. Like me, and I was already in high school when this aired. I know I’ve seen stand-up comedians from those days use it as joke fodder, but I always wonder about MST’s role in, uh… codifying the meme, to coin a phrase.

    Which reminds me of how disappointed I was to find that the word ‘dickweed’ has a much longer history than Best Brains’ attempts to get something dirty-sounding-but-not-dirty on the air.

    Anyway, I’m curious to hear people’s thoughts on the history of the bow-chicka meme.


  7. Mr. B(ob) says:

    This movie is a hoot. Once again we have a film that tries to be progressive in its attitude toward women by featuring one as an intelligent astronaut, then fails utterly by still treating her as a second class citizen in some ways. Just like Rocketship X-M and even worse, Vena on Rocky Jones Space Ranger where there’s an episode in which Vena is told to “go nit a sweater” and then for supposed comic relief we actually see her doing so in a later scene. I really enjoy this episode and as usual the inclusion of Radar Men From The Moon makes it even better. SPACOM references would continue for many episodes after this one so every MSTie should see it to provide some context for that running gag. Great episode all around.


  8. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Whoops, I missed typing the “k” in the word “knit” above. I’ve always wished there was a way to edit one’s posts once they are made here.


  9. Ern2150 says:

    You’re watching
    Commando Cody
    And that’s a new serial
    From Republic

    He gets in trouble
    Every week
    But he’s saved
    By editing

    Just a tweak of his nipples sends him on his way
    With his pumpkin head and his rocket pack
    He’ll save the day


  10. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Like I’ve said, I don’t have much of a problem with Commando Cody, but the unrepentant male chauvanism in “Project Moon Base” makes it pretty painful.

    I’m a bit surprised no one has mentioned the translations Joel & the ‘bots provide during Hayden Rorke’s lecture. (“Or, frisbee.”)


  11. YourNewBestFriend says:

    Jeez, didn’t anybody ever read any Robert Heinlein? This is CLASSIC


  12. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Uh, yes, I’ve read some Robert Heinlein and I wouldn’t rank this up there with some of his better works as “classic”. It’s only classic in the sense that it’s old by film standards and that it preserves a record of a very unpleasant attitude toward women in our society, one which a better futuristic vision would have had the foresight to see as obsolete.


  13. YourNewBestFriend says:

    Try that again.

    Project Moon Base is CLASSIC Bob Heinlein, combining serious genuine for-real hard science, aggressive feminism, and gutwrenching patronizing sexism. Just in case you weren’t there, in 1953 the presentation of a woman as the best pilot in the fleet and the casual reveal of a woman President was as shocking as if everybody in the future were shown as walking on their hands. Then the best pilot in the fleet is subject to “I’ll take you over my knee” paternalism by her CO. Seriously, nobody see “Starship Troopers”? Donna Martell==>Denise Richards. Project Moon Base couldn’t be more Robert Heinlein if the entire cast was bald with trim little mustaches.


  14. Mr. B(ob) says:

    The movie Starship Troopers had little resemblance to the book by Robert Heinlein, very little.


  15. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I am guessing the chauvinism in this movie was par for the course for early 1950’s sci-fi as I just read Asimov’s first Foundation book from 1951 and there are no women characters at all. It reminds me of why my dad always hated Star Trek, he said it’s not a realistic view of the future when you watch the show years later and can tell what decade on earth the show was made in.


  16. Revlillo says:

    Hey swh1939 and Sampo (Numbers 2 & 3)

    I don’t want to open up a whole can of worms here, but I think that the title is (indeed) “Project Moon Base.” To my eye, there is a big enough gap between the “n” and the “b” to justify the two word theory of the title.


  17. RockyJones says:

    #9 – Ern2150: And here’s the rest…

    “He drinks his tea
    At Al’s Cafe
    And flies around on wires.

    He beats up crooks
    And flys with hooks,
    And puts out forest fires.”


  18. wotunw5o says:

    I’m pretty sure this was the first episode I saw sometime early in the series’ run, before the Labor Day Blowout marathon.

    I still like it. The movie has a quaint charm in it’s downright noble attempts at SCIENCE! combined with it’s endless lolwomen, but THE PRESIDENT IS A WOMAN DUHN DUHN DUUUUUHN.

    If memory serves me correctly Heinlein made the core ideas but was largely removed from the final product, but it’s been a while since I’ve dug around about it, so I might be wrong.

    Still, it’s great to have a real image of Joel and the Bots looking at ROBERT HEINLEIN to trot out on SF message boards.


  19. Laura says:

    I really enjoy this episode. It amazed me that no one could tell that the scientist was a phony. Except for that one clown, but he doesn’t count. The whole male chauvinism is so prevelant you can practically smell it. I just love how in Commando Cody they use Arizona (or whatever part of the Southwest)to convince us they’re really on the moon. Despite the fact that there’s atoosphere and gravity. And the whole Ancient Greece mock-ups.


  20. Brandon says:

    Here’s my review. Dang, I didn’t even choose favorite riffs. This must have been a season 1 episode that I didn’t care much for.

    109- Project Moonbase, with short Commando Cody Parts 7 and 8

    Movie: A futuristic film set in 1970 (!) where a group of astronauts travel into space.

    Host Segments:
    Opening: Joel gives the robots a wash.
    Invention Exchange: Paddles balls to juggle water; Insect-a-sketch.
    Segment #1: Servo and Crow reinact more from Commando Cody.
    Segment #2: Joel does a lecture on neckties of the future.
    Segment #3: J&TB present a new home product called SPACOM which does EVERYTHING!
    Closing: Crow and Tom read letters.

    Memorable riffs:
    Servo: “You’re over by a metric ton!”

    Crow: “I’ll show you my sore toe.”

    Crow: “Sorry, I blew up like that”

    Joel: “He checked my underwear!”
    Crow: “Who hasn’t?”

    Character in movie: “She wouldn’t have me on a silver platter.”
    Servo: “How about on an air mattress slathered with butter?”

    -I think this is the first episode where we hear the word “hexfield” on MST3K, but they aren’t referring to the Hexfield Viewscreen.

    -The whole SPACOM segment is one of VERY few times on the show where they actually use some kind of computer effect.

    -As has been noted elsewhere (including Mighty Jack’s site), after the movie ends, Joel can be seen picking something up from the floor. Maybe a piece of one of the robots fell off.

    -First use of the riff, “By this time my lungs were aching for air.”

    Best segment: The SPACOM segment is just plain goofy.
    Worst segment: The neckties lecture gets boring after awhile.

    Overall: A fairly good season 1 show. The riffing is still getting better.
    Rating: **1/2


  21. EricJ says:

    Favorite riff: :::as Polly Prattles::: “You’re over by a metric ton!”

    Polly: “My editor says it’s all a boondoggle, a waste of money…What should I tell him?”
    Crow: “‘Tosh!’ ‘Piffle!’ ‘Mummery!’ ‘Poppycock!'”


  22. schippers says:

    As for the whole Heinlein thing, I have a VERY STRONG SUSPICION that the man himself cameos in the movie. The dude who issues the mission on the space station, the one with the thin little mustache? Isn’t that him?

    Or is this common knowledge, and I’m just stupid?

    Tangential note: Colonel Briteis’s co-pilot, the loathsome Bill, has a minor role in the pseudo-classic Ray Harryhausen movie Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. I just like to see the career trajectories of all these B actors.


  23. wotunw5o says:

    I glanced around, imdb’s message board says “signs point to no”. They cite the ear and nose to be shaped a bit differently and that the hands look too old.


  24. Seth L says:

    This episode is my sure fire insomnia cure. I have yet to make it through the entire thing. Dozed off once in the middle, and woke up for the end, that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

    Love the rocket and space station models about as much as I hate the rest of the movie.

    Riffing seems typical for season 1.


  25. Lee S. says:

    I don’t really have any thoughts to add to this discussion that haven’t already been said, so I’ll just list my favorite riffs.

    “Meanwhile back at the Cody Institute for Deceptive Editing.”

    “Y’know, these Moon Men have uses for plywood we haven’t even dreamed of yet.”

    “Now that we have a space station…”
    “…Or Frisbee.”
    “…It is possible to send a ship…”
    “…Or batteries.”
    “…All the way around the Moon.”
    “…Or playground ball.”

    I also love the bit with the “Batman” sound effects, although it exposes how bad the C.S.O. is.


  26. ck says:

    The Commando Cody series bugs me. IT REALLY BUGS ME!


  27. Operation Weasel-Snitch says:

    I have to disagree with the claim that this was the first use of the “buckawow” song. It is employed at the airport scene during the first segment of the movie in episode 108- The Slime People. There is a meeting with Mr. Gregory and some folks in a station wagon. They talk him into getting into the car, and then Joel launches into the song.


  28. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Ah yes, the movie that gives us the technical term “shoving off.”

    My DAP copy of this has some HORRIBLE tracking problems and, to boot, no end credits. The completist in me is very sad.

    This movie is dumb and feels cobbled together (wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was) from parts that were leftovers to begin with. Not very memorable, though there sure is some amazing 50’s chauvinism on display here. Strangely, J&TB just sorta watch some of it with nary a word, not even a “boooo!” which is something they would adopt later on in the shows run.

    I agree, the Radar Men from the Moon shorts are outstaying their welcome. I think they are alright in general, but watching these things in sequential order does nobody any favors.

    Joel’s usage of the “BIFF, POW, OOF” signs is classic Joel, and he’s very active in this one in general. This sort of physical comedy is one of the most endearing things about his screen persona.

    Short #2: Servo: “By this point my lungs where aching for air.” —And a catchphrase is born.

    First Host Segment, not so good. The other two are great, with the SPACOM segment (#3) being outright classic. In HS#2, they use the term “Hexfield body tie” which, as Sampo pointed out, is the first instance of the word “hexfield.”

    Oh, and thanks Sampo, for sharing how to spell “buckawow” because I was always unsure of how to do so. Love that song.

    There is a RIFF at one point, I think it was Crow, who says “Don’t cross the split screen!” which is a classic example of this show working your brain over double time. The riff obviously refers to the weak usage of split screen in the movie, making you think about the process of movie production etc, while AT THE SAME TIME, the riff ALSO refers to the classic pop culture quote from Ghostbusters, “Don’t cross the streams.” Your synapses are firing off in all different directions working your brain twice over, all the while, you’re laughing so hard you wake up Grandma. So there you go, evidence that MST makes you smarter. Now go apologize to Grandma.


  29. M "Cuts Through This Tomato Like It Was A Tin Can" Sipher says:

    The SPACOM bit floored me when I first saw it, and to this day remains one of my all-time favorite MST3K segments. It’s a kind of writing you saw less and less of as the series progressed, and while it would pop up from time to time (Crow’s paper on Rutherford B. Hayes comes screaming to mind), it was never quite so strong as here… rapid-fire non-sequitor taking absurdity to amazing levels, and yet it makes a twisted kind of sense. “Eskimos love the way SPACOM! takes the gum out of diesel generators”… the hell?

    (And riffs like “Air mattress slathered with butter.” heheheheh)

    On that note, I always enjoyed the synchronized riffs, as seen when the crew blurt out “or ________” during the lecture sequence. Yeah, it does detract a bit from the feel of improv, but it’s funny enough to where it’s forgivable. “What’s that spell?” “WERNER!” “What’s it mean?” “DIDDLEY!”

    I… don’t recall if they made a “Total Eclipse of the Heart” riff or not. If not, totally wasted opportunity.


  30. mstgator says:

    #29: Nope, no “Turn around, Bright Eyes” riff… I recall waiting for one the moment her name was mentioned, and it never came.


  31. Spector says:

    Another solid outing from Season One. Gotta love that old 1950s male chauvinism, right down to naming the female lead “Brighteyes” or “Britize” or whatever, it still had that condescending attitude that wimmen folk should know their place and that’s in the kitchen, or at least that was the attitude way back when this film was made. Great fodder for riffing! The SPACOM bit was hilarious, like “Hikeeba” a call-back in future episodes and a well-loved favorite. Agree with Sampo, a good-but-not-great episode. 3.5 out of five.


  32. Cornjob says:

    This is one of the worst films to get the MST treatment. Grayer than Coleman Francis’ soul, more mysogenist than a drunk Andrew Dice Clay, and more boring than my Jr. High School History teacher. Why wasn’t this film composted decades ago?


  33. Laura says:

    Anyone know why there were no other “I Dream of Jeannie” riffs other than the Dr. Bellows declaration? That to me would seem like the perfect opportunity.


  34. H says:

    I enjoy this one mostly. The shorts, good as always but I’m ready for the ‘technical difficulties’ in the next episode already. The movie, I actually like this sort of stuff. Hayden Roarke’s a good character actor and it’s usually interesting to me to see how people used to think about us living in space. The host segments are good too- how can you not like SPACOM? It does partically everything.


  35. Kali says:

    PILOT: “Hope this trip is as easy as your last one.”
    JOEL: “Should be, since we’re using the same stock footage.”

    Shame the movie wasn’t done later in the run: “Bright Eyes” could have gotten a few more Planet of the Apes references. Considering the great Taylor impression Major Idiot seems to be embodying (you know, Taylor doesn’t shut up when he gets his voice back, and everything he says and does lives down to the Apes’ fears)…

    Actually, I always thought the only real Heinlein reference to stay in the film was when the female president shows – considering how everyone belittles Breiteis throughout the episode and how SHE makes sure the idiot outranks her before they marry. Besides, the President looks like she could have been Breiteis’ granny. The people of “the future!” in this film would never have elected a woman as president. Certainly the most sexist film in the history of MST.

    Suddenly recognized that the Brains didn’t really make a lot of references to “Jeannie” at that. This movie deserves at least a few more of them – especially in connection with perky Breiteis. Yeah, she wasn’t a natural blonde, but hey…

    Though it’s the “translations” from Dr Bellows (don’t remember the character’s name, but who cares, really) that kicks this up to a classic:
    Dr Bellows: “Now that we have a space station…”
    Everyone: “…or Frisbee…”
    Dr Bellows: “…it is now possible to send a ship…”
    Everyone: “…or batteries…”
    Dr Bellows: “…all the way around the Moon.”
    Everyone: “…or playground ball!”
    Polly Prattles starts prattling.
    Everyone: “…or Large Barge!”

    Gotta love it. :-)

    And considering how much of a baby Breiteis is depicted throughout, maybe Dr Bellows should have spanked her!


  36. M "Landshark Double" Sipher says:

    Let’s not forget that the only reason Briteis (however you spell it) got to make that historic flight that got her the command of this gig was because… drum roll… she weighed less!



  37. MightyJack says:

    Not a memorable episode? I couldn’t disagree more.

    I love this one, it’s my favorite from season 1. I enjoy the skits (Joel’s water juggling bit, Tom as Cody, Crows napkin tie, Spacom) and I received a lot of hearty laughter from the riffing on the feature. Love how Joel keeps revisiting the spanking line, and him holding up cue cards during the Generals halting speech.

    The first Cody offered up some good material as well. And I enjoyed Servo’s line (which sums up their exasperation with this series repetitive nature) when a character says… “Hope this trips as easy as the last.” and Tom responds…. “Should be, since we are using the same stock footage.”


  38. pondoscp says:

    The last dull episode of Season One. I have watched Project Moon Base about ten times, and outside of the beginning and Joel making Tom fly around like Pumpkin Boy, this episode is teflon to my brain. I can’t remember a thing about the movie! I have dozed off more than once to this one. Starting next week (with an all time favorite of mine), the golden age of MST3K begins, IMO.


  39. Ronald says:

    “How about on an air mattress slathered with butter?”

    Which raises the question: Would SHE be slathered, or the mattress? Well, I guess either would inevitably lead to the other one.


  40. Fart Bargo says:

    I enjoyed PM with a CC double. I love dopey sci-fi, heavy on the fiction. How bout that bone china CC flies to the moon with?! Speaking of the women’s progressive portrayals, how bout forcing Brities to get married becaused they will are marooned?! I just love Erhardts ultra sincere “Thank you.” to Joels moral objections. Look forward to the next one.


  41. Alex says:

    I really haven’t seen this one yet, but looking forward to it on the upcoming Volume XX set. :)


  42. lancecorbain says:

    The bit with the cue cards was a classic. Bellows really seems to be reading that long speech of his off of something, and in short bursts. I liked Joel and the bots going “Whew! He made it!!” at the end. I did really miss the cute silhouette props as the years went on, but I guess they were never far from everyone’s mind, as Mike brought it back with the pool cue bit in The Girl In Gold Boots.


  43. J. Ho says:

    I hadn’t been keeping uP with the weekly reviews for a few months, and since a return to vigilance I notice there seem to be a glut of redundant Sampo-style reviews in the comments each ep, some even going as far to reiterate what occurred each host segment. Reading 20 posts with the same favorite riffs seems fine IMHO, but this cloning of the whole review format and often uninspired ‘sampling’ of SampoSpeak (ala they are still finding their legs this season, et cetera) make for about as much interesting reading as if the entire MST series were comprised of Commando Cody eps.

    I really liked the older episodes where Joel used the Shadowrama effect for sight gags, like running down the road on ‘Warrior O Lost World’ or the several instances in ‘Cave Dwellers’ but the Batman gags and the cue cards in this episode I remembered from age 10, when it first aired, probably because a friend and I would watch Batman reruns every day after school during the very same years. Probably another reason I always liked the quirkier Joel episodes. Always wished Mike would have done more although the drinking scene in ‘Time Chasers’ rates up there for me….


  44. schippers says:

    #23 – thanks for doing the research I was too lazy to do. I used to get a kick out of thinking that was the creepy old man hisownself up there on the screen. Oh well.

    BTW, great sci-fi writer Paul di Filippo has a pretty good short story (collected in Lost Pages) in which Robert Heinlein makes a cameo appearance that parallels that of the womyn president in Project Moon Base. You should check it out, it’s a good little book.


  45. schippers says:

    Oh oh, I forgot, I love love LOVE the cordless phones they use in the beginning of the movie. It’s so great! How can you not love 1950s futurism?


  46. Akcoll99 says:

    I had never heard that bit about this being part of a TV series called “Ring Around The Moon” so I looked around and this is what I came up with, from IMDB:

    “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.”


  47. Lee S. says:

    Thanks the the info, Akcoll! I feel genuinely comforted knowing that Heinlein wasn’t (entirely) responsible for this awfulness.


  48. BIG61AL says:

    Male chauvinism – Boy they took that and ran with it big time. It was just so overt at times that my jaw just dropped. My favorite genre is crap 1950’s space movies. Love this one.


  49. Richard the Lion-footed says:

    This is one of the best shows of the first season. The riffing has ramped up so that even this turkey of a film is watchable. Even the Commando Cody shorts are fun, but again, this might be my prejudice because I grew up watching these on T.V., Saturday mornings on local stations. (We use to get the ice-cream cartons from 31 Flavors and make Cody helmets and chest controls and “fly” around the neighborhood).

    The “film,” for those who do not know, was an unsold pilot for a possible T.V. series in the vein of Tom Corbett, over on the Dumont network, and Rocky Jones. I always wondered if this was the “pilot” what was the show going to be about? Would it follow these two stranded on the moon? A sort of Lunar “I married Joan”? Or were they to be rescued and the central characters as married space explorers.

    The chauvinism is blatant even for the 50s.

    Her name is “Briteis”???? I can’t believe even Heinlein thought THAT one up. It must have been changed during production. Why not “Gratelegs” or “Niceass.”
    And she got her rank because she made the first orbital flight because she weighed less????

    Remember, this was for T.V. originally and they were decades behind the movies then.
    (Even the scifi films of the 50s had better women characters, ie THEM)

    As for chauvinism in scifi,

    Cheapskate Crow @15 – many scifi authors were the “Nerds” of their day and had hardly been OUT with women, let alone were comfortable enough to write women characters. Asimov freely admitted this in his biography. He re-wrote one of his most famous short stories, “Liar” after he got married and new a little bit more about women.

    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. Starship Troopers had female pilots who were actually competent and not cute little fluff like this show.

    As for the lack of “Jennie” references, (@33)

    They tended not to overload the shows with “easy” references like that.
    We would have been heavy on the “Major Bellows” stuff, but Joel, et. al., might have wanted to shy away from formula humor. Especially this early in the show.
    Of course there were not Battlestar Galactica references in “Space Mutiny” also to everyone’s surprise.


  50. Does anyone know what J. Ho at #43 is on about? (not the Shadowrama/Batman stuff — I get that)

    I feel like I should be offended, but know he’s not talking about me because my posts are nothing like Sampo’s. “Brandon” is the only person who regularly posts comments with the host segments listed, and those are mainly reposts of reviews he wrote a while back. I don’t see a problem here.

    Anyway, glad this episode is getting some love. And realize I misspelled the leading lady’s name myself: IMDB has her listed as “Colonel Briteis.”


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