Short: (1951) Cody and Ted escape the pursuing moon men and make it back to the ship. They blast off and … the film breaks.
Movie: (1986) In a post-apocalyptic future that looks a lot like Central Park, the cruel Valaria is the chief henchwoman of the all-powerful Dark One. But a rag-tag band of rebels is determined to overthrow them.
First shown: 1/13/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise, then sings the human blues
Invention exchange: Joel demos his “nitro-burning funny pipe,” The Mads have invented the stocking mask of the future (SM of F)
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom, in the “We Zone,” make Joel do tricks
Host segment 2: Cambot’s sitcom simulator malfunctions
Host segment 3: J&tB play Robot Holocaust, but Crow and Joel aren’t having fun
End: Joel announces the “name the plant guy in the movie” contest and reads a letter
• It’s clear that, in 1994, Best Brains thought this is one of the better episodes of season one; it was the one of the ones they chose to show at the first Conventio-con, despite the fact that in general they were down on season 1 at that time. And it was a good choice. The movie is bizarre and it’s in color. The riffing is very strong for season one. The host segments are nothing to write home about, but they’re not terrible either. All in all, lots of fun. And the line “It was after the apocalypse…” became a catchphrase.
• Magic Voice does not give the 30 second warning or the 15 second warning during the opening, only the final countdown.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXV.”
• Nobody’s wearing a robe in the opening segment, for a change.
• The puppetry mechanism connected to Crow’s jaw seems extra noticeable this week. Also, Crow seems to be clacking a lot.
• Another open flame in the invention exchange this week.
• The SM of F looks like something from Joel’s standup act, but I’m not sure. I think the “funny pipe” is new.
• Another use of “By this time, my lungs were aching for air.”
• The whole “the film broke” thing serves as our farewell to the “Radar Men from the Moon” series. I assume they discovered that the full short and movie together were a few minutes too long, so they decided to cut the short to the length needed. I don’t really care that much, but it seems like there’s a really long closing credit sequence at the end of the movie, where the riffs are a little thin, that might have been cut back instead. (However, as several commenters noted, there may have been a legal requirement to show the credits.) In the ACEG, Kevin also says they were sick of “Radar Men” by this point, so that may be the reason why the short got short shrift, as it were.
• Also note: They cut the entire opening credits for the short, which, of course, we’d already seen eight times. (Hence the episode title screen instead of the main short title screen above.) I don’t blame them. YOU try to come up with nine sets of jokes for the same three minutes of footage. Eight was enough!
• Also, several commenters who’ve made the effort to watch the rest of the serial said that the next installment is a recap episode, so it was now or never!
• After the film breaks Joel gets up from his seat and walks back to Cambot to investigate, giving us a rare sense of the empty space between the camera and the seat backs.
• For those who care, the Wikia page for this episode kindly provides a brief summary of what happens in the remaining installments:
“After Krog repeatedly fails to kill Cody, Retik comes to Earth so he can defeat Cody personally and oversee the plan to invade Earth. Krog’s henchmen almost kill Cody’s pals, but the bad guys are caught and arrested. Cody convinces the police to release the criminals so he can follow them to their secret hideout. Cody storms the villains’ HQ, and eventually kills Krog and his two henchmen. Afraid of being caught, Retik takes off in his rocket ship. Cody uses Retik’s own giant ray gun to shoot at the departing rocket, destroying Retik and his plans to invade Earth.”
• Joel does a turtle impression in the theater. Silly.
• Recognize that music during the opening and closing credits of the movie? It’s the same music used in “Laserblast” and several other Charles Band films (Band was the uncredited executive producer and the music is by his brother Richard).
• Director Tim Kincaid (born Tim Gambiani) is also known as Joe Gage, a name he used as a gay porn movie director (and he is apparently a well-regarded one at that). A LOT of stuff in this movie starts to make sense when you know that.
• Joel guesses that a particular shot was done in Central Park. He may be right. The IMDB says the locations were shot there, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Roosevelt Island.
• I just want to note a weird coincidence. In this movie there’s an evil robot named Torque, aka “Crusty.” “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” has a robot named Torg. Then there’s the evil henchman named TORGo… Then there’s TOR Johnson… I think there’s a lingusitics masters thesis in there somewhere.
• Segment 1 should probably have been shown later in the episode. We have no idea why Tom and Crow are dressed in furs and talking about the “We Zone” until later in the movie when we meet women in furs talking about the “She Zone.”
• I do enjoy Joel’s “crazy duck face,” but it’s too bad we don’t get to see “snow storm in China,” which reportedly is a stunning magic trick involving lots of confetti.
• “I kinda miss Earth, you guys.” Poor horny Joel.
• This movie makes the classic mistake of not letting us know ANYTHING about the protagonists, in an attempt to create a sense of mystery, I suppose. The result is that when our hero from the wastelands is battling Torque in the climax of the movie, we feel nothing. Even that stupid robot is a more sympathetic character.
• Crow’s never heard of George Clinton? What is he, a Gramercy Pictures executive?
• In the letter Joel reads, the little kid says his favorite riff is: “He’s out of bang bang.” Everybody draws a blank. I remember it: It was in a “Radar Men from the Moon” episode, when one of the characters’ gun jammed.
• It’s in this episode the we get the famous explanation as to why Servo wants Joel to carry him into and out of the theater (although over the years he made it in and out himself lots of times). As they leave the theater at the end of the movie, Servo says, “Hey Joel, you gotta come lift me over this heating grid.” It isn’t mentioned again until Mike’s first episode, when Crow refers to it as an “air grate.”
As explained in the FAQ, the off-screen reason why they had to do this is: “When they entered the theater, Joel/Mike could walk in, and Trace/Bill could slide over with Crow from the right, but Josh/Kevin had to be already sitting in Tom Servo’s spot. So Joel/Mike had to carry Tom Servo in and hand him to Josh/Kevin, and carry him out at the end.” It does seem like Josh is crawling in with Servo in some of the KTMA eps, so it’s unclear when they decided this would be the procedure. I’ll try to remember to ask ’em at some point.
• The winner of the “Name the plant guy” contest was announced in episode 104- WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET.
• Suggested stinger: Neo stabs Crusty and then poses for a poster.
• Cast and crew roundup: The sole person involved in this movie who also worked on other MSTed movies is score composer Richard Band, whose music also appears in “Being From Another Planet” and “Laserblast.”
• CreditsWatch: This week’s additional production assistants were Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede (his first show, he’ll stay for the rest of the season). This week’s additional production staff was Jim Erickson. Audio post production switches with this episode from Tele-Edit to IVL Post in Minneapolis.
• Fave riff from the short: “Taste my steel, Jughead!” Honorable mention: “If the tank’s a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.”
• Fave riff: “I think somebody’s forgettin’ who’s holdin’ the pink slip, little lady!” Honorable mention: “Where IS the room of questions?”