Movie: (1969) On a colonized moon, the services of a disaffected former-astronaut-turned-“moon ferry”-pilot are needed by sinister tycoon and a woman looking for her moon miner brother.
First shown: 1/20/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise and suggests viewers go get a nutritious snack
Invention exchange: Larry’s hair is lifeless. Joel demonstrates his food teleporter; the Mads have invented celebrity mouth-to-mouth toothpaste
Host segment 1: J&tB perform a moon landing pageant
Host segment 2: J&tB conjecture about games of the future
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom fight over the women in the movie, in zero gravity
End: The bots play the “good thing/bad thing” movie review game and Joel reads a letter. Larry’s hair is better.
• I’m going to put this one, just barely, in the “good” column. The movie is just so goofy, but actually pretty watchable. (It’s interesting — to me, anyway, since I lived through that time period — to see an enactment of the future a lot of people considered almost inevitable right after the moon landings took place: that NASA would smoothly continue, colonizing the moon, beginning passenger space travel, then mounting expeditions to other planets. I think if you went back in time and told the movie makers that, in the second decade of the 21st century, we haven’t done any of it, they’d be amazed.) The riffing is also quite good. The host segments aren’t terribly funny, but they’re passable.
• This episode was included on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25 Anniversary Edition.
• The bots are wearing robes in the opening, but not Joel.
• When Joel dances to the movie credits music, he jumps up on some sort of low platform to the left.
• When Magic Voice attempts to announce “commercial sign in 15 seconds,” her mic is off. You can hear her somewhere in the studio, but she is very faint. It’s back on for the final countdown. Either nobody noticed or they didn’t bother to do it again.
• That twine attached to Crow’s chin is again very noticeable.
• Joel once again explains the premise, using almost the exact same language as in previous openings.
• The Bots are uncharacteristically silent during the opening segment and the invention exchange.
• Joel is playing with something as the invention exchange begins. Some sort of magnetic game? Anybody know what it is?
• As the Mads call, Joel says: “Try not to look so happy, you guys.” One of the interesting things about the first season is the way Joel didn’t seem to be that upset about being stranded in space. It was only in later seasons that his character seemed to become more anxious to get back to Earth.
• Joel’s invention is one of his lamer efforts, I’d say. You can pretty much see the mechanisms of everything. Or is that the point?
• Joel still has part of his invention exchange on his head when he comes into the theater.
• I have a question about our hero’s space ship. The movie takes place in the 21st century, so it’s been at least 30ish years since the Apollo program. The bad guy says Kemp’s “moon ferry” is 10 years old–so that means it was built in the 1990s at least. So, it’s not like it’s a leftover Apollo lunar module. So, why does it look exactly like a lunar module? (I know, the real answer is probably because the filmmakers thought audiences would immediately recognize it as a space vehicle.)
• Josh reads that whole moon landing sequence in segment 1 like he had it memorized, but I asked him on Twitter and he said he wasn’t that big of an Apollo buff–he just read the script they gave him.
• Also one minor fact is wrong. The Eagle landed on the moon on July 20, not July 22.
• Crow is still wearing his helmet when he returns to the theater after the first host segment. Joel later removes it, causing Crow to yell “Ow! Ow!” It’s those little touches that make Trace’s performance so amazing.
• “I kinda miss the moon, you guys.” Joel is still horny.
• Several times, the bots sing snippets of “The Wiener Man,” a campfire favorite. I remember there was much fan chatter about this when it aired. It was mentioned in one of the early newsletters and there was an entry about the song in the FAQ for a while. There are a number of variations to the lyrics, but I think the most standard one (the newsletter notwithstanding) is:
I know a wiener man
He owns a hot dog stand
He gives me everything
From wieners on down.
Someday, I’ll be his wife
And then we’ll live the wiener life
Hot dog! I love the wiener man!
• We get another reference to “Yards of Leather.”
• One of the waitresses on the moon base is played Carol Cleveland, who, that same year, began making regular appearances on a little TV show called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
• The down side of the higher resolution you get with a DVD is you can see little things you might have missed. Example: At the end of segment three you can the string attaching the bottle to the glass. If one carefully pours down the wire, you can’t see it, but Joel isn’t quite that careful.
• Toward the end of the show, they come back from commercial and only Joel and Crow can be seen in the theater. After a few moments, Tom Servo pops up from the last seat on the left and heads over to his seat, saying: “Got my gum back.” Did he leave it there at the end of the last theater segment?
• Gypsy’s light is on at last! She again answers “Richard Basehart” when asked a question, and is again rewarded for it.
• Suggested stinger: Any portion of the floor show.
• Cast and crew roundup: art director Scott MacGregor also worked on “Fire Maidens of Outer Space” and “Million Eyes of Su-Muru.” In front of the camera, Catherine Von Schell was also in “Cosmic Princess.” Sam Kydd was also in “The Projected Man.” Michael Ripper was also in “The Deadly Bees.” Warren Mitchell was also in “The Crawling Eye.”
• CreditsWatch: additional production assistants were, again, Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede. The additional production staff was, again, Jim Erickson.
• Fave riff: “Fourth floor: Tyrannical tycoons, loose women.” Honorable mention: “In space, no one can art direct.”