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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 112- Untamed Youth

Movie: (1957): Two hitchhiking sisters are sentenced to 30 days labor at a cotton farm run by a scheming, corrupt boss.

First shown: 1/27/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise, again; Tom has a tape-worm
Invention exchange: Joel shows off the “never-light” pipe; the Mads have invented tongue puppets
Host segment 1: J&tB perform a pageant dedicated to Greg Brady
Host segment 2: Crow recalls when J&tB rigged up Cambot so they can see what Gypsy is thinking
Host segment 3: Gypsy’s sick, and Tom is no help
End: Joel tries to explain the goofy guy from the movie, and reads some letters
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (122 votes, average: 4.32 out of 5)

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• The episode has some things going for it. The movie marks a real departure for the series: It’s the first non-horror/sci-fi movie of the national series. (In fact, all the movies in season one except this one would have fit easily within the restrictions Sci-Fi Channel initially imposed on the Brains.) Then there’s Mamie. All in all, it’s reasonably watchable, but the riffing is really only so-so and the host segments, like last week, seem to be either long marches to nowhere (segment 1) or disjointed messes (segment 3). If feel like it could have been better.
References.
• This episode is included in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXIX.
• Crow still has the thick chin twine.
• Tom Servo observes: “That’s the only torso I have.” That would not be true for long.
• Joel again tells the bots to “look downcast.”
• The bots wince in pain when Joel strikes a match on them. Nice touch. And Joel doesn’t seem to care! Why? Why were the bots created to feel pain?
• Born Joan Lucille Olander, you might remember Mamie’s appearance on the 1994 Turkey Day bumpers hosted by Adam West. You can read about her life in her autobiography “Playing the Field.” Mamie’s also very tech-savvy: You can visit mamievandoren.com, visit her Facebook page, visit her YouTube page or follow her on Twitter @mamievandoran. Mamie’s now semi-retired from film. But she’s still singing, and in 2010 she put an album called “Still a Troublemaker.”
• They may not have made a cotton picker out of him, but Tom’s wrong: they WERE able to make a singer out of him. That’s rockabilly star Eddie Cochran, playing a character named “Bong” (it was a simpler time). He was only 19 here, but sadly only a couple of years away from his death in a car crash at the age of 21. (Cochran holds the dubious distinction of being the youngest person to die in our MSTory database.)
• “Untamed Youth” was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency, but reportedly it only increased the film’s popularity.
• You can definitely see the blue tinting in this one.
• Strange line from the movie: “I’ll give ya an Italian haircut.” Several commenters say it means slitting a person’s throat.
• There was a certain type of MST3K fan who, when you asked them why they liked the show, would say something like “because that guy Joel was SO HIGH.” Why that would be a positive attribute of a TV show escapes me, but that’s just me. At an appearance more recently, Joel stated categorically that he was never stoned while shooting MST3K but, I gotta say, in host segment 1, he sure LOOKS it. I’m going to attribute it to Joel’s acting skills.
• Joel also almost falls over as the segment starts (though, to be fair, there was only a very small platform behind the desk for the host to stand on–the rest was an open trench where the puppeteers stood; I once stood there, and I can attest to the fact that it would be very easy for even a completely sober person to accidentally misstep and almost fall).
• I was never that much of a “Brady Bunch” fan, so I don’t really get why the detailed minutiae about the show they spout in segment 1 is funny. These season one “pageants” don’t really stand up well to repeat viewings.
• I wonder why they added the flashback element to host segment 2. Doesn’t seem necessary and certainly doesn’t add anything. To add time?
• LOTR reference: “Sauron’s dark army?”
• Callback: “No dancing.” (Crawling Hand); SPACOM! (Project Moonbase).
• We get several more uses of “Wonder what (s)he wanted…”
• Gypsy enters the theater for the first time (not counting KTMA) in this episode: Joel calls her into the theater to produce cotton in response to Tom Servo’s query (apropos of NOTHING, by the way) about what real cotton feels like (though how exactly Tom Servo would “feel” the cotton is unclear–I know, it’s just a show). Joel tells her to use her “teledyne vector” to perform this function, whatever that is.
• Gypsy’s lips fall off during a very hectic segment 3. They keep going. Then when she spits out a new Tom Servo, there’s no hand on his left arm. Either it wasn’t there to begin with, or it fell off during the fall. They keep going.
• While we’re more used to Joel stumbling over his lines, in the last half hour in the theater, Trace commits a doozy of a line flub with: “Hey, it’s Grg-brg-grg-Greg Brady!” They keep going.
• With this episode, the MST3K “Fan Club” becomes the “Information Club” in the end-of-show announcement.
• I think a brief explanation of the final musical number is called for: It feels shoehorned in, because it is. In 1957 (as this movie was being made) Harry Belafonte scored a HUGE hit with “The Banana Boat Song.” The song was mostly a hit because of its different sound and of course Harry’s charming singing style. But music promoters, as music promoters so often do, completely misread the public and decided that what the teeners wanted was calypso, calypso and MORE calypso. They didn’t, and the whole fad folded in a matter of weeks, but not before Les Baxter threw a little calypso number into this movie. (Also THIS travesty got made. Needs to be seen to be believed.)
• Stinger suggestion: Goofy guy dancing.
• Cast and crew roundup: This week they’re all in front of the camera. Lori Nelson was also in “Revenge of the Creature.” Lurene Tuttle wqas also in “Parts: The Clonus Horror. Yvonne Lime was also in “I Was A Teenage Werewolf. Robert Foulk was also in “The Indestructible Man.” Michael Emmet was also in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” And, of course, Mamie was also in “Girls Town.”
• CreditsWatch: Additional production assistants, again, were Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede; and the additional production staff was Jim Erickson. Audio post production was, again, by IVL Post in Minneapolis.
• Favorite riff: “Wait…so you’re my grandma, my sister, my mom … did you marry Bill Wyman?” Honorable mention: “And who are all these guys on the floor?”

70 Replies to “Episode guide: 112- Untamed Youth”

  1. Zee says:

    “I wonder why they added the flashback element to host segment 2. Doesn’t seem necessary and certainly doesn’t add anything. To add time?”

    Maybe they shot the sketch and then realized they screwed up and didn’t end it with movie sign, so they added in the Crow wrap-arounds to solve that

       0 likes

  2. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Ugh. Thus begins the first (non-KTMA) of the non-sci-fi, non-fantasy movies. I’m just not a fan of anything that lacks either of those qualities. There are some that are just goofy enough I can enjoy them anyway, but this isn’t. Still, it’s not all that bad. There’ll be worse ones next season. Just to be clear – I’ve no problem with the riffing in this. There’s plenty of good lines, but I just can’t get into movies like this, and thus I don’t enjoy the episode in general.
    Just one question – did the friendly educated cook not know he was serving dog food? I mean… he conscripted dishwashers with the promise of pie, so was there regular food mixed in? Or was it a dog food pie?

       2 likes

  3. Cheapskate Crow says:

    Watched it again this week, I will go so far as to put this as the best season 1 episode but I have always loved the juvenile delinquent films on MST. It was very cool to hear last year how Joel thinks I Accuse My Parents is the best episode, I totally agree!

       1 likes

  4. GonzoRedux says:

    wow, visiting Mamie’s website made a man out of me….

    and maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky, it’ll make a man out of you too.

       4 likes

  5. schippers says:

    I like #46’s post.

       1 likes

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

    Just think, this movie is only one of heaven knows how many films with the same general theme. This and “Teen-Age Crime Wave” and “High School Big Shot” and “The Violent Years” and every other film of this type covered by MST3K put together don’t even scratch the surface.

    #46: What was it with pointy bras?

    Well, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have breast implants back then. They had to work with what was available.

       1 likes

  7. pondoscp says:

    @31 – I’m still enamored with this episode, and the crystal clear official Shout! release increases my love for it more. Alas, my box did not have the Untamed Youth mini-poster in it! Oh well, movie’s the most important thing :)

       0 likes

  8. goalieboy82 says:

    off topic (since today’s birthdays are gone tomorrow).
    https://www.yahoo.com/movies/pia-zadora-defends-controversial-golden-globes-107517519172.html

       2 likes

  9. thequietman says:

    @45 For the record, Warner Bros didn’t produce “Gone With The Wind” or “Cleopatra”, although the former is now owned by them.

    After “Moon Zero Two” this is my favorite Season one episode. I know the show would do more ‘youth in trouble’ films later, but this one stands out for me because it’s a bona fide Warner Bros. production. They didn’t do too many films from the major Hollywood studios to begin with, and I think this is the only one from Warner that wasn’t merely distributed by them. To me, this film is another in Warner’s long tradition of ‘social message’ films showing corruption being overcome by the righteous (with maybe a few punches thrown along the way). If WB had done this film twenty years earlier, it probably would have starred James Cagney or the Dead End Kids and be considered a minor classic. By 1957 though, the seams were showing and they couldn’t even work up the nerve to show Tropp actually receiving his comeuppance. And shouldn’t Mrs. Tropp be receiving some sort of punishment here? She gets off scot free!

    Anyway, while the host segments are nothing to write home about, I was laughing out loud at the riffing. My highlights:

    Sheriff: You just mind your cotton picking!
    Servo: My cotton pickin’ what?

    Sheriff: Here’s some more [unintelligible] to follow the big red machine.
    Joel: What the HELL does that mean?

    Judge: It’s all perfectly legal!
    Joel: Except for the parts that aren’t.

       0 likes

  10. carjackfairy says:

    A lot of talk about the weak host segments. Definitely agree that they get a bit awkward and clunky, but no worse than many of the scifi era host segments which were just as of not more painfully unfunny. only the season 1 ones have a little bit of amateur charm to them that I can appreciate. lots of the sci fi ones are just cringeworthy. anyway I like this episode overall, the riffing is good but somewhat forgettable but the movie is entertaining enough to put it over the top. id rank it just below 104, 106, and 107. like a 6.5 out of 10, maybe a 7 if you grade it on a curve for being season one

       1 likes

  11. Sitting Duck says:

    pondoscp: Alas, my box did not have the Untamed Youth mini-poster in it!

    On a loosely related note, I recall my copy of Volume XXII having come with two copies of the Mighty Jack poster. Stuff like that just happens, I suppose.

       0 likes

  12. Edge says:

    If Tom can’t feel objects like cotton, how could he come down with Roji Panty Complex?

       1 likes

  13. littleaimishboy says:

    Presumably “Untamed Youth” inspired “Nightmare in Badham County”? (Which starred Robert Reed from “Bloodlust!”, Tina Louise from “SST – Death Flight”, and Chuck Connors from “Tourist Trap”.)

       1 likes

  14. ServoTron3000 says:

    Pre-stinger days, but the perfect stinger for this episode would have been the clip of the Greg Brady girl yelling, “Break her neck! Break her neck!”

       0 likes

  15. Stocky-the-Stock-Footage-Sprite says:

    Regarding Sampo’s comment that Joel looks sorta high in this episode, particularly in host segment 1:

    I just happened to watch “The History of MST3K (Part 1)” in the 20th Anniversary DVD set and Trace mentions there (about 22-23 minutes in) that they never did drugs while making the show, but he and Josh specifically refer to the Untamed Youth episode as the one time they (everybody?) indulged in some alcohol while working (“some Mickey’s Big Mouths and some tequila”). Trace describes it an “experiment” and a “bad creative choice,” and says they never did it again. Josh describes it as “hurting.” Sounds like it occurred on only one particular afternoon.

    I certainly don’t know if that’s why Joel may seem out-of-it at any point in this episode — Trace and Josh don’t specify during which part of the production process this “experiment” took place. It may not have been a shoot day, or maybe no footage from it was used. But I found it interesting.

       0 likes

  16. ern2150 says:

    I’d always attributed the tipsy riff anecdotes to Robot vs Aztec Mummy.

       0 likes

  17. Cornjob says:

    I found a nice Cheesecake shot of Lori Nelson on the internet. Unfortunately John Agar is in it manuevering his giant face in to dock with hers. My guess is it was taken during the Revenge of the Creature shoot.

       0 likes

  18. Cornjob says:

    The racket at the farm is a grievous sin of fraud as well as violence. And according to the cosmology laid out by Dante in the Divine Comedy those guilty of sins of fraud are placed in the deepest circles of the Inferno. I’m not sure where makers of bad movies are placed. Maybe a cheesy corner of Heaven.

       0 likes

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

    #62

    The Bots probably “evolved” as they aged. Most people are capable of things in adolescence that they weren’t capable of during childhood. Same dif. ;-)

       0 likes

  20. mnenoch says:

    These 50’s and 60’s teenagers in trouble films are fun. Decent episode, the riffing is okay and the skits are so so.

       0 likes

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