Movie: (1957) Giant scorpions emerge from a Mexican volcano and go on a rampage.
First shown: 2/3/90
Opening: The robots are throwing a party for Joel
Invention exchange: Joel has invented a man-sized party favor; the Mads have mutated
Host segment 1: J&tB attempt to speak Spanish
Host segment 2: Crow and Tom ponder the strange habits of Joel, failing to notice — until it’s too late — that Gypsy is going through some changes
Host segment 3: The Bots’ put on a puppet show; J&tB discuss stop-motion animation
End: J&tB read some letters; the Mads are starting to feel better
• This is a fun, kind of middle-of-the-road episode. The movie is really not that bad; indeed there are moments where you really can get caught up in the story (though the romance between Richard Denning and Mara Corday is completely flat). The riffing keeps up with the movie, and it’s pretty funny, which makes it, overall, a fun experience. But the host segments continue the trend of the last few episodes: they’re mostly long setups that don’t pay off.
• This episode is included in Shout!Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXX.
• This episode is captioned for the hearing impaired! Yay, Shout! However, there are a few mistakes in the captioning.
• Nice spit take from Joel in the opening.
• Josh’s make up in this show is remarkable! Quite a job. Faye Burkholder and Clayton James are listed as the makeup people in the credits. Kudos to whoever is responsible.
• Thanks to several commenters for pointing out a big goof in this episode: In the opening, Dr. F says the movie features special effects by Ray Harryhausen. It does not; the effects are by Willis O’Brien. In segment 3, Joel correctly describes Harryhausen as O’Brien’s protege, even though he doesn’t seem to be aware that O’Brien’s work is featured in the film he’s watching. In the early days, BBI didn’t do much in the way research. I suspect that, until about season six, the closest thing they had to a research library was a dog-eared copy of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide.
• They do love that “Fentonville, east of Muncie” joke, don’t they? We’ll hear it several times in the episodes ahead.
• Callback: “This is where they filmed Robot Monster!” (Actually, no.) “Scorpions like this always have lots of ice cold beer around.” (“The Crawling Hand.)
• Joel and the bots produce giant wienies and hold them up to the screen as if they are toasting them on the footage of the volcano. At lease I hope that’s what they’re supposed to be. I’m not quite sure the effect works
• In the ACEG, Mike apologizes for the use of a peeing sound effect in episode 102. But he fails to mention the applause sound effect used every time Ramos is introduced in this ep. Who’s supposed to be clapping, anyway?
• Gypsy’s scorpion tail falls off in host segment 2. They keep going.
• Crow’s Bing Crosby sounds a LOT like his Dean Martin, and vice versa.
• There’s about five minutes after segment 2 when they seem to do nothing but golf riffs. Not really sure why. The scenery in the movie doesn’t really resemble a golf course.
• We get a couple of uses of the “SEEMED like [fill in the blank] … At first!” bit.
• At the end of the closing segment, Josh simply says “Bye!” and walks off the set. And the first cast member departure takes place (if you don’t count episode 104). Weinstein used to get short-shrift by many, but I think, thanks to his excellent work on Cinematic Titanic, that’s changing. Looking back, Weinstein was clearly a gifted young man with a sense of humor and style well beyond his years. He certainly held his own in many ways with co-stars many years his senior. And Weinstein also deserves credit for another achievement–it was Weinstein that spotted struggling young comedian Michael J. Nelson and suggested he be hired.
• Stinger suggestion: A shot of the Milling Around Festival.
• Cast and crew roundup: producer Jack Dietz also worked on “The Corpse Vanishes.” ?Screen writer David Duncan also worked on “The Leech Woman” and “The Thing That Couldn’t Die.” In front of the camera, Richard Denning was also in “The Day the World Ended.” Arturo Martinez was also in “The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy.”
• CreditsWatch: Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede were, once more, additional production assistants. The additional production staff was, again, Jim Erickson and a new name: Elisabet Sandberg.
• Favorite riff: “It’s the Oaxaca steps sequence.” Honorable mention: “Remember that bad thing we saw? It looked just like this. This is bad.”