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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: 201- Rocketship X-M

Movie: (1950) A rocket ship expedition to the Moon is accidentally diverted to Mars, where the crew finds the ruins of a long-dead civilization.

First shown: 9/22/90
Opening: The SOL has a new look; Joel is working on Tom and Crow has a toothache
Invention exchange: Tom gets a new voice and when Joel calls to the Mads they meet new trainee Frank; Joel shows off the BGC-19; Frank somehow has the same idea and is punished
Host segment 1: J&tB salute to the reporters of “Rocketship X-M”
Host segment 2: Joel gives a zero-gravity humor lesson
Host segment 3: J&tB are daydreaming when Valaria from “Robot Holocaust” visits on the Hexfield
End: J&tB disapprove of the movie, Joel reads a letter, Frank learns to push the button
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (122 votes, average: 4.27 out of 5)


• And so, with the words “TURN DOWN YOUR LIGHTS (Where applicable)” the modern era of MST3K begins. This is not on DVD, but it’s one of those “transition” episodes, so it should be (though I hear the rights issues are a nightmare). It’s a quantum leap forward from season one, with an incredibly riffable movie, strong riffing all the way through and great host segments. A real winner and a series milestone.
• The stretch between the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2 was 231 days, the third-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes.
• New things: The SOL set, the Deep 13 set, Frank, Tom’s voice (Kevin), Jerry and Sylvia, Joel’s jumpsuit (it’s teal), a more-or-less final version of Tom Servo with several tweaks on the design, Alex Carr taking over as Magic Voice from Jann Johnson (except for Kevin filling in during segment 2) and the theme song has new visuals.
• Some connect this season to the show’s move from The Comedy Channel to Comedy Central, but that’s not really accurate. For the record, during the first run of season two, the show was still on The Comedy Channel. The Comedy Channel didn’t merge with Ha! until April 1, 1991. (It was known for a couple of months as CTV: The Comedy Network but there was apparently a legal dispute over that name and they had to change it.) On June 1, 1991, it became Comedy Central. That was the same day season three began. These season two episodes reran many times on Comedy Central, but I just wanted to note that when they debuted they were still on The Comedy Channel.
• Frank is terrific right off the bat and he brings a very different kind of energy.
• Dr. Erhardt is declared “missing”; as proof, Frank holds up a milk carton with his face on it. Younger folks may not understand that: back in the late ’80s, milk cartons sometimes bore the faces of “missing” kids in hopes somebody would recognize them.
• Kevin takes over as the voice of Tom Servo–but for this and several episodes, he seems to be trying to sound a bit like Josh. It would be mid-season before he would truly relax and give Tom the voice we know for the next nine seasons.
• A look at the credits confirms the swift rise to power and authority of one Michael J. Nelson–hired less than a year ago “to do some typing” he has now gained Joel’s and Jim’s trust to such an extent that he has been named Head Writer.
• Tom’s neck has extended before (during the “rock ’em sock ’em robots” bit, for one instance) but it now extends much further in the opening and invention exchange segments.
• The set is, of course, a massive re-think, its formerly blank walls are now plastered with every weird piece of junk you can imagine. Also new is the hexfield viewscreen and that floor-level hatch, supposedly Joel’s entrance to the “spiral on down” which leads to the theater (although it was later put to other uses).
• The new counter at which J&tB stand is there at one moment, then miraculously vanishes a moment later when Joel demonstrates the BGC19. Then it’s back again right before movie sign.
• The mole people are not yet working the camera in Deep 13. Dr. F. is controlling it via a button on the techtronic panel.
• Dr. F sounds a lot like Crow when he yells “What? NO!”
• Joel has movie sign alone and arrives in the theater with Tom and Crow already there waiting for him.
• Movie trivia: “Rocketship X-M” is considered by some to be a ground-breaking sci-fi movie, because it was the first American film to depict space travel seriously for an adult audience. It was made very quickly to beat George Pal’s “Destination Moon” to the theaters, yet some consider it the better of the two. Its unhappy ending was very unusual for its time (or today for that matter). The exterior Martian scenes were filmed in Death Valley, Calif.
• J&tB supply the lyrics to the “Rocketship XM” theme. It will not be the last time we get new lyrics to an insipid theme.
• “Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down?” is a lyric by the great Tom Lehrer. (Look him up, kids.)
• Tom seems to go out of his way to say “Mike Nelson of ‘Sea Hunt’ fame.” What other Mike Nelsons are there?
• The first host segment is wordy–almost overwritten compared to what we’re used to–but very funny. It’s a vast departure from the sort of segments we were getting at the end of season 1. But why is Joel reading the movie still’s time code at the end of each of his lines?
• The second host segment is a true classic–one of the cleverest of the entire series–and it gives the viewer a small primer of the MST3K sensibility and worldview. From “The Flying Nun” to Gallagher, we get a sense of what the Brains think is funny and not funny. The only technical problem with the bit is that we never get a clear look at the floating wrench–Tom’s bubble is in the way.
• Movie observation: I love the moment when the two scientists have work out the problem out with pencils—a process that one says will take hours. Ah, the days before calculators.
• Callback: “Spacom!” (Project Moonbase). “Dames like this always got beer around” (The Crawling Hand).
• In segment 3 we get the series’ first hexfield viewscreen visitor (Mike Nelson, in his first on-camera appearance) doing an impression of evil vixen Valaria from “Robot Holocaust.” Folks who had not seen that episode must have been pretty baffled.
• The hexfield viewscreen is obviously still a work in progress: its opening appears to be a window shade, and then Mike just switches off a light at the end–but we can still see him!
• Then-current catchphrase: Hello, Federal!
• Stinger suggestion: “MAHS! Extending us a velcome!”
• Cast and crew roundup: This is our first exposure to the work of Robert L. Lippert, who also was the executive producer for “Jungle Goddess,” “Lost Continent,” “King Dinosaur,” “Radar Secret Service” and “Last of the Wild Horses.” Writer Orville Hampton also worked on “Lost Continent.” Cinematographer Karl Struss also worked on “The Rebel Set.” Editor Harry Gerstad also worked on “The Magic Sword.” Special effects guy Jack Rabin also worked on “Robot Monster,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent” and “Invasion USA.” Special effects guy/matte painter Irving A. Block also worked on “Viking Women.” Makeup guy Don Cash also worked on “The Crawling Hand.” Production designer/art director Theobold Holsopple also worked on “The Indestructible Man” and the short “Once Upon A Honeymoon.” Production manager Betty Sinclair also worked on “The Unearthly.” Set designer Clarence Steensen also worked on “The Leech Woman.” And, of course, this is our first exposure to musical score composer, Albert Glasser, who worked on 11 MSTed movies. In front of the camera, Judd Holdren, who plays one of the reporters, can also be seen in “The Amazing Colossal Man and “Manhunt in Space.”
• CreditsWatch: This is a big one. Mole person Jerry was played by intern Brent Peterson; mole person Sylvia was played by BBI staffer Alex Carr. “Head writer: Michael J. Nelson” appears for the first time. Josh is, of course, gone from the writers list and Frank is added. The credit for “Joel Hodgson’s Puppet Bots” is gone. Host segments “produced” by Jim Mallon. (For the rest of the season it would say “directed” by.) Trace is listed as “Special guest ‘villian’ (misspelled)” and it says “Introducing” Frank Conniff. Of course, the Dr. Erhardt credit is gone and Tom Servo’s has changed. “Toolmaster: Jef Maynard” appears for the first time. Production assistant is now Jann L. Johnson alone (gone are Steve Rosenberer and Sara J. Sandborn). “Special Effects and Other Fancy Stuff: Trace Beaulieu” appears for the first time, as does “Additional Visual Effects: Industrial Plumbing and Heating.” “Editor: Tim Paulson” appears for the first time. Under “Lighting,” Ken Fournelle has been added. “Audio: John Calder” appears for the first time. Make-up: Faye Burkholder. Interns: Nathan Molstead, Tamra Lewis, Amy Kane, James Smith, Michelle Molhan and Robert Czech. “Video Services: Fournelle Video Production Services” appears for the first time. Special thanks: removed from the list are “KTMA TV23,” David Cambell and Rick Leed and “Skyline Displays Inc.” has been added. “Shot entirely on location at Best Brains Studios, Minneapolis,” “Filmed in Shadowrama” and “Keep circulating the tapes” appear for the first time.
• Fave riff: “I thought ‘wormfood’ was a bit strong, Lloyd.” Honorable mention: “There’s a Mr. ‘Oh My God My Hair Is On Fire’ on line one, sir.”

112 Replies to “Episode guide: 201- Rocketship X-M”

  1. big61al says:

    A favorite of mine. We get Frank and Kevin and a new set and much improved riffing. Bad 1950’s space flicks are what the show was created to rip to pieces. I too am hoping for a proper release in the future. So what do say sirs? HMMMMM.


  2. NoTrafficAccidents says:

    @ post #37

    Frank didn’t know it was wrong to steal. Who are you to judge?


  3. Ralph C. says:

    I discovered MST3K in the latter part of Season 1, so this episode was the first season I watched from the beginning. I though TV’s Frank was great and one could easily tell there was a different energy, like the show finally got its sea legs, so to speak. Season 1 was fun because it was a t.v. show that did what my friend and I used to do on our own– make fun of bad movies.

    By this time my lungs were.. no, wait… take two. *clack*

    By this time, I was hooked on the show. Season 2 began my consistent efforts to watch the show, actually making time in my day when it was on. Not long after did it become my favorite television show of all-time.

    When I saw the Valaria sketch, I wasn’t confused, though I didn’t see the episode that character was in. I laughed hard. I just thought it was a silly character they did and sort of figured it might have been someone they encountered before, somewhere in a season 1 or KTMA episode I hadn’t seen at the time.

    I gave this episode five stars. In addition to being a pretty fun episode, it was the true beginning of my weekly obsession with MST3K, an obsession that I would pass on to a few of my friends along the way.

    Mystery Science Theater 3000: The gift that keeps on giving.


  4. Ralph C. says:

    I believe what Kevin Murphy was doing with his early Tom Servo voice is similar to what John Romita, Sr. was doing when he took over “Amazing Spider-Man” after Steve Ditko left after issue 38.

    What you do, to aid in the transition from one artist to another (from Josh to Kevin and from Ditko to Romita, Sr.) is you mimic, if even a little bit, some of the old for a period of time, slowly bringing more of the current artist/performer’s traits along until the performer does what they do best.

    One doesn’t always want to jolt their audience.


  5. frostyplum says:

    haters gotta hate, I guess. personally, I love this episode. I didn’t see it until I dated a guy who used to tape episodes off CC as a kid. as soon as I saw it, I recognized what a great new beginning they were onto with Kevin (and I hadn’t even seen any Josh episodes!).

    like 12 to the Moon and First Spaceship on Venus, RX-M was pretty progressive for its time. I can’t see NASA putting a woman into space in 1950, even if she was subjugated at every turn. besides, assuming her figures wouldn’t have gotten them killed too, she was right in the end. I also liked how they delved into possible problems a space mission would have, instead of the usual smooth sailing of ’50s sci-fi movies (Cracker Jack asteroids excepted). anyway, the “boring talky parts” are my favorite; with all their flight issues, the planet exploration feels like an afterthought. oh, and who could forget the proud Texan who doesn’t sound like a Texan at all?

    favorite future callback fodder: “…and an old friend.”

    one question: when Dr. F punishes Frank for stealing Joel’s invention and almost bringing the SOL down, what the heck is he doing?? it looks like he’s yanking the elastic from Frank’s waistband, but I could be way off base. must be a guy thing.


  6. trickymutha says:

    There was a character named Mike Nelson on Twin Peaks


  7. Seth @ #46:

    K12 – Fugitive Alien mentions the “spiral-on-down.” Sampo I discussed it in that Episode Guide entry. It was actually first named in an earlier episode than that but I don’t remember which one. It was neither shown nor explained back then.


  8. i'm not a medium, i'm a petite says:

    Why do people believe that “of Sea Hunt fame” has to be a ‘distinguisher’ ( from other Mike Nelsons ), when it’s just a red-carpet/chat-show type of intro / identifier ?

    It’s no different then saying “hey it’s Urkel from TV’s Family Matters”.


  9. crowschmo says:

    ‘Kay – sooo – they’re going to the MOON and they go off course and end up on MARS?!! That’s REALLY getting LOST! :silly: How long were they OUT THERE?!! And I’m sorry – the Earth would NOT look like a big beach ball looking at it from near Mars.

    And those asteroids just whizzed by the window without causing any damage. Whew! Close one! :shock: :giggle:
    But, thank God Mars has such a great ATMOSHPERE – you can just walk around like your in Death Valley, no prob. :-/

    This one is a fun episode. New look. New energy. Good host segments. Mostly good riffs, not as draggy as earlier eps. A good start to the new season.

    Some faves:

    “Does ‘expedition’ start with an ‘x’?” – Crow

    “Dirk Squarejaw.” – Joel

    “The rest of the movie takes place in space – you can all go home now.” – Joel

    (When they jettison the tail section) “Well, we won’t be trying THAT again.” – Joel

    “Oh – chauvanist detector just went off.” – Joel

    “Well, we stared at it – that oughtta fix it.” – Joel

    “Dear Diary: Well, we’re all going to die and it’s all the men’s fault.” – Crow

    “Thank you, Mr. White Male Reality.” – Joel

    Crow in his “industry” voice: “Meanwhile, back on Earth, silos are bursting with nature’s rich bounty.”

    “Oh, that IS romantic – think I’ll go slit my wrists.” – Joel

    (When Lloyd -was he Floyd in this? couldn’t always hear the ‘f’s -says to Lisa – “Did you ever park in an open convertible on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific?”) Joel says, “And then drive off, laughing maniacally?”

    (The instruments must’ve gone crazy) Servo: “They’re certifiably insane!”

    Crow says, (making fun of Floy’d endless story telling) “You know, I was once on a tilt-a-whirl…”
    Joel and Servo: “Shut UP!”

    And many more… :yes:


  10. crowschmo says:

    Oh, yeah: (Should we wake him?) Crow: “Why, so he could experience fiery death?”

    and it’s “you’re” in Death Valley -not your.

    and that wink at the end of “Pacific” was supposed to be a closing parenthesi, not a wink. ;-)


  11. dsman71 says:

    I love this episode..this is my favorite Season..Im lucky most of Season 2 has come out, but what hasnt would be a real treat for me..I loved the Lippert titles, the bikers …the season has a great feel when I watch and love Joels jumpsuits this season..he wore 4 different colors…


  12. crowschmo says:

    Experience HIS OWN fiery death – sheesh.


  13. Gorn Captain says:

    I was in a sandwich place last week for dinner, and in walks Lloyd Bridge’s clone! This guy was the spitting image of the young Lloyd! (With just a touch of Jeff.) I tried not to stare, as all those riffs echoed through my head.

    Sea Hunt is back on tv now, (on the This TV channel) so I bet this fellow gets stared at a lot.


  14. Cheapskate Crow says:

    This episode had me starting with Servo’s “I’ve been to paradise, but never been to me” line (I was really sick of that song back when it was popular and hadn’t thought of it in many years). I agree with everyone else about the massive jump in quality this episode started and I am excited to now relive the classic era of this show as many of these episodes I haven’t seen in a long time. Everyone else has hit the high points such as the Funny/Unfunny classic. I didn’t even think of the Marooned threat, too bad they actually got the rights as I remember that episode being not very good while this one was stellar. I give it 4 stars.


  15. Brandon says:

    As Dean B. once said about Whose Line is it Anyway?, “Hey, that first season wasn’t so bad! They made another one, didn’t they? And it was one of the better ones too!”

    I think we can safely say that this goes for MST3K as well.

    201- Rocketship X-M

    Plot: All about a crew on a ship called “Expedition Moon”. That’s what X-M stands for. I though Expedition started with an ‘E’?

    Host Segments:
    Opening: Joel presents the new look for the SOL. Crow has a toothache, and Joel is getting ready to install Servo with a brand new voice.
    Invention Exchange: Joel’s BGC19; Frank presents his own original invention, the BGC1- wait…
    Segment 1: A tribute to the astronauts of X-M.
    Segment 2: Joel presents objects that are funny or not funny when floating.
    Segment 3: J&TB discuss philosiphies. Valeria randomly appears in the Hexfield Viewscreen.
    Ending: J&TB read a letter.

    Memorable riffs:
    Crow: “Assembly today? That means no class!”

    Scientist: “I must make something clear…”
    Servo: “I’m wearing a bra.”

    Scientist: “Today you’re all here to witness an important event…”
    Joel: “My outing!”

    Servo: “Dad, stop! We lost the camper!”

    *classic music plays on the soundtrack*
    Servo: “Oh now who turned on the radio?”

    Servo: “Uh-oh! He’s waking up! Quick, tell that story again!”

    Character in movie: “816!”
    Servo: “You sunk my battleship!”

    (scientist randomly touches the others’ shoulders)
    Joel: “Duck… duck… goose!”

    (shot of Mars)
    Joel: “Looks like Art Carney.”

    Crow (as Lloyd Bridges): “You know once I was on a Tilt-a-Whirl..”
    Joel and Servo: “SHUT UP!!!”

    (scientist holds up spacesuit)
    Scientist: “I’ve been itching to get into one of these.”
    Servo: “My grandmother’s skin.”

    Joel: “Who brought the sandwiches?”
    Crow: “Uh… sandwiches?”

    Crow: “Alright, if we don’t find a bush or a tree in the next two miles, well, just go anywhere.”

    (astronauts stand over a cliff)
    *J&TB make spitting sounds*

    Crow: “Oh, shut up! Ever since we left, all we’ve heard out of you is Texas this and Texas that. We’ll listen Bob, I’ve been to Texas and it’s not all that great!”

    Servo: “Hey they’re shooting 2001 down there!”

    Servo: “Do they have rocks that big in Texas, Bill?”

    Joel: “You move the head, I’ll do the voice!”

    Joel: “Well, at least he hasn’t been hit by a rock yet.”
    (Moon Man throws heavey rock on astronaut)
    Servo: “Good shot!”

    Crow: “If I held you any tighter I’d be in back of you.”

    Fav. Riff:
    Character in Movie: “Come in X-M!”
    Character: “Repeat that again, Dr. Van Horn.”

    -Hoo boy. Lots of debuts here. The first time we see the “Turn down your lights” graphic, first time we see the Joel-era opening theme that most fans are familiar with, first time we see the more detailed SOL set, first episode with Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo (also his debut role on the show), first episode with the mole people, and last but not least, our introduction to Dr. F’s most popular assistant, Frank played by Frank Conniff.

    -Joel’s wearing a green jumpsuit as opposed to the normal red one.

    -Kevin here uses a much deeper voice for Servo (even moreso than Josh used). Kevin’s Servo voice would become less deep gradually before settling on a “finalized” voice in Season 4.

    -Frank simply holds up a milk carton with Larry’s face on it, and says that “He’s missing.” On that note, we never actually do find out what happened to him. Although Larry is mentioned once in a later Season 3 episode.

    -At one point Joel riffs, “Goodnight Mike Nelson of Seahunt fame.” Mike Nelson was a character that Lloyd Bridges played in Seahunt, although I’m sure some MSTies who aren’t aware of that movie must think Joel is referring to Mike Nelson, MST3K’s head writer and latter show host.

    -The Sebastian Cabot reference in segment 2 always cracks me up to no end. Apologies to Mr. Cabot.

    -The font for the MST Info Club text has changed, although it’s still yellow.

    -Mike Nelson is the first person to appear in the Hexfield Viewscreen. He’s playing the role of Valeria from the movie “Robot Holcaust.”

    -Joel asks why Dr. F doesn’t just show them ‘Marooned’. Dr. F replies, “We couldn’t get it.” They actually do get it in season 4.

    Best segment: Valeria was my favorite character in “Robot Holocaust”. So with an unbiased mind, I’m going to pick Segment 3.
    Worst Segment: I couldn’t really get into Segment 1.

    Overall: Wow. Just…. wow. It’s amazing how quickly they turned themsleves around from the end of season 1 to, the start of season 2. It’s a massive difference in terms of laughter and jokes. I had a hell of a time deciding which ones I liked best, because they’re all so good. One of the best episodes of the whole series. This is the first time in which I honestly have to give an episode the full four stars.
    Rating: ****


  16. pondoscp says:

    @55, I’ll second that: seriously, what is Dr. F doing to Frank that causes Owee owee owee how was I to know it was wrong to steal? who are you to judge?

    Funny or not funny, goodnight Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt fame, Thruster Buster, awesome episode. Frank is my favorite, any episode with him is good. Everyone else is great too, but Frank was who first got my attention on the program.

    My copy has little trivia bits about the movie, sponsored by CocaCola, in between the commercial breaks. Anybody else have that version?


  17. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Dr F is pulling a peice of rope out through frank’s pants/underpants causing rope burn ? Yes I’m sure it’s painful but for that payoff it seems like an awful lot of setup, and reuqiring the cooperation of the victim, Is this cannonical in locker rooms somehwere ?


  18. Dr. Ted "Hotcha!" Nelson says:

    The “Shakka lakka boom boom” was from “Do the Dinosaur” by Was Not Was, an 80’s one-hit wonder.


  19. Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ #68: Sly And The Family Stone’s song with Boom-shaka-laka is much older than any 80’s song and the words in the Sly Stone song are uttered exactly as they were later uttered in this episode of MST3K.


  20. Keith Palmer says:

    I have to admit that the movie is one of the few in the “MST3K canon” I knew about before the series itself… and not even in a “bad movie” sort of way; “getting to see one of the very first 1950s SF movies” was a definite draw for me in seeking out this episode. With that said, I can also see how Rocketship X-M fits into the MST3K viewpoint itself, with the casual sexism and dodgy science. Still, I might not be watching it just for the riffs…


  21. Sitting Duck says:

    NoTrafficAccidents #52: Frank didn’t know it was wrong to steal.

    Perhaps he could accuse his parents.

    frostyplum #55: one question: when Dr. F punishes Frank for stealing Joel’s invention and almost bringing the SOL down, what the heck is he doing?? it looks like he’s yanking the elastic from Frank’s waistband, but I could be way off base.

    I haven’t seen this episode myself, but from the description you give, it sounds like Dr. F is administering a wedgie.


  22. rcfagnan says:

    @68 & 69-
    It could be the Brains combining/confusing/mixing the two as they later did with “I thought you were Dale!”


  23. JCC says:

    #66 –

    Yeah I do, it’s the DAP DVD version taped from the (IMO) awesome midnight repeats from the summer of 1995. They showed little interesting factoids about the movie being shown which got progressively less interesting as the summer came to an end. I think Time of the Apes said something like “Time of the Apes is a Japanese ripoff of Planet of the Apes.”

    I’m enamored of these repeats because it was the first time I saw pretty much all of those episodes.


  24. Cronkite Moonshot says:

    @ frostyplum #55 and pondoscp #66… I always though that Dr. F was putting a piece of rope in the back of Frank’s pants and then quickly pulling it out to give him a rope burn on his hinder. I could definitely see that as the type of thing that Dr. F would do, and oddly enough I could easily imagine Frank going along with the setup, allowing the rope to be placed in his pants.

    “Here Frank, put this length of rope down your pants”



  25. RGA Dave says:

    This episode may not be ‘available’ on DVD, but I have it on DVD.


  26. JeremyR says:

    I only watch this until the actually take off into space. Then it just becomes unpleasant and not a little creepy. Heck, it’s almost like a Lifetime movie.

    But the riffing is really top notch, as are the segments.


  27. Re. “boom-shaka-laka”

    Whoops, sorry me (28) and CM (18) but the correct answer is Sly Stone’s “I Wanna Take You Higher,” correctly identified by Beef @ #30. Good catch…


  28. dale says:

    One of the first episodes I saw. I have a tape made by a friend with all three Robert L. Lippert movies. The others being “rock climbing” and “joey the lemur”.

    “nice brains”


  29. Creepygirl says:

    I really loved this episode and kinda wished it was the first episode on the Shout! Factory 20th Anniversary box set back in the day. In one episode it would of answerd a lot of questions for newbies and it was funny.

    The movie is not all that bad and the riffing is wonderful. The host segments are some of my favorites but all are tops. The writting seemed very different from season one. It seems with adding Frank and promoting Mike to Head Writer everything began to jell.

    I give this episode 4 out of 5 stars.


  30. losingmydignity says:

    Yeah, count me in. A great one right out of the gate. I consider this the first “real” episode of the show.
    The riffing is solid though there are occasional slow patches. The riffing that nails the sexism in the scene between Bridges and the girl on the spaceship is a highlight. And the host segs are good too…I actually really love the charm of the drawn shade etc in the hexfield. The more slick the show got the less I liked that aspect of the show (the host segs).
    Solid B+ (and we have Jungle Goddess and Rocket Attack to look forward to! Yay, Season Two)


  31. toot-tootoot-toot says:

    I think this is the most IMPORTANT episode of the entire series- don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s the BEST. There’s so many vast improvements in all aspects of the show- the writing is so much better, way better riffs, way better Servo, Frank’s there…what’s not to get excited about? If they droned on with Season One-like monotony I think the series would be over quick. Great revamp and it paved the way for the classics of following seasons.


  32. bobhoncho says:

    My first episode, most likely, unless I was still in the hospital. I was 3 days old when this ep premiered. And who knows if our cable company in Ann Arbor, MI carried The Comedy Channel then.


  33. schippers says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t comment on this episode four years ago. It’s fantastic. I normally only comment on the movies when I do, but this time I want to specifically remark on a bit from the second host segment – Joel makes the little crack about “levity” and follows it up with something like, “Just a little something for the TAs.” That makes me laugh out loud every time I hear it.

    Oh what the heck, I’ll talk about the movie, too – it IS much better than Destination Moon. It’s really the prototypical 50s rocketship movie.

    Ah if only it were that easy to get to Mars. Right, NASA?


  34. Sitting Duck says:

    MikeK: Hey, I was a kid during the 1980s and I know about the faces of missing children on milk cartons.

    Was it because you were on them? :P


  35. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I forgot how much I hate Lippert films, they all seem to have rock climbing or some variant thereof. The Golden Age of the show truly begins here, the host segments are much better than anything else to date and of course TV’s Frank makes his debut. I appreciate Josh’s work more than I used to but I still think Kevin was a much better Servo, but he is the first Servo I heard so I am probably biased. If only this classic lineup could have stayed together longer…

    As for sexism, I don’t think this comes close to Project Moonbase, which is still one of the more hateful movies I have ever seen from that time period.


  36. senorpogo says:

    There’s a typo in the bullet points as you seem to have transposed the C and G in BGC-19.


  37. Sampo says:

    There’s a typo in the bullet points as you seem to have transposed the C and G in BGC-19.

    oops! thanks!


  38. Loran Alan Davis says:

    Just a clarification: Albert Glasser was the orchestrator and conductor for the film’s score. Ferde Grofe composed the music.


  39. pondoscp says:

    I’ve always thought that it wasn’t so much a rights issue to release this one on DVD, as it is that Shout! has cleared so much other big studio stuff that needs to come out first. I have faith that Rocketship X-M is coming. I mean, we finally got Jungle Goddess, so it’ll happen.
    And yes, this is a brilliant, seminal episode. Where would we be without it? I love Season 1, but here’s where the show really begins.
    (And I still don’t know what Forrester is doing to Frank’s pants! Hopefully it’ll be explained in a dvd extra. lol)


  40. JeremyR says:

    In retrospect, all the mockery about racism and sexism strikes me as hypocritical, because the show really couldn’t get any whiter or maler. (You still get this with Rifftrax, even though nothing has changed in the basic lineup of the show)

    Even when they finally add a female character, she’s a stereotype of a bossy woman.

    While I think there’s nothing wrong with that, at the same time, it’s silly to make fun of other movies/shows that did the same thing as you are doing now, especially when it’s supposedly such a more enlightened age now…


  41. EricJ says:

    Also, guess someone at this point should state for the record that it’s Mike as Valeria who first quoted “Yew and your dawter are dewwmed”, which, as all good MSTies know, Angelika Jager never said in “Robot Holocaust”.


  42. Cornjob says:

    I enjoy Seasons K and 1 more each time I watch them. And as much as I enjoy them and Josh, this is where the show really takes off. I still think Josh was perfect as Servo, he and Trace never got the kind of chemistry that Frank and Trace did. Have we had a weekend discussion about what could have happened to Dr. Airheart?

    Apparently space travel is like riding the bus. If you sleep through the stop at your intended celestial body you just get off at the next one.

    It was at least a decade between seeing this and seeing Robot Holocaust. Which made seeing Robot Holocaust even more of a treat discovering what the heck the Valeria host segment was referencing.

    For all it’s cheesiness the movie isn’t half bad. I like destroyed civilizations and noble deaths in a movie. When Bridges replies, “Do we have enough to crash?” to the news that they didn’t have enough fuel to land, he mirrored my own thought exactly. In space a crash landing is better than no landing. A bit like the riff in Anaconda about prefering a cap in the ass to a fish in the d!@k.


  43. snowdog says:

    Couple things I noticed this time through:

    It’s funny that, at T-minus 16 minutes, the crew are holding a press conference instead of being strapped in and running endless checks. Even at T-minus 4 minutes, they’re still milling around outside. It’s a wonder the rocket didn’t leave without them! Also, one astronaut seems taken by surprise at the changes in gravity! Did they do no training?


  44. Bruce Boxliker says:

    @93 – I know! It’s the most casual rocket launch ever. “Launch is in 5 minutes? No worries. Wanna grab something to eat?”.

    Great episode! I love 50s rocket movies. Throughout movies like this we’re constantly reminded of just how little people knew about space travel back then. Great riffing, host segments varying from moderate (the reporter roundup) to excellent (selective gravity) to odd (Valeria).

    Cronkite Moonshot: I always though that Dr. F was putting a piece of rope in the back of Frank’s pants and then quickly pulling it out to give him a rope burn on his hinder. I could definitely see that as the type of thing that Dr. F would do, and oddly enough I could easily imagine Frank going along with the setup, allowing the rope to be placed in his pants.

    Hey, he’s the new guy. He shouldn’t question the dress code.


  45. 70's run on car says:

    19th century Victorians did not balk at writing **** Whale.


  46. EricJ says:

    I enjoy Seasons K and 1 more each time I watch them. And as much as I enjoy them and Josh, this is where the show really takes off. I still think Josh was perfect as Servo, he and Trace never got the kind of chemistry that Frank and Trace did. Have we had a weekend discussion about what could have happened to Dr. Airheart?

    TV’s Frank was made out of Conniff’s shtick of corny overacted cliche’s, but Josh’s take on Erhardt was, in a word, “sniveling”. Good for local stations, maybe, but not too much long-range comic potential in sniveling.

    And as for “what happened to Erhardt”, I always took his showing up on the milk carton as pretty much in the same spirit as that lost Bundy kid on that one season of Married: With Children, who showed up on a milk carton the next season without explanation. Suspiciously, none of the characters seemed to be in a hurry to provide one. :)


  47. thequietman says:

    After watching Season 1 straight through I can definitely see now how much of a jolt this episode gave viewers and how much the quality jumped in the space between seasons across almost all fronts, from the riffing to the set to the performers.

    But besides the incredible downer of an ending, I had forgotten the crew had reached flippin’ MARS instead! Although it does posit an interesting contrast to the conception of what exists on Mars in George Pal’s “War of the Worlds”.

    I don’t really care one way or the other about Servo’s new voice, because Murphy’s timing was on point from the word go. It’s Servo who gives me my fave riff (at the news conference): In a few minutes I’ll be slicing these people OPEN!


  48. Cornjob says:

    “TV’s Frank was made out of Conniff’s shtick of corny overacted cliche’s.”

    Who are you to judge?


  49. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    I rewatched this episode last night for the first time in ages and while it’s better then I remember, I also forgot how freakin’ annoying all the characters are.

    The smarmy casual sexism of Lloyd Bridges, the Texan who just wouldn’t shut the f- up about Texas, the female scientist who’s actually competent up until the very end when she gets all “OMG you were right, I really am just a stupid woman who screwed everything up!”, and the two other guys who we don’t really know(forget ’em!)

    Yeah, having a press conference 15 minutes before launch is just… and the whole selective gravity thing… the “we don’t need pressure suits because Mars has an atmosphere” despite not being anything like Earth’s atmosphere(Mars sure is a bright, sunny place)… really, I know this movie is old but stuff like that still gives me an aneurism.

    My favorite moment has to be when they end up at Mars, and then look back through the other window at Earth and I’m like “Mars may be our nearest neighbor, but it’s not THAT close”.


  50. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Couple things I noticed this time through:

    It’s funny that, at T-minus 16 minutes, the crew are holding a press conference instead of being strapped in and running endless checks. Even at T-minus 4 minutes, they’re still milling around outside. It’s a wonder the rocket didn’t leave without them! Also, one astronaut seems taken by surprise at the changes in gravity! Did they do no training?

    Well, the space program was a lot more casual back then. This was before NASA got all formal and everything.
    Most people do not realize that Alan Shepard was out grabbing a smoke up until T-Minus 5 minutes and counting.

    Ah, those were the days.
    Now it is all formal and by the book and stuff.
    Back then you could launch into space form your back yard. (Missile to the Moon)


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