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Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

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Episode guide: 203- Jungle Goddess (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 1: ‘The Menacing Power’)

Short: (1939) A mad scientist plans to sell his fiendish inventions — a huge robot, invisibility belt and exploding mechanical spiders — to foreign powers. In the opener, he fakes his death, then sabotages a plane carrying his enemies.
Movie: (1948) Hoping to get a reward, two pilots set out to rescue an heiress lost in the African jungle. They find her being worshiped by a native tribe.

First shown: 10/6/90
Opening: J&tB are playing hide and seek with the elusive and inexplicable forces that control the universe
Invention exchange: Joel demonstrates his radio arm saw; meanwhile Dr. F.’s head is fused to a sax
Host segment 1: J&tB present the “Bela’s OK Discoveries” infomercial; the Mads introduce the feature
Host segment 2: Joel demonstrates “gobos” using Cambot
Host segment 3: Two white devils visit on the Hexfield
End: J&tB in an episode of “My White Goddess,” letters, Frank mimics Dr. F.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (114 votes, average: 4.18 out of 5)

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• This one is just fair for me. The short is fun (though the print is really terrible) and movie is stupid but watchable. But riffing is only really strong in spots, while in other places it drags. And I don’t think much of the host segments.
• This episode is included in Shout’s MST3K: Volume XXXI, The Turkey Day Collection.
References.
• Tom’s neck extends in the opening.
• Joel’s jumpsuit is still teal.
• Once again the desk on the SOL conveniently vanishes when Joel needs more room for his invention, then reappears a moment later.
• Again Dr. F is performing experiments on himself. He would soon wise up.
• I suspect they chose to riff on “The Phantom Creeps” just so that Joel, Trace and Kevin could do their Bela Lugosi impressions. They all seem quite proud of them.
• In “Mad Monster,” the scientist was at least a patriot—he was planning to give his creations to the American military. Bela seems bent on selling his creations to foreigners (gasp!).
• Catchphrases from this episode: “How fortunate! It seemplifies everything!” “I’d love a hamburger sandwich and some french fried pototoes!” (Did anybody ever introduce Greta to the happy cook in “I Accuse My Parents”?)
• Callbacks: “The power of the dark one.” (Robot Holocaust). “Mars! Extending us a velcome!” “We’re on our way!” (Rocketship XM).
• For those who don’t understand segment 1, infomercials were brand new back then and I guess the Brains thought they were ripe for parody. The problem is the sketch, in my opinion, has nothing clever or original to say about infomercials, and goes on about two minutes too long. Plus, unless you actually WATCHED infomercials, you wouldn’t really get it. I always avoided infomercials like the plague so, to me, the whole thing was just a big bore. By the way, the disc rolls right off the satellite dish and out of frame. They keep going.
• The Brains tried something different with this episode: Dr. F. introduces the short and, after it’s over, during the next segment, we return to Deep 13 so he can introduce the main feature. They didn’t do it much after this.
• Naughty riff: “Then I gotta wait a few minutes before I can leave.”
• Segment 2 is very Ernie Kovacs-ey. You can see the early seeds of “The TV Wheel.” It’s not terribly funny, though some of the comments by the bots are fun.
• Segment 3 has Jim Mallon’s first on-camera appearance (as “Imperialistic Alien #2”), and of course that’s Mike, in his third Hexfield appearance, along with him. The sketch, however, is pretty dry. Several commenters were annoyed by the toy gun Jim is using. The noise it makes sounds very little like a machine gun.
• This movie is only 62 minutes long, but apparently the Brains were forced to cut a chunk anyway: When J&tB leave the theater for segment 3, Mike, Bob and Greta are all peacefully coexisting around the campfire at night. When they return to the theater, it’s daytime and Mike and Bob are in the midst of another fistfight.
• The ending sketch is cute, but, I dunno, they’ve already done several of these “unfunny sitcom with a laugh track” sketches in both KTMA and season 1. It feels like they’re going over old territory. Also, note that Tom’s arm works in that sketch.
• The ending sketch is the beginning of the story of how Crow ended up being called “Art” (mostly by Pearl, later in the series.) After the “My White Goddess” sketch, Joel imitates Jackie Gleason who, at the end of his TV show, would come back out wearing a dressing gown and bring out his cast members, also in dressing gowns, for another bow. One of those cast members, for many years, was Art Carney, and Gleason would shout his name with considerable gusto, as Joel does when he shouts “Art Crow!” Some little kid saw that and, not understanding the reference, just assumed that Crow’s name was Art. When he wrote them a letter, which was read in season four, he drew a picture of Crow and labeled it “Art.”
• Frank mimicking Dr. F at the end sounds like an outgrowth of the way J&tB were mimicking Bob the white devil during the movie.
• Stinger suggestion: Witch doctor has an outburst, is shouted down by Greta and looks embarrassed.
• Cast/crew roundup: Robert L. Lippert was the producer; we’ve done that litany. Score composer Irving Gertz also worked on “The Leech Woman” and “The Deadly Mantis.” In front of the camera, Ralph Byrd also appears in “Radar Secret Service.” Smoki Whitfield is also in “The Rebel Set.” Fred Coby is also in “The Brute Man.”
• CreditsWatch: Dr. F is still a “special guest villian” (misspelled). Mole person Jerry is played by intern Jim Smith. Jef Maynard again listed twice. “Introducing Frank Conniff” appears for the final time. The lyrics for the song “My White Goddess” were by Jim Mallon and Frank Conniff (an interesting teaming). Music by Michael J. Nelson. It is sung by “The Kevins” (which I assume means Kevin Murphy, overdubbing himself).
• Fave riff from the short: “Put that lampshade on your head, tie femur bones around your waist and dance naked in the moonlight!” Honorable mention: “Burn the file on the electric dance belt and pick up my manhood—it’s under the chair.”
• Favorite riff: “She thinks we speak English!” Honorable mention: “Phone THIS into Perry White!” and “We’re already pretty guarded.”

106 Replies to “Episode guide: 203- Jungle Goddess (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 1: ‘The Menacing Power’)”

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

    Personally, I think the Mike era tended to have better theater riffs but the Joel era tended to have better host segments because of better (for lack of a more suitable term) chemistry between Joel and the Bots; IMHO Mike was less of a “weird-*ss-stuff-outta-nowhere” guy than Joel. I wouldn’t make blanket statements about either era or either area, though.

    “I Love Lucy” was funny to the audiences of its era. That’s what counted.

    ***

    “In “Mad Monster,” the scientist was at least a patriot—he was planning to give his creations to the American military. Bela seems bent on selling his creations to foreigners (gasp!).”

    Well, to be fair, it was 1939. The USA hadn’t entered the war yet, so “patriotism” wouldn’t have been as much of an issue.

    I suspect that Dr. Zorka planned to do business with the dreaded commies, and that was the real root of the problem; certainly, not many people objected to American businesses working with *Germany* at the time. Figure that crud out.

    As a trivia note (OSLT), per 1955’s “Bride of the Monster,” Zorka’s brother/cousin/clone Dr. Vornoff was exiled from his European country (the USSR? Germany? Ukrainia, my bitter homeland?) twenty years prior to the events of “Bride,” in 193*5*. Too bad he didn’t try to sell out to a foreign power, which could’ve been, y’know, the USA.

       2 likes

  2. Cornjob says:

    Servo’s costume in the last host segment always cracks me up with the pith helmet, gun, and spear in the back.

       0 likes

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

    #55: “Jungle Goddess” fares better, mostly due to the group still being in a very season-1 mode of really WEIRD riffs popping up at regular intervals. But they don’t really have their teeth into the film’s misogyny and racism to the extent it deserves.

    Too bad (or just as well, one or the other) MST3K never got around to tackling the “Lost City” serial (Chapter 11 (“Death Ray”; ~bop-a-dop-a-dah-da~) was featured on Josh Way’s “Fun with Shorts: Volume Five.”).

       1 likes

  4. Big Al says:

    Saw it for the first time when it came out on DVD. When Wanama said “Wanama dumb” and the 3 continued with the rest of Mana Mana, I had to stop the playback because I was laughing so hard. I consider that the funniest riff I’ve ever heard. :rotfl:

       2 likes

  5. schippers says:

    #104 – Concur. I just listened to the episode, and that made me laugh out loud.

    Boy is this a racist movie.

       1 likes

  6. pondoscp says:

    The first three episodes of season two of MST3K are so important to the series as a whole. So many things come from these three episodes, to major catchphrases to insignificant things that became endless callbacks. Definitely the three most seminal episodes of the series, even if the episodes themselves are uneven.

       1 likes

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