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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 204- Catalina Caper

Movie: (1967) Two college boys enjoy Catalina Island sunshine, scuba diving and beach bunnies, while another boy’s con-artist parents scheme to swindle a tycoon.

First shown: 10/13/90
Opening: The bots say their prayers
Invention exchange: The Mads show off their “tank tops”; Joel has invented the tickle bazooka
Host segment 1: Joel vapor-locks as he remembers the ’60s
Host segment 2: Tom sings an ode to the “Creepy Girl”
Host segment 3: TV’s Frank’s Tupperware party doesn’t go well
End: J&tB chart the film and read a letter
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (180 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)


• The movie is a real departure for the show: a movie that was actually trying to be funny. While it is not very often successful as a comedy, the Brains discovered the inherent difficulty in riffing this kind of movie. They seldom tried it again, but that extra degree of difficulty is what makes the success of this episode so remarkable. This is a really fun episode. The movie is very watchable and most of the host segments (with one exception) are fun. It’s a winner.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. 1.”
• Joel’s jumpsuit is bright red this week.
• Frank does what I believe is his first “eyukaeee.”
• During the Mads’ invention exchange, as they are reeling in the target, the rope collapses. They just keep going.
• Joel misquotes Firesign Theatre here. The actual line is “Fun’s where the fair’s at.” I guess he misheard them.
• A little background: Tommy Kirk got his start on TV’s “The Mickey Mouse Club,” “The Hardy Boys” and in several successful films for Disney. His future looked bright until another male teen threatened to publicize their affair. He was quickly dropped by the studio, and was left doing low-end stuff like this.
• Twice, Crow attempts another “By this time, my lungs…” riff, but Joel cuts him off. That’s the kind of show this is: they’ll actively forgo a joke – and then make a joke out of it.
• Joel has a memorable turn in segment one as he drifts off into a reverie about the ’60s. The comment: “People smoked openly on ‘The Tonight Show'” is just one of many gems. I wonder if the writers of “Mad Men” were watching. And Joel, I can relate about Woodstock. I was 11 and nobody was willing to drive me, either.
• Callbacks: “He saw big Jake” (Sidehackers); Hikeeba! (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• Kevin really takes off in segment two with the marvelous song, “Creepy Girl.” “C is for that feeling of uncertainty…!” It’s really with this segment that we begin to hear the natural voice of Tom Servo.
• When the Creepy Girl is rescued by Tommy Kirk and runs up by some rocks to put something on, I could swear that’s the same set of rocks as in the similar changing scene from “The Crawling Hand.” But I guess all rocks look alike, more or less.
• The “white male reality/Nazi/apartheid-loving people” jokes start off funny but wear a little thin toward the end. That said, there sure a lot of white people in this movie.
• Unfortunately, segment three, with Frank giving a Tupperware party, is a clunker. Frank commits to the bit, and tries desperately to keep the momentum going, to no avail. I think part of the problem was the presence of Jerry and Sylvia. They’re there so Frank has something to play off of, but they’re just these expressionless lumps and he has nothing to work with. Trace brings the funny at the end, but he can’t save it.
• Joel mentions Crow’s sarcasm sequencer – we’ll get more info on that later.
• The ending segment – charting the film using the structure in Syd Field’s Hollywood bible “Screenplay” – is amusing, mostly for the wacky descriptions of the characters and situations of the movie. But, all-too-typical of season two sketches, it also goes on a little too long for the unsatisfying payoff.
• Joel mentions the “spiral-on-down” in passing. He also uses the word “MSTies” for the first time that I’m aware of.
• This episode would become infamous – and copies of it became collectors items – a few years later, when the rights to the movie expired and Comedy Central found they could no longer legally air it. It was the first movie that happened to, and not the last.
• Incidentally, the historic SS Catalina, seen in early parts of the movie, had a slow, sad decline and in 2009 it was cut up for scrap despite efforts to save it.
• I managed to locate John Gummoe, lead singer/founder of The Cascades, the Beach Boys-lite group that sings “A New World.” I asked him if he remembered anything about making the movie. He said: “Mostly what I remember is that we did NOT want to do this song. It was arranged for us and we had no say-so. Piece of crap, as [MST3K] so aptly pointed out. And the movie was also pretty bad as well.” By the way, that song was written by Ray Davies! Here’s the Kinks’ somewhat mellow version.
• Stinger suggestion: Jim Begg’s “Ya got me!”
• Cast/crew roundup: Cinematographer Ted Mikels is the infamous director of “Girl in Gold Boots.” Makeup man Mark Snegoff was an actor in “Agent for H.A.R.M.” In front of the camera. Robert Donner (I went to his party!) was also in “Agent From H.A.R.M.” Lyle Waggoner also had a small role (probably cut in the MST3K version) in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Tommy Kirk was also in “Village Of The Giants,” as was Jim Begg. And we’ll hear another song by Little Richard in “City Limits.”
• CreditsWatch: It’s no longer “introducing” Frank Conniff, and he and Trace are grouped together as “special guest villians” (STILL misspelled). Audio guy Fred Street appears for the first time. He will do audio off and on for them for many seasons. Jef Maynard listed twice for the last time. Clayton James begins a four-episode stint on hair and makeup. Jerry was played by intern James Smith and Sylvia was played by Robert Czech. The lyrics for “My Creepy Girl” are credited to “The Brains” so I guess it was a group effort. Music, of course, by Mike. There’s also an additional notation: “Additional Special Thanks: Eli Mallon (Koochy-koochy-koo).” Guess he’d just been born. He’ll get some screen time next season.
• Fave riff: “Hey, its Gloria Estefan and the Catalina Deus Ex Sound Machina!” (One of the greatest riffs ever, that’s FIVE JOKES IN 10 WORDS!) Honorable mention: “The youth of today, spent like so many shell casings on the battlefield of love.” Also: “You were great! Now leave – out the back door!’

115 Replies to “Episode guide: 204- Catalina Caper”

  1. Briizilla says:

    ***1/2 for sure. The first time I saw this episode I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Years later I watched it again and was really bummed by how poorly it held up to what I remembered, so I wasn’t looking forward to watching it this week…but to my surprise I really enjoyed it last night. The movie itself is fun and the riffing is solid pretty much from start to finish. Hell even the songs are catchy. Not my favorite of season 2 but definitely one I won’t go 5 years without watching again.


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

    >>>”Hey, its Gloria Estefan and the Catalina Deus Ex Sound Machina!” (One of the greatest riffs ever, that’s FIVE JOKES IN 10 WORDS!)

    “Uh, you wanna unpack that one for me?” — Tom Servo, “The Unearthly”



  3. Brandon says:

    #49- That never occurred to me. It’s a good idea, trying to develope Frank a little. It also helps that segment make a lot more sense. Without that in mind, that segment comes off as a real Big Lipped Alligator Moment.


  4. Three stars from me. There are some classic riffs here, but too many “white” jokes. I’ve always thouht racial humor was low, and this is no exception.


  5. “Hey, its Gloria Estefan and the Catalina Deus Ex Sound Machina”

    A Google search of this riff led me to a Weekend Discussion Thread we had a while back (The Taxonomy of Riffs, April 2009) This is my dissection of it based on what Sampo said back then in his intro:

    1. Gloria Estefan – the cute, high-spirited singer Carol Connors vaguely resembles her
    2. Miami Sound Machine – Gloria had a band so these guys backing her must be them
    2. Catalina – replacing Miami
    3. Deus ex machina – for sound machine (a pun)
    5. The singing of this song “Book of Love” helps to brighten the mood of the beach party after the boys offended the girls by ogling the Creepy Girl. So literally this is a plot device coming out of of nowhere to save the day.


  6. Creepygirl says:

    I miss my little fish…. : (

    Thank you, Tommy Kirk, for teaching us to laugh at love. Again.

    I see a certain young, promising singer who’s hopped up on goofballs right now.

    5 stars, of course.


  7. Thomas K. Dye says:

    What makes this so typical is when Joel gets a humorous idea in his head that I don’t totally share, and then beats it to death. In this episode… it’s the “Crayola hat.” Joel… I know you find that phrase funny, but let it go.


  8. #55:
    Poopie. I didn’t number those correctly. You get the point though…


  9. “At the party.” “The nazi party.”

    As a white person I love all the bland white people, white uptight people are racist, nazi, and white male reality jokes. I wished they would have done some more beach party movies. Those way out free wheeling authority snubbing youths are so funny because you know they’ll grow up to be the unhip teen hating adults that they rail against. Unlike the juvi delinquent movies where those teeens grow up to be dead or Rommel and then dead.


  10. erasmus hall says:

    Appreciate the homage to Jacques Tati-
    Creepy Girl song rocks-
    also enjoy white people jokes-we are a silly bunch.


  11. NoTrafficAccident says:

    If you’re like me, and I know I am, then it’s the unimaginative repetition of the white people riffs that makes them a drag. Same goes for the fat jokes in Overdrawn and Final Justice. Prince of Space veers somewhat into the same territory with its multiple cram school references. It didn’t happen often, but sometimes the writers couldn’t stop beating a dead riff.


  12. Cronkite Moonshot says:

    @ Johnny Ryde #20…. I asked Frank about his trademarked sound at that first Cinematic Titanic launch party thing they had in Minneapolis a couple years ago right after the release of The Oozing Skull, and he told me that he just made it up. Well actually what I asked him was “where did it come from?”, and his response was simply “my mind”. And then I just told him it was one of my favorite things ever.

    As for this episode it’s one of my all time favorites. I could watch it over and over and over and over, and I have! This is another of the early episodes that I saw that showed me the potential of the series beyond just making fun of lame black and white monster and/or space movies. I actually wish they had done more movies like this, both from this era, and as a lame unfunny “comedy” film. From off the top of my head I think the only other movie they ever did that could be considered a straight forward “comedy” film was “Santa Claus Conquers the Marians” (but I may be forgetting something).

    Anyway I don’t think that Catalina Caper’s “comedy” gets in the way of their riffing, because it falls so flat, and is so incredibly unfunny to begin with. If it was too difficult for them to deal with a “comedy” like this in the writing process then I can understand them not really wanting to do many more, but as for the final product I think it works incredibly well. And it’s VERY nice to have a movie that just isn’t taking itself seriously at all. In the few instances of MST episodes that I don’t really like it’s usually because the movies are taking themselves so incredibly seriously on top of them being so incredibly bad, which together just makes them feel impenetrable and oppressive in their badness. I think that the best of MST often involves movies that, bad or not, were actually fun to watch, and that I could easily see myself watching and enjoying on their own, even if it was just as a “so bad it’s funny” kind of movie (Catalina Caper, Daddy-O, Attack of the the Eye Creatures, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Space Mutiny, Boggy Creek 2, and on and on). But when the movie is so unbearable that the riffing is what makes it at all watchable to begin with (Red Zone Cuba for instance) it was usually an uphill battle. More often than not the Brains pulled it off and still made a fun episode out of the movie, but sometimes even they just couldn’t do it. There isn’t a single episode of MST that I outright hate and would never want to see again, but there are a few here and there that I usually can’t bring myself to watch in a single viewing, and it’s mostly because the movie is of that ilk. Catalina Caper is the opposite of that. It’s one of the high points of the series as far as I’m concerned, and definitely was right alongside Sidehackers as one of the main episodes that really got me hooked big time on the show when I first started watching (which was at ep. 201).


  13. pondoscp says:

    I don’t have a bad thing to say about this episode. While not in my top ten, I watch this episode more often than most. Probably seen it (had on in the background) about four times in the last month. Season Two has a very pleasant vibe to it that I would attribute to the reboot of the show. Everything felt new again. All the reasons I enjoy this episode have been covered in the above comments.


  14. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    I used to dislike this one quite a bit, but I’ve warmed up to it over the years (Thanks Rhino Vol. 1!) and now I would consider it a solid episode, not excellent, but a decent Season Two-er for sure.

    My least favorite things in this are Host Segment #3, the Tupperware party (covered in detail in the comments above) and the movie, Catalina Caper, itself. Even though I’ve seen it a lot, I don’t really follow the shenanigans. Someone above in the comments explained the movie and I Still Don’t Know what that movie is about, really. Lot’s of singing and dancing, that’s all I know.

    As Crow said, “this is the kind of padding I like to see in a film.”

    Host Segment #1 is great, the kind of stuff I love Joel for, and HS#2 is an instant classic. How could the intro of singing Kevin Murphy not be a classic?!

    Also, after some clunkers, this weeks invention exchange is solid on both sides. After all, they both eventually make it into the opening credits montage.

    And count me down as a fan of all the “white” jokes, or whatever you want to call them. Some of those things they’ve done are some of my favorite riffs, one of which is the “Nazi Party!” line that Servo sings during the Boat Party song of Little Richard’s. Cracks me up every time.

    Other examples in this one:
    Joel gives a spirited “Seig Heil!” at one point.
    Servo: “there’s the motherland.”

    Other RIFFS (possibly still offensive):

    Joel: “I think I know a bright young singer who’s hopped up on goofballs right know.”

    Crow: “This must be what they mean by Five Easy Pieces.” (Jack Nicholson movie reference)

    Joel: “Oh, wow, I think he’s holdin’, dude.”


  15. EricJ says:

    @23 – • The Boatniks – there are are couple of refs to this 1970 Disney movie. From the trailers it looks pretty similar to this film.

    Plot’s almost identical, if you could imagine the “Popeye and Bluto after Slim-fast!” Coast Guard sailors as the heroes, Tommy Kirk never showed up, and the musical numbers substituted with wacky scenes of boat traffic. Even appears to have its own Creepy Girl.
    This reference will be helpful later, by the time J&tB get to “Beatniks” (who aren’t even Boatniks!)


  16. Wydok says:

    Just watched this movie a few days ago. While not the best, I don’t really have anything bad to say about it.

    Tommy Kirk currently runs a carpet cleaning business in the San Fernando Valley. although he still occasionally appears in films (last in 2001).

    As far as I recall, there were no musical numbers in the first season. Do you think these started in season 2 due to Mike’s ascension to head writer? Or was it more to do with Josh’s inability or unwillingness to sing and/or Kevin’s wonderful singing voice?


  17. big61al says:

    A very solid episode. I pop this into the dvd player often. I think mostly the film was made to show a bunch of young people in bathing suits. And it has Little Richard!


  18. Mr. B(ob) says:

    I’ve always thought the Tupperware segment was pretty funny as Frank’s character struggles to with his presentation before Forrester finally loses it and attacks him with the melon-baller. The payoff at the end when Forrester is eating Frank’s eye is pretty dark and silly at the same time and I enjoy the cleverness of the whole thing.

    What makes that final host segment work so well for me is that Joel and the ‘Bots are arguing about the plot of the movie as if it had much of one and taking it so seriously, on top of which they have really funny disparaging names for everything and everyone in the film as they discuss it. It’s like the town hall meeting in Magic Voyage Of Sinbad for me, when they cut loose with the funny insulting names, each funnier than the last, it really builds the comedy for me during the segment with the great punchline as Joel loses control and breaks the chart over the heads of Crow and Servo. Genius!


  19. JCC says:

    #66 –

    The closest thing in Season One would be Clay and Lar’s Flesh Barn from Women of the Prehistoric Planet.


  20. Briizilla says:

    Oh and put me down as loving the Tupperware skit. Anytime Frank stammers and gets very nervous is comedy gold to me.


  21. Chris Lark says:

    “Catalina Caper” will always have a special place in my heart because it was THE first episode of MST3K that I ever saw. From there on it was luv at first sight and quickly became one of the few TV shows I’d actually try to find out when it came on next week;)

    The weirdest thing about this film is that it’s just a bad “teen comedy” film of the 1960’s. Compare that with what would become bad “teen comedy” films of the 1980’s and Catalina Caper actually looks better than probably anybody would’ve ever guessed.

    The producers of this film obviously got a good budget for it and tried to cast up but they &/or the director should’ve spent more time fixing the script.

    Caper isn’t really awful bad like “Pod People” (one of ALL-TIME favorites) or just cheesy bad like “Cave Dwellers” (another all-time fave) but it IS bad in its own way so I’m still glad Joel & the Bots riffed on it.


  22. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    This has always been my favorite MST3K episode over all.
    There are others I like better for different reasons,
    but when I want a good laugh and a nice time,
    this is the episode I go to.

    Before “Werewolf,” this was the episode I used to introduce people
    to the wonderful world of the SOL.

    It is a familiar enough movie that you can follow it
    AND get the idea of the show.
    A funny movie and a comedy show blend well together.
    Once you get the reason for the show, then you can “get the joke”
    when watching “Mitchell,” or “Track of the Moon Beast,”
    or “Sidehackers.”

    You must remember that this film was made at a time when studios,
    run by rich old men, tried to make cheap films that
    “kids these days would watch.” It has that “hip, now, kind’a sound,”
    dumb adults, and the heroes are kids the audience can identify with.
    One step above the Disney films, one step below some of the Corman, harder edged films of this time.

    The simple fact that it was made for teens, by disconnected adults,
    makes it perfect fodder for Joel and the bots.


  23. fathermushroom says:

    Well, you’ve all reminded me of some great stuff from this episode, but “Catalina Caper” still leaves me cold.

    Glad you all enjoyed yourselves, though.


  24. fathermushroom says:

    I will add this, however, in defense of Frank and the Tupperware Sketch:

    1. Notice Trace’s many attempts to keep from laughing throughout the bit.

    2. I love Frank’s attempt at a hacky, topical joke for his guests: “You ever notice how the Molemen… with the thing…. and, eh….”


  25. Critter says:

    “Ever do any diving Don?”
    -Joel “Oh Yeah!”

    George Clinton and the Ray Connif Singers.

    “I think they sent the wrong people to Vietnam, Joel.”

    The episode where they start to get in the groove.


  26. losingmydignity says:

    A fun enough one though overall the riffing is not great.

    I happen to have grown up on Beach Party movies so this ep is always a kick. I think they did a pretty decent job given the genre is not the best for riffing.

    And anything with girls in bikinis is always a plus.



  27. Cornjob says:

    I really love these early episodes. 5 stars each.


  28. crowschmo says:

    America’s fastidious and well-groomed youth living a clean life style — pumping their clean, hard-worn dollars into a clean economy that is sunny, colorful Catalina.

    Water Fuzz!


  29. ArsMusica says:

    I am a hard-core MSTie and think the show was the funniest thing ever on TV…but being the politically incorrect guy that I am, the ‘whitey’ jokes and other PC-type jokes used through the years got tiresome.


  30. bobhoncho says:

    #8, thanks for the info. Now whenever I hear the song, I’ll in homage to “Phantom Planet” yell “Shut up, Ray!”


  31. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    More proof of the Mistie maxim. We all like different things about the show, and opinions will widely differ on any given episode or segment. I get that. I just don’t understand the hate for the tupperware party segment.

    Some people have called it character development, and I think that applies just as much to the Creepy Girl song for Tom. Sampo said as much. The Creepy Girl is where Kevin’s Servo coalesces. The Tupperware party is where Frank’s floppiness is enforced. (Frankenforcer, sweet floppy Frank)

    I guess Frank felt the same way as Joel, the right people will get it. There are varying degrees of humor from the belly laugh to dry smile. Maybe Frank is just too likeable to make the sketch funny for most people. I remember John Cleese talking about Basil Fawlty. He said that his misfortune was funny because he was essentially unlikeable. The difference between comedy and tragedy is who you feel sorry for. Maybe people are feeling sorry for Frank?

    I agree it’s not a belly laugh, but I get it. I like the sketch, and Frank’s ineptitude, because it makes me smile. And that means a lot in this world.


  32. MSTie says:

    Not much to add to my comment from almost four years ago (I love this episode), but thanks to Sitting Duck and his “Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the Bechdel Test” page, I am astounded that this movie, with dozens and dozens of girls and women in it, fails the Bechdel Test. But thinking back on it, that was very typical for teen movies of the era. In them, girls rarely had much to do with each other, as each girl was considered a rival for the affection of any/all of the boys. And the boys’ approval was all that mattered.

    Hmmm, well, that wasn’t very amusing. Count me in as another one who thought the Tupperware sketch fell completely flat. But it gives me time to get up and get some popcorn without pausing the DVD.


  33. Sitting Duck says:

    As noted in post #82 above, Catalina Caper fails the Bechdel Test. In spite of the horde of bikini babes, none of them actually converse with each other.

    For the stinger, I’d go with Inspector Pratfall getting slapped for reeling in a topless bikini babe (imagine if he had reeled in a one piece suit).

    Venita Wolf got the dreaded “Introducing” credit. So I checked IMDB to see if she suffered the fate so common to new starlets targeted in such a fashion. She had an uncredited role previously in a film called Oscar. But other than some TV work, she pretty much disappeared after Catalina Caper.

    That guy does rather look like Mel Brooks, specifically his character in Silent Movie.

    I’m surprised at how, when everyone is wowed by the hundred dollar prize, no one riffs, “That’s a lot of money back now.”

    So Inspector Pratfall’s actual name is suppose to be Fingers O’Toole. A name like that belongs to a pickpocket or a safecracker. In other words, it’s a more appropriate name for Crayola Hat Guy.

    Unfortunately, segment three, with Frank giving a Tupperware party, is a clunker. Frank commits to the bit, and tries desperately to keep the momentum going, to no avail.

    Another part I suspect is that it’s meant to play on how awkward Tupperware parties are and did it too well.

    Favorite riffs

    This portrait, a man who smokes more than Edward R. Murrow or Lillian Hellman.

    There’s really nothing we can say about that, is there?
    At least not during family hour.

    “You’re a credit to your profession.”
    Village idiot.

    “When you talk like that, I know you’re up to no good.”
    And when you smell like that, somebody must die!

    “Down, boy. You’re got the wrong sport.”
    “When does it become the right sport?”
    When ESPN merges with the Playboy Channel. Now get underwater!

    Didn’t come out of his tuck in time. Russian judge gives him a three.

    Water Fuzz! They’re wet! They care! Tonight’s episode: Death Ahoy!

    We’ll just stand here because they’re men and we’re not.

    “I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
    Isn’t this movie enough?

    The youth of today, spent like so many shell casings on the battlefield of love.

    “I’ll do all the talking.”
    And you’ll do the interpretive dance.

    No shirt, no shoes, no script.

    “Angelo, what are you doing here?”
    Working. Being evil. Shut up!

    Okay people, everybody wear eye protection. There’s a lot of loose ends flying together all at once here.


  34. Bruce Boxliker says:

    OK, an addendum to my statements from previous episodes. It’s the DELINQUENT teen movies I don’t like (thanks Mr. Krasker #59). I DO like this movie. I guess it’s because the kids are the good guys, trying to correct the wrongs of the adults (in a goofy & light-hearted manner). Also (as has been mentioned above by others), it’s so bright & colorful.
    I’m one of those who didn’t care for this episode at first, but it’s really grown on me over the years. Great riffing.
    I don’t really see the confusion with the plot. Bunch of teens on beach, wearing swimsuits, hijinks ensue. That’s all you really need to know. Everything else is just distraction.


  35. schippers says:

    I can’t believe I failed to gush my love for this episode last go round. I love this episode – easily in my top whatever of MST3000, if I ever made such a list. It’s the riffing of the long, awkward song numbers that do it for me. That, and the riffs on the failed comedy of Fingers O’Toole.


  36. Sampo says:

    Sitting Duck:
    As noted in post #82 above, Catalina Caper fails the Bechdel Test. In spite of the horde of bikini babes, none of them actually converse with each other.

    Well, I think they do address each other once or twice, but it’s always about boys, so your judgment stands.


  37. Dan in WI says:

    I can’t believe I failed to gush my love for this episode last go round. I love this episode – easily in my top whatever of MST3000,

    No doubt about it. This episode is definitely in my top 200 MST episode list as well. ;)


  38. Into The Void says:

    Hey, I played the Little Richard bit for some friends just past weekend!

    “a bright young singer hopped up on goofballs…”


  39. Leo Artunian says:

    Ultra-nerd stuff: I think the reason Joel flubs the quote from Firesign Theatre’s album “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus” is because the actual quotation is, “Now, now, boys! Fightin’s out of style! Fun’s where the fair’s at — in the Future, that is!” The fair in question was “The Future Fair! A Fair for All and no fare to anybody!”

    Sorry — I’ll be quiet now.


  40. jjk says:

    About the Bechdel Test. Who gives a sh*t


  41. littleaimishboy says:

    A very enjoyable episode, including Frank’s Tupperware Fiasco.

    Here’s an academic question, if anybody out there needs a topic for a paper or a discussion:

    Why isn’t this movie funny?


  42. pondoscp says:

    I still love this episode. It is my #12 of my top 12 favorite episodes. I tried to make just a top ten, but there were two more episodes that are right there with the top ten, and this is one of them. I love the Tupperware sketch. This is a unique episode, as they riff on comedy. It’s my ultimate pick-me-up episode.


  43. Another historical factoid re: Catalina Caper cinematographer Ted V. Mikels: Along with Girl In Gold Boots, Ted V. Mikels also gave us the 1968 sci-fi stinkburger Astro Zombies — a movie which, by all rights, should have been on MST3K — which starred the inimitable John Carradine as the mad scientist, the only slightly-slurring Wendell Corey as a CIA section chief, Tom “Icky Elf” Pace from GIGB as a CIA agent, that Prince-ish guy from Agent From HARM, and the massively pulchritudinous Tura Satana from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! as the evil Chinese spy-ring leader.


  44. As much as I loved the Creepy Girl Song and the kitschy ’60s teen frolicking, I had a hard time with this episode as the movie seemed slow and dry, the comedy in it forced, and it didn’t seem quite “bad” enough. There were a lot of “bad” elements in it that gave it potential — like the unbearable whiteness of the cast, and Little Richard appearing to be on tranquilizers in his number — but it didn’t quite all come together as a whole… not quite a “perfect storm” of badness, if you will.


  45. Bobby 23-Skidoo:
    “He’s so hopped up I think he’s thinking he’s at the Apollo”. Little Richard sure was a portable pharmacy in this movie.

    See my comment above. I’ve seen a lot of performance footage of Little Richard, wild, kinetic and frenzied — but in his number in Catalina Caper, he looked as if he was on Thorazine or something, really tranked up, showing none of the wild energy I was used to seeing in performances from his peak in the late ’50s.


  46. Dan in WI:
    It’s been pointed out many times that this is the only time the brains attempted to riff an intentional comedy. As such I like to place this episode in the same category as 1009 Hamlet they were both departure experiments in riffing things that don’t lend themselves to riffing. Now this thought begs a couple questions:
    1.Which experiment is more successful? In my book neither are great but I’ll go with Hamlet if I have to choose one.

    Oh, yeah, right on. I’m totally Team Hamlet all the way. It wasn’t an instant favorite for me, like Leech Woman or Monster A Go-Go, but one of those episodes that sort of steadily worked on me until I finally gave in and admitted that I really like it.

    When I first saw that MST3K was going to riff Hamlet that week, I was genuinely worried for some reason. It didn’t make much of an impression at first, but some years later, when I got hold of an mpeg4 rip and gave it another chance, it started to grow on me — it fell in and out of my “rotation” several times before it finally found a permanent spot — and about the sixth or seventh viewing, Servo singing “Night Fever” over the incidental music in the dance scene really hit me, and I actually really dig Hamlet now.

    I think the real challenge in viewing Experiment 1009 — for me, at least — is to remember that they’re riffing on two levels there: on one level, the Shakespeare play itself; and on another level, they’re tearing up the grim, gray, dry, ponderous German Expressionist TV production style.


  47. Dish of Ice Cream says:

    I love this episode! I understand why they didn’t do other comedies, but it’s so fun. I am finding season 2 very charming so far. So many riff categories that would become staples: adding meta lyrics to goofy songs (“we can’t sing..we can’t sing!”), pointing out the whiteness of the movie, the Water Fuzz riffing on cop/crime shows with death and murder in the titles like “Death Ahoy!”, Tom Servo’s songs of love (to Creepy Girl, Tibby, etc.). Tom loves the weird beach babes! In 817-The Horror of Party Beach, isn’t he the one who is really into the sexy Romulan girl? Hee hee. Plus, I love the phrase “hopped up on goofballs.”
    This time around I got the reference Frank makes at the start of the first scene with the Mads, breathing into an oxygen mask, yelling “Don’t you look at me! Mommy! Mommy!”: that’s (another) Frank (Dennis Hopper), truly, truly disturbing in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. I love the “a-ha” feeling of getting a detail you never noticed before!


  48. Cornjob says:

    “These Klan rallies have really lightened up.”

    I still remember how much this riff cracked me up the first time I heard it in the early 90’s. It wasn’t until our discussion of Wild Rebels 4 years ago that I learned that goofballs were a real drug and not just a funny sounding one the writings thought of. “Hopped up on goofballs” is a brilliantly descriptive phrase. Little Richard certainly looks like he got into Harrison Ford’s stash at the very least. Somebody should have sabotaged the helicopter that flew Little Richard in so he would’ve had to stay and maybe sing a few more numbers. I love these early episodes.


  49. Cornjob says:

    That’s supposed to be “writers” not “writings” above.


  50. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Sampo: “Tommy Kirk got his start on TV’s “The Mickey Mouse Club,” “The Hardy Boys” and in several successful films for Disney. His future looked bright until another male teen threatened to publicize their affair. He was quickly dropped by the studio, and was left doing low-end stuff like this.”

    ah, how times have changed.

    Anyway, as far as being an intentional comedy movie, I think “Hobgoblins” comes pretty close as well. That movie clearly didn’t take itself too seriously.

    “The Wild Wild World of Batwoman” and “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank” are also contenders.


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