Support Us

Satellite News is not financially supported by Best Brains or any other entity. It is a labor of love, paid for out of our own pockets. If you value this site, we would be delighted if you showed it by making an occasional donation of any amount. Thanks.

Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


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.

Social Media


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 (178 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)

Loading...

• 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.
References.
• 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. MSTie says:

    jjk:
    About the Bechdel Test. Who gives a sh*t

    Well, I do only in that it’s amusing. Which could be said to anyone who comments “Who gives a sh*t?” about MST3K in general. I know plenty of people who don’t get MST3K and think it’s the stupidest waste of time ever.

       6 likes

  2. jjk says:

    MSTie: Well, I do only in that it’s amusing.Which could be said to anyone who comments “Who gives a sh*t?” about MST3K in general.I know plenty of people who don’t get MST3K and think it’s the stupidest waste of time ever.

    My comment had nothing to do with MST3K, I have seen almost every episode and own most of them on recordings it’s one of my all time favorite shows. The comment was about a meaningless test that someone always has to bring up in every episode review.

       1 likes

  3. bobhoncho says:

    Thanks for linking to The Kinks’ version of “There’s a New World,” Sampo. That version is LIGHTYEARS better than The Cascades’.

       0 likes

  4. thequietman says:

    I remember this episode mainly for the scramble I made to acquire Rhino Vol. 1 after I learned it was to be prematurely discontinued. I must confess, I remember the witlessness of the plot more than any particular riffs (though the good ones have already been mentioned elsewhere).

    Someone mentioned Del Moore’s character resembling Milton Berle. I actually got a more of a Jack Benny feel, with that dry delivery, but without the charm or comic timing.

       2 likes

  5. Pablo says:

    Love the Kinks version of that song! It’s shocking how bad and misguided the Cascades version is and I didn’t even even realize they were the same until Frank Conniff pointed it out on twitter.

       0 likes

  6. asfawe says:

    @102
    start your own arbitrary trivia thing, like “do the clocks in the background synch up with the events as portrayed” or something

       2 likes

  7. Cröe says:

    “They’re standing four abreast.”

    Still makes me snicker every time I hear it.

       1 likes

  8. Ian L. says:

    One of the better season 2 episodes.

       2 likes

  9. MSTie says:

    jjk: My comment had nothing to do with MST3K, I have seen almost every episode and own most of them on recordings it’s one of my all time favorite shows. The comment was about a meaningless test that someone always has to bring up in every episode review.

    And you missed my point. Yes, we are all MSTies here and hooray for that. However, some people in the general population care for MST3K and some do not; similarly, some of us find the Bechdel Test and discussion of it amusing or interesting and some don’t. Since you don’t, why can’t you just ignore it? There are a few episodes of MST that I don’t like, but when they’re brought up I hope I never selfishly say, “Who gives a ****?,” because some people like them.

    And now, I’ll drop this topic. Sorry, Sampo.

       8 likes

  10. pondoscp says:

    Did I mention I love this episode?

       1 likes

  11. Ray Dunakin says:

    Remember when Creepy Girl tells Tommy Kirk her odd, pointless story about a fish friend? Someone should introduce her to Melissa “This is where the fish lives” Strickland from “A Touch of Satan”. I bet the two of them would really hit it off.

       2 likes

  12. Lex says:

    I like this episode despite it being an odd choice as a film for the show. I remember me and a friend watching part of it all those years ago and laughing at the joke “say, that gangplank really gave you ‘what for’, friend.”

       1 likes

  13. Strummergas says:

    Pablo:
    Love the Kinks version of that song! It’s shocking how bad and misguided the Cascades version is and I didn’t even even realize they were the same until Frank Conniff pointed it out on twitter.

    The arrangement of the song in this movie is HORRIBLE . While by no means Ray Davies’ greatest songwriting achievement, the song at least works in the context of the way he recorded demo (which Sampo linked to in the Episode Guide).

       2 likes

  14. Droppo says:

    I love this one. The Little Richard scene is always the first thing I think of when I think about this episode. Frank is hilarious throughout. “Never e-eh–ev-eh–er—uhyuka-you…”

       0 likes

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

    I belatedly realized that this film has the “Cabin in the Woods” quasi-template that I’ve mentioned regarding other episodes, 3 guys and 2 girls:

    The Promiscuous One: Tina (she’s wilder than Katrina, anyway)
    The Athlete: Charlie (if only because he’s a ladies’ man type, which is more commonly associated with Athletes than with Scholars)
    The Scholar: Don (ibid)
    The Fool: Angelo (since he worked for the bad guys)
    The Virgin: Katrina (since, as noted, Tina’s in the other female role)

       0 likes

Comments are closed.