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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.

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Episode guide: 205- Rocket Attack USA (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 2)

Short: (1939) A disguised Zorka, believed by everyone to be dead, arrives at the site of the plane crash and learns his wife has been killed. Despite the fact that he caused the crash, he blames his enemies and swears to avenge her death. The pilot of the plane survived the crash but was put into a coma by the exploding spider. Dr. Mallory concocts a formula to revive the pilot, but it fails. Guessing there is some missing ingredient to be found in Zorka’s lab, Mallory and military intelligence officer West go there, with reporter Jean Drew in tow. But Zorka beats them there, stocks up on supplies and escapes using his invisibility belt, though his assistant Monk is captured. West and Drew pursue him and find Zorka’s apparently abandoned car. West gets into the car and the invisible Zorka knocks him out and releases the brakes. As Jean looks on in horror, the car with the unconscious West inside careens down a hill out of control.
Movie: (1961) The U.S. sends spies to the Soviet Union to learn about an imminent missile attack, while trying to play catch-up with its own missile program. But failure on both fronts leads to a terrible conclusion.

First shown: 10/27/90
Opening: Joel gives Tom a “haircut,” then shows him the products he’ll need to maintain it
Invention exchange: Joel has been working on a candy ribbon adding machine (Gypsy ate the Mexican jumping bean bag chair), while the Mads have invented water-polo foosball
Host segment 1: Joel explains The Charlie McCarthy hearings on un-American activities
Host segment 2: Joel is the host of a civil defense quiz show
Host segment 3: Joel’s Russian counterpart visits on the Hexfield
End: J&tB explain why they’re upset about the movie and read a letter; Frank suggests movies the Mads could send that wouldn’t be so bad
Stinger: “Help me!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (123 votes, average: 4.05 out of 5)

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• This is a great episode. it has three memorable host segments (the “Charlie McCarthy hearings” segment and the “civil defense quiz show” are typical of the long, densely written host segments of this period; Mike is at his goofy, unassuming best as Joel’s Russian counterpart). The short (as indicated by the complicated synopsis above) is action packed. The movie, on the other hand, drags in spots. But the riffing of both is very strong.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XXVII.”
• A first in this ep: Comedy Channel and BBI were getting complaints from viewers that Tom Servo’s head was covering up too much of the screen, so they tried an experiment: they installed a skinnier version of the Executive Snack Dispenser (you can still see them at Mr. Bulky’s) and announced that Tom had received a “haircut.” The experiment would only last two episodes, thank goodness.
• Joel’s jumpsuit is still bright red.
• Frank’s “Ya got me!” is a callback to Jim Begg in “Catalina Caper.”
• The water polo foosball thing is great but almost immediately the ball flies up and out of shot. Frank retrieves it and they keep going.
• Despite the closeup of the prop, I didn’t notice until I got to the Conventio-con, and saw the prop close up, that all the figures in the water-polo foosball game were tiny Dr. Forresters and Franks. (I’m sometimes not very observant.)
• Last week’s installment of “Phantom Creeps” said this one would be called “Death Stalks the Highway,” but it never actually says that in this episode. Chapter 2 is just called…Chapter 2. So, since it doesn’t actually appear on screen in this episode, I am not including that title here.
• There’s about 45 seconds of action in the beginning of this week’s “Phantom Creeps” installment that is pretty much the same 45 seconds that was shown at the end of the last installment. Which means it’s another situation where they end up having to write two sets of jokes for the same footage. But in one case they sort of fudged it: Crow does essentially the same Margaret Dumont joke in both versions. In one Crow says (in his best dowager voice) “Oh Captain Spalding!” In the other, Crow says, in the same voice, “But Professor Firefly!” Essentially the same joke.
• Naughty riffs: “Well, I got to third, if that counts for anything.” And the classic “Good morning!” which they would use again.
• This is a good moment to clear up a common misunderstanding among some MSTies. In the short, a character says, “the driver is gone or he’s hiding,” in a very Ronald Reagan-like voice. Crow’s response was to do his best Reagan impression and say “Welcome to Death Valley Days.” For several seasons thereafter, whenever Ronald Reagan needed to be invoked, somebody (usually Crow) would do Reagan and say, “The driver is either missing or he’s gone” or some such variation of the line. They did this so much that some fans began to believe that Reagan actually said something like this and that this was a direct reference to Reagan. He didn’t. It wasn’t. It was a reference to this moment in this short, where they were reminded of Reagan.
• Then-current riff: “Mallory…” “Yes, Alex?” A reference to then-hit TV series “Family Ties.”
• I wonder who did those drawings in segment 1.
• Watch for two things as Joel carries Tom into the theater after the first host segment. First, you can see the silhouette of the stick attached to Tom as Joel hands it to Kevin. Second, Kevin apparently fumbles the handoff and Tom flops over.
• Some of you young folks may be wondering who Art Metrano is, and why his name makes J&tB break out in song and dance music, accompanied by strange gestures. Metrano was a sometime standup comedian in the ’60s, and he (briefly) hit it big with a silly tongue-in-cheek bit parodying hack magicians. Soon every 12 year old in America (including yours truly) was doing it. Here’s a sample.
• Whoa, slam on “Thicke of the Night” and Kip Addotta out of nowhere!
• I love the line from the movie that slams cheese price supports. SOMEbody has issues…
• Segment 2 really goes on and on. On the plus side, Gypsy falls over with a very satisfying clunk.
• Several times during the scenes at the Russian missile range, the slabs of concrete remind J&tB of the monolith scenes in “2001: A Space Odyssey” so much that they parody the eerie chorus in those scenes. Cracks me up.
• Callback: “The dark one awaits for the Robot Holocaust.” And, a double: “The general is asking for hamburgers instead of chili peppers; they burn his gut (Sidehackers). He’d really like a (as the woman in Jungle Goddess) hamburger and some French fried potatoes!”
• Crow repeats the lyrics of “Bombs Away” by The Police one point. I liked The Police but these lyrics didn’t make an impression, so the reference when right by me.
• Another first: Thanks to one Mark Gilbertson, they’ve finally ironed out the Hexfield ViewScreen. It now sports a camera lens-like shutter, replacing with that high-tech window shade technology.
• Segment 3 was recently recalled by a lot of fans when a Russian version of MST3K was discovered on the Web.
• I can’t say for sure, but I THINK the closing segment and the letter contains the last in a long series if rips on Isaac Asimov.
• The episode ends with the first-ever “stinger”–a short snippet, usually the oddest moment, from the film. For some reason they don’t do one in episode 207- WILD REBELS, but after that it continues until the brief Observer takeover in season eight.
• Cast and crew roundup: Nobody involved in this movie did anything else in any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: A new element enters the credits this week: “Creative Pit Boss,” a rotating job. This week it was Joel. Trace and Frank are again grouped together “special guest villians” (misspelled). Hexfield Viewscreen Designed and Constructed by: Mark Gilbertson. Sorri Andropoli: Michael J. Nelson. With this episode, the final credit “Executive Producers: Joel Hodgson, Jim Mallon” first appears.
• Fave riff from the short: “Stunned?? He took six bullets!”
• Fave riff from the feature: “That’s why we’ve GOT TO CRUSH THEM!” Honorable mentions: “Oh that! My lederhosen just came back from the cleaners!” and “But underneath it was just like a bus ride in the 10th grade, if you know what I mean.” Also, I love the little road runner meep-meep Joel does right before an explosion.

81 Replies to “Episode guide: 205- Rocket Attack USA (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 2)”

  1. Cheapskate Crow says:

    @25 – You make an excellent point that obscure references aren’t funny by themselves. For instance, the Thicke of the Night reference in this episode was just meant to slam Thicke of the Night and really didn’t have anything to do with what was on the screen. I think for obscure references to really work, it has to be something funny that relates to the movie. I remember a rifftrax riff relating to Genesis’ Watcher of the Skies song and the bat costume that Peter Gabriel wore while performing it and Bill said something along the lines of a character in the movie looked like that. To me that was funny as it was obscure and true.

       2 likes

  2. pondoscp says:

    I always skipped over this episode. I finally decided it was time to fully ingest it. I have seen it multiple times, but past the Phantom Creeps, I couldn’t remember a thing about the movie. It was like teflon to my brain. So when I sat down to take the movie in, I realized why I could never remember it. Rocket Attack USA loaded with Hypno Helio Static Stasis! It’s funny, but ouch! At one point an obnoxious noise starts and seemingly never ends. It feels like an unfinished movie padded out by another filmmaker in order to reach a full length. And I’m right there with Crow on the blind guy part, what?

    No one’s mentioned my favorite riff from this one yet: Now let’s go to the field with Mike Wallace. I’m standing alone in a shotgun shack in another part of the world. But this is not my beautiful house- and Joel cuts Crow off.

       5 likes

  3. Sharktopus says:

    Here’s what I’ve been wondering – was Zorka’s beard meant to be false all along, and if so, why would he wear it around the lab when he was alone with Monk? Or are we to believe that he quickly shaved it off as a disguise, and it’s a continuity error at the end of chapter 1 when it’s already gone? Or option 3, Bela had grown a real beard for the first day of filming – the laboratory scenes – then got sick of it (possibly during a morphine bender) and showed up clean shaven for the outdoors shoot and they didn’t have a false beard for him. “They just didn’t care.” That sounds the most likely, but uncharacteristically unprofessional of Bela.

    And more importantly, why the hell am I even thinking about this? :eek:

       2 likes

  4. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    What I like about this episode, as with the whole series, is how commanding and well defined
    “Dr. Forrester” is. Trace Beaulieu has never received the credit he deserves for his acting ability.

    Watch the opening segment again. Joel is still wandering about in his character. Many times there
    have been questions about how stoned he was on set. Trace, from the moment the camera is on him,
    establishes his character and command of the scene. He starts in a lab coat, then is in a wet suite.
    Yet he is still in character.

    While Joel, Mike, and the bots get the lion’s share of praise for this show, Trace comes off as
    the consummate actor. A solid foundation in all of his episodes.

    Not as easy as he makes it look.

       11 likes

  5. losingmydignity says:

    The first really great ep.

    I think it helps that the movie is just so weird…really similar in many ways to Red Zone Cuba in its stasis, car parking, non-sensical-ness. This gives them a lot to work with and they seem really inspired. MST at its best always saw the vaudvillian (sp?) possibilities in such weird movies and ran with it. Love this one.

    A+

       1 likes

  6. Wow, so much love for this. Go figure. Sampo’s Theorem, yada-yada.

    Pondoscp nailed it in #52: Hypno Helio Static Stasis

    This is one where I find myself so stymied by the movie I can’t find the humor in the riffing. Glad so many of you enjoy it (and even more glad that a select few agree with me that it’s a snooze). But I’ll be the first to admit that my criticisms about the source film being atrociously poor are hardly a strong point to begin any attack on it as a lackluster MST episode. Other creaky films like next week’s Ring of Terror and later non-events like Monster A Go Go I’ve grown to admire, but this one… no, not yet.

    I like my MST movies to have a hint of inherent fun re-watchability, or barring that, a WTF quality that challenges one’s conceptions of “why was this ever made?” I would be glad to see it released on DVD eventually but hopefully NOT with Invasion USA which, while also a stinker, is actually a better film than this. The two together in a box set would be coma-inducing.

    At least it’s not yet rated as a full 4 star episode here on this site.

       1 likes

  7. Ralph C. says:

    Perhaps one day you’ll come to your senses, Finnias Jones, and like this episode. Join us…. join us.

       3 likes

  8. Briizilla says:

    4 stars.
    I hate The Phantom Creeps. It’s dull, nonsensical, poorly lit and poorly recorded. It’s only redeeming quality is it gave us ‘the driver is either missing or…’ which never gets old to me.
    The movie on the other hand is pure anti commie gold.
    I’ll pose a question to you all…is it just me or does servo get a majority of the crappy jokes in season 2? He’ll occasionally have a winner but for the most part his riffs tend to be the weakest of the group. He also tends to laugh at his own jokes which further points out how unfunny they often are…

       0 likes

  9. Kali says:

    #44: Johnny stole that bit from Jackie Gleason. “Reggie Van Gleason” did it a lot: “Whoo-boy, that’s good booze!”.

    Gleason: “This is a new kind of coffee called ‘Chock-Full-of-Booze.'”

       0 likes

  10. Dan in WI says:

    Briizilla #58> You might be on to something there. I’ve noticed so far this season few of my favorite riffs were spoken by him. But that will turn around at some point. He isn’t one of my two favorite in theater bots for nothing.

       0 likes

  11. Briizilla says:

    @60
    I wonder if they were hazing Kevin by giving him most of the clunkers, because Servo is much funnier as the seasons progress. Or it could simply be Kevin not being comfortable with the role yet.

       0 likes

  12. Sharktopus says:

    I really doubt anyone was knowingly giving Kevin clunkers – it would be awfully stupid to purposefully write bad jokes for a comedy show. (Although, a whole bunch of host segments do seem to hinge on labored puns and groaners…) Anyway, I’d chalk up Briizilla’s observation to Kevin being a rookie Riffer. Plus, he’s a self-described “giant ham,” which often leads to laughing at one’s own jokes, or otherwise over-selling them. He mastered Riffing pretty darn quick, though, I’d say.

       1 likes

  13. J. Ho says:

    Regarding the Charlie McCarthy hearings of the HUAC, ostensibly based on the Joe McCarthy hearings of the HUAC, one thing to note is that there never was a hearing of the HUAC that had anything to do with old ‘Tailgunner’ Joe, as he was a Senator.

    I know, I know, it’s just a show, but perhaps Charlie McCarthy was elected to the House of representatives.,…

       0 likes

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

    #59

    “Crone, pour me a short glass of wine.”
    gluck gluck gluck gluck gluck (pouring sound)
    “Crone! I said a SHORT glass.”
    gluck gluck gluck gluck gluck gluck gluck (pouring sound)
    “Mmmthank you, Crone. You’re so pleasant!”

       0 likes

  15. jaybird3rd says:

    #205 must have been one of the first MST3K episodes that I ever saw. I remember being impressed by Joel’s “I can see the strings!” quip as Jean Drew is dangling from the tree in “The Phantom Creeps”; not being familiar with MST3K’s style of humor at the time, it struck me as a brilliant way of “interacting” with the movie.

    On IMDb, someone claiming to be her nephew posted some interesting information about Monica Davis, who plays Tanya in “Rocket Attack U.S.A.”:

    “I knew Monica Davis. She was my aunt until she passed away in the year 2000. She was a nurse who specialized in terminal patients, which means she lived with them and tried to keep them as comfortable as possible until they died. That is what she did for a profession. In between contracts with patients, she had a love of the theatre and many friends in the acting profession, which is probably why she got a part in the occasional bad movie. I’m not saying she was a good actress by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun for her and gave her a safety valve to let off steam between patients. So if you watch her movies, keep in mind that she was not actually a professional actress, and had very little if any training along that line.”

       5 likes

  16. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    “We can not let this be… The End”
    “OH YES WE CAN”

    I just love fear/warmongering, don’t you? Still, I do like this movie better than ‘Invasion USA’, a lot better. The Charlie McCarthy Hearings and the US Civil Defense Quizbowl are both pretty good. Other than the drunk official, this movie actually portrays the Soviets as being rather level-headed an competent, as opposed to the US and British spies: “I simply lost my way, OKAY!?””A girl? Now that is interesting!”

    “All we learned is that we’re supposed to live in the suburbs, NOT IN THE CITY!”

    Oh yeah, I also like this movie’s insistence that the US military doesn’t have a large enough budget for proper defensive capabilities. um… what? We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries COMBINED.

       0 likes

  17. Bruce Boxliker says:

    eeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeEEEEEEeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeEEEEEeeeeeEEEEEEE!

    With that out of the way, I really like this episode. Yes, the movie is a big pile of nothing, but the riffing is fantastic. And I loved the Civil Defense Quiz Show.

    I did learn one very important lesson from the movie. When sneaking into a secret Russian missile base in the dark to sabotage said missile, it’s probably best not to wear a bright white trench coat, talk loudly with your girlfriend, and leave a trail of cigarette butts.

       4 likes

  18. Alexander Phipps says:

    This episdode is one of the reasons I fell in love with the show. In particular, during the “help me” scene. I was watching the episode for the first time…”help me”. What??? Crow and I had the same reaction at the same time. Not long afterwards I saw Trumpy for the first time. “It stinks” won me over for good.

       2 likes

  19. Sitting Duck says:

    Rocket Attack USA passes the Bechdel Test. Initially it looked to be a guaranteed Fail, with Tanya as the only female character with a speaking role throughout most of the film. But after the Psycho-like POV shift, we have two random women comment on how they think the air raid drills are stupid.

    When Joel was rattling off the names of the robot hair care products, it’s kind of hard to tell whether he was flubbing his lines or if he meant to do it that way.

    Going in, I was expecting to cringe through the Charlie McCarthy host segment based on its reputation. But in the end, I did find it moderately amusing. Though the You Bet Your Life duck being an informant was an odd choice, given Groucho Marx’s animosity towards Joseph McCarthy. Civil Defense Quiz Bowl, on the other hand…

    Geez, couldn’t they have bothered to have cleaned that lense?

    Actually, that was a balalaika, not a banjo.

    Presumably, the not burning the papers was her revealing a lemon juice-based invisible ink.

    Can anyone tell if the military officers are speaking real Russian, or just Russian-sounding gibberish?

    Laura #2: And why not just bomb it from the air instead of using a cut-rate James Bond to do the work?

    Because something so overt would incite a war. Using the cut-rate James Bond would have given some plausible deniability (except of course he screwed it up).

    toot-tootoot-toot #25: The Phantom Creeps serial, like Radar Men, was wayyyy too fast paced and manic to provide decent riffing material.

    I hope you’re being sarcastic there, because fast paced and manic are not words I associate with The Phantom Creeps.

    Zee #45: I think “This Week’s Creative Pit Boss” was the fore-runner of the “Directed by” credit.

    Except IIRC there is a Directed by credit for Jim.

    @ #53: They did show Zorka shaving off his beard in the first installment.

    Favorite riffs

    I didn’t think you’d mind if I took the last parachute. You’re a dear. Thanks.

    Luckily, the policemen’s picnic was just over the hill.

    “Captain West, my paper would like an official statement from you.”
    Get bent. Is that official enough for you?

    Extra! Extra! Fire hydrant attacked by newspaper!

    That’s my boss. Always going on about his life of danger. But look who does all the driving. We’ll be right back.

    Remember guys, this is filmed in color. It’s just that everything’s grey in Russia.

    You can have the Chair of Shame.

    “One of our best pilots will take you in a special civilian plane.”
    And then push you out the back screaming

    Dear Penthouse, I never thought I’d be writing you, but I met this college girl from Minsk.

    “Why can’t he go home to his wife?”
    Because she’s fat and bald, too.

    “Why don’t you and Helen take in a movie?”
    Because Helen’s my imaginary friend. She’s not real. You keep doing this to me!

    Your member supported apocalypse station.

    Turned the Big Apple into applesauce.

       2 likes

  20. senorpogo says:

    Hard to believe a group of civilized men could sit around discussing how to murder five or six million others.

    Fun fact: Jane Ross, who played the tie-obsessed truck driver’s wife, appeared in the Star Trek (TOS) episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion” as the yellow-skinned gladiatorial alien Tamoon. She also was in a few singing groups with Nancy Sinatra whom she went to high school with.

       1 likes

  21. Joseph Nebus says:

    I don’t know how long it took me to notice that the season 2-through-5.0 credits included a little clip of Servo with his haircut dome. It certainly took until after I’d seen this episode for the first time and so was primed to notice where the clip came from.

       0 likes

  22. schippers says:

    This comment should be considered a riff comment, based on something Sampo observed – “Segment 3 was recently recalled by a lot of fans when a Russian version of MST3K was discovered on the Web.”

    Hey Sega Genesis/Mega Drive fans, have you all noticed how many weird Gen/MD games developed by Russians are on eBay these days? Like, you can buy Metal Gear Solid for your Genesis. What’s up with that?

    I’ve just been wanting to get that off my chest for some time now. That is all.

       1 likes

  23. Cornjob says:

    “Commie scat.”

       2 likes

  24. sol-survivor says:

    This episode tried twice to be the first episode I ever saw, but both times I fell asleep at about the same point during the short and woke up about halfway through the movie, leaving me very confused. My first complete episode ended up being Rocket Ship X-M. Eventually I did see this one and enjoyed it.

       1 likes

  25. thequietman says:

    My, this is quite the downer to come to right after the unabashed goofiness of “Catalina Caper”, which in turn was a distinct change of pace from “Rocketship X-M” (where our heroes die), “Sidehackers” (where EVERYONE dies) and “Jungle Goddess” (where the heroes live but only after wading through lakes of racism and misogyny).

    On the other hand, as a Cold War time capsule this is very fascinating to watch. It even beat the rest of Hollywood to the punch by showing us the poignant nuking of New York (or attempting to at least) years before the seminal drama “Fail-Safe”. Not to mention the fact that when this episode was being made, the USSR hadn’t yet fallen (even if it was right on the edge).

    Final thing, unlike the past few experiments this time around it looks like the Mads actually invented something that looks fun and not at all evil.

    Fave Riff:
    Tanya: Did anyone see you?
    Crow: Just the girl in the bar, the belly dancer, the fire eater, the band, the cab driver, everyone on the street – and the guy filming this!

       3 likes

  26. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #75: As a blast from the past, here’s the Weekend Discussion about their most evil inventions.

       0 likes

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

    #69: Though the You Bet Your Life duck being an informant was an odd choice, given Groucho Marx’s animosity towards Joseph McCarthy.

    On the one hand, that might have been the whole point, y’know, irony and stuff. On the other hand, they may have just not thought it through very well; after all, the Duck wasn’t, technically speaking, Groucho’s puppet, since he never “worked” it.

    On a tangent, over a period of well over ten years, the Duck surely received some sort of backstage nickname — like Bruce the Shark from “Jaws” or Beulah the Alien from “It Conquered the World”, it’s just human nature to attach names to objects with faces* — but I have no idea of what it might have been (in the brief 1980s revival of “Bet,” its name, per Wikipedia (so, you know…) was Leonard). On another tangent, the Brains must not have known that “It” had that nickname, since it’s hard to see how they could have resisted a “Somebody bawl for Beulah?” (catchphrase for the “Beulah” radio/TV sitcom) joke if they did; the fact that very few people would’ve gotten the joke is, of course, entirely irrelevant. But I digress.

    #75: Crow: Just the girl in the bar, the belly dancer, the fire eater, the band, the cab driver, everyone on the street – and the guy filming this!

    Well, he was so bland and unmemorable — not just as a spy but as an ACTOR — that it didn’t really matter, anyway. ;-)

    ===

    *hm, now I’m wondering if there were any 1950s SF/horror monsters who were puppets, not just cheesy special effects but outright PUPPETS, that the Brains could’ve included

       1 likes

  28. Joseph Nebus says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    On another tangent, the Brains must not have known that “It” had that nickname, since it’s hard to see how they could have resisted a “Somebody bawl for Beulah?” (catchphrase for the “Beulah” radio/TV sitcom) joke if they did; the fact that very few people would’ve gotten the joke is, of course, entirely irrelevant. But I digress.

    Actually, I wonder if they’d have known to make the joke at all. The Brains don’t seem to have been very well-versed in old-time radio, based on their riffs. There are a couple of go-to riffs — calling out “The Jack Benny Program!” or “Don’t open that door, McGee” — but those don’t really show more knowledge of old-time radio than you get from having watched Bugs Bunny cartoons (which we know full well they did). I haven’t run across a riff that shows someone on the staff knew something substantial about the genre.

    Of course it was much harder to be conversant in old-time radio comedy in the 80s and 90s than it is today, and it’s not like we actually expect them to know everything about all eras of popular culture. They just look like they do.

    That might make a fair Weekend Discussion Topic, if it hasn’t been one already: subjects that the Brains seemed surprisingly weak on.

       0 likes

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

    (old post, so what)

    #2 One thing I never understood about the short: why didn’t anyone make the guess that the “physician” that just conveniently showed up at the scene of the crash was Dr. Zorka?

    Because they’re in a MOVIE. People in movies just conveniently show up and then just as conveniently vanish all the time. Even in 1939, everybody knew THAT. ;-)

    ***

    Wow, EIGHT likes on Post #5, cool. :-)

    I don’t recall the details of the plane crash, but I’m sure it was no challenge for Zorka to convince himself that his enemies were responsible for his wife’s death (Hm, this and “The Corpse Vanishes,” Bela Lugosi characters don’t tend to have much luck with wives, do they? Then again, I’m not immediately recalling any mad scientists who do.). To some people, everything is always somebody else’s fault…

       1 likes

  30. Cornjob says:

    Blaming others for your murders is very poor philosophy/ethics, but Dr. Zorca was already on pretty shaky ground to begin with.

       1 likes

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

    #78

    Well, as noted, it was also a TV show. They would have, perhaps, been more likely to know about it in that capacity. But whatever. Probably should’ve saved it for the appropriate season, anyway. :-|

    Anyway, I’m sure there are other, more obvious riffs that could have been based on the knowledge that the monster-prop’s nickname was “Beulah,” but none occur to me At The Moment.

    ===

    Joel mentions Chilly Willy cartoons as something the Mads could send up; I (as is too often the case) only vaguely remember a reference somewhere to the effect that author Harlan Ellison claimed that Chilly Willy was a psychopath. So there’s that, anyway.

       0 likes

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