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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: 209- The Hellcats

Movie: (1967): The brother and fiancée of a murdered detective infiltrate a drug-running biker gang.

First shown: 12/8/90
Opening: J&tB have colds
Invention exchange: J&tB are feeling better thanks to vapor action, but it may cause flashbacks. The Mads are still enjoying the hobby hogs. Joel’s invention is the sign language translator. The Mads just yell “NOOOO!” for reasons that never become clear.
Host segment 1: Tom’s flashback: J&tB do Shatner with The Crawling Hand (from episode 106)
Host segment 2: Crow’s flashback: Zero gravity humor lesson (from episode 201)
Host segment 3: Joel’s flashback: Gobos lesson (from episode 203)
End: Gypsy attempts a diary entry; Crow and Tom mock her for it at first, but they soon admit they keep diaries too and everybody gets emotional. Joel reads a letter. In Deep 13, the Mads are emotional, too
Stinger: Trumpeter yells something unintelligible.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (170 votes, average: 3.93 out of 5)


• I laughed quite a bit this time around, but I found I could only take this episode in short bursts of 10 or 15 minutes. The movie is just so meandering and pointless, and the retread host segments don’t help. The movie is clearly cut from the same cloth as “Girl in Gold Boots” (even “Sidehackers” looks more professional), but the riffing is really pretty good, good enough to save this one from being truly painful. It’s still not a standout episode or anything, but I had fun watching it — a little at a time.
• This episode was released (in DVD) by Rhino as a single episode in 2002.
• Just about every TV show has a cheesy clip episode, and this is MST3K’s. In the ACEG, it is explained that most of the staff was going to be out of town, so the writing time was shortened and this is what they came up with. Mike calls it a “tribute to ‘Family Ties'” (for the younger folks, that was an ’80s TV show that seemed to have a lot of flashback episodes).
• Joel’s jumpsuit is not a never-before-seen pastel green. The goatee is also still there.
• Joel mentions SPACOM, from “Project Moonbase.”
• Joel finally gets to show off his sign language translator, which he wasn’t able to present in the previous episode. The Mads, still enjoying the “hobby hogs” from the previous episode, offer no invention.
• In the bit in Deep 13 before the movie starts, you’ll notice that it cuts off the INSTANT that Frank says: “I don’t fink on soul brutha.” The reason is that Frank could never say that line and look at Trace without cracking up (as seen in the “Poopie” reel). He finally managed to say the line straight and hold his laughter for about half a second, which was enough.
• During the funeral scene at the beginning, two guys are crouching behind a tombstone: a thin guy and a chubbier guy with sunglasses. The chubbier guy is director/screenwriter Robert F. Slatzer. Crow points out that the director is on screen, but when he says it, the other guy is being shown. At first I thought it might have just been bad timing, but later on they identify the other guy again as the director. So it’s officially a goof by BBI. They got the wrong guy.
• Crow and Tom wear their robes in the theater for the entire show.
• Crow and Joel are very snippy toward each other early on in the theater, but then they re-enact a famous exchange from “Then Came Bronson” (which they felt it necessary to have Servo explain) and all is forgiven.
• Great moment when the shot moves to the gangster and his dog sitting in the convertible and all the riffers can do is laugh.
• Some of the music for this movie was arranged and produced by well-regarded producer Richard Podolor (misspelled “Podlor” in the credits) who also produced Three Dog Night, Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf. (By the way, there was a soundtrack album. Yes, there was.) The act Podolor tried to push in this movie was a group called Davy Jones and the Dolphins. Their career still went nowhere.
• Incidentally, when Crow (wrongly, by the way) suggests that the Davy Jones of Davy Jones and the Dolphins is the same Davy Jones as the guy in The Monkees, Joel says “He would have been about 14 at the time.” Uh, no. This movie was made in ’67, a year after the Monkees TV show started. So, although Joel’s reasoning is wrong, he’s right: this group had nothing to do with The Monkees.
It was a group out of Connecticut founded in 1960 by a guy named David John Liska with his brothers Walt (bass guitar, he left the band in 1962) and Richard (who played steel guitar and keyboard). Also in the band at the time of “Hellcats” were lead guitarist Paul Bogel and drummer Bob Vilezanti (replacing original drummer John Urbanik, who left in 1965).
In 1966 the four-piece band went to L.A. to record the songs for “Hellcats.” They made a USO tour of Vietnam. When they returned to Connecticut they built a recording studio in New London called East Coast Sound Studios (no longer in existence as far as I can tell).
In 1970 the group was signed by Columbia Records, had their name changed to Crossroads and had a moderate hit with a song called “Shannon,” but couldn’t follow up. In 1974, David and Richard formed a bluegrass band called “Kentucky Wind” and toured for a while. In 1981, David moved to Nashville and wrote for various publishing companies. In 1991, David and Richard and their families moved to Nevada and formed a country-western group called “David John and the Comstock Cowboys.” They were regulars at the Famous Bucket of Blood in Virginia City, Nev., but Richard died in 2010 and it’s unclear how busy the band has been since then.
• There’s also music in this movie from a group called Somebody’s Chyldren. The group was founded by David Clark Allen. Also in the band were Paul Dobies, Ricky Cameron, Angela Allen (David’s sister) and Dennis Trerotola. After the band broke up, Allen lived in England, and pioneered what he called “flamenco rock.” He formed one band called Carmen and later formed a band called Widescreen. Last we heard from him, he was back in the U.S. Fronting a band called El Tigre!papa-tigre/c1cod. I was able to email Allen and he told me their music got into the movie because it was promoted by their producer, a guy named Chance Halladay. Halliday had a few singles of his own, but Google is virtually silent, as far as I can tell, about his work as a producer.
• Several times the bots reprise bits of the Weiner Man song. Is this the last time we hear it?
• Callbacks: Several variations on “That was number 5!” (“Sidehackers”). Ross Hagen’s name appears in the credits and there are numerous callbacks to “Sidehackers.” Later, “He hit Big Jake!” (Sidehackers) and “Yew and your daughter are doomt!” (Robot Holocaust)
• Kids, in the host segments, that thing sitting on the desk was known as a “typewriter.” It was a very lo-fi word processor and had a REALLY slow internet connection.
• Servo notes that the flashback he introduces happened “before my voice changed.”
• Note that Crow’s arm works in segment 2.
• Toward the end of the movie, Tom spots a fire hydrant and makes a pass. Joel reins him in.
• Okay I know the plot’s in tatters by the end, but how did the biker gang know to go to the docks and not the bad guy’s office?
• In the closing bit in Deep 13, Frank uses a little AA lingo with the line: “work the steps, Doctor.”
• Cast roundup: Coleman Francis’ drinking buddy Tony Cardoza produced this movie, so lots of Coleman’s regulars are in this thing, along with some “Sidehackers” alumni. Assistant director/screenwriter Tony Houston also worked on “The Sidehackers” and was an actor in “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.”
Production manager Eric Lidberg also worked on (and acted in) “The Sidehackers.” In front of the camera, there’s Ross Hagen, of course. Nick Raymond was also in “The Sinister Urge” and “Red Zone Cuba. Warren Hammack was also in “Sidehackers” and “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Eric Tomlin was in “The Skydivers” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats. Gus Trikonis directed “Sidehackers.” Frederic Downs was in “The Skydivers,” “Terror from the Year 5000” and “Red Zone Cuba.” Cardoza, of course, produced all three of Coleman’s movies and performed in “Red Zone Cuba” and “The Skydivers.”
• CreditsWatch: This week’s Creative Pit Boss: Joel Hodgson. “Villians” still mispelled. Additional Music: Michael J. Nelson.
• Favorite riff: “Now Ross can put the star on the tree.” Honorable mention: “They’re all piano tuners.” “I like to shoot heroin straight into my head.” “Looks like she’s into safe walking.”

141 Replies to “Episode guide: 209- The Hellcats”

  1. Sharktopus says:

    @ Cubby,

    I almost always learn something from these episode guide entries. In fact, I can’t imagine any non-educational TV show that has taught me nearly as much as MST3k. :chic:


  2. rainmakerrtv says:

    The “Don’t fink on soul brothers” line shows up in later episodes, notably as part of Chocolate Jones & The Temple Of Funk for “Angels Revenge”.


  3. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    And think of all the educational shorts you’ve seen thanks to MST, Sharktopus. I bet you’d never have considered the world of Home Ec and/or Industrial Arts without it!


  4. Sharktopus says:

    Y’know, I wish I actually had taken more “industrial arts” classes in high school. That particular short makes a lot of good points. A fat lot of good AP English, Bio, and American History have done to get me a good job… The Home Economics one, however, is clearly propaganda aimed at keeping wimmins “where they belong.” *spits tobacco juice loogie*

    And as Paul mentioned in the ACEG – only half-jokingly, I think – I now know to clip my toenails after showering when they’re softer.


  5. Richard the Lion-footed says:

    By luck I got this from Netflix last week and we watched it after Elvira Saturday night.
    I commented that this had Coleman Francis written all over it and was surprised when his name was NOT in the credits.
    Now I learn that it was his minions and not the evil overlord who spawned this evil.

    They just don’t make movies like this anymore, except on the SyFy channel.
    While I agree that Sidehackers was a better movie, I felt that this one was more of a challenge to The cast and crew
    of Best Brains. They did better with the little they were given.

    I would not chose this as an introduction to MST3K, but it is a good example of how they rose to a challenge.


  6. Seneca says:

    This is an episode that works best when you’re in the mood for some action. Crank up the sound, turn down the lights, make yourself comfortable. It’s way better than Wild Rebels, I think.


  7. Duck 182 says:

    Didn’t totally scan all the posts but I thought I’d share a bit of info for you. The Group “Somebody’s Chyldren” Also did music for Mae West’s lp, “Way Out West”.


  8. Pemmican says:

    This episode gets a lot of flack for the Brains’ inconsistent writing efforts, but I think that it’s still goofy and pretty watchable. It would make a good ‘intro’ episode for the uninitiated: Non-sensical, in color, has Ross Hagen; with riffs not quite on par as some of the watershed eps. “That sounded like Steve taking a slug from a .30 ought 6…” compared to “It’s not Lysistrata, but I like it!”


  9. Sean says:

    Am I crazy, or is the tall, lanky, spastic, thrashing, hippie/biker (who is featured prominently during the dive bar dance montages), the actor who would be later known as The Master from Manos?



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

    #105: I commented that this had Coleman Francis written all over it and was surprised when his name was NOT in the credits.

    Didn’t he only do black-and-white films?


  11. Into The Void says:

    This is an episode that works best when you’re in the mood for some action.Crank up the sound, turn down the lights, make yourself comfortable.It’s way better than Wild Rebels, I think.

    Agreed. The 1%’er biker flicks MST riffed were some of the first episodes I stumbled upon back in the early ’90s …there are so many of ’em it’s unfortunate the BB gang never returned to the genre, although perhaps fair to suggest they simply chose to distance potential negative perception of the show via abstaining from a genre that existed to glorify and/or exploit sex/drugs/violence stereotypes of ‘outlaw’ bikers (hey, Fonda and Hopper weren’t bad guys, they were murdered by the REAL bad guys, ha!)

    I was a musician playing in heavy/stoner metal bar bands back then, so natch I had a lot of fun with those MST biker movies ’cause in some ways those characters weren’t so far removed from the circles I ran in at the time. The Hellcats title theme reminds me of tv’s 1960s “Monkees” opener, too, albeit with more canned psychedelia.


  12. Bruce Boxliker says:

    As this is one of my (if not THE)least favorite MST3k episodes, I hadn’t watched it in years. I watched it last night, and it’s not as bad as I remember it being. At least the movie doesn’t infuriate me like some of the teen crime movies do (Kitten with a Whip especially). The riffing’s not bad (some of it feels more like season 1 or even KTMA quality, though), and some of the lead-ins to the flashbacks are amusing. The invention exchange segment is the best thing about this episode.
    Although, as Sharktopus said, even the worst MST3k is 1000x better than anything else on TV, past or present.
    That said, only 3 more until my favorite Joel episode.

    Johnny Ryde:
    I forgot to mention my favorite part of the movie: when they tie Ross Hagan’s knees to the table.WTF was that about?

    Seriously. They should have tied his FEET to the table leg. Amateurs.


  13. snowdog says:

    I’m a big fan of the cheesy biker eps. Ross Hagen is my other “boyfiend” named Ross. Although I could have done without the flashbacks, I still crack up when they show the “Lucy Cam” (“OHHH Rickyyyy! I was never really funny!”). One thing I noticed on this go-round was that, if you watch Trace closely when Frank says “I don’t fink on soul brother”, he really is on the edge of cracking a smile. They do cut away at the very last moment.


  14. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I need to rewatch this one, I have dismissed it for years like others due to it being a clip show episode. Which begs the question, do any current TV shows do clip shows anymore? I can’t remember seeing one for the longest time now. They were always lame, if they have gone away completely, I think that is a good thing.


  15. senorpogo says:

    I can’t read or hear Hellcats without having the theme get stuck in my head. For me, it’s the catchiest MST song.


  16. jjk says:

    Cheapskate Crow:
    I need to rewatch this one, I have dismissed it for years like others due to it being a clip show episode.Which begs the question, do any current TV shows do clip shows anymore?I can’t remember seeing one for the longest time now.They were always lame, if they have gone away completely, I think that is a good thing.

    Unfortunatley, no they haven’t gone away. A recent episode of The Blacklist was basically a clip show. A few new scenes to set up clips from past episodes.


  17. Into The Void says:

    “I don’t fink on soul brother”

    ha, yeah!

    “I don’t fink on soul brother(s)”


  18. Mitchell 'Rowsdower' Beardsley says:

    I’m pretty shocked by the comments here. Hellcats is one of the first episodes I ever saw and my mind exploded when they did the “That sounded like Steve taking a slug from a .30 ought 6…” – hilarious.

    This is a top 5 all-time episode to me.


  19. pondoscp says:

    Another classic episode from Season 2. Granted, it’s full of flashbacks, but they’re awesome flashbacks. And the movie itself can Cause a flashback, if you know what I mean…
    Ever hallucinate when you’re sick? Then this is the episode for you.
    I like it.


  20. Sitting Duck says:

    The Hellcats passes the Bechdel Test. The are multiple non-male conversations between the female members of the gang.

    This is probably in the top ten among MST3K movies in the department of inappropriate music selections for the soundtrack.

    Can anyone clarify whether it was the Hellcats who were the art gang that harassed the hack painter or the rival gang?

    Brandon #66: There are two people involved with this movie with the last name “Tomlin”. Can you say “nepotism”? And are they related to Lilly Tomlin?

    If so, she’s probably disowned them.

    Favorite riffs

    Now how much would you pay for this Ginsu switchblade? Wait, there’s more! You get the bread knife, the Uzi automatic, the love beads, a pair of gloves, some guy’s keys. You know, professional low life scum would pay $9.99 for this stuff.

    Don Fido is mad.

    And now Red in The Silent Spot. Red plays a guy about to get gunned down. Let’s watch.

    Steve’s dead now. From here on in, Steve’s death will be represented by the oboe.

    I’ll just blend in with the crowd here. Fortunately, I’m wild on the inside. I don’t need these hippy threads.

    Be on the lookout for art gangs.

    Burn the Good Humor Man, he’s out of Creamsicles!

    Friends don’t let friends drive pink motorcycles.


  21. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with this episode.

    The movie itself is really painful but the riffing is excellent. It’s just that a good 90% of the film is watching people get drunk/high. It’s not a very good beginner’s episode.

    “It’s not like Steve to just run off and die”


  22. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    other favorite riffs:

    “Yeah Ross, take off your jacket. You wouldn’t want anything thick and leathery between you and the road”

    “Oh my god, it’s just his legs!”

    “Hey, it’s Officer Plot Point”

    “Please stop the music I hate Flamenco!”

    “Even little Cindy Lou Hellcat…”

    “What do ya think of pointillism, creep?”


  23. Cornjob says:

    In one host segment a robot refers to something called a “cropisator” or “crofisater”. This term was used in the menu song for Missile to the Moon. Does anyone know what a cropisator is?


  24. Ian L. says:

    Trivia: The stock music in this film was provided by Robert Mersey, Ib Glindemann, and the team of William Loose/Emil Cadkin. Some of these tracks can be listened to on the Associated Production Music website.


  25. Yipe Stripes says:


    not far off…


  26. CJBeiting says:

    Interesting how the bikers instantly stop fighting just because newcomer Ross tells them to. “It’s Ross Hagen, the Prince of Peace!”

    And I loved the follow-up, “Before the cock crows three times, chili peppers will burn my gut.”


  27. pondoscp says:

    “Several times the bots reprise bits of the Weiner Man song. Is this the last time we hear it?”

    I’m watching Daddy-O right now, and I just heard Crow recite the Weiner Man song. So Weiner Man continues into at least Season Three.


  28. thequietman says:

    I accidentally watched this one instead of “Wild Rebels” two weeks ago. Even after watching “Wild Rebels” I still found this one the most enjoyable of the biker film trio. Sleazy enough to make you go ‘eww’ (as several others have mentioned, I hope that’s beer!) but not depressing enough where you have trouble laughing at the riffs. So I liked it, in spite of the clip show host segments. Honestly, the “I don’t fink on soul brotha” exchange is worth the price of admission.

    Fave riffs:
    Shep, one day this’ll all be yours!

    Steve’s got a problem. His problem is ‘down there’. And now he must break the news to Eliza…

    Spazzy. Died of a broken neck shortly after the filming of this movie.


  29. Manny Sanguillen says:

    I probably mentioned this before but I am pretty sure there is a callback to Wild Rebels in this. “That square bugs me, he really bugs meee!”
    I seem to recall that they did a call back to that almost in every episode after 207 (Wild Rebels), right up through 302 of the next season, but not in 301.


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

    #112: Well, exactly. They ARE amateurs and that’s why they did it wrong. Incompetent minions are often the backbone of Good Triumphing Over Evil.

    In case anyone’s interested in learning more about the genre, offers several books on Biker Films. The most notable include:

    Sleazy Riders: A Guide to the Sleaziest Biker Flicks Ever Made, by Wyatt James

    The Big Book of Biker Flicks: 40 of the Best Motorcycle Movies of All Time, by John Wooley and Michael H. Price

    High on the Hogs: A Biker Filmography, by David Stidworthy

    Obviously there are bound to be multiple websites on the topic as well, but checking for books was much quicker. ;-)


  31. Sampo says:

    In one host segment a robot refers to something called a “cropisator” or “crofisater”. This term was used in the menu song for Missile to the Moon. Does anyone know what a cropisator is?

    That’s classic nonsense double-talk. It’s made-up words that are meant to sound technical but mean nothing. Example: The boss will demand his Jeep, and Sgt. Bilko will say he can’t give it to him because the Jeep’s “cropiscator has a bad franistan” or something like that.


  32. Cornjob says:

    Thanks for the response. I had throat surgery a few years ago. After not sleeping for two weeks I had some very vivid half waking nightmares that felt a bit like I was having a psychotic episode. The made up word cropisator was a prominent part of the dreams. I wondered what the heck (if anything) it meant since.


  33. ready4sumfootball says:

    “Just about every TV show has a cheesy clip episode…”

    Not every show. A lot of the best shows from the 80s and 90s maybe, but I think it was only a trend during those years right before DVD and now that episodes of TV shows are more accessible they don’t really do it a lot anymore.


  34. Sitting Duck says:

    Something of note. When Crow does his diary entry, he starts it off with, “Dear Kitty.” IIRC this is how Anne Frank started off the entries of her own famous diary.


  35. John Cameron Trade Rat says:

    Matthew Shine:
    Not one of my favorite episodes, probably because I’ve never been a fan of the biker films and the host segments are just clips we’ve already seen, not that it’s a bad thing, but I would have loved to see something original.
    However, there was one riff that can get me laughing to this day:
    Ugly Biker: “Roses are green and violets are red…”
    Joel: “I like to shoot heroin right into my head.”
    And the stinger is one of the funniest I’ve ever seen. I think that guy’s saying something like “HEY! YOU CRAZY GUYS ALL TRIED TO KILL ME!” but he was too stoned to remember his line.

    Eh, close enough.


  36. Cornjob says:

    Tony Cardoza was really emoting in his Cameo. Did someone put something in his coffee that day?


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


    Well, if that was an intentional reference on the Brains’ part, that’s, uh…that’s just creepy and inappropriate. IMHO.


  38. Alex says:

    Sampo, just a correction:

    I’m not sure why you’re saying Joel is wearing a different jumpsuit starting with this episode, because it’s the same teal jumpsuit he started wearing in the last episode up until 211.


  39. Dish of Ice Cream says:

    I liked this episode. I’ve only seen it 1 or 2 times before but the excellent riffing and the goofy incompetence of the movie (only showing the reactions to the motorcycle race, the sound issues making everyone incomprehensible) make it fun.
    I love the cut away or insert shot jokes like “I’m huge” which shows up here. But my absolute favorite is the one right near the beginning with the geeky motorcycle guy looking bewildered with the riff “I’m a stranger to my own soul.”


  40. mnenoch says:

    This is a fun episode although the movie is a bit slow. Still my favorite of the “biker” movies is Wild Rebels. The opening bit with the mad’s is just hilarious and they can barely hold it together.


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