Short: (1944) Careless driver Joe Doakes finds himself in a heavenly courtroom, on trial for his vehicular misdeeds. His guardian angel is his only defense.
Movie: (1955) Two scientist couples are sent to investigate a mysterious new planet and are menaced by snakes, gators, giant bugs and other scary process shots.
First shown: 12/22/90
Opening: Joel reads some beat poetry
Invention exchange: A crushed Dr. F. declares that he, “the pocket scientist,” is his invention; Joel’s accidental invention is the “incredibly stinky sweat socks.”
Host segment 1: Crow asks “Am I qualified?”
Host segment 2: J&tB introduce Joey the lemur
Host segment 3: Joel objects to the “Emotional Scientist” sketch
End: Crow and Tom complain about all the Lippert’s movies, Joel shows off his theramin, Tom reads a letter.
Stinger: Gator wrestling aftermath
• I want to begin by saying that I disavow all previous instances in which I described Joel’s goatee as “cheesy” and I maintain that a crazy person broke into my house when I wasn’t home and added the word to “cheesy” to my descriptions of Joel’s goatee, which at all times is manly and dignified. Now, on to business.
• This is a fun episode. Between the short, the goofy Lippert movie, Joey the lemur (he wasn’t a lemur) solid riffing and a some memorable host segments, there’s plenty to enjoy.
• Joel’s entirely dignified and not at all cheesy goatee is gone–but Crow and Tom are wearing them in the opening bit. He is still wearing the pastel green jumpsuit from last week.
• Does anyone know whose poem Joel is reading in the opening? Google is silent.
• Sir Goofus von Drakesnot is a funny name.
• In the opening Dr. F. is seen working on an elevator. It would reappear a few other times.
• I think we’ve talked about this before, but I want to broach this again in hopes that we can get some sort of definitive answer concerning the “hat party” riffs, including the line “mine is/was/will be the grandest of all.” I STILL have not heard a confirmed explanation as to what that is a reference to.
• Neither the “pocket scientist” nor the “incredibly stinky sweat socks” are actual inventions, but the former is a very nice illusion and the latter is a pretty funny prop. So I will let them slide.
• With this episode we get our first real short, and it’s clear immediately that this works much better for the show than the serials they’d been using.
• Fave riff from the short: “He said a silent prayer to Bongo, the god of gravity.”
• Crow’s inspirational speech in segment 1, including the brilliant, immortal words “Crush someone with an emotional word or an enigmatic look,” is one of the funniest segments of the season.
• J&tB and The Mads make a big deal about this being another movie by executive producer Robert Lippert, but they fail to notice a bigger menace–this is the first of EIGHT movies directed by Bert I. Gordon (he directed more MSTed movies than anybody else). We’ll hear narrator Marvin Miller again in episode 422- THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE and 902-THE PHANTOM PLANET. Writer-producer Al Zimbalist also produced “Robot Monster. Cinematographer Gordon Avil did sound direction for “Robot Monster.” Editors John Bushelman and Jack Cornall also worked on “Village of the Giants. Special effects guy Howard A. Anderson also worked on “Women of the Prehistoric Planet,” “12 to the Moon,” “The Amazing Transparent Man” and “It Lives By Night. Sound supervisor Rod Sutton also worked on “It Lives By Night,” “Hangar 18 and “Slime People. Score composer Mischa Terr also worked on “The Unearthly,” “Bloodlust,” “The Violent Years” and “The Sinister Urge.”
• Daddy-O reports: Yes, the gecko-Roman wrestling is the same footage from “One Million B.C.” we’ve seen before. Also, Bronson Canyon was used for some exterior shots as was done in many other MSTed movies.
• “I’m a pan-dimensional being” is a “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” reference.
• One of the highlights of this episode is the series of riffs in which Joel, in a gravelly voice, says “Hi, I’m Satan!” every time a snake appears. As these bits go on wander into a whole Kraft cheese thing, climaxing with Tom offering a very strange recipe as announcer Ed Herlihy.
• Segment two is, of course, the infamous “Joey the lemur” bit. Now, I like the “handmade” look of the show as much as the next guy, but what the heck is going on with Joel? Was this planned? Did he just go off script for the heck of it? I have no idea what he’s saying half the time. In episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES they do a very funny parody of this bit, implying that even they were baffled by it.
• Segment two is also out of order. The lemur hasn’t appeared in the movie yet. But it does seem like they are aware of it: Joel sort of backfills as they re-enter the theater.
• “The owl footage is not what it seems” is a “Twin Peaks” reference.
• Over the years, many fans have noted that the “lemur” in this movie is actually a kinkajou.
• Segment three is sort of another “we’re trying to do a sketch but it’s not going well” sketch. Kind of “meta.”
• The closing bit is also a bit “meta.” It’s only been a few episodes since Joel did a presentation using the “series of sketches” and/or a musical tribute. They’re already they’re making fun of it?
• Also the letter that Tom reads is notable–it’s, I think, the only time anybody on the show uttered the phrase “host segment.” Joel pretends not to know what they are (though they’re mentioned in the credits).
• Credits stuff: This Week’s Creative Pit Boss: Trace Beaulieu. Intern Nathan Molstad is playing Jerry the mole person. Additional music: Kevin Murphy, Michael J. Nelson.
• Favorite riff: “I’m Chirpy the mutant hellbeast, and I don’t like this film.” Honorable mention: “Relax?! There’s a bee the size of a moose over there and you want him to relax??”