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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: 509- The Girl in Lovers Lane

Movie: (1960) A whiny runaway is befriended by a world-weary drifter, but the duo’s arrival in a small town spells trouble for a local waitress.

First shown: 9/18/93
Opening: Tom and Crow are retrofitting themselves with bellybuttons; Joel approves
Invention exchange: The Mads present evil baseball promotions, Joel presents “Don Martins”
Host segment 1: J&tB sing “What a Pleasant Journey”
Host segment 2: The bots want to reenact the pool hall scene
Host segment 3: Crow is Crow Elam
End: Furious about the ending of the movie, the bots devise new endings, Joel reads letters, Frank devises endings too
Stinger: “Are you waiting for a bus?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (82 votes, average: 4.61 out of 5)


• This is what I used to call a “little” episode. The movie has a very narrow scope. The host segments are fun but nothing spectacular. The riffing is decent but workmanlike. It’s good, not great. But, like practically every episode, it has its moments…
• This episode is included on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XV.
• Once again they’re doing stuff to the bots in the opening segment. This time it’s belly buttons. I do love the way Joel thinks it over and decides to go for it.
• Something I never noticed before: In the opener, when they turn on the electric drill, the lights dim a little for a second. A great subtle little touch.
• The baseball promotion invention exchange is as dark as Frank predicts it will be, at least for any baseball fan. I’m old enough to remember when my dad took me and my two brothers to “bat day” at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia: every kid got an actual regulation wooden bat, and yet we behaved. I suspect there’d be mayhem in the stands if they did that today.
• Why does Joel’s jumpsuit come equipped with ONE kneepad?
• One of the best things about this episode is the songs. The song Tom makes up to go with the movie’s theme during the credit sequence is just marvelous. Joel and Crow add a line or two, but of course it’s dominated by Tom.
• This episode also features the “Camera three get off the tracks!! Arrgghhh!” sequence, which was later used in promos for the show.
• The other great song: “What a pleasant journey.” What can you say? One of the funniest songs of the series. The impression they’re doing, by the way is sort of a vague Woody Guthrie.
• The Mary Jo influence: Mentions of Appleton and Circle Pines.
• Callbacks: o/` “Leather coat…” o/` (The Beatniks) “To live like the E-lam…” (Robot Monster) “You’re stuck here!” (Fugitive Alien)
• One I didn’t get lat time around: Her neck looks like Randy Johnson’s. Commenters explained it to me.
• Elam does look like Garrison Keillor, which they point out at least twice.
• There are several references to the “This Side of Paradise” Star Trek episode again.
• Crow notes that Jack Elam was a fine character actor, “and for all I know he still is.” He was indeed still alive when this episode first aired … not so much now, sadly. He passed in 2003.
• I lost count of the “Carrie, you’re so very…” riffs, which did NOT get funnier with each iteration. For those who have no idea what it’s about: Check it out here.
• Yes, the truck driver does look a little like Gene Kelly, if you squint. I counted SIX riffs to that effect.
• The bots are upset about the ending of the movie in the final sketch, and there is also some outrage expressed in the ACEG, but J&tB don’t seem that upset in the theater when Carrie’s brutal and completely undeserved murder actually occurs.
• Cast and crew roundup: Art director Dan Haller also worked on “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Set designer John F. Burton also worked on “12 to the Moon” and “High School Big Shot.” Score composer Ronald Stein also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Attack of the the Eye Creatures,” “Gunslinger,” “The Undead” and “The She-Creature.” In front of the camera Brett Halsey is also in “Revenge of the Creature.” William Coontz is also in “Bloodlust,” and Patricia Dean” is also in “Beginning of the End.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Joel. The music for “The Train Song” a.k.a. “What a Pleasant Journey” was by Michael J. Nelson; the lyrics are by Frank Conniff.
• Fave riff: “This is a great date. I always wanted to be nuzzled by a hobo.” Honorable mention: “Did his head just turn into a big sucker?”

129 Replies to “Episode guide: 509- The Girl in Lovers Lane”

  1. Ben Murphy says:

    Laura Petrie NO !!!!!!!!!!

    Laura Petrie YESSSSSS

    That is one nice caboose. :lol:


  2. GizmonicTemp says:

    I know I’m kind of alone on this, but this isn’t one of my favorites at all. I mean, the movie is actually kind of good and VERY drepressing. I watch Mst3k to laugh, not to be bummed.

    How about a vote? Is this THE MOST depressing Mst3k movie of all time? Not Mst3k episiode, but riffed movie.

    My full review is here.


  3. swh1939 says:

    One of my favorites, actually. Big Stupid is just that — a big, stupid guy. And yet, he’s teamed up with someone who makes him look smart.


  4. Badger1970 says:

    The movie was a deep hurter in a way that one would want to curl up in bed for a week after repeated watchings. Yesterday’s baseball promotions were extravagant compared to today’s el cheepo “Made in China” stuff. The Crow Elam was a bit disturbing so I had to pop in “Once Upon a Time in the West” to ground myself. Not a bad episode overall.


  5. Ang says:

    This is definitely one of my top fave episodes and I will admit to having quite a crush on Big Stupid :razz: . I’m not really sure why though since as he says during one scene ‘I don’t have a problem hitting dames’, he’s a hobo, not much fun on a date, etc… I’d still let him nuzzle me though!

    I’ve always wondered if the ‘camera three get off the tracks’ riff is in reference to an incident during the filming of High Noon (one of my all time fave films). When the noon train arrives carrying the main bad guy, we see a similar shot like GiLL of the train heading straight for the camera. It was supposed to stop but something happened with the brakes and instead it ran over the camera. They were able to salvage the film though and use the shot (minus the part where it actually hits the camera of course).

    My fave riff is when Big and Danny are fighting with the guys in the alley and Danny is rolling around on the ground with one of the bad guys and they say ‘he’s gonna uncomfortable him to death’.

    Crow’s Jack Elam impression is spot on too.


  6. happy says:

    I like this one a lot. The guy who plays Bics Duggan (big stupid) was in Return of the Fly, Atomic Submarine and other low budgeters. I always thought he looked like Elvis..
    I have the uncut version where you see what Jack does to Bics ladyfriend..
    This is a cult film to say the least…this is one of the episodes that i can watch it mst3k or unmistied


  7. jason says:

    i hated this episode it is one of the worst epsidoes they did. after the first 10 mintues. it is all down hill from there. it is tough to sit through this episode.


  8. outmywindow says:

    I grew up right off of a street called Lovers’ Lane, so this episode is a bit special to me in that regard.

    Otherwise, I agree that it’s middling.


  9. I’m not a medium, I’m a petite says says:

    bathtub girl is sooooo hot.

    I would call this a ‘Tormented’ class episode… the movie relative to others in the MST canon is actually pretty good. It’s a watered down film noir ( film gris ? ) that despite the melodramatcs, doesn’t really overplay its hand and certainly doesn’t peddle any kid of laughable message.

    The Mads overplay the slide whistle / brass knuckle segemnt. Should have moved on before the unlucky kids sentence.

    Opening credit song is good, but, within the logic of the film, are they allowed to trash a movie they “haven’t seen” yet.

    bathtub girl is sooooo hot.

    Somewhat obscure reference even then perhaps… train delayed because of racoon on the tracks is a reference to the fall and rise of reginald perrin.

    Richie Brockelman !!! Wow.

    Can we assign a name to this class of theme rif : someone woke up, someone wasn’t there, someone hates that.

    What’s not to get about Randy Johnson’s neck.. ? Look at it : long, thin & ropy , perfect match.

    bathtub girl is sooooo hot.

    and yes, the very rare porn movie reference !!!


  10. GizmonicTemp says:

    Sampo – I was gathering the religious references. So theenks!


  11. Evan K says:

    I’m sure I’ve seen this, but I have NO recollection of it. Can’t have been too memorable . . .


  12. Mac says:

    I, too, love the opening credits song. Sometimes I sing it in the shower. “The entire crew… feels a sense of shame…”


  13. Skenderberg says:

    My main problem with The Girl in Lover’s Lane is the ugly murder near the end. Not the murder itself (lots of good movies have murders in them) but the way the movie treated it like it was no big deal–nothing in the movie leads up to it, and shortly afterwards the other two principals get together for a big old happy ending. It’s as if they’re saying, “Yes, we killed off the most likeable character and then mangled her corpse, but we’re still the feel-good-iest movie of 1959.” It’s an appalling attitude that unfortunately overshadows anything Joel and the ‘Bots try to do to it.

    That said, they get off some good lines. I still laugh when I think of Tom helping Danny describe his contribution to the fight, boasting about “that guy I groined in the knee.” I also quite enjoyed the radioactive train song and the bots’ new ending for the film.


  14. crowtdan says:

    Nice scene when Big Stupid is backing out of the room from the girl in the bathtub. He closes the sliding doors and….OWWWW!


  15. Rowsdower42 says:

    I would rank High School Big Shot as more depressing than this movie. But yeah, it’s up there.


  16. Bix Dugan says:

    It’s a great episode. What else can I say? I’m biased.



  17. magicvoice says:

    I love this episode! Big Stupid and Danny. What a team! The first time I saw this episode was back in the ’90s. I was sick with the flu and just kind of staring at the TV. When Crow came out dressed like Jack Elam I nearly died laughing. Seriously. “Here are the goods that you ordered. Uhhhh.” Great stuff.


  18. nottorgo says:

    As one of the few gay MST fans (a lonely existence but there are a few of us), I love the Bix and Danny relationship riffs. “Yet again Big saves Danny from a heterosexual experience.” hehe :lol: . They create a parallel film experience that actually kinda makes sense plot wise if you go with it.

    So I have to cop to this being one of my favorite episodes.


  19. Randy says:

    We went to a “Bat Day” at Connie Mac. 2 or 3 spots from the
    ticket window they ran out of bats. Also it turned into a
    “standing room only day”. There we were… gazing at home
    plate to the pitchers mound (the upper deck blocked the view) and left home “batless”. Yeah….. good times….


  20. H says:

    Not a great episode, but not bad either. It’s just … difficult. I think the Crow Elam sketch was brilliant but everything else was ok. Movie is, as many have said, depressing. As to the Randy Johnson comment, Sampo, Randy has an especially freakish neck, long and prominently adams-appled. Hope this helps.


  21. Big Stupid says:

    I like this episode a lot. Yes, the movie’s depressing, but I think the riffs are among the best they’ve ever done. (The “Carrie, you’re so very” riffs bothered me a little, too, mostly because Carrie and Keri don’t really sound alike, but that’s nitpicking.)
    I especially like the riffs on the relationship between Bix and Danny (and I’m also gay, nottorgo, so don’t feel so alone).

    I’d also vote for “High School Big Shot” as being more depressing than this movie.


  22. Bobo (has a red butt) says:

    High School Big Shot is very depressing, but Lover’s Lane I find very hard to watch. In fact, I’ve only seen it twice and I got a good copy.

    Besides the killing at the end, everywhere these guys went there was personal violence on their persons and all. Even when something good may happen..young man with friendly girl..gets nixed in the story. I speak of what nottorgo spoke > “Yet again Big saves Danny from a heterosexual experience”

    It’s like the way I felt after seeing Mystic River..the world is an awful awful place.

    Give me a good Teenage Strangler any day. :???:


  23. I’m not a medium, I’m a petite says says:

    re #19. lingusitc aside : for you does ‘Carrie’ rhyme with ‘Vary’ while ‘Keri’ rhymes with ‘Very’ ?


  24. Bob says:

    Hardest episode to watch because the movie is just good enough that you care about the characters a bit and then that horrible ending where the young girl is murdered and the lives of others are nearly ruined for nothing, it’s just horrible. Even MST3K couldn’t save this one.

    For this movie to work for MST3K it needed to be worse than it is so the audience wouldn’t care how it turned out. You could tell that even the writers were affected by it judging from the final host segment after the film. A dreadfully depressing film, but not in a “good” way like Manos.


  25. Creepygirl says:

    I pulled this one out and watched it as soon as I came home from work this evening. I couldn’t remember all that much for I hadn’t seen it since the 90s. I tend to agree that it’s not bad, not great, just under the radar. I also agree the films subject matter just did not lend itself to crazy riffing. Hence Keri, is so very… over & over &… The beginning of the film at the train yard location and the chewed up print did get me excited for a hoodlum stinker. No such luck. It’s actually not that bad and rather depressing. Because I hadn’t seen it in so long I now consider this one a personal lost gem.


  26. M "What About That Guy I Groined In The Knee?" Sipher says:

    “What’s your name?”
    Sex Poodle!… umm…”

    Yeah. They picked up on the homoerotic overtones and ran with it, didn’t they? But let’s face it. Danny’s totally a twink.

    I’ve always had kind of a soft spot for this episode. The movie really ISN’T all that bad or ridiculous (it’s mostly dull and the obvious “why did they DO that?!” ending), but I never felt the riffs were too forced or too lacking or too “easy”. I’d put it towards the upper-end of the middle-ground of MST.


  27. Andreavis says:

    This movie is totally worth it for Crow’s Elam; when I rewatched this a couple of months ago, I couldn’t stop laughing at the wonky eye and grocery sack.


  28. Cleefhanger says:

    Love this episode, one of my favorites.

    “Mr. Big Stupid……catch me!!!!!”

    “Did his head just turn into a big sucker?”

    “I ain’t the guy you’re looking for?”
    “You ate him?? Why???”

    “Bet you’ve got a hundered boyfriends.”
    “No, I’m saving myself for the right oily drifter.”


  29. crow T. Guthrie schmo says:

    Did anyone else cry at the end of this episode?

    Because it’s two hours of your life you’ll never get BACK!!!

    They shouldn’t have done this one, I don’t think. Depressing, yes. Also the dullest of the Joel eps that I’ve seen.

    Only good spots, the songs – at the opening credits and “what a pleasant journey.” And Crow’s Jack Elam. Almost anything Trace does as Crow is golden (literally – ping!)

    Almost the only funny parts were when the movie kept jumping around because the print they had wasn’t good – “a wrinkle in time…” “A wormhole!!” “They keep time travelling in this movie!”

    At the beginning of the movie, Thug #1 says of Danny, “I know this guy was carrying a fat roll.”

    Ahem, no comment.


  30. Anita says:

    That episode had the “It’s Larry and Balki’s house!!” bit right? I DIED laughing at that.


  31. GizmonicTemp says:

    I don’t think “High School Big Shot” is as depressing because even if the heist was successful, the kid and his dad would’ve been rich with blood money, so you don’t really feel good if they win. But everyone in “Lover’s Lane” had SO much pure promise that was all taken away by Jesse.

    Randy Johnson was once hit in the throat because the batter mistook his Adam’s apple for a baseball. Yup. True story.


  32. Kouban says:

    Personally, I’m disappointed that the version of Pleasant Journey on Clowns in the Sky lacks the “epilogue” with the Cars riff. And that’s basically it as far as this episode goes.


  33. MST3Kelly says:

    wow- this is one grim mammajamma of a film. I’ve been dealing with a bit of a rough patch as they say, and popping this episode in actually cheered me up! because it’s true: it could always be worse. I could live in a creepy grey town like the movie’s, crawling with ne’er do wells, be stalked by a Jack Elam beast-man, or fall for a guy like Big Stupid [who is attractive in a 1950’s poolhall/bowling alley stud way- whatever that equals these days, I can’t say.]
    I enjoyed the faux-folksy train song from Joel and the ‘Bots, which I forgot about, and was continuously tickled by Danny’s bottomless idiocy. and I loved the brothel scene- the dame in the bathtub is sooo funny! reminds me of when I lived in a big communal Victorian flat and you never knew WHAT sordid scenario was waiting behind the sliding doors. I know its been said, but Crow’s Elam impersonation is one of Trace’s funniest bits.


  34. Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    But the alchey dad in High School Big Shot killed himself, right? And to me, the most depressing thing about High School Big Shot was that the WHOLE heist was ruined cause he was so dumb and fell for an a-hole of a girl. If he had to tell someone about it, why couldn’t it have been the dad? His greasy dad was WAY more likable and could’ve lived. MY dad was way worse than that guy as far as that goes.


  35. Nick says:

    I, too, love the opening credits song. Sometimes I sing it in the shower. “The entire crew… feels a sense of shame…”

    Me too! Usually I sing this in the shower and the “You Better Run” song from Final Justice on the can (I know, TMI.) :lol:

    I kinda like this episode. Sure, it’s nothing special, but I like it all the same. And yes, that bathtub lady is hot; I dig those “cheesecake” stingers.


  36. GizmonicTemp says:

    Bobo #34 – You’re right. I too was really rooting for the “Big Shot” alcoholic dad to turn his unlucky life around. But you just KNEW it was all going to end poorly. “Lover’s Lane” slapped you in the face with it’s cold dead fish of an ending.

    Nick #25 – Sometimes in the shower, I sing, “I scrub whenever I scrub whenever I scrub…” Is that too much information?


  37. R.A. Roth says:

    Actually, I got a JVC X’eye for Christmas that year. Never used the Karaoke function, but I did play plenty of Genesis and Sega CD games on it. For a goof, I fired it up about a year ago. Still works.



  38. Ralph C. says:

    I have fun watching this movie, especially how they make fun of “puppy dog” Danny and his “idolization” of Bix. Of course the ending is depressing– they wanted the movie to have such an ending! Poignant, tugging at the heart-strings– such a cheap way to make your movie go from “dull” to “deep”. This is what makes it a bad film, really. Up until then, it was just not very good and rather pedestrian. I thought they had plenty to make fun of. Also, I liked the skits and invention exchange. When I know I need a laugh and it hasn’t been so recent, I reach for this one.

    The most depressing movie is “Manos: The Hands Of Fate”, by far, I think. That movie has an aura of depression, degradation, sadness, and luridness to it. I bet if you touched the actual film it would stick to your fingers and never come off— the movie would seep its depressiveness into you and you would walk through life lamenting and regretting every breath….

    But, hey, it was so much fun to watch, in a “oh my they actually let someone film this and commit it to celluloid” sort of way!

    Pick any of the Coleman Francis films, too, if you like. If you wanted to exact revenge on someone, what you do is show them “Manos” and all the Francis films…. without the riffs!!
    My friends, that is torture…. TOR-TURE!!


  39. H says:

    You mean TORCHA!!!


  40. ezrapound says:

    Danny likes ya mister!


  41. ezrapound says:

    Pervert Burger!


  42. itskalganlaw says:

    This can’t be as good as “Space Mutiny”. I still say “Space Mutiny” is soooooo much betta than this episode! I can’t wait until the reiview of that show!! Can we just skip these others and get to that one????? “Space Mutiny” is the bestest!!!


  43. Big Stupid says:

    I think the question in #23 is directed at me.
    Yes, to me, Carrie rhymes with Vary and Keri rhymes with Very.
    Are we getting into regional dialects? Are we going to a show? Are you coming with?

    The whole rhyming thing doesn’t affect the episode for me very much – it’s a little like picking at a scab.


  44. Seth Anders says:

    This ep will always hold a special place in my heart, if only because of the Pleasant Journey song. So gather ’round children and I’ll tell you a tale.

    ‘Twas the summer of ’92 or ’93. I was living just south of Duluth, a mere callow youth. Suddenly, the man on the wireless, his voice aquiver, stated that a train had derailed south of Superior, WI. While no big deal in and of itself, one of the cars, a tanker filled with Benzine, had gone into a river. A chemical reaction resulted, and noxious vapers began to fill the air. Since my house was a mere 8 miles from the WI border, the spill was very, very close. Luckily, I was with my mom, sister, and cousins in Mahtowa at the time. Apparently, this was still not far enough, so we were instructed to evacuate further south and west. We passed Barnum, and eventually landed at the high school in Moose Lake. I distinctly remember playing frisbee at the baseball field with my cousins as we waited for permission to return home. It was only a couple of hours til the cloud cleared up, and all was right in the world again.

    So allow me a sentimental tear when they sing of the Benzine Spill, a short and altogether non-life changing event from my childhood.


  45. JustinCristelli says:

    I love this one! I always thought the riffing was dead on all the way through. This was the first non sci-fi or horror episode I showed my girlfriend and it remains one of her favorites. i always enjoy it when they gang up on a character, in this case, the “hero” Big Stupid. Joel’s idea to rewrite the ending because after all “It’s just fiction” did change my feelings toward the whole thing.
    Favorite riffs:
    “YOU ATE HIM? WHY?!”


  46. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    re #44. Thank you for the info Big. Yes, I was curious about what you were hearing and how you were hearing it. You are correct, technically they should not rhyme. But for me ‘very’ and ‘vary’ are part of a continuum of pronunciations that can be used inter-changeably, depending on the context. And don’t forget ‘vurry’ and ‘vurra’ ( a la Tom Servo with a vurra refreshing cocktail.. ).

    ( wanted to end this off-top with a relevant MST reference ) :)


  47. Nick says:

    @ GizmonicTemp:

    No way is that too much information. Sure, I might not be a better person for knowing it…actually, it’s possible I could be too stupid to know how much it benefits me. :lol:


  48. Brian Knoblock says:

    My first episode.
    I became hooked on the show at the host segment where Tom and Crow try (unsuccessfully) to lure Joel into the alley and beat him up. Joel just wants to play pinball.


  49. Rotten as British Teeth says:

    Here we go again, with the “oh, this movie was too dark for MST to do”, and all that nonsense. If every episode were bubbly, fun-filled movies like “Catalina Caper” the show itself would get awfully dull wouldn’t it? Personally, I don’t mind them delving into movies that get dark; it poises a challenge for J&TB to overcome. And wouldn’t that be something Dr. F would want to put upon the SOL crew anyway? He’s evil!! That’s what evil, sadistic captors like Forrester do! (I’ve excluded Frank out of this part because he seems to root against Dr. F more often than not). So bring on the darkness, never enough as far as I’m concerned! :evil:

    That aside, this episode is a very-good-to-great episode for me. The repeated jokes about Bix Dugan/Big Stupid and Danny are funny from start to finish, and the invention exchanges and segments were all above average. I will concede that killing off Carrie was an idiotic plot twist, and the movie itself seemed to lose focus after that with a very hollow ending. But then again, I don’t watch this show for any given movie’s qualities…

    Fav riff: “Change for a fifty? What was I thinking?”


  50. Spector says:

    This is one of those episodes where the film took a dark turn, which made it tough for the Brains to work with. Most of the host segments were kinda lame in this one. The first half of the movie the riffs are pretty good but after the female lead is killed off the pace and quality goes downhill. I did like the final host segment where the ‘Bots refused to accept the film’s ending and rewrote it. Paul (I think it was Paul) said in the ACEG that this movie made he and the gang angry over one of the nicest characters in any movie they’d done up to that point getting killed off and the final host segment was their way of dealing with it. Can’t say I blame ’em.


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