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Episode guide: 211- First Spaceship On Venus

Movie: (1959) Scientists determine that an object bearing a garbled message came from Venus, so a multinational space mission travels to the planet to investigate.

First shown: 12/29/90
Opening: Joel adjusts Tom Servo’s sarcasm sequencer
Invention exchange: The adjustment goes well, maybe a little TOO well. Joel’s invention is a junk drawer starter kit; the Mads can’t find their invention in THEIR junk drawer, but they DO find Abe Vigoda
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom make a robot that speaks in foam; things get kinda foamy
Host segment 2: A menacing gorilla appears on the hexfield, but Tom soothes it with a song
Host segment 3: J&tB present a commercial featuring some possibly tasty(?) Klack recipes
End: J&tB offer their opinions of the movie: Crow liked it, it brought back memories for Joel and Tom gets so sarcastic his head explodes; letters; Tom revives and everybody is happy, which makes Frank happy and Dr. F. is nauseous
Stinger: The alphabet people wave good-bye
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (145 votes, average: 3.81 out of 5)


• Overall I like this ep, though portions of the movie make my head (and eyes) hurt a little. The movie is almost too watchable, a truly bizarre vision of an international (but not necessarily any more competent) future and a genuinely alien depiction of Venus. The riffing is very strong: as we come down to the end of the season two, they really have a grasp on what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. The host segments are, as usual, a mixed bag, but there are definitely some highlights.
• In the ACEG, Kevin says that after this one was over, “I for one had a good, long cry.” I think that’s a little harsh. As Crow says of the movie at the end, I kinda liked it.
• This episode was included in Shout’s 20th Anniversary Edition.
• Joel’s is back to the cyan jumpsuit.
• The opening features the well-remembered “sarcasm sequencer” sketch, featuring yet another dig at Best Brains’ least favorite comic, Gallagher. Why is Gallagher so loathed (besides his act, I mean)? A popular fan rumor stated that he and Joel were performing on the same bill one night and Joel came off stage to find fellow prop comic Gallagher digging through Joel’s box of props (apparently a huge invasion of space and a no-no in the world of prop comics) and there’s been bad blood ever since. Joel recently more or less confirmed that story, as well as claiming Gallagher stole some some illusions from him.
• That’s Mike as “Abe Vigoda’s back.”
• Movie background: Polish physician and prolific sci-fi writer Stanislaw Lem wrote the novel, “Astronauci” (“The Astronauts” ) in 1951, and he helped convert it into the screenplay for “First Spaceship On Venus.” But somehow it got away from him. After seeing the film he repudiated it.
• Movie observations: The characters keep referring to the “Tunga” meteor. Was “Tunguska” too hard to say? Also: When they get to Venus, the astronauts keep making these huge conjectural leaps that I really don’t see a basis in hard evidence for. The little bobbly toy things are communication devices? They all seem so certain of this, but I don’t see why. The whole visit to Venus is like that: “I’ve made one small observation so it’s obvious the whole planet works like THIS.” Hey, maybe that’s why ol’ Stanislaw disowned it.
• A reference to “Roseanne singing the National Anthem” demonstrates the danger of topical humor. How many people even remember that incident?
• Segment one…sigh. I suspect they built the prop and then tried to write a sketch around it. Not much there.
• Host segment two, while generally lame, is highlighted by the golden Irish tenor voice of Kevin Murphy. When asked to sing at public appearances, he generally choses this little ditty. Inside the gorilla suit is a fellow named Crist Ballas. This was his first involvement with the show (according to the credits, anyway), but he went on to do hair and make up for 11 other episodes (mostly when Andrea DuCane couldn’t make it, apparently). By the way, a commenter says Joel’s math question is kind of a trick question and the answer is: any integer.
• Joel says “permersion” at one point. I think he meant to say “permission.” They keep rolling.
• Obscure reference: Crow’s mutters: “…strange figgahs, weird figgahs…,” an homage to a memorable moment in The Marx Brothers film “Animal Crackers.”
• Host segment three’s clever but nauseating parody of the equally nauseating commercials often featured on TV’s “Kraft Holiday Playhouse,” is hilarious but a little gross. It also seems to be an extension of the Satan/Kraft commercials they were doing in the theater in the previous episode.
• Callback: I’m on my way! (Rocketship XM)
• Tom Servo’s head explodes in the final segment. That hasn’t happened in a while.
• The credits add the sound of Dr. F. wretching.
• Cast and Crew Roundup: Hugo Grimaldi, the producer of the American version of this movie, also produced “The Phantom Planet,” produced and directed “The Human Duplicators” and edited “Hercules and the Captive Women.” Score composer Gordon Zahler was apparently his pal: He also did the scores for “The Phantom Planet,” “The Human Duplicators” and “Hercules and the Captive Women,” as well as “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: This Week’s Creative Pit Boss: Michael J. Nelson. “Villians” is still misspelled. The “Klack Holiday Parade” music was by Mike. Kevin wrote “O Sweet Mother o’Mine.”
• Fave riff: “Any interest I had for them getting safely off the planet has been completely erased by a miasma of boring technical stuff!” Honorable mention: “At least we have our ewok suits to cheer us up.” Astronaut: “I’m not getting you!” Tom: “I’m getting the Ha! Channel.”

124 comments to Episode guide: 211- First Spaceship On Venus

  • 1
    MiqelDotcom says:

    “It’s a meteor.
    It’s famous.
    I hate it.
    Thank you”

    There is a reference to “Brown 25” during the lava/spiral tower scene, this is a satirical commercial for an industrial multi-use product by Uranus Corporation made of, well ….. anyway it was from “The Groove Tube” movie.

    I mention that because it confirms (for me at least) an earlier suspicion that the ‘brought to you by KLACK’ recipe segment was inspired by, but not a copy of, the ‘KRAMP TV kitchen’ sketch, also from The Groove Tube (& infused by the brains with a generous helping of Firesign Theater style wordplay)
    Now I know for sure they had seen that film at least
    – here’s a YouTube link to the KRAMP segment “4th of July Heritage Loaf”

    Anyway, i’d like to enjoy this episode more … the movie is actually pretty creative and weird(I love the saturated colors in those 60s scifi films), the riffing is not bad, the host segments are ok but overall it just bores me.
    Fun to watch on occasion. 3 stars?


  • 2
    Dan Belcher says:

    When I first bought three MST3K box sets and decided to get into the show (after having just seen a few clips here and there over the years when it was actually on TV), this was the first movie I watched. Therefore, it always will hold a special place in my heart, even if I found it to be just sort of middling. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I now need to go talk into a toothbrush. He’s the only one who understands me.


  • 3
    Bookworm says:

    Something about my reaction to ‘First Spaceship on Venus’ (abbreviated ‘FSV’ ) that I posted on the MST3K newsgroup 10 years ago (*10* years ago? Yikes!):

    In ‘First Spaceship on Venus,’ we see an planet/cityscape that’s a *heck* of a lot more alien than such things in other sci-fi B-movies…and even a lot of A-movies. I kinda used to think that was a good thing about the movie, but now I’m not so sure. Granted, it may be more “realistic,” but I think it’s actually detremental to the story.

    Sci-fi plots are often convoluted things; so, to save time, characters often make semi-intuitive leaps of deductions to keep the plot moving. With planetscapes, cityscapes, and equipment that at least look somewhat familiar, audiences can often follow along pretty easily. In the case of ‘FSV,’ however, it’s just plain confusing. I mean, what *was* the Epcot-looking sphere? Why the chamber of novelty-items-that-were-actually-recorders? What was the deal with the vicious Mapo attack? Or the dangling phone earpieces? Because all of this was so alien-looking, we don’t have any sort of reference
    to help us identify things, and so we can’t figure out how the *characters* figured things out. All we can do is be swept (or prodded, depending on the speed of the plot) along, wondering what the heck is going on.

    I honestly think that, with a bit more work on the plot and characterization, and a bit less work on the alien planetscape, ‘FSV’ would have been a good little movie. Barring, of course, the whole being-able-to-land-on-Venus-in-the-first-place thing. *grin*


  • 4
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    I thought this was a good episode, with a fairly good movie, actually. And it has two of my favorite host segments: Servo’s debut as an Irish tenor and the off-kilter Klack Foods commercial. (I love Joel’s expressions in this one.)

    One question: a while back, I was in WAl-Mart and saw a real junk drawer organizer, made by a company based in Minnesota, being sold. Does Joel get a piece of that?

    And I remember Roseanne singing the National Anthem. Truly awful.


  • 5
    big61al says:

    Gallagher…actually saw him at a show in San Diego way back in 84 or 85. He was funny until he went totally bezerk on a young lady who had too much to drink. Yeah she kinda screw up his act a little but he turned on her like a crazed hungry grizzly bear. He was screaming curse words that would make navy men cringe so loud I am sure it was heard for blocks. That dude is just plain nuts. Never liked since. This is for you Joel. “To hell with him.”


  • 6
    Zee says:

    The movie parts of this one have always left me cold, but I love the crazy, all-over-the-map host segments. It stings a little you call the gorilla segment ‘lame’, I think it’s the good kind of random and the bots are all cute and in character- I like when Crow tells Gypsy not to turn around, and she immediately does and then faints.

    The KLACK commercial is another all-time fav, I’m a big fan of host segments like this, the Gamera Fightin’ Men and Monsters Set, and the ‘Appreciating Our Gypsy’ bit where they use still photos to show the gang doing stuff.


  • 7
    Dan in WI says:

    This film marks the first (national TV) foray into Warsaw Pact films.

    What’s with the strange voice Kevin uses while being sarcastic? It really takes away from what was an otherwise decent sketch.

    I would love to know what inspired a robot that communicates with foam. What was going on in the writing room that day? But more importantly why didn’t it enter the theater and join in the riffing? Now that would have been fun.

    Joel is leaning goofy while sitting in the theater for much of this experiment. That doesn’t look comfortable.

    The Klack commercial feels like a lame attempt to recreate the magic of the Spacom commercial from season 1.

    Incomprehensible is the word for this episode. It definitely applies to the movie. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a plot. In fact I’m pretty sure it does. But much like K11 Humanoid Woman I just can’t follow or keep tract of it. Is that some sort of Eastern Bloc thing? And then the host segments follow suit. There were complaints during the Mike years that the host segments didn’t follow the movie. Well these followed nothing. They didn’t follow the movie unless you consider they followed the movie in not making sense. They weren’t well constructed and had unrelated jokes. They just were (in a random sort of way.) This episode is another down example of the violently up and down nature of this very inconsistent season.

    Also this movie kind of reminds me of Cinematic Titanic’s Doomsday Machine.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Scientist “There is only one other planet it could have come from.” Crow “Uranius”

    Tom singing “This the way the Teddy Bears fly to Venus.”

    Waiting for the robot to speak: Tom “Line, line please.” (This riff would be used to perfection years later when Rifftrax riffs the Twilight saga.)

    After the magma retreats: Crow “Well that scene was a load of crap.”

    The rope is dropped: Crow “Hey can you give me some slack. Ah, never mind.”


  • 8
    Fart Bargo says:

    Agree mostly with Sampo’s feelings on this one. On the Gallagher issue, I noticed that Best Brains continued their ‘bad blood’ even after Joel left for Australia so I wonder if it was more than Joel and if Gallagher has ever commented on any of this?

    I liked the movie and always thought that the Space ship was boss looking!


  • 9
    Chuck says:

    I also have to say that I kinda actually enjoy the film itself here. It’s a good episode, better than average for sure. But the film itself is just very watchable for me.

    Also, I remember the Rosanne incident and I’m only 29, so I don’t think it’s THAT far outside the cultural zietgiest.


  • 10
    gorto says:

    though consciously aware of such silly marketing at the time, I do not recall the kraft food commercials that the Klack segment was referencing. either way, it was so obscure to me that it is one of my favorite pieces. I guess I like the insane writing, and the pace of the presentation. I also enjoyed the foam robot segment. The concept of having lifeforms communicate in alternate methods tickles my funny bone.


  • 11
    Creepygirl says:

    This episode is only “meh” for me. When the 20th Anniversary box came out I watched this one for the first time in years. I have to admit I didn’t like it at all. I gave it another chance last night and now I’m giving it 2 stars.

    I found both the riffing and host segments to be average. The movie looked real pretty but was boring. As my mind wondered during those slow spots I totally got lost on what was going on. I did like that a few crew members died or were left behind on Venus. You don’t always see that in a 1959 B-space movie.

    Now let us look forward to next week with GODZILLA vs MAGALON.


  • 12
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    Another episode that gets little love in fan polls that we absolutely adore around our home. This episode is my teenage son’s favorite and it’s definitely on my list of favorites as well. I never get tired of watching this one and pop in the DVD fairly often compared to many other episodes.

    A few favorite lines:
    – Would you like some fries with your gyro?
    – Good thing the Venusians couldn’t get far away from the bathroom.
    – How much does a herring weigh?
    – 400 billy-bob? What is he saying? It’s babble.
    – “It’s nothing special” (a character says about Omega), to which Crow chimes in, “you can say that again!”
    – What a STUPID robot!
    – So long suckers!
    – We are the planet of novelty items. You will come to know that in time.
    – That scene was a load of crap.
    – “And Brinkman…”, Joel interjects, “cried like a baby when we flew off and left him.”
    – He doesn’t matte well.

    The sarcasm sequencer gags are pure win as is the Klack commercial segment. Some of the oddest adjectives and epithets ever strung together in the Klack advert, really original, clever and funny.

    Another 5-star season 2 episode!


  • 13
    PrivateIron says:

    Roseanne seems to be one of the pioneers of the Celebrity X mangles public singing “reality” genre; so the joke may not be so dated. Weird figgas obscure? People still watch the Marx Brothers; probably even more than they watch MST3K.

    A better attempt than most SF movies, but often that translates to dull instead of goofy and I think that applies here. But it’s all grist for the bot mill; so I say IT STINKS with my thumbs up.

    Know this is off-topic, but I have never been able to track down the referent for “Jerryyyhhhh!!!” the bots sometimes raspily scream. I know they used it in at least one version of Gamera v. Barugon among other instances.


  • 14
    Cubby says:

    I had vague memories of commercials from the 80s with Kraft recipes, and found some on YouTube from 1986. (I suppose that isn’t Ed Herlihy, but the cadence is similar to Kevin’s) And while I haven’t seen TV ads like these from Kraft anymore, I can say from personal experience that they still compile Kraft special recipe booklets, and some are pretty good. Still no Polynesian Cheese Devils, but …


  • 15
    jjb3k says:

    Last week, I talked about how the Brains were delving into more surreal humor in Season 2, and that reaches its pinnacle here. Between the bizarre movie (Astronauts in teddy bear suits? A chess-playing robot who predicts the weather? A planet of metal insects and dangling telephone receivers?) and the equally bizarre host segments (A robot who speaks in foam? A gorilla in space? Abe Vigoda in a junk drawer?), it really feels like the Brains broke the goofy-meter with this episode. I spend less time laughing at this episode and more time just scratching my head going “Huh?” I think that’s what Kevin is referring to in the ACEG when he says that he had a “good long cry” after this one. He knows it’s an episode that makes no sense. (Also, I have to question the decision to have Dr. Forrester vomit throughout the entire ending credits. I still can’t listen to that.)

    Kevin also mentions that the Brains took a vacation after this episode. And it shows – when they came back in early 1991 for the two Godzilla movies that finish off the season, everything seems to be more focused. The riffing is much more observational, and the host segments are stronger all around.


  • 16
    Riley says:

    This is the only episode in the first 3 seasons that I missed the first time ’round. I didn’t even know it existed til around the time of the 7th season.

    When I finally saw it, I didn’t really feel that I’d missed much.


  • 17
    Fred Burroughs says:

    Usually FSOV gets some praise for its diverse cast of scientists; I think most SF movies were attempting that back then, only this goes the extra mile of every continent represented with experts, and they all get good lines; some even get to die on Venus at the end, even . . . *snif* Brinkman. … I’m okay. I have to agree, pretty good movie for a MST but they overload it with so many weird effects, technical plot cul-de-sacs and endless consultations, that I lose track of what anything means anymore and I don’t care if ANYONE gets back alive.

    The Host segments are similarly from out in left field, with little connection to the movie or each other, or reality. I do enjoy them, though: the foam robot is great; reminds me a little of “Spewy” the alien from Chris Elliott’s Get a Life show, who barfed on everyone. If you’re not prepared for this episode, you’ll be left with w a headache. Best taken in short segments.


  • 18
    dsman71 says:

    I love the Million Pounds of Doodie riff from Joel after the ship gets covered with that molasses type stuff..this was a funky film..not a bad film..dull in some spots….Its a B movie but it was colorful…
    I was not to thrilled for this to be Joel Episode to represent the 20th Anniversary Set that shout did as their grand entrance because there are plenty of better Joel episodes..I guess it was just at that time what they could get..
    Now nearly 2 years later theyre given us a Gamera box set !! Smile
    With Godzilla vs. Megalon we get the debut of Joel’s maroon jumpsuit


  • 19
    Tom Carberry says:

    Here is the Klack commercial (host segment) in question. I think it is one of the best segments of Season 2 (IMHO). The movie was ok, but their treatment made is much more enjoyable. I visualize one of my former co-workers when I hear the line “if you can cook, but are incapable of showing emotion…” She was an excellent cook (by virtue of her weight estimated in metric tonnage, and a holiday spread she deigned to share with her co-workers during the holiday season) but was the most unpleasant person I’d worked with in 30+ years.


  • 20
    Kouban says:

    Personally, I think the KLACK ad is one of the best segments of MST3K’s history. On its own, it’s strange and amusing, but it’s downright hilarious when you know the source material (my friends and I have spent many hours being alternately amused and grossed out by the 50s and 60s vintage “creative recipe” magazine ads which were the genesis of the segment).
    The movie itself is by turns incredibly dull (as is common with “space travel” movies) and highly disorienting. Venus feels like the result of reading Lovecraft while dropping LSD.


  • 21
    Matt Sandwich says:

    Not the most memorable episode, but it has its moments. The saturated color is fun to watch (if occasionally headache-inducing), and it’s kinda neat to see not only a foreign film, but one with a pedigree as strong as Stanislaw Lem. And I appreciate the info on Lem’s repudiation of the film– it’s tough to see any of his ideas in the final product, which was presumably further bastardized (or should I say ‘Sandy Franked’?) for foreign distribution.

    It’s also interesting to see a Cold War-era film with such ostensibly progressive racial politics. Of course, it tends to have a subtext of “in the future, everyone will have accepted that our ideology is the correct ideology, with the exception of the [evil capitalist stooge/godless communist oppressor].” But still, that’s one international cast! Tani Yoko was a bona fide star in Japan, and I’ve always wondered if there were any repercussions for her in making a film in East Germany. (But obviously haven’t bothered to investigate.)

    And my favorite riff is another one that isn’t all that funny, but for whatever reason the delivery of the line absolutely kills me every time: “The Tun…gumeteorsandwich.”


  • 22
    Matt Sandwich says:

    Oops! Forgot a few things.

    Honorable riff mention: “Oh, looks like it had a hell of a grip on her.” (Again, it’s the delivery that does it for me.)

    The other thing that sticks with me from this episode is the bouncing data-storage insects, which I believe prompts a mention of a toy company that I’ve now looked up several times online, but always forget. “Schaper always leaves you laughing ha(x7).” Anyway, Joel mentions it in an AV Club interview as ‘one of those things’ that really stuck with viewers (like me) even though it didn’t mean anything to them. (Actually the Pop-O-Matic commercial is quoted here too, isn’t it? Again, I don’t know the commercial, but I can recite it from the episode. Meta? Sort of. Sad? I’m afraid so. Uncommon? Probably not.)


  • 23
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    One of the things that strikes me about this episode is that some or at least one of the writers appears to have kind of liked it. Summed up in Crow’s comments at the end, “I kind of liked it”, “it had a lot of action”, along with comments about the international flavor, etc. The movie is silly fun and generally keeps moving in a way that is a relief from endless single-minded sequences of the Lippert films like walking or rock climbing for 20 minutes without virtually anything else happening.

    In general, movies used on the show that focused on firsts in space exploration (e.g., 12 To The Moon, Rocketship X-M, First Spaceship On Venus) all worked incredibly well and provided the writers with tons of silliness of which to make fun while at the same time providing a kind of light entertainment all by themselves. I would have loved to have seen more light SF films like this used in later seasons and less of those tense, depressing and sometimes aggravating teens-in-trouble dramas like Girl In Lover’s Lane or Kitten With A Whip.


  • 24
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I would put this down with Marooned as the worst of the space exploration movies, it was quite dull and even the riffing didn’t liven it up enough for me. I did like the mention of the Tunguska asteroid, lots of good conspiracy theories about that one. 2 stars. Fortunately next week will get things back on track.


  • 25
    EricJ says:

    @14 – Kraft Music Hall was from the last days of the 60’s-early 70’s when programs were still allowed to do their own sponsorship commercial breaks–
    I have dim memories of the poor-man’s-Ed-Sullivan variety show itself, but the 80’s commercial is…pretty close enough to the mark.

    @22 – The bugs were a reference to the Cooties game, and although the only Cooties ad on YouTube didn’t have the corporate tag, think this should clear it up:
    Schaper (the Cootie Company):
    (Ah, the days when we had riffers who actually had archaic baby-boomer ephemera stuck in their heads…)


  • 26
    Ned R. says:

    This has one of my all-time favorite random but right lines, about the first time when the short bald astronaut who runs the robot speaks. He’s just there, looking like that, saying his first line with some excessive cheeriness, to which Crow responds, in a slightly exasperated/’get me out of here’ voice, “Thanks, LEN!” Because, indeed, said short bald astronaut could not be any more of a Len if he tried. Not a Lenny (or Squiggy) but pure, uncut Len. MST3K salutes you, Lens of the world. Or at least that guy.


  • 27
    MSTie says:

    Not one of my favorite episodes. I find the actual movie incredibly boring and the riffs just don’t save it for me.


  • 28
    big61al says:

    Bad space film from Germany [?] with lots of color and weird plot/special effecst always equal a good time even if the host segments and riffing is a little off. With this level of writing you just have to take from it what you like and appreciate it for what it is. Not every film is gonna be a top ten effort. Would they like to redo some of the episodes if they were given a chance? We all know the answer is yes. Did that happen ? No. Watch it because they tried. That’s good enough for me. I Even watch Hamlet every now and then. Every single episode has something for someone. The all have merit and I applaud them for thier effort. If you don’t want to rewatch it watch reuns of whats on your shelf.


  • 29
    Greasyfries says:

    A review and synopsis of the uncut original East German version of this:

    The KLACK foods sketch thoroughly amuses my inner eight-year-old.


  • 30
    Matthew Shine says:

    The last two episodes have been kind of lackluster for me and I’m glad to see this episode featured. I don’t get how you can find the film boring, to me, it’s on par with Magic Voyage Of Sinbad for it’s pure WTF factor. The mouse-esq robot, the teddy bear suits and the inexplicable brown sludge all adds up to some of the weirdest footage ever shot.

    Also, the KLACK segment is one of the greatest host segments ever.


  • 31
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ #29: It’s nice to find a kindred spirit on this episode. It’s magic fun time for us and always has been.


  • 32
    Raptorial Talon says:

    Hoo boy . . . pretty boring this time around. I need to watch it again sometime, but I don’t remember much of interest. At least from the movie segments.

    Anyone know why the scientists kept calling the robot “Ohmigah” instead of just pronouncing “Omega” correctly?

    While the film itself is mostly boring, I do have to give it some kudos for trying to present an alien civilization as genuinely alien. So often, “alien” civilizations in movies look like they were built to suit the physical needs of guys in suits and the emotional needs of techy nerds, rather than to suit truly alien psychologies. This film at least *attempts* to break away from that cliche.

    As for not (really) understanding what all the weird alien stuff is supposed to be . . . well, consider: if you were an ancient Egyptian transported into a modern mansion, and you saw a T.V., a refrigerator, a toaster, a washer-dryer set, and a remote-controlled toy car, you would have *no idea what the hell you’re looking at.* But by fiddling around with them for a while, you might at least get a sense of what they’re capable of, even if their full functionality and true purpose remain obscure. The same basic principle would apply to modern scientists trying to understand the material culture of an advanced alien society.

    Since the scientists in the movie are trained deductive rationalists instead of primitive tribesmen, the movie wants us to assume that they can at least make educated guesses about what they’re encountering. Though whether that makes any sense in-context is debatable. And Lem’s original vision was no doubt far more coherent and consistent.


  • 33
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Crow’s “There’s an angry black man on line one for you,” is one of my favorite riffs. It always bothered me that the crew managed to leave Talua (I think that was the character’s name) on Venus – what…you couldn’t make more of an effort to try & get him back?!


  • 34
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ “Anyone know why the scientists kept calling the robot “Ohmigah” instead of just pronouncing “Omega” correctly?”

    A little USA-centric there in that comment. The way they pronounce “omega” in the movie is THE way people pronounce it in the UK, South Africa and many other countries.


  • 35
    Sharktopus says:

    @ Ned R :

    That’s an interesting interpretation, but I’m pretty sure they were saying “Lenin,” since he bears a strong resemblance to the Bolshevik revolutionary, at least at certain angles. He just needs the signature goatee.

    Like Sampo, I keep wondering why they kept saying “Tungu” meteor rather than Tunguska. (A region of Siberia where a huge meteor did, in fact, plummet to Earth in 1908). I’d guess they shortened the name for the English dub, right after they changed heroic pilot Brinkman’s nationality from East German to American. However, whoever did the English translation, however, either didn’t seem to recognize that the robot’s name was Omega, or didn’t recognize the name for the Greek letter. I’ve heard a couple distinct pronuciations, but ah-muh-gah is a new one for me. I had to look up online what the hell they were saying.

    I’m always amazed by the science fiction movies that imply that so many advances could occur in such a short time. This film was produced in the late ’50s but is set in 1985. Did anyone, even over-optimistic Soviets, truly believe we could have a Moonbase or irrigate the Gobi desert within 25 years or so? Not to mention that a international, multiracial crew of experts is treated as no big deal, but that one is a woman is remakable, at least to the Intervision reporter.

    Fun fact: Intervision, by the way, was a real-life broadcasting organization behind the Iron Curtain. It merged with Eurovision in 1993.

    As for the experiment itself, when I first watched this episode – thanks to the 20th anniversary set – I loved it: strong riffing, very watchable yet charmingly goofy movie, host segments that, even if they’re not exactly funny are certainly memorable nonetheless. But when I put it on last night to refresh my memory, I found the movie segments much more boring thatn I’d remembered, which is strange for me. (Tom’s overcranked sarcasm sequencer got especially irritating very fast. It’s a long, long walk for the very short explosive punchline.) I’ve had episodes grow on me, but this one sort of wore out its welcome. I think I’ll have to let it collect dust for a while before I go back to it with fresh eyes.


  • 36
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ “I’ve heard a couple distinct pronuciations, but ah-muh-gah is a new one for me.”

    Again, the accent is on a different syllable for English speakers who are not from the USA. It was not a new one to me when I saw this movie because I’ve heard non-US English speakers say it that way previously.


  • 37
    Sharktopus says:

    Oops. I can’t blame those italics on Skynet this time.

    @ Bob: If they’re dubbing over the original dialogue so that everyone speaks English, and changing the names and nationalities of characters (and cutting the film’s runtime for short-attention-spanned Americans) why shouldn’t they use a more common pronunciation? Anyway, I’ve heard Europeans say “Oh-mee-ga” and “ah-mee-ga,” but for the life of me I could not figure out why they kept calling the robot Oh My God. It seems like the Brains never quite o got it, either.

    Also, I love how the Bots are so uinimpressed by Omega. They’ve come a long way from Robot “YAY!” versus Aztec Mummy “BOO!”

    While I didn’t enjot the episode so much this time, “There’s an angry black man on line two” still mades me laugh way too hard. Maybe because I don’t think they would word it that way if they were doing it these days…


  • 38
    michael says:

    I wouldn’t call the Roseanne joke dated. If Cinematic Titanic made a Roseanne-singing-the-National-Anthem reference today it wouldn’t seem out of place. Just another of the thouseands of semi-obscure references they always make. Why should it be different if the event happened relatively recently?


  • 39
    fish eye no miko says:

    #31: “Anyone know why the scientists kept calling the robot ‘Ohmigah’ instead of just pronouncing ‘Omega’ correctly?”

    Because that’s how you say the word in British English.

    I remember Roseanne singing the National Anthem. I remember a lot of then-current references they make. If the show was nothing but topical references that would be one thing, but I don’t think them making such jokes now and again is that bad. [shrug]

    The movie was odd, but I liked that everything about Venus did truly look… well, alien.

    The Klack segment looks like the inspiration for The Gallery of Regrettable Food:
    (Warning: Not Safe For Lunch… [retch])

    The Tongue-Goo Meteor. Hee. Yeah, I’m not sure how “Tunguska” is that much harder to say. Was it a translation error?
    [Fun fact: Firefox’s spell check recognizes “Tunguska” as a word. Cool.]


  • 40
    Sharktopus says:

    Actually, for most of the movie I thought the robot’s name was Ommegang, like the excellent Belgian-style brewery in Cooperstown NY. I had an English math teacher who said it “oh-mee-ga.” Maybe if he was German, I wouldn’t have been confused by the movie. ANYWAY, let’s just bury this before a some unholy mathematics/eymology lecture breaks out…

    Has anyone read Lem’s novel, or seen the full, uncut movie, either dubbed or in German? It must make more sense than what we’ve seen.


  • 41
    Johnny Ryde says:

    I’m going to go against the general consensus here. This is one of my least favorite episodes. I can’t stand the movie and the riffing just doesn’t do it for me. And I find Tom Servo’s “sarcasm chip” riffs to be the one of the most annoying things that BB ever did. (Oh, please, sign me up for more of that.)

    I’d actually seen this movie before I saw the MST3k version. Well, I’d seen parts of it. My (then) girlfriend and I bought it on a double-header (with Basil Rathbone in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, if I remember correctly)… I don’t think either of us ever made it awake through the whole thing.

    BTW, did I miss a joke somewhere? Why is Dr. F puking through the final segment?

    This episode always feels like a “lost” season 1 episode to me. Servo seems strangely out of character and the riffing seems very slight and kind of repetitive…


  • 42
    rcfagnan says:

    This one hurts. To call the movie incomprehensible is to raise it several notches. The host segments really didn’t do it for me, either. NEXT week’s is one of my all time faves tho’!


  • 43
    Jack Burton says:

    As someone who has waited on Gallagher, I can attest that yes, he is a total douchebag (and a lousy tipper to boot) so any slam on him is welcome by me…


  • 44
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ #36:

    The “oh my god” was a joke interpretation by MST3K. I had no trouble understanding, even allowing for dubbing, the pronunciation of “omega” during the movie. I stand by my earlier comments.

    As for shortening Tunguska to Tungu, it clearly had to do with dubbing to make the spoken sounds somewhat match the mouth movements of the non-English speaking actors.


  • 45
    sjk says:

    This episode is just okay for me, mainly because the movie doesn’t hold my interest at all. Sampo’s favorite riff sums it up.

    I do like Servo’s sarcasm though. “Oh, sign me up for that!” has made it into my repertoire.


  • 46
    Sharktopus says:

    @ Johnny Ryde:

    I thought the same thing. When I first saw this episode, based on Servo’s sarcastic voice (which sounds to me an awful lot like Kevin trying to mimic Josh), I assumed it must have been from very early Season 2. (I would have guessed that this was the first ep they produced for Season 2 if not for Frank going unintroduced. And the ACEG telling me otherwise, of course.)

    Which is not to say I don’t like this one a lot, but sarcastic Tom… OoOoh PLEASE let me have some more of THAT. Pain

    The movie can try to sound scientific as much as it wants, but when the narrator says “Then somebody rememberd that in 1908…” you lost me. Laugh


  • 47
    This Guy says:

    I’m also 29 and remember the Roseanne/national anthem incident. In fact, a good deal of the time when Sampo calls out a topical reference for being remembered by virtually no-one, I remember it. I sometimes wonder if I should be concerned by this.
    The “sarcasm sequencer” bit kind of falls flat for me too, because none of Tom’s overly-sarcastic comments are at all clever–they’re just variations on “Oh, that’s GREAT!”
    I wonder if a lot of older science fiction authors and filmmakers went and poured themselves a stiff drink the first time we (as humans) got a definitive picture of what Venus is really like under those clouds.


  • 48
    Sharktopus says:

    I think it doesn’t really matter whether you actually remember Roseanne caterwauling the National Anthem or not – as long as you know who Roseanne is you can imagine perfectly well how it might have gone. It also helps that mentioning Roseanne in most contexts is inherently funny. (Just not in the way she would like.) For example, I doubt a much more current reference to, say, Christina Aguilera screwing up the words at the last Super Bowl would make any sense 20 years later, but you can still get a laugh out of Dan Quayle jokes. Even if you don’t remember him misspelling potatoe, you probably still know him by reputation.

    By the way, does anyone else thing Herringway looks a lot like director Christopher Nolan? I felt like he looked familiar and I think I finally put my finger on why.


  • 49
    Johnny Ryde says:


    based on Servo’s sarcastic voice (which sounds to me an awful lot like Kevin trying to mimic Josh)

    That’s it exactly!


  • 50
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I can’t guarantee it, but I’m pretty sure MST3K has used references that date back to the 1930s or earlier, so “topical humor” per se isn’t really an issue with the show. “The right people will get it.” Wink


  • 51
    Raptorial Talon says:

    OK, to the claim that my comment was “U.S.A.-centric” or what have you . . .

    The American Heritage Dictionary (hold off on the knee-jerk for a second) lists three acceptable pronunciations: oh-MEH-ga, oh-MEE-ga, and oh-MAY-ga. *None* of them have the stress placed on the “oh” part like they do in the film, where they say “OH-mih-ga.”

    Further, the Greek root words are “o” (as in, the letter o, pronounced just like it is in English) plus “mega,” which is the same “mega” as in Mega-Man, megalomaniac, megaton, etc. So far as I’m aware, “mega” is pronounced the same way in British English and all other variants. I’ve never heard anyone of any dialect say “meega” in those sorts of contexts. Since it’s the same “mega” in “omega,” the pronunciation should be identical, regardless of which particular pronunciation you start with.

    And moreover, my AMH Dictionary states that “mega,” not “meega,” is also the correct pronunciation in the original Greek (maybe not modern Greek, I’m not sure). The AMH includes extensive word histories and pronunciation guides, and there’s no long “e” symbol in its entry on the Greek formation of “mega.” “Meega” would thus seem to be etymologically incorrect, based on this source.

    So, “o”-“mega” is in fact the preferred pronunciation whether it’s American English or the original Greek. Other variants appear to be linguistic corruptions of one sort or another. Granted, a more exhaustive resource might muddle that interpretation (and there must be an American accent involved, since no normal English-speaker speaks ye olde Greek) but it’s what I’m sticking with for now.

    Also, I was in fact aware that “o-MEE-ga,” which *is* listed as a secondary but acceptable pronunciation, is used in some other countries. For example, I heard a Japanese researcher (with a British-leaning grasp of English) say it that way in a presentation just this past October at a scientific conference. And that’s *not* the pronunciation I called incorrect. It’s the OH-mih-gah version in the film I take exception to – with, as they say, “the accENT on the wrong syll-AH-ble.”

    Yes, yes, I’m a grammar fascist. I admit that. But you were pretty quick to jump on my supposed presumptuousness vis-a-vis other English dialects.

    Anyway, at least we got a respectable joke out of it in an other IMO lackluster episode. In fact, it’s the only one any of my friends really remember or reference from this episode.


  • 52
    aprilmay says:

    I remember being disgusted with this movie the first time I saw it. How could they just leave their friend? It took a couple of viewings to appreciate it.

    Love the sarcasm sequencer bit.

    Love how they try to catch the credits as they speed by, I tend to really enjoy most visual gags. Whenever Mike or Joel “run” down a road I crack up.

    Favorite riff:
    Get into these metal cars, we’ll be safe from the lightning there!


  • 53
    fish eye no miko says:

    #48: Hey, Sharktopus, what’s a Herringway?

    BTW, since it keeps coming up: I love the sarcasm sequencer stuff, but I can see how it could be considered really annoying.


  • 54
    Ned R. says:

    @Sharktopus — stepping back a few posts re Len v. Lenin, I’m pretty sure it’s Len! Here’s a clip:

    Somehow the sunglasses make him even more of a Len than a Lenin. Anyway, just a show, will relax etc.


  • 55
    WhereTheFishLives says:

    I have always enjoyed this episode, good old fashioned bad sci fi with some above average host segments. The sarcasm adjustment is one of my personal favorites among the earlier skits of the show.


  • 56
    pablum says:

    I like much of season 2 and this one is no exception. Interesting sci-fi movie even it was yet another film that used the Cold War and nuclear weapons as the message again. I’ll take this over Rocket Attack USA any day if I want to see a movie warn me of what could happen with modern weaponry.

    Extremely random host segments here. They must have been tired. I liked them all the same.

    A good start to what I consider my favorite era of the show. Well actually next week is what I consider the start, but this episode is good enough to be a part of it as well.


  • 57

    Oh boy! I just don’t like this one and can barely make it thru. The thing that really bugs me about the film is that they just leave the black guy on Venus. I swear they just forgot about him; both before leaving and then after they got off. Also, I hate the robot but that really goes without saying.


  • 58
    i'm not a medium, i'm a petite says:

    haven’t had a chance to rewatch, will write more maybe later, but for now…

    As others have noted, Klack is a great host seg. Well crafted, intense, crazy and absolutely on target.

    Also please note the call forward to Klack in last week’s King Dinosaur when they mention Ed Herlihy and Polynesian Cheez Devils ( approx 60 minutes in ).

    ( Sampo touched on it last week but did not tag it as a call forward )


  • 59
    i'm not a medium, i'm a petite says:

    oops, my bad Sampo, you did make the connection above, I missed it earlier.


  • 60
    Spector says:

    I agree with Sampo that the riffing is strong in this one, but the movie is still a tough slog. It certainly has it moments, but there are also those where it drags. Not great, but not bad. Three out of five stars. Concur also about the host segments. Loved the junk drawer and Klack segments, but the rest left a lot to be desired, especially the gorilla segment. As Crow might say, “what the hell was that about?”


  • 61
    EricJ says:

    @41 – And I find Tom Servo’s “sarcasm chip” riffs to be the one of the most annoying things that BB ever did. (Oh, please, sign me up for more of that.)

    It wouldn’t have been annoying if it’d STOPPED at the host sketch–
    But bringing it in as a running “subplot” to the riffing near the end of the movie is the most annoying bit of self-attention grabbing distraction (before the Mike era) this side of Big Servo.

    On the upside, however:
    “At least we have our ewok suits to cheer us up.”
    o/` “This is the day the teddybears go to Veeee-nus” o/` Smile


  • 62
    senorpogo says:

    They don’t just leave Talua. The Venusian’s gravity device forces them off the planet.

    Love the movie, love the episode, love Stanislaw Lem.


  • 63
    Sharktopus says:

    Not only do they carry over the Kraft Foods bit from last week, but they also sang the Teddy Bears Picnic song in King Dinosaur. If not for this episode guide I’d never have noticed the pattern. I don’t recall either popping up in Godzilla Vs Megalon, but let’s all keep our ears open. You are taking notes, right? Grin

    An observation I keep forgetting to mention: if you like to put on an episode and then putter around, only half-watching like I often do, you’ll miss half the fun of the movie itself. Not only is there vintage color-saturated art direction, but I love the awkward way the English voicedubbing tries to match the actors’ dramatic pauses. It’s like watching Shatner performing Mamet through a laggy dial-up connection, and amuses me almost as much as the riffing itself. (The scientist giving a lecture at the beginning of Gamera Vs Guiron is possibly the epitome of this effect.)


  • 64

    They don’t just leave Talua. The Venusian’s gravity device forces them off the planet.

    I still don’t think that they cared/remembered that that dude was still on Venus. I could be wrong since I haven’t seen the ep in a bit.


  • 65

    This is a rather unusual episode for me in that is has got to be the only movie they’ve ever riffed on where I prefer it without the riffing. For the most part, the riffs are funny, but don’t do much to speed up the slow parts of the film. In fact, they just make those same slow parts drag further as they only seem to remind the viewer just how slow they are. But aside from those, it’s a fun sci-fi movie that caters to the imagination and we do begin to care about the characters by the end, hence why the loss of the three who die is much sadder than most of these other space movies (the heroic sacrifice at the end of 12 to the Moon excepted, despite the cheezyness).

    This movie is also yet another that shares portions of the soundtrack with Phantom Planet, Women of the Prehistoric Planet, and at least one more that I can’t remember right now. It also follows my theory of there having been a law back in those days that every space exploration movie had to have the rocket encounter a meteor shower first-thing after liftoff.

    Note to self: Re-watch CT’s “The Doomsday Machine” to double-check for a meteor shower in it too.


  • 66
    Brandon says:

    We share a favorite riff! That’s rare!

    211- First Spaceship on Venus

    Host Segments:
    Opening: Servo’s Sarcastic sequencer.
    Invention Exchange: Joel’s Junk Drawer Helper; Dr. F and Frank steal his idea.
    Sgment 1: Crow and Tom build their own robot. It communicats in foam.
    Segment 2: A gorilla visits the Hexfield.
    Segment 3: A commercial for Klack
    Ending: Servo’s head explodes. Letters

    Memorable riffs:
    Servo: “He talks like a Gerry Anderson puppet.”

    Scientist: “There is only one planet, it could have come from.”
    Crow: “Uranus.”

    Crow: “Look out for the boxed springs!”

    Guy talking to woman: “There are things I’ll never forget.”
    Joel: “Right, Sarah? Uh, I mean Janet…. what was your name again?”

    Servo: “Hey, it’s HAL!”

    *man in space suit*
    Servo: “Hey, I gotta go to the bathroom!”
    Crow: “Just go in the suit.”
    Servo: “Oh.”

    Servo: “Would someone shoot that turkey?”

    Guy: “Should we return to Earth?”
    Servo: “Oh, and end this dream vacation?”

    Joel: “Come back! We have yet to taunt you! We are the planet of novelty items!”

    Crow: “Someone with a very different vision made this movie.”
    Servo: “Yeah from a book by Lewis Carroll.”

    Servo: “Hey, look! Venusian blinds!”

    Guy: “Let us honor the memory of three great men.”
    Servo: “Standing right here.”

    Fav. Riff:
    Servo: “At least we have our Ewok suits to cheer us up.”

    -This won’t be the forst time Pia Zadora gets mentioned on MST3K. Later she’ll actually BE in a MST’ed movie.

    -You can kinda see the mirror in the box below the junk dawer obscuring Mike as Abe Vigoda.

    -Just like in Catalina Caper, the shadowrama is cut off on the right side of the screen (Although if you’re watching this on a TV you can’t tell). Also, there’s something sitting on the seat next to Crow. It’s…. weird. I can’t make it out.

    -Servo’s got himself another crush: The blonde news reporter.

    -Joel references “Lite Brite”. They were a popular children’s toy item at the time this episode was made.

    -During Segment 2, there’s a piece of paper laying on the floor by the “G” doors. What’s that for? And I love how Crow and Tom somewhat gracefully handle the gorilla situation, but after it leaves and Joel arrives, the two robots completely break down. Hilarious.

    -A rare Joel episode in which none of the host segments have anything to do with the movie.

    -The first fan letter seems to be referencing ep. 206. Exactly how far in production were these episodes in before they aired on telelvision?

    Best Segment: The foam robot is cute. Not necessarily funny, but cute.
    Worst Segment: The Gorilla segment was random. I just didn’t see the point to it.

    Overall: Meh, this episode’s only average. I find this to be a forgettable episode. **


  • 67
    Kouban says:

    So what is “Stallone’s theory of life” that they talk about in the wrap-up and makes Joel taste copper?

    Also, Tom’s sarcastic voice may have started as imitating Weinstein, but it quickly veers into Frank Nelson territory.


  • 68
    Sharktopus says:

    It’s hard to believe there was never a GI Joe vehicle called the Crawlercopter. It sounds (and looks) just like something that should shoot little spring-loaded projectiles and carry up to four figures (sold separately).

    I wonder if Professor Sakarna’s performance is as eccentric in the original German?


  • 69
    Creeping Terror says:

    @7: Segment 3 is a “lame” attempt to duplicate the magic of SPACOM? Are you crazy? This TOTALLY surpasses that segment. The absolute insanity of some of the phrases and the ease at which Kevin reads the script is hilarious. What’s lame is the gorilla segment.

    @21: I also suspect that there is some bastardization with the translation/foreign release. The movie was made behind the iron curtain (as a Polish-East German co-production), so I’ve always been HIGHLY skeptical that the leader of the expedition is an American in the original version. #35 confirms my suspicions. Thanks!

    @57: They didn’t just “leave the black guy on Venus.” To expound on #62’s comment, he and Chen Yu couldn’t make it back to the ship in time (especially because Chen Yu’s suit had been punctured) because the “negative gravity” of the sphere was propelling the ship away from the planet. What’s incomprehensible is why–when this is all clear–Brinkman leaves the ship in some sort of escape pod to find them and thereby dooms himself. WTF?!?!

    And I’m surprised that nobody’s pointed out that both Dr. F. AND Tom Servo refer to the movie as “First Spaceship to Venus.” It’s a minor error, but I picked up on it this week.

    Of course, this movie has A LOT of similarities to “12 to the Moon.” Both were made in the same year (1960), had racially diverse astronauts making a historic space journey, killed some of the characters, and had incredibly moronic (and similar) plot elements. But the riffing on “12 to the Moon” is so much stronger. Add in the bizarre short “Design for Dreaming” and Bridget’s performances in the segments, and you have one of my favorite MST3K episodes ever. Because of the similarities, watching FSV always makes me get my copy of “12 to the Moon” and watch it immediately afterwards.


  • 70
    Creeping Terror says:

    Additional thoughts:

    One thing that drives me nuts about this movie is the terrible Pan and Scan effect. The movie was clearly filmed in a wider format than what we see on a 1990’s TV. But the pan and scan frequently jumps in a sharp cut (instead of the more common awkward but smooth pan that is more familiar). It’s so jerky–and the effect moves the image over by about only 1/3 or 1/2 of the width of the screen–that it gets annoying REALLY fast.

    And the letter shirts are BIZARRE.


  • 71
    Gorn Captain says:

    I had a good laugh at a scene in the movie “Galaxina”, when a character watches this film on the ship’s viewscreen!

    The black goo attack scared the crap out of me when I saw this movie on tv as a child!


  • 72
    Warren says:

    I remember Roseanne butchering the national anthem. I’m 33 and wish I was still 29. Anyway, I haven’t watched this one in a while but at least once when I watched it I fell asleep. I’ll give it another try tonight.


  • 73
    Darryl Conlan says:

    Sorry to ask an unrelated question, but anyone know where this came from and how Joel got into it?

    See him pop up at 4.40.


  • 74
    Sampo says:

    Darryl: Joel and Jerry are old pals from their standup days.


  • 75
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This one comes down as a solid 3/5 episode for me. Nothing in it really shines for me, and as Crow says, the movie is kinda good with lots of action and crazy sets and stuff. It’s fairly watchable. All the Host Segments sort of flop for me, #3 with the Klack recipes being the standout but it’s still only okay.

    Dr. Forester is still rocking the big ponytail. Ah, the early 90’s. . . .

    I remember the Roseanne singing the national anthem event. It was a fairly big deal for about a minute. I was a big fan of her show; love that John Goodman. And for the record I’m 31.

    I must admit, as a child I was a fan of Gallagher. He made me laugh. But I was like 10, so you know, smashed watermelon was funny back then. Now that I’m older, I know better. Gallagher = not funny.

    Stanislaw Lem who wrote the book First Starship on Venus is based on (The Astronauts) also wrote the sci-fi novel SOLARIS which was adapted into a meditative masterpiece by Russian maestro Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 and later again by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. Lem famously was dismissive of science fiction and distanced himself from it later in his life.


    Joel: “Would you like curly fries with your gyro?”

    Crow: “Now I’m going to have you watch this movie called Mannequin. It stars Andrew McCarthy.”

    Crow: “Hey it’s the honeycomb hideout!” —Reference to old Honeycomb cereal commercials.

    Joel: “I’m here, Steve!”

    Crow: “Note to self: don’t throw rocks at magma.”

    Joel: “Oh this planet has a saggy diaper that leaks.”

    Joel: “With a name like Smuckers. . .” —I love this line of jokes Joel does; every time I see or use Smuckers jam or preserves I say “Smuckers” in the voice Joel does. I am amused to no end.

    In regards to the ending–> Crow: “There’s an angry black man on line one.”

    Crow: “Godzilla! Oh wrong movie, sorry..” —-you’ll get it right next week, Crow my boy!

    **Notice how there are no Servo quotes…that’s cause his sarcasm sequencer running joke doesn’t really do it for me. Sorry.



  • 76
    Mr. M. says:

    I could have sworn I read an interview where Joel himself told that Gallagher story, but I could very well be mistaken.

    Of interest to MSTies, I randomly came across this clip from that old 70’s game show “Make Me Laugh”, where Frank Zappa was a celebrity guest and had to face…GALLAGHER! Thankfully, Good triumphs over Evil:

    The most amazing thing about this is that Zappa would even go on a show like this in the first place. (If you watch from the beginning, he explains that he only went on “so his mom would see him”.)


  • 77
    Gorn Captain says:

    Robot Chicken took some potshots at Gallagher recently. Surprised they haven’t done an MST bit yet.


  • 78
    losingmydignity says:

    One of my all time least favorite eps. It’s very rare to say this, but this one is only chuckles for me. And some pretty damn good host segs can’t save it. This is in my bottom five with She Creature, Quest of the Delta Knights and a few others I can’t remember at the moment. I probably won’t watch this one again for a long long time so enuff said.



  • 79
    crowschmo says:

    I almost fell asleep watching this one. There were some bright spots, but nothing that jumped out at me.

    I did like the Klack commercial.

    What the hell was with those guys and trucks with letters on them? Question Struggle


  • 80
    crowschmo says:

    I’m off to have some Kreamy Krust Puppies.


  • 81
    Ted H. says:

    Sampo, I’m surprised you didn’t link to this in your intro.
    You can always check to see if abevigoda is still alive…


  • 82
    pondoscp says:

    And here I always thought the Omega jokes were an pun on Amiga computers, popular at the time of this episodes airing. More on Amiga computers when we get to the Gamera flicks….


  • 83
    Cornjob says:

    One of the better movies MST has shown in my opinion. Lots of slow parts and it’s hard to follow, and can have a bit of a hypnotic “put you to sleep” quality. But the story is ambitious and really not too bad if you can pay enough attention to it.

    The Iron Curtain aesthetic is creepy, but not too much like Humanoid Woman. The letter people really look like a renegade Czeckoslovakian faction of the Devo fan club. Maybe that’s what the letters are supposed to spell in the film’s native tongue.

    I too can’t understand why that one guy at the end pointlessly went to his death going on a rescue mission right before the gravity device was going to hurl the ship off the planet. It wasn’t even really a recue mission, just a suicidal decision to die alone like the othe stranded astronausts.

    The “angry black man on line one” riff allways cracks me up. Also reminds me of a Far Side cartoon where a stranded astronaut is reading a note left for him as his rocket is taking off without him that reads, “Dear Hank, Where were you? We waited and waited but finally decided…”


  • 84
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    senorpogo says:

    “They don’t just leave Talua. The Venusian’s gravity device forces them off the planet.”

    Oh, SURE, I’ll just go watch the movie again and maybe pay attention to the PLOT this time!

    (Oops, my sarcasm sequencer is on again!)


  • 85
    okerry says:

    I like this one. Outer space movies are my favorites for bot fodder. The robot that communicates in foam is actually a very cool and very far advanced idea, and I could swear I’ve seen something similar in a science fiction (book) story somewhere. And hey, maybe that explains the bubble machine that Ro-Man was using – it was really a communications device!



  • 86
    JCC says:

    I think this episodes greatest legacy (for me) is Joel’s Twiki voices he uses to lampoon the robot in the movie. It will never be not funny to me. “Bidi-bidi-bidi beat cheeks Buck”…


  • 87
    Sharktopus says:

    Bidi-bidi-bidi I-have-to-go-walkies buk!

    You’re thinking too hard, okerry. Laugh


  • 88
    okerry says:

    @Sharktopus – ha! Never been accused of that before! I’ll just wait patiently for *Prince of Space* to come around again. No thinking required!


  • 89
    Sharktopus says:

    Oh, I don’t think you’ll have to wait that long. If you think too hard about our next experiment, you could really hurt yourself.


  • 90
    Sitting Duck says:

    Sharktopus #35: I’m always amazed by the science fiction movies that imply that so many advances could occur in such a short time. This film was produced in the late ’50s but is set in 1985. Did anyone, even over-optimistic Soviets, truly believe we could have a Moonbase or irrigate the Gobi desert within 25 years or so?

    Well consider how fast space travel technology was advancing in the Sixties. Less than a decade after Kennedy proclaimed that America would get a man on the moon, it was so. Going to Mars or Venus would have been the obvious next step. I very much doubt at the time that anyone interested in space travel would have imagined that the whole ting would wind up stagnating in low Earth orbit for the next few decades.


  • 91
    toot-toottoot-toot says:

    While the Klack skit was interesting I’ve always been bored by this episode. To me, while it’s an extremely unpopular opinion, I think season 2 went out with a boring whimper in the last three episodes.


  • 92
    KidFlash says:

    One of my favorite eps.

    The local library has a copy of that Region 1 release of the original film, mentioned above. It looks much better in widescreen and shows just how much the American producers took a bandsaw to it.

    The biggest differences are that America is barely mentioned (naturally) and that Talua wishes them well, asking the crew members to let his wife know what happened and that he loves her.

    The DVD Savant article goes into much more detail.


  • 93
    KidFlash says:

    Oh, and Abe Vigoda is STILL alive.


  • 94
    Joseph Klemm says:

    @9 In terms of the “preparing for Twilight” comment, another “LINE?” moment (and the first thing that comes to mind when I hear that running gag) happened in this episode in the form of the Invention Exchange blooper (with Mike forgetting his Abe Vigoda lines, and Kevin and some lady yelling “LINE?” off-camera).


  • 95
    Sitting Duck says:

    First Spaceship on Venus fails the Bechdel Test. Not surprising, seeing as how through most of the movie the cast consists of seven men and one woman.

    The whole Servo’s Sarcasm Sequencer sketch was a failure on every level. As previously noted, none of his sarcastic quips were all that clever. It was relief when his head finally exploded.

    I think this may have been the first use of the, “You look, I’m bitter,” riff (If anyone can cite an earlier instance, speak up).

    Personally, I think Talua screaming in impotent fury as he got left behind would have been a better stinger.

    Sharktopus #37: Also, I love how the Bots are so unimpressed by Omega.

    Probably due to its resemblance to Twiki.

    Favorite riffs

    Well, good morning. It’s 8:15 and time for our Crazy Call. We’re gonna call Venus and pretend we’re Pluto.

    Mr. Toothbrush, you’re the only one who really understands me.

    Well, I can’t think of a better bunch of people to die with.

    “I’m not getting you.”
    I’m getting the Ha! Channel.

    Come Back! We have yet to taunt you. We are the planet of novelty items.

    “What is it?”
    It’s art. You bring your preconceptions to it.

    “It appears to be a giant transformer unit. Or else it is a force field generator.”
    You really have no clue, do you?

    Beware the Turd of Altair 7.

    The magic toothbrush will save them!

    “Then something terrible happened. The slime began to grow rapidly.”
    Then it got its own series.

    “My spacesuit is punctured. My oxygen’s escaping and the safety device has failed.”
    Yeah, yeah. Shake it off, you whiner.

    Oh sure they’re all gonna die, but it looks cool.


  • 96
    Sitting Duck says:

    As it happens, the Soviets did contemplate an expedition to Venus. But it’s just as well that it came to nothing. Because, when it came to the welfare of their cosmonauts, they just didn’t care.


  • 97

    As a composer, I feel that I should clarify that Gordon Zahler never composed a note of music in his life. He was the founder of General Music Corporation – a music library service which he managed quite brilliantly. However, Gordon’s father Lee Zahler was a composer and contributed much music to the library. Unlike Joseph Gershenson at Universal who was the studio’s music supervisor and administrator (and usually received the credit “Music Supervision”), Gordon Zahler often received the credit “Music…” or “Music by…” which gave the impression that Zahler composed the music, which he didn’t. Ironically, Zahler was able to obtain for his library some of Universal’s music. First Spaceship on Venus was a good example of this – Herman Stein’s “Creature Theme” from Creature from the Black Lagoon was used numerous times in First Spaceship on Venus. By the way, the film’s actual original score used in the non-American version was composed by Andrzej Markowski. There is available on YouTube a beautiful uncut, widescreen version of the film with Markowski”s score.

    End of rant…


  • 98
    EricJ says:

    Gallagher…actually saw him at a show in San Diego way back in 84 or 85. He was funny until he went totally bezerk on a young lady who had too much to drink. Yeah she kinda screw up his act a little but he turned on her like a crazed hungry grizzly bear. He was screaming curse words that would make navy men cringe so loud I am sure it was heard for blocks. That dude is just plain nuts. Never liked since. This is for you Joel. “To hell with him.”

    Sort of surprised that the Gallagher issue hasn’t been resolved after four years, but it’s not just an in-joke with the Brains: EVERY comic from the late-80’s on up made a cliche’ of calling him the Antichrist of standup. 30’s comics picked on Milton Berle, and 80s comics picked on Gallagher.
    His prop-comedy humor was red-state to put it politely, and calling it “observational” would be complimenting it, but mostly it was that A) he was everywhere on late-80’s Showtime and direct-video, and B) his “watermelon smashing” gag, which started out just a nice simple parody of 1-800 commercials, soon turned into a creepy cult-of-personality where fans would come with plastic ponchos hoping to sit in the front row, and soon took up the majority of the act. Tom’s sarcasm-sequenced rage is an easy target, but not wholly unwarranted.

    As for Tom’s “OOOO, sign me up for THAAAAT!” finding its way into the theater riffing, think we can say that thematic “motif” riffing did not work as well for the Joel era as well as it was forced to for the Mike era.


  • 99
    Joel Lillo says:

    Does THIS episode have the very last use of the Weiner Man song?


  • 100
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    Not bad, not great. I do like the movie itself, if only for the colors & alien sets. I do find it interesting that the only antagonists in this movie are long dead (the native Venusians).
    Scientists in these movies tend to make large leaps in logic for one very important reason: The actual scientific process would be painfully boring to watch.

    Not only do we yet again have a rocket with plenty of interior space, I can’t get over it’s design. It looks neat, but even if it actually survived launching (and the engines didn’t just tear off from those little wings), it would never survive re-entry, especially on Venus.


  • 101
    Torgospizza-NJ says:

    @98-EricJ- Prop comedy now has a very bad reputation, as it’s current master is Carrot Top. But in
    the 1970’s is was considered clever and cool, as practiced by Gary Mule Deer, Andy
    Kaufman (to an extent) and a young JOEL HODGSON.


  • 102
    Sitting Duck says:

    The frequently mentioned, “I’m getting the Ha! Channel,” riff imply that this episode was written before the Comedy Central merger. Anyone know what the typical turnover rate between an episode being written and being aired?


  • 103
    pondoscp says:

    @99 – I’ve noticed the Weiner Man song being mentioned as late as Daddy-O. Not sure if it went beyond that.

    And this episode never did much for me. I’d say it’s about average, it’s got some funny moments. Biddi-bidi-bidi, I gotta go walkies.


  • 104
    goalieboy82 says:

    off topic
    since tomorrow is good friday.


  • 105
    goalieboy82 says:

    just watched Roseanne sing the national anthem. thats about a minute i am got getting back.


  • 106
    littleaimishboy says:

    The stuff Tom says while his sarcasm sequencer malfunctions is SUPPOSED to be not funny, that’s why the sequencer needs to be adjusted.

    Golly, that’s the first time I’ve ever used caps to emphasize a point here.


  • 107
    littleaimishboy says:

    The stuff Tom says while his sarcasm sequencer malfunctions is SUPPOSED to be not funny, that’s why the sequencer needs to be adjusted.

    Golly, that’s the first time I’ve ever used caps to emphasize a point here.

    Oh, REALLY?

    Well THANK YOU for so generously enlightening us, oh wise one!!!


  • 108
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “the danger of topical humor.”

    The concept of topical humor really has no bearing on MST3K. Roseanne Barr? How many people remember Abe Vigoda or Gerry Anderson at all? Haven’t we all, at times, wondered what the heck a riffer was talking about? It wasn’t until years after viewing “Devil Doll” that I found out what “She’s dancing with a Spitting Image puppet” meant. Remember, “The right people will get it.” Smile


    On a separate not-related-to-the-episode note, I recently came across a movie that would be perfect to nominate for riffing if it was in fact possible to so nominate a film: 1985’s “Interface.” Like “The Final Sacrifice,” it was a student film but the acting and writing is IMHO much worse. It kind of qualifies as a vigilante/slasher film except that the murders are committed by role players via remote control, like a cross between “Dungeons and Dragons” and video games. There are more masks than there are killers. Its protagonist is the Nick “Time Chasers” Miller before there was a Nick “Time Chasers” Miller and “The Nanny”‘s C.C. Babcock, the cops aren’t even enough on the ball to qualify as clueless, the prominence of TSR-80 would probably be a veritable motherlode of geek humor, and there’s an obvious “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank” callback built right in.


  • 109
    snowdog says:

    @touches no one: Go for it!


  • 110
    Sitting Duck says:

    The stuff Tom says while his sarcasm sequencer malfunctions is SUPPOSED to be not funny, that’s why the sequencer needs to be adjusted.

    Making it a case of succeeding too well.


  • 111
    Dan in WI says:

    littleaimishboy: Oh, REALLY?

    Well THANK YOU for so generously enlightening us, oh wise one!!!

    Hey: I call no riffing yourself. Someone else holds that patent.


  • 112
    dsman71 says:

    I still remember finding myself fascinated with Joel’s hair growth during the season from 201 up. He had a different hairdo every episode Smile I still love the million pounds of doodie riff from this episode. This is a decent film on its own too Smile


  • 113
    argharg says:

    This was good, but Humanoid Woman has more robots and more spaceships and equal amounts of land rovers.
    Advantage to Humanoid Woman.


  • 114
    TJmathfan189 says:

    YouTube commenter says the answer to Joel’s question is: 0 to 5.

    I could not find the YouTube video mentioned above in Sampo’s review of EP 211, but I must disagree with that answer to Joel’s question. Here is my reasoning. Please correct me if I misheard Joel’s reading of the question, but here is what I heard and my solution. “What integer can be the sum of itself and a number less than the positive square root of 30.” Soln. If we let X be the integer and Y < sqr. root of 30, then we have X + Y = X, which means that Y must be zero. The final answer should be that the integer X can be any integer, not just an integer between 0 and 5.

    Note that if we try to make Y any number other than zero, then the given restriction on X; namely, X + Y = X, would be false for any X since no number can equal the sum of itself and a nonzero number. I view the given info about "…and a number less than sqr. root of 30" as trick to fool the listener into thinking the problem is harder than it is.

    I know this is not a Math Forum, but please let me know if anyone finds an error in my reasoning.


  • 115
    Cornjob says:

    The pudding mass here reminds me a bit of the possibly sentient ocean in Stanislaus Lem’s Solaris.


  • 116
    thequietman says:

    This is one where the movie itself is almost too watchable, making the riffs feel rather superfluous. I’d only watched this one once before when I first got the 20th Anniversary set. But then came the KLACK commercial and I was roaring with laughter, making the whole experience worthwhile.

    Fave riffs:
    Voiceover: The stars hang almost motionless…
    Servo: …on black construction paper!


  • 117
    Sampo says:

    YouTube commenter says the answer to Joel’s question is: 0 to 5.

    I could not find the YouTube video mentioned above in Sampo’s review of EP 211, but I must disagree with that answer to Joel’s question.Here is my reasoning.Please correct me if I misheard Joel’s reading of the question, but here is what I heard and my solution.“What integer can be the sum of itself and a number less than the positive square root of 30.”Soln.If we let X be the integer and Y < sqr. root of 30, then we have X + Y = X, which means that Y must be zero.The final answer should be that the integer X can be any integer, not just an integer between 0 and 5.

    Note that if we try to make Y any number other than zero, then the given restriction on X; namely, X + Y = X, would be false for any X since no number can equal the sum of itself and a nonzero number.I view the given info about “…and a number less than sqr. root of 30” as trick to fool the listener into thinking the problem is harder than it is.

    I know this is not a Math Forum, but please let me know if anyone finds an error in my reasoning.

    Well darn, now I can’t find the youtube comment either. I accept your calculations (unless somebody knows better)!


  • 118

    I first saw this stinkburger on the old Count Gore Show back in the early ’70s, and I have to agree with Crow that any interest I had in what happened to the astronauts was totally drowned in the massive torrent of meaningless, pulled-out-of-the-writers’-asses fake science babble.

    Joel’n’the Bots did a top job of making this movie watchable for me. I was sold early on, during the scenes where the scientists are working in the Tunguska Meteor impact zone, and you see the old guy waving his arms to indicate where to look next, and Servo says “Ach, who knew? D’ahh, go figure…!”

    Then, there’s the host segments — priceless, especially the sarcasm sequencer, the foam-belching robot and, last but not least, Servo’s Klack Holiday Recipe Ideas commercial.

    And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to duck down to the kitchen for some Polynesian Cheese Devils and a frosty mug of holiday swill.


  • 119
    ahaerhar says:

    Humanoid Woman had plop on the prowl, too.

    I wonder what kicked off the (maybe) Intelligent Mass of Goop cliche for the Eastern Bloc.


  • 120
    Cornjob says:

    The goop in Humanoid Woman made me wonder if it was another Stanislaus Lem adaptation. I liked the Russian version of Solaris. I started reading His Master’s Voice by Lem and liked it but got a bit bogged down in the verbiage. Stanislaus Lem eventually became the lead of Motorhead of course.

    BTW my comments at #83 from last time around still hold.


  • 121
    ahaerhar says:

    And in his role as lead of Motorhead he’d get more of his SF oeuvre riffed when Zombie Nightmare opens with his classic “Ace of Space”.


  • 122
    Cornjob says:

    Stanislaus Lemmy and Motorhead perform Ace of Space and blow Ace of Base off the stage.


  • 123
    Doktor Strangelove says:

    I really like the original, East German Silent Star version of this movie. It looks and sounds great on the aforementioned DVD.


  • 124
    mnenoch says:

    I like this episode a lot. The movie is entertaining on it’s own and the guys make it more fun. The host segments are silly but the whole episode breezes by.