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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: 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 (148 votes, average: 3.80 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 Replies to “Episode guide: 211- First Spaceship On Venus”

  1. 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.


  2. 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!


  3. 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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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 )


  9. i'm not a medium, i'm a petite says:

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


  10. 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?”


  11. 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/` :)


  12. 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.


  13. 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? :-D

    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.)


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


  16. 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. **


  17. 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.


  18. 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?


  19. 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.


  20. 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.


  21. 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!


  22. 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.


  23. 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.


  24. Sampo says:

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


  25. 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.



  26. 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”.)


  27. Gorn Captain says:

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


  28. 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.



  29. 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? ?:-) :struggle:


  30. crowschmo says:

    I’m off to have some Kreamy Krust Puppies.


  31. 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…


  32. 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….


  33. 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…”


  34. 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!)


  35. 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!



  36. 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”…


  37. Sharktopus says:

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

    You’re thinking too hard, okerry. :laugh:


  38. 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!


  39. 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.


  40. 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.


  41. 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.


  42. 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.


  43. KidFlash says:

    Oh, and Abe Vigoda is STILL alive.


  44. 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).


  45. 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.


  46. 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.


  47. 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…


  48. 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.


  49. Joel Lillo says:

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


  50. 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.


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