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Episode guide: 302- Gamera

Movie: (1965) In the first of a long-running Japanese movie series, a giant mutated turtle with super powers is accidentally revived from eons of hibernation and, of course, attacks Japan. Authorities, there and in the U.S., work to stop it. Meanwhile, young Kenny is fascinated by the beast.

First shown: 6/8/91
Opening: Tom leads some warmup exercises
Invention exchange: Crow tricks Tom into the old “trust exercise” prank; Joel shows off his endless salad takeout container, but Frank’s birdcage vacuum malfunctions
Host segment 1: Tom sings “Tibby, Oh Tibby”
Host segment 2: Crow and Tom hate Kenny, but Joel suggests a positive outlook, and proposes a contest
Host segment 3: The bots are playing beauty salon when Gamera visits on the Hexfield
End: Another look at the cast of the film, Joel reads some letters
Stinger: Eskimo says: “Bye…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (106 votes, average: 4.24 out of 5)

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• One of the things that this episode-watching process does is compress the whole evolution of the show. It has only been a little over four months since we watched episode K05- GAMERA, but for the Brains it had been two-and-a-half years since they watched it. But, wow, what a long way they have come in that time. This one, like last week’s episode, is chock full of things that would be revisited again and again. The riffing is very funny and the movie is, well, it is what it is. Either you like this sort of movie or you don’t. This is the most grownup Gamera movie (from here on they get more and more juvenile), but we also get Kenny, the prototype of the whiny, privileged, tiny-shorts-wearing grade schooler who demands to be heard and obeyed. The segments are all at least good, and that brings the rating up a bit further. So this one may not be a home run, but it’s a solid stand-up triple.
• With this episode, season three begins its odd see-saw rhythm: first a Japanese import, than an American film (mostly classic 50s sci-fi), then back to a Japanese import and so forth.
• And although he was mocked a bit during the KTMA days, it’s with this episode that we really begin the troubled relationship with one Sandy Frank.
• I believe both inventions are from Joel’s standup act.
• The next episode, “Pod People,” is famous for its “Chief? McCloud!” riffs, but did you catch the one here? “Goodbye, Chief.” “Goodbye, McCloud.” So it’s clear this was a concept that was already percolating in the writing room.
• Callback: “No!” (Cave Dwellers). “No dancing, not allowed” (The Crawling Hand).
• The phrase “In fear and hot water” is a Firesign Theatre reference.
• We haven’t really had a complete song from Kevin since “Creepy Girl,” and he’s terrific once again — although Crow steals the show.
• Joel is carrying, and drinking from, a soda can during Tom’s song.
• Watch Joel and Crow exchange “oh brother” faces during Tom’s song. Trace’s puppetry is has gone from good to great.
• The last time I saw this, I was confused by the gesture Joel makes over Tom’s head, like he’s catching something. This time I realized he is catching the tiny, almost invisible sparkles that are falling.
• Following the song, back in the theater, Crow mercilessly pummels Tom with Tibby jokes and then Joel joins in, upsetting Tom so much he tries to leave–and he runs left! Where does he think he’s going?
• Did anybody ever send replies to “Kenny! What Gives?” If so, apparently they weren’t funny enough to be included in a later show. It never comes up again.
• Goof: Tom Servo mentions Kenny’s rocks before the “Kenny’s rocks” scene in the movie. A lot of times they do a host segment that might have been more effective if it appeared later in an episode, after whatever they’re referencing takes place in the movie. This is one of those. I suspect when you watch a movie five or six times in a given week you can lose track of when stuff happens.
• Then-current riff: Tom does a Robin Leach impression. At the time Leach’s show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” was all the rage. Not so much, now.
• Also: Crow notes that the other international leaders are likely to listen to Japan “since you own their countries.” Japan’s “lost decade” put an end to jokes about how the uber-wealthy Japanese were buying up everything.
• Mike is hilarious as a smarmy Gamera, but unfortunately the gag “You’d know about pain–you’ve seen Spalding Gray” isn’t quite as funny since Gray’s death.
• Crow makes a bad pun about midway through the movie, and Joel casually rips Crow’s arm off and tosses it across the theater!! He doesn’t even let Crow retrieve it at the end of the segment! Later, he does it again! He’s so strict!
• What causes him to do it a second time is when Gamera is being blasted off against his will, and Crow says, mockingly “Hey Joel, remind you of anything?” He and Tom then begin singing the opening theme song! This seems to enrage Joel.
• They make no attempt to hide the fact that Tom’s hand is taped to his head in the last segment. He even yells “Yowch!” when Joel pulls it off.
• In episode 208- LOST CONTINENT, when Joel gets “movie sign against my will” the official FAQ stated that the Mads gave him a “shock to the shammies.” But that phrase wasn’t used in that episode, and didn’t appear until this one.
• Cast and crew roundup: Daddy-O notes: If you’re looking for somebody to blame for the entire Gamera oeuvre, look no further than Noriaki Yuasa, who directed this and three other MSTed Gamera outings (for brevity’s sake I am just going to refer to these movies by the name of Gamera’s opponent: “Gaos,” “Guiron,” and “Zigra.” Plus he supervised the special effects for “Barugon.” Then again, you could also blame screenwriter Fumi Takahashi, who wrote all five of the MSTed Gamera movies. Exec producer Masaichi Nagata also had that role for “Barugon,” “Gaos,” “Guiron” and “Zigra.” Producer Yonejiro Saito was the planner for “Barugon.” Editor Tatsuji Nakashizu also worked on “Barugon” and “Gaos.” Score composer Tadashi Yamauchi also worked on “Gaos.” Eiji Funakoshi, who plays Dr. Hidaka, also appears in “Guiron.” Yoshiro Kitahara. who plays Sakurai, also appears in “Barugon” and “Gaos.” Koji Fujiyama, who plays an engineer here, also appears in “Barugon,” “Gaos” and “Zigra.”
• Daddy-O also notes: “Gammera the Invincible” was the USA-released version of this movie, which included extra scenes with an American cast (Albert Dekker, etc.) filmed in America. The scenes added nothing…just more people talking about Plan Z. They’re not included in the Sandy Frank version.
• Creditswatch: One Lisa Sheretz is listed as a contributing writer for this and the next two episodes. Also: Colleen Henjum begins a contributing writer gig that will continue into season six. Along with Bridget Jones, Henjum was a “home writer” — they sent her a copy of the movie with the time codes and she would fax in jokes.
• Fave riff: “Oh…this is Pearl Harbor…how’d THAT get in here?…”

67 comments to Episode guide: 302- Gamera

  • 1
    Dan in WI says:

    This one starts out with the light and whimsical wacky that I associate with the golden era of the show. Tom’s warm-ups remind of any exercise show I’ve ever seen. Joel does an invention that I have to assume is from his stand up act and the Mads are flashing plenty of chemistry. And finally riffing during the credits have those light word plays I love so much.

    Clayton sure looks strange without the lab coat in the invention exchange segment.

    Frank must be fan of the old Rocky and Bulwinkel show. He gives us a well delivered “and now here is something we hope you really like” and it isn’t the last time he’ll quote that show.

    But in the end I’m going to give this episode the (used with implied permission) good by not great grade. The momentum of the opening just didn’t last. The riffing was again workmanlike and solid by not spectacular.

    What’s the deal with the shadowramma? Joel and the bots seem thicker.

    The Tibby sketch is fun. Tom really sells the sincere while Crow handles the irreverent. Meanwhile Joel just stands around mugging. And boy is that turntable going. I’ve seen racing engines turn slower RPM’s. But Crow sums the whole thing well. “Do you realize a robot just sang a love song to a turtle?”

    And the episode ends with Clay giving Frank some filing to do. This of course was the traditional episode ending job of Larry.

    Favorite Riffs:
    During telegraph message: Joel “If you’re not wearing any underwear, ah smile.”
    During teletype Tom “If you’re not… They pulled the underwear gag on us sir.”

    Tom “He saw London, he saw France. He saw Rodan’s underpants.”

    The movie shows a negative image during the Gamera rampage “Don’t get so negative.”

    The scientists look back and forth. Tom “Hey are they watching tennis…See they are watching tennis.”

       2 likes

  • 2
    pondoscp says:

    Tibby, oh, Tibby. This episode harkens back to the early carefree days of Catalina Caper. I find the movie a bit much to take over and over again, but the host segments are very fun.

       1 likes

  • 3
    swh1939 says:

    Right before a commercial break (the one with no bumper, about half way through the episode) Kenny is in bed whimpering. The final line is a riff. Early Comedy Central airings have the riff, “You will perish in flames”; later airings omit that riff.

       0 likes

  • 4
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>[Tom] runs left! Where does he think he’s going?

    To the other door?

    A door on the left definitely existed in Season Eight’s “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”, when Tom enters from the left following Host Segment 2 (“Thanks a lot, you knobs!” ); I don’t know which episodes it might have “appeared” in before that.

       0 likes

  • 5
    JimmyBruce says:

    “percolating”? Good stuff.

       0 likes

  • 6
    Fred Burroughs says:

    I don’t think this is the “most mature” of the Gamera movies. It’s got an adult subplot (the budding romance between Catherine and creepy stalking reporter) and a kiddy subplot (the troubled Kenny) added more for pathos than for comic relief. However, Gamera v Barugon is much darker with the drinking, revenge, greed, murder, etc., not to mention the arm-blood-sucking. I do love the many riffs about the pork chop/liver slab they carry around with them. This is also probably the last time we see Gamera killing thousands and leveling cities by himself; after this, he’s just killing monsters.

    “Kenny, although considered ‘husky’, is quite agile.”

       1 likes

  • 7
    Brandon says:

    302- Gamera

    Plot: Gamera, a giant turtle, fights and stuff.

    Host Segments:
    Intro: Warmups on the SOL.
    Invention: Joel presents the endless salad bar. Spring cleaning at Deep 13 and Frank vacuums up a bird cage.
    Segment 1: Tom’s song to Tibby.
    Segment 2: The bots hate Kenny but Joel teaches tolerance. Segment 3: Gypsy’s beauty parlor and Gamera stops by. End: A retrospective on the actors.
    Stinger: Eskimo say’s “Okay, bye”.

    Memorable Riffs:
    Servo: “Hey, Sandy Frank. Isn’t that when you drop your hot dog on the beach?”

    Eskimo: “This is the legendary stone.”
    Joel: “You passed THAT stone?”

    Teacher: “The other students make fun of him; they think he’s strange.”
    Crow: “Kids are perceptive that way.”

    Doctor: “It has the power to convert organic matter into inorganic matter.”
    Joel: “Like McDonald’s?”

    (Gamera gets sent to outer space)
    Crow: “Hey, Joel. Look familiar?”

    Fav. Riff:
    Crow: “Oh…this is Pearl Harbor…how’d THAT get in here?…”
    (This is Sampo’s fav riff from this episode too. What can I say? It’s hilarious)

    Comments:

    -Poor Tibby, must be damn dizzy in that spinning bowl Servo had set up for him.

    -The only instance where either of the robots did that “Look familiar?” joke on Joel. They did it plenty with Mike.

    Best segment: Who doesn’t like the Tibby song? It rivals the Creepy Girl song.
    Worst segment: The “hating Kenny” segemnt was just too mean-spirited IMO.

    Overal: I had high hopes this would be a good episode, and it is, but I think it’s slightly over-rated. Or maybe I was just tired. **1/2

       0 likes

  • 8
    dsman71 says:

    This really isnt that bad a film compared to the last Gamera movies…
    And the episode is a goodie..
    The Tibby song is fabulous. When my fish died I was going to play the song …
    Joel’s Hair Observation – it appears sort of lopsided in this episode, parted way over…it still looks like he hasnt cut it
    Joel would rip Crows arm off again and again..
    Joel’s Hair
    Joel’s Knees
    Playing Tibby over the accidental death of my fish
    Crow’s flying arm
    As I roll my eyes…Im going back for more therapy…

       1 likes

  • 9

    At one point Gamera rips open an office building and roasts the hundreds of people inside alive. I’d say that’s quite a contrast in tone to the later movies. Although, I remember seeing Gamera vs Barugon as a kid and being a little creeped-out when the space bimbos shaved the little boy’s head in preparation to eat his brains. Kinda perverse, at the time.

       0 likes

  • 10
    swh1939 says:

    Castle Monster, I believe the brain eating movie was “Gamera vs. Guiron”.

       0 likes

  • 11
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>Gamera killing thousands and leveling cities by himself

    Wonder how those people’s next of kin felt about Gamera’s subsequent status…

       1 likes

  • 12
    Cody Himes says:

    @11 touches no one’s life…

    If they were young boys wearing hot pants, I’m sure they didn’t care.

    I met director Noriaki Yuasa at G-Fest 2003. He was a very kind man who truly loved making children happy, and while his Gamera movies are far from cinematic perfection, the child in me enjoys and appreciates them.

    Now, that said, three of the five Gamera episodes of MST’s third season are some of my favorites (they cut way too much of BARUGON and GAOS is actually one of my least favorite giant turtle flicks). This one isn’t as silly as the later movies, but I wish Yuasa and Takahashi (the screenwriter) had settled on a tone – serious or fun.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen this (probably about a year), so I’m waiting until the Shout discs come out. Hopefully this thread will still be open at that point.

       2 likes

  • 13
    ck says:

    Haven’t seen any of these and Volume 21 is the least
    interesting of any released so far—unless you want
    to od on this series, so I’ll skip any commenting on
    any Gamera films.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

       0 likes

  • 14

    #10 Ah, right. I wasn’t sure but I was too lazy to look it up.

       0 likes

  • 15
    Sampo says:

    I think I will re-open this thread (if it has closed) when Vol. 21 comes out.

       2 likes

  • 16
    monoceros4 says:

    The greatest achievement of this episode is how they basically rewrote Kenny. The running jokes all build up to a coherent picture of a thoroughly evil, daemon-spawned little monster who rejoices in the destruction that Gamera wreaks. Some highlights:

    “Those kids at school, they tease you Kenny…because they have never tasted Hell!”

    “What are you doing with that Kenny?” “Evil things. Horrible things.”

    “I am your bride!”

    “Your passing will be painless, doctor!”

    (to the kid who throws away Kenny’s stones) “DIE DIE DIE!” followed by diabolical chanting, as if Kenny were star of The Omen.

    I really wonder what the makers of Gamera thought they were accomplishing with Kenny; if they were hoping that we’d sympathize with the monster a little because of Kenny they were dead wrong. Even without MST3K’s help he comes across as a full-blown psychopath. The Kenny-hating segment was if anything not mean enough for the noxious little snot. Fortunately, MST3K supplies the best possible parting shot: “Hey Kenny, get bent!

       3 likes

  • 17
    Spector says:

    I know there are MSTies who love the Gamera series. Heck the entire works are a boxset of their own, or will be shortly if it hasn’t been officially released yet. Still, I concur with Dan in WI’s take on this episode. The opening host segments and I’d say the first half hour of the movie are the Brains at their best, but things just seem to run out of steam half way through and doesn’t finish as strong. Perhaps it’s the movie itself, or maybe because they’re going over the same ground again, having previously riffed the Gamera films during the KTMA years, but it just didn’t finish well for me. Granted, they’ve come a long way, as Sampo pointed out, in the two-plus years since they first riffed on “Gamera”. The improvement is definitely there in the overall presentation, acting, characters and riffing. Still, this one ranks as “good” but not “great”. 3.5 stars out of five.

       1 likes

  • 18
    Spalanzani says:

    This is probably my least favorite of the Gamera episodes. The original Gamera film is probably the best of them quality-wise (though Vs. Barugon gets my vote for most serious, for the reasons Fred Burroughs gave), but I think this makes it less suited for MST3K. My favorite is Vs. Guiron, which is just so completely out there, and has what is surely one of the least competent English dubs in history, that it’s hysterical even without the riffing. In fact, I almost prefer the KTMA version of that one, if only because all the unfunny Richard Burton jokes in the Season 3 version annoy me to no end.

    Speaking of KTMA, have the Brains ever commented on why they revisited the Sandy Frank films for the national broadcast? Or on the flip-side, why they never re-did any of the other KTMA-era movies?

       1 likes

  • 19
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    5 out of 5 for me, one of the top 10 episodes of all time IMHO. I have used this to introduce people to the show and it never fails. The Tibby song, Crow’s reaction afterwards (SQUISH!), the hating Kenny host segment, the riffing, everything just absolutely clicks for me in this episode. I am waiting for the box set to come out so I can see this episode again at its finest.

       2 likes

  • 20
    big61al says:

    I plan on doing a vol XXI marathon, all five disc in one day!

       3 likes

  • 21
    Sitting Duck says:

    swh1939 #3: Early Comedy Central airings have the riff, “You will perish in flames”; later airings omit that riff.

    Any word on whether or not it’ll be reinserted in the Shout DVD set?

       0 likes

  • 22
    MikeK says:

    Though apparently beloved, I don’t care for Tom’s song about Tibby the turtle. Crow’s barbs at Servo’s expense during the song are the only thing that makes it tolerable.

       0 likes

  • 23
    Fart Bargo says:

    I liked this episode. I agree that the riffing was very good but it seemed to me, at times, the screen seemed to bog down the humor.

    What caught me most about this episode is that the Bots seem to start to get darker with some of their comments. Well, time to go play with my rocks.

       1 likes

  • 24
    Seneca says:

    I especially like how Joel thanks his captors for sending him not such a bad movie this time. This episode is pure pleasure! I even like the movie without the riffing. It’s so dumb, and Sandy Frank made it twice as dumb!!!

       1 likes

  • 25
    Sharktopus says:

    So there’s glitter sprinkling on Tom during his song? Huh. Maybe these sparkles Sampo speaks of will actually be visible on the Shout DVD. “Your blood may be cold but I know that your heart burns as hot as a coal.” Grin

       2 likes

  • 26
    senorpogo says:

    Random question – is there any info on who did the actual dubbing for the Sandy Frank films? Seems like the guy who did the voice of Captain Joe pops up a whole lot. I always wondered who that chap is.

       2 likes

  • 27
    April DeWetpants says:

    I think this may have been my first episode. Its been so long and I tend to get my Gamera episodes mixed up.

    I remember flipping through the channels one day, we had just gotten cable and seeing this old black and white movie. I started to go right past it when I noticed this giant turtle knocking over an iceberg and heard a voice say “Gentlemen, let me break the ice”. That was my first MST experience. I was hooked from then on. Can anyone tell me which Gamera this is?

    I also remember one where the turtle is spinning, but I know this isn’t the one with the gymnastics.

    Can’t wait for the Shout Gamera collection Smile

       0 likes

  • 28
    crowschmo says:

    The first episode of MST3K I ever saw was a Gamera episode. Haven’t seen one since, and it’s been so long I don’t remember which one it was. I started taping eps after this one had gone out of rotation on CC.

    I’m patiently waiting for August and the new Gamera set to come out to see this and all the others. Grin

       0 likes

  • 29
    bad wolf says:

    Can’t wait for the DVD collection either! Haven’t seen these episodes in ages, and Season 3 was really enjoyable as far as i remember.

       0 likes

  • 30
    Cody Himes says:

    @ Senorpogo (26)

    I don’t know any of the names of the Sandy Frank dubbers, but I know the same group of people (or at least, most of the same people) dubbed all the Sandy Frank films except for BARUGON and GAOS (both of which were dubbed in Hong Kong in the 60s), and maybe GUIRON. I think LEGEND OF THE DINOSAURS might have been dubbed by another group too.

    There’s a guy named Ted Thomas who ran his own dubbing studio in Hong Kong in the 50s – 80s. He dubbed several characters in GAMERA VS BARUGON, VS GAOS and GODZILLA VS MEGALON. You can hear Thomas interviewing Bruce Lee here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf4z2Vqt0bw). However, Thomas and his group definitely didn’t dub the rest of the Sandy Frank films (or GODZILLA VS THE SEA MONSTER).

       1 likes

  • 31
    Zeroninety says:

    “It burns with the love only *turtles* can feel
    Tibby, is our love real?”

    #30: Guiron sounds like it was dubbed in ol’ Alabammy!

       0 likes

  • 32
    Matt Sandwich says:

    I don’t have much to say about this one. I consider it a fair-to-middlin’ episode. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing that really shines.

    Probably a big part of that is the movie, which lacks the instant kitsch of the other Gamera movies, for pretty obvious reasons. But I was always puzzled by comments that this is actually a decent movie on its own terms. Maybe it’s that I look for the camp value in kaiju movies (with the original Godzilla being the only exception that comes to mind). I think the Maltin guide had good things to say about this, and if memory serves, Crow thanks the Mads for ‘not sending such a bad movie this time.’ But when you remove the goofy spectacle, elaborate (and wildly implausible) plans to foil a giant monster via oversized props just don’t work too well. Not to mention the fact that campiness mitigates how dark some of themes in these movies can be– poorly socialized Kenny being bullied, the head-shaving in Guiron, etc. Actually pretty creepy if the laughs aren’t there. And in this one, they aren’t there (and I’m referring to the movie itself, not the riffing).

    I think I’d call this a lesser episode in a great season.

       2 likes

  • 33
    Dark Grandma of Death says:

    I have tried to watch this eight or nine times now, and fall asleep every single time. It’s not the fault of the Brains, but of the movie itself. I just find little butterball Kenny dull, and find myself nodding off around the time when Kenny loses the stone, or goes after the stone in the street, or is bullied by the other kid who takes away the stone, or whatever it is that happens.

    Unfortunate, because there’s a great deal that I like here; the Tibby song is one of my favorites, I enjoyed Mike as Gamera, there’s some strong riffs. And in the first part of the movie itself, there are a couple of moments that I dearly love: the whole “That must be one of those flying saucers I’ve…heard…so…much…about…lately!” line that the Brains use as a callback frequently, and the bit with the Eskimo, used for the stinger. Great stuff.

       2 likes

  • 34
    senorpogo says:

    @30 – Thanks for the info. At least it’s something.

       0 likes

  • 35
    fathermushroom says:

    I’m with those who dislike the Tibby Song. FFWD right past it.

    But then I’m often the killjoy on this board.

    Otherwise, long live Gamera, I guess.

       1 likes

  • 36
    Laura says:

    I watched this episode earlier this week to catch up on anything I might have missed. Before MST3K, I had never heard of Gamera. This is one of my favorite Season 3 episodes (from War of the Colossal Beast). The Tibby song is one of the strangest from the show. How a small, red robot falls in love with a reptile I’ll never understand. My favorite line from the song is when Crow mentions the turtle making everyone sick. Tom’s reaction is priceless! Kenny is the most irritating Japanese kid in the history of mankind. Roxa from “Godzilla vs Megalon” is only less irritating.

    I also love when the Bots comment on when Gamera is being prepared to be shot into space. “Hey Joel, look familiar?” Servo even sings part of the theme song. Love it.

    Favorite riff:

    Kenny (as he’s looking for his turtle): “TIBBY!”

    Crow: “SQUISH!” Cracks me up every time.

    I also watched some of the original version released by Shout Factory!. Toshio (Kenny in the dubbed version) is not that much irritating. He’s still a turtle-loving freak. There is also a huge translation error that really rankles me. When Toshio (I really can’t say Kenny anymore, sorry) is walking on the rocks looking for his turtle, he is clearly saying Tibby. However, whoever translated for Shout Factory!, says PeeWee instead. I wish I was kidding.

    Also, in case anyone is curious, the Americans in the beginning of the film are also in the original. That wasn’t a Sandy Frank addition. Surprised me too.

       0 likes

  • 37
    JCC says:

    Good episode although I prefer the later, goofier kid-friendly Gamera movies for MST3k riffage.

    “Early Comedy Central airings have the riff, “You will perish in flames”; later airings omit that riff.” (swh1939)

    Well that sucks. The only other riff censoring I can think of is in Future War during the credits. Crow says “Arlan H. Bollsh–” and is stopped before he can finish saying it. On my old broadcast recording he only says Arlan H. Boll[muted] whereas in the DVD it’s not muted.

       1 likes

  • 38
    Mike in Portland says:

    Lots of the earlier episodes had a few minutes later cut for time by CC. I don’t know if that’s the reason for the cut here before the commercial, or whether it was censored.
    But it’s far from the only time it happened.

    This episode is a middling one for me. I’m not really a fan of the Gamera movies, but I’m a fan of the whole MST3K series, so I still enjoy these episodes.

       1 likes

  • 39
    pablum says:

    Another great episode. I love all the Gamera episodes but this one I think is my favorite. Mostly for Kenny and Joel and the ‘bots reaction to him.

    I did see one Gamera movie prior to MST3K getting a hold of them. One they didn’t riff: Gamera vs. Viras (or Destroy All Planets in the U.S.).

    This movie. Wow. Kenny is one disturbed kid. He’s either got Gamera Stockholm Syndrome or is evil incarnate. Calling Gamera good all while the giant turtle tears up Japan. I can only hope that there was an unmentioned portion of the Z-Plan that would see to it that Kenny is institutionalized for his sake and ours. Hilarious movie even without the riffing.

    Some of the best riffing during the run of the show happens here. All the remarks about Kenny’s devilish support of Gamera were spot-on. The fourth wall break at the end with the acknowledgment of the theme song was really funny as was Joel’s reaction to tear off Crow’s arm for a second time.

    Host segments were pretty good. Gamera’s visit and Tom’s love song to Tibby most notably.

    I’ll be glad to finally get this episode along with the rest of the Comedy Central Gamera eps on DVD when its released in August.

       0 likes

  • 40
    wotunw5o says:

    @36

    I haven’t checked the original, but “tibi” is a strict romanization of “chibi”, meaning tiny. It’s a little archaic these days, but even as late as the 90s you’d see it for stuff like Chibi-Usa from Sailor Moon.

    Chibi means small, so it would be an equivalent of Tiny or PeeWee.

       1 likes

  • 41
    Sharktopus says:

    Huh. I never realized Tibby was derived from chibi, though it makes perfect sense. Thanks for pointing that out (and making feel dumb for not putting it together myself).

       2 likes

  • 42
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I have to reserve my comments for 2-3 months.

       0 likes

  • 43
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    To paraphrase from the film, “This must be…that Godzilla-like knock-off film…I’ve…heard…so much about…lately.” But seriously folks, Gamera is an awesome episode of MST3K. It’s worth it just to hear Servo sing Tibby, Oh, Tibby, but the whole thing is awesomely funny. I suspect I’ll be watching this episode many, many times again once the DVD is released in August. Another 5-star episode for me.

       1 likes

  • 44
    dsman71 says:

    #39 – They also never did Gamera vs Monster X aka Gamera vs. Jiger or the worst Gamera movie – Gamera super monster which was 99% stock footage of all the Gamera movies…utterly unwatchable

       0 likes

  • 45
    pondoscp says:

    Sampo@15 – strangely enough, this thread closes the day before Gamera comes out. Reopening it then would be cool, since I, like several others, have the Gamera flicks on viewing moratorium until the box set comes out.

       1 likes

  • 46
    J Master says:

    Actually, the deleted riff is probably no more than simple time editing. If you notice from the Rhino and Shout DVDs, the early MST seasons have eps running 97 minutes or so. By the end of the CC era they’re down to 92 or even 90. That’s 5 more minutes of commercials, and on reruns the early eps wouldn’t allow those extra ads without cutting. The host segments were too obvious to cut from, so the place to trim was before/after commercials that were not involving host segments.
    I’m sure the CC program directors didn’t give a crap about cutting the shows down for a rerun, but it’s a reason why I’ve been so keen to get the early CC eps on DVD as many of my early ones were from reruns later in the CC era when they were cut down.
    That’s also why the original ST episodes (running 50 mins) were not seen “unedited” on regular TV for years. They also needed another 5 minutes trimmed to get the then-standard 15 mins of ads in. Now of course you’re lucky if an “hour” show exceeds 42 mins.

       3 likes

  • 47
    Cornjob says:

    Was Gamera supposed to be evil in this movie? He seemed more indifferent to humanity than antagonistic, Like an elephant that steps on an anthill while trying to get to some food. Not that that is any comfort to the millions crushed and incinerated while Gamera pursued energy sources to consume.

    The last time (Season K) we discussed this movie, did we come to any concensus as to whether Kenny and Gamera are actually friends? It seemed like Gamera saved Kenny on a whim (after almost killing him) and went on his way, leaving lonely, turtle obsessed Kenny convinced he had the best best friend ever.

    Was Kenny supposed to be this annoying and mental in the original pre-dubbed version. Any Japanese speaking fans out there that know?

       2 likes

  • 48
    Fred Burroughs says:

    Good question, Cornjob. Is Gamera evil? Is Kenny? Gamera ends up showing very little feeling at all, he is just too big for his own good, and searching for energy to consume, while destroying the countryside. He shows little malice, but he does inexplicably save Kenny’s life. Yes, sandy Frank, why? But Kenny is another story; he is genuinely twisted, and his teachers, parents, and schoolchums all shun him. Who can blame him that his turtle-obsessed mind interprets that Gamera is a true friend? We can. And at the end we are supposed to feel relief and joy that Gamera has been spared, ’cause after all, it wasn’t his fault. I think even the scientists behind Z-plan are frightened when Kenny’s in the room; he’s truly psychotic, but too cute to challenge openly.

       4 likes

  • 49
    monoceros4 says:

    In previous discussion it’s been mentioned, if I remember rightly, that in the original movie Kenny (or “Toshio” rather) believed that Gamera and Tibby were actually the same turtle. That puts a somewhat different color on Kenny’s fanatical insistence that Gamera was his friend. Only traces of this idea survive in the Sandy Frank version, with Kenny’s repeated belief that “Gamera is in Tibby’s family” not being quite sufficient to explain his weird behavior.

    Or maybe it makes little difference. Even if Kenny really thinks that Gamera is Tibby transformed, it’s not enough of an excuse to overlook Gamera’s murderous rampage.

       1 likes

  • 50
    Tom Carberry says:

    The early seasons (2 and 3) had longer running times when shown in later years because CC wanted to jam in more commercial time (“what do you expect, they’re evil, EVIL” to paraphrase Frank). I remember the midnight showings when they cut the episodes to allow for this and the huge backlash (remember the stink over Penn Jillette’s voice overs?). For a while they restored the longer versions and the show ran from midnight until about 2:05 a.m. I was fortunate to get the longer versions on tape, and eventually transferred the longer versions onto DVDs. I rewatched Gamera last night for the first time in about 5 years–needless to say it is not one of my favorites. I liked the running gag about the eskimo “stone” looking like a porterhouse steak. I think their revised summary and biographies (Col. Sanders-san is a perfect description) of the characters of the movie with stills at the end was genius.

       2 likes

  • 51
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    >>>Was Gamera supposed to be evil in this movie?

    That depends on whether or not he was supposed to be SENTIENT in this movie. If, at this stage of his movie development, he simply had animal-level intelligence, the question becomes moot. When bears eat grubs, they don’t worry about the effects on the next generation of insects.

       2 likes

  • 52
    Mac aka:afriendlychicken says:

    Executive producer Masaichi Nagata was the producer of some great Japanese films. He helped to produce a lot of Kenji Mizoguchi films, and also produced films by Yasujiro Ozu and Kon Ichikawa. The Gamera films were done at the end of his career.

    This episode holds a special place in my life for when this premiered it was the first episode my sister watched in it’s entirety. She finally understood what that weird show I loved with “those guys talking over it” was really about.

       0 likes

  • 53
    Jay says:

    On the commentary on the Shout!Factory release of “Giant Monster Gamera”, August Ragone acknowledged that Toshio/Kenny was a pretty messed up kid (I belive he went into more detail why this might be). It’s one thing to hear it from our beloved wisecracking robots, it’s another to hear it from a noted (and good-humored)expert on Japanese cinema.

    I too met Noriaki Yuasa, way back at G-FEST ’99. He was a nice old fellow who enjoyed entertaining families and liked kids, particularly a toddler in a Guiron jumper.

    A decent but riffable movie, with good commentary, and the Tibby song (specifically Crow’s contribution) is a classic.

    “Tibby? Tibby?”
    “Squish”

       0 likes

  • 54
    bdtrppr6 says:

    i can’t wait for the box set-i’ve only seen one of them msted.

    as a side, the redone 90′s versions of Gamera are actually fairly rad. it’s still a flaming flying turtle from outer space, but the effects are a lot better.

       0 likes

  • 55
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    FINALLY, Trace cuts his hair and Ponytail-Watch can come to an end. Stupid early nineties hairstyles. . . . ..

    After a good opening segment and solid riffing for the first section of the movie (as others have noted) this episode sort of loses steam and peters out.

    Count me down as a hater on the Tibby song in Host Segment #1. It does nothing for me. Yeah sure, Crow steals the show, but was there really a show to steal?

    HS#2 is okay, because I mean really, what gives with Kenny? but the slam on Spalding Gray in HS#3 is uncalled for, in my opinion. Sort of ruins the fun of the segment.

    As for the Gamera movie itself, eh. . .I didn’t really like it when I watched it in KTMA05 form, and this time around it still really didn’t do it for me. There’s something about it that makes me want to just. . . .tune out. The other Gamera movies are better, as I recall. Maybe not? It’s been awhile. I’ll have to re-compare them after we’ve reached that point in Season 3.

    A 3/5 episode, for me anyway.

    And here are some RIFFS, brought to you by DaiEI!!

    Crow: “Micro Machines at 10o’clock!”

    Joel: “Cut! Cut! Lets do it again.”

    When Gamera first emerges, Servo: “Now why can’t I have a cute shape like that?”

    Joel: “KIDS COME RUNNING FOR THE RICH TASTE OF GAMERA!”

    Joel: “Hey it’s a rag tag band of misfits.”

    Crow: “Quick, move his spine around. He’s had a bad fall.”

    Joel: “They’ve been on that plane for 48 hours.”
    Servo: “Luckily the inflight movie is Berlin Alexanderplatz.” ——>Berlin Alexanderplatz is a fifteen and a half hour movie that originally aired on television as 14 episodes. I’ve not seen it; it sounds epic.

    Crow, ribbing Joel: “You can be replaced by Leno, you know?”

    Joel: “ALL OVER THE WORLD!”

    Servo: “The Gamera-Jamera.”
    Crow: “I’ve got a turtle that’s as big as a whale!”

    Gamera, trapped in egg, Crow: “Suddenly he’s a chewy nougat center.”

    Servo: “They launched Merv Griffin’s microphone into space.”

    .

    Shock to the shammies? Whatever that is, I don’t want one. No sir. Not at all.

       2 likes

  • 56
    toot-toottoot-toot says:

    Love the Tibby skit but I find this a rather mediocre letdown from Cave Dwellers. This was about middle of the pack with Gameras for me (the best being Guirion and Zigra). I don’t know if it was the black and whiteness or what. At the time of writing I just finished Fugitive Alien 2 (I’m a bit ahead) and I’m so happy Sandy Frank’s done after that. The Japanese films were not my favorite eps.

       0 likes

  • 57
    Sharktopus says:

    I’ve been refreshing my memory of this one in drips and drabs from YouTube and I have to say, emphatically, meh. Much duller than your typical kaiju smash ‘em up, and WAY too dumb to take seriously like the original Gojira. I’m sure Gamera suffered from the typical poor Sandy Frank translation, but yikes. These are some of the stupidest movie scientists since King Dinosaur.

    But bottom line: the riffing just doesn’t do much for me. And Joel laid on the commercial quotes way too thick for me. I’ll admit that I’m too young to remember most of those Carvel-type references, but I don’t tend to enjoy that stuff on general.

       0 likes

  • 58
    Sharktopus says:

    Oops – premature submission. Anyway, I look forward to the goofy, colorful Gamera flicks coming up (and the Gamera boxset). More crazy rubber suits, less Kenny please. Can we all agree he’s the the most annoying kid of any MST movie?

       0 likes

  • 59
    Sitting Duck says:

    @ Shaktopus #58: Actually I think that may have been a Weekend Discussion topic. If it hasn’t already, maybe Sampo will take it for consideration.

       1 likes

  • 60
    Rex Dart says:

    I also distinctly remember Noriaki Yuasa. A nice, funny guy. I still have my Gamera vs. Guiron VHS he autographed.

    If I could just defend the Gamera movies for a bit, I think the two points to remember is:

    1. The dubbing makes them much, MUCH worse than the originals.

    2. Excluding the original and Barugon, they’re squarely aimed at kids. Compared to a lot of kids entertainment these days, I think the Gamera films still compare favorably.

    Except Zigra. Blegh.

       1 likes

  • 61
    Sharktopus says:

    @ Sitting Duck: I think that was a weekend discussion, but if not, it should be. Maybe “What child, other than Kenny, is the most annoying?” Grin

    I had no idea Joel was doing a Johnny Carson bit towards the end there until Crow said “We can replace you with Leno.” I love Joel – sure, we all do – but his “impressions” can be pretty terrible. He did a great Richard Kiel in The Human Duplicators, though. Too bad Kiel didn’t get to speak in Eegah.

       1 likes

  • 62
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    I don’t think his impressions were meant to be perfect imitations or that given the great comic sensibilities on the show that anyone probably thought they were great in that way, I think they were meant to be funny more than “spot on” and in that I always thought Joel’s impressions were successful. In fact, being a bit off-the mark often added to the humor. It’s not what you say, but how you say it and nowhere is that more true than in comedy. I did and still do love Joel’s delivery both in his own voice and the funny voices he often did as well.

    I am seriously thinking about buying the recent Shout! Factory DVD release of Gamera in the original Japanese with subtitles just out of curiosity to see what the movie was like before it got a bit mangled for US release. That won’t mitigate the fact that it’s still largely a rip-off of the entire main premise of the original Godzilla, but it should still be interesting to see how the quality of the production comes off without any tinkering by the earlier people who released it in the US.

       0 likes

  • 63
    Fnord says:

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned, but the guy who plays the goofy drunk farmer who delivers the “That must be one of those… flying saucers… I’ve… heard… so… much… about… lately.” line is Bokuzen Hidari, who you may remember as Yohei from the film Seven Samurai, which was released 11 years earlier. Just a little bit of trivia.

       0 likes

  • 64
    Cornjob says:

    “People don’t mean to be annoying, it’s just that they’re all messed up inside.”

    I think this is a particularly insightfull observation, and something usefull to keep in mind when you encounter a square that bugs you, REALLY BUGS YOU!!

       3 likes

  • 65
    losingmydignity says:

    This one is a lot of fun indeed. This may actually be the best of the Gameras but I’ll be watching them again in the next few weeks, obviously, to see if that still holds true.

    I feel like this ep was a real breakthrough for them, riffing wise, but not sure if I can pinpoint why…Well, I like this one.

    A-

       0 likes

  • 66
    Anita says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the theater silhouette looks completely different in this one? It seems “bolder” and bigger?

       0 likes

  • 67
    jere7my says:

    What causes him to do it a second time is when Gamera is being blasted off against his will, and Crow says, mockingly “Hey Joel, remind you of anything?” He and Tom then begin singing the opening theme song! This seems to enrage Joel.

    It’s a sex joke. Crow asks Joel if the big phallic missile being erected on-screen reminds him of anything — i.e., the fact that he’s not getting any on the SoL. Then Tom starts singing “In the not-too-distant future…” and laughing at Joel’s predicament.

       1 likes