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Sampo & Erhardt

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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Weekend Discussion Thread: “Psychic Lawn Darts”

In the documentary “This is MST3K,” Kevin Murphy says: “The obscure jokes are so much fun because there’s a very small percentage of people who get those, but the ones who do say ‘My God they’re inside my head. They know me. They know too much about me.'” He has called these jokes “psychic lawn darts.”

So let’s share our favorite “psychic lawn darts.”

Mine came with episode 201; “ROCKET SHIP XM” when Tom said: “Dreezle drazzle drozzle drome, time for zis one to come home” (from the ancient and [mostly] forgotten “Tooter the Turtle” cartoons).

I hear that riff and suddenly I’m seven years old, it’s Saturday morning, and I can taste the soggy Froot Loops.

What’s yours?

(Keep sending those discussion thread ideas to msampo at a-o-l dot com!)
(Reminder: Get out that copy of “Death Rat” and re-read it before the end of the month!)

165 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: “Psychic Lawn Darts””

  1. Dave says:

    During the short “Century 21 Calling” someone (Servo?) comments that the background music sounds like “something off of side five of ‘Sandinista.” “Sandinista” was the Clash’s three record set follow-up to “London Calling” and was generally viewed as becoming increasingly eccentric as it progressed. Even the most devoted Clash fans (like myself) found it pretty sprawling. Serious bonding lawn dart moment for me!!


  2. billybkool says:

    Hearty attaboys for all the King Crimson ‘catches’. Don’t forget the ‘starless and bible black’ riff. A couple of Eno riffs are mixed into their videography, too.

    ‘Difford and Tillbrook are calling’

    “hello there Gang of Four’


  3. Michael says:

    Anything Wisconsin related was a fun surprise, my favorite being, “This can’t be Wisconsin, there’s no billboards for Tommy Barletts water show” from Giant Spider Invasion. And, yeah, like the episode guide says I know the “Dreezle drazzle drozzle drome” reference from The Replacements album Tim.


  4. Kenotic says:

    I know we Midwesterners should never be surprised by MSP jokes, but during “Monster a Go-Go,” Joel makes a joke about Bootsy Collins and KMOJ radio. KMOJ is a small, non-profit “urban” station in Minneapolis which would have been almost the only place to hear Bootsy when this aired.

    That and the stripper during “Kitten with a Whip,” when Crow says “Wow, Amy Grant has really crossed over.” At the time Amy Grant was doing less gospel-y music and more MOR/AC music — and getting flak from a few former fans.


  5. Canucklehead says:

    To me, the first joke I think of as a “Psychic Lawn Dart” may not necessarily be obscure, but it sure opened my eyes to the fact that these guys were really on the ball when riffing the movies. It was Mitchell, and it was during the scene with Mitchell and the Old Lady on the dock. As crates are being lifted behind them, someone pipes up “Sweet Adeline”, and then they all sing it. I’m a huge fan of The Marx Brothers, and I knew that came from “Monkey Business”, one of my favourite all-time movies. From that point on, I knew that a lot of the stuff they came up with was something special. Even now, some of the greatest joys I get out of MST3K is hearing stuff that I didn’t know about the first time I watched it, and then getting the joke the next time round because of what I’ve discovered in the meantime.


  6. hellokittee says:

    Like #15 & #16- I love the It’s a Wonderful Life riffs since its probably my favorite movie ever (started watching it with my mom as a kid, it still makes me teary at the end even though I have seen it dozens of times). It seems like the Brains must have been big fans too because I feel like they did one of these (or more) in almost every episode.

    I also love all the Mary Tyler Moore references (Just saw one the other day while watching “Escape 2000” when they decided that one of the rebels trying to stay in the Bronx looked like Rhoda). MTM was on before I was born but its one of my all time favorite shows, used to watch it on Nick at Night religiously in high school.


  7. bartcow says:

    I had just bought the Atlantic Records 1947-1974 box set when I first saw Devil Doll. When they said “spo-dee-o-dee” after Vorelli says “Drink the wine”, it just floored me (Disc One, Track 7 “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” by Stick McGee–who? Exactly). THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE MY CD COLLECTION!


  8. EricJ says:

    @48 – If it was from the first two seasons, more likely a ref to the Comedy Channel showing “Supercar” episodes on The Higgins Boys & Gruber, back during their protoplasmic days of just starting to show ancient syndicated reruns.
    Ditto with Clutch Cargo references. (I repeat, if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what the Channel was showing back then…)


  9. Laura says:

    Mine would be all the “Red Green” riffs from “The Final Sacrifice.” I used to watch that show all the time on NJN. It’s one of the few good shows to come out of Canada (from KITH). And the references to Yosemite Sam in the same experiment.


  10. “The Inhumanoids!” riff from Hercules against the Moon Men. I love that crazy nightmare fuel cartoons and couldn’t believe that the Brains knew about it.


  11. HauntedHill says:

    “There’s a Pogo’s song on the radio!” line from Eegah. I used to have a novelty song record when I was a kid and Alley Oop was one of my favorite songs on it. And obscure reference to begin with made even more personal. Awesome.


  12. Dr. Batch says:

    In either Prince of Space or Invasion of Neptune Men, they make a reference to The Young Ones. I couldn’t believe it.


  13. NoTrafficAccidents says:

    # 52: “hello there Gang of Four”

    Sara Lee rules! Her involvement with Fripp’s League of Gentlemen was totally titanic.


  14. monoceros4 says:

    Ah, and I forgot to mention another class of obscure riff that’s come up a couple times in MST3K–chess-related riffs. I can remember a couple references to Bobby Fischer, e.g. when “The Master” is first mentioned in Manos, Joel mentions Fischer. (Lord knows he was every bit as antisocial as the Master from the movie.) The Final Sacrifice features quite an obscure reference to the Spassky-Karpov exhibition games of 1982, except that Crow messes up and says “Kasparov” instead of Karpov. (At least, I assume that’s what happened.)


  15. DrBlood says:

    I liked the use of the eerie monolith music from 2001: A Space Odyssey in Rocket Attack USA and Space Travelers (Marooned). 2001 was the first film I ever saw in a theater. Also, the guys singing The Yellow Rose of Texas in The Human Duplicators brought back memories of Sing Along with Mitch.


  16. Insect Man #47 says:

    A couple of times Crow screams “Turn it off! Turn it off! This is a reference to the movie “Hardcore” with George C. Scott. Makes me laugh every time. One of the instances is Indestructible Man. I can’t remember the other.


  17. Smothered in gravy, Texas style says:

    Love the Elvis Costello references in Gunslinger, Future War and Unearthly. Also Marx Brothers – just picked up on the “omit the body of the letter” during the New Jersey Driver short which I don’t think I would have caught if not for seeing animal crackers last week.


  18. tombrasher says:

    Hi, Jehovah’s monsters. Please take a Watchmonster.

    From 817-The Horror of Party Beach:

    I was raised as a JW and always loathed eschewing my Saturday mornings for knocking on stranger’s doors selling Watchtower magazines…


  19. bdtrppr6 says:

    i truly cannot come up with “one”. seems at least one an episode, where i think “wow, i’m not the only one who remembers/jokes about that.” it is what makes the show so great. such a diverse databank of effluvia and bull**** to pull from and be funny about, in connection with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the joke, other than an observation. my 3.8 yr old son always wants to watch ‘tom serbo’-makes me proud. he gets none of the references tho.


  20. Chris Lark says:

    losingmydignity says:…though when they say Sampo’s dreezle drazzle etc, I think of a Replacements song.

    Michael says: And, yeah, like the episode guide says I know the “Dreezle drazzle drozzle drome” reference from The Replacements album Tim.

    @LMD & Michael – FWIW I think the song is “Hold My Life” and I think the lyric is “Razzle Dazzle Razzle Drone Time FOr This to Come Home, Razzle Dazzle Razzle Die time for this one to come alive” more than anything Drizzle or Drazzle but hey…maybe Paul & The ‘Mats were fans of Tooter Turtle as well? :-)


  21. Duckie says:

    Fer me its from “Teenage Strangler”, While naming off Punk Bands…Dead Kennedies, Circle Jerks, Buzzcocks..ect… I Played Guitar for a Hardcore Punk Band and we played in support of a few of the Bands they mentioned…allways makes me smile that they refrence my youth


  22. Critter says:

    In Zombie Nightmare the cops are wrestling a thug to the floor
    and someone (Tom?) quips “auditions for the band Fear.”

    And in Beginning of the End when they are broadcasting the
    song of the locust to woo the beasts to the river, “when Brian Eno ruled Chicago.” At the time I was listening to Eno a LOT and it got a cackle from my wife at the time who was subjected to him, a LOT.


  23. I’m feeling a bit brain dead right now and can only think of Joel’s He-Man reference in Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster when he cries, “By the power of Greyskull!”

    I know there are a few others I’ve picked up on but just can’t recall them right now.


  24. The Great Lake Avenger says:

    As a life long resident or Minnesota, I love all the references to places and people in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Places I know, and are greatly ignored by pop culture, for good reason. My favorite involves my hometown in Riding With Death. The line “I like to get my parking spot early for WeFest” when a car stops in the middle of a field. If you’ve been to this annual music festival in western Minnesota, you get it.


  25. Ator says:

    I went to Iowa State in Ames, Iowa and was watching episode 208 The Lost Continent and they show a plane flying and someone says, “meanwhile over Ames, Iowa.” That was definitely a mind jart…also when they referenced Taco John’s which was a small midwest fast food taco joint.


  26. noplot says:

    The one that always hits me is during the opening credits to “Eegah”; as one of the demon/deceased figures/whatevers is seen between credits (some of them had credits on them, some not), Tom exclaims “Otis Nixon!”, a longtime but somewhat obscure major league player. I figured it was because he was on the Twins at the time; turned out he hadn’t been, and wouldn’t be until five years after the ep was made. A decent player, but man, he didn’t look much better than those demon figures did, which is probably where the reference came from.


  27. This Guy says:

    @33: In either “Revenge of the Creature” or “The She Creature,” I forget which, as the eponymous creature walks into the sea, one of the guys says “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Creature.” Just thought you’d like to know.

    In “The Atomic Brain,” after one character turns off a radio, the riff is: “Ah, I hate Michael Feldman. What do you know? I know this!” I used to hear Feldman on Saturday mornings on our public radio station and I did find him a bit tiresome. Peter Sagal is a much better public-radio quiz-show host, there, I said it. Also on the public radio front, the times in “The Starfighters,” “Quest of the Delta Knights” and others when Mike would impersonate Bill McLaughlin, whose voice always annoyed the hell out of me.

    Any of the Catholic-themed riffs are gold to me, like “Oh no, not liturgical dance” or “They must have a loser bishop to have a basilica like this.”


  28. frostyplum says:

    I’ve spent most of my life in Chicago and the NW suburbs, so any Chicagoland reference is gold to me. As much as I love Monster-a-Go-Go, I realize it’s mostly for the Aerie Crown Theatre and Billy Goat riffs. Even dropping random L-train lines or mentioning Downers Grove gives my brain a tickle. My favorite is in Time Chasers, when Crow says something about Marion Jordan Jr. High, which I used to ride past to get to the grocery store in Palatine :) I knew a girl who’d been transfered from my school to there, so it even had an air of mystery to it, this weird “other” school.

    I also love the many Rick Wakemen and Rush references they pull out.


  29. JiminySaidJohnny says:

    I know the source of this riff isn’t too obscure, depending on your age, I guess, but one particular song from West Side Story may be. Who knows? Anyway, during one of the Japanese monster flicks a guy sees a kid in the woods and calls him saying “Boy, boy!” and Tom responds with “Crazy boy” which is a lyric from a song in West Side Story, which always was one of my favorites.


  30. frostyplum says:

    I forgot about Dune references! I saw the movie for the first time last fall and took to its cheesiness like a fish to water. It also cleared up a LOT of MST references I didn’t get before, including one I just figured out this week, watching Killer Shrews: during Junior Rodeo Daredevils, when one kid shows the other the tin can, and Joel says “It’s the Gom Jabbar!” I nearly died.


  31. Ted Nelson says:

    Not a favorite riff by any means, but fairly obscure, I think – in “The Phantom Planet”, Crow says of one of the extras “Athol Fugard is scared”. I am mildly curious as to what percentage of viewers know off the top of their heads who Athol Fugard is and what he looks like (which would be required to appreciate the reference).

    Oh, and to JJK, if I may offer a correction, Lola Heatherton’s tag line from SCTV was “I want to bear your children!”


  32. Warren says:

    The first one to come to mind is Tom Servo singing “Goodbye Mister Driscoll” in Riding with Death, sung to the tune of The Who’s “Goodbye Sister Disco”. It’s never played on the radio, it must mean that Kevin (assuming it’s him) has listened to a lot of their material and not just the greatest hits.


  33. Steve Vil says:

    Any reference (and there are a lot of them) to Gary Numan. Two I can think of off the top of my head: During Pod People, when trumpy is making everything fly around the room and wacky synthesizer music plays, Joel says “It’s Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army!” Joel and the bots then sing “Cars” over top of the goofy music. During Terror From The Year 5000, Servo says “Gary Numan: scientist”. That character DOES look uncannily like Numan.
    I’ve been a numan fan for years and he’s still making awesome music to this day.

    Another obscure reference is in the movie but it’s not a riff. At the beginning when Forrester is explaining the premise, he spanks himself with a clipboard and says, “I’m a naughty boy! Naughty, naughty, naughty!” which is directly culled from one of my favorite films, an obscure 80’s cult movie called “Dr. Caligari”.


  34. Sitting Duck says:

    Insect Man #47: A couple of times Crow screams “Turn it off! Turn it off!” This is a reference to the movie “Hardcore” with George C. Scott. Makes me laugh every time. One of the instances is Indestructible Man. I can’t remember the other.

    Servo says it in the prologue HS of Bride of the Monster when Crow’s dream turns unsettling erotic.

    One of my favorites are the OTR references, though Fibber McGee and Molly is the only pure OTR I can recall being referenced (shows like Jack Benny and Dragnet started out on radio before transferring to TV). My favorite one comes from Hobgoblins, which goes, “I’m gonna break into Jack Benny’s piggy bank.” (The underground vault gag worked so much better on radio)


  35. Steve Vil says:

    Ooh, one more. Also from Pod People. When Laura plummets 8 feet to her death, Joel says, “Oh, It’s Laura PALMER” a reference to the murdered homecoming queen from Twin Peaks.


  36. Steve K says:

    My favorite psychic lawn dart is from when I first saw Manos: The Hands of Fate. I was very into the Firesign Theatre then, and very new to MST3k.

    I was watching the driving scenes, and thinking “Antelope Freeway: 1/2 mile… Antelope Freeway 1/4 mile…” when Crow said “If you lived here, you’d be home by now!”


  37. Ang says:

    Mine is the part in Manos when the women are nightgown wrestling and Servo says, “I like it. It isn’t Lysistrata, but I like it.” When I first saw that ep in high school I didn’t get the reference but later in college when I bought that one on VHS and watched it again I laughed like crazy because I had just recently read that play in my English class. It was written around 411 BC by Aristophanes and is about women who decide to withhold sex from their soldier husbands so they will negotiate peace and end the war they’d been fighting in.

    There’s another one in Hercules where a guy on the boat is singing and one of them says “He’s no Dennis Day.” Dennis Day was a singer and cast member on Jack Benny’s long running radio show and the guy does favor him a little.


  38. Brandon says:

    I’m not sure how popular or unpopular “Rhoda” was. I rarely see that show ever mentioned or acknowledged. But I always liked the “Hi, I’m Carlton, your Doorman”, from the episode Mitchell, when Deaney presses a call button for the police.

    There’s also a funny moment later during the car chase where Joel notes that one of the bad guys looks like Larry Miller. How well known is Larry Miller?

    During “Century 21 Calling”, at one point Crow notes the music sounds like it’s from Ren & Stimpy. It actually does sound like the odd music cues that show used to have, but how many people (even R&S fans) would even agree with Crow there unless they were really familiar with that show?

    For the record though, since R&S often used old music tracks for their music cues, it’s possible that music in “Century 21 Calling” did get used on R&S.


  39. Spalanzani says:

    For me it’s probably in City Limits where they mention that the museum looks like the cover The Far Side Gallery. Now, The Far Side is pretty well-known, but to reference one cover of the numerous Far Side books seems pretty obscure. And since I happen to own that one, it cracked me up.

    Another one is in Jack Frost when the heroine’s dog goes back into his dog house and Mike says “back into Harpo’s chest”, a reference to a odd moment in Duck Soup when a (cheesily superimposed) dog comes out of a tattoo of a dog house on Harpo’s chest, in response to Grocho making cat noises. Again, the Marx Brothers are very well-known, but to reference such a brief (and as far as I know not particulary famous) throwaway bit really shows that the Brains must have had all their films memorized.


  40. Blowie the Dolphin says:

    In ‘Angel’s Revenge’, when the Angels are intercepting the drug shipment on the beach, one of the Angel’s long hair is hanging down: the psychic lawn dart for me is the comment “Pretend you’re Shawn Phillips”.


  41. trickymutha says:

    There are several Michigan references: I have lived in: East Lansing (at least of couple times Bill’s Crow has riffed my old hometown); Ann Arbor (in Touch of Satan I believe Jody is wearing a yellow and blue shirt and Mike says- “Fritz Crisler used to have a shirt like that- man, Fritz was AD at of U of M way back when and the Basketball arena there is named after him)- finally, my time in Flint- Black Scorpion reference to “Roger and Me”; Design for Dreaming reference to “Roger and Me”; opening host segment of Mole People reference to Flint; and in Time Chasers a riff on an old guy who looks like Michael Moore.


  42. Tim S. Turner says:

    My two favorites are “We replaced a bottle of tripolodine with Junior Samples.” [Riding with Death]; and “Hey, Hartley” from quite a few episodes. Any reference to Hee Haw or the Bob Newhart Show has my vote.


  43. Kenneth Morgan says:

    For me, a perfect dart was from one Sci-Fi era show where there’s a high-pitched, mocking laugh on the soundtrack and Crow riffs “Raceway Park!” Only someone from the NY/NJ area (like Bill Corbett) would remember those commercials.

    Come to think of it, given how often those ads popped up on Channel 68, I’m surprised they didn’t throw in an Uncle Floyd reference.


  44. Kenotic says:

    #88 – Rhoda did quite well for itself for the 5 years it ran. Not the ratings or strength of Mary Tyler Moore, but not bad for a spin-off.

    This makes me think of “Hercules vs. The Moon Men,” where one of the main characters is named Phyllis. Eventually Crow sings back “It sure isn’t you!” Phyllis was the OTHER MTM spin-off that didn’t do nearly as well. The line is from its theme song, which parodies MTM’s.


  45. The DA says:

    The Girl In Gold Boots, when Critter was singing and it was raining, Tom Servo says “This is one of Morrissey’s upbeat songs”


  46. Jacob says:

    One I forgot (and I’m pretty sure a lot of people caught it as well)– in “The Day the Earth Froze,” there is a scene where a sleeping spell has been cast, and as the entire cast of the movie is comatose, Joel and one of the bots are making snoring noises while the other bot (I think it’s Crow) says something like “And that’s the news from Lake Wobegone, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking…” etc etc. Hysterical (I’m laughing just remembering the scene). I actually am a fan of “A Prairie Home Companion,” but that riff was spot-on.


  47. GregS says:

    Not sure of the episode (Prince of Space?), where there’s a long maniacal laugh, followed by one of the bots yelling “raceway park”.

    I remember those radio commercials all throughout my childhood (hahahahaha….racewaaay paaark!). Brought back some memories.


  48. monoceros4 says:

    #96: It’s Tom Servo delivering the pitch-perfect imitation of Garrison Keillor and, like you, I think it’s a hilarious savaging of “The Prairie Home Companion” even though I like the show. Servo’s spiel goes on for a good long while too:

    “And that’s the news from Lake Woebegone where the men are strong, the women good looking and the children above average. Oh, Butch Thompson’s gonna come out with the band and gonna do a medley of songs about cats. Then Jeanette Poole will do some cat sounds, and then another episode of watching paint dry. And then Claudia Schmidt will come out and try and fill the gap in her teeth. Oh, and Pat Donohue and Peter O. Strushko will grace us with the story about the Swede who didn’t like meatballs.”


  49. The Right Oily Drifter says:

    Mine is pretty much the same as #75. In “The Castle of Fu Manchu”, there is an establishing shot of London where it shows Big Ben and Joel says “Meanwhile in Ames, Iowa…” I live pretty close to Ames and there is a sort of small clocktower thing in the ISU campustown. Not the most obscure thing they’ve referenced, but it definitely left a dart wound in my psyche.


  50. EricJ says:

    @55 – At least, for those who do have their Marx Brothers memorized, the Brains can be thorough about it–
    For ex., in the non-Turkey-Day version of the “Once Upon a Honeymoon” host seg, as Gypsy is singing her version of the Telephone Song–“I’ll line you up against the wall, and pop goes the weasel”–watch Crow in the background singing “Ahh-ah-ahhh…” a la Groucho in Duck Soup. :D


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