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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. snowdog says:

    I forget which episode, but I suspect mine happened by accident. Crow mispronounces the word “ipecac” as “appecac” and Joel says, “Oh, the Genesis album?”. As a huge Genesis fan, I laughed hard at the reference to their “Abacab” album. I think Trace flubbed the line, but they decided to leave the joke in.


  2. Brainchild says:

    Mine always seem to relate to obscure places in the Midwest that they’ve referenced. For example, in Incredibly Strange Creatures etc., a random streetscape is noted as looking like South Beloit. The scary thing is that the shot REALLY does look like the main drag of South Beloit, which means somebody in the cast has actually been there (those poor souls).

    I imagine others have similiar reactions when they reference places like Spooner, WI.


  3. Canucklehead says:

    #100 – I have noticed a few Marx Brothers gags have been mentioned here, so I am guessing that the Brains were fans.


  4. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    In The Dead Talk Back, Krasker comments about his stupid contraption, something about it reaching high enough vibrations –
    “to play in the Cramps!” says Crow. Like others who’ve commented, music has always been such a major component of who I am, so it’s great to hear them use one of my favorite bands so well in a riff. I was also pleased when Joel mentioned Man or Astroman? when he returned to fix the SOL. Of course, I was equally pleased that MOAM recorded a version of the MST3k theme on one of their albums. And of course, I’ve always enjoyed the nod to Lou Reed by calling the ship Satellite of Love. On the downside, it kind of bugs me that when Ace of Spades is playing in Zombie Nightmare, Mike and the bots don’t seem to recognize how frickin’ great that song is. 8-)


  5. incrediblehorriblemrlimpet says:

    The couple or possibly several references to Knucklehead Smiff throughout Mst3k’s run, e.g., “Speech — Using your Voice” [“Knucklehead Smiff makes a sale”] brings back instant memories of being six years-old in 1965 watching Paul Winchell’s “Winchell-Mahoney Time”. Paul (or “Mr. Winkell” as Knucklehead called him), was such a master at his ventriloquy, being a kid viewer, it was easy to forget that Jerry Mahoney, Knucklehead, Tess and the others were but wooden dummies like Hugo (though none were ham lovers that I recall).


  6. Fred Burroughs says:

    I enjoy the scattered references to one of my favorite baseball players, Boog Powell, who played for the Orioles around 1970. They usually said something like “He’s as catlike as Boog Powell,” Boog of course being a very large lumbering pasty white man who could hit the ball a mile. He is still seen hanging around Camden Yards in Baltimore.


  7. Timmy says:

    There are a couple of Tom Waits references that I really love & you would have to be a fan to get them. They have the grizzled, somewhat Waits-like prospector in Final Sacrifice ask “Wanna listen to Bone Machine”? (Perhaps Waits’ best album). And in some episode, possibly the same one but I can’t remember, they sing along to the appearance of a cave set with his song “Underground” in a raspy Waits-like voice: “there’s a world, going on, underground…” Couldn’t believe how specific and obscure and hilarious those references were.


  8. losingmydignity says:

    Timmy, there is also at least one host seg where Kevin sings a bit of Tom Waits. I love catching references to him too.


  9. ciociekelly says:

    i am sooo inspired to speak, that i cannot stop to read others, so if i repeat, i am sorry…. “silly rabbi, kicks are for trids-” my mother’s joke…”Wild Rebels”s…right? wow :-?


  10. I watched the right episode tonight and got my memory jogged in my favorite one of these, courtesy of Blood Waters of Dr. Z.

    Servo: “Once Herbie’s out of the way, she’ll be mine!”


  11. Danny Kay says:

    I nearly died laughing at the “Raceway Park!” riff from Prince of Space. I grew up in New Jersey and I remember seeing that commercial ALL THE TIME. That had to have been a Bill Corbett joke…


  12. okerry says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s *The Magic Sword* where some knight is riding through a dark forest and J&TB are calling out, “Boromir!” If I wasn’t hooked before that – and keep in mind, this was well before the LOTR movies and at that time those characters were not as universally known as they are today.


  13. Laura says:


    I know exactly what you’re talking about. I still hear those radio commercials for that park. I’ve never been there myself, though. I *think* Bill is from New Jersey.


  14. Yipe Striper says:

    i remember on my old VHS taped episodes… some of the commercials that ran all the time drove me nuts

    Becks! America’s favorite German beer! *SAIL AWAAAAAAY! You can FLY!!! ON THESE WINGS OF FREEDOM, You can REACH the SKY!!”

    And in Horrors of spider island… as they are slooowly getting to the island there’s a scene of the ocean horizon and crow says, “SAIL AWAAAAAY!!!”

    everytime i watch that episode, i’m reminded of the pain of Becks.


  15. Troy Thomas says:

    All of the “Kolchak” references. (All two of them)


  16. MiqelDotCom says:

    In one recent episode Frank is talking to the Mole People and says something about
    “.. that is if my chops are in shape, you know .. CHOPS?”

    and holds up his hand like he’s playing a trumpet and hums
    “ba ta ba da-da dubududdy-udu ..”

    The impressive part is Frank’s correctly humming the notoriously difficult bebop tune Donna lee, by Charlie Parker.


  17. Ericb says:

    As a James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon fan I loved that in The Rebel Set they referenced the first sentences of both Gravity’s Rainbow and Ulysses.


  18. Joseph Klemm says:

    For me, I enjoyed some of the various nods to the works of Sid and Marty Krofft in various episodes (with Pearl’s best riff during her brief riffing stint in Quest of the Delta Knights being her H.R. Pufnstuf joke).

    Also, in both The Amazing Colassal Man and Master Ninja I, I got a kick when Joel and the ‘Bots sing “Scarecrow”, which I believe is a nod to three-part Disneyland episode The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (which was later released in theaters as Dr. Syn AKA the Scarecrow).


  19. AgentMom says:

    The Dr. Who references:

    Hercules vs. the Moon Men: “It looks like a Dr. Who set.”

    Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: “Hey, it’s the Tardis!”


  20. Liggy says:

    Anytime they mention Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea…The most notable occurence was during Time of the Apes when a character is crawling through an air duct and Tom says, “You know what he’s afraid of? He’s afraid he’s gonna run into David Hedison crawling the other way.”


  21. Stoneman says:

    Trickymutha @91

    Having lived in Michigan most of my life, I also enjoy the host segment from “Space Mutiny” when Mike demands of the bots “What the Hell, Michigan is going on?”

    Yesterday I was watching “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” and was reminded of a reference that took a long time for me to figure out, which was Servo doing vocal doodling when the character Jessica was mentioned, and I finally realized he was doing the guitar riff from the Allman Brothers’ song “Jessica”. My reaction was similar to the discussion thread a few weeks back when we talked about “Hey! It’s that guy/girl!”


  22. Dr. Ted "Hotcha!" Nelson says:

    In the early hazardous driving scene in “the Brain That Wouldn’t Die,” one of the bots starts saying, “Mrs. Webb…Mrs. Webb…!” As popular as Bob Newhart was in his heyday, I NEVER hear references to his standup routines. Apart from my dad, M&tB are the only people I’ve ever heard mention a Newhart standup reference.


  23. RupanIII says:

    There are many, but one that comes to mind is a reference to Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid in Attack of the Giant Leeches. In jr. high/high school my friend and I found weird Troma movies hilarious, especially Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid. Even among Troma fans it seems obscure (compared to Toxic Avenger, etc.) so I couldn’t believe the reference at first. I love the really obscure stuff


  24. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    incrediblehorriblemrlimpet, it’s nice to see another child of the 60s here! Huzzah!


  25. John A says:

    From the Screaming Skull, a little commercial from the 60’s came back to haunt me when the Skull appears on the steps and one of the ‘bots sings “Its Slink-Skull! Its Slink-Skull!”

    From The Sky-Divers, in approximately the same time period as the movie, I can remember my very musical older brother and his band mates seriously rehearsing the song “Ha So” in preparation for an upcoming engagement–in this case a carnival gig in a town that, oddly enough, could easily be mistaken for Gleason, WI.


  26. NoOneOfConsequence says:

    Tooter the Turtle is mostly forgotten? That makes me sad. :(


  27. Krepta says:

    Not an MST episode, but in the Rifftrax for Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, there’s this exchange.

    *cell phone rings*
    Sam: Oh, I wonder who that could be?
    Sam’s dad: In two weeks? It could be Muffy.
    Kevin Murphy: The mouse from Today’s Special!?

    I’m going to guess Conor contributed that one, but it’s still a holy-crap-they’re-in-my-head moment for kids raised on Nick Jr.


  28. EricJ says:

    @126 – Rarely shown, perhaps, but not forgotten: :)


  29. MikeH says:

    One thing that always me smile was at the end of Code Name Diamond Head was Crow saying “Up next your local news” A line that was always narrated at a made for TV movie broadcast between 9-11pm


  30. Richard says:

    The three that instantly pop into my mind are…

    – “Didn’t anyone teach the director to compress time through editing?!”
    As a film student at the time that I first saw the LOST CONTINENT episode, this joke hit me right between the eyes.

    – The ‘driving toward camera’ scene in the opening of WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD
    There are just so many random references that they throw out while he rides his motorcycle toward the camera that I just laugh more and more with each one.

    – “Do you have any fruit to declare?!”
    Another riff from WARRIOR but it is a phrase that this native Californian has heard so many times since this state started it’s war against the fruit fly.


  31. MikeK says:

    From Werewolf – “It’s the Red Shoe Diaries All of a Sudden.”

    I was a teenager during the 1990s, we didn’t have no fancy internets, so catching some soft-core porn whenever there was a free preview of Showtime or Cinemax was of interest to me. :blush:


  32. Really old teenager from OuterSpace says:

    The episode is escaping me but, Mike (I believe) says “Hello Davey” in a slow drawl from the old clay-mation show
    “Davey and Goliath” reminded me of my youth in Michigan and how much I enjoyed that show.


  33. Joe Raygor says:

    As a huge Dallas fan, I loved the “Tell me who shot J.R., come on!” riff from Puma Man.

    I think there was a Dallas riff on Pod People too.


  34. Brian Jennings says:

    “Cities Service is CitGo now! Zoom-Zoom-Zoom-Zoom-Zoom! CitGo Zoom!”


  35. Mac aka:afriendlychicken says:

    I can never remember exactly what episode my favorite comes from, although I’m pretty sure it’s from season 3 or 4, but when the camera is passing among a band playing music Tom Servo says “Hitler on vibes,” which comes from “The Bonzo Dog Dah Dog Band’s” “The Intro and The Outro.”


  36. Patrick says:

    I really enjoyed their references to the radio show The King Biscuit Flour Hour (Shout out to WXRT in Chicago.) It also warmed my heart when Joel sang “Free Nelson Mandela” by the The Special AKA. It was a fairly obscure song at the time. I also liked some of their Prince references – especially the one on The Mole People. John Agar – “It’s an earthquake!” Crow – “Shut up already, Damn!” Good stuff.


  37. Matt says:

    In what can only be described as a reverse of this, I cannot get over the fact that the once most-obscure reference in the show, “He’s a woozle and his name is Peanut!” is now one of the most known. I am not a big fan of Jeff Dunham, but to think that he was doing the comedy circuit up there when Joel was in it as well is amazing. It’s cool to see that he did finally make it though…


  38. Loran Alan Davis says:

    In “Hercules”, Iole’s chariot is running out of control along the edge of a cliff and the bots start humming Bernard Herrmann’s music from North by Northwest. I couldn’t believe it – they are familiar with the music of Bernard Herrmann!


  39. Tom Carberry says:

    Two references:

    1) From “The Unearthly”–What’s the word, Thunderbird. What’s the price, forty twice. My second job in college was working at a liquor store in the worst part of town, the 4pm to 2am shift. The winos just love that fortified wine. That reference brough back a flood of memories.

    2) From “Teenagers from Outer Space”–San Diego Freeway, the early years. I drive home every day on a section of that freeway.


  40. Cherokee Jack says:

    Another Tom Waits ref: in Fire Maidens, while Joel is demonstrating the Universal Twin Screw Controller, he claims it can “change you into a nine year old Hindu boy and get rid of your wife”, a great ref from “step right up” off his Small Change album. Watching the ep, I was gobsmacked to say the least. Not only an amazing non sequitor, but as a Tom Waits fan it was like he said it just to make me (and me alone) laugh my ass off.

    The right people will get it. Nuff said.


  41. Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood says:

    And the ultimate PLD: “They blew up the Hitler building!”


  42. Mr. M. says:

    When they made a reference to Allan Sherman in “Catalina Caper” I couldn’t believe I was hearing him brought up casually and without explanation on a contemporary TV show. That was when I thought “yep, this show is for me.”


  43. Mr. M. says:

    @Mac aka:afriendlychicken — that’s from “The Rebel Set”, I’m pretty sure. And that was another “personal” reference that I got immediately and couldn’t believe they made.


  44. Crow T Robert says:

    In Merlin’s Shop, when the niche critic sees Satan in the mirror, Tom says “Hi guy!” and it brought me back to the (Chuck McCann?) ads for either shaving cream or the razor. I thought I was alone…


  45. Critter says:

    Tom references pasties and a G string in one of the eps also.


  46. MarcusVermilion says:

    In “Revenge of the Creature” there is an underwater scene with dolphins and one of the Bots, I think it’s Tom, says “Yeah, yeah. Ma loves pa.” ZING! I think “Day of the Dolphin”…..I wonder if any of the Brains cried at the end of that film? I did. :cry:


  47. MikeK says:

    I’ve always enjoyed any reference to Mr. Food.




  49. Cornjob says:

    “The good ones allways die first”

    “Most people being morally ambiguous explains the largely random pattern of death”

    This line and riff on it from Gunslinger exemplifies the kind of analysis that I love as the son of a Philosophy teacher. References to Wittgenstein, Camus’ death by automobile, and logical positivism are fun too.


  50. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Another example would bein one episode (I can’t remember which one) where we see a chimp and someone riffs, “Hurry, Marta!” in a Bogart-style voice.

    It’s surprising that anyone besides me still remembers “Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp”. It’s even more surprising that the show is now available on DVD.


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