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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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MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000
THE UNOFFICIAL EPISODE GUIDE


SEASON TWO: THE COMEDY CHANNEL, 1990-1991


Episode guide: 201- Rocketship X-M

Last modified on 2015-11-21 15:56:14 GMT. 112 comments. Top.

Movie: (1950) A rocket ship expedition to the Moon is accidentally diverted to Mars, where the crew finds the ruins of a long-dead civilization.

First shown: 9/22/90
Opening: The SOL has a new look; Joel is working on Tom and Crow has a toothache
Invention exchange: Tom gets a new voice and when Joel calls to the Mads they meet new trainee Frank; Joel shows off the BGC-19; Frank somehow has the same idea and is punished
Host segment 1: J&tB salute to the reporters of “Rocketship X-M”
Host segment 2: Joel gives a zero-gravity humor lesson
Host segment 3: J&tB are daydreaming when Valaria from “Robot Holocaust” visits on the Hexfield
End: J&tB disapprove of the movie, Joel reads a letter, Frank learns to push the button
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• And so, with the words “TURN DOWN YOUR LIGHTS (Where applicable)” the modern era of MST3K begins. This is not on DVD, but it’s one of those “transition” episodes, so it should be (though I hear the rights issues are a nightmare). It’s a quantum leap forward from season one, with an incredibly riffable movie, strong riffing all the way through and great host segments. A real winner and a series milestone.
• The stretch between the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2 was 231 days, the third-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes.
• New things: The SOL set, the Deep 13 set, Frank, Tom’s voice (Kevin), Jerry and Sylvia, Joel’s jumpsuit (it’s teal), a more-or-less final version of Tom Servo with several tweaks on the design, Alex Carr taking over as Magic Voice from Jann Johnson (except for Kevin filling in during segment 2) and the theme song has new visuals.
• Some connect this season to the show’s move from The Comedy Channel to Comedy Central, but that’s not really accurate. For the record, during the first run of season two, the show was still on The Comedy Channel. The Comedy Channel didn’t merge with Ha! until April 1, 1991. (It was known for a couple of months as CTV: The Comedy Network but there was apparently a legal dispute over that name and they had to change it.) On June 1, 1991, it became Comedy Central. That was the same day season three began. These season two episodes reran many times on Comedy Central, but I just wanted to note that when they debuted they were still on The Comedy Channel.
• Frank is terrific right off the bat and he brings a very different kind of energy.
• Dr. Erhardt is declared “missing”; as proof, Frank holds up a milk carton with his face on it. Younger folks may not understand that: back in the late ’80s, milk cartons sometimes bore the faces of “missing” kids in hopes somebody would recognize them.
• Kevin takes over as the voice of Tom Servo–but for this and several episodes, he seems to be trying to sound a bit like Josh. It would be mid-season before he would truly relax and give Tom the voice we know for the next nine seasons.
• A look at the credits confirms the swift rise to power and authority of one Michael J. Nelson–hired less than a year ago “to do some typing” he has now gained Joel’s and Jim’s trust to such an extent that he has been named Head Writer.
• Tom’s neck has extended before (during the “rock ’em sock ’em robots” bit, for one instance) but it now extends much further in the opening and invention exchange segments.
• The set is, of course, a massive re-think, its formerly blank walls are now plastered with every weird piece of junk you can imagine. Also new is the hexfield viewscreen and that floor-level hatch, supposedly Joel’s entrance to the “spiral on down” which leads to the theater (although it was later put to other uses).
• The new counter at which J&tB stand is there at one moment, then miraculously vanishes a moment later when Joel demonstrates the BGC19. Then it’s back again right before movie sign.
• The mole people are not yet working the camera in Deep 13. Dr. F. is controlling it via a button on the techtronic panel.
• Dr. F sounds a lot like Crow when he yells “What? NO!”
• Joel has movie sign alone and arrives in the theater with Tom and Crow already there waiting for him.
References.
• Movie trivia: “Rocketship X-M” is considered by some to be a ground-breaking sci-fi movie, because it was the first American film to depict space travel seriously for an adult audience. It was made very quickly to beat George Pal’s “Destination Moon” to the theaters, yet some consider it the better of the two. Its unhappy ending was very unusual for its time (or today for that matter). The exterior Martian scenes were filmed in Death Valley, Calif.
• J&tB supply the lyrics to the “Rocketship XM” theme. It will not be the last time we get new lyrics to an insipid theme.
• “Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down?” is a lyric by the great Tom Lehrer. (Look him up, kids.)
• Tom seems to go out of his way to say “Mike Nelson of ‘Sea Hunt’ fame.” What other Mike Nelsons are there?
• The first host segment is wordy–almost overwritten compared to what we’re used to–but very funny. It’s a vast departure from the sort of segments we were getting at the end of season 1. But why is Joel reading the movie still’s time code at the end of each of his lines?
• The second host segment is a true classic–one of the cleverest of the entire series–and it gives the viewer a small primer of the MST3K sensibility and worldview. From “The Flying Nun” to Gallagher, we get a sense of what the Brains think is funny and not funny. The only technical problem with the bit is that we never get a clear look at the floating wrench–Tom’s bubble is in the way.
• Movie observation: I love the moment when the two scientists have work out the problem out with pencils—a process that one says will take hours. Ah, the days before calculators.
• Callback: “Spacom!” (Project Moonbase). “Dames like this always got beer around” (The Crawling Hand).
• In segment 3 we get the series’ first hexfield viewscreen visitor (Mike Nelson, in his first on-camera appearance) doing an impression of evil vixen Valaria from “Robot Holocaust.” Folks who had not seen that episode must have been pretty baffled.
• The hexfield viewscreen is obviously still a work in progress: its opening appears to be a window shade, and then Mike just switches off a light at the end–but we can still see him!
• Then-current catchphrase: Hello, Federal!
• Stinger suggestion: “MAHS! Extending us a velcome!”
• Cast and crew roundup: This is our first exposure to the work of Robert L. Lippert, who also was the executive producer for “Jungle Goddess,” “Lost Continent,” “King Dinosaur,” “Radar Secret Service” and “Last of the Wild Horses.” Writer Orville Hampton also worked on “Lost Continent.” Cinematographer Karl Struss also worked on “The Rebel Set.” Editor Harry Gerstad also worked on “The Magic Sword.” Special effects guy Jack Rabin also worked on “Robot Monster,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent” and “Invasion USA.” Special effects guy/matte painter Irving A. Block also worked on “Viking Women.” Makeup guy Don Cash also worked on “The Crawling Hand.” Production designer/art director Theobold Holsopple also worked on “The Indestructible Man” and the short “Once Upon A Honeymoon.” Production manager Betty Sinclair also worked on “The Unearthly.” Set designer Clarence Steensen also worked on “The Leech Woman.” And, of course, this is our first exposure to musical score composer, Albert Glasser, who worked on 11 MSTed movies. In front of the camera, Judd Holdren, who plays one of the reporters, can also be seen in “The Amazing Colossal Man and “Manhunt in Space.”
• CreditsWatch: This is a big one. Mole person Jerry was played by intern Brent Peterson; mole person Sylvia was played by BBI staffer Alex Carr. “Head writer: Michael J. Nelson” appears for the first time. Josh is, of course, gone from the writers list and Frank is added. The credit for “Joel Hodgson’s Puppet Bots” is gone. Host segments “produced” by Jim Mallon. (For the rest of the season it would say “directed” by.) Trace is listed as “Special guest ‘villian’ (misspelled)” and it says “Introducing” Frank Conniff. Of course, the Dr. Erhardt credit is gone and Tom Servo’s has changed. “Toolmaster: Jef Maynard” appears for the first time. Production assistant is now Jann L. Johnson alone (gone are Steve Rosenberer and Sara J. Sandborn). “Special Effects and Other Fancy Stuff: Trace Beaulieu” appears for the first time, as does “Additional Visual Effects: Industrial Plumbing and Heating.” “Editor: Tim Paulson” appears for the first time. Under “Lighting,” Ken Fournelle has been added. “Audio: John Calder” appears for the first time. Make-up: Faye Burkholder. Interns: Nathan Molstead, Tamra Lewis, Amy Kane, James Smith, Michelle Molhan and Robert Czech. “Video Services: Fournelle Video Production Services” appears for the first time. Special thanks: removed from the list are “KTMA TV23,” David Cambell and Rick Leed and “Skyline Displays Inc.” has been added. “Shot entirely on location at Best Brains Studios, Minneapolis,” “Filmed in Shadowrama” and “Keep circulating the tapes” appear for the first time.
• Fave riff: “I thought ‘wormfood’ was a bit strong, Lloyd.” Honorable mention: “There’s a Mr. ‘Oh My God My Hair Is On Fire’ on line one, sir.”

Episode guide: 202- The Side Hackers

Last modified on 2015-02-23 13:38:53 GMT. 137 comments. Top.

Movie: (1969) A mild-mannered mechanic/pioneer in a new motorcycle “sport” runs afoul of a violent, megalomaniacal stunt rider and his scheming girlfriend.

First shown: 9/29/90
Opening: Joel’s been busy giving the bots a bath
Invention exchange: Joel introduces Gretchen the living slinky; Dr. F. has a slinky train body
Host segment 1: J&tB sing “Sidehackin’.”
Host segment 2: J&tB provide terminology for the sport of sidehacking
Host segment 3: J&tB have Rommel hats; JC and Gooch visit on the Hexfield
End: Joel croons: “Only Love Pads the Film,” letters, Frank “will” push the button.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• In the past, this has never been a favorite. I know some folks love the biker movies, but they mostly leave me pretty cold. Still, in more recent viewings I liked it a bit better than I did in the past. Maybe it was because I completely followed the plot of the movie (such as it was). Maybe it was the nice clean print on the Rhino disk that helped make everything a little easier to follow. The songs are fun and the segments are entertaining so, overall, it’s somewhere between fair and good.
• This episode is included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 3.”
• Joel’s jumpsuit is still teal.
• Gypsy has an eyelash.
• Boys with brothers (and any sisters who had to use the same bathroom) will get the “we were havin’ sword fights” line. Ew.
• Apparently a mole person has taken over the camera work in Deep 13: Hence the confused camera work when we go to Deep 13 during the invention exchange. But we can also see two mole people on screen. So are there more than two mole people?
• The Rhino release comes with alternate takes and outtakes. Perhaps most interesting are the many, many takes for the invention exchange segment in Deep 13, where the back end of the slinky train prop seems to have given them no end of problems.
• A very astute observation in the credits: In these early season two episodes, Dr. F. is, for some reason, performing the invention exchange experiments on himself. That would change.
• Crow’s arm works in the opening.
• Movie observation: It is implied that J.C. is some sort of motorcycle stunt performer, mostly because he wears a bespangled, Evel Knievel-esque outfit in one scene. But we never see him do anything (other than fall off a sidehack several times in Rommel’s back yard). I haven’t seen the full movie, and maybe it was cut, but a scene of Rommel watching JC do his stunt act might have established the premise — and his megalomaniacal character — a little better.
• Cambot makes a rare movie riff: a sarcastic ESPN-like readout.
• Up to this point, except for the “Clay and Lar’s Flesh Barn” jingle and Josh humming tunes occasionally, there really hadn’t been a lot of music on the show. That would change with this episode, which features not one but two songs. “Sidehackin’,” in segment 1, is a classic and completely original.
• Before segment 2, Tom Servo attempts a little play-by-play of the sidehacking, only to be frustrated by the fact that the sport is so new that it doesn’t have any terminology yet. Then, sure enough, in segment 2 (another densely written — almost overwritten — segment that’s more clever than funny, fairly typical of season two), what do we get but terminology for sidehacking. You can pretty much see the genesis of the segment in the earlier riff. This sort of thing would happen in future eps, but they usually weren’t as obvious about it.
• In a story that has been repeated by the cast many times (including in the ACEG), this was the episode where BBI learned to watch the whole movie before agreeing to riff it. Up to this point, apparently, they’d watched a little at the beginning of any movie they were considering, maybe skimmed a bit through the rest of the movie and made a decision. When they did that with this movie, they missed a brutal and graphic scene in which J.C. and his gang beat Rommel to a pulp and rape and murder his girlfriend, Rita (if you are morbidly curious, a link to the scene is in the comments). They tried to back out of doing the movie, but were told it was too late. So they cut the scene and did their best to write around it. (J&tB leave the theater to do segment 2 just before the mayhem begins, and when they return to the theater, the movie picks up as a bloodied Rommel wakes up from his beating.) During the morose montage of Rommel wandering the countryside mourning, Crow fills the audience in by saying: “For those of you playing along at home, Rita is dead.”
• Callbacks: “There was nothing left after the…Robot Holocaust.” As Lloyd Bridges: “Now that you’re dead I can tell you about a thousand wonderful hours…” (Rocketship XM). “No drumming…not allowed.” (Crawling Hand). “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• The first time J.C. explodes, he lashes out at the black guy, and, we can assume, uses a slur. We can’t actually hear it, but based on the reaction of J&tb, we can guess. Later the bad guys, joking around, use a gay slur that we CAN make out. So, we really hate these guys, is what I’m saying.
• You may be wondering: What in the world does “Five the Hard Way” (the original title of the movie) mean? Turns out they called it that in order to cash in on the Jack Nicholson movie “Five Easy Pieces,” released earlier the same year.
• We get more choruses of “The Weiner Man,” and “The Happy Wanderer.”
• The movie has a few hamfisted attempts at analogies to the Christ story, with Cooch in the Judas role betraying Rommel at the behest of J.C. (J.C.! Get it??) It’s dumb.
• Catchphrases that came from this episode include: “That was number 5!” “He hit big Jake!” and the “It’s pretty good!-It’s not half bad!” interplay in the garage. And, although Hagen never actually says it, the line “Chili peppers burn my gut,” in a Ross Hagen-like growl, would be heard many times after this.
• The Hexfield has had a slight reworking. The window shade has been mounted on the bottom of the opening and it has some sort of mechanism to raise it at the end of the bit.
• When Joel sings his second song of the episode, I found it interesting that they made no attempt to rewrite the insipid lyrics sung in the movie, except for changing “…only love, only love.” to “…only love pads the film.” (Joel also sings it a bit in the theater.) Also, I wonder if we are treated to ALL THREE verses of this dopey song because they had to fill the time created when they had to cut the movie.
• That, of course, is not a real keyboard Joel is “playing” in the final segment, and the real keyboard work, as always, is being done off-camera by Mike.
• Gypsy, wearing tambourines for earrings, joins Joel, Crow and Tom for the final number and steals the show, cracking Joel up with her contribution to the song.
• Stinger suggestion: “NUM-BER EIGHT!”
• Cast and crew roundup: Scriptwriter Tony Houston also performed in “The Hellcats” and wrote “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Score composer Jerry Styner also worked on “Mitchell.” In front of the camera: We’ll meet Ross Hagen was also in “The Hellcats.” Gus Trikonis appeared in “The Hellcats.” Warren Hammack appears in “The Hellcats” and “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” We previously encountered Michael Pataki in “Superdome” and we’ll meet him again in “IT Lives by Night.” Richard Merrifield, Eric Lidberg and Tony Lorea were all also in “The Hellcats.”
• CreditsWatch: Dr. F is still a “special guest villian” (misspelled). Mole person Jerry is played by intern Nathan Molstead and mole person Sylvia is played by intern Amy Kane. J.C. was Mike, “Gooch” was Frank (the character in the movie’s actual name is Cooch but Pataki seems to call him “Gooch” several times in the movie, hence the confusion.) Host segments directed (last episode it said “produced”) by Jim Mallon. Toolmaster Jef Maynard is listed twice.
• Favorite riff: “Even these oil fields seem to remind me of her. Can’t put my finger on it…” Honorable mention: “You taste good too, but you’re lips … are … drugged!”

Episode guide: 203- Jungle Goddess (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 1: ‘The Menacing Power’)

Last modified on 2015-02-23 13:40:28 GMT. 106 comments. Top.

Short: (1939) A mad scientist plans to sell his fiendish inventions — a huge robot, invisibility belt and exploding mechanical spiders — to foreign powers. In the opener, he fakes his death, then sabotages a plane carrying his enemies.
Movie: (1948) Hoping to get a reward, two pilots set out to rescue an heiress lost in the African jungle. They find her being worshiped by a native tribe.

First shown: 10/6/90
Opening: J&tB are playing hide and seek with the elusive and inexplicable forces that control the universe
Invention exchange: Joel demonstrates his radio arm saw; meanwhile Dr. F.’s head is fused to a sax
Host segment 1: J&tB present the “Bela’s OK Discoveries” infomercial; the Mads introduce the feature
Host segment 2: Joel demonstrates “gobos” using Cambot
Host segment 3: Two white devils visit on the Hexfield
End: J&tB in an episode of “My White Goddess,” letters, Frank mimics Dr. F.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• This one is just fair for me. The short is fun (though the print is really terrible) and movie is stupid but watchable. But riffing is only really strong in spots, while in other places it drags. And I don’t think much of the host segments.
• This episode is included in Shout’s MST3K: Volume XXXI, The Turkey Day Collection.
References.
• Tom’s neck extends in the opening.
• Joel’s jumpsuit is still teal.
• Once again the desk on the SOL conveniently vanishes when Joel needs more room for his invention, then reappears a moment later.
• Again Dr. F is performing experiments on himself. He would soon wise up.
• I suspect they chose to riff on “The Phantom Creeps” just so that Joel, Trace and Kevin could do their Bela Lugosi impressions. They all seem quite proud of them.
• In “Mad Monster,” the scientist was at least a patriot—he was planning to give his creations to the American military. Bela seems bent on selling his creations to foreigners (gasp!).
• Catchphrases from this episode: “How fortunate! It seemplifies everything!” “I’d love a hamburger sandwich and some french fried pototoes!” (Did anybody ever introduce Greta to the happy cook in “I Accuse My Parents”?)
• Callbacks: “The power of the dark one.” (Robot Holocaust). “Mars! Extending us a velcome!” “We’re on our way!” (Rocketship XM).
• For those who don’t understand segment 1, infomercials were brand new back then and I guess the Brains thought they were ripe for parody. The problem is the sketch, in my opinion, has nothing clever or original to say about infomercials, and goes on about two minutes too long. Plus, unless you actually WATCHED infomercials, you wouldn’t really get it. I always avoided infomercials like the plague so, to me, the whole thing was just a big bore. By the way, the disc rolls right off the satellite dish and out of frame. They keep going.
• The Brains tried something different with this episode: Dr. F. introduces the short and, after it’s over, during the next segment, we return to Deep 13 so he can introduce the main feature. They didn’t do it much after this.
• Naughty riff: “Then I gotta wait a few minutes before I can leave.”
• Segment 2 is very Ernie Kovacs-ey. You can see the early seeds of “The TV Wheel.” It’s not terribly funny, though some of the comments by the bots are fun.
• Segment 3 has Jim Mallon’s first on-camera appearance (as “Imperialistic Alien #2”), and of course that’s Mike, in his third Hexfield appearance, along with him. The sketch, however, is pretty dry. Several commenters were annoyed by the toy gun Jim is using. The noise it makes sounds very little like a machine gun.
• This movie is only 62 minutes long, but apparently the Brains were forced to cut a chunk anyway: When J&tB leave the theater for segment 3, Mike, Bob and Greta are all peacefully coexisting around the campfire at night. When they return to the theater, it’s daytime and Mike and Bob are in the midst of another fistfight.
• The ending sketch is cute, but, I dunno, they’ve already done several of these “unfunny sitcom with a laugh track” sketches in both KTMA and season 1. It feels like they’re going over old territory. Also, note that Tom’s arm works in that sketch.
• The ending sketch is the beginning of the story of how Crow ended up being called “Art” (mostly by Pearl, later in the series.) After the “My White Goddess” sketch, Joel imitates Jackie Gleason who, at the end of his TV show, would come back out wearing a dressing gown and bring out his cast members, also in dressing gowns, for another bow. One of those cast members, for many years, was Art Carney, and Gleason would shout his name with considerable gusto, as Joel does when he shouts “Art Crow!” Some little kid saw that and, not understanding the reference, just assumed that Crow’s name was Art. When he wrote them a letter, which was read in season four, he drew a picture of Crow and labeled it “Art.”
• Frank mimicking Dr. F at the end sounds like an outgrowth of the way J&tB were mimicking Bob the white devil during the movie.
• Stinger suggestion: Witch doctor has an outburst, is shouted down by Greta and looks embarrassed.
• Cast/crew roundup: Robert L. Lippert was the producer; we’ve done that litany. Score composer Irving Gertz also worked on “The Leech Woman” and “The Deadly Mantis.” In front of the camera, Ralph Byrd also appears in “Radar Secret Service.” Smoki Whitfield is also in “The Rebel Set.” Fred Coby is also in “The Brute Man.”
• CreditsWatch: Dr. F is still a “special guest villian” (misspelled). Mole person Jerry is played by intern Jim Smith. Jef Maynard again listed twice. “Introducing Frank Conniff” appears for the final time. The lyrics for the song “My White Goddess” were by Jim Mallon and Frank Conniff (an interesting teaming). Music by Michael J. Nelson. It is sung by “The Kevins” (which I assume means Kevin Murphy, overdubbing himself).
• Fave riff from the short: “Put that lampshade on your head, tie femur bones around your waist and dance naked in the moonlight!” Honorable mention: “Burn the file on the electric dance belt and pick up my manhood—it’s under the chair.”
• Favorite riff: “She thinks we speak English!” Honorable mention: “Phone THIS into Perry White!” and “We’re already pretty guarded.”

Episode guide: 204- Catalina Caper

Last modified on 2015-02-23 13:44:23 GMT. 115 comments. Top.

Movie: (1967) Two college boys enjoy Catalina Island sunshine, scuba diving and beach bunnies, while another boy’s con-artist parents scheme to swindle a tycoon.

First shown: 10/13/90
Opening: The bots say their prayers
Invention exchange: The Mads show off their “tank tops”; Joel has invented the tickle bazooka
Host segment 1: Joel vapor-locks as he remembers the ’60s
Host segment 2: Tom sings an ode to the “Creepy Girl”
Host segment 3: TV’s Frank’s Tupperware party doesn’t go well
End: J&tB chart the film and read a letter
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• The movie is a real departure for the show: a movie that was actually trying to be funny. While it is not very often successful as a comedy, the Brains discovered the inherent difficulty in riffing this kind of movie. They seldom tried it again, but that extra degree of difficulty is what makes the success of this episode so remarkable. This is a really fun episode. The movie is very watchable and most of the host segments (with one exception) are fun. It’s a winner.
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. 1.”
• Joel’s jumpsuit is bright red this week.
• Frank does what I believe is his first “eyukaeee.”
• During the Mads’ invention exchange, as they are reeling in the target, the rope collapses. They just keep going.
• Joel misquotes Firesign Theatre here. The actual line is “Fun’s where the fair’s at.” I guess he misheard them.
• A little background: Tommy Kirk got his start on TV’s “The Mickey Mouse Club,” “The Hardy Boys” and in several successful films for Disney. His future looked bright until another male teen threatened to publicize their affair. He was quickly dropped by the studio, and was left doing low-end stuff like this.
• Twice, Crow attempts another “By this time, my lungs…” riff, but Joel cuts him off. That’s the kind of show this is: they’ll actively forgo a joke – and then make a joke out of it.
• Joel has a memorable turn in segment one as he drifts off into a reverie about the ’60s. The comment: “People smoked openly on ‘The Tonight Show'” is just one of many gems. I wonder if the writers of “Mad Men” were watching. And Joel, I can relate about Woodstock. I was 11 and nobody was willing to drive me, either.
• Callbacks: “He saw big Jake” (Sidehackers); Hikeeba! (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• Kevin really takes off in segment two with the marvelous song, “Creepy Girl.” “C is for that feeling of uncertainty…!” It’s really with this segment that we begin to hear the natural voice of Tom Servo.
• When the Creepy Girl is rescued by Tommy Kirk and runs up by some rocks to put something on, I could swear that’s the same set of rocks as in the similar changing scene from “The Crawling Hand.” But I guess all rocks look alike, more or less.
• The “white male reality/Nazi/apartheid-loving people” jokes start off funny but wear a little thin toward the end. That said, there sure a lot of white people in this movie.
• Unfortunately, segment three, with Frank giving a Tupperware party, is a clunker. Frank commits to the bit, and tries desperately to keep the momentum going, to no avail. I think part of the problem was the presence of Jerry and Sylvia. They’re there so Frank has something to play off of, but they’re just these expressionless lumps and he has nothing to work with. Trace brings the funny at the end, but he can’t save it.
• Joel mentions Crow’s sarcasm sequencer – we’ll get more info on that later.
• The ending segment – charting the film using the structure in Syd Field’s Hollywood bible “Screenplay” – is amusing, mostly for the wacky descriptions of the characters and situations of the movie. But, all-too-typical of season two sketches, it also goes on a little too long for the unsatisfying payoff.
• Joel mentions the “spiral-on-down” in passing. He also uses the word “MSTies” for the first time that I’m aware of.
• This episode would become infamous – and copies of it became collectors items – a few years later, when the rights to the movie expired and Comedy Central found they could no longer legally air it. It was the first movie that happened to, and not the last.
• Incidentally, the historic SS Catalina, seen in early parts of the movie, had a slow, sad decline and in 2009 it was cut up for scrap despite efforts to save it.
• I managed to locate John Gummoe, lead singer/founder of The Cascades, the Beach Boys-lite group that sings “A New World.” I asked him if he remembered anything about making the movie. He said: “Mostly what I remember is that we did NOT want to do this song. It was arranged for us and we had no say-so. Piece of crap, as [MST3K] so aptly pointed out. And the movie was also pretty bad as well.” By the way, that song was written by Ray Davies! Here’s the Kinks’ somewhat mellow version.
• Stinger suggestion: Jim Begg’s “Ya got me!”
• Cast/crew roundup: Cinematographer Ted Mikels is the infamous director of “Girl in Gold Boots.” Makeup man Mark Snegoff was an actor in “Agent for H.A.R.M.” In front of the camera. Robert Donner (I went to his party!) was also in “Agent From H.A.R.M.” Lyle Waggoner also had a small role (probably cut in the MST3K version) in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Tommy Kirk was also in “Village Of The Giants,” as was Jim Begg. And we’ll hear another song by Little Richard in “City Limits.”
• CreditsWatch: It’s no longer “introducing” Frank Conniff, and he and Trace are grouped together as “special guest villians” (STILL misspelled). Audio guy Fred Street appears for the first time. He will do audio off and on for them for many seasons. Jef Maynard listed twice for the last time. Clayton James begins a four-episode stint on hair and makeup. Jerry was played by intern James Smith and Sylvia was played by Robert Czech. The lyrics for “My Creepy Girl” are credited to “The Brains” so I guess it was a group effort. Music, of course, by Mike. There’s also an additional notation: “Additional Special Thanks: Eli Mallon (Koochy-koochy-koo).” Guess he’d just been born. He’ll get some screen time next season.
• Fave riff: “Hey, its Gloria Estefan and the Catalina Deus Ex Sound Machina!” (One of the greatest riffs ever, that’s FIVE JOKES IN 10 WORDS!) Honorable mention: “The youth of today, spent like so many shell casings on the battlefield of love.” Also: “You were great! Now leave – out the back door!’

Episode guide: 205- Rocket Attack USA (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 2)

Last modified on 2015-02-23 13:48:54 GMT. 81 comments. Top.

Short: (1939) A disguised Zorka, believed by everyone to be dead, arrives at the site of the plane crash and learns his wife has been killed. Despite the fact that he caused the crash, he blames his enemies and swears to avenge her death. The pilot of the plane survived the crash but was put into a coma by the exploding spider. Dr. Mallory concocts a formula to revive the pilot, but it fails. Guessing there is some missing ingredient to be found in Zorka’s lab, Mallory and military intelligence officer West go there, with reporter Jean Drew in tow. But Zorka beats them there, stocks up on supplies and escapes using his invisibility belt, though his assistant Monk is captured. West and Drew pursue him and find Zorka’s apparently abandoned car. West gets into the car and the invisible Zorka knocks him out and releases the brakes. As Jean looks on in horror, the car with the unconscious West inside careens down a hill out of control.
Movie: (1961) The U.S. sends spies to the Soviet Union to learn about an imminent missile attack, while trying to play catch-up with its own missile program. But failure on both fronts leads to a terrible conclusion.

First shown: 10/27/90
Opening: Joel gives Tom a “haircut,” then shows him the products he’ll need to maintain it
Invention exchange: Joel has been working on a candy ribbon adding machine (Gypsy ate the Mexican jumping bean bag chair), while the Mads have invented water-polo foosball
Host segment 1: Joel explains The Charlie McCarthy hearings on un-American activities
Host segment 2: Joel is the host of a civil defense quiz show
Host segment 3: Joel’s Russian counterpart visits on the Hexfield
End: J&tB explain why they’re upset about the movie and read a letter; Frank suggests movies the Mads could send that wouldn’t be so bad
Stinger: “Help me!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• This is a great episode. it has three memorable host segments (the “Charlie McCarthy hearings” segment and the “civil defense quiz show” are typical of the long, densely written host segments of this period; Mike is at his goofy, unassuming best as Joel’s Russian counterpart). The short (as indicated by the complicated synopsis above) is action packed. The movie, on the other hand, drags in spots. But the riffing of both is very strong.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XXVII.”
• A first in this ep: Comedy Channel and BBI were getting complaints from viewers that Tom Servo’s head was covering up too much of the screen, so they tried an experiment: they installed a skinnier version of the Executive Snack Dispenser (you can still see them at Mr. Bulky’s) and announced that Tom had received a “haircut.” The experiment would only last two episodes, thank goodness.
• Joel’s jumpsuit is still bright red.
• Frank’s “Ya got me!” is a callback to Jim Begg in “Catalina Caper.”
• The water polo foosball thing is great but almost immediately the ball flies up and out of shot. Frank retrieves it and they keep going.
• Despite the closeup of the prop, I didn’t notice until I got to the Conventio-con, and saw the prop close up, that all the figures in the water-polo foosball game were tiny Dr. Forresters and Franks. (I’m sometimes not very observant.)
• Last week’s installment of “Phantom Creeps” said this one would be called “Death Stalks the Highway,” but it never actually says that in this episode. Chapter 2 is just called…Chapter 2. So, since it doesn’t actually appear on screen in this episode, I am not including that title here.
• There’s about 45 seconds of action in the beginning of this week’s “Phantom Creeps” installment that is pretty much the same 45 seconds that was shown at the end of the last installment. Which means it’s another situation where they end up having to write two sets of jokes for the same footage. But in one case they sort of fudged it: Crow does essentially the same Margaret Dumont joke in both versions. In one Crow says (in his best dowager voice) “Oh Captain Spalding!” In the other, Crow says, in the same voice, “But Professor Firefly!” Essentially the same joke.
• Naughty riffs: “Well, I got to third, if that counts for anything.” And the classic “Good morning!” which they would use again.
• This is a good moment to clear up a common misunderstanding among some MSTies. In the short, a character says, “the driver is gone or he’s hiding,” in a very Ronald Reagan-like voice. Crow’s response was to do his best Reagan impression and say “Welcome to Death Valley Days.” For several seasons thereafter, whenever Ronald Reagan needed to be invoked, somebody (usually Crow) would do Reagan and say, “The driver is either missing or he’s gone” or some such variation of the line. They did this so much that some fans began to believe that Reagan actually said something like this and that this was a direct reference to Reagan. He didn’t. It wasn’t. It was a reference to this moment in this short, where they were reminded of Reagan.
• Then-current riff: “Mallory…” “Yes, Alex?” A reference to then-hit TV series “Family Ties.”
• I wonder who did those drawings in segment 1.
• Watch for two things as Joel carries Tom into the theater after the first host segment. First, you can see the silhouette of the stick attached to Tom as Joel hands it to Kevin. Second, Kevin apparently fumbles the handoff and Tom flops over.
• Some of you young folks may be wondering who Art Metrano is, and why his name makes J&tB break out in song and dance music, accompanied by strange gestures. Metrano was a sometime standup comedian in the ’60s, and he (briefly) hit it big with a silly tongue-in-cheek bit parodying hack magicians. Soon every 12 year old in America (including yours truly) was doing it. Here’s a sample.
• Whoa, slam on “Thicke of the Night” and Kip Addotta out of nowhere!
• I love the line from the movie that slams cheese price supports. SOMEbody has issues…
• Segment 2 really goes on and on. On the plus side, Gypsy falls over with a very satisfying clunk.
• Several times during the scenes at the Russian missile range, the slabs of concrete remind J&tB of the monolith scenes in “2001: A Space Odyssey” so much that they parody the eerie chorus in those scenes. Cracks me up.
• Callback: “The dark one awaits for the Robot Holocaust.” And, a double: “The general is asking for hamburgers instead of chili peppers; they burn his gut (Sidehackers). He’d really like a (as the woman in Jungle Goddess) hamburger and some French fried potatoes!”
• Crow repeats the lyrics of “Bombs Away” by The Police one point. I liked The Police but these lyrics didn’t make an impression, so the reference when right by me.
• Another first: Thanks to one Mark Gilbertson, they’ve finally ironed out the Hexfield ViewScreen. It now sports a camera lens-like shutter, replacing with that high-tech window shade technology.
• Segment 3 was recently recalled by a lot of fans when a Russian version of MST3K was discovered on the Web.
• I can’t say for sure, but I THINK the closing segment and the letter contains the last in a long series if rips on Isaac Asimov.
• The episode ends with the first-ever “stinger”–a short snippet, usually the oddest moment, from the film. For some reason they don’t do one in episode 207- WILD REBELS, but after that it continues until the brief Observer takeover in season eight.
• Cast and crew roundup: Nobody involved in this movie did anything else in any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: A new element enters the credits this week: “Creative Pit Boss,” a rotating job. This week it was Joel. Trace and Frank are again grouped together “special guest villians” (misspelled). Hexfield Viewscreen Designed and Constructed by: Mark Gilbertson. Sorri Andropoli: Michael J. Nelson. With this episode, the final credit “Executive Producers: Joel Hodgson, Jim Mallon” first appears.
• Fave riff from the short: “Stunned?? He took six bullets!”
• Fave riff from the feature: “That’s why we’ve GOT TO CRUSH THEM!” Honorable mentions: “Oh that! My lederhosen just came back from the cleaners!” and “But underneath it was just like a bus ride in the 10th grade, if you know what I mean.” Also, I love the little road runner meep-meep Joel does right before an explosion.

Episode guide: 206- Ring Of Terror (with short: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter 3)

Last modified on 2015-02-23 13:55:22 GMT. 121 comments. Top.

Movie: (1962) A seemingly fearless college kid must perform a ghastly task to be accepted into a fraternity.
Short: (1939) West bails out of the car before it crashes. Zorka, still invisible, steals another car and escapes. Everybody heads back to Zorka’s, where the Feds revive Monk. Before they can take him in, the invisible Zorka rescues him and the two escape. Back in his secret lab, Zorka shows Monk the mysterious box holding his powerful formula. As Zorka tries to sabotage Mallory’s research, Monk attempts to betray Zorka and make off with the box, but is nabbed by the Feds. As they drive him back to headquarters, one of the Feds starts to open the box, causing nearby power line towers to topple toward the car.

First shown: 11/3/90
Opening: The bots trick Joel into thinking it’s Movie Sign
Invention exchange: The Mads have an oversized “Operation” game, Joel shows off his “pin-bolus”
Host segment 1: J&tB do a commercial for The Old School
Host segment 2: Joel conducts an autopsy on Mr. Hoover
Host segment 3: The bots use subliminal suggestions as they complain about the movie; the Mads send a short!
End: J&tB react to the short; Frank sings “If Chauffeurs Ruled the World”
Stinger: “Weird. I guess that is the word for it. Weird.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• This is a middling episode at best, with the highlight coming at the end as Frank belts out a classic song. The movie really drags everything down. Dumb, bad acting, dark, poorly cast … as Crow says in segment 3, it’s a dog. The short doesn’t help much either, though at least there’s some action. The host segments — all of which are at least mildly amusing — really save this one.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 11.”
References.
• Joel’s has returned to the teal jumpsuit.
• Tom Servo still has his alternate head.
• In the opening we actually see Joel jump into the hatch that we assume leads to the “spiral on down.”
• The “bonk!-thank you!” bit in Deep 13 is a Firesign Theatre reference. And for you members of the Church of the Subgenius, the Rev. Bob Dobson is also mentioned.
• One of the first things Tom does when they get into the theater is look the movie up in Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. As I’ve noted before, in these pre-World Wide Web days, I get the sense that that book was one of their few movie research tools. No, it wasn’t the only movie book they had, but they seemed to default to Maltin.
• The bit at the beginning of the movie with the gate getting closer and closer is a classic example of how a dull moment in the movie into something funny.
• Instant catchphrase: “Puma? Puma!”
• Callback: “Chili peppers…” (Sidehackers) “Puma?” (Joel notes they’re calling back the same movie… ) “It’s the Power Station.” (Robot Holocaust)
• Naughty almost-riff: Movie character says “It’s going to start getting pretty sticky in here in a minute.” The bots start to respond, but Joel stops them. Also: “Why are you sore?” (The bots whistle and try to sound casual.)
• Then-current word/concept: “Wilding.”
• The first segment is another one of those funny but long-winded season 2 sketches. And it would be 13 years before the Will Farrell movie of the same name. And, all these years later, having Garrett Morris as a speaker would not be that inexplicable.
• One issue I have with this episode is the conflicted message about the two overweight characters in the movie. The riffers mock the other characters for laughing at them — then they proceed to do fat jokes themselves. Later they become aggravated with the continued mockery in the movie, but, hey, let’s remember who called them “the fatties.”
• The second host segment is very funny–but a little gross and NOT to be watched while or immediately after eating!
• Yes, the actors playing the college students are all in their 30s, and the first five or ten comments about it were pretty funny. The second 10 or 20 were mildly amusing. The 20 or 30 after that were a bit tiresome. They overdid it, is what I’m saying.
• A commenter below astutely notes a basic flaw of the movie: are the students depicted post-graduate medical students or are they undergrads? They appear to be med students (in which case they WOULD be older, though not THAT old) but the movie has them doing undergraduate things like rushing for fraternities and living in dorms. The movie can’t seem to make up its mind.
• And I would add: what’s with the apparent “no girlz allowd” policy for the medical school? The college is clearly co-ed, so what’s the deal? Sheesh. And what was with that out-of-the-blue swimsuit beauty pageant sequence (other than pure padding)?
• The third segment features the final time Joel asks the bots to play the “give me a good thing and a bad thing for ram chips” game that was a fixture of the first season. They don’t really do it, just focusing on the bad things.
• This is the only episode in which the short follows the feature, necessitating an unusual return to Deep 13 during segment 3.
• Again, the previous episode of the short said this one would be called “Crashing Towers,” but it doesn’t actually appear on this short, so I am not including it in the title.
• And this is also the final episode we will get of “The Phantom Creeps.” Has anybody seen the rest of it who can give us a little synopsis?
• Frank really comes into his own with his first song, the memorable “If Chauffeurs Ruled the World” (featuring the classic Dr. F. line “Oh, push the button, Judy Garland!”).
• Cast/crew roundup: Editor Jodie Copelan also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast” and “Laserblast.” In front of the camera, Eddie Erwin also appeared in “The Amazing Transparent Man.”
• CreditsWatch: For some reason the credits are very different this week: the font size is smaller and there is less spacing. Trace and Frank are grouped together under “also featuring” but the words “special guest villians” (misspelling and all) are missing. Jann Johnson and Alex Carr get credits as “special guest writers.” Trace was the “Creative Pit Boss.” Frank wrote the lyrics to “If Chauffeurs Ruled the World,” and Mike did the music. For some reason, the “Set Design” credit is not included this week. Randy Davis, who was the editor for all of season one, returns for this episode and never again. Fuller Productions is listed as the “online post-production facility,” again it was used all through season one and then appears in this episode’s credits and never again. I suspect those two credits are related.
• Fave riff from the movie: “Cause I’m gonna coat you with bear grease.” Honorable mention: “Because he’s got a squirrel in his stomach.”
• Fave riff from the short: “Hmm. The plot gets weaker over here.”

Episode guide: 207- Wild Rebels

Last modified on 2015-02-23 14:02:21 GMT. 111 comments. Top.

Movie: (1967) A down-on-his-luck stock-car racer is recruited as getaway driver for a biker gang planning a robbery spree. He wants nothing to do with it until the cops ask him to go undercover.

First shown: 11/17/90
Opening: Something’s wrong with Gypsy but to find out what it is, Joel must shut down most of the ship’s higher functions of the SOL
Invention exchange: Gypsy was just a little depressed but she’s feeling better; the Mads unveil their hobby hogs; Joel shows off his 3-D pizza
Host segment 1: Joel explains that most famous intellectuals rode in biker gangs
Host segment 2: J&tB do a commercial for Wild Rebels cereal
Host segment 3: Joel and Gypsy have a nice little stroll, and he serenades her, a la the movie
End: Joel explains how to appreciate a bad movie, then he and bots start to party, much to Dr. F’s astonishment. Joel reads a letter and Dr. F puts a partying Frank down for the night
Stinger: None.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• I have to agree with the folks who have been saying, for several weeks, that this is the best of the three biker movie episodes in season 2. This ep is definitely a lot of fun. You’ve got a dumb but watchable movie, good and steady riffing and memorable host segments. All in all, plenty of KICKS!
• Joel, still in a green jumpsuit, is now sporting a cheesy goatee.
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 9.
• Tom Servo’s regular head returns. No explanation is given.
• The opening explains Gypsy’s role on the SOL, a bit that came in response to fan questions about her. In the ACEG they sheepishly admit that it was a little uncomfortable that the only female character on the show was distinctly cow-like. By the way, I never noticed before that Joel actually turns a little knob on the back of Gypsy’s head in order to turn off the “higher functions.”
• Trace and Frank are very funny in the invention exchange. Dr. F finally tries to get to the bottom of “eyukaeee,” but nothing doing.
• Joel twice calls the theater the “Mystery Science Theater”–the first and last time he would do that.
• J&tB take note of a really glaring continuity mistake early on, as the guitar is present on the car Rod is trying to sell, and a moment later it isn’t.
• We get Gypsy’s second appearance in the theater (her first was in episode 112- UNTAMED YOUTH) about ten minutes into the movie when somebody mentions “Voyage to the Bottom of Sea.”
• The club where our hero meets the bikers was an actual place, a Dade County dive then called Trader John’s.
• The band playing in the background at the bar are “The Birdwatchers,” a surf-rock band out of Tampa. Drummer Eddie Martinez died in the ’80s. Lead guitarist Joey Murcia’s whereabouts are unknown. As of a few years ago, keyboardist Bobby Puccetti was a party deejay in Florida and bassist Jerry Schills, who founded the group, lived in Dubuque, Iowa, and still played in a band. Lead singer Sammy Hall was a minister until he died in 2013. There’s a really extensive look at their career here. Schills, Hall and Puccetti reunited in 2012 to play a concert called “Geezerpalooza.” I got an email from Schills, who said “I don’t remember much of the movie other than the whole 5 or 10 minutes we had in it took the whole damn day to film. We weren’t the problem, it was just the way they do movies.” Still, he says “It was an unforgettable time of our lives.” I spoke to Hall on the phone for a bit. He also remembered that he was told to be there very early, and he was, but the filming still took all day. He also said he was the only one of the group who was actually called upon to act, “since I had to pretend I was playing the trumpet.” Incidentally, the song they sing, “Can I Do It?”, was never released commercially until a retrospective album came out in 1980.
• The bartender is played by then-Miami radio deejay Milton “Butterball” Smith.
• Callbacks: “The driver is either missing or he’s gone.” “Thees will seemplify everything!” (both The Phantom Creeps)
• Segment 1 is another intensely written but very funny sketch, typical of season 2, including the great line “Everyone thought Joseph Campbell was tough, but that was just a myth.”
• Segment 2 is an instant classic. Great line: “Like getting hit on the back of the head with a surfboard of flavor!” It’s not in the credits, but that’s Alex Carr as the voice of “Mom.”
• Movie observation: No gun dealer, no matter how naive or smitten, would ever load a gun for a customer.
• Instant catchphrase: “That square bugs me!”
• This was an era in the show when any character in any movie saying the words “I will…” was enough to get somebody shouting “I WILL KILL HIM!” as Sting did in the movie “Dune.” They were obsessed with it.
• Joel says “J. Gordon Liddy.” That’s G.
• The driver of the lead cop car in the scene where the cops are pursing the bikers through the swamps is then-Miami radio deejay Dutch Holland.
• Other than in the Marvel universe, I can’t find a Citrusville, Fla. I believe Jupiter, Fla., stood in for it. There is a lighthouse in Jupiter, too, but it’s unclear if that’s the Jupiter lighthouse in the final scenes of the movie. If anybody knows for sure, I’d love to find out.
• Also, the racing scenes were shot at the Palm Beach Fairgrounds Speedway.
• Segment 3 is just so adorable. Great line: “You know, I kinda feel like Mac Davis on ‘The Muppet Show.’ ”
• The closing segment really gives viewers a primer the MST3k way to look at a movie.
• Joel says “…dark, tarry…” Hmm.
• A balloon explodes in mid-letter, the bots react in character and they just keep going.
• For some reason, this episode has no stinger. Maybe they just forgot. Stinger suggestion: “That square bugs me…”
• A record album by Steve Alaimo, “Every Day I Have to Cry,” hung on the wall at the Best Brains studio. That appears to be the one Mike gives Crow in episode 512- SANTA CLAUS. You can briefly see the back and it looks like it’s been matted like something you would hang on the wall.
• Cast and crew roundup: None. Nobody who worked on this worked on any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: The font size and spacing are back to normal this week. Trace and Frank are, again, “special guest villians” (misspelled). This week’s Creative Pit Boss: Jim Mallon. Jim’s name, and Jann Johnson’s name, appear along with Kevin’s and Alex Carr’s names, in the Post Production Supervision credit, for this episode only. After an episode off last week, Tim Paulson returns as editor and will remain in that job for the rest of the season.
• Fave riff: “Personally, I like guys in clown suits.” Honorable mention: “Here comes the sermon on the Gran Torino.”

Episode guide: 208- Lost Continent

Last modified on 2015-02-23 21:07:32 GMT. 117 comments. Top.

Movie: (1951) A military/science team searches for a downed rocket atop a remote, dinosaur-infested mountain.

First shown: 11/24/90
Opening: Coach Joel gives the bots a locker room pep talk
Invention exchange: The Mads unveil their exercise treadmill equipped with wheels, introduce the movie and give Joel movie sign against his will
Host segment 1: Hugh Beaumont, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, visits on the Hexfield with a message of unholy death
Host segment 2: J&tB’s preachy “The Explorers” sketch bogs down
Host segment 3: J&tB see The Cool Thing and announce a contest
End: J&tB analyze the movie, Joel reads a letter, Dr. F declares victory
Stinger: “Well, thanks for straightening the whole thing out…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• Rock climbing, everybody. Rock climbing.
• Well this one is definitely a winner. Wacky movie, great riffing, decent host segments and, oh, did I mention…rock climbing? Rock climbing.
• Joel, still sporting a cheesy goatee, is now in a never-before-seen cyan jumpsuit.
This episode appears on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVIII.
• A message at the beginning of the Shout DVD apologizes in advance for the tape artifacts in their product. Apparently the official BBI copy was damaged or not stored properly. Upsetting.
References.
• This is the infamous episode featuring, as previously mentioned, the mind-bloating “rock climbing” sequence. A couple of years after this episode came out, the sequence so moved one usenet fan that he created a “rock climbing FAQ (frequently asked questions) file” that analyzed the “rock climbing” phenomenon within an inch of its life. And, as proof that nothing ever really disappears from internet, here it is.
• During this season, J&tB’s response to the movie was seen in a very black-and-white way–either Dr. F. “won” or Joel and the bots did. They never made this more explicit than in the opening segment here.
• However, Joel makes a little mistake in his pep talk: the episode two weeks ago was “Ring of Terror,” not “Rocket Attack USA.”
• I hope the Mads sued these guys.
• Frank twice addresses mole people, Jerry and Sylvia, who are apparently behind the camera in Deep 13.
• Joel never gets to do an invention exchange, but don’t worry, the one he’s holding, the sign language translator, will be used next week.
• Joel gets Movie Sign “against his will”–He refuses to enter the theater and appears to get an electrical shock to his tush. This is described as a “shock to the shammies” in episode 302- GAMERA, when Joel gets it again.
• Yes, the opening shot is the same shot used in “Rocket Ship XM.” Lippert was nothing if not thrifty.
• Callbacks: “We’re on our way!” (Rocket Ship XM) “Charbroiled hamburger sandwich and french fried potatoes!” (Jungle Goddess) “Thees will seemplify everything!” (Phantom Creeps) “Chili peppers, they burn my gut.” (Sidehackers) “That square bugs me! He really bugs me!” (Wild Rebels)
• That’s Mike, of course, as Hugh Beaumont (“Cryptodad” in the credits) in yet another Hexfield Viewscreen appearance, in segment 1, and he’s very funny, though the writing is excellent as well. This segment is a pretty good example of what is so wonderful about MST3K.
• Servo keeps asking “Ever fly one of these things?” He also said it a few episodes back. Is that from something?
• Obscure KTMA reference I never got before: Joel riffs, “Maybe there was hand soap in the hydraulic fluid.” A reference to a plot contrivance in the movie in episode K13- SST DEATH FLIGHT. Went right over my head in the past.
• Movie observation: Actors do things in movies that real people would never do (unless they are very stupid). A pristine example is the cop in “Plan 9” who scratches his temple with the barrel of his gun. There’s a moment like that in this movie: Would anyone really sit RIGHT on the edge of a cliff, with their legs dangling over the side, like they do in the movie?
• Host segment 2 is probably inspired by the brief “asking for directions from the native” scene in this movie, combined with all the “white male reality” stuff from “Jungle Goddess.” But here’s a question: Is this the first “We’re doing a sketch but it’s not going very well” sketch? They’ll do more sketches like it throughout the series.
• The “cool thing” bit in segment 3 is clearly inspired by the moment in the movie when the characters reach the top of the mountain, and everyone stands amazed at what they see, but they don’t show us for a long time. Some of the entries they got from viewers were shown in episode 213- GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Sigmund Neufeld also produced “The Mad Monster.” Director Sam Newfield also directed “Radar Secret Service, “The Mad Monster” and “I Accuse My Parents.” Cinematographer Jack Greenhalgh also worked on “The Mad Monster and “Robot Monster.” Editor Philip Cahn also worked on “The Brute Man. Special effects guy Augie Lohman also worked on “The Rebel Set.” Special effects guy Ray Mercer also worked on “I Accuse My Parents,” “Radar Secret Service,” “Last of the Wild Horses,” “The Sinister Urge” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.” Costume guy Alfred Berke also worked on “Last of the Wild Horses. Makeup guy Harry Ross also worked on “The Mad Monster and “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Production manager Bert Sternbach also worked on “The Mad Monster.” Writer Orville H. Hampton also worked on “Rocket Ship XM.” Score composer Paul Dunlap also worked on “The Rebel Set” and “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” In front of the camera, Whit Bissell was also in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” and Murray Alper was also in “The Leech Woman.” Hugh Beaumont was in “The Human Duplicators” and “The Mole People.” He was also the narrator of the short “A Date with Your Family.” Sid Melton was also in “Radar Secret Service.” Chick Chandler was in the short “Once Upon a Honeymoon.”
• CreditsWatch: Trace and Frank are still “special guest villians” (misspelled). This week’s creative pit boss: Kevin Murphy. The “Explorers Action Theme” written and performed by Michael J. Nelson. This was intern James Smith’s last episode.
• Favorite riff: “Still talking to crap, monkey boy?” Honorable mention: “I never knew Mountain time was so slow!”

Episode guide: 209- The Hellcats

Last modified on 2015-02-26 13:16:58 GMT. 141 comments. Top.

Movie: (1967): The brother and fiancée of a murdered detective infiltrate a drug-running biker gang.

First shown: 12/8/90
Opening: J&tB have colds
Invention exchange: J&tB are feeling better thanks to vapor action, but it may cause flashbacks. The Mads are still enjoying the hobby hogs. Joel’s invention is the sign language translator. The Mads just yell “NOOOO!” for reasons that never become clear.
Host segment 1: Tom’s flashback: J&tB do Shatner with The Crawling Hand (from episode 106)
Host segment 2: Crow’s flashback: Zero gravity humor lesson (from episode 201)
Host segment 3: Joel’s flashback: Gobos lesson (from episode 203)
End: Gypsy attempts a diary entry; Crow and Tom mock her for it at first, but they soon admit they keep diaries too and everybody gets emotional. Joel reads a letter. In Deep 13, the Mads are emotional, too
Stinger: Trumpeter yells something unintelligible.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• I laughed quite a bit this time around, but I found I could only take this episode in short bursts of 10 or 15 minutes. The movie is just so meandering and pointless, and the retread host segments don’t help. The movie is clearly cut from the same cloth as “Girl in Gold Boots” (even “Sidehackers” looks more professional), but the riffing is really pretty good, good enough to save this one from being truly painful. It’s still not a standout episode or anything, but I had fun watching it — a little at a time.
• This episode was released (in DVD) by Rhino as a single episode in 2002.
• Just about every TV show has a cheesy clip episode, and this is MST3K’s. In the ACEG, it is explained that most of the staff was going to be out of town, so the writing time was shortened and this is what they came up with. Mike calls it a “tribute to ‘Family Ties'” (for the younger folks, that was an ’80s TV show that seemed to have a lot of flashback episodes).
• Joel’s jumpsuit is not a never-before-seen pastel green. The goatee is also still there.
• Joel mentions SPACOM, from “Project Moonbase.”
• Joel finally gets to show off his sign language translator, which he wasn’t able to present in the previous episode. The Mads, still enjoying the “hobby hogs” from the previous episode, offer no invention.
• In the bit in Deep 13 before the movie starts, you’ll notice that it cuts off the INSTANT that Frank says: “I don’t fink on soul brutha.” The reason is that Frank could never say that line and look at Trace without cracking up (as seen in the “Poopie” reel). He finally managed to say the line straight and hold his laughter for about half a second, which was enough.
References.
• During the funeral scene at the beginning, two guys are crouching behind a tombstone: a thin guy and a chubbier guy with sunglasses. The chubbier guy is director/screenwriter Robert F. Slatzer. Crow points out that the director is on screen, but when he says it, the other guy is being shown. At first I thought it might have just been bad timing, but later on they identify the other guy again as the director. So it’s officially a goof by BBI. They got the wrong guy.
• Crow and Tom wear their robes in the theater for the entire show.
• Crow and Joel are very snippy toward each other early on in the theater, but then they re-enact a famous exchange from “Then Came Bronson” (which they felt it necessary to have Servo explain) and all is forgiven.
• Great moment when the shot moves to the gangster and his dog sitting in the convertible and all the riffers can do is laugh.
• Some of the music for this movie was arranged and produced by well-regarded producer Richard Podolor (misspelled “Podlor” in the credits) who also produced Three Dog Night, Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf. (By the way, there was a soundtrack album. Yes, there was.) The act Podolor tried to push in this movie was a group called Davy Jones and the Dolphins. Their career still went nowhere.
• Incidentally, when Crow (wrongly, by the way) suggests that the Davy Jones of Davy Jones and the Dolphins is the same Davy Jones as the guy in The Monkees, Joel says “He would have been about 14 at the time.” Uh, no. This movie was made in ’67, a year after the Monkees TV show started. So, although Joel’s reasoning is wrong, he’s right: this group had nothing to do with The Monkees.
It was a group out of Connecticut founded in 1960 by a guy named David John Liska with his brothers Walt (bass guitar, he left the band in 1962) and Richard (who played steel guitar and keyboard). Also in the band at the time of “Hellcats” were lead guitarist Paul Bogel and drummer Bob Vilezanti (replacing original drummer John Urbanik, who left in 1965).
In 1966 the four-piece band went to L.A. to record the songs for “Hellcats.” They made a USO tour of Vietnam. When they returned to Connecticut they built a recording studio in New London called East Coast Sound Studios (no longer in existence as far as I can tell).
In 1970 the group was signed by Columbia Records, had their name changed to Crossroads and had a moderate hit with a song called “Shannon,” but couldn’t follow up. In 1974, David and Richard formed a bluegrass band called “Kentucky Wind” and toured for a while. In 1981, David moved to Nashville and wrote for various publishing companies. In 1991, David and Richard and their families moved to Nevada and formed a country-western group called “David John and the Comstock Cowboys.” They were regulars at the Famous Bucket of Blood in Virginia City, Nev., but Richard died in 2010 and it’s unclear how busy the band has been since then.
• There’s also music in this movie from a group called Somebody’s Chyldren. The group was founded by David Clark Allen. Also in the band were Paul Dobies, Ricky Cameron, Angela Allen (David’s sister) and Dennis Trerotola. After the band broke up, Allen lived in England, and pioneered what he called “flamenco rock.” He formed one band called Carmen and later formed a band called Widescreen. Last we heard from him, he was back in the U.S. Fronting a band called El Tigre http://www.davidclarkallen.net/#!papa-tigre/c1cod. I was able to email Allen and he told me their music got into the movie because it was promoted by their producer, a guy named Chance Halladay. Halliday had a few singles of his own, but Google is virtually silent, as far as I can tell, about his work as a producer.
• Several times the bots reprise bits of the Weiner Man song. Is this the last time we hear it?
• Callbacks: Several variations on “That was number 5!” (“Sidehackers”). Ross Hagen’s name appears in the credits and there are numerous callbacks to “Sidehackers.” Later, “He hit Big Jake!” (Sidehackers) and “Yew and your daughter are doomt!” (Robot Holocaust)
• Kids, in the host segments, that thing sitting on the desk was known as a “typewriter.” It was a very lo-fi word processor and had a REALLY slow internet connection.
• Servo notes that the flashback he introduces happened “before my voice changed.”
• Note that Crow’s arm works in segment 2.
• Toward the end of the movie, Tom spots a fire hydrant and makes a pass. Joel reins him in.
• Okay I know the plot’s in tatters by the end, but how did the biker gang know to go to the docks and not the bad guy’s office?
• In the closing bit in Deep 13, Frank uses a little AA lingo with the line: “work the steps, Doctor.”
• Cast roundup: Coleman Francis’ drinking buddy Tony Cardoza produced this movie, so lots of Coleman’s regulars are in this thing, along with some “Sidehackers” alumni. Assistant director/screenwriter Tony Houston also worked on “The Sidehackers” and was an actor in “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.”
Production manager Eric Lidberg also worked on (and acted in) “The Sidehackers.” In front of the camera, there’s Ross Hagen, of course. Nick Raymond was also in “The Sinister Urge” and “Red Zone Cuba. Warren Hammack was also in “Sidehackers” and “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Eric Tomlin was in “The Skydivers” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats. Gus Trikonis directed “Sidehackers.” Frederic Downs was in “The Skydivers,” “Terror from the Year 5000” and “Red Zone Cuba.” Cardoza, of course, produced all three of Coleman’s movies and performed in “Red Zone Cuba” and “The Skydivers.”
• CreditsWatch: This week’s Creative Pit Boss: Joel Hodgson. “Villians” still mispelled. Additional Music: Michael J. Nelson.
• Favorite riff: “Now Ross can put the star on the tree.” Honorable mention: “They’re all piano tuners.” “I like to shoot heroin straight into my head.” “Looks like she’s into safe walking.”

Episode guide: 210- King Dinosaur (with short: “X Marks The Spot” )

Last modified on 2015-03-02 12:19:32 GMT. 86 comments. Top.

Short: (1944) Careless New Jersey driver Joe Doakes finds himself in a heavenly courtroom, on trial for his vehicular misdeeds. His guardian angel is his only defense.
Movie: (1955) Two scientist couples are sent to investigate a mysterious new planet and are menaced by snakes, gators, giant bugs and other scary process shots.

First shown: 12/22/90
Opening: Joel reads some beat poetry
Invention exchange: A crushed Dr. F. declares that he, “the pocket scientist,” is his invention; Joel’s accidental invention is the “incredibly stinky sweat socks.”
Host segment 1: Crow asks: “Am I qualified?”
Host segment 2: J&tB introduce Joey the lemur
Host segment 3: Joel objects to the “Emotional Scientist” sketch
End: Crow and Tom complain about all the Lippert’s movies, Joel shows off his theramin, Tom reads a letter
Stinger: Gator wrestling aftermath
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• I want to begin by saying that I disavow all previous instances in which I described Joel’s goatee as “cheesy” and I maintain that a crazy person broke into my house when I wasn’t home and added the word to “cheesy” to my descriptions of Joel’s goatee, which at all times is manly and dignified. Now, on to business.
• This is a fun episode. Between the short, the goofy Lippert movie, Joey the lemur (he wasn’t a lemur) solid riffing and a some memorable host segments, there’s plenty to enjoy.
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIII. Incidentally, I did not steal the description of the movie that appears on the jacket of that episode. THEY borrowed MY description (see above), with my permission, of course. They said they just liked it.
• Joel’s entirely dignified and not at all cheesy goatee is gone — but Crow and Tom are wearing them in the opening bit. He is still wearing the pastel green jumpsuit from last week.
• Does anyone know whose poem Joel is reading in the opening? Google is silent.
• Sir Goofus von Drakesnot is a funny name.
• In the opening Dr. F. is seen working on an elevator. It would reappear a few other times.
• Joel finally provided an explanation to the “hat party” reference, one that had been bugging people for years. It has to do with magic conventions that he and his friends attended, which often had activities for wives of the magicians attending. One was a hat party, and the blurb for it asked: “Will yours be the grandest of all?” or something like that.
• Neither the “pocket scientist” nor the “incredibly stinky sweat socks” are actual inventions, but the former is a very nice illusion and the latter is a pretty funny prop. So I will let them slide. :-)
• With this episode we get our first real short, and it’s clear immediately that this works much better for the show than the serials they’d been using. This isn’t (I don’t think) a classroom short, unless it was something Traffic Court made you watch after you got too many moving violations.
• Crow’s inspirational speech in segment 1, including the brilliant, immortal words “Crush someone with an emotional word or an enigmatic look,” is one of the funniest segments of the season.
• Callback: “That was number 2!!” (Sidehackers)
• Yes, the gecko-Roman wrestling is the same footage from “One Million B.C.” we’ve seen before. Also, Bronson Canyon was used for some exterior shots, as was done in many other MSTed movies.
• “I’m a pan-dimensional being” is a “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” reference.
• One of the highlights of this episode is the series of riffs in which Joel, in a gravelly voice, says “Hi, I’m Satan!” every time a snake appears. As these bits go on, they wander into a whole Kraft cheese thing, climaxing with Tom offering a very strange recipe as announcer Ed Herlihy. Great stream-of-consciousness riffing.
• Segment two is, of course, the infamous “Joey the lemur” bit. Now, I like the “handmade” nature of the show as much as the next guy, but what the heck is going on with Joel? Was this planned? Did he just go off script for the heck of it? I have no idea what he’s saying half the time. In episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES they do a very funny parody of this bit, implying that even they were baffled by it.
• Segment two, in addition to being weird, is also out of order. The “lemur” hasn’t appeared in the movie yet. But it does seem like they are aware of it: Joel sort of backfills as they re-enter the theater.
• Great “Twin Peaks” reference: “The owl footage is not what it seems.”
• Over the years, many fans have noted that the “lemur” in this movie is actually a kinkajou.
• Segment three is sort of another “we’re trying to do a sketch but it’s not going well” sketch. It was “meta” before (most) people said “meta.”
• Naughty riff: “I’m gonna load up the steely dan.”
• The closing bit is also a bit “meta.” It’s only been a few episodes since Joel did a presentation using the “series of sketches” and/or a musical tribute. They’re already they’re making fun of it? Does this reflect a real situation in the writing room?
• The letter that Tom reads is notable. It’s, I think, the only time anybody on the show uttered the phrase “host segment.” Tom pretends not to know what they are (though they’re mentioned in the credits).
• Cast and Crew Roundup: They make a big deal about this being another movie by executive producer Robert Lippert, but they fail to notice a bigger menace–this is the first of EIGHT movies directed by Bert I. Gordon (he directed more MSTed movies than anybody else). Writer-producer Al Zimbalist also produced “Robot Monster.” Cinematographer Gordon Avil did sound direction for “Robot Monster.” Editors John Bushelman and Jack Cornall also worked on “Village of the Giants.” Special effects guy Howard A. Anderson also worked on “Women of the Prehistoric Planet,” “12 to the Moon,” “The Amazing Transparent Man” and “It Lives By Night.” Sound supervisor Rod Sutton also worked on “It Lives By Night,” “Hangar 18” and “Slime People.” Score composer Mischa Terr also worked on “The Unearthly,” “Bloodlust,” “The Violent Years” and “The Sinister Urge.” We’ll hear narrator Marvin Miller again in “The Day the Earth Froze” and “The Phantom Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: This Week’s Creative Pit Boss: Trace Beaulieu. “Villians” is still misspelled. Intern Nathan Molstad played Jerry the mole person. Additional music: Kevin Murphy, Michael J. Nelson.
• Fave riff from the short: “He said a silent prayer to Bongo, the god of gravity.” Honorable mention: “…but I did find him down by the waterfront dressed in a Spartan costume.”
• Favorite riff: “I’m Chirpy the mutant hellbeast, and I don’t like this film.” Honorable mention: “Relax?! There’s a bee the size of a moose over there and you want him to relax??” and “There is a margin for shame, however.”

Episode guide: 211- First Spaceship On Venus

Last modified on 2015-04-05 12:17:57 GMT. 124 comments. Top.

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 (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• 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.”

Episode guide: 212- Godzilla Vs. Megalon

Last modified on 2015-03-04 19:19:41 GMT. 111 comments. Top.

Movie: (1973) Godzilla and size-changing robot Jet Jaguar defend Japan from Megalon and alien cyborg Gigan, who have been sent by underground civilization Seatopia.

First shown: 1/19/91
Opening: J&tB are in morning magazine show mode
Invention exchange: Both Joel and the Mads show off their easy-to-make Halloween costumes
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom argue over whose monster is more powerful
Host segment 2: Rex Dart, Eskimo spy!
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom pretend they’re a certain well-known popcorn magnate and his grandson
End: Joel gives Crow and Tom new arms, the Jet Jaguar fight song is translated, the Mads are playing video games
Stinger: Godzilla takes the plunge.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• A terrific episode, certainly one of the highlights of season two. Very strong host segments, very witty riffing and a reasonably watchable movie with plenty to riff on. It’s also our first taste of the many Japanese movies to come next season.
• Joel has donned the maroon jumpsuit, which he will stick with until well into season three.
• The rights to the movie in this episode were apparently not properly cleared by Rhino when it released it as part of its Vol. 10 DVD set, and Rhino was forced to withdraw the set. It later re-released the other three titles, along with the addition of episode 402- THE GIANT GILA MONSTER, in what it called “Volume 10.2.”
References are here, but one they missed is a favorite of mine: “Everyone is to get from street!” a reference to the movie “The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!”
• The opening bit is hilarious. I always wondered what Wanda Vacale’s Whale of a Tale was all about, and why it would be of special interest to bachelors.
• The “explaining pain to Crow” bit is not new. Joel does the same thing to Gypsy in episode K03- STAR FORCE: FUGITIVE ALIEN 2 while trying to explain what taking drugs is like.
• The invention exchange is fun. Joel’s “easy-to-make Halloween costumes” are straight from his standup act.
• The button on the desk breaks when Movie Sign hits the first time.
Joel says “…before eating — uh, I mean after eating…” They keep going.
• Classic running gag: “These darn stairs…”
• Not really made clear in the host segment 1 is precisely what Tom and Crow are looking at that they don’t want Joel to see. Looks like Polaroids. Hmm… (In the ACEG, Mike says they are “naughty pictures.” )
• Host segment 2 is pretty random, but it’s fun.
• Two KTMA riffs pop up: “That monster does not know the meaning of ‘around’ ” and when somebody mentions evacuating, Joel says “sounds painful,” something Crow said often in the KTMA season.
• Host segment 3 is a brilliant piece of work, but is now somewhat dated with the passing (in 1995) of Orville Redenbacher and consequent end of the TV spots featuring him and his grandson Gary. Interestingly, it appears the sketch was somewhat prescient. With Orville’s death, the younger Redenbacher does indeed seem to have disappeared into the night. (He’s actually an attorney these days.)
• The final half hour of the show, with Tom and Crow as wrestling announcers, is great fun. “He’s got a tree!”
• At the end of the movie, Joel explores the space between Cambot and the seats a bit, for the first time since “the film broke” in season one.
• The end segment features the hilarious “English translation” of “Jet Jaguar Fight Song,” as well as another open flame on set.
• Ever wonder what the lyrics to the song REALLY are? Thanks to Marissa at the MST Discussion board, here they are:
Japanese:
Hito ga tsukutta robotto da kedo,
Jetto Jagaa, Jetto Jagaa,
Yatta, Jetto Jagaa
Yuke, yuke, heiwa o mamoru tame,
Minna mo odoroku yuuki wo miseru
Gojira to Jagaa de panchi, panchi, panchi
Nakuna, bokura mo ganbarou

English:
You’re a robot made by humans, but
Jet Jaguar, Jet Jaguar,
You did it, Jet Jaguar
Go, go to protect peace
We are all surprised at the courage you show
Godzilla and Jaguar punch, punch, punch
Don’t cry, let’s do our best
Don’t touch my bags if you please, Mr. Customs man. (Just kidding.)
• The final bit in Deep 13 demonstrates the passion for video and computer gaming that was growing at BBI.
• Cast and crew roundup: Director/screenplay writer Jun Fukuda also served those roles for “Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.” Tomoyuki Tanaka also produced “Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.” Story and lyric writer Shinichi Sekizawa likewise did the same for that movie and also for “Mighty Jack.” SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano was a special effects assistant director for “Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.” In front of the camera, Robert Dunham is also in “The Green Slime.”
• CreditsWatch: This Week’s Creative Pit Boss: Joel Hodgson. This is the last episode that has the “Creative Pit Boss” credit. “Villians” still misspelled. “Rex Dart Action Theme”: Michael J. Nelson. This was intern Tamara Lewis’ last episode.
• Favorite riff: “He’s got a tree! He’s got a tree! This isn’t the Godzilla we know!” Honorable mention: “I know I’m supposed to be scared and all, but all I can think of is sweaty Japanese guys.” “This watery manifestation of a vengeful, wrathful God couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Episode guide: 213- Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster

Last modified on 2015-03-09 15:18:20 GMT. 110 comments. Top.

Movie: (1966): Searching for his brother who was lost at sea, a guy and his pals wash up on an island, guarded by crab-shrimp monster Ebirah, where some sort of evil paramilitary group has built an installation, unaware that Godzilla is asleep in a cave nearby. The brother turns out to be on an island nearby worshiping Mothra. Got all that?

First shown: 2/2/91
Opening: Joel reads “The Velveteen Rabbit” and does all the voices
Invention exchange: Joel shows off his mind-controlled guitar, while the mads have doggie chew toy guitars.
Host segment 1: J&tB sing “The Godzilla Genealogy Bop”
Host segment 2: Joel succumbs to space madness and begins building very bad models
Host segment 3: Despite Joel’s warning, Crow and Tom spoof the Mothra twins, only to meet Mothra on the Hexfield!
End: J&tB discuss famous sayings actors didn’t actually say and look through some “Cool Thing contest ” entries; the Mads consider a corporate re-think
Stinger: Everyone bows down before Mothra
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

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• There’s no avoiding comparing this week’s episode to last week’s, since they’re both Godzilla movies. This one isn’t quite the classic last week’s outing was, but it’s still lots of fun. The plot is a little more confusing, but I chalk that up to the editing by Film Ventures International. All the host segments are worth at least a few laughs, and the riffing is solid throughout.
• This episode is not yet commercially available (and seems unlikely to ever be).
• What’s the name if this movie? It was “Gojira — Ebira — Mosura: Nankai No Dai Ketto,” in the original Japanese (translation: “Godzilla — Ebirah — Mothra: The Great South Seas Duel”). But it had other names in various incarnations, including “Ebirah, Horror Of The Deep” (also “Ebirah, Terror Of The Deep” ) when it was released in England, “Big Duel In The North” (also “Big Duel In The North Sea”), “Ritorno Di Godzilla” (“The Return Of Godzilla”) when it was released in Italy and, for some reason, “Frankenstein Und Dis Ungehauer Aus Dem Meer” (“Frankenstein and the Monsters from the Sea”) when it was released in Germany. Frankenstein?
• For the first time since Joel admonished Crow a few episodes back, he again goes for the Lloyd Bridges “By this time my lungs were aching for air” riff.
• For some reason J&tB wait for the FVI credits to be over before entering the theater. Was this something contractual, I wonder?
• This is our first FVI title. For those who don’t know, Film Ventures International was a company that obtained the rights to films after the copyright expired, and then re-edited and re-marketed the film (sometimes under a different name, sometimes not). We’ll get more FVI titles next season. By the way, the clips used during the opening credits are from “Son of Godzilla.”
• Callbacks: “Rock climbing!” (Lost Continent) “You and your friends the only creeps in this joint.” (Wild Rebels) “Linda!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet?)
• Just for the record, what Joel is reading in the opening segment is nothing even remotely like the real “Velveteen Rabbit.”
• As the characters sneak into the installation, it’s another classic case of a bad guy’s building with hallways that have structures that stick out from the walls, making sneaking around easier. Only in the movies.
• Local reference: Somebody mentions Trip Shakespeare, a Minnesota-based band some BBI staffers knew.
• Joel actually sort of acts during segment two. Not that Joel isn’t performing all the time on the show, but let’s face it, Joel Robinson the character is not that far removed from Joel Hodgson the guy. But in this scene he has to actually act like he’s kind of crazy. He does a good job, I think!
• Then-current reference: Bhopal. Kind of a dark riff.
• I thought the “Karl Malden’s nose!” line of the “Godzilla Genealogy Bop” was just a non sequitur, but this time I noticed a little random throw-away riff where they observe that Godzilla has a nose a lot like Karl’s, which I guess is where that line came from.
• Incidentally, the “Godzilla Genealogy Bop” is one of those songs some fans forget, but it’s quite a lot of fun.
• That’s Mike as the voice of Mothra, of course, in segment 3.
• It seems like they wanted to have the Mothra prop blink, but couldn’t come up with a mechanism, so they sort of shaded the light that was shining on his eyes. Didn’t really work.
• Another then-current reference: “Cocooning,” was one of those short-lived buzzwords that arose when the 200-channel cable universe arrived and just about every movie you could think of was on VHS, so people supposedly stopped going out and just stayed home taking in entertainment in their “cocoon.” Wikipedia says it was coined by none other than Faith Popcorn, who was later parodied by the Brains.
• NOT-current reference, as Crow points out: “Thicke of the Night,” a talk show hosted by actor Alan Thicke (father of recent pop star Robin Thicke).
• Trivia: The script for this movie was actually written for King Kong, but Godzilla was substituted when rights to Kong weren’t available. What about Frankenstein?
• Cast and crew roundup: As noted in the previous episode, several of the cast of “Godzilla vs. Megalon” also worked on this. I won’t repeat all those. Special effects guys Eiji Tsuburaya and Teisho Arikawa also worked on “Mighty Jack.” Akira Watanabe worked on “The Green Slime.” The guy who wrote the score (clearly for the FVI version), Karl Michael Demer, also did the music for other FVI titles, including “Cave Dwellers,” “Pod People,” “Master Ninja I” and “Master Ninja II.” In front of the camera, Eisei Amamoto is also “Mighty Jack” and Wataru Omae was also in “Time of the Apes.”
• CreditsWatch: The whole “creative pit boss” thing is gone. “Villians” is still misspelled. Makeup lady Faye Burkholder must have tossed out some riffs that got used, because she was added to the list of writers for the first time since the KTMA era. Burkholder also gets a co-writing credit with Kevin on the “Geneaology Bop.” Mole person Sylvia was intern Robert Czech and mole person Jerry was intern Nathan Molstad. And the “Squeeky” Toy Orchestra (the people providing all the additional squeaky-toy noises during the Mads’ invention exchange) were Mike, Jef Maynard and Alex Carr.
• Favorite riff: “It’s the Mothra Graham Dance Troupe.” Honorable mention: “What a party! That last shot I saw crabs!”


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