Alert reader Ryan suggests:
So I was recently watching “Jack Frost” and it hit me that there are a lot of biblical references in that episode. Such as “Wow, Peter must be out denying everybody today” [when we hear a rooster crow] or “the three horses of the apocalypse, the fourth had after school activities.” Having been raised in the Christian tradition I really find these jokes rather hilarious. So, your fav biblical riff?
I’m going to expand this to include religious references as well. For example, I always enjoy [shot of clouds] “This is God! Pick up the pace!”
Let there be comments!
[And keep those suggestions coming!]
Movie: (1980) Government officials try to cover up the crash of an alien spaceship, but two astronauts know the truth.
First shown: 5/14/89
Opening: Joel gives the name of the film, and immediately it’s movie sign!
Host segment 1: Crow, in 2-year-old mode, responds to every comment with “why?” and “so?” Joel is not amused
Host segment 2: Joel and Servo purge Crow’s memory. It’s mostly full of informercials
Host segment 3: Joel shows Crow his first memory, and explains how Crow got his name (but it’s just a practical joke)
End: Joel says the 1,000th fan club member will get a special prize
• Spring has definitely sprung. It was a balmy 76 degrees, then 75, then 73 as the sun set.
• I don’t really have much to say about the movie. It feels like very “Capricorn One”-ish (and that’s not a good thing). The IMDB notes that when it was shown on TV (the same year it came out in theaters!) it was titled “Invasion Force,” and had a different ending from the theatrical version. That new ending is the one we see in this episode. In the original ending, the news report says that everybody was killed when the plane crashes at the end of the movie. In our ending, the report indicates that the people inside the spacecraft were somehow shielded from the explosion and survived.
• In the first half hour, Servo derisively mocks one of Joel’s riffs. The comment is followed by an uncomfortable silence. It feels a little like the kind of thing that probably would be okay in the writing room, but it was a little awkward when he did it on TV.
• The opening is one the shortest host segments ever, right up there with “Waffles!”
• Segments 1 and 3 appear on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• References. Local reference not explained there: River Place. Also, weatherman Barry ZeVan is mentioned again.
• In segment one, after driving Joel crazy with childish questions, Crow asks: “Daddy, what’s Vietnam?” This is a reference to a Time-Life commercial in the ’80s for its “History of the Vietnam War” book series. In the commercial, a man and his son stand before the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The son looks up, and asks “Daddy, what’s Vietnam?”. At which point, a voiceover somberly intones “A question a child might ask – but not a childish question.”
• Callback: City on Fire!
• Segment 2 seems to be a little case of biting the hand that feeds you: a subversive little dig at TV23’s apparent penchant for showing informercials. It should be noted that at this point, in the late spring of 1989, KTMA was already in a pretty deep financial trouble. The official bankruptcy filing happened in July, only a couple of months after this show aired. So they probably needed all the informercial revenue they could get.
• Does it feel to anybody else like a movie with this title should have been used in episode K18? Or am I just being OCD?
• It’s interesting that a demon dog pops up in the end segment, with no explanation of what a demon dog is or why it’s there. It appears in the opening theme, but you could be forgiven for never noticing it. Demon dogs would become a plot element in an episode in season one.
• Cast and crew roundup: special effects guy Harry Woolman also worked on “The Incredible Melting Man,” “Laserblast” and “Agent for H.A.R.M. 2nd unit director Henning Schellerup also worked on “Melting Man.” Sound guy Glen Glenn also worked on “The Corpse Vanishes” and “Master Ninjas I and II.” Sound mixer Rod Sutton also worked on “The Slime People,” “King Dinosaur” and “It Lives By Night.” Stunt coordinator Greg Brickman also appear on camera in “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” Stunts consultant Alan Gibbs was a performer in “Mitchell” (where a lot of stunt guys got small roles). Score composer John Cacavas also worked on “SST Death Flight” and “Superdome. In front of the camera, William Schallert also appeared in “Gunslinger” and “Invasion USA.” H.M. Wynant also appeared in “Stranded in Space.”
• CreditsWatch: As with K16, sound guy Todd Ziegler moved up to director and Alex Carr filled in at the audio board. This is the first episode where the “Camera: Kevin Murphy” credit is removed at “Cambot: Kevin Murphy” is added to the cast list.
• Fave riff: “Mine are more pouty.” Honorable mention: “I feel like I know more than I already do.”
Our pals at The Annotated MST
site have joined forces with our pals at Shout!Factory to present this, the fully annotated version of episode 512- MITCHELL.
For folks in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Scranton Cultural Center will again present Bad Movie Thursdays with MST3K – hosted by yours truly — Thursday at 7 p.m. (Cocktails start at 6.) The month we’ll be rushing the Halloween season with episode 604- ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE.
More info here
. If you live in the area, or are visiting, join us, won’t we?
I’ve had a low-grade summer cold for about two weeks, and that has mutated into awful post-nasal drip that has given me a hacking cough for about a week. So I’m sick.
And it occurred to me that I’m constantly seeing tweets to the effect of: “I’m sick, so I’m curling up in bed with MST3K.”
So what is your favorite episode to watch when you feel crappy?
Me, I gotta go with “Daddy-O.” All the energy and music, it takes my mind off my ills.
What’s your pick?
See a sample or download it here. Feel free to post your thoughts about the RiffTrax guys rediscovering puppets in our Comments section. You know you want to.
Movie: (1967) A pair of CIA agents are assigned to stop a female supervillain’s plans to take over the world.
First shown: 5/7/89
Opening: Joel gets back inside the ship, only to be mocked by the Mads
Host segment 1: After Joel disciplines Crow and Servo, he finds out where Gypsy has been
Host segment 2: Joel tries to do a courtroom sketch, but Crow and Servo are too busy doing stream-of-consciousness game show riffs
Host segment 3: In answer to Servo’s question, Joel does an acoustic version of the last lines of the theme song, with Servo harmonizing
End: Even though his mouth is broken, Servo gives fan club information
• Servo only watches the first half of the movie with Joel and Crow, opting instead to “bake muffins.” Presumably Josh had to be somewhere else that day.
• Apart from the show’s opening credits, host segment 2 is the last time we see Gypsy in the KTMA era.
• This is, I think, the first time in the series that a plot from a previous set of host segments is picked up immediately in the following show (something they would do again in the season eight story arcs). This prompts them to use the old “Previously…!” bit (which they would parody many years later). Note the use of the “Fugitive Alien” music in the background.
• Joel suggests the show could be around for another “three to 12 weeks.” Turns out it was the former.
• As soon as I saw the name “Sax Romer” in the credits, I immediately detected the stench of o/` Harry Alan Towerrrrrs!!! o/` Yep, the madman who gave us the nightmare that was “Castle of Fu Manchu.” And it has very much the same feel–Sumuru is pretty much a female Fu Manchu. It also feels like they’re using some of the same locations, but I could be imagining things.
• Yes, our star is none other than George Nader of “Robot Monster” and “Human Duplicators.” If your gaydar went off while watching him, it is well tuned. Nader was a very popular actor in the late 1950s and was about to achieve stardom when a tabloid threatened to expose his gay relationship. With no chance for roles in Hollywood, Nader acted in grade-B films produced in Europe (like this one). Which means that in this movie, as Crow would say, we get several scenes of George REALLY acting. Not that there’s anything wrong with it!
• It’s early May and it’s getting nice out in the Twin Cites. It’s 67 degrees after the first host segment.
• They always did the host segments before the movie theater scenes, as is referenced in this episode: Servo announces he won’t be staying for second half and Joel asks him to just be present for the host segments. He replies “I wouldn’t miss it. I feel like they’re already done.”
• Wow, this is a terrible, washed-out, pan-and-scan print, which Crow comments on several times.
• As many people have observed. Josh seemed to thrive most in the ad-lib atmosphere of the KTMA era, and Servo’s absence is definitely felt in the second half.
• Then current event reference: “Cold fusion experiments.”
• The characters in the movie break the fourth wall a few times. The worst one is when Frankie says “I wonder if this is where I’m supposed to sing…nah.” Joel calls him on it and Crow keeps bringing it up.
• Cast and Crew Roundup: Producer Harry Alan Towers also produced “Castle of Fu Manchu” and “Outlaw” and, under the pseudonym Peter Welbeck, wrote the stories for both. Director Lindsay Shonteff also directed “Devil Doll.” Art director Scott MacGregor also worked on “Moon Zero Two” and “Fire Maidens from Outer Space.” In front of the camera, George Nader was also in “Robot Monster” and “The Human Duplicators.”
• Fave riff: “Where do I get socks like yours?” Honorable mention: “Oh, they brought their autoharp with them.”
Alex Biese at the Asbury Park Press (who likes to write about MST3K-related news) interviews Joel
ahead of his appearance in suburban Philadelphia this weekend.
Not too much new here for anybody who has been following the “possible reboot” story, but some interesting details.
Upcoming appearances by Joel include:
September 27, RetroCon at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. Joel signs autographs, and does a Q and A
October 18, Tide Water Comicon, Virginia Beach, Va. – Joel signs autographs, does a Q and A and performs “Riffing Myself.”
October 24-26, Chiller Theater Expo Parsippany, N.J. – Joel signs autographs, does a Q and A and performs “Riffing Myself.”