LOS ANGELES — Handsome leading man Rod Taylor, perhaps best known for his roles in “The Birds” and “The Time Machine,” died at his home here Jan. 7. He was 84.
MSTies will recall that he played Herbert Ellis in the movie “World Without End,” which was riffed in MST3K’s first live show in 1992.
The New York Times had an obit
Thanks to Timmy for the reminder.
Movie: (1957): Two hitchhiking sisters are sentenced to 30 days labor at a cotton farm run by a scheming, corrupt boss.
First shown: 1/27/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise, again; Tom has a tape-worm
Invention exchange: Joel shows off the “never-light” pipe; the Mads have invented tongue puppets
Host segment 1: J&tB perform a pageant dedicated to Greg Brady
Host segment 2: Crow recalls when J&tB rigged up Cambot so they can see what Gypsy is thinking
Host segment 3: Gypsy’s sick, and Tom is no help
End: Joel tries to explain the goofy guy from the movie, and reads some letters
• The episode has some things going for it. The movie marks a real departure for the series: It’s the first non-horror/sci-fi movie of the national series. (In fact, all the movies in season one except this one would have fit easily within the restrictions Sci-Fi Channel initially imposed on the Brains.) Then there’s Mamie. All in all, it’s reasonably watchable, but the riffing is really only so-so and the host segments, like last week, seem to be either long marches to nowhere (segment 1) or disjointed messes (segment 3). If feel like it could have been better.
• This episode is included in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXIX.
• Crow still has the thick chin twine.
• Tom Servo observes: “That’s the only torso I have.” That would not be true for long.
• Joel again tells the bots to “look downcast.”
• The bots wince in pain when Joel strikes a match on them. Nice touch. And Joel doesn’t seem to care! Why? Why were the bots created to feel pain?
• Born Joan Lucille Olander, you might remember Mamie’s appearance on the 1994 Turkey Day bumpers hosted by Adam West. You can read about her life in her autobiography “Playing the Field.” Mamie’s also very tech-savvy: You can visit mamievandoren.com, visit her Facebook page, visit her YouTube page or follow her on Twitter @mamievandoran. Mamie’s now semi-retired from film. But she’s still singing, and in 2010 she put an album called “Still a Troublemaker.”
• They may not have made a cotton picker out of him, but Tom’s wrong: they WERE able to make a singer out of him. That’s rockabilly star Eddie Cochran, playing a character named “Bong” (it was a simpler time). He was only 19 here, but sadly only a couple of years away from his death in a car crash at the age of 21. (Cochran holds the dubious distinction of being the youngest person to die in our MSTory database.)
• “Untamed Youth” was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency, but reportedly it only increased the film’s popularity.
• You can definitely see the blue tinting in this one.
• Strange line from the movie: “I’ll give ya an Italian haircut.” Several commenters say it means slitting a person’s throat.
• There was a certain type of MST3K fan who, when you asked them why they liked the show, would say something like “because that guy Joel was SO HIGH.” Why that would be a positive attribute of a TV show escapes me, but that’s just me. At an appearance more recently, Joel stated categorically that he was never stoned while shooting MST3K but, I gotta say, in host segment 1, he sure LOOKS it. I’m going to attribute it to Joel’s acting skills.
• Joel also almost falls over as the segment starts (though, to be fair, there was only a very small platform behind the desk for the host to stand on–the rest was an open trench where the puppeteers stood; I once stood there, and I can attest to the fact that it would be very easy for even a completely sober person to accidentally misstep and almost fall).
• I was never that much of a “Brady Bunch” fan, so I don’t really get why the detailed minutiae about the show they spout in segment 1 is funny. These season one “pageants” don’t really stand up well to repeat viewings.
• I wonder why they added the flashback element to host segment 2. Doesn’t seem necessary and certainly doesn’t add anything. To add time?
• LOTR reference: “Sauron’s dark army?”
• Callback: “No dancing.” (Crawling Hand); SPACOM! (Project Moonbase).
• We get several more uses of “Wonder what (s)he wanted…”
• Gypsy enters the theater for the first time (not counting KTMA) in this episode: Joel calls her into the theater to produce cotton in response to Tom Servo’s query (apropos of NOTHING, by the way) about what real cotton feels like (though how exactly Tom Servo would “feel” the cotton is unclear–I know, it’s just a show). Joel tells her to use her “teledyne vector” to perform this function, whatever that is.
• Gypsy’s lips fall off during a very hectic segment 3. They keep going. Then when she spits out a new Tom Servo, there’s no hand on his left arm. Either it wasn’t there to begin with, or it fell off during the fall. They keep going.
• While we’re more used to Joel stumbling over his lines, in the last half hour in the theater, Trace commits a doozy of a line flub with: “Hey, it’s Grg-brg-grg-Greg Brady!” They keep going.
• With this episode, the MST3K “Fan Club” becomes the “Information Club” in the end-of-show announcement.
• I think a brief explanation of the final musical number is called for: It feels shoehorned in, because it is. In 1957 (as this movie was being made) Harry Belafonte scored a HUGE hit with “The Banana Boat Song.” The song was mostly a hit because of its different sound and of course Harry’s charming singing style. But music promoters, as music promoters so often do, completely misread the public and decided that what the teeners wanted was calypso, calypso and MORE calypso. They didn’t, and the whole fad folded in a matter of weeks, but not before Les Baxter threw a little calypso number into this movie. (Also THIS travesty got made. Needs to be seen to be believed.)
• Stinger suggestion: Goofy guy dancing.
• Cast and crew roundup: This week they’re all in front of the camera. Lori Nelson was also in “Revenge of the Creature.” Lurene Tuttle wqas also in “Parts: The Clonus Horror. Yvonne Lime was also in “I Was A Teenage Werewolf. Robert Foulk was also in “The Indestructible Man.” Michael Emmet was also in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” And, of course, Mamie was also in “Girls Town.”
• CreditsWatch: Additional production assistants, again, were Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede; and the additional production staff was Jim Erickson. Audio post production was, again, by IVL Post in Minneapolis.
• Favorite riff: “Wait…so you’re my grandma, my sister, my mom … did you marry Bill Wyman?” Honorable mention: “And who are all these guys on the floor?”
“Sitting Duck” writes:
One of the laziest methods of presenting exposition in a movie is to have a voiceover guy read it off. So naturally this technique is used in several MST3K films. So which of these voiceover guys do you think particularly sticks out. I’m going with the one from Robot Holocaust. That guy was cropping up everywhere in the film.
I’m going to expand this to include all narrations and voice overs, and let’s include the shorts too.
I gotta go with Ted Husing, Ross Allen’s “boyfriend” in the short “Catching Trouble.” He seems almost as appalled by Ross as we are.
What’s your pick?
Movie: (1969) On a colonized moon, the services of a disaffected former-astronaut-turned-“moon ferry”-pilot are needed by sinister tycoon and a woman looking for her moon miner brother.
First shown: 1/20/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise and suggests viewers go get a nutritious snack
Invention exchange: Larry’s hair is lifeless. Joel demonstrates his food teleporter; the Mads have invented celebrity mouth-to-mouth toothpaste
Host segment 1: J&tB perform a moon landing pageant
Host segment 2: J&tB conjecture about games of the future
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom fight over the women in the movie, in zero gravity
End: The bots play the “good thing/bad thing” movie review game and Joel reads a letter. Larry’s hair is better.
• I’m going to put this one, just barely, in the “good” column. The movie is just so goofy, but actually pretty watchable. (It’s interesting — to me, anyway, since I lived through that time period — to see an enactment of the future a lot of people considered almost inevitable right after the moon landings took place: that NASA would smoothly continue, colonizing the moon, beginning passenger space travel, then mounting expeditions to other planets. I think if you went back in time and told the movie makers that, in the second decade of the 21st century, we haven’t done any of it, they’d be amazed.) The riffing is also quite good. The host segments aren’t terribly funny, but they’re passable.
• This episode was included on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25 Anniversary Edition.
• The bots are wearing robes in the opening, but not Joel.
• When Joel dances to the movie credits music, he jumps up on some sort of low platform to the left.
• When Magic Voice attempts to announce “commercial sign in 15 seconds,” her mic is off. You can hear her somewhere in the studio, but she is very faint. It’s back on for the final countdown. Either nobody noticed or they didn’t bother to do it again.
• That twine attached to Crow’s chin is again very noticeable.
• Joel once again explains the premise, using almost the exact same language as in previous openings.
• The Bots are uncharacteristically silent during the opening segment and the invention exchange.
• Joel is playing with something as the invention exchange begins. Some sort of magnetic game? Anybody know what it is?
• As the Mads call, Joel says: “Try not to look so happy, you guys.” One of the interesting things about the first season is the way Joel didn’t seem to be that upset about being stranded in space. It was only in later seasons that his character seemed to become more anxious to get back to Earth.
• Joel’s invention is one of his lamer efforts, I’d say. You can pretty much see the mechanisms of everything. Or is that the point?
• Joel still has part of his invention exchange on his head when he comes into the theater.
• I have a question about our hero’s space ship. The movie takes place in the 21st century, so it’s been at least 30ish years since the Apollo program. The bad guy says Kemp’s “moon ferry” is 10 years old–so that means it was built in the 1990s at least. So, it’s not like it’s a leftover Apollo lunar module. So, why does it look exactly like a lunar module? (I know, the real answer is probably because the filmmakers thought audiences would immediately recognize it as a space vehicle.)
• Josh reads that whole moon landing sequence in segment 1 like he had it memorized, but I asked him on Twitter and he said he wasn’t that big of an Apollo buff–he just read the script they gave him.
• Also one minor fact is wrong. The Eagle landed on the moon on July 20, not July 22.
• Crow is still wearing his helmet when he returns to the theater after the first host segment. Joel later removes it, causing Crow to yell “Ow! Ow!” It’s those little touches that make Trace’s performance so amazing.
• “I kinda miss the moon, you guys.” Joel is still horny.
• Several times, the bots sing snippets of “The Wiener Man,” a campfire favorite. I remember there was much fan chatter about this when it aired. It was mentioned in one of the early newsletters and there was an entry about the song in the FAQ for a while. There are a number of variations to the lyrics, but I think the most standard one (the newsletter notwithstanding) is:
I know a wiener man
He owns a hot dog stand
He gives me everything
From wieners on down.
Someday, I’ll be his wife
And then we’ll live the wiener life
Hot dog! I love the wiener man!
• We get another reference to “Yards of Leather.”
• One of the waitresses on the moon base is played Carol Cleveland, who, that same year, began making regular appearances on a little TV show called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
• The down side of the higher resolution you get with a DVD is you can see little things you might have missed. Example: At the end of segment three you can the string attaching the bottle to the glass. If one carefully pours down the wire, you can’t see it, but Joel isn’t quite that careful.
• Toward the end of the show, they come back from commercial and only Joel and Crow can be seen in the theater. After a few moments, Tom Servo pops up from the last seat on the left and heads over to his seat, saying: “Got my gum back.” Did he leave it there at the end of the last theater segment?
• Gypsy’s light is on at last! She again answers “Richard Basehart” when asked a question, and is again rewarded for it.
• Suggested stinger: Any portion of the floor show.
• Cast and crew roundup: art director Scott MacGregor also worked on “Fire Maidens of Outer Space” and “Million Eyes of Su-Muru.” In front of the camera, Catherine Von Schell was also in “Cosmic Princess.” Sam Kydd was also in “The Projected Man.” Michael Ripper was also in “The Deadly Bees.” Warren Mitchell was also in “The Crawling Eye.”
• CreditsWatch: additional production assistants were, again, Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede. The additional production staff was, again, Jim Erickson.
• Fave riff: “Fourth floor: Tyrannical tycoons, loose women.” Honorable mention: “In space, no one can art direct.”
I know this is a little rough, but be kind, this is my first time trying something like this.
And the annual list:
- 01/11 Jophery C. Brown (age 68), a stunt person in the movie in episode 516- ALIEN FROM
- 01/12 Frank Marth (age 91), who played the space systems manager in the movie “Marooned,”
featured in episode 401- SPACE TRAVELERS.
- 01/16 Russell Johnson (age 89), who played Joe Gamble in the movie in episode 906- THE SPACE CHILDREN and Dr. Steve Carlson in THIS ISLAND EARTH seen in MST3K: THE MOVIE. He treated MSTies to a great personal appearance at 1996’s MST3K’S CONVENTIOCON EXPOFEST-A-RAMA.
- 01/20 Victor Izay, who played Mr. Casey in the movie in episode 1002- GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS.
- 01/28: John Cacavas (age 83), musical score composer for the movies in episodes K13- SST: DEATH FLIGHT, K15- SUPERDOME and K19- HANGAR 18.
- 02/01 Maximilian Schell (age 83), who played the title role in the movie in episode 1009- HAMLET.
- 02/24 Gunter Reisch (age 86), one of the screenwriters for the movie in episode 211- FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS.
- 03/02 Gail Gilmore, aka Gerber (age 76), who played Elsa in the movie in episode 523- VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS.
- 05/08 George Kohut (age 70), who was a camera operator on the movie in episode 11- PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR.
- 05/08 Nancy Malone (age 79), who played Tina Scott in the movie in episode 614- SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL.
- 05/21 Jane Adams (age 92), who played Helen Paige in the movie in episode 702- THE BRUTE MAN.
- 06/02 Marjorie Stapp (age 92), who played “hysterical young woman” in the movie in episode 409- THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN.
- 06/07 Jacques Herlin (age 86), who played Ross in the movie in episode 504- SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON.
- 06/08 Dennis C. Lewiston (age 80), camera operator for in the movie in episode K09- PHASE IV.
- 06/14 Francis Matthews (age 86), who did the voice of the title character on TV’s “Captain
Scarlet,” episodes of which were seen in episode K02- REVENGE OF THE MYSTERONS.
- 07/18 John Fasano (age 52), assistant director for the movie in episode 604- ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE. He also played William Washington in that movie.
- 07/19 James Garner (age 86), who was described as a “beef spokesman” in a host segment in episode 403- CITY LIMITS.
- 08/04 Walter Massey (age 85), who played Mr. Peters in the movie in episode 604- ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE.
- 08/08 Menahem Golan (age 85), half of infamous production team of Golan-Globus, who produced the movie in episode 516- ALIEN FROM L.A.
- 08/09 Ed Nelson (age 85), who played Dave Randall in the movie in episode 701- NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST, a caveteen in the movie in episode 315- TEENAGE CAVEMAN, as George Beldridge in the movie in episode K15- SUPERDOME, a police sergeant in the movie in episode 503- SWAMP DIAMONDS and as the elusive Robert Denby in the movie in episode 814- RIDING WITH DEATH. He also helped make the costumes for episode 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, in which he was supposed to appear, but didn’t.
- 08/24 Richard Attenborough (age 90), whom Mike impersonated during a host segment in episode 1001- SOULTAKER.
- 08/30 Andrew V. McLaglen (age 94), who directed the movie in episode 512- MITCHELL.
- 09/10 Richard Kiel (age 74), who played Dr. Kolos in the movie in episode 420- THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS, the Solarite in the movie in episode 902- THE PHANTOM PLANET and the title role in the movie in episode 506- EEGAH!
- 09/21 Linda Griffiths (age 60), who played Appollonia James in the movie in episode 822- OVERDRAWN AT THE MEMORY BANK.
- 09/23 Jackie Brady Baugh (age unknown), production accountant for the movie in episode K15- SUPERDOME.
- 10/07 Federico Boido (age 74 or 76), who played a Valmont henchman in the movie in episode 1013- DIABOLIK.
- 10/11 Gary McLarty (age 74), who played Mistretta Hood #2 in the movie in episode 512- MITCHELL.
- 10/11 Robert “Bob” Orrison (age 86), who played Mistretta Hood #1 in the movie in episode 512- MITCHELL.
- 11/07 Michael Lennick (age 61), who did the special video and electronic effects for the movie in episode K20- THE LAST CHASE.
- 12/05 Koichi Kawakita (age 72), assistant visual effects cinematographer for “Gojira, Ebirâ, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto,” aka the movie in episode 213- GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER.
- 12/15 Booth Colman (age 91), who played Mories in the movie WORLD WITHOUT END, riffed in MST3K’s first live show.
- 12/19 Arthur Gardner (age 104), who has a small, uncredited role as dancer in the movie in episode 702- THE BRUTE MAN.
RiffTrax conducted a poll
, and these are the results:
10. 300: Rise of an Empire (7,020 votes)
9. Noah (7,620 votes)
8. Sex Tape (7,740 votes)
7. Ouija (9,340 votes)
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (10,040 votes)
5. Left Behind (11,380 votes)
4. A Million Ways to Die in the West (11,820 votes)
3. Dumb and Dumber To (12,160 votes)
2. Transformers: Age of Extinction (26,220 votes)
And the worst movie of 2014 is…..
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (32,140 votes)
So, let’s have at it. What is/are your pick(s)? Show your work!
Short: (1951) Cody and Ted escape the pursuing moon men and make it back to the ship. They blast off and … the film breaks.
Movie: (1986) In a post-apocalyptic future that looks a lot like Central Park, the cruel Valaria is the chief henchwoman of the all-powerful Dark One. But a rag-tag band of rebels is determined to overthrow them.
First shown: 1/13/90 (unconfirmed)
Opening: Joel explains the premise, then sings the human blues
Invention exchange: Joel demos his “nitro-burning funny pipe,” The Mads have invented the stocking mask of the future (SM of F)
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom, in the “We Zone,” make Joel do tricks
Host segment 2: Cambot’s sitcom simulator malfunctions
Host segment 3: J&tB play Robot Holocaust, but Crow and Joel aren’t having fun
End: Joel announces the “name the plant guy in the movie” contest and reads a letter
• It’s clear that, in 1994, Best Brains thought this is one of the better episodes of season one; it was the one of the ones they chose to show at the first Conventio-con, despite the fact that in general they were down on season 1 at that time. And it was a good choice. The movie is bizarre and it’s in color. The riffing is very strong for season one. The host segments are nothing to write home about, but they’re not terrible either. All in all, lots of fun. And the line “It was after the apocalypse…” became a catchphrase.
• Magic Voice does not give the 30 second warning or the 15 second warning during the opening, only the final countdown.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXV.”
• Nobody’s wearing a robe in the opening segment, for a change.
• The puppetry mechanism connected to Crow’s jaw seems extra noticeable this week. Also, Crow seems to be clacking a lot.
• Another open flame in the invention exchange this week.
• The SM of F looks like something from Joel’s standup act, but I’m not sure. I think the “funny pipe” is new.
• Another use of “By this time, my lungs were aching for air.”
• The whole “the film broke” thing serves as our farewell to the “Radar Men from the Moon” series. I assume they discovered that the full short and movie together were a few minutes too long, so they decided to cut the short to the length needed. I don’t really care that much, but it seems like there’s a really long closing credit sequence at the end of the movie, where the riffs are a little thin, that might have been cut back instead. (However, as several commenters noted, there may have been a legal requirement to show the credits.) In the ACEG, Kevin also says they were sick of “Radar Men” by this point, so that may be the reason why the short got short shrift, as it were.
• Also note: They cut the entire opening credits for the short, which, of course, we’d already seen eight times. (Hence the episode title screen instead of the main short title screen above.) I don’t blame them. YOU try to come up with nine sets of jokes for the same three minutes of footage. Eight was enough!
• Also, several commenters who’ve made the effort to watch the rest of the serial said that the next installment is a recap episode, so it was now or never!
• After the film breaks Joel gets up from his seat and walks back to Cambot to investigate, giving us a rare sense of the empty space between the camera and the seat backs.
• For those who care, the Wikia page for this episode kindly provides a brief summary of what happens in the remaining installments:
“After Krog repeatedly fails to kill Cody, Retik comes to Earth so he can defeat Cody personally and oversee the plan to invade Earth. Krog’s henchmen almost kill Cody’s pals, but the bad guys are caught and arrested. Cody convinces the police to release the criminals so he can follow them to their secret hideout. Cody storms the villains’ HQ, and eventually kills Krog and his two henchmen. Afraid of being caught, Retik takes off in his rocket ship. Cody uses Retik’s own giant ray gun to shoot at the departing rocket, destroying Retik and his plans to invade Earth.”
• Joel does a turtle impression in the theater. Silly.
• Recognize that music during the opening and closing credits of the movie? It’s the same music used in “Laserblast” and several other Charles Band films (Band was the uncredited executive producer and the music is by his brother Richard).
• Director Tim Kincaid (born Tim Gambiani) is also known as Joe Gage, a name he used as a gay porn movie director (and he is apparently a well-regarded one at that). A LOT of stuff in this movie starts to make sense when you know that.
• Joel guesses that a particular shot was done in Central Park. He may be right. The IMDB says the locations were shot there, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Roosevelt Island.
• I just want to note a weird coincidence. In this movie there’s an evil robot named Torque, aka “Crusty.” “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” has a robot named Torg. Then there’s the evil henchman named TORGo… Then there’s TOR Johnson… I think there’s a lingusitics masters thesis in there somewhere.
• Segment 1 should probably have been shown later in the episode. We have no idea why Tom and Crow are dressed in furs and talking about the “We Zone” until later in the movie when we meet women in furs talking about the “She Zone.”
• I do enjoy Joel’s “crazy duck face,” but it’s too bad we don’t get to see “snow storm in China,” which reportedly is a stunning magic trick involving lots of confetti.
• “I kinda miss Earth, you guys.” Poor horny Joel.
• This movie makes the classic mistake of not letting us know ANYTHING about the protagonists, in an attempt to create a sense of mystery, I suppose. The result is that when our hero from the wastelands is battling Torque in the climax of the movie, we feel nothing. Even that stupid robot is a more sympathetic character.
• Crow’s never heard of George Clinton? What is he, a Gramercy Pictures executive?
• In the letter Joel reads, the little kid says his favorite riff is: “He’s out of bang bang.” Everybody draws a blank. I remember it: It was in a “Radar Men from the Moon” episode, when one of the characters’ gun jammed.
• It’s in this episode the we get the famous explanation as to why Servo wants Joel to carry him into and out of the theater (although over the years he made it in and out himself lots of times). As they leave the theater at the end of the movie, Servo says, “Hey Joel, you gotta come lift me over this heating grid.” It isn’t mentioned again until Mike’s first episode, when Crow refers to it as an “air grate.”
As explained in the FAQ, the off-screen reason why they had to do this is: “When they entered the theater, Joel/Mike could walk in, and Trace/Bill could slide over with Crow from the right, but Josh/Kevin had to be already sitting in Tom Servo’s spot. So Joel/Mike had to carry Tom Servo in and hand him to Josh/Kevin, and carry him out at the end.” It does seem like Josh is crawling in with Servo in some of the KTMA eps, so it’s unclear when they decided this would be the procedure. I’ll try to remember to ask ‘em at some point.
• The winner of the “Name the plant guy” contest was announced in episode 104- WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET.
• Suggested stinger: Neo stabs Crusty and then poses for a poster.
• Cast and crew roundup: The sole person involved in this movie who also worked on other MSTed movies is score composer Richard Band, whose music also appears in “Being From Another Planet” and “Laserblast.”
• CreditsWatch: This week’s additional production assistants were Melanie Hartley and Neil Brede (his first show, he’ll stay for the rest of the season). This week’s additional production staff was Jim Erickson. Audio post production switches with this episode from Tele-Edit to IVL Post in Minneapolis.
• Fave riff from the short: “Taste my steel, Jughead!” Honorable mention: “If the tank’s a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.”
• Fave riff: “I think somebody’s forgettin’ who’s holdin’ the pink slip, little lady!” Honorable mention: “Where IS the room of questions?”
I’m a day late on this. I accuse the holidays.
Stream or download it here.