Movie: (1967) In third outing of the long-running Japanese movie series, the giant flying turtle monster takes refuge in a volcano. His arrival releases Gaos, a shovel-headed bat-monster with the ability to shoot laser beams. Caught between the two monsters are some nearby villagers, who want to stop the construction of a highway through their land (or at least get a good price when they sell it). The grandson of their leader is young Itchy who, after Gamera saves him from Gaos, becomes an instant expert on both creatures.
First shown: 12/18/88
Opening: After a complaint about the movies, Joel explains that he doesn’t control what movies are shown
Host segment 1: Joel changes Tom Servo’s voice. He’s very pleased
Host segment 2: Gypsy wants a new voice too. Joel explains again that Crow has been frozen. Gypsy has been snacking on decorations
Host segment 3: Joel and Tom offer birthday wishes to a young viewer
End: Joel and Tom preview the KTMA’s New Year’s Eve programming
• Leaving aside the theme song, this show contains the first mention of the Mads. There’s a kind of historic moment during the opening, as Cambot puts up a still from the opening theme, and the names of the Mads are spoken for the first time. It seems like Joel is laying the groundwork for the arrival of the Mads as actual characters.
• Joel’s comment about the Mads contradicts what he said in the opening segment of the previous episode. In that episode, Joel said that he “raided the movie library,” giving the impression that he, Joel, decided what movies they watch. In the Q&A, Joel admitted that, yes, they were “sloppy with the concept” in those early days.
• Trace is still away, so Crow is still frozen.
• Joel says “Your eyes won’t believe what your hands have done.” That’s the old Spirograph tag line.
• Servo is back in the theater for this episode. Note that Servo sits in Crow’s seat rather than his own.
• We seem to come in with the movie already under way but, just like last week, it’s just a teaser. Again, it was cut from the season three version.
• With this episode we get our first Sandy Frank comment.
• Let me just say: I hate Tom Servo’s new voice! Kidding. I’m sure it helped Josh that the new voice is much closer to his natural voice.
• Portions of segment 1 appear on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• The clip of Crow being frozen is shown again.
• In the theater, Joel shushes Tom twice!
• On the other hand, several times Joel is in mid-riff when Tom just blurts out a riff and interrupts him, something Trace called “runover.” Each time Joel, ever the Midwestern nice guy, stops talking and gives way to Tom. I think Josh was a little excited about his new voice. After Tom does this about four times, Joel covers his mic and saying something to Josh. Josh stops interrupting after that. In the Q&A, Joel admitted that something like that happened.
• Joel calls Servo “Josh” at one point. Servo calls Joel “Hodgie.”
• Movie stuff: Sometimes Gamera doesn’t have to spin to fly, though sometimes he does. Weird.
• Unlike Kenny in the previous episode, Itchy does seem to have a genuine relationship with Gamera. Why, I have no idea. Somebody in the comments suggested that the whole strange relationship between the kids and Gamera may be something that’s lost in translation.
• We had a weekend discussion thread about the dumbest schemes in MSTed movies. The whole “blood turntable” thing ranks right up there.
• The whole “Grandpa mooing” running joke is great.
• Fave riff: “Grandpa thinks he’s a saxophone now!”
As first announced in March, Retro-TV will begin showing MST3K episodes on Saturdays, starting July 5.
What is RetroTV? It’s one of those networks that sprang up after local TV affiliates were all required to go digital. It runs over-the-air on local affiliates’ digital sub-channels and low-power stations. Not to be confused with Me-TV and other similar services.
Since we announced this, there were some rights issues — dull surprise! — and the new lineup of episodes is:
103- The Mad Monster
105- The Corpse Vanishes
211- First Spaceship On Venus
301- Cave Swellers
303- Pod People
320- The Unearthly
323- The Castle of Fu Manchu
402- The Giant Gila Monster
409- The Indestructible Man
412- Hercules And The Captive Women
419- The Rebel Set
424- Manos: The Hands of Fate
504- Secret Agent Super Dragon
507- I Accuse My Parents
517- Beginning of the End
518- The Atomic Brain
610- The Violent Years
616- Racket Girls
619- Red Zone Cuba?
701- Night Of The Blood Beast
812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures…
908- The Touch of Satan
1002- Girl in Gold Boots
They have added: Cave Dwellers, Pod People, Secret Agent Super Dragon and Eegah!
Removed from the list are: Space Mutiny, Time Chasers, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank and Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders.
The schedule for the next two months:
July 5: The Mad Monster
July 12: The Corpse Vanishes
July 19: First Spaceship On Venus
July 26: The Unearthly
August 2: Cave Dwellers
August 9: Pod People
August 16: The Castle of Fu Manchu
August 23: The Giant Gila Monster
August 30: The Indestructible Man
Does Retro-TV have an affiliate in your area? Check here.
No affiliate in your area? Write/email all the TV stations in your area and ask them to add Retro-TV to their digital lineup.
Alert reader Cam suggests:
List some favorite silhouette moments, ranging from the purely visual shtick to those incorporating riffs. I am constantly discovering visual gags that I overlooked because I was watching the featured film itself.
My fave: In Magic Voyage of Sinbad, Crow returns from his lifelong quest thingy in hilarious fashion, flying across the screen from top left and crashing to the floor. Cracks me up every time.
Keep those topics comin’!
Joel will be a guest at the Albuquerque Comic Expo
and Devin O’Leary of the Weekly Alibi interviews Joel
ahead of the appearance.
Movie: (1965) In the first of a long-running Japanese movie series, a giant mutated turtle with super powers is accidentally revived from hibernation and, of course, attacks Japan. Meanwhile, young Kenny is fascinated by the beast.
First shown: 12/11/88
Opening: It’s Christmas time, and Crow has “volunteered” to be the SOL’s Christmas tree
Host segment 1: Servo is thankful he wasn’t frozen. A caller wants to know who does Joel’s hair
Host segment 2: Inspired by a caller, Gypsy does her Godzilla impression. Viewers are invited to take a Ted Turner quiz
Host segment 3: Callers offer opposing views on a Gamera fight, so Joel and Servo go to the video tape
End: Joel explains some Christmas traditions, then its time for carols.
• Joel watches the film by himself; as such, this episode contains what is surely the sparsest riffing in MST3K’s history. It’s not uncommon for Joel to go more than two minutes without making a single riff. Servo appears in the host segments, but there’s no explanation for why he does not join Joel in the theater. Trace was reportedly out of town during the shooting of this episode (and in the Q&A Josh suspected he had a standup gig at the time the theater scenes were being shot.
• This episode illustrates what seems to have been an incredibly casual situation with the show. Trace just couldn’t make it, so they wrote him out of the sketches, end of problem. You can hardly blame Trace. I think he was getting something like $35 an episode. Nothing to sneeze at, but not worth changing your holiday travel plans, either.
• That does not sound like Trace in the bit where he is frozen. It sounds like Josh. Which makes sense, since Trace wasn’t there.
• There’s a little teaser of Gamera mayhem at the beginning of the movie. They edited that out of the season 3 version.
• Without the support of Josh and Trace, Joel resorts to what he enjoys most, interacting with the screen. He does it a lot in this episode.
• Some may not remember, and kids may not be aware of, the whole kerfuffle in the late ’80s about Ted Turner colorizing classic black-and-white movies. Many movie buffs – Joel seems to have been one of them – were horrified at the project and he came in for much derision. He quietly backed off it after a while.
• Joel resorts to talking to himself. At one point Joel asks, to nobody in particular, “Would you consider that a plot device?”
• In these early episodes, many of the riffs are what Mary Jo later called “state park” jokes (i.e.: “That looks like a state park.” Not so much a joke as a simple observation).
• Questions for the movie: 1) So, the old eskimo is the latest in a long line of keepers of the ancient Gamera stone that’s been handed down in his tribe for thousands of years, and then these complete strangers show up in his village and he happily hands it over to them? (2) What’s with the scientist pretty much lying through his teeth when he vouches for the reporter? Is he just doing him and the lady researcher a favor so they can continue their tepid romance? He says the reporter guy has extensive knowledge of Gamera. What does he know that scientist guy and lady researcher don’t know? He never demonstrates any real knowledge of the situation, that I noticed. (3) Kenny thinks he has some sort of psychic connection with Gamera. But the movie never presents any evidence that this is the case. Yes, Gamera doesn’t kill Kenny when he has the chance, but that could just be luck.
• There’s a fun moment when Joel laughs heartily at the movie, when a scientist suggests that Gamera has “special organs that operate like a hydro-electric plant.”
• It’s pretty clear the two calls in segment 3 where made by the same person.
• Fave riff: “That could take years!”
This is right on the outside edge of on-topic for us, but MANOS – THE HANDS OF FELT, a puppet musical re-imagining of our favorite movie, “MANOS – The Hands of Fate”, is now available on DVD and digital download.
Visit puppetmanos.com for more information.
Sorry for the late notice on this but:
“Nerd Night Productions plans, produces and promotes events for the nerd and nerd-friendly in Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle and beyond. With the help of local businesses, friendly venues and talented performers, we create events for people who like things (aka “geeks”). #NerdNightOut is our semi-regular music & comedy geek-themed variety show, which has been featured in the Portland Mercury.”
Such an event will be held tonight, June 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Portland, Oregon, at The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell St., and one of the performers will be Bill. The evening will also be a CD release party for the sister duo The Doubleclicks. Other performers will include Molly Lewis, Shane Torres and Anthony Lopez.
More info here.