The latest annotated episode is 706- LASERBLAST
As always, if you have an addition or correction, please tell THEM in the comments over there, not in the comments here.
Riichiro Manabe, a Japanese film composer in the 1960s and ’70s, died January 29. He was 90.
MSTies will remember his music for the movie in episode 212- GODZILLA VS. MEGALON. In addition to the score, he also wrote the song “Godzilla and Jaguar, Punch Punch Punch!” or, as Joel and the Bots called it, “The Jet Jaguar Fight Song.”
He also scored “Godzilla vs. Hedorah” (a.k.a. “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster”). His Godzilla soundtracks have been alternately praised and criticized by fans for their offbeat, jazzy and sometimes psychedelic styles. His work on “The Miliatarists” (1970) is more highly regarded. He also made the music for Toho’s “Vampire Trilogy” (“The Vampire Doll,” “Lake of Dracula,” and “Evil of Dracula”) as well as films for prolific director Nagisa Oshima, such as “Naked Youth” (1960).
Thanks to our buddy Jay for the info.
Starring Lash LaRue at his Lash-iest. Stream or download here.
Alert reader Chris suggests:
Silly idea, but I wonder if MSTies formed bands, what classic riffs or lines from the films would they use to name their bands and songs? For instance, I think I’d call my band “Shut Up, Iris” and our signature tune would be “(Plenty of) Lip and Tongue Action.” I wonder what other MSTies might come up with?
Check out my new band, Shtemlo, and our hit, “Watch out for Snakes.”
What’s your pick?
MENLO PARK, CALIF.–Robert Blees, a writer and producer for film and television, died here Jan. 31. He penned the screenplays for “Magnificent Obsession” and “Autumn Leaves.” He was 96.
MSTies will recall him as the co-screenwriter of the movie in episode 113- THE BLACK SCORPION.
Variety has an obit.
Thanks to Paul for the heads up.
Shout!Factory, aka the coolest people ever, have launched another really cool thing: a streaming channel called ShoutFactoryTV
. I count 32 completely-free-to-watch episodes there along with, hooboy, all sorts of TV shows and movies and stuff (including all the Film Crew episodes in the “film” section!). ShoutFactoryTV.com is available on desktop or mobile browser and is also available through the Shout!Factory TV app on Roku.
Other ways to see MST3K:
Select annotated episodes on the MST3K Official YouTube channel.
If your local library offers videos through Hoopla, you can borrow free select episodes using your library card.
MST3K episodes are available for digital rental and purchase on a variety of outlets including iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox, and more.
Ain’t technology grand?
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.
• 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.
• 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.”
WOODLAND HILLS, CALIF.–Than Wyenn, a character actor whose long list of film and TV credits ranged from “Imitation of Life” and “Being There” to “Twilight Zone” and “Quincy, M.D.,” died Jan. 30 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home here. He was 95.
MSTies will remember him as Frank Johnson in the movie in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END.
Variety has an obit here.
Thanks to Duane for the heads up.
Also, several folks have alerted us to last week’s passing of poet Rod McKuen. McKuen was never mentioned by name in a host segment (we don’t think), so he’s not a MSTory person, but it’s worth mentioning at his passing that the lyrics to the song “Seasons in the Sun,” which he wrote, were quoted on several occasions on the show.
“Smoothie of Great Power” writes:
Joel/Mike and the bots had to witness some outright sleazy characters in the movies they riffed; both hero and villain. So it’s time to discuss who the outright sleaziest character witnessed in an MST3K movie.
My vote is definitely J.C. of Sidehackers due to his nearly homoerotic obsession with Rommel and outright physical and emotional abuse of his girlfriend. And yet, people still follow him! Let’s not even discuss the portions cut from the MST3K version as well.
My pick has got to be Dr. Bill Cortner, the “hero” of “THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE.” Few MSTed movie characters peg the squick needle as often as he does.
What’s your pick?