Thursday, January 5, 2012

MST3K: Episode 103 - The Mad Monster

I have begun the task of watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. More about that can be found here and here.

Episode 103: The Mad Monster

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 2 December 1989
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon(Volume 14), Shout Factory (Volume 14), Best Brains (Volume 14)

The 3rd official episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 had some gags reused from the KTMA season during the Invention Exchange. Joel reused his Hell in a Handbag gag from Episode K16: City on Fire.
Hell in a Handbag (KTMA)Hell in a Handbag (Season 1)
For their part of the Invention Exchange, the Mads had a variation on Joel's fire-breathing dinosaur from Episode K21: The Legend of Dinosaurs.
Fire-breathing dino toy (KTMA)Fire-breathing dino toy (Season 1)
They also recycled a host segment from Episode K11 - Humanoid Woman that had Tom Servo hitting on the blender.
Servo hits on a blender (KTMA)Servo hits on a blender (Season 1)
About this movie. (*Sigh*) The sound on the movie is terrible. The music score is sparse and the sound is poor. It reminds me of an early 1930s movie. The riffing is good, but the movie just seems to drag. The short, another episode of the Republic Pictures serial Radar Men from the Moon was great. Lots of action and silly stuff for the crew to poke fun at. And poke they did. The feature film, though, was a drag.

The monster ("Petro," though I thought it was "Pedro" until I saw the closing credits) in the movie is played by Glenn Strange. Though he played Frankenstein's Monster in three films -- including Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and House of Frankenstein (with Boris Karloff) -- he's probably best known for his role as Sam Noonan, the bartender at the Long Branch Saloon on Gunsmoke.
Glenn Strange as PetroGlenn Strange (L) as Sam Noonan on Gunsmoke
One other thing about Glenn Strange. Since the family of Boris Karloff owns rights to his image, including him in Frankenstein's Monster makeup, most of the images of the Monster that the studio used in promotions were of Glenn Strange as the Monster. You've probably seen more Glenn Strange-Monster images than Boris Karloff-Monster images without realizing it.

About 2/5 way through the episode, Joel responds to something Servo said with "Good one, Crow," mixing up the names of the Bots. It seemed to be an actual mistake, not scripted for Joel to mix them up. Whether it was a mistake, or an ad-lib, or what, it was left in. Whatever, it does make it seem like friends just riffing on a movie. And that's a good thing.

The crew is still making little tweaks, but the format is generally set. So far, all the episodes have opened with the Mad Scientists. The format I'm familiar with has the show opening, then Joel (or Mike) & the Bots do a little skit, commercial, then back to J/M&tB who then get a call from the Mads.

I'll be watching for that change to take place.

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