Monday, January 9, 2012

MST3K: Episode 106 - The Crawling Hand

If you've been following along, I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. More about that here and here.

Episode 106: The Crawling Hand

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 16 December 1989
Availability: Amazon DVD, Rhino (out of print),

This was the first episode to open with the doors closing on the "Spaghetti Ball" logo and the backwards trip down the hallway. The first four faded out then faded in on the Mad Scientists in Deep 13. This show, though, began the standard of the doors closing and Joel appearing before the Mad Scientists.

Joel in the opening segment. And in his house robe.
During the KTMA season, the doors closed at the conclusion of the opening theme and would either show Joel on the Satellite of Love, or fade out after Door #1 closed and fade in on the Mads in their lair.

It looks like that they realized that, despite the Mads controlling things, the stars are actually Joel & the Bots. Although, again, as in the previous episode, the Bots are not in the opening and are already in the theater when Joel enters.

This is also the first episode with an actual separate introduction rather than a combined Intro/Invention Exchange. Joel uses the time to explain the premise to people who weren't paying attention during the opening theme song.

It is also the first appearance of the Magic Voice, which counts down the time to "Commercial Sign."

The retreads continue. J&tB do the "Joel wants to play" routine from Episode K14 - Might Jack.

Joel wants to play, the Bots don't (KTMA)Joel wants to play, the Bots don't (Cable)
They also reused the giant hand prop from Episode K21 - The "Legend of Dinosaurs" in a totally different context.
Giant hand prop (KTMA)Giant hand prop (Cable)
Let me add this about the retreads. They were originally shown only on a local station in Minneapolis. The whole country didn't get to see them. Had they not redone the skits or repurposed the props, the nation (save the MST3K fans in 1989 Minneapolis) would have missed out.

The movie was okay. The crew ripped Alan Hale, Jr. mercilessly, which I thought was a shame. He played the serious role just fine, I thought. I'd have preferred if they had continued the Gilligan's Island references, rather than insult his acting. Alan Hale, Jr. appeared in hundreds of TV shows and movies other than Gilligan's Island, in both comedic and serious roles, playing good guys and villains. He was a character actor, and, I thought, a darn good one. The Skipper may have been the role for which he was best known, but it didn't showcase his talent.

Having said that, he did appear in stinkers like The Crawling Hand, so he is fair game. I just thought they had too much mean. Alan Hale, Jr. died 17 days after this episode first aired. Now who feels bad?

One bit I noticed and particularly enjoyed was when the teen lead in the movie, Paul (Rod Lauren), speaks into a microphone and Crow's comment makes Joel laugh. That makes it seem more like a bunch of friends sitting around the screen, making fun of a movie. Which, it was.

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