Wednesday, January 25, 2012

MST3K: Episode 203 - Jungle Goddess

I am attempting to watch all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that can be found here and here.

Episode 203: Jungle Goddess

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 6 October 1990

For the 6th time in the last 8 episodes, we're encountering one that's never been available commerically. Most of Season One and Season Two are or have been available on DVD. We're just in a stretch of mostly never-released episodes.

Remote-controlled circular saw
The copy I have is from a broadcast on Comedy Central. That's based on the original Comedy Central logo in the corner. That means it's from 1991, 1992, or 1993. There is no Penn Gillette voice-over at the end, which indicates it's from late 1991 (after the change to Comedy Central and before Gillette began his announcing duties), or late 1993 (after Gillette was no longer the announcer). Of course, it could be that there was simply no voice-over, which means it's anywhere in that 2-year stretch.

My copy has a problem with the sound. By the end of the episode, the sound is slightly out-of-sync with the picture. It isn't noticeable unti a little over half-way through, and then, just barely so. By the end of the episode, though, there's no question that the picture and sound are not quite in sync.

The quality of the image isn't bad. That's a little hard to tell, since the image quality of both the movie and the short are terrible. But, during the Host Segments, the picture is much clearer, though obviously a recording from a broadcast.

The Invention Exchange features a gag I had never seen before: Joel did a remote-control circular saw gag. Not sure how he did, or would have done, that live. Funny, though.

Bad Robot
After getting used to Josh Weinstein as Tom Servo, I'm now getting used to Kevin Murphy (again) as the voice of Tom Servo.

For the first time since the Commando Cody film broke, we have a short film. This is part 1 of 12 of The Phantom Creeps., starring Bela Lugosi.

Why the way, Kevin does the best Bela Lugosi imitation. Or maybe it's Joel. Bela Lugosi does a pretty good one, too, by the way.

The short features the stupidest looking robot ever. Well, excluding Buck Rogers and other 1970s TV shows. But those were meant for kids. This is meant to scare adults. It doesn't.

The Great White Hunters of the film
They do another Yul Brynner reference in the short. When the mad doctor (Bela Lugosi) and his driver pick up a hitchhiker, they run off the road shortly afterwards. Doctor/Bela and the driver survive, but not the hitchhiker. That's when they say "I'm dead now. Don't hitchhike."

This is also the short film where Lugosi utters the line, "How fortunate. This simplifies everything!" We'll hear that line again.

On to the movie. It's bad. Really bad. No, really. It's bad. The image quality is horrible, and the sound is bad. It's not the recording of the episode, because, as I mentioned, the host segments look and sound just fine.

Mike Nelson appears in another skit. This time, he's a Great White Hunter, based on the George Reeves character in the movie, coming to visit the Satellite of Love. That's three straight episodes where he makes an appearance. Looks like the promotion came with screen time.

"Looks like they all just got out of the shower." "Yeah, and they're on a snipe hunt.""It's Ginger and Mary Ann!"
I began watching the show regularly after Mike took over. But I had seen some of the episodes with Joel. One thing I remember from the Mike years was Pearl Forrester (Dr. Forrester's mom) calling Crow by the name "Art." I knew his name was Crow T. Robot, so I just figured it was a gag where Pearl didn't know his name and they quit bothering to try to correct her. Not so.

At the end of this episode, there's a sitcom skit, and when they finish, Joel does introductions like Jackie Gleason did at the end of his show. He introduces "Art Crow" and "Sheila MacGypsy" in the manner Gleason introduced Art Carney ("Ed Norton") and Sheila MacRae (the 3rd and final "Alice Kramden").

In a later episode, this will be referenced again when ... well, if you don't know the story, we'll cover it when we get to it.

Good riffing throughout. This is the classic MST3K crew: Joel, Trace/Crow, and Kevin/Tom. Though more changes in the cast will come, for the next few seasons, this will be the cast. Not the cast I was used to, but the one I'm used to now.

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