Thursday, January 26, 2012

MST3K: Episode 204 - Catalina Caper

I've decided to watch all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes from the beginning. More about that can be found here and here.

Episode 204: Catalina Caper

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 13 October 1990
Availability: Amazon (Volume 1), Rhino (Volume 1/out of print),

"Jacques Cousteau meets the Pink Panther"
This was one of the first episodes released on DVD. It was part of the first multi-pack DVD sets, following the first 10 single DVD releases. The set is no longer available commercially. It was also the first of the MST3K episodes to have the rights to the movie expire, and, therefore, the first one to have to come out of rotation.

This episode is one that I didn't see when it first aired, or in reruns. I never saw it until it came out on DVD. Netflix had it on disc once, but no longer. This one is hard to find.

When I first saw it -- before I began this whole "watch 'em all in order" project -- I was mildly amused by it. Since, at the time, I was still used to the later crew -- Mike, Kevin, Bill, & Mary Jo -- it was a different experience. Watching it now, after two years of the original crew (KTMA and Season One), I'm able to see it without the shock of a different cast.

Tom Servo sings "Creepy Girl"
In this episode, Joel has gone back to a red jumpsuit, after three episodes in a teal outfit. I didn't understand the move to teal, since the opening song mentions that he's "just another face in a red jumpsuit," so the change back to red makes sense.

It's a movie form the 1960s. And the first Host Segment during the film featured Joel telling the Bots about the '60s. He pretty much nailed it. Joel and I are around the same age (he's 19 months younger), so he remembers pretty much the same stuff I remember.

Kevin has his first feature segment. Tom Servo sings a song called "Creepy Girl." It's hilarious. I hadn't seen it before. But it's great.
Yes, that's Little Richard

Little Richard is in the film. Really. Like the Bots said, he's the only talent in the film. Naturally, his backing band is the Pat Boone Orchestra. Not really. But it could be. Could have been worse; we could have had Richard Dreyfuss singing "Hey Little Goldfish" to a dolphin.

The movie is a light-hearted affair about a robbery in Catalina. Of course, with a title like Catalina Caper, you'd figure that, right. There is a lot of eye candy in the film.

This is the first comedy the crew has attempted. Which means it's funny when it isn't funny and they point out how unfunny the funny is. The film actually has a plot: there's a theft of a priceless artwork, a double-cross, and a bunch of teens dancing on the beach. What the teens dancing on the beach have to do with the main plot isn't clear, but it doesn't matter; it's the point, I think.

"They're standing four abreast."
This isn't a great episode, but a good one. It's certainly not a bad episode. Not an episode with lots of laugh out-loud funny bits, but there are a few chuckles.

In The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Mike Nelson -- the MST3K Head Writer, not the character played by Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt -- says that by the time they had watched this film for the last time, they hated it, even more than they hated The Side Hackers.

They get in a "Hai Kiba" (or is it "Hi Keeba?") in this one, but not during a pratfall. It makes an appearance during a dance scene.

Trace (as Crow) does a couple of Robin Williams impressions. He's pretty good at it, actually.

On, and a catchphrase appears to have graduated to the next level. The "By this time my lungs were aching for air" riff -- said in the style of Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt fame -- was attempted twice, but each time was cut off by the others. The riff is no longer the joke; the saying of the riff is now the joke.

Joel says "MSTies" during the final segment. It's the earliest episode in which I recall him using that term to refer to fans of MST3K.

One other thing... during the Invention Exchange, the Mads introduce their "Tank Tops" ... made from real tanks! And Joel shows the Tickle Bazooka with the Mirth Mortar. We'll see those again.

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