Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MST3K: Episode 524 - 12 to the Moon

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 524: 12 to the Moon

First aired: Comedy Central on 5 February 1994
Availability: MST3KVideos.com Fan Copy

Why 12? Why not?
If I told you that 12 to the Moon was the best film that Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever included in an episode, what would you think?

You'd think I was a liar or just plain crazy. Either would be right.

So I won't tell you that. I'll let you come to that conclusion on your own. And, if you do, then you're either a liar or just plain crazy.

Oh, it's not the worst movie they did. But it's definitely a bad one.

It's directed by David Bradley, who also directed Madmen of Mandoras. You may know that film under another title. They added some footage and repackaged it as They Saved Hitler's Brain. I'm sure that tells you all you want to know about The Talented Mr. Bradley.
The moon is for lovers.It's also dangerous.
But, there's more to the talent behind this film. Writer Fred Gebhardt also wrote The Phantom Planet. And three of the stars of this movie also appeared in The Phantom Planet: Richard Weber, Anthony Dexter, and Francis X. Bushman. We'll get to that film in Season Nine.

For now, let's look at this steaming pile of move.

Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon. I hope my legs don't break, walking on the moon.
The International Space Something Something launches a rocket to the moon piloted by Stewpot from South Pacific and a crew of stereotypes from across the globe and a puppy and some kitties and some monkeys and other critters but they encounter dangers along the way such as caramel popcorn asteroids, but they get through it all just fine and return to their lawn furniture scattered about the 4800 square foot capsule and make it to the moon safe and sound where all twelve go for a walk and discover there's air inside the caves, along with quicksand and steam, and some of them even survive the exploration of the surface, but then beings who live in Moon Valley sent a text message written in Roswell language to the ship and told them they were dangerous and to return to earth but leave the cats, so they did, but they had trouble trying to get away, so the Jewish guy and his son-of-a-Nazi friend sacrifice themselves to help the ship escape, and everybody is saved, except for those that died. Oh, and the cats. The end.

Can't we all just get along? Before we die horribly in a rocket explosion on the moon?We find out that the Moon People are fascinated with pussy. (Yes, those are cats.)
It's bad film, as you can tell, in the "future as it used to be" mold. Rockets that look like rockets when they blast off, then turn into Buck Rogers rockets with more fins than a 1959 Cadillac. Space ship interiors about the size of the top floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Space suits that wouldn't protect you from a fart, much less the vacuum of space.
Mike Nelson was in the Tea Party from way back.Frank likes the idea of Dr. Forrester roasting ... in hell!
Yes, it's perfect for MST3K. And the riffing is nearly perfect. But there's more to this episode than the riffing and the movie. A lot more.

There are a couple of throw-away sketches, like Mike attending a tea party thrown by Gypsy. It doesn't go well. There's the roast of Dr. Forrester that starts mean then goes downhill. And, there's the tennis match with the Bots.
You could say the short film is the star.Or, you could say the star of the short film is the star.
But, the highlight has to be the short film. Design for Dreaming is a short film by General Motors, featuring Tad (Thelma) Tadlock as a woman whisked away to the 1956 GM Motorama where she is amazed by all the great cars and the appliances in GM subsidiary (in 1956) Frigidaire's Kitchen of the Future.
Nuveena invites Mike to come away with her.Mike rejects Nuveena after she uses the Bots as kitchen appliances.
The woman from the short film is given a name during a Host Segment. Nuveena appears on the SOL and invites Mike to go with her to the world of the future. He agrees, but changes his mind after getting fed up with all of her quirks, like having to sing to communicate and thinking every machine (Tom, Crow, Gypsy) is a kitchen appliance.

The inside joke is that Michael J. Nelson is married to Bridgett Jones, who played Nuveena.

Lots of funny. Both a short and a feature that offer visions of the future that just didn't happen. Everything clicked.

I hope this one gets released on video soon. My fan copy is of good quality, but I would love to have a commercial release. This is a good episode. Season Five ended on a very high note.

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