Tuesday, August 12, 2014

211 - First Spaceship on Venus

First Broadcast - 7 pm Saturday, Dec 29th 1990
Excellence Level: Bronze
Movie Pain: Low - Colorful sets, colorful characters
Riffing: A chuckle-fest
Skits: Ditto

Bouncing spiders, bubbling ooze, guys with "M's" on their scarlet sweaters... What does it all add up too? Pain - heapin' spoonfuls of pain:  From the fertile mind of Stanislaw Lem (Solaris) comes this futuristic morality tale. An international cast star in the story of astronauts sent to investigate a signal from Venus. They discover that the Venusians had planned an attack on earth, only to have it all backfire on them.

After a couple of solid opening salvos, I felt the hilarity of the riffing leveled off a bit. I got the warm fuzzies out of Joel trying to catch the credits, Crow’s clever Hitchcock imitation and the silly punch lines added to the dialog... "Have I changed that much?" - "Yeah, you used to be a Swedish man" - Sumika/Joel.  On the other hand, the toy ads quoted (mostly) by Joel ("Lite Brite", "Pop-A-Matic", etc); those bits are nostalgically fun, but not laugh-out-loud funny.

Host segments are fair. The visit from a gorilla is pretty stupid (though it warmly reinforces Joel's role as the father figure) and Servo's sarcasm got very annoying at the end. While the Kraft (Klack) commercial parody -a funny trip down memory lane- was my favorite. Also noteworthy, Tom and Crow build a bot that speaks in foam. The bits all seem random and out of the blue; right down to the final skit where Dr. Forrester is seen getting sick to his stomach. Maybe it was all that sentiment and cutesy chin rascals that got to him? Overall - I found the humor more cute and reminiscent than full out hysterical.

Of Note:  Comedian Gallagher takes a beating during the intro. The rumor/story behind this is that during a stand up show (before MST3K was born) Joel caught him riffling through his props without permission. Gallagher supposedly also knocked Joel for all the gimmicks he used (This coming from a prop comic?)

Host Segments
Intro: Joel adjusts Servo's sarcasm sequencer. Invention: Junk drawers, the mads find Abe Vigoda in theirs, Frank does his prop comic act. Segment 1: Tom and Crow show Joel their cool robot, which speaks in foam. Segment 2: The bots play match game and an ape suddenly appears. Segment 3: Klack food products. End: Tom's head explodes while discussing the film, Dr. F gets sick. Stinger: Alphabet wearing folk's wave goodbye.

Notable Riffs
* "Hugs and kisses, bunny." - Joel
* "Hello, this is the world. I'm not in right now..." - Crow
* "Sumika" - "I will as soon as I get a lawyer." - Brinkman/Crow
* "We are receiving you" - "But we can only hear your chin." - Astronaut/Crow
* "Mr. toothbrush, you're the only one who really understands me." - Joel as Brinkman
* "--and Brinkman..." "screamed like a baby when we flew off and left him." - Herringway/Joel
* "Good thing the Venusians could never get very far from the bathroom." - Crow
* "I'd say Mrs. Butterworth is going to have a lot of explaining to do" - Servo
*  "I'll be fine as soon as I scrape my butt off the ceiling" - Crow
* "Mmmm... French dressing. I love it." -Crow
* "Oh, everything's better in the crawlicopter..." - Servo
* "Oh, the Crawlicopter, that's your answer for everything." - Crow
* "There's an angry black gentleman on line one..." - Crow as the Lunar Switchboard Operator
* "The sphere is turning red!" "Well, wouldn't yours?" - Orloff/Tom Servo
* "This is our secret fort; we're gonna keep Chen Yu out." - Joel as Orloff
* "Would somebody shoot that turkey!?" - Servo

Riffs Explained 
"There's the Mars Snooper" - Joel
The Mars Snooper was a model rocket manufactured by Estes from 1963 to 1974

"The air, the air is everywhere" - Crow
This is a lyric from the song "Air", which can be heard in the musical "Hair".

Ed Herlihy is imitated by Kevin Murphy in the Klack host segment. Herlihy's mellifluous voice was heard on the old Kraft food commercials. You can also see him in the movie "Pee Wees Big Adventure", he played Francis' dad.

Stuff & Nonsense 
* This movie was based on the novel "The Astronauts" and was the first German sci-fi film made after World War II.

* The female reporter was played by Eva Maria Hagen. Who is the mother of new wave - punk rocker Nina Hagen. 

* That naughty Servo... there's a scene early in the film where he takes a peek down the reporters blouse. Joel stops him. And later on, Tom steals a kiss.

Available on DVD: Volume 13

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