Thursday, August 14, 2014

322 - Master Ninja

First Broadcast - 10 am Saturday, Jan 11 1992
Excellence Level: Silver
Movie Pain: Low - Dopey but harmless TV action
Riffing: Solid, good humor
Skits: Same as above

2 episodes of the short lived TV show, "The Master" are presented as our "Movie". Stars Lee Van Cleef and his obvious stunt double as the Ninja, and Timothy Van Patten -with his garbled lines spoken as if he had a cold- as his student. Together the two save the down trodden, all while searching for Lee's long lost daughter.

I felt this experiment was a bit unsteady; there are some excellent quips but they're sprinkled amid a few clunkers. Part 1 guest stars a young Demi Moore and the rump-riffic Claude Akins. But it's the second half of the show -where the duo take on the Japanese mob- that made me laugh the most. Cleef bonding with a fellow baldy, those precious dancing scenes; both trigger some sharp comments. Later, Joel uses the "Knights of Columbus" as a riff source and promises "7 years bad acting" when Max breaks a mirror. Also, watch closely when the Master and the dancer cross on the tight wire; Crow does his best to bite their life line in half, lol.

As to the host segments, I enjoyed the "Van Patten Project" and The Pop-Up classic book series (I would have loved to have seen what was in the "Naked Lunch").

Though not consistent enough to be considered a classic, "Master Ninja" did give us Crow's outstanding 'Van Patten' imitation. Which we will be blessed with again in other episodes (For example: City Limits).

Host Segments
Intro: The bots build a car. Invention: Dr. F & Frank show the Boil in a Bag Intravenous Dinner. Joel offers Pop Up Books for adults. Segment 1: The Van Patten Project. Segment 2: Musical themes. Segment 3: New and improved 'chucks. End: The Master Ninja Theme, Frank smothers Dr. F. Stinger: Timothy speaks. "To them it's some kind of ritual"

Notable Riffs
"John Peter McCalister, the only occidental American to ever become..." - "Ms. Japan." - Max/Crow
"Okay Elvis, we know you're in there" - Joel
"Oh - Those IUD's are dangerous." - Crow
"What'll it be?" - "At one time a Singapore Sling would have been the only answer." - "Now I want a Peanut Buster Parfait." - Bartender/Van Cleef/Servo
"What, you don't think I've got emotions?" - "Too many of them." -"Heck, you're practically Leo Bascallia" - Max/Van Cleef/Joel
"You know black is so slimming, you can't even see his gut anymore." - Joel
"What kind of skull wax do you use?" - Crow
"He must be using selective gas." - Crow
"Scarecrow" - "Scare Me?" - Joel & Servo/Crow
"You Know I Like A Nice Foppish Dance!" - Joel
"Ha ha ha ha... We're bald and we're bonding!" - Joel
"Hey, you got enough sticks in your drawers there?" - Joel
"I hear his theme music, he's around here somewhere." - Crow
"I hope she's into big-assed medallions." - Servo as Van Cleef
"The tranquility of post-war Japan?" - Joel
"This is from my 1935 film "The Prancing Ninny"" - Servo as Mr. Patterson
"Daddy, there's a boy outside. His name is Wang" - Joel
"I'm a Ninja Warrior" - Crow
"He's dancing with Ziggy Stardust" - Servo
"Uh oh - I just passed wind in my suit. I ask you, as a point of honor, give me a second." - Servo as Okasa
"You know, say what you want, but Claude Akins has a nice rump." - Joel
"Henry: Portrait of a Serial Gerbil."
"You know, everybody's gonna know he's a ninja if they play that theme every time he goes somewhere." - Joel

Riff Explained
"That's not dancing"- "That's typing" - Jill/Crow
This is in reference to a statement author Truman Capote made of Jack Kerouac's work... "That isn't writing at all, it's typing"

"Scarecrooow!" - Servo/Joel
This is a song sung in the Disney film "Dr. Syn: Alias the Scarecrow" (For info on the character Click Here)

"They're up on the wire - half is flame, half is fire" - Joel
Oops, Joel got the lyrics to this Leon Russell song (Tightrope) wrong. The actual words are - I'm up on the tight wire one side's ice and one is fire.

Stuff and Nonsense
* The first episode was directed by Robert Clouse, best known for the Bruce Lee epic, "Enter The Dragon"

* As funny as the title sounds, "The Dancing Pirate" (1936) was a real movie and it did star Charles Collins (Charlie Patterson), who really was a Broadway and film actor/dancer (BTW: Willis O'Brien -"Black Scorpion"- did the photographic effects for "Pirate"). Charles died in March, 2004 at the age of 95.

* During the movie, Crows basket falls off. His response? A quiet, "Ouch".

Available on DVD: Volume 20

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