Thursday, August 21, 2014

602 - Invasion, USA

With Short: A Date With Your Family

First Broadcast - 7 pm Saturday, July 23rd 1994
Excellence Level: Tin Foil
Movie Pain: High - Wearisome propaganda
Riffing: Induced mostly smiles though the short is great
Skits: (Most are) Wildly Funny

A spooky guy swirls his drink then "Wha-la" - Suddenly a group of complacent Americans find themselves sitting around a bar, watching a Russian invasion on TV. Critic Hedda Hopper said of this film, "It will scare the pants off you!" And she was right. After this movie was over I suddenly found myself pantless. Weird. Actually, Invasion is dull to the Nth degree; and its plot device of coercion through mind manipulation angered me. The only thing it has to offer is the joy of having two Lois Lanes (Phyllis Coats and Noel Neill) in the same scene

Riffing on the feature stirred mostly low-key reactions - I wasn't rolling with laughter. The host segments on the other hand, are memorable and did get me rolling: Mike’s not so successful attempt to build a bot, Crow's riotous reaction to his "Wire Mother", Meal time on the SOL and Crow's lecture on Lois Lane are the winners (while the visit from the Bomb was an epic fail) 

The real highlight of this experiment though is the short, "A Date With Your Family". Which offers valuable advice on how to squelch your emotions and follow regimented rules during mealtime. Brilliant stuff. Also check out this episodes stinger, it's one of my favorites.

Host Segments
Intro: Mike builds an evil robot. Segment 1: Frank dressed as a pin cushion, a Dr. F doll and Crows mother. Segment 2: Dinner on the SOL. Segment 3: The two Lois Lanes. Segment 4: A visit from the bomb. End: Life is but a dream? Tom thinks so. Stinger: A Paperboy goes into a bar...

Notable Riffs
Date Riffs
* "A Date With your Family, the Woody Allen Story." - Servo
* "A violent argument erupts over whose day was more pleasant." - Servo
* "Hey, I like my family as a friend" - Mike
* "Brother runs a boy cleaning service on the side" - Crow
* "Brother has a tight psychological grip on junior" - Mike
* "What you are watching now should have been edited in the final version. My apologies"
* "Emotions are for ethnic people" - Crow
* "Dad, I'm dating a Negro" - Servo
* "Father feigns eating, draws junior out then disowns him" - Mike
* "Be sure no one knows the real you"
* "Junior seats Dad, and sister seats the dog, and the dog..." - Crow
* "He won't spend a lot of time on the phone" - "He's Mute." - Narrator/Mike

Invasion Riffs
* "This is how my mom dropped me off to school, every day" - Mike on parachuters
* "He's always bragging about his huge stocks." - Mike
* "I'm torn between mourning my boyfriend and subscribing to Marxist dogma." - Servo as Carla
* "You know what the fellow says, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" - "It's not that funny when it's true, Ed." - Guy in Bar/Crow
* "Breakfast at Harry's bar. Corn Flakes with gin." - Servo
* "As your President, allow me to apologize for not having seen this invasion coming" - Crow
* "World War Three separates the serious drinkers from the amateurs" - Servo
* "Boy when that doll wets..." - Mike
* "At least everyone who lived through the Blitz can rest assured it's been immortalized as filler for this movie" - Mike
* "And when you pledge to the Soviet Union, you get this nifty tote bag" - Servo
* "OK folks, drink up. Hallucinations over"
* "Hey bartender, what's this woman doing in my drink?"
* "Do you come to this war often?" - Servo

Riff Explained
"The Hat Squad consoles her" - Crow
The LAPD Hat Squad of the 1940s and '50s were four detectives who wore expensive fedoras and matching suits. Feared and respected, the hard nosed squad is said to have discouraged visiting gangsters by meeting them at the airport and beating the wanderlust out of them. Two of the detectives later became Judges and the foursome have been the subjects of several movies and a TV show.

Mantis? Mike says then when the camera focuses on a Russian in a jet. The actor in that scene wore headgear that made him look a little like a superhero named M.A.N.T.I.S. Created by Sam Raimi and Batman's Sam Hamm, this made for TV film aired in Jan of 1994, a few months before Invasion USA made its MST début.

Stuff and Nonsense
In addition to the two Lois Lanes in "Invasion, U.S.A." the short features the first on screen teenage Clark Kent. Ralph Hodges (Son) played a young Clark in the 1948 Superman serial. Noel Neill was Lois in that series. Ralph also can be seen in Sidney Poitier's screen debut "No Way Out". He played Terry. The photo is how Mr. Hodges looks today.

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