Thursday, August 28, 2014

912 - The Screaming Skull

With Short: Robot Rumpus

First Broadcast - 5 pm Saturday, Aug 29th 1998
#97 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Silver
Movie Pain: High - I love Mickey, but Peggy Webber's the ultimate buzz-kill
Riffing: Solid, good humor w/superb short
Skits: Wildly funny for the most part

Decent riffing on a grey, boring flick about a scowly faced woman who is haunted by her husbands former (and deceased) wife. Despite the offer of a free casket should one die of fright while watching this movie; the thrills mostly consist of long scenes of scowling girl simply sitting and listening to things! Chilling isn't it. Key figure is Mickey the Gardner, a classic MST3K type character along the lines of Torgo & Ortega. 
The short, "Robot Rumpus", is a "laugh so hard you'll wet your pants" Gumby episode that will stand in history as one of MST3K's best and brightest moments! It's a very short short, but M&TB make every minute count.
Nice host segments include the Bots hysterical Gumbesque play and Crow's skull, frightening Mike and taking a golf club to the noggin for his trouble.

Of Note: This is included in Shout Factory's "Turkey Day" set and features a cute Introduction from Joel, Crow (Trace) and Servo (Josh) in which they they try to quiet some screaming skulls. It's fun, if only for the chance to see what this trio would have come up with for a Host Segment.

Host Segments
Intro: Servo has become a butterfly. Segment 1: Pearl, Brain guy and Bobo play a trick on M&TB. Get those penguin costumes on! Segment 2: Inspired by Gumby, the bots do their own dark version of the short. Segment 3: The bots call for a free coffin. Segment 4: Crow's screaming skull scares Mike. End: The bots coffin arrives, and Bobo tries to pull another joke on M&TB. Stinger: Throwing a chair at the ex-wife.

Notable Riffs
Gumby Riffs
* "That squares my breasts'." - Crow as Ma Gumby
* "Uh-Oh!" - "My Tail is lifting." - Pokey/Mike
* "I'm going to glaze your backside, young man!" - Servo as Gumbo
* "One of my classmates died in the kiln today, mother! - Crow as Gumby
* "Don't you worry your squishy little head about it." - Servo as Gumby
* "Mom threatened to make me into a bowl!" - Mike as Gumby
* "Son, I'll need a can of Playdoh to replace my butt." - Mike as Gumbo
* "Hey don't, that's "Wallace and Grommit's" yard." - Crow
* "Hey, you can throw things through Dad! I'm going to get an anvil." - Mike as Gumby
* "Davy and Goliath are moving next door, there goes the neighborhood." - Mike

Screaming Riffs
* "Remember folks, if you die of boredom, you do not get a free coffin. Sorry" - Crow
* "Yup, when you think of shocking horror, you think of German Oompah band music." - Crow
* "Yes, shocking horror arrives in style in you're 1953 Mercedes" -Servo
* "Here, have a stick, honey." - Mike as Eric
* "Now, how did she lose them?" - "She set them on top of the car and drove off" - Mrs. Snow/Servo on how Jenny's parents died
* "The movie that dares to graphically depict sometimes seeing peacocks and sometimes not seeing peacocks." - Mike
* "They're just like children" - "Children love to hang drapes" - Mrs. Snow/Crow
* "The skull got a pack of squirrels to knock on the door and run." - ??
* "You know, the gospel speaks of losers like you." - Mike as Rev. Snow
* "Mickey, the wide awake nightmare." - Crow
* "Well, apparently he killed a cross-dressing bee keeper as well." - Servo
* "You mustn't go on thinking like this" - "You'll burn out your head" - Eric/Mike
* "GET A BOX!" - Crow, as Mickey fumbles with pots
* "Maybe he hired a cat to walk him around" - Crow (Explaining how the skull moves)
* "Martin Luther's nailing each Thesis individually." - Mike
* "Should I consider that my employee review?" - Servo as Mickey after getting smacked around.
* "Then a lion jumped out and shot her; at least that's what Eric said." - Crow as Rev. Snow explaining Marion's death
* "It's alright..." "Uncle Lady is here for you." - Mrs. Snow/Crow

Riff Explained
"BreKekekekex Koax Koax" - Servo
This is spoken near the beginning of the feature and comes from the Greek comedy by Aristophanes called "The Frogs" (Athens, 405 B.C.). Reading through the play, one discovers that "fart jokes" were considered funny even in ancient Greece!
Special thanks to Afgncaap5 for identifying the source of this riff.

Stuff and Nonsense
* Mickey was portrayed by Alex Nicol, who also directed this flick as well as episodes of the "Wild, Wild West" and acted in several classic TV shows (Outer Limits, as Stocker in "Moonstone").

* Peggy Webber has had a long and full career. She played a Witch and Lady Macduff in Orson Welles "Macbeth:, was a member of Jack Webbs acting troupe and appeared as Ma Friday in Dragnet. She could also be heard doing voicework for the Smurfs series (Farmer & Elderbery Smurf). In 1984, fueled by her love for radio drama, she founded the California Artists Radio Theater (CART).

Released on DVD: Volume 31

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