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Assignment: Venezuela

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Ven

Overview

Assignment: Venezuela is a 1956 short film that runs for 24 minutes produced by the Creole Petroleum Corporation, created to encourage American employees to work at their location(s) in Venezuela. (Creole was the Venezuelan subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, later renamed Exxon).

The short shows an American employee of the company arriving at Venezuela to work at the Lake Maracaibo oil fields. His narration serves as the letters he writes to his family. He learns about the country's historic background and sees the country's sights and its cities, which impress him with their modernity. He looks into a temporary housing complex while waiting for a house and learns Spanish while preparing for his family's eventual arrival.

The short was riffed for the unproduced Mystery Science Theater 3000 CD-ROM. A rough cut of the short was screened for a live audience at ConventioCon ExpoFest-A-Rama 2: Electric Boogaloo. Video of it has since surfaced online, and it was also included as a special feature on the Rhino Entertainment DVD of The Killer Shrews in the The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 7 collection.

Obscure References

  • "Sound Masters, screamin' mad at sound!"

A parody of the longtime advertising slogan of Rug Doctors: "Rug Doctors, steamin' [not "screaming"]'mad at dirt!"

  • "Music by Mel Bay!"

Mel Bay was a musician who created and published instruction books for guitar.

  • "He works for Creole Lady Marmalade."

A reference to the song "Lady Marmalade" by the group Labelle

  • "They thought I was Meyer Lansky."

​Meyer Lanksy was an American gangster associated with Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel. After Siegel was murdered, Lansky and his associates took over control of the Flamingo Casino and hotel in Las Vegas.

  • "It's just like Levittown honey, only better!"

Levittown , NY, was the first post-war "planned community" built. It set the benchmark for cheap, anonymous suburban housing by using identical architecture for all the houses built, creating a cookie-cutter lack of uniqueness.

  • "Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right."

​A bit of advice from the movie Apocalypse Now .

The Communist Party of Peru, better known as Sendero Luminoso in Spanish. It is a Maoist insurgent group widely condemned for its brutality.

  • "How-deeeee!"

The tagline of country comedian Minnie Pearl. The reference is probably suggested by the hat that our narrator's wife is wearing; Minnie Pearl's trademark was a large, garish hat with a pricetag still attached.

  • "Whoo doggie, gonna chop up some on-yon, some cheyenne peppa..."

Tom is imitating Cajun chef Justin Wilson.

Related Links

IMDB provides an overview of the original short here.

The MST3K version of the short is also on IMDB here

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