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First Spaceship on Venus

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211 - First Spaceship on Venus
Air Date December 29, 1990
MST3K Director Jim Mallon
Running Time 130 min.
AKA Der Schweigende Stern (East Germany);
Milczaca Gwiazda (Poland)
Movie Director Kurt Maetzig
Year 1960
Cast Yoko Tani, Oldrick Lukes, Ignacy Machowski
Preceded by 210 - King Dinosaur
Followed by 212 - Godzilla vs. Megalon

(Prof. Sikarna gives a long boring exposition)

"Well, that's very interesting, but does it belong in the script?"

  — Crow

The Movie



First Spaceship on Venus

The film begins in 1985, when engineers involved in an industrial project to irrigate the Gobi Desert accidentally unearth a mysterious and apparently artificial "spool". When found to be made of a material unknown on Earth, the spool is circumstantially linked to the Tunguska explosion of 1908. The "spool" is seized on as evidence that the explosion, originally blamed on a meteor, was actually caused by a spaceship. Professor Harringway deduces the alien craft must have come from Venus. The spool itself is determined to be a flight recorder, and partially decoded by an international team of scientists led by Professor Sikarna and Dr. Tchen Yu. When radio greetings sent to Venus go unanswered, Harringway announces that a journey to Venus is Earth's only alternative. The recently completed Soviet spaceship Cosmostrator I (Kosmokrator in the original), intended to voyage to Mars, is redirected to Venus, a 30–31 day trip. During the voyage, Sikarna works furiously to translate the alien message on the disc using the ship's computer.

When the ship nears Venus, radio interference from that planet cuts the crew off from Earth. By then, Sikarna's efforts lead to a stunning discovery—the spool describes a Venusian plan to irradiate the Earth's surface, with the extermination of mankind being the prelude to an invasion. Rather than a "cosmic document" as had been expected, the spool bears a cold-blooded message of destruction. Harringway convinces the crew to press on towards Venus rather than return to Earth with news that would cause panic.


With the ship's robot Omega, American astronaut Brinkman pilots a one-man landing craft. On the ground, he encounters an industrial complex and finds small recording devices that look like insects. The rest of the crew follows when Cosmostrator lands, but find no Venusian life forms. Journeying across the planet, they find the remains of a deserted and blasted city centered around a huge crater—signs of a catastrophic explosion so intense, shadowy forms of humanoid Venusians are permanently burned into the walls of surviving buildings. While the Venusians are gone, their machines remain functioning, including the radiation-bombardment machine intended for Earth. One of the scientists accidentally triggers the radiation weapon, leading to a frantic effort by the Earthmen to disarm it. Tchen Yu lowers Talua—the ship's communication officer—into the Venusian command center. When Tchen Yu's suit is punctured, Brinkman goes out to save him. Before he can reach Yu, Talua succeeds in reversing the radiation weapon. Unfortunately, this reverses the planet's gravitational field, flinging Cosmostrator into space. Brinkman is also repelled off the planet, beyond reach by Cosmostrator, while Talua and Tchen Yu remain marooned on Venus. The surviving crew members return home, where they warn the people of Earth about the danger of atomic weapons. [1]


  • The film was based on a novel by noted Eastern Bloc sci-fi novelist Stanislaw Lem, better known for the novel Solaris, on which the 1972 Russian film (and 2002 American remake) was based. [2]
  • In the 1962 USA release version, on the film soundtrack, in a scene in the control room of the Kosmostrator rocket, we hear a music track titled "In Outer Space" from Destination Moon (1950) by Leith Stevens, and later in the movie, in the scenes of eerie destruction of the Venusian city, we hear a music track titled "Metaluna Catastrophe" from This Island Earth (1955) by Herman Stein. Both of these uses of music were uncredited and unlicensed, and unauthorized by the copyright holders.
  • In the original German version, "Brinkman(n)" isn't American but East German, and the "Durand" character is a Soviet cosmonaut by the name of "Prof. Arsenjew" (Arsenyev), "the man who steered the first rocket to the moon".
  • In the US version of this film, several pieces of music from the The Wolf Man (1941) can be heard in multiple scenes throughout the movie.
  • The German version contains a reference to one of the professors having his career stalled when he was thrown out of the university by the Nazis. Director and co-writer Kurt Maetzig had his career stalled by the Nazis because his mother was Jewish.
  • This large scale East German-Polish co-production was the first to be shot in the Totalvision widescreen process.
  • Although it was a co-production with a Polish company, it was still the most expensive production for DEFA up to that time.
  • The writing process involved 3 writing teams and 12 screenplays before a final script was acceptable to the studio and the government.
  • At one point DEFA intended to establish a co-production with a French company for financing and scriptwriting. Part of the plan was to use French actors Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. However, Communist government officials disapproved of DEFA's pursuit of Western partners.

The Episode

Host Segments


Servo's head explodes

Prologue: Joel adjusts Tom Servo's sarcasm sequencer. It might be a bit too high.

Invention Exchange (Segment One): Joel finally puts Servo on the correct setting ("random") which triggers at a mention of Gallagher. The Mads plan on stealing another of Joel's inventions, which turns out to be Junk Drawer Helper, a kit to start a junk drawer. The Mads attempt to present their own invention which is lost in their own junk drawer. They find Abe Vigoda instead.

Segment Two: The Bots create a robot of their own, the XT-5000 Ramjet Super-Configured Limited Edition Lighting Interface, Model L. Joel asks it a difficult question and finds out it only communicates in foam.

Segment Three: The Bots spot a strange ship that is home to a fierce gorilla. Gypsy faints, leaving it up to Crow and Tom to calm it down. Servo lulls it into submission with his fine singing voice.

Segment Four: The Klack Industrial Company presents an ad for festive holiday foods. The edibility of Creamy Clotted Palm Spread, Sir Cheddar Snack-a-Lots, and Creamy Crunchpuppies is pretty debatable.

Closing (Segment Five): A discussion of the film; Crow kind of liked it, it reminds Joel of his childhood, and it leads to Tom's sarcasm sequencer overloading and his head exploding. Letters are read as Tom smolders. Back in Deep 13, Dr. F is busy being ill into the junk drawer (which continues through the credits), forcing Frank to push the button on his own.

Stinger: The alphabet gang bids the astronauts adieu.


Guest Stars


  • Unusual credits: Dr. Forrester can be heard retching and puking over the entire end credit sequence.
  • This is the last episode in which Joel wears the green jumpsuit throughout; though it remained prominent in the opening credits, the green suit would only be worn twice more (the opening segment of Mighty Jack and the final segment of Teenagers from Outer Space) before Joel's departure.


Obscure References

  • "I've looked at clouds from both sides now"

A reference to Joni Mitchell's 1968 single Both Sides, Now

  • "And what do you think of Roseanne singing the national anthem?"

​In 1990, Roseanne Barr opened a San Diego Padres game with a shrill, atonal rendition of the national anthem, concluding with her grabbing her crotch and spitting on the ground. The video (linked above) indicates how entertained the live audience was.

  • "Bidi-bidi-bidi" as the robot arrives to deliver the weather.

A reference to Twiki, the robot seen on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

  • "Now I'm gonna have you watch this movie called 'Mannequin', it stars Andrew McCarthy..."

Mannequin is a romantic comedy about a sculptor who falls in love with a magically-animated mannequin.

  • "M-I-C..."

The opening lyrics to the closing tune of The Mickey Mouse Club.

  • "You're all invited back..."

The lyrics to the closing song of The Beverly Hillbillies.

  • "Irwin Allen presents...!"

​Known as 'The Master of Disaster,' Irwin Allen produced the films The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, Viva Kneivel! (which later received the Rifftrax treatment), and other disaster movies of the 1970s, along with the TV series Lost in Space.

  • "This is a Slazenger 9!" -Crow, when they see the big white sphere thing.

From the 007 film Goldfinger. James Bond says it to Goldfinger when they are playing golf. James has caught Goldfinger cheating.

  • "Oh I love to laugh, long and loud and clear!"

A line from Uncle Albert (Ed Wynn) in the movie Mary Poppins. Uncle Albert would levitate when he laughed.

Video Release



Commercially released on DVD by Shout Factory in October 2008 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: 20th Anniversary box sex, a 4-DVD set with WerewolfFuture War, and Laserblast.

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