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It Conquered the World

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311 - It Conquered the World
0311
Air Date August 24, 1991
Movie Director Roger Corman
Year 1956
Cast Lee Van Cleef, Peter Graves, Beverly Garland
Preceded by 310 - Fugitive Alien
Followed by 312 - Gamera vs Guiron


The Short

Synopsis

A Sport Parade newsreel focuses on winter sports and activities that probably would result in any number of lawsuits nowadays. The fun includes ice skating, ice yachting, dog sledding, polar bear swimming, skiing (pronounced "schiing"), cross-country "schiing", ice fishing, "schi" jumping, "schi" joring (pronounced "horing"), and bobsledding.

Information

The Movie

Synopsis

Dr. Tom Anderson (Lee Van Cleef) is a brilliant but prickly physicist. Once the head of the "Perpetual Missile Project", he has fallen out of favor and is currently "between gigs", but he has a ham radio with which he is in contact with some Venusians.

Tom is disgusted with mankind's less-than-stellar moral behavior (war, genocide, New Jersey-based reality shows, "smooth" jazz, etc.) and is convinced the solution is to remove, with the assistance of the alien, man's messy emotions. Tom's wife (Beverly Garland, from MST's Gunslinger and Swamp Diamonds) is loyal to her husband but won't go along with his plans. He guides one of the Venusians to Earth with the aid of a satellite that was recently put into orbit by his old friend, fellow space scientist Paul Nelson (Peter Graves). The alien takes up residence in a nearby cave, causes all electromechanical devices to stop working and sends out flying batlike creatures to implant mind control devices in key humans.

Taking over a society requires unpleasant measures that, along with Nelson's unwillingness to cooperate, eventually persuade Anderson to reconsider his alliance with the alien.

The screenplay contains the line "... man is a feeling creature, and because of it, the greatest in the universe."

Delusions of grandeur, anyone?

Information

Monster-builder Paul Blaisdell originally crafted the monster as a short, dense thing because of Venus’ heavier gravity, but soon found that a two-foot-high alien invader wasn’t very intimidating – especially after Beverly Garland laughed at it and knocked it over with a single kick. So he added a three-foot tall conical head. Unfortunately, that only managed to make it look sillier (and more pickle-like). During filming Beverly Garland kept telling herself that the design wasn’t finished, and it would get better. But of course it never did.

Cult favorite actor Dick Miller appears as Sgt. Neil. Miller (who is probably best known for his work in Gremlins) appeared in Gunslinger and The Undead, which were both directed and produced by Roger Corman.

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: Joel attempts to use Crow as a ventriloquist dummy to get on to Star Search.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Crow and Joel switch roles, the Mads create instant hanged men costumes, and Joel demonstrates the Sony Seaman which imitates the soothing sounds of the ocean.

Segment Two: Joel and the Bots do their own version of the winter sports seen in the short.

Segment Three: The gang do their own extra-bitter version of the coffee scene from the film.

Segment Four: Based on confusion over the relation of James Arness and Peter Graves, Joel and the Bots sing the "Celebrity Siblings Song".

Segment Five: The crew and the Mads watch Peter Graves' stirring end speech from It Conquered the World and read letters.

Stinger: "He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature..."

Other Notes

Miscellanea

  • Unusual credits: Peter Graves' speech from the end of the film is played instead of "Mighty Science Theater".

Episode Airings

  • This is one of the episodes affected by the glut of Penn Jillette voiceover promos, which was played over the end credits in spite of the repetition of Peter Graves' speech.

Obscure References

  • "Hardcastle and McCormick!"

Hardcastle and McCormick was a TV series from the mid-1980s.

  • "It's the 'Agony of Defeat' audition!"

A reference to the opening credits sequence from Wide World of Sports, in which the narrator mentions "the agony of defeat" over footage of a ski jumping accident.

  • "It's the Sled of the SubGenius!"

A reference to the satirical pseudo-religious movement the Church of the SubGenius, whose "prophet" is named J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.

  • "Say, whose line is that, anyway?"

Referencing the improv comedy series (and fellow Comedy Central show) Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

  • "I'll paint any car for $49.99!"

Earl Scheib Paint & Body promised to paint "any car, any color, for $[amount], no ups, no extras." The quality was what you'd expect from a fifty dollar paint job.

  • "James Arness will return in 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song'!"

A reference to the "James Bond will return in..." taglines that frequently appear during the closing credits of James Bond movies, and to the blaxploitation film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

  • "Barney. Paris. They'll help me."

Peter Graves, who plays Dr. Nelson in the movie, performed the role of Jim Phelps in the original Mission: Impossible TV series. Barney and Paris were members of Phelps' IMF team from the show, played by Greg Morris and Leonard Nimoy respectively.

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