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203 - Jungle Goddess
0203
Air Date October 6, 1990
MST3K Director Jim Mallon
Running Time 61 min.
Turkey Day(s) November 28, 1991, 4am
Movie Director Lewis D. Collins
Year 1948
Cast George Reeves, Wanda McKay, Ralph Byrd, Armida
Short The Phantom Creeps - Chapter 1: The Menacing Power
Short Director Ford Beebe
Year 1939
Cast Bela Lugosi, Robert Kent, Dorothy Arnold
Preceded by 202 - The Side Hackers
Followed by 204 - Catalina Caper

The Short

Synopsis

The evil Dr. Zorka, having discovered the secrets of suspended animation and invisibility, is plotting to rule the world (of course). Zorka has developed a mechanical spider which will destroy whoever holds an electrically charged wafer. He refuses to turn the invention over to the U.S. government and is determined to sell it to whichever country is the highest bidder. Zorka's former colleague, Dr. Mallory, believes Zorka is guilty of treason. Mallory contacts military intelligence, and agents are sent to question Zorka. To throw the agents off his trail, the mad scientist fakes his death in a car crash using the body of a hitchhiker. Later, plucky girl reporter Jean Drew stows away on the military airplane which is bringing Zorka’s wife to identify the scientist's body. The plane is destroyed by one of Zorka's mechanical spiders which Zorka had previously planted on his wife.

Information

The Movie

Synopsis

It's 1948. A pair of impoverished, pasty pilots working in the African bush, the "super" Mike Patton (George Reeves) and the supersmarmy Bob Simpson (Ralph Byrd) learn that the Dutch millionaire father of long-missing Greta Vanderhorn (Wanda McKay) has offered a substantial reward for his daughter's return. She was lost when her plane went down somewhere in "the dark continent" just as the second World War began. They fly off to the area where Greta's plane vanished six years ago.

After improbably landing their two-engine plane on the jungle floor, they begin a search, wisely carrying with them into the wilderness only a gun and a compass. After about ten seconds of walking, trigger-happy "white devil" Bob guns down the first native he sees. The pallid provocateurs are promptly captured and taken to a local village.

There, 'Mata Greta' (Swahili for "mottled Greta") is not-at-all-preposterously "worshipped" as a 'goddess'. The villagers genuflect in her presence and follow her commands... to a point.

For Greta, Africa is not so bad, it turns out; her brightly-lighted hut is the size of a hotel room and she has room service. She has also managed to acquire a sweet-but-dim Mexican maid/best friend/hairdresser (Armida as Wanama) and a Filipino footman of sorts (Rudy Robles as Nugara).

"White devil kill Sulu", explains Nugara to Greta, in an accurate characterization of the murderous, remorseless pilot's accomplishments. Greta is forced to pretend to influential witch doctor Oolonga (Italian for "Ooh, that's long-a", played by Smoki Whitfield) to condemn the despicable 'Bob' to death, but its just a ruse. You see, as she tells Mike, she really misses hamburgers and fries, so she wants to go home. Over a zebra entree, she and Mike craft a plan to escape. Oh, and Mike finds uranium.

What will happen to the ashy aviators? Will Bob be executed 'just' for killing a native? Will Superman - I mean, "Mike" - and Greta escape and find true happiness and enough uranium to begin massive atmospheric testing and get filthy, greedy, CEO-rich?

Few insulting stereotypes are left unmined in this period depiction of Hollywood Africans. Why Mexicans and Filipinos are to be found in a remote village in sub-Saharan Africa with no explanation provided, or why there are only two women in the entire village, I leave to you. Dramamine or an emesis basin may be required for some scenes.

Information

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: Joel & the Bots are playing hide and seek with the elusive and inexplicable forces which control the universe. Crow wanted to play hopscotch.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): It's Joel and the Bots' turn to seek, and they find the universe right away. Joel tries his new radio controlled circular saw and learns not to drive it in a circle. In Deep 13, Dr. F. has removed his head and fused it to a saxophone while his headless body roams around at random.

Segment Two: The SOL crew puts on their "Bela's OK Discoveries" infomercial, selling their own Phantom Creeps to remove stains.

Segment Three: Joel demonstrates the binocular mattes ("Gobos") that Cambot came with. Some are kind of weird.

Segment Four: Two White Devils visit on the Hexfield with a list of demands. Bullets play largely into their demands.

Segment Five: Joel is the star of the wacky sitcom My White Goddess, letters, and Frank annoyingly mimics Dr. F.

Other Notes

Guest Stars

Miscellaneous

  • The final host segment is the one where Joel introduces Crow as "Art Crow" in a parody of The Honeymooners' Art Carney. This and a fan letter shown later became the source of a running gag of calling Crow "Art" that persisted until the end of the series.
  • This short is the source of the line, "How fortunate, this will simplify everything!" It is said by Bela Lugosi upon discovering that his hitchhiker had died in a crash, allowing him to fake his own death using the body. Joel repeated this line in later episodes, using a Lugosi-esque accent.
  • The two male leads of "Jungle Goddess", George Reeves and Ralph Byrd, later had success on television playing the iconic characters of Superman and Dick Tracy, respectively.

Obscure References

  • "An evil supreme, an evil supreme..."

A reference to John Coltrane's jazz album A Love Supreme.

  • "Pigpen died." -During the Phantom Creeps short, after a character makes a comment about 'the dead'.

A member of the Grateful Dead, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan played keyboards, harmonica and was also a group vocalist until shortly before his death. He passed away due to complications of cirrhosis in 1973.

  • When Bela's assistant is on screen, Joel often says in a rough voice, "That's my boss!" or "My boss!" and follows it with something, for example, "Always talking about the dangerous adventures he goes on, but I do all the driving!" and usually finishes with something like, "I'll be right back!"

From the TV show Hart to Hart. Max, the gravelly-voiced butler/cook/chauffeur would say these lines.

  • "Pretty nosy, kitty cat!" -Crow, during stock footage of a jungle cat.

Line from the movie Chinatown

  • "Hello Dad! I'm Milton, your brand new son!" - Tom Servo, after the tall robot is introduced.

Servo sings the lyrics from the opening theme song of Milton the Monster.

  • "Oh what's the big deal? Its a big, metal Richard Kiel!" - Crow T. Robot.

Richard Kiel is best known for playing the character Jaws in the James Bond film series, and also appeared in the MSTed movies The Human Duplicators and Eegah.

  • "Look, a tiger!" "In Africa?"

A reference to a sketch in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

References


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