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512 - Mitchell
Air Date October 23, 1993
Movie Director Andrew V. McLaglen
Year 1975
Cast Joe Don Baker
Martin Balsam
John Saxon
Linda Evans
Merlin Olsen
Preceded by 511 - Gunslinger
Followed by 513 - The Brain That Wouldn't Die
  — During the nauseating Mitchell "sex" scene

The Movie


Mitchell is a 1975 film starring Joe Don Baker as an abrasive, alcoholic police detective. Very much an anti-hero, Mitchell often ignores the orders of his superiors in pursuit of his targets, and demonstrates disdain for by-the-book police work as well as normal social graces. The film also stars John Saxon and Martin Balsam as the criminals Mitchell pursues throughout the film. Linda Evans and Merlin Olsen appear in supporting roles as a prostitute and henchman, respectively. Additionally, Jerry Hardin (perhaps most famous for playing the character of Deep Throat on the TV series "The X-Files") appears as the Desk Sergeant on duty when Mitchell busts Linda Evans' character for possession.

The soundtrack contains music from a variety of genres. The movie starts out with a Shaft-inspired rubber guitar solo, while the chase scenes have a lovely 2 bar light rock/corporate PR film melody, and interspersed with that is some improvisational piano that sounds vaguely similar to Nadia's Theme.

The film concludes with the 'Ma-ma-ma-ma-Mitchell' country music theme of Hoyt Axton (plot summary set to music here).


MST3k Mitchell conversation

The boys guffaw at Mitchell.

According to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, actor Joe Don Baker was very angry at the MST3K treatment of Mitchell and threatened physical violence on any of the cast or crew should he ever meet them in person. This did not stop them from later featuring (and happily mocking) another Joe Don Baker film, Final Justice, and hurling even more vicious insults at Baker. Kevin Murphy later said Baker likely meant it in a joking manner.

EDIT: On the Shout! Factory disc of Future War , the subject of Joe Don Baker comes up in a video of their 2008 ComiCon panel. It was explained by Mike Nelson that "... we brought [Mitchell] up, we were doing a press conference, so every reporter called him. So he got like sixty calls in a row from reporters asking, 'Do you really hate the guys from Mystery Science Theater?' ... Finally at call thirty-two he's like, 'Yes! Die! I hate them!!' So it really is in quotes in the paper that he does actually want to kick our ass."

(To which Kevin Murphy replied, "I say bring it on, sweet-cheeks. Yeah, you're gonna pull back to swing, spill your drink, and trip over your arm-candy. I know you, Joe Don.")
IMDb page on Mitchell

The Episode

Host Segments


Joel Escapes

Prologue: Joel has painstakingly fashioned a replica of Monticello out of toothpicks. The Bots want to destroy it, though when Joel says that he wants them to destroy it, they lose interest...momentarily

Segment One (Invention Exchange): In Deep 13, the Mads are being audited by the Fraternal Order of Mad Science, so they’ve hired a temp by the name of Mike to help them get organized. Joel quickly shows his Daktari stool.

Segment Two: While Joel, Crow, and Tom are involved in an Outward Bound-type exercise, Gypsy overhears the Mads plotting the most painful way to fire Mike, but mistakenly assumes they’re planning to kill Joel. This segment features an homage to the 'lip reading' scene in 2001.

Segment Three: A worried Gypsy tries to think of a way to get Joel off the Satellite of Love; Crow and Tom, on pogo sticks and singing old TV theme songs, are no help whatsoever.

Segment Four: Gypsy turns to Mike in Deep 13 for help. Mike learns of a hidden escape pod (in a crate marked "Hamdingers"), and tricks Frank out of his keys so that Gypsy can gain control.

Segment Five: Joel's letter reading is interrupted when he is ejected into the escape pod, leaving behind a plaque and a final word, a quote from The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. [1] The bots panic. Joel is safely deposited on Earth, somewhere in Australia. Dr. F is furious and informs Frank that his towel and Frank's hinder have an appointment...until Mike presents his time card. The segment ends with Dr. F. inquiring of Mike of what size jumpsuit the young man wears.

Stinger: "You’re lying through your teeth!" "Buzz off, huh?!" "Buzz off!" "BUZZ OFF, KID!!!"


  • As the bots panic at the end of the episode, Tom loses his head and Crow loses his net and eyes, although the crew seem to purposely go with the flow when it happens.
  • At movie sign, Joel throws the Daktari Stool in the air; you can hear Kevin Murphy yelling "OW!" when the stool lands on him.

Quotes & References

  • "It's a Daktari stool!"

From Joel Hodgson's Facebook page:[1]

[T]he "Daktari Stool" in the invention exchange is a reference to a 60's TV show "Daktari" AND a question in the Meyers Briggs personality assessment test about a having "dark tarry stools".

  • "The Martha Mitchell Story!"

Martha Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, the Attorney General of the United States under the Nixon administration. Before Watergate, her suspicions about her husband's unethical activities on behalf of the President were dismissed as symptoms of mental illness.

  • "Who’s the puffy guy who’s a big blurry sex machine?" "Mitchell!" "That Mitchell is one fat-" "Shut yo’ mouth!" "Just talkin’ bout Mitchell."

A spoof of the Academy Award winning theme song from the 1971 Richard Roundtree movie Shaft.

  • "It was the third of September/That day I'll always remember..."

The opening line from the Temptations song "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone".

  • "Mitchell's on the corner..."

Paraphrased from "Freddie's Dead", a song by Curtis Mayfield from the Superfly soundtrack.

  • Tom Servo: "We've hidden the Mitchell somewhere in this picture." Crow: "Mitchell, will you stand up please?" (makes gunshot noise)

A reference to the famous Monty Python sketch, "How Not to Be Seen ."

  • "The lunatic is on the grass (laugh)(laugh)..."

The opening line from the Pink Floyd song "Brain Damage".

  • "It's not for me to say..."

After Crow pegs the thief in John Saxon's house as Johnny Mathis, Tom sings a line from the popular 1957 song It's Not For Me To Say.

  • "Al Noga?!"

Al Noga is a Hawaiian-born football player.

  • "Doctor Detroit!"

Doctor Detroit was a 1983 movie starring Dan Aykroyd.

  • "Hey! Lucas McCain lives here!"

Lucas McCain was the hero of the Western TV series The Rifleman.

  • "...oh, a GoldStar."

GoldStar was a brand of inexpensive consumer electronics manufactured in South Korea.

The police chief is talking on a red phone, much like the phone used to contact Batman.

  • "They arrested Harlan Ellison. ... Good."

Harlan Ellison is a science fiction writer with a long list of credits and a reportedly difficult personality.

  • "I ought to buy him a pick-me-up bouquet"

Merlin Olson was a spokesman for FTD in the 80s. The 'pick-me-up' bouquet was a popular item from the flower vendor.

  • "Somewhere, an Indian is crying."

​A reference to an anti-pollution commercial from the early 1970s.

  • "Chico, don't be discouraged..."

Servo is singing the theme song from the 1970s sitcom Chico and the Man.

  • "I'm King Hussein!"

Hussein was the king of Jordan from 1952 until his death in 1999.

  • "Oh, you're a holiday..."

The opening line from the 1967 Bee Gees song Holiday.

  • "Why are they playing 'Nadia's Theme'?" "He's young and restless!"

A comment on the music's similarity to "Nadia's Theme", best known as the theme for the soap opera The Young and the Restless.

  • "Sorry about the porn, there's a Kilgore Trout piece in there!"

Kilgore Trout, a recurring character in the works of Kurt Vonnegut, was a science fiction writer whose stories were typically published in "men's" magazines.

  • "So, Merlin, do you know Roman Gabriel?"

Roman Gabriel was a former NFL quarterback & one-time teammate of Merlin Olsen.

  • "Martin Balsam: The Dewar's Profile!"

A reference to a long-running series of magazine ads for Dewar's whiskey.

  • "Daryl Gates on his day off"

After having a disagreement with a man watching both Benton and James Arthur Cummings, Mitchell turns and shoots him in the back of the leg as he runs away. The comment is a reference to the scandal involving Daryl Gates chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) during the Los Angeles riots of 1992 and his views regarding criminality.

  • "Lee Trevino's been hit again!"

Reknowned professional golfer Lee Trevino was struck by lightning on June 27, 1975 playing in the Western Open at Butler National Golf Club in Chicago, Illinois.

  • "You really think so?" "I'm turning Japanese"

The hook from the 1980 song Turning Japanese by The Vapors

  • "Schlitz will listen to me now."

Schlitz is a beer originally produced by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The brewery was acquired by the Stroh Brewery Company in 1982. Stroh's was subsequently sold to Pabst Brewing Company in 1999, who continue to produce Schlitz Beer.

  • "The inspiration for 'Cop and a Half'"

Mitchell gets into a mimic fight with a kid on a skateboard, when Crow shouts the reference to the 1993 Burt Reynolds film Cop and A Half

  • "Eischied. Eischied."


  • "We are two wild and crazy guys!"

The catch phrase of The Festrunk Brothers, a pair of Czechoslovakian playboys acted by Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live.

  • "Oh, this must be Dateline NBC."

The NBC newsmagazine was sued for libel by General Motors after the show aired a report on GM trucks with exploding gas tanks, in which producers rigged the gas tanks of one of the trucks they showed exploding in the report with explosives.

  • "Thank you very much"

A henchman that is gunned down by Mitchell looks like the Andy Kaufman character Latka Gravas from the 1980's television sitcom Taxi.

  • "Benton!" "Harbor, Michigan"

Joel changes the character Benton's last name into the city known as Benton Harbor, Michigan

  • "Mitchell will return in 'Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows'!"

A reference to the "James Bond will return in..." taglines that frequently appear during the closing credits of James Bond movies (Joe Don Baker coincidentally starred in three James Bond movies as well). Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows was a 1968 comedy film about Catholic schoolgirls on a cross-country field trip.

  • "Wasn't John Saxon in this movie?"

The scene where John Saxon's character was killed was removed in the edited version used for MST3k. Ironically, the writers made fun of a loose end in the film's plot which they created. Other cuts include the scene where Joe Don is sucking on Linda Evans' toes.

  • "Counselor?"

Reference to the 1991 remake of the film Cape Fear which also had Joe Don Baker and Martin Balsam in prominent roles.

  • "You'll never die, you'll never grow old, and you'll always eat oatmeal."

Shared reference to the 1985 science fiction film "Cocoon" & Quaker Oats commercials featuring Wilford Brimley.

Buliitt was a 1968 movie starting Steve McQueen that features one of the most legendary and influential, car chase sequences in movie history.  In Driving Miss Daisy, Miss Daisy initially refused to let Hoke, her driver, drive at more than a snails' pace.


Joel Hodgson's last appearance as Joel Robinson (until Episode 1001). Michael J. Nelson's first appearence as Mike Nelson.

This episode was screened at several colleges before its broadcast. [2]


MST3K 512 Promos01:26

MST3K 512 Promos

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