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Monster A-Go Go

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Woah! Seen him in my nightmares...
  — Tom, responding to a large cartoon clown to his right


421 - Monster A-Go Go
0421
Air Date January 9, 1993
Movie Director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Year 1965
Cast June Travis
Short Circus on Ice
Preceded by 420 - The Human Duplicators
Followed by 422 - The Day the Earth Froze

The Short

Synopsis

The Short is called Circus on Ice. It proves that ice skating + circus = nightmare fuel.

If you enjoy seeing women in striped suits on leashes, if you think gunshots are exactly what the ice shows of today are missing, and if you accept a new perception of the colour pink, well this short is for you. Not since It Conquered the World has a wintertime short been this creepy.

Information

  • Jacqueline du Bief, who performs the solo piece as a dying fawn, won the ladies world figure-skating title in Paris in 1952, and earned a bronze medal at the Olympics in Oslo that same year.[1]
  • The print of the film that Best Brains used is of a low quality, which is especially noticable at the beginning and end of the short as being slightly jumpy and scratchy (to the point in which Tom Servo makes a joke about it as the film is ending).

The Movie

Synopsis

An Army astronaut's capsule returns to earth, but he's not in it. However, there is a mutant monster wreaking havoc nearby. Could there be a connection? The "go-go" suffix is inexplicably appended, as the only scene that features dancers or music of that ilk attached to this yawner from the usually campy Lewis has no bearing on what passes for the movie's plot.  As a result of the film's troubled production, the majority of the storyline involving the mutant astronaut is only implied by bits of dialog and narration and happens almost entirely off screen.  The film is peppered with unusual moments that have nothing to do with the storyline and are clearly just filler framed as moments where the monster is implied to be lurking somewhere just out of shot, but rarely actually shown.  The film infamously ends with a terrible twist, anti-conclusion in which the monster never actually existed and the astronaut was actually rescued days earlier in perfectly healthy condition.  [2]

Information

  • Director Herschell Gordon Lewis needed another movie to round out a double-feature. So he bought Bill Rebane’s unfinished "Terror at Halfday," added a couple of extra scenes, some new dialogue, some narration, and voila: "Monster A Go-Go!".  Because the film was completed so long after it had begun production, viewers will notice that the entire cast (save one actor) disappears roughly about halfway through the movie and is replaced with other actors playing different roles.
  • Director and co-producer Bill Rebane is a repeat offender for MST3K; he is also the creative genius that, nine years later, would give the world The Giant Spider Invasion .
  • This movie has one of the most infamous scenes in MST3K history, in which one of the actors pretty obviously makes the sound of a phone ringing with his mouth in lieu of an actual sound effect.  Joel simply notes the moment with a disgutsted "Unbelievable!"

The Episode

Host Segments

The host segments in this episode are unusual in the Joel era in that none of them have anything to do with the film or films during the show, neither having a direct theme or storyline between each other. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide entry explained that since the film was about nothing, the segments would be as well.

Prologue: The Bots have constructed a cheese factory aboard the SOL. They use Joel's sneakers to add a bit of extra flavor.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): The Mads and the SOL crew compete in an action figure contest, and if the SOL wins, they get to watch Local Hero, and if they lose, they must watch Monster A-Go-Go. The Mads have Johnny Longtorso, whose body parts are each sold separately to maximize revenue. Joel lets the bots show off their nonviolent, educational action figures: Tom's figure is Action OxfordCrow's is a tapeworm (the doll is just the host organism) and Gypsy's is Wilma Rudolph. Impartial judge TV's Frank calls Deep 13 the winner.

Segment Two: Gypsy doesn’t get Crow. After trying to help her figure out why (with also presenting some interesting technical information about himself), she comes to the conclusion it's actually Tom she doesn't get.

Segment Three: Joel and Tom play "keep away" from Crow.

Segment Four: Joel tries to explain "The Pina Colada Song" to Crow and Tom. Nothing is resolved, except everyone agrees how much the song annoys them.

Segment Five: Joel crowns Happy King Servo and knights Sir Giggles von Laffsalot Crow, but they're so despondent over the movie that there's just no cheering them up.

Stinger: The "monster" shambles about awkwardly.

Other notes

  • The Johnny Longtorso name is a call back/reference to a riff made during Women of the Prehistoric Planet.
  • Nearly the entire cast of the show and Best Brains stated this was officially the worst movie they have ever seen.


Obscure References

  • "Burned on re-entry, huh?"

A phrase used in writer Tom Wolfe's novel "The Right Stuff"

  • "A young Ghermezian brother scouts locations."

The Ghermezian family is a Canadian family of Iranian Armenian origin who have developed several of the world's largest shopping malls. The family's holdings include the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota (Wikipedia).

  • "You've got your circus on my ice! You've got your ice on my circus! Two bad things that go worse together!"

A reference to the 70s-80s advertisement re: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: "You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got your peanut butter in my chocolate! Two great tastes that taste great together!"

  • "Uh...I'd like a sloe gin circus." "I'd like mine straight up!"

A play on the title 'Circus on Ice,' referencing popular cocktails (i.e. Sloe Gin Fizz, etc.)

  • "Is this a Max Fleischer cartoon?"

In reference to the credits (which look like old cartoon credits.) Max Fleischer was an innovative animator in the first half of the 20th century responsible for animated shorts dealing with such iconic characters as Betty Boop and Popeye, among others.

  • "Hey, it's Bella Abzug!"

Bella Abzug was a notable Women's Rights advocate and a Congresswoman from New York State.

  • "They are soon returned to their lives of quiet desperation."

Henry David Thoreau commented on the (supposedly) mundane lives of men (and women, presumably) in his iconic work Walden, in which he claimed that "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

  • "Prelude to the afternoon of a murder..."

This is a pun based on the narrator's previous reference to the skater as a 'fawn' in the forest (though not presumably the mythical 'faun' to which the pun makes reference.) It refers to the famous symphonic tone poem by Claude Debussy called Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), based on a poem of similar name.

  • Oh, I though it was going to be Munster, Go Home!

Munster, Go Home! was a film based on the TV show.

  • ("What's it all about?") "Alfie!"

"What's it all about?" was the tagline for the film Alfie.

  • "I think this is the movie version of Darkness Visible by William Styron."

Darkness Visible is a memoir by William Styron about his descent into (and return from) depression.

  • "Women are pulled apart like fresh bread."

An excerpt from Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia.

  • "I'm going to spit on you... just a little spittle."

A reference to Baron Harkonnen's line in Dune.

  • ("A strange object had fallen to Earth.") "A Coke bottle!"

A reference to the cult film The Gods Must Be Crazy.

  • "I'm Percy Dovetonsils."

​Percy Dovetonsils was an effeminate poet character created by Ernie Kovacs .

  • "How not to be seen..."

A popular Monty Python sketch.

  • "We wuz too late!"

Monty Python sketch, The Bishop .

  • "Five!" "Three, sir!"

A quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  • "Oh, they decided to go to Shakey's!"

The Shakey's Pizza chain was popular in the United States during the 1960s and '70s, but its restaurants are now found mainly in Asia.

  • "Rock, rock, rock, rock, Rock 'n' Roll High School!"

Joel and the 'Bots are singing the theme song from Rock 'n' Roll High School, a 1979 movie featuring the Ramones.

  • "What is this, the Loyd Thaxton Show?"

Loyd Thaxton was a record producer with a popular TV show in the 60s featuring dancing teens (ala American Bandstand.)

  • "Django Reinhardt tunes up his guitar."

Django Reinhardt was a revolutionary Belgian Gypsy jazz guitarist active from the late 20s through early 50s.

  • "Here in my car, I feel safest of all..."

Tom is quoting the Gary Numan song "Cars".

  • "The Thin Blue Line!"

A reference to The Thin Blue Line, a 1988 documentary film about the murder of a Texas police officer.

  • "What is this, Chinese music torture?"

A joke on Chinese water torture (actually invented by an Italian), an ancient and subtle form of torment involving drops of water falling on the victim's forehead.

  • Hey, good-lookin'. We'll be back to pick you up later!

A line from the original Mr. Microphone ad.

  • "They're talkin' to Charlie Brown's mom."

In the Charlie Brown TV specials, the voices of adults were represented by the sounds of a muffled trumpet, not actual voices.

  • "Dog and Butterfly, he likes to fly..."

The American rock group Heart released a song and album entitled Dog and Butterfly in 1978.

  • "Mo Udall!"

A reference to Mo Udall, a former Arizona congressman, Denver Nugget and 1976 Democratic presidential nominee hopeful.

  • "Hey it's Sununu going to get a haircut!"

A reference to the scandal involving George H.W. Bush's White House Chief of Staff and public bigot John H. Sununu using government planes for personal purposes.

  • "...and my book of S & H Green Stamps."

Green Stamps were a sort of 'rewards program' in use by thousands of merchants throughout the country from the 30s through the 90s; the 60s were their heyday. They could be collected in books and redeemed for all kinds of merchandise.

  • "Later, over lunch with Wally Shawn..."

A reference to the popular art film My Dinner With Andre, starring Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory.

  • "Hey, its the musical stairs from the science museum."

The Science Museum of Minnesota has a staircase where each stair plays a different musical note when you step on it.

  • "Return to violence!"

Tom Servo sings this line to the tune of the 1962 Elvis Presley hit Return to Sender.

  • "Time keeps on slippin' slippin'...Oh what a lucky man he was!"

Referencing hit songs Fly Like an Eagle (1977) and Lucky Man (1970) by The Steve Miller Band and Emerson Lake and Palmer respectively, to which the soundtrack at this point bears an extraordinarily superficial resemblance.

  • "Blame it on the Bossa Nova."

A reference to the 1963 hit song by that title released by Eydie Gorme, which reached #7 on the Hot 100 in Billboard that year.

  • "I was just trying to help."

Spoken in a mealy-mouthed voice, this is a riff on the voice of the cartoon character Droopy, a whiny dog.

  • "I want some answers... Please frame it in the form of a question."

Dealing with the popular quiz-show Jeopardy, in which the answers must be formed as a question?

  • "Incontheivable!"

In the film based on the William Goldman novel The Princess Bride, Sicilian mastermind criminal Vizzini (played byWallace Shawn) speaks with a lisp and utters the word 'Inconceivable!' numerous times. A joke is pulled out of him getting the usage wrong most of those times.

  • "Whenever I go out, the people always shout there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!"

A reference to the popular children's song using those lyrics.

  • "The Pina Colada song...could you phrase it in the form of a question?"

Another "Jeopardy" joke, this time referring to the (in)famous Rupert Holmes song Escape (The Pina Colada Song.)

Video Release


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