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Movie Sign is a general term used to refer to one of two things:
- The panel of three colored lights on the Satellite of Love's bridge and above the theater doors seen during host segments.
- A signal that indicates Joel Robinson/Mike Nelson and The Bots must enter the theater as the film is starting/re-starting.
The Three Lights
The panel of three colored lights consists of (from viewer's left to right) red, blue and yellow lights.
- Red Light - This indicates that The Mads are calling the captives on the Satellite of Love. Mike learns in Beginning of the End this can also be used to call down to Deep 13, and why this is generally best avoided.
- Green Light/Blue Light - This was used in a few episodes to indicate a visitor was on the Hexfield Viewscreen. Use of this light was discontinued outside of a few Comedy Central era episodes. (In seasons 2 and 3, the light was green with a green corresponding button on the panel, from season four onward, the light was blue with a purple corresponding button)
- Yellow Light - This indicated a commercial sign and was followed promptly by the show taking a commercial break. In the movie, Mike ordered Gypsy to "go to condition yellow" when Tom informs them of Crow's plan to tunnel back to Earth with a pickax; presumably, this would indicate a state of general emergency whenever it was signaled.
The lights were absent from the early episodes of the series, and did not appear until halfway through the first season of the Comedy Central era. Before the lights appeared Joel would simply slap the table instead. During season one, the color order of the light buttons was different from later seasons. The green and red buttons were reversed. Green was used for commercial sign and yellow was for the Mads. Red was only used with the others during "movie sign". The rotating strobe lights above the doors did not appear until the set was revamped for season two. When the S.O.L set was again revamped for the Sci-Fi channel era in season eight, the rotating strobe lights were replaced with blinking square shaped lights and the color and order of color above the doors were changed. A blue light was on the left, yellow in the middle and red on the right. However, the desk lights retained the same color and order from the Comedy Central era red, purple, yellow.
When all the lights on the panel of three lights were flashing, accompanied by a buzzer and a rumbling aboard the Satellite of Love this indicated a Movie Sign. Movie Sign means that Joel Robinson/Mike Nelson and The Bots must enter the theater. It is revealed that The Mads can cut off oxygen to all rooms but the theater or deliver electric shocks remotely if they refuse to watch the movie. (One example of when we see this happening is in the movie Lost Continent; Joel refuses to enter the theatre until he can show his invention, and we see him get shocked. Another is in Invasion of the Neptune Men, when Mike tries to storm out of the theatre and discovers the air has been cut off to the rest of the satellite,) When Movie Sign was activated Joel (and later, Mike) often yells "We've got Movie Sign!"
The bots know how to fake it. In the prologue to Ring of Terror they set it off, much to Joel's annoyance. In The Final Sacrifice, Tom missed the movie sign, and it had to be done a second time. Cambot waited for him.