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Space Travelers

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401 - Space Travelers
Air Date June 6, 1992
MST3K Director Jim Mallon
AKA Marooned
Movie Director John Sturges
Year 1969
Cast Gregory Peck
Richard Crenna
David Janssen
James Franciscus
Gene Hackman
Lee Grant
Preceded by 324 - Master Ninja II
Followed by 402 - The Giant Gila Monster

No, it was TONY FRANCIOSA!!!
  — Tom

The Movie



Gregory Peck in Space Travelers

Three American astronauts (Gene Hackman, Richard Crenna and James Franciscus) returning from a long space station mission suddenly face imminent death when their spacecraft malfunctions and they are stuck in orbit with a very limited oxygen supply. On the ground, Chief astronaut Ted Dougherty (David Janssen) breaks all the rules to implement a mission to rescue the seemingly doomed adventurers. Charles Keith (Gregory Peck) is the ground commander in Houston who must decide whether or not to approve the dangerous rescue mission. Originally released as Marooned .


  • JnT

    James Franciscus (top) &
    Tony Franciosa (bottom)

    An Oscar winner for Best Special Visual Effects, making it the only Academy Award-winning movie to ever be MSTed. The film also picked up nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Sound. [1]
  • Another film that Film Ventures International were able to snap up and release while its copyright status was unclear, thus the different title and the Film Ventures International style title sequence for sale to the cable market.
  • Throughout the movie, Crow keeps referencing James Franciscus as the Finder of Lost Loves, only to be corrected by Tom (with increasing frustration each time) that Tony Franciosa was the star of that series. This plays into Joel's shell game in the final segment.
  • There is no musical score for this film. Instead, each spacecraft has its own ambient soundtrack when it is shown in space. The Apollo shots feature a low hum; the XRV, a hollow ringing; the Nimbus Weather Satellite, a rapid series of beeps ascending in pitch; and the Russian Voshkhod, a constant pitch series of beeps. The only exceptions to this is are a very slight, muted bit of music played under the Apollo ambient soundtrack during Pruett's final EVA, and a single tone (with some ambient effects that could be called music) during the opening credits.
  • In the film, the astronauts are seen using what appears to be the early concept of the Manned Maneuvering Unit - during the real-life Skylab missions, the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (the AMU) was tested inside the space station and never tested in the vacuum of space. The first use of the MMU was during STS-41-B (the fourth flight of the Challenger) on February 7, 1984.
  • Frank Capra began work on the film. Inspired by his work on the Martin-Marietta Corp.-commissioned faux documentary "Rendezvous in Space" for the 1964 World's Fair in New York, Capra (a chemical engineer by education) worked to make the picture for Columbia, but finally abandoned the project in preproduction in May 1966 when he couldn't bring the budget down to the $3-million required by Columbia worldwide production chief M.J. Frankovich. The eventual budget for the finished film (directed byJohn Sturges) was $8 million. Capra never made another film.
  • At the launch of the rescue craft during a hurricane, the Cape Canaveral press corps is portrayed by the reporters themselves, though they are virtually unrecognizable in rain slickers and other gear. (As related by Sue Butler Hannifin; then a space reporter at the Cape.)

The Episode

Host Segments


Joel and the Bots reenact scenes from the movie

Prologue: The Great Crowdini attempts to escape, hanging upside-down, from a set of chains while a cannon is pointed at his head. Crow then loses the key.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Crow reveals the secret to his escape: chewing his own head off. Dr. F chastizes Frank for reading Variety, but Frank points out that the decline of Bruce Willis' latest film is a blow to evil everywhere. Joel presents the Dollaroid, a camera that puts pictures on money. The Bots point out its uselessness. The Mads present thier Tissues with Faces, allowing you to blow your nose on famous faces in ridicule. Pat Buchanan might be nothing to sneeze at...until pepper is added to the equation.


Tissues with Faces

Segment Two: The SOL crew lists the ways the space program has influenced everyday life. Some of them are kind of a reach.

Segment Three: Joel and the Bots reenact a scene from the movie, with Crow in the Gregory Peck role. He starts going crazy by switching into his David Jannsen impression, and Joel drags him away for some quiet time.

Segment Four: Joel contemplates what would happen if one of the SOL crew had to sacrifice themselves in space. The Bots rain on his parade, pointing out that an oxygen shortage would only be a problem for him.

Segment Five: Joel fakes out Gypsy while playing fetch before demonstrating a magic trick for Crow and Tom, "Find the Finder of Lost Loves". The Bots end up frustrated and confused by his pop culture references. The crew then reads some letters before Gypsy returns with a lot of balls. The Mads are unimpressed with it all.

Stinger: Gene Hackman contemplates a pill.


  • Marooned was mentioned by Joel at the end of Rocketship X-M as an alternative to the depressing way that movie ended. Dr. Forrester responded "We couldn't get it!" Curiously enough, the Film Ventures copyright on Space Travelers is dated 1991, well after Rocketship X-M first aired. Marooned was also previously referenced by Crow in the opening moments of Fugitive Alien.
  • The Best Brains frequently tell a story about meeting Dennis Miller at the Emmys, whose only comment to them was that he wished they hadn’t riffed Marooned.
  • Frank is, beginning with this episode, credited as “TV’s Frank.”

Obscure References

  • "'The Last Boy Scout' has dropped out of the top five!"

The Last Boy Scout was a 1991 action movie starring Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans.

  • "Remember 'The Return of Bruno'!"

Return of Bruno was a musical album recorded by Bruce Willis in 1987.

  • "Do what *I* do." -Joel, invention exchange.

This is from those old Amazing Discoveries infomercials.

  • "Is this some kind of joke? Am I some kind of clown? Do I amuse you in some fashion?"

Tom is paraphrasing Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.

  • "The one-armed man is chasing me, I need a drink!"

A reference to David Janssen's role on the 1960s TV series The Fugitive.

  • "Is he related to Lillian Hellman?"

Lillian Hellman was an American playwright best known for The Children's Hour.

  • "Pig Pen, this Rubber Duck. I'm gonna put the hammer down!"

A quote from one of the spoken-word segments from the song "Convoy".

  • "That's the Estes Saturn V!"

A reference to the model-rocket manufacturer Estes Industries.

  • "Charles Rocket!"

Charles Rocket was a Saturday Night Live cast member during the 1980-81 season, who was fired for uttering an obscenity on air.

  • "Before this decade is out, we will make a boring movie called 'Space Travelers'!"

A reference to a 1961 speech in which President John F. Kennedy vowed to put a man on the moon.

  • "Hey, the Residents!"

The Residents are a group of musicians who perform wearing eyeball masks, and whose exact individual identities are a closely guarded secret.

  • "Three boys in plastics bubbles!"

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble was a 1976 made-for-TV movie starring a young John Travolta.

  • "Seka? On the ship? Bucka-WOW!"

Seka was a porn star during the 1970s and '80s.

  • "...sittin' around the lake, mountains come out of the sky..."

Joel is quoting the Yes song "Roundabout".

  • "I am Iron Man!"

Joel is quoting the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man"

  • "Why don't you solve your little problems and light this candle!"

Joel is quoting Alan Shepard from the 1983 film "The RIght Stuff".

  • "Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel..."

Beginning lyrics to 'The Windmills of your Mind' from the movie 'The Thomas Crown Affair.'

  • "The President will issue an appropriate statement..." "And then he'll throw up on the Japanese prime minister."
MST3K 401 Promo00:43

MST3K 401 Promo

A reference to an infamous event that occured on January 8, 1992 during a state dinner in Japan, when then-president George H.W. Bush vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan, Miyazawa Kiichi, and then passed out.
  • "No, but I read 'Final Exit', and it's gonna come in handy."

Extremely controversial at the time of its publication in 1991, the book "Final Exit" was meant to be a how-to guide for terminally ill people on how to commit suicide in the most painless way possible.

  • "Always with the negative waves!"

Quoting Sgt. Oddball (Donald Sutherland), a 1940s proto-hippie tank engineer in Kelly's Heroes.

Video Release



Commercially released on DVD by Shout! Factory in March 2015 as part of Mystery Science Theater 3000 - XXXII, a 4-DVD set along with San Francisco InternationalHercules, and Radar Secret Service.

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