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The Beatniks

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415 - The Beatniks
Air Date November 25, 1992
MST3K Director Joel Hodgson
Movie Director Paul Frees
Year 1960
Cast Tony Travis
Joyce Terry
Peter Breck
Karen Kadler
Short General Hospital, segment 2
Cast Roy Thinnes, Emily McLaughlin
Year 414 - Tormented
Preceded by 416 - Fire Maidens of Outer Space

I killed that fat barkeep!

The Short


Jessie loves her husband Phil, who is in love with another woman, who is engaged to another man. . . so Jessie decides to host a painfully awkward engagement party.


The Movie



The Beatniks

It's 1960 Los Angeles, and petty thug Eddie Crane (Tony Travis) is headed nowhere. He leads a pack of hoodlums who rob mom-and-pop stores for drinking money, then decamp to a one-table "diner" to squabble over the pathetic spoils. Tony is cynical and he seems to harbor a grudge against the world.

When talent agent Harry Bayliss (Charles Delaney, who passed away before the film was released) chances to see Eddie sing he wants to sign him to a big recording contract. Eddie is initially disinterested, but when the potential of large sums of money is mentioned, Iris (Eddie's girlfriend) goads him into accepting the proposition.

Eddie and his friends arrive at Bayliss' office. He auditions for one of Bayliss' show biz contacts and then he's on his way to fame and fortune. After a shopping montage with Bayliss' secretary Helen Tracy (and a tender sharing of intimacies over lunch with same), Eddie delivers a couple of television performances that inspire feverish screams of girlish desire, causing the studio switchboards to be jammed with fans' phone calls and rocket his career skyward.

Eddie is drawn to Helen - perhaps the only decent girl he has ever known and a stark contrast to Iris, the harpy he hangs around with. He begins to sense the existence of a better world and starts to view his running buddies in a starkly malignant light.


The Beatniks

Bayliss installs Eddie et al in a local hotel while Eddie awaits the next step in his career. They celebrate by drinking, dancing, playing loud music and trashing the place. When the hotel manager shows up to complain, Eddie's friend Mooney (Peter Breck) amuses himself by tormenting him.

As Eddies' star rises, his "pal", the jealous, semi-psychotic Mooney waxes ever more violent and determined to keep Eddie in his place - with the gang. When Mooney shoots a barkeep during a robbery, Eddie plunges into existential despair. He telephones Helen and tells her he's not going to continue in show business. When she tries to talk him out of it, declaring her love for him, he rebukes her, accusing her of being motivated by greed. She hangs up on him and he realizes he needs to apologize.

Meanwhile, at Helen's insistence, Bayliss goes to the hotel room of "the gang" to find out what the problem is, where the shrieking, paranoid Mooney promptly slashes him with a straight razor. Bayliss is taken to the hospital in serious condition and the police begin a manhunt for Eddie, thinking he is the culprit.

Eddie goes looking for Mooney, and a confrontation ensues. When the police arrive on the scene, Eddie cooperates and confesses his involvement. His show business career may be delayed (or ended entirely), but he clears his conscience and reconciles with Helen.


  • First and only directorial effort from voice actor Paul Frees.
  • The film was shot in 1958 under the title of Sideburns and Sympathy.
  • In 1958 it was announced the film was to have been produced by Elmer Carl Rhodan Jr (1922-1959).
  • In addition to producing teen exploitation films such as Daddy-O, Rhodan was the son of the owner of a chain of Midwestern Commonwealth Theater chain but died in 1959.
  • You can hear director/scriptwriter Paul Frees introducing Eddie when he makes his first TV appearance and

also as the voice of the police detective in the hospital.

The Episode

Host Segments


Pocket pool

Prologue: Joel cruelly dominates the Bots in a painful game of rock-paper-scissors, until Gypsy crushes Joel in revenge.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Everyone recovers from their injuries received the prologue. The Mads have developed Good Luck Troll Costumes, based on those weird little plastic troll dolls that were all the rage in the 90's. Joel demos his literal take on Pocket Pool, though he denies Tom Servo the use of the bridge.

Segment Two: Either you are or you aren't a beatnik, according to Joel and the Bots, and the folks in the movie really aren't. To help the folks at home, they helpfully list ways to tell if you aren't a beatnik.


Either you are or you aren't a beatnik

Segment Three: The Bots hold a slumber party, and discuss dreamy Tony Travis from the movie. Turns out he's a high school pal of Joel's; however, the phone call they end up placing is less than inspiring. They then aim their swooning in Mooney's direction.

Segment Four: Servo stars in a dramatization of the life of a 50’s rock star based on the movie, from anonymity to overnight stardom to pathetic has-been.

Beatkniks mads

Good Luck Troll Costumes

Segment Five: Crow goes nuts like Peter Breck's character Mooney. Joel reads a letter in the meantime, and he and Tom debate if "dickweed" a swear word. The Mads find their costumes less than ideal for pushing the button.

Stinger: A crazed Mooney throws his gun.

Other Notes

Guest Stars



  • “Rock candy baby you’re mine, yeah!” (Daddy-O)

Obscure References

  • "I have seen the best guys of my emanation deployed by badness."

Frank is misquoting the Allen Ginsberg poem "Howl".

  • "...Mrs. Harvey." "She's a big rabbit!"

A reference to the 1944 stage play Harvey, (which was subsequently made into a feature film starring Jimmy Stewart) in which the main character is a man with a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey for an imaginary friend.

  • "E-O eleven..."

From the theme song to the original version of Ocean's Eleven.

  • "Let's do some crimes!"

A quote from the 1984 movie Repo Man.

  • "Travis Bickle?!" "Sometimes I wish a rain would come and wash away all the scum of the city."

Travis Bickle was the title character in the 1976 film Taxi Driver (which is also the source of the "rain" line).

  • (Harry Bayliss: "Get in touch with Morrisey...") "... And tell him to stop crying."

​A reference to singer Morrisey , known for his depressing songs.

  • "Hey, I was watching 'She's the Sheriff'!"

She's the Sheriff was a sitcom that aired in first-run syndication from 1987 to 1989.

  • "I was thinkin' we could go down there, grab us some quick loot; go down to Mexico and be Ban-Dee-Dos!" "Yeah and we can then ride Yoshi to the Mushroom Kingdom."

A riff playing off of Mooney's complete detachment from reality; Yoshi is the green dinosaurian eating-machine which the Super Mario Bros. would occasionally ride. When this episode aired, Yoshi just made his debut in Super Mario World. (Which takes place in Dinosaur Land rather than the Mushroom Kingdom.)

Video Release


MST3K DVD cover

Commercially released on DVD by Shout Factory in March 2010 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 17, a 4-DVD set with The Crawling EyeBlood Waters of Dr. Z, and The Final Sacrifice.

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