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The Giant Gila Monster

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402 - The Giant Gila Monster
Air Date June 13, 1992
Movie Director Ray Kellogg
Year 1959
Cast Don Sullivan, Fred Graham, Lisa Simone, Shug Fisher
Preceded by 401 - Space Travelers
Followed by 403 - City Limits

The Movie

"I'm going to go listen to my cat scream."


When the son of a pushy Texas tycoon disappears while on a date, he makes it abundantly clear to the well-meaning sheriff that the lad must be found immediately or the lawman's job will be forfeit. Soon others are reported missing, one leaving a valise and some cigarettes behind. Chase Winstead, a young local tow truck driver, and his French girlfriend are drawn into the fray. There are teens with bathtub-shaped hot rods, famous DJ's found stone drunk in their cars, comedy-relief oldsters who race trains, and a giant gila monster. And the Lord said "laugh". 


  • This was one of two features produced by an independent company in Texas and meant for release as a double feature. The other feature was The Killer Shrews (1959). Unlike many such features produced in the South, these films received national distribution.
  • Ken Knox, who plays disc jockey Horatio Alger "Steamroller" Smith, was a real disc jockey working at radio stations in Texas owned by Gordon McLendon, the uncredited executive producer of this film.[1]

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: Crow and Tom Servo are 'The Thing with Two Heads.' At first they hate it, but then they realize they’re "The Odd Couple 1999." But just when they begin to get into it, Joel nips it in the bud.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Frank announces Dr. Clayton Forrester's death! It turns out Dr. F isn’t really dead, but very mad at Frank. Joel has a radio with a tuner that only picks up channels from old sitcoms and movies. The Mads demonstrate their Renaissance Festival punching bags.

Segment Two: Joel has turned a spare closet into a teen pavilion/barbershop as seen in the film. Crow and Tom keep calling Joel a "stupid jerk" instead of a "soda jerk" and being generally insulting. After they order a "Blue Floyd" (a drink made with ice cream, malted milk, and Barbicide) Joel becomes fed up with them and their antics. Then Gypsy shows up and the whole set falls down.

Segment Three: The crew celebrates the classic drunks, and Crow asks, "When did public intoxication stop being funny?", discussing drunks such as Crazy Guggenheim and Dean Martin. Then Joel and the bots act out vignettes of different types of drunks, which ends up turning into an after-school special.

Segment Four: "Servo on Cinema" looks at Ray Kellogg’s "Leg Up" blocking technique. Joel and Crow cannot resist butting in.

Segment Five: The rock group Hee-La rehearses until Crow asks, "Aren’t we just doing the same stuff we did when we were SpiDorr?" The first letter is from a little girl who thinks Crow’s name is 'Art.' The second letter says, "'Dear Joe and Bots: I just like the way Tom Serbo sings, my favorite robot is Crow, but Joe is funny too.' And it’s signed...TV’s Frank?!" Frank celebrates his short-lived victory in Deep 13 as Dr. F looks on in disgust.

Stinger: Drunken old Harris gags on sody pop at the soda shop

Other Notes


  • The letter calling Crow "Art" references back to Jungle Goddess, specifically the "My White Goddess" sketch that referred to Crow as "Art Crow" at the end. That sketch and this letter later became the source of the running gag of Pearl Forrester constantly referring to Crow as "Art".

Obscure References

  • “'That's not right, pickin' up your Mom and playin' football with her - crazy people!"'

Joel is channeling eccentric comedian Kevin Meaney. 

  • “Hava la gila! Hava la gila!”

Refers to the song Hava Nagila.

  • “Bad movie? You’re soaking in it!”

Refers to a series of Palmolive dish detergent commercials featuring Madge the manicurist in which she reveals to her client that her (the client's) fingers have been inserted in said Palmolive.  [2]

  • "Now let's go rent 'The Errand Boy.'"

The Errand Boy was a by-the-book goofball Jerry Lewis vehicle.

  • "Tip-toe through the tulips!"

Refers to the 1926 song Tip-toe Through the Tulips which was later popularized in 1968 by the inimitable falsetto singer and ukelele player Tiny Tim.

  • "NEW YORK CITY?!?" Servo: "Get the rope."

Refers to the Pace salsa commercials popular at the time, where the cowboy cook was using salsa from New York City and not "authentic" salsa.

  • "Let's go do some crimes!"

A line from the movie Repo Man.

  • "Go on home, they're waiting for you!"

A line spoken by Mr. Potter in It's A Wonderful Life, who Mr. Wheeler resembles, both in appearance and attitude.

Video release

MST3K 402 Promos-001:15

MST3K 402 Promos-0

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