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The Indestructible Man

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409 - The Indestructible Man
Air Date August 15, 1992
MST3K Director Jim Mallon
Movie Director Jack Pollexfen
Year 1956
Cast Lon Chaney Jr., Max Showalter, Marian Carr
Short Undersea Kingdom, Episode 2: The Undersea City
Preceded by 408 - Hercules Unchained
Followed by 410 - Hercules Against the Moon Men

(Having taken several bullets, a bazooka round, and a blast from a flamethrower, Lon Chaney emerges from the sewer much the worse for wear)

Now I think he's just the incredibly resilient man.

  — Tom Servo

The Short



For the first part, see episode 406.

In this thrilling chapter, The Undersea City, Crash and Billy manage to escape being blown up. The crew attempts to escape back to the sub, but are captured by a group of Atlanteans, who mistake them for agents of Unga Khan. Unga Khan sends his agents to take the sub crew away from the squad of Atlanteans.


Some folks say that Raymond Bernard, a.k.a. “Crash” Corrigan, got his nickname because he had the physical ability and willingness to do his own stunts. Other folks say that the nickname was invented by Republic Pictures’ publicity department, so that it would sound a bit like “Flash Gordon.”

The Movie



The Indestructible Man

Told in flashback by police detective Dick Chasen (Showalter), the movie concerns a 72-hour period of horror for the main characters. Charles "Butcher" Benton (Chaney) is a double-crossed convicted robber and murderer who was executed in the gas chamber. His body is unlawfully sold to a scientist (Robert Shayne of Adventures of Superman fame), who plans to move his testing to human subjects. The corpse is subjected to chemical injection and massive jolts of high-frequency electricity in order to study the effect on human tissues. But Benton's heart is restimulated and he completely revives (though rendered mute due to electrical damage to his vocal cords), immensely strong and with skin virtually impervious—even to bazooka shells. After killing the doctor and his assistant (Joe Flynn, pre-McHale's Navy), Benton sets out to avenge himself on his attorney and the lawyer's henchmen who, in collusion with the attorney, had betrayed Benton in order to steal his loot. Benton had left the location of his stash to his stripper-girlfriend (Carr), who had since gone straight and begun dating the detective who brought Benton to justice, after she had rejected the lawyer's own advances.

The story then follows Benton's revenge on his enemies; the police who first learn of a wave of mysterious killing, then of Benton's reanimation; and the developing relationship between the detective and the stripper. The lawyer, fearing for his life after the two henchman are murdered, confesses the plot to the police, and reveals that Benton had always used the sewer system to evade detection; and to find a hiding place for the money, as it turns out.

Tracked down by the police, Benton is weakened but not killed when he takes a direct hit in the solar plexus from a bazooka, and is disfigured by a flame thrower. He runs to a power station, where he maneuvers metal equipment and himself into position to trigger a high-voltage jolt of electricity, which kills him. At the fade-out, Chasen proposes to his girlfriend.


  • The film's title card does not contain the word "the". The film is also known simply as "Indestructible Man".
  • Released on a double bill with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
  • Chaney reportedly asked director Jack Pollexfen not to make any dialogue changes or additions after the lunch break, when he usually drank heavily.
  • Lon Chaney has no spoken lines in this movie following the opening scene in his prison cell.
  • Lt. Chasen mentions putting in a call to a Professor Dwiggins at Caltech who may know about Professor Bradshaw's work. Sue Dwiggins is the real name of co-writer Sue Bradford.

The Episode

Host Segments


Officers Mike and Tom visit Deep 13

Prologue: Crow, Tom, Gypsy and Magic Voice have traded voices and the result is quite surreal.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): The Bots explain their trick. The Mads are supposedly having a party and mention a secret invention that is apparently wearable and has lots of catchphrases. Joel and the Bots show their Cereal Novels.

Segment Two: The Satellite of Love Any-Excuse-For-A-Parade Parade features the Undersea Kingdom! The parade goes horribly awry when Gypsy sneezes, causing the Tom Servo balloon to explode.

Segment Three: Joel explains to the Bots how pain is good. They then discuss what they'd do if they were indestructible. Joel's suggestions are less than inspiring.


Joel & the Bots

Segment Four: Joel mimics the Lon Chaney eye squint, and receives the ridicule from the Bots. When the Bots take over, Joel ponders what he has wrought on the world.

Segment Five: Joel and the Bots sign the "No Cops & Donuts Joke Accord". In a coincidence, cops visit Deep 13 to deliver a noise citation for the party.

Stinger: The somehow less-than-Indestructible Man pathetically struggles to move a manhole cover

Other Notes

  • Joel's reference to Crow's "Little Billy" doll from Attack of the Giant Leeches hints at the impending Undersea Kingdom short.
  • During the SOL's portion of the Invention Exchange, Crow describes the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho as "...controversial, yet all-but-forgotten". The novel would return to the popular consciousness after being adapted into a successful film starring Christian Bale in the year 2000.
  • In the first Host Segment, Dr. Forrester states that The Indestructible Man stars Casey Adams "...of Catalina Caper fame." This is not accurate. Dr. F is most likely confusing Casey Adams (who played Lt. Chasen, and who had also worked under the name "Max Showalter") with Del Moore, who played the similarly WASP-ish Arthur Duval in Catalina Caper.
  • Lon Chaney Jr. plays Hakur in the short “Undersea Kingdom” and stars in The Indestructible Man as Butcher Benton. This may be the only episode in which an actor appears in a prominent role in both the short and the feature.

Guest Stars


  • “Want some?” (Daddy-O)
  • The routine Tom and Crow fall into at the end of segment 3 is from The Side Hackers

Obscure References

  • "Ooooh-ooooh, Monte Blue, that's a game for..."

Joel is parodying the Ozark Mountain Daredevils song "Jackie Blue".

  • "Unga Khan, Unga Khan, mad tyrant of Atlantis..."

A parody of the rap from the Chaka Khan song "I Feel For You".

  • "He actually looks like Jimmy Carl Black, doesn't he?" "The Indian of the group."

Jimmy Carl Black was the drummer for Frank Zappa's band The Mothers of Invention, and routinely introduced himself as "the Indian of the group" in reference to his Cheyenne heritage.

  • "It's The Bishop!"

"The Bishop" was a sketch from episode 17 of Monty Python's Flying Circus. The Bishop was depicted as a violent man of action, whose name was used as an exclamation by his surprised targets.

  • "Known for his anthologies!"

A reference to the "Norton Anthologies" published by W. W. Norton & Company.

  • "It's Averell Harriman!"

William Averell Harriman (D) was an American businessman, diplomat, and served as Governor of New York.

  • "Billy looks like William Frawley!"

Bald, heavyset actor William Frawley is best remembered for playing Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy.

  • "Regular Nina Totenberg, isn't she?"

Nina Totenberg is a correspondent for National Public Radio.

  • "It's Jim Henson's 'Birth of a Nation' babies."

​D.W. Griffith's silent film Birth Of A Nation is remembered for its innovative camera use, and its overt racism (the Ku Klux Klan are celebrated as heroes in the post-Reconstruction South).

  • "Ben Hecht!"

Ben Hecht was a prolific Hollywood screenwriter, beginning in the 1920s.

  • "Any relationship to Dick Cheney?"

Dick Cheney was the United States' Secretary of Defense at the time this episode aired. He later became Vice President under George W. Bush.

  • "...Absorbine Jr...."

Absorbine Jr. is a popular liniment used to soothe sore and tired muscles. The "junior" appellation comes from he fact that the initial Absorbine liniment was developed for horses.

  • "...And my co-host down on the parade route is Mary Frann."

The late Mary Frann was a co-star on the popular 1980s sit-com Newhart. She played Joanna Louden, wife of Dick Louden (played by Bob Newhart).

  • "...And the operator says, forty cents more..."

A line from the Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show song "Sylvia's Mother".

  • "Inspector Henderson and Captain Binghamton! Working together for your future!"

The two scientists who reanimate the Butcher had roles in two popular TV series - The Adventures of Superman and McHale's Navy.

Video Release


Commercially released on DVD by Rhino Entertainment in June 2007. It was released as Volume 11 along with the episodes Ring of TerrorTormented, and Horrors of Spider Island.

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