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The Pumaman

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903 - The Pumaman
0903
Air Date April 4, 1998
MST3K Director Michael J. Nelson
Running Time 90 Min
AKA L'uomo puma
Movie Director Alberto De Martino
Year 1980
Cast Walter George Alton, Donald Pleasence, Miguel Angel Fuentes, Sydne Rome
Preceded by 902 - The Phantom Planet
Followed by 904 - Werewolf


Pu-ma-man, he flies like a mor-on!
  — Crow (singing to the theme song)


The Movie

Synopsis

Pumaman2

Pumaman takes flight in The Pumaman

Thousands of years ago, an alien spaceship visited the Earth and became a god to the Aztecs. The aliens fathered the Pumaman, a man-god with supernatural powers who would guard the people of Earth and transmit his powers to his descendants. The original Pumaman was entrusted a gold mask with the ability to control people's minds.

In the present day, in London, archaeologist Jane Dobson (Sydne Rome) has found the mask and deciphered its instructions: when aimed at someone, it can be used to control their mind, and the control becomes tighter if a replica of the person's head is wired into it. Her employer, the villainous Dr. Kobras (Donald Pleasence), plans to use it to control the minds of world leaders. He begins with Jane, who is the Dutch ambassador's daughter. Kobras somehow learns the Pumaman will be after the mask, and is an American orphan living in London. Reasoning that the Pumaman can survive great falls, like a cat, he orders his henchmen to throw people matching that description from tall places and see if they survive.

After four people get killed thus, mild-mannered American paleontologist Tony Farms (Walter George Alton) survives being thrown out of a window by a large, muscular and mysterious Indian named Vadinho (Miguel Angel Fuentes). Soon afterwards, Jane invites Tony to a party at the Dutch embassy, so Kobras's mind slaves can kill him.

DonaldPlePuma

That evening, Vadinho confronts Tony at his home. He explains that he belongs to the Aztec cult of the alien god and knew Tony's father. He also reveals that Tony's ability to sense danger and see in the dark are due to his Pumaman blood. He claims that Tony's full powers will develop when he wears a magical golden belt. When Tony makes his disbelief evident, Vadinho warns him that the invitation is a trap, but Tony escapes to the embassy.

Kobras also arrives at the embassy, and negotiates control of the world's energy supply, while his henchmen try to subdue Tony. He manages to fight them off, and flees to the roof. Vadinho appears on the ground below and talks Tony into putting on the belt, which grants him powers of flight that allow him to escape to an abandoned warehouse. Vadinho explains Kobras's sinister scheme, and gets Tony to follow Kobras as he returns to his lair.

But Kobras is ready for him, and his henchmen swarm out to shoot down Tony. He manages to evade them, and even captures one to interrogate him about where Kobras is keeping the mask, but it turns out the location is kept secret from the henchmen. Meanwhile, Vadinho has used his mystical amulet to find out that Kobras is in a mansion of some kind. He tells Tony to use his teleportation powers to find it, but it turns out he cannot warp to a location he has not visited.

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Tony concocts an alternate plan to find the mansion, and contacts his policeman friend Martin to obtain an electronic position indicator. When he returns to the warehouse, however, it turns out Vadinho has been captured by Kobras's henchmen, and he fights them off with his powers of flight, teleportation and super-strength. With the henchmen defeated, he teleports into Jane's car. When she refuses to tell him the mansion's location, he hides the position indicator under the passenger seat. A brief chase breaks out as Kobras's henchmen pursue him, but he teleports back to the warehouse. Kobras deduces from Jane's reluctance to kill Tony that her affection for him is weakening his mind control.

Tony tracks the position indicator to the mansion, where Kobras has convened the heads of state of the entire world and begun controlling them with the mask. He uses the mask on Jane again, and orders her to shoot Tony. Tony teleports in just then, and Jane relents out of love from killing him. Tony then launches at Kobras, but it turns out he is surrounded by a force field which strips Tony of his powers. Kobras also attempts mind control on Tony, but Vadinho appears in time to focus Tony's mind on resisting the spell.

Vadinho and Tony return to the warehouse. When Kobras attempts mind control on Tony again to coax him into committing suicide, Vadinho rescues him once more. Kobras dispatches his henchmen to check if he has died, but Vadinho is wise to his plans and has made Tony use a new superpower which slows down his metabolism to simulate death. The henchmen consider shooting him to make sure, but desist because Kobras wants the death to look like an accident.

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Now that most of Tony's powers have gone, Vadinho decides to threaten Kobras with a suicide bomb. However, he uses all his concentration fighting off the mind control mask, allowing the henchmen to rob him of his bomb. He manages to defeat them in a fistfight, then damages the mind control apparatus by throwing a stick of dynamite. This destroys the replica of Jane's head, freeing her from Kobras' control, and the Jane smashes the replica of Tony's head, thus restoring Tony's Pumaman powers. He joins the fight with Vadinho and defeats all of the henchmen.

Kobras escapes through a trapdoor and to a helicopter. Tony catches up to him, and with some deft aerial maneuvering, manages to throw out the pilot and crash the chopper with Kobras inside. With the world safe, Vadinho, Tony and Jane head to Stonehenge with the mask. Vadinho summons the aliens with his amulet, and before joining them to return the mask to the Andes, he tells Tony to look for him when it is time to train his son to be the next Pumaman. The film ends as Tony flies into the air with Jane and embraces her.[1]

Information

  • The star of the film, Walter G. Alton, Jr, is a New York City medical malpractice attorney who moonlighted briefly as an actor. As of February 2010, the website of his practice is Altonlawfirm.com.
  • Paul Chaplin has been noted as thinking the movie was probably intended to be taken comedically.

The Episode

Host Segments

903 2

Roger Whitaker (Kevin Murphy) shows up

Prologue: Servo struggles with Short Man's Disease.

Host Segment 1: Servo overcomes his disability; Pearl throws a ball in the castle but no one shows up for it, though Ortega and a few other friends come over to watch Sliders with Brain Guy

Host Segment 2: Mike wants the dry look hairstyle like the guy in the movie, but angers Shelli the Nanite who makes his look perhaps a little too dry.

Pumamanhost

Mike becomes the Coatimundi

Host Segment 3: Mike is chosen by the "gods" to be Coatimundi Man complete with powers, theme music, and a haphazard costume (a Rhoda vest, a Dr. Who scarf, swimming flippers on his hands, and a giant foam cowboy hat).
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Crow and Tom try to control Roger Whittaker

Host Segment 4: Crow and Servo use their "genuine Aztec mask" to control Roger Whittaker.

Epilogue: Crow "quits" and wanders around the Satellite for a while, but quickly returns. Pearl feels dejected that no one came to her ball, so Roger Whittaker is sent to cheer her up.

Stinger: Tony gets thrown out the window, and blue-screen falls to the ground.

Guest Stars

Trivia

  • When "Roger Whittaker" appears at the end, everything he says is sung like a line from "The Last Farewell," Mr. Whittaker's hit song.

Quotes & References

  • "No one knows who they were or what they were doing... "

A line from the movie This Is Spinal Tap where guitarist Nigel introduces the Stonehenge song in concert.

  • "Jane?" "Are you getting serious?"

Refers to Jon Astley's 1987 hit, Jane's Getting Serious.

  • "Actually, he's John Davidson Man."

John Davidson was an equally bland TV personality from the 70s and 80s who our hero resembled.

  • "My name is Vadinho." "I'm an onion."

Probably referring to a type of sweet onion Vidalia and how pronouncing it sounds similar to 'Vadinho'.

  • "Dick's Red Owl, selection and service . . . "

Dick's Red Owl used to be a grocery store in Bisbee, North Dakota.

  • "Dorf on Rituals."

Dorf is a diminutive character played by Tim Conway in a series of comedy videos such as "Dorf on Golf".

  • "The Botany 500 Man."

Botany 500 is an American clothing line.

  • "I can't get the piña colada song out of my head."

A reference to Escape (a.k.a. 'The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. The song is significant from an MST3K perspective as it was deconstructed in a host segment for Monster A-Go Go.

  • "Barry Diller, here?"

Barry Diller is an influential television and film executive.

  • "Alright, Craig T. Nelson. Make me laugh."

A reference to actor Craig T. Nelson, who appeared in such productions as Poltergeist and the TV series Coach.

  • "Then they snagged on me, and called me Prince Valiant..."

Prince Valiant was a comic strip that began running in 1937. The remark comes from the title character and Vadinho having similar hairstyles.

  • "Nice one, Alpaca Man."

Alpacas are animals related to llamas.

  • "He's as cat-like as Boog Powell."

John Wesley "Boog" Powell is a former MLB player for the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, and L.A. Dodgers. Powell was a large, imposing player with no real fielding skills.

  • "Billions and billions of pumamen."

Servo says this in Carl Sagan's idiosyncratic voice in reference to the documentary series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

  • "Take THAT members of 'Boston'."

Boston is an American rock band that was prominent during the 70's. They're best known for their songs 'More Than a Feeling' and 'Peace of Mind.' The thugs being tossed by Vadinho slightly resemble them.

  • "Believe it or not, this movie's still on. It should have ended two hours ago."

Crow sings this to the tune of "Believe or Not", the theme song of The Greatest American Hero, a TV series that aired on NBC from 1981 to 1983 about a schoolteacher who gains superpowers from a superhero suit obtained from alien beings. Also, possibly unintended but still an apt comparison, the show's hero lost the manual for his super-suit and was consequently very awkward in using its powers. Like Pumaman is, but intentionally so.

  • "With Randall 'Tex' Cobb as the mask!"

Randall "Tex" Cobb was a boxer in the 1970s, who later played a string of tough guys in movies, most notably Raising Arizona.  The nose of the mask resembles Cobb's wide, flat nose.

  • "Yeah, thanks Castaneda."

Carlos Casteneda wrote a series of books on the teachings of a Yaqui wise man named Don Juan.

Memorable Quotes

Kobras: Sometimes there is more truth in legend than in history.
Mike [as Kobras]: And there's more salt in ham than in turkey.
Jane: You can't hide this!
Kobras: Who is to prevent me?
Servo: A halfway smart guy with muscles and hair?
[A man is hurled out an office building window.]
Mike: We're downsizing, Steve!
[A newspaper headline is shown reading "Fourth American killed in a few days. Will there be other victims?"]
Crow: Call our 900 number and vote.
Jane: So, dinosaurs died out because they forgot how to love each other. Is that right?
Servo: In a wrong kind of way, yeah.
Vadinho: My name is Vadinho.
Crow [as Vadinho]: I'm an onion.
[Tony punches through an attic roof, which crumbles easily.]
Mike: Luckily they made their house out of peanut brittle.
Crow: So basically a mild rain could take out that roof.
Crow[Singing to the Puma Man theme music] Puma Man! He flies like a moron!
[Aztec priest Vadinho advises "Puma Man" Tony on his flying powers.]
Vadinho: You do not fly, but your mind does.
Crow [as Tony]: Yeah, thanks, Castaneda.
Kobras: Get moving. Comb the area. Find him. Kill him.
Crow: Donald's only use for the word "comb".
[Puma Man drops one of Kobras' henchmen and he falls rather awkwardly thanks to some poorly synced background shots]
Mike [as the henchman]: Heeelp! I'm falling at a sixty degree angle breaking all the laws of physics!
...
[The henchman gets dropped again]
Servo [as the henchman]: My mustache makes me fall sideways!
[As he prepares to use his teleportation power, Tony tosses his cloak back in a rather flamboyant gesture.]]
Servo: Prepare the Effeminate Mobile!
[Tony seeks information from girlfriend Jane, who's wearing a black-leather catsuit with matching WWI-vintage strap-on pilot's headgear.]
Jane: I'm conditioned to keep the secret, just like everyone. I can't do it.
Tony: Try! Fight him! Fight him with your will!
Mike [as Jane]: But my will won't!
Jane: I— I— I can't! He's commanding me from a distance.
Servo: Amelia Airhead.
[In his mansion, Kobras waxes eloquent about his world domination plans.]
Kobras: When the world is mine, I alone will decide whether it is to be war or peace! Life or death!
Servo [as Kobras]: Stuffing or potatoes!
[After Kobras has been pronouncing "Puma" the British way the entire movie, the Satellite of Love crew finally gets tired of it.]
Kobras: You can not escape me, Pyu-ma Man!
Crow: PU-ma Man!
Mike: Oh, is that right? Dee-onald?
Kobras: You're just a small... insignificant... human being!
Servo: No, no, HOO-man being... oh, wait.
Kobras: Because you come from Earth...
Servo [as Kobras]: Corn grows in you.
Kobras: And to Earth you shall return!
Mike: Huh? That was an odd thing to say, even for him.
[The bad guys, having examined Tony's inert body, drive off. Tony comes out of his trance.]
Vadinho: You've succeeded! They think you're dead, and now they will leave you alone.
Mike: To be left alone—the goal of every great hero!
[As Tony is nowhere to be seen, Vadinho beats the snot out of Kobras' henchmen.]
Crow: So, basically, the hero is this guy. I think it's time we all face that fact!
[Vadinho has gone aboard the alien space craft and it goes off into the sun set.]
Mike: And we hear the dim cry of an anal probe.

Video Release



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