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The Skydivers

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609 - The Skydivers
Air Date August 27, 1994
MST3K Director Jim Mallon
AKA Fiend from Half Moon Bay;
Panic at Half Moon Bay
Movie Director Coleman Francis
Year 1963
Cast Kevin Casey
Eric Tomlin
Tony Cardoza
Marcia Knight
Short Why Study the Industrial Arts?
Preceded by 608 - Code Name: Diamond Head
Followed by 610 - The Violent Years
Well, Mike, got a good one for you today, it's a little thing called "Skydivers". It's kind of like "Manos" without the lucid plot.
  — TV's Frank

(As the short ends)

This is the film the boys had to watch and the girls had to go to the gym and watch the OTHER film!

  — Crow

(After half an hour of mumbled dialog and uneventful skydiving.)

Seems like they forgot to have things happen in this movie.

  — Mike

The Short

Why Study the Industrial Arts?

The Short "Why Study Industrial Arts"


Joe and the Coach double-team to explain to a high-school student disparaging shop class the many and varied uses for Industrial Arts in all aspects of modern life.


The Movie



The Skydivers

New Mexico, 1963. The Rowes, Beth (Kevin Casey) and Harry (the electric Tony Cardoza) operate a sport parachuting airfield for skydiving aficianados.

Beth puts on a cheerful front, but all is not well. Clad in coveralls, she performs various airfield duties and observes as others skydive. At times, she ponders people's psychological motivations for jumping. Husband Harry, in contrast to Beth's smiling mien, is a remote, monotonic, dysthymic, adulterous schlub. Beth and Harry are experiencing marital difficulties. Beth still loves Harry, so she tries to rekindle romance by donning her pearls and serving candlelight dinners in a cozy "crawl space". She tries to draw Harry out on their relationship problems, but he seems to want to avoid the subject. He secretly cheats on Beth with local bad girl Suzy. The two enjoy frolicking along the "moonscape" of the local "artificial bass environment".

Suzy is also seeing the worm-ridden Frankie, a dimwitted pawn with a permanent grimace. An erstwhile employee of Harry's, he was fired for dipsomania on the job. Jealous because Harry is seeing Suzy, Frankie returns to the airfield at night to sabotage one of the planes. Harry is waiting and they have at it. Harry, enraged almost to the point of seeming slightly irritated, threatens Frankie with extreme bodily injury should he ever return.

Beth and Harry's downward spiral is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Joe Moss, Harry's armed forces pal from the Korean war. Like Beth, Joe is an avid fan of "the bean". He signs on to the airfield support crew as a mechanic. Joe and Beth begin exchanging searching looks in Harry's absence. This escalates to an actual kiss.

The Skydivers

From time to time, various skydiving-crazed customers desirous of jump time drop by to be borne heavenwards in the generic, unmarked plane. We hear the transcendent music of the spheres as they ascend and then, joyfully, plunge back to mother Earth. A motley gaggle of unidentified, enthusiastic onlookers, some with possible cognitive impairment, bring cameras or guitars and observe the excitement, such as it is. One jumper (director Coleman's son) neglects to pull his ripcord and buys the farm, so the FAA shuts down the airfield for a while.

One day, Harry slams back suds to the familiar strains of "Tobacco Worm" on the jukebox at a dismal hole called the "Sky Diver", then unexpectedly encounters Suzy as he leaves. He insults her and they have a brief physical altercation. It is at that point she begins plotting his demise; she forms a diabolical plan and commandeers Frankie's help.

At the film's climax, there is a Bacchanalian blowout consisting of an alcohol-free "twist party" held (I'm surmising) at high noon on Halloween on the airfield tarmac with (apparently) inmates from the local community theater, insane asylum and a traveling circus, powered by a band that plays absolutely no "twist music" whatsoever (they're pretty darn good, though). The frenetic dancing is followed by jumping en masse, including participants Beth, Harry, and Joe.

Suzy employs her feminine wiles to procure acid at a local pharmacy and sneaks into the hangar where the packed chutes lie in waiting. She sabotages Harry's chute, then she and Frankie retreat to observe the results of their evil handiwork.

Will Suzy's treacherous plan succeed? If so, will she be duly punished for the crime of murder? Will Beth and Harry rediscover their love?

Contains coffee, light planes, sky-diving and "The Adventures of Superman" wind-noise sound effects.


  • This is the first of the three films directed by Coleman Francis to have been MSTed, the other two being 619 - Red Zone Cuba and 621 - The Beast of Yucca Flats. All notorious for being some of the worst movies to have been shown on the show.
  • Regarding the band at the airstrip party: Jimmy Bryant (with partner/steel guitar player Speedy West) helped pioneer the West Coast rockabilly sound in the early 1950s. Click here to listen to 'Stratosphere Boogie' in full: it's worth it.
  • Much of the background music used in this film would be reused again for Red Zone Cuba.

The Episode

Host Segments


Tom's planetarium show

Prologue: Tom' presents a bloviating and inaccurate planetarium show, which is disrupted by Crow's repeated gags about Uranus.

Segment One: Dr. F's skill back in high school at swing choir causes him to propose a little competition...

Segment Two: Shop class on the SOL isn't going too well due to Tom's lack of working arms and Crow's preference to work without safety equipment.


Dr. F and Frank doing swing choir

Segment Three: Believing it's something he needs to know how to get out of on his own, Crow puts himself in a "double jock lock".

Segment Four: Crow and his hot rod comes under fire from a fighter-plane-flying Tom.

Closing (Segment Five): Crow and Tom persevere and struggle in their parachutes as Mike reads a letter, while Frank suffers through dodge ball.

Stinger: Steve the soon-to-die skydiver says, "I don't know. I feel real free up there in the high blue sky."

Other Notes


SOL shop class goes wrong

Goof: During Tom Servo's 'Planetarium Star Show'; he calls Mars "The Brightest Star in our Galaxy." 1.) Mars is a planet, not a star. And 2.) The brightest planet in our galaxy is Venus. Of course this could be due to Servo getting easily flustered by Crow's "Uranus Jokes." (Even before Crow starts up, Tom has referred to "our nation's solar system" and the speed of light amazingly being "over 500 miles an hour." It seems Tom was never going to be that accurate. Also, the "brightest planet" would depend entirely on your point of view, and, generally speaking, we cannot directly observe planets outside our solar system, so "brightest in our galaxy" is about as meaningful as "Miss Universe.")



Crow performs double jock lock

'The Mads' vs. 'Mike & The Bots' "Battle of the Swings Choirs" consists of the following songs:


Obscure References

  • SkydiversFanArt

    Custom fan art created by Jesse J. Barboza

    "Marlo Thomas, in That Guy!"
A reference to the real-life 1960's sitcom "That Girl."
  • "I'm making it for the 'Grand Wizard'".
Grand Wizard was a title bestowed onto the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • "Extruded plastic dingus..."
A reference to the product Norville Barnes invents in The Hudsucker Proxy (which turns out to be a hula hoop.)
  • "Krazy Glue spokesman!"
A reference to a Krazy Glue commercial from the 1970s that showed a construction worker whose hard hat had been Krazy Glued to a steel beam.
  • "Tool operators...Tooool operators..."
A parody of the Sade song "Smooth Operator".
  • "Look up there! A pin-up of Kathy Bates!"
Referring to actress Kathy Bates and her award-winning psychotic performance as Annie Wilkes from the film adaptation of Misery.
  • "Bravo respects the rights of the artist, but we cut their films anyway!"
A dig at a former slogan for the cable network Bravo.
  • "This is downright Hitchcock-ian." "Robyn Hitchcock."
British singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock is known for songs that are often surreal and quirkily humorous.
  • "I'm gonna go watch the Kefauver hearings anyway."
The Kefauver hearings were a series of Congressional hearings on organized crime held during 1950 and 1951.
  • "I wet 'em!"
A reference to the Monty Python sketch "The Visitors."
  • "The Red Baron is going to make an appearance."
This refers to Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy and his fantasy about being a World War I ace pilot fighting against "The Red Baron." Sometimes part of his fantasy involves sitting at a small table with a single candle, much like the table in the scene where Beth and Harry are sitting at.
  • "They should set a place for Eraserhead."
The dinner scene resembles a similar scene in David Lynch's first movie, Eraserhead. This may be one of the rare occasiona, however, when you can compare "Eraserhead" to another movie and "Eraserhead" has a more coherent plot.
  • "She's got teeth like a Ferengi."
The Ferengi are an alien race from the Star Trek universe. One of their most notable characteristics are their sharp teeth jutting out from their mouths; to which this riff compares Suzy's crooked set of teeth to.
  • "Amon Goeth on guitar."
Amon Goeth was a Nazi war criminal .infamous for executing thousands of prisoners and attendees at Plazow labour camp. He was one of the main antagonists from Schindler's List.
  • "H.R. Haldeman on drums."
The drummer of the band bears a passing resemblance to H.R. Haldeman, a key figure in the Watergate scandal.  The idea of the extremely conservative, almost reactionary, Haldeman as a drummer in a "jazzy" band is made even more ironic in light of his Christian Science beliefs.
  • (Servo humming along with Jimmy Bryant's tune)
It reminds him of The Ventures' 1954 surf rock hit "Walk, Don't Run."
  • "I think it's this town's Passion Play."
Passion plays are an old tradition, mostly in Catholic communities, where locals put on a play during Lent depicting the crucifixtion of Jesus.  (Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is a modern, filmed version.)  The name is misleading to modern ears; these are obviously very solemn productions, about as far from this swinging dance party as you can get.
  • "It's Polonius!"
A character from Shakespeare's Hamlet, the father of Ophelia.  In one scene, Polonius spies on Hamlet and Gertrude from behind a tapestry, sparking a cascading series of events that drive the tragedy's final act.
  • MST3K - The Skydivers Promo (609)00:29

    MST3K - The Skydivers Promo (609)

    [singing] "We're so glad we had this time together..."
Carol Burnett sang this song at the end of each episode of The Carol Burnett Show.
  • "What d'ya suppose that big brown thing coming up to meet me is?"
A reference to a passage in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; a whale is (extremely improbably) yanked into existence several miles above the surface of a planet, and only has a few seconds to come to terms with its existence before dying on impact.  Its last thoughts are to name the "big brown thing coming up to meet me" and wonder if it will be friends.
  • "Yeah! Take that paper! Make it swing, Junior. Junior tried to be a singer, but he couldn't cut it. Sit down, Junior."
Mike is pretending to be Frank Sinatra commenting on his son's mediocre singing career.
  • "It won the Palme de Butt at Cannes."
A spoof on the Palme d'Or.

Video Releases

  • Skydivers vhs


    Commercially released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in October 1999 as a single tape, and as a part of a 3-VHS set with Shorts Vol 2 and Catalina Caper.
  • Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in November 2002 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 1, a 4-DVD set with Catalina Caper, The Creeping Terror and Bloodlust!.
  • The DVD release is a double-sided disc, with the MST version on one side and the un-MSTed movie on the other. The MST3K side also includes a trailer for the original film.

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