“It's one big sunny fun-filled Bataan Death March.”

The movie

Main article: Catalina Caper (film)

A beach party gets entangled with shenanigans centered around a scroll pilfered from a nearby museum.

The episode

Host segments

Tom sings "Creepy Girl"

Prologue: The Bots say their nightly prayers, including God blesses for a number of fellow robots, including (at Joel's insistence) Twiki.

Invention Exchange: While willing to reluctantly pray for Twiki, the Bots refuse to pray for the Mads, who have created literal tank tops, where as Joel opts to turn a bazooka into a fun generating tickling device.

Segment Two: Joel vapor-locks as he remembers the 1960s.

Segment Three: Tom sings of his love for the mysterious "Creepy Girl".

Joel's chart trying to explain the film

Segment Four: TV's Frank's attempt to sell Tupperware to Gerry and Sylvia goes badly once Dr. F decides to sit in and watch his sales technique.

Segment Five: Joel attempts to explain the film with a handy chart, but loses it when the Bots disagree on what is the emotional center of the movie. Joel reads a letter from two people who met and fell in love because of MST3K, including their wedding announcement.


Obscure references

  • "Robert Donner? I went to his party once."
A veiled reference to the Donner Party, a group of American pioneers whose trip to California took a series of unfortunate turns and is quite infamous for its claims that the group resorted to cannibalism to survive a early and harsh winter storm.
  • "Looks like Jacques Cousteau meets The Pink Panther."
Jacques Cousteau was a famous French oceanographer/explorer who revolutionized underwater exploration through films, books and inventions such as the Aqua-Lung.
The animated title sequence, produced by Fred Wolf Films, is reminiscent of the art style used in the animated openings created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises for the Pink Panther films.
  • "They took my thumb, Charlie!"
A repeated reference to a much darker heist film, 1984's The Pope of Greenwich Village.
  • "Here's something we hope you'll really like."
This is a line that Rocky the Flying Squirrel would say on The Bullwinkle Show in the introductory bumpers.
  • "Hey, it's Steve Higgins!" "You mean the star of the Higgins Boys and Gruber show on the Comedy Channel?"
Steve Higgins is better known today as the announcer/sidekick on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. At the time, he was the co-host of The Higgins Boys and Gruber, a short-lived Comedy Channel series created and co-written by Joel Hodgson and co-starring Dave (Gruber) Allen.
  • "How do you know she's a witch?"
Reference to a line spoken by Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, pertaining to a woman who has been dressed up and accused of being a witch.
  • "I'm gonna go invent the Walkman.
Reference to a portable audio cassette player created by Sony.
  • "Was she in the movie David and Lisa?"
David and Lisa is a 1962 film about a man with OCD and a woman with multiple personality disorder.
  • "What happens if I run into a Leviathan?"
Two possible references: 1) a biblical sea monster of enormous size and 2) the 1980's film Leviathan.
  • "The cows are up in arms! They've left their fields and barns! They're marching from the farms because kids don't drink enough milk!"
A reference to a classic commercial for Hershey's Instant chocolate milk mix.
  • "Let's see... You are a child, no less than the trees..."
A slightly mangled quote from the Desiderata, a poem by Max Ehrmann that became popular as a non-denominational devotional in the 1960s and '70s.
  • "He's no fun, he fell right over!" -After Robert Donner does a pratfall.
Reference to a comedy album called How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All by The Firesign Theatre. The line "s/he's no fun, s/he fell right over" occurs on both sides of the record.
  • "By this time my lungs were aching--- Sorry, sorry."
One of numerous times MST used this line from the Lloyd Bridges TV series Sea Hunt ("By this time, my lungs were aching for air..."). Its first use as a riff was in Experiment #K01 Invaders from the Deep.
  • "I'm comin,' Beany-boy!
Reference to a signature line oft-spoken on the 1960's kid's show Beany and Cecil.
  • "Slamdance Cosmopolis, Do the worm Acropolis"
These are lyrics from the song "Ghetto Defendant" by The Clash, off the album "Combat Rock". These lyrics are read by Alan Ginsburg.
  • "Ya. You were so much older then, you're so much younger than that now."
Spoken by Crow during the "Joel Remembers the 60s" host segment. These are a take on the lyrics from Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" off the album Another Side of Bob Dylan.
  • "It's the 'Keep Mandela in Prison' dance."
Anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by the South African government for 27 years before his release in 1990.
  • "Do the... Donald Hollinger."
Donald Hollinger was the name of Marlo Thomas' boyfriend on the TV series That Girl. He was a bit of a stiff.
  • "OK let's see now...Hello Muddah...Hello Fadduh...Here I am in...Catalina..."
Lawrence, the movie's bespectacled comic relief looks a lot like comedic writer Allan Sherman; who was known for his novelty song Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh
  • "Nothing wrong with her that $100 wouldn't fix."
A line from the Tom Waits song "9th & Hennepin" (which is an intersection in Minneapolis, MN).
  • "Huh. Zack Norman is Sammy in Chief Zabu..."
A reference to this long-running ad in Variety.
  • "...that Dave Delgado guy."
This is presumably a reference to Dave Del Dotto, a real estate investor who had an infomercial for his "Cash Flow" system in the 1990s.

Behind the scenes

MST3K cast

Regular cast

MST3K crew


  • This episode would become infamous – and copies of it became collectors items – a few years later, when the rights to the movie expired and Comedy Central found they could no longer legally air it. It was the first movie where that situation occurred, but it would not be the last. Incidents such as this would lead to controversy among the fan base resulting from some people selling copies for monetary gain instead of the honor system of trading.


Movie Edits

Like most of the riffed movies, The Catalina Caper was edited to fit within the desired time-slot by trimming several scenes. Removed content in this film included:

  • A scene where Don and Tina scuba dive together.
  • An extended underwater sequence showing Don finding the map case and having to evade the rival divers during the scuba diving "treasure hunt."
  • A scene showing Borman and Angelo fighting with the Duvals on their boat and escaping with what they think is the real scroll. During the cut footage, Don throws the tube with the real scroll back overboard, which is mentioned later when Charlie wishes Don hadn't gone back for it after throwing it back in.

Video releases




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