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

The Movie


Catalina Caper Host

"They're standing four abreast."

An ancient Chinese scroll is stolen from a museum in Los Angeles. Later teenager Don Pringle (Kirk) arrives on Catalina Island and meets some friends.

Pringle and his friends investigate the scroll's theft and discover that the professional-art-thief parents of one of the boys are responsible. Don also attempts to woo a mysteriously depressed young woman named Katrina Corelli (Ulla Strömstedt) away from her threatening boyfriend Angelo (Lyle Waggoner).

After wresting the scroll away from Angelo and his dangerous cohorts, the boys secretly return the scroll to the museum to the relief of the repentant parents.



Little Richard appearance

  • Musical highlights include Little Richard singing "Scuba Party" (seemingly while under the influence of some narcotic) and The Cascades with "There's a New World Opening for Me." [1]
  • Carol Connors (original name Annette Kleinbard), the singer of "Book of Love", had career highlights before and after this movie. She sang lead for the Phil Spector girl-group The Teddy Bears ("To Know Him Is To Love Him"), and later co-wrote the theme music for "Rocky ".
  • Mary Wells, who sang the theme for the movie ("Never Steal Anything Wet") was one of the first breakout female stars of the Motown label. Her most famous song is the 1964 hit "My Guy".
  • Both Never Steal Anything Wet and Scuba Party were titles planned for the film, before the makers decided on Catalina Caper
  • The movie was made by Executive Pictures Corporation, which had been formed by Bond Blackman and Jack Barlett. It started filming in September 1965. Tommy Kirk was signed to a four-picture contract of which this was to be the first (though he did not make any subsequent films with the company).
  • Tommy Kirk would appear in Village of the Giants which became an experiment in Season 5 (both Joel and Mike were each exposed to one Tommy Kirk film).
  • Venita Wolf receives an "introducing" credit, though strictly speaking this was not her first movie appearance (she was a bikini girl in The Oscar from the previous year). The popular perception of such credits being a career killer proved to be the case with her, as she only did a handful of TV appearances afterwards.
  • The opening animated sequence was done by "Murakami Wolf" (later known as merely "Fred Wolf Films"); they previously did the opening sequence for the Woody Allen-dubbed Japanese film What's Up Tiger Lily! and later be known as the studio behind the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.

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 (Segment One): 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 '60s.

Segment Three: Tom sings of his love for the mysterious "Creepy Girl" (Ulla Strömstedt).


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.

Closing (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.



  • 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.


Running Jokes

  • Riffing on the overbearing whiteness of the film and its cast.
  • Numerous plays on the name "Lakopolous."
  • Crow repeatedly attempts to use the line "By this time, my lungs were aching for air" (a Sea Hunt reference) only to be stopped by Joel.

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.
  • "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.
  • "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 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 that Sir Bedevere mentions 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 was 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 this 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 #109 Project Moon Base.
  • "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.

Video Release



  • Released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in October 1999, the episode was also released at the same time as a part of a 3-VHS set with The Skydivers and Shorts Vol 2.
  • Released on DVD by Rhino in November 2002 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 1, a 4-DVD set with The Skydivers, The Creeping Terror and Bloodlust!. The set went out of print by 2008.
    • The DVD release is a double-sided disc, with the MST version on one side and the un-MSTed movie on the other. The MST side includes a trailer for the original movie.
  • Re-released on DVD by Shout Factory in September 2015 as part of Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume I.
    • DVD special features include the "Crown Jewels" featurette and the original theatrical trailer.
  • Digitally available through Rifftrax, Vudu, and iTunes.
  • Available for rent or purchase on Amazon's streaming service.