MST3K
Advertisement

"He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature… and, because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection… they find only death… fire… loss… disillusionment… the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside — from man himself."
  — Peter Graves' final speech


The Short

Synopsis

311s.jpg

A Sport Parade newsreel focuses on winter sports and activities. The fun includes ice skating, ice yachting, dog sledding, polar bear swimming, skiing (pronounced "schiing"), cross-country "schiing", ice fishing, "schi" jumping, "schi" joring (pronounced "horing"), and bobsledding.

Information

The Movie

Main article: It Conquered the World (film)

Synopsis

It Conquered the World

An embittered scientist helps an invading alien take a control of a small town. He is opposed by one of his colleagues and his own wife.

It Conquered the World

The Episode

Host Segments

Joel & the Bots listen to Peter Graves' speech

Prologue: Joel attempts to use Crow as a ventriloquist dummy to get on to Star Search.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Crow and Joel switch roles, the Mads create instant hanged men costumes, and Joel demonstrates the Sony Seaman which imitates the soothing sounds of the ocean.

Segment Two: Joel and the Bots do their own version of the winter sports seen in the short.

Segment Three: The gang do their own extra-bitter version of the coffee scene from the film.

Segment Four: Based on confusion over the relation of James Arness and Peter Graves, Joel and the Bots sing the "Celebrity Siblings Song".

Segment Five: The crew and the Mads watch Peter Graves' stirring end speech from It Conquered the World and read letters.

Stinger: "He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature..."

MST3K cast

Notes

  • Unusual credits: Peter Graves' speech from the end of the film is played instead of "Mighty Science Theater".
  • First Roger Corman film featured on the show.
  • The closing repetition of the speech can be explained by Joel’s earlier admission that the movie was a bit short that week.

    The Mads listen to Peter Graves' speech.

  • This is one of the episodes affected by the glut of Penn Jillette voiceover promos, which was played over the end credits in spite of the repetition of Peter Graves' speech.
  • This episode aired fifteenth and last during Turkey Day '91, and ninth during Turkey Day '94.

Callbacks

Running Gags

  • Frequent references are made to Peter Graves' work as the host of the long-running TV documentary series Biography which was broadcast by the A&E (Arts & Entertainment) network.
  • Repeated mention is made of Peter Graves' brother, actor James Arness.

Obscure References

  • "Hardcastle and McCormick!"

Hardcastle and McCormick was a TV series from the mid-1980s.

  • "I can see Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw over there." and "Love means never having to watch this movie."

A notable scene in the 1970 film Love Story features young lovers played by Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw going ice skating in Central Park. The tag line for the movie is "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

  • "Here, Gertrude Stein shows her moves!"

Jazz age writer Gertrude Stein was known for being a lesbian (and having an unglamourous appearance).

  • "Hey, isn't that John Sununu?"

John H. Sununu was the White House Chief of Staff under U.S. President George H.W. Bush. He became embroiled in scandal when it was reported that he had used military jets for personal travel (including ski trips) at taxpayer expense.

  • "It's the 'Agony of Defeat' audition!"

A reference to the opening credits sequence from Wide World of Sports, in which the narrator mentions "the agony of defeat" over footage of a ski jumping accident.

  • "It's the Sled of the SubGenius!"

A reference to the satirical pseudo-religious movement the Church of the SubGenius, whose "prophet" is named J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.

  • "Thank you Eugene Castle for making us laugh at winter...again."

A twist on the tagline for the 1977 film The Goodbye Girl, which was "Thank you Neil Simon for making us laugh about falling in love...again."

  • "I've looked at clouds from both sides now."

A lyric from the Joni Mitchell song "Both Sides Now".

  • "Flight of the Bumblebee!"

"Flight of the Bumblebee" is a fast-paced piece of music composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.

  • "Do not adjust your set. We can make it stupid." and later "We control the Executive Producer."

The introductory narration (spoken over footage of an oscilloscope) of the 1960s sci-fi anthology TV series The Outer Limits advised viewers "...Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission... We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity."

  • "Paul Harbor? December 7th, 1941 - A day that will live in infamy."

The name of actor Paul Harbor is similar to that of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Naval Base that was attacked by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (whose voice Crow mimics) described the day as one that would "live in infamy" in a famous address to the nation.

  • "Say, whose line is that, anyway?"

Referencing the improv comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway? which was also broadcast on Comedy Central.

  • "Syrup by Larry Butterworth."

Mrs. Butterworth's is the name of a popular brand of pancake syrups and mixes.

  • "Lou... Lou... A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants."

The SOL crew is mimicking the vocal style of TV news broadcaster Ted Baxter (played by Ted Knight) from the TV sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He would often entreat the news director Lou Grant by saying his name in a submissive manner. The latter rhyme comes from the episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust", in which Ted must report on the death of the station's cartoon show host Chuckles the Clown, concluding the report with Chuckles' signature phrase.

  • "You know, I'd rather watch Thirtysomething."

Thirtysomething is a TV drama that aired on ABC from 1987 to 1991. It was popular with members of the Baby Boomer generation, who were also the main characters depicted.

  • "Hey, it's The House on the Rock!"

The House on the Rock is a hotel and tourist attraction in Wisconsin.

  • "Venus!" "You know- No arms, nice rack..."

The ancient Greek statue known as the Venus de Milo depicts the Goddess of Love and Beauty, topless. The statue was damaged over the passage of time and its arms were lost.

  • 'Gunsmoke'? No, it'll never work. Call my brother. 'Mission: Impossible'? Yeah, that sounds great!"

One of several references to Peter Graves' brother, actor James Arness. Arness starred as Marshall Matt Dillon on the TV western Gunsmoke for 20 years. Graves later starred in his own TV series - Mission: Impossible.

  • "...The Austrian Chilblain and By-The-Way-Kurt-Waldheim-Is-Not-A-Nazi Festival."

Austrian Kurt Waldheim (1918-2007) was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations and President of Austria from 1986 to 1992. During his 1986 campaign for President, it was reported that he had served as an intelligence officer in Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II. Waldheim claimed to have had no involvement in or knowledge of war crimes, but his actual history and philosophical alignments remained unclear.

  • "I'm Lowell George. So long for now!"

Lowell George was an American musician and record producer. He was the primary guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the rock band Little Feat. Late in his life he struggled with substance abuse and over-eating.

  • "The dry look?" "The wet head is dead."

This refers to an ad campaign for Gillette's spray-on hair fixative The Dry Look from the 1960s. It was intended to send the message that the shiny slicked-down "greaser" look was passe.

  • "And maybe I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time!"

A line from Paul McCartney's song "Maybe I'm Amazed".

  • "Venus, if you will- Please send a little girl for me to thrill, with all the charms of you..."

Lines from the song "Venus", popularized by Frankie Avalon.

  • "We're looking for the Frugal Gourmet."

The Frugal Gourmet is a TV cooking show that broadcast on PBS during the 1980s and 90s. The titular Gourmet was the bearded and avuncular Jeff Smith, a Methodist minister.

  • "So stop the world, I want to get off!" "Tom, no more Anthony Newley..."

Stop the World - I Want to Get Off is the title of a stage musical co-written by actor/singer Anthony Newley. The phrase does not occur in any of the songs in the show, however, so Tom Servo seems to have devised this tune on his own. Tom had previously done his Anthony Newley impression during "A Clown in the Sky".

  • "Hey, it's Jennifer Beals!"

In the film Flashdance, Jennifer Beals plays a steel worker who spends her evenings indulging her passion for dancing.

  • "Looks like a Margaret Bourke-White exhibit all of a sudden..."

Margaret Bourke-White was an American photographer. She was the first American allowed to photograph the industrial development of Soviet Russia.

  • "What is this, an Olsen & Johnson movie?"

Olsen & Johnson were a comedy duo known for their madcap antics. They appeared briefly in the 1947 short film Johnny at the Fair, which was part of Experiment #419.

  • "Hellooooo, Baaaaaabyyyyyy..."

This is the opening line to "Chantilly Lace", a hit song recorded by The Big Bopper, who died in a plane crash that also took the lives of musicians Buddy Holly and Richie Valens.

MST3K_311_Promo

MST3K 311 Promo

  • "I'll paint any car for $49.99!"

Earl Scheib Paint & Body promised to paint "any car, any color, for $[amount]. No ups, no extras." The quality was questionable.

  • "This one's going out to you, it's 'Cathy's Clown'."

"Cathy's Clown" is a popular song released in 1960 by The Everly Brothers.

  • "Hurry, everbody! The new Lorna Luft album is released!"

Lorna Luft is a singer, actor, and author. She is the daughter of Judy Garland and producer Sidney Luft. Her first single was released in 1973, but her only studio album was not released until 2007.

  • "Who am I, Doogie Howser? Get out of here, grandma!"

Doogie Howser, M.D. was a TV light drama that aired from 1989 to 1993. The character Douglas "Doogie" Howser (played by Neil Patrick Harris) was a child prodigy who became a practicing physician at the age of 15.

  • "Clair!" "The moment I met you I swear!"

These are lyrics from the song "Clair" by Gilbert O'Sullivan.

  • "I got a tiger in my tank, sweetie."

"Put a Tiger in the Tank" was the slogan for Esso gas stations. It suggested that their gasoline was especially powerful and effective.

  • "New, from Wham-O!"

Wham-O is a toy company that produces the Frisbee flying disc, among other toys and novelties.

  • "That's right, officer. Give a hoot!"

"Give a hoot, don't pollute!" was the slogan of a series of anti-littering PSAs featuring the character Woodsy Owl.

  • "You will bow down before me!"

A line spoken by the power-hungry Kryptonian General Zod in the films Superman and Superman II.

  • "Oh, now he's Ayn Rand."

Ayn Rand was an author whose works glamorized personal independence and denigrated communal responsibility and public works. Her writings have been embraced by Libertarians.

  • "It's called the New World Order, Paul."

"New World Order" was a phrase used by U.S. President George H.W. Bush in a speech to congress in 1990 during the lead-up to the first Persian Gulf war. Inspired by the recent collapse of the Soviet Union, Bush predicted a significant re-alignment in the worldwide balance of power and anticipated a new age of international cooperation (presumably with a America having a dominant role). Some found the phrase to be ominous, and believed that it indicated the presence of unknown oppressive forces.

  • "How's he going to do it?" "Amway products."

Amway is a multi-level marketing company that recruits individuals to sell household products (i.e. cleaning supplies) to their friends and neighbors with the promise of the potential to earn great profits. It is sometimes derided as a pyramid scheme, with only those at the top reaping the benefits.

  • "The coffee tastes like mud. Roger Mudd!"

Roger Mudd is a retired broadcast journalist.

  • "Talk about a steak being tough! I thought they retired Man o' War to stud..."

Man o' War (1917-1947) was an American thoroughbred racehorse. Successful racehorses are often sent to "stud" (that is, reproduce) after their racing careers have ended in the hopes of producing additional fast horses as offspring. Horse meat is typically tougher and less flavorful than beef.

  • "You know, I've never seen Spam served so many ways? Especially in the Jell-O!"

Spam is an inexpensive processed meat food product. Jell-O is a gelatin-based dessert. They are not typically served together.

  • "I'll stand by you, Tom. Not just because I'm your wife-" "Because I'm Tammy Wynette."

Country music singer Tammy Wynette had a hit record with the song "Stand By Your Man".

  • "Thank you, Curtis LeMay."

Curtis LeMay was a U.S. Air Force General who served as head of the Strategic Air Command and Air Force Chief of Staff. He was fiercely anti-Communist and had advocated the use of nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis and in Vietnam.

  • "Senator McCarthy is on his way."

Joseph McCarthy was a United States Senator from Wisconsin. He was the most prominent figure in the anti-Communist "Red Scare" during the 1950s, in which many public figures (politicians, performers, business leaders, etc) were accused of having Communist sympathies, often with little evidence.

  • "What are they, picking up the dad from Hazel?" "Hey, Mr. B."

Hazel is a TV sitcom about a suburban family (the Baxters) and their wise-cracking but resourceful live-in maid Hazel. It ran from 1961 to 1966.

  • "A world of whimsy! Thank you, Wayne Dyer!"

Wayne Dyer was an American author and motivational speaker. He focused on self-improvement with a spiritual (though not necessarily religious) inclination.

  • "I'm Frazier Thomas. Welcome to Family Classics."

Family Classics is a TV program that was broadcast on WGN-TV out of Chicago. It showed movies that were appropriate for family viewing. It was originally hosted by Frazier Thomas, who also selected the films and sometimes edited them to remove objectionable content. Thomas' host segments often showed him sitting comfortably in a high-backed chair.

  • "Ah, the night they raided Minsky's!" "No, it's the Famous Footwear annual clearance sale!"

The Night They Raided Minsky's is a 1968 film about several characters whose lives converge at a notorious burlesque house. Famous Footwear is a chain of discount shoe stores.

  • "I'm Bat-Guano."

The line "I'm Batman" from the 1989 film Batman was prominent featured in the film's promotional material. Guano is a term for bat excrement.

  • "Meanwhile, in a Samuel Fuller film not far away..."

Samuel Fuller was an American filmmaker and military veteran who got his start in directing features from producer Robert L. Lippert. His war film The Big Red One is highly-regarded.

  • "I'm your boyfriend now! Bleh-bleh-bleh..."

A line from the 1984 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street in which the teenage Nancy in menaced in a dream by the villain Freddy Krueger. In the dream, Nancy is trying to call her boyfriend on the phone when Freddy's tongue emerges from the receiver.

  • "I'm doing this for Jodie Foster, it's nothing personal."

When John Hinckley Jr. was put on trial for his attempt to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan, his defense claimed that he was mentally unstable, as evidenced by his fixation on actor Jodie Foster (specifically her role as an underage prostitute in Taxi Driver). Hinckley claimed that his attempt on Reagan's life was motivated by a desire to impress Ms. Foster and gain her affection.

  • "Rodney King!"

In 1991, amateur video recorded a group of Los Angeles police officers assaulting an apparently defenseless African-American motorist named Rodney King during a traffic stop. The video was widely-circulated and King became a symbol of perceived police brutality and racism.

  • "Free to be you and me! It's OK for boys to play with dolls..."

Free to Be... You and Me is a music album, book, and TV special from the 1970s created by actor Marlo Thomas that challenged traditional gender roles for children.

  • "Hey, Daisy Mae is late for the Sadie Hawkins Dance!"

In the comic strip Li'l Abner, the character Daisy Mae is a naive, beautiful, voluptuous blonde who typically wears a skimpy blouse with polka dots on it. In the mythology of the strip, Sadie Hawkins was the homely daughter of the founder of the town of Dogpatch (where the characters live). Sadie's father demanded that all bachelors in town take part in a foot race, wherein Sadie would chase them and any man she caught would be required to marry her. This became an annual tradition in Dogpatch and enabled the women (beautiful and otherwise) to catch husbands from the wholly unwilling male population. Fans of the strip adapted this idea into the real-life phenomenon of a Sadie Hawkins Dance, where women ask men to be their dates (in a subversion of the typical gender dynamic).

  • "Jeez, look at that thing. Bil Keane goes African..."

Bil Keane was the creator of the popular newspaper panel comic The Family Circus. His human figures were somewhat stylized.

  • "That's not a rock! It was a Rock Lobster! Down... Down... Down..."

A line from the song "Rock Lobster" recorded by the B-52s.

  • "Each of the nine has an intellect that will dwarf humans." "Like Billy Barty."

Billy Barty was a well-known little person actor.

  • "Yeah, I hate The 700 Club, too."

The 700 Club is a long-running syndicated religious TV program hosted by evangelist Pat Robertson. The name is derived from a fund-raising effort from 1962 in which Robertson sought 700 viewers to donate $10 per month to prevent the station that produced the show from shutting down.

  • "Don't start with me, Martha." "You laughed your ass off, George!"

George and Martha are the contentious, bitter, alcoholic married couple in the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. They were played by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1966 film adaptation.

  • "I won't love a monster! I won't!" "That's what Ivana said."

Ivana was the first wife of real estate mogul and later U.S. President Donald Trump. They had a public, contentious divorce in 1990 during which she accused him of repeated instances of infidelity and violence towards her over the course of their marriage.

  • "What about Fred MacMurray?"

Beverly Garland played the new wife of the character Steve Douglas (played by Fred MacMurray) during the later seasons of the TV sitcom My Three Sons.

  • "Tom - Stop it!" "Tom Stoppard? What's she talking about?"

Tom Stoppard is a British playwright and screenwriter. His works include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Brazil, and Shakespeare in Love.

  • "Catch you on the flip-flop, Big Ben. Breaker! Eight!"

These are C.B. (Citizen's Band) radio terms popularized by the trucker craze in popular media from the late 1970s and early 80s. "Flip-flop" means a trucker's return trip. "Breaker!" followed by a number indicates that a user wants to start a transmission on the channel with that number.

  • "Well, I'm finally home after a breathtaking tour of Cornwall."

The "The Cycling Tour" episode of the British TV sketch comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus was narrated by the mild-mannered Mr. Pither, who related the unlikely adventures that he had while riding his bicycle through Cornwall. He described the mundane and the outlandish in the same measured tone of voice.

  • "Scientology is great!"

The Church of Scientology is an organization founded by author L. Ron Hubbard. It has been publicly criticized for the amount of control it exerts over the lives of its members.

  • "Bird, bird, bird is the word!" "Bird lives!"

These are two musical references. The first is to the song "Surfin' Bird" recorded by the Trashmen, the second is to the album "Bird Lives" by trumpet player Red Rodney as a tribute to fellow trumpeter Charlie "Bird" Parker.

  • "Something is wrong on Saturn 3!"

Saturn 3 is a 1980 sci-fi/horror film about a killer on an isolated space station. The tagline for it is "Some thing is watching... waiting... and wanting... on Saturn 3".

  • "Stiller & Meara. Don't know why..."

Married couple Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara performed as the comedy duo Stiller & Meara during the 1960s and 70s.

  • "No, Big Daddy, I wanna be my own little girl, no!..."

Tom is referencing the character known as Maggie the Cat from the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In one scene, she defies and struggles with her controlling father-in-law who the family calls "Big Daddy". Set during one hot night in the American South, Maggie spends most of the evening wearing only a slip.

  • "Barney. Paris. They'll help me." later "And the secretary would disavow any knowledge of their actions."

Peter Graves played the role of Jim Phelps in the original Mission: Impossible TV series. Barney and Paris were members of Phelps' IMF team, played by Greg Morris and Leonard Nimoy respectively. At the beginning of each episode, Phelps was warned that if he and his team failed "...The Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions".

  • "Two weekends a month, huh?"

One of the ways that the U.S. Army Reserve promoted itself to potential recruits was by emphasizing the relatively-small time commitment that enlisting supposedly required. The actual terms were "One weekend a month, two weeks a year".

  • "Kill da wabbit! Kill da wabbit!"

A refrain sung by Elmer Fudd in the animated short film What's Opera, Doc?.

  • "It's the Craw!" "Not 'the Craw'! The Craw!"

On the 1960s TV spy comedy series Get Smart, a recurring villain was an Asian character known as "The Claw" because one of his hands had been replaced with a metal claw. When he introduced himself, he spoke with a heavy accent, causing the dim-witted hero Maxwell Smart to believe that his name was The Craw. The Claw tried to correct him, without success.

  • "I'll give you such a pinch!"

This was a common threat employed by the man-child character called Stinky (played by Joe Besser) on The Abbott & Costello Show. It has since been repeated in a number of media productions, including a notable use in the Looney Tunes animated short film Elephant Gun.

  • "There should be a plot point around here somewhere... Syd? Syd Field?"

Syd Field authored several highly-regarded books about writing screenplays, breaking them down into act structure and plot points.

  • "Gotham City, fourteen miles."

The scenery resembles the wooded area from which the Batmobile would emerge from its hidden tunnel on the 1960s Batman TV series (with a nearby sign indicating the distance to the city).

  • "Long about this time, seems those Duke boys had had just about enough..."

The 1980s adventure TV series The Dukes of Hazzard features a folksy narrator and many car chases on back roads.

  • "Oo-ga-cha-ka, oo-ga-cha-ka, oo-ga-oo-ga-oo-ga-cha-ka..."

This chant is repeated throughout the 1973 cover of the BJ Thomas song "Hooked on a Fleeing" by the band Blue Suede.

  • "Be all that you can be? I don't think so."

"Be All That You Can Be" was a long-running recruiting slogan for the U.S. Army.

  • "It's the Kool-Aid guy gone wrong!"

The Kool-Aid Man is the mascot for the flavored beverage Kool-Aid. He is a large glass pitcher filled with red Kool-Aid with eyes, a mouth, arms and legs. He will often burst through walls and yell "Oh, yeah!" when people mention Kool-Aid.

  • "Biddi-biddi-biddi. Get the Hell out of my cave. Buck."

Joel is mimicking the vocal style of Twiki, the robot from the science fiction TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

  • "1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, see the stupid monster..."

The police procedural TV series Adam-12 often featured the main characters being contacted over the radio of their patrol car with their call sign "1-Adam-12". This also happened during the opening credits, where they could be heard being instructed to "see the man" at a particular location.

  • "It's Sigmund the Sea Monster!"

Sigmund the Sea Monster was the main character of a live-action children's TV show produced by Sid & Marty Kroft in the 1970s. He was green, slow-moving, and had tentacles and large eyes similar to the Venusian invader.

  • "How are you doing? "I make a nice living."

This refers to an old joke in which a dying soldier is being aided by a medic on a battlefield. The medic asks "Are you comfortable?" to which the soldier replies "I make a nice living..." In most versions of the joke, the dying soldier is identified as being Jewish, so the joke plays with a possibly offensive stereotype.

  • "Smuckers jelly always tastes the freshest."

Smuckers is a popular line of jams and jellies. For many years, their commercials featured the distinctive voice of actor Mason Adams (whom Joel is imitating).

  • "James Arness will return in Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song!"

A reference to the "James Bond will return in..." taglines that frequently appear during the closing credits of James Bond movies, and to the blaxploitation film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

"He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature..."

Video releases

A home video release of this episode is not currently forthcoming. However, the host segments are available on the Satellite Dishes disc included in Volume XXXIX, and the short is included as a bonus feature on the disc for The Sword and the Dragon on Volume XXIV.

Advertisement