|“||I hear his theme music, he's around here somewhere...||”|
This "movie" is comprised of two episodes of a short-lived early ’80s action TV show called The Master. It’s about an old Ninja (Van Cleef) and his hot-headed American apprentice (Van Patten) as they travel around in a van (with a pet hamster) looking for the Ninja's daughter and helping out people in trouble. The first part deals with the duo’s first meeting as they team up and help a young woman (played by a young Demi Moore) and her father (Claude Akins) save their private airport from corrupt businessmen and dirty cops. Part 2 deals with the duo helping an man and his two daughters save their nightclub from some more corrupt businessmen.
- Master Ninja I is one of many movies (re)distributed by Film Ventures International, a distributor not known for bringing quality to their films. The credits effects have near-constant double images that make the visuals difficult to follow, in addition to the washed-out colors and poor lighting. The film also appears to be taken from an overseas PAL copy converted to US NTSC standard (framerate conversion explaining the double images), meaning the audio is slightly higher pitched than normal.
- The entire series of The Master was released on DVD & Blu-Ray in February of 2018.
Prologue: The Bots make up their own model car while Gypsy quotes the lyrics to "Born to Run", and Magic Voice is a bit cranky.
Segment Two: Crow discusses the conspiracy that is... the "Van Patten Project"!
Segment Four: Joel and the Bots demonstrate alternatives to nunchucks.
Stinger: "To them it’s some kind of ritual."
- Joel Hodgson - Joel Robinson
- Trace Beaulieu - Crow T. Robot / Dr. Clayton Forrester
- Kevin Murphy - Tom Servo
- Frank Conniff - TV's Frank
- Jim Mallon - Gypsy
- Alexandra Carr - Magic Voice
- Unusual credits: Joel and the Bots sing the "Master Ninja Theme Song" instead of "Mighty Science Theater" being played.
- Frank Conniff and Michael J. Nelson provided additional music for this episode.
- Forrester and Frank nearly smother each other with a pillow. This is later how Forrester meets his demise between the seventh and eighth seasons.
- This episode aired second during Turkey Day '92.
- "He learned too late that man is a feeling creature…" (It Conquered the World)
- "Special guest appearance by the car from Stranded in Space."
- "Hi-keeba!" (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
- "I’m a ninja warrior!" (paraphrase of a line from Viking Women.)
- The hockey mask portion of Crow's head falls off early in the second theater segment, and remains off until Joel and the Bots leave the theater.
- They mispronounce Clu Gulager’s last name twice.
- Timothy Van Patten is not Dick Van Patten’s son. He’s Dick’s half-brother.
- Crow refers to the third season of The Good Guys, in which Rufus got rid of the taxi and helped out more in the diner. The Good Guys only ran for two seasons. Crow is describing Season Two, not Three.
- "Wrap your hands 'cross my velvet rims, and strap your hands 'cross my engines!"
- "...William Burroughs' Naked Lunch."
A book about a series of sometimes surreal vignettes which, despite the crew's reluctance to open the book, does not center around an indecent mealtime.
- "A Wand'ring Ninja I..."
The title reminds Servo of the song "A Wand'ring Minstrel I" from The Mikado, an operetta set in feudal Japan (but which does not involve any ninjas).
- "He learned too late that man is a feeling creature..."
- "Mmmm..." "Ax!" "MAX!"
A reference to an Electric Company segment from the 1970s.
- "I do like the John Cage soundtrack."
John Cage was an experimental music composer best known for his work 4'33", in which performers are instructed not to play their instruments during the entire duration of the piece. The piece consists of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, although it is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence."
- "Tonight on Bravo, Martha Graham's new dance company!"
Bravo is a cable TV network that initially focused on art & culture programming. It later shifted to more sensationalist reality-based shows. Martha Graham was a modern dance choreographer.
- "Cripes, it's those turtles
!They moved next door!"
Presumably a reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- "Meanwhile, in the movie 1941..."
- "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Gerbil."
- "I hope Stephen J. Cannell was in that car."
- "Only you can prevent car explosions."
“Remember... Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” was Smokey Bear's slogan from 1947–2001 for the Wildfire Prevention Campaign.
- "He looks about as much like a ninja as Irene Ryan."
- "It's Over the Top!"
- "I'll just die if they find my Tiger Balm!"
- "He broke ape law."
Claude Akins (appearing here as Mr. Trumbull) played the ape Aldo in the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes. MST3K later spoofed several plot twists of the original Planet of the Apes sequels during the first episodes of Season 8.
- "He's the Ugly." "No, he's the Bad!"
A reference to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but more subtly a reference to the infamous trailer which confused Van Cleef's ominous Angel Eyes (the Bad) with Eli Wallach 's tainted soul Tuco (the Ugly).
- "He's a William Daniels wannabe!" "Michael..."
Actor William Daniels is known for voicing KITT on Knight Rider, as well as his work on St. Elsewhere, Boy Meets World, and the musical 1776.
- "A man's gotta know his limitations."
- "...lifted from Then Came Bronson."
Then Came Bronson was a very short-lived TV series from 1969-1970 about a disillusioned reporter who quits his job and starts wandering the road on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a form of soul-searching. He meets various people, helping some and educating others.
- "Is that Mrs. O'Leary's barn?"
- "Looks like Edie Sedgwick fell asleep again!"
- "The Van Patten Project!"
A riff on the Manhattan Project, which was the code name for the American-led effort to develop a functional atomic weapon during World War II. The Manhattan Project Organization Chart includes the names of staff working on the project, similar to Crow's chart.
- "Don Van Vito Patten Corleone!"
- "What, now he's a Wallenda?"
The Flying Wallendas are a well-known family of circus acrobats and daredevil stunt performers.
- "It's a Woozle, his name is Peanut."
- "Hey, here comes Betty Jo!"
On February 27, 1947, a P-82B fighter plane named Betty Jo made history when it flew nonstop from Hawaii to New York without refueling. It remains the longest nonstop flight ever made by a propeller-driven fighter, and the fastest such a distance has ever been covered in a piston-engined aircraft.
- "Oh, it's The Other Side of the Mountain!"
The Other Side of the Mountain is a 1975 film based on a true story of ski racing champion Jill Kinmont. It follows Kinmont's difficult journey to recuperate after she is paralyzed from a near-fatal skiing accident. Her best friend suffers the same fate after contracting polio.
- "That's not dancing." Servo: "That's typing."
- "Terry and the Pilots!"
- "Boy, that parquet floor must really sting." "Butter."
Joel and Servo are describing two different things. Joel is referring to parquet flooring patterns, known for its intricate, geometric designs in such a small space. Servo is referencing the famous Parkay butter commercial catchphrase.
- "Out you pixies go!"
A quote from Sheldon Leonard's character Nick the Bartender in It's A Wonderful Life: "That's it, out you two pixies go! Through the door or out the window!"
- "You're practically Leo Buscaglia..."
Leo Buscaglia was a professor, author, and motivational speaker whose impassioned public speaking technique gained a wide audience by being broadcast on American Public Television in the 1980s.
- "The ninja creeps in on little cat feet."
- "Quick! Take a turn here on Steven J. Cannell Boulevard!"
As mentioned above, Steven J. Cannell was a TV producer, writer, novelist, and occasional actor.
- "This is no place for a convertible!"
- "Hey, it's Mrs. Ironside."
- "I left my liver in San Francisco."
- "Niagara Falls... Slowly I turned... inch by inch... step by step..."
A slight misquote ("Slowly I turned .. step by step... inch by inch...") of the popular sketch "Slowly I Turned" wherein a character is relating a story and is triggered into violent outbursts when the listener inadvertently utters a triggering word or phrase. There are many depictions, but the "Niagara Falls" version is familiar to fans of The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello.
- "Well at least we can enjoy another Film Ventures International credits sequence, huh?"
Film Ventures International is the distributor of this and several other movies riffed on the show. FVI films are exclusively re-releases with altered title and ending credit sequences that use variations of the same "blur, pixelize, add stutter, and make the colors washed out" filter, often with background footage coming from other sources (often unrelated films, but in the case of Master Ninja it's stock footage of a man doing exercises in a martial arts class).
- Commercially released on DVD by Shout! Factory in March 2011 as part of Volume XX, a 4-disc set along with Project Moon Base, Master Ninja II, and The Magic Voyage of Sinbad.
- The DVD includes an interview with Bill McKinney.
- In the DVD menu sketch, the Obi Wan Kenobi and Batman cliffhanger lines are from Master Ninja II
- Available for rent or purchase on Amazon's streaming service.
|preceded by: Season 2||MST3K Season 3||followed by: Season 4|
|1991 - 1992|
|301||Cave Dwellers||1991-06-01||309||The Amazing Colossal Man||1991-08-03||317||The Saga of the Viking Women...||1991-10-26|
|302||Gamera||1991-06-08||310||Fugitive Alien||1991-08-17||318||Star Force: Fugitive Alien II||1991-11-16|
|303||Pod People||1991-06-08||311||It Conquered the World||1991-08-24||319||War of the Colossal Beast||1991-11-30|
|304||Gamera vs Barugon||1991-06-22||312||Gamera vs Guiron||1991-09-07||320||The Unearthly||1991-12-14|
|305||Stranded in Space||1991-06-29||313||Earth vs the Spider||1991-09-14||321||Santa Claus Conquers/Martians||1991-12-21|
|306||Time of the Apes||1991-07-13||314||Mighty Jack||1991-09-21||322||Master Ninja I||1992-01-11|
|307||Daddy-O (episode)||1991-07-20||315||Teenage Cave Man||1991-11-09||323||The Castle of Fu Manchu||1992-01-18|
|308||Gamera vs Gaos||1991-07-27||316||Gamera vs Zigra||1991-10-19||324||Master Ninja II||1992-01-25|