(Johnny watches himself jump in a distorting mirror)

"Afterwards, Johnny can't stop going up and down."

"The drugs from the Chemical Wonderland start to kick in."

  — Narrarator and Crow

The Short



At the 1947 Canadian National Exhibition, a young boy ditches his parents and sets off for adventure, meeting some celebrities along the way, including world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, Canadian figure skater Barbara Ann Scott (who won the gold medal in the 1948 Olympics), comedians Ole Olsen & “Chick” Johnson, and former Canadian prime minister McKenzie King. This short was narrated by Lorne Greene.


  • The short was released by Rhino Entertainment on DVD on Mr. B's Lost Shorts, part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 6

The Movie



The Rebel Set

Mr. Tucker (Platt), proprietor of a Los Angeles coffee house, hires three down-on-their-luck patrons - out-of-work actor John Mapes (Palmer); struggling writer Ray Miller (Lupton); and George Leland (Sullivan), the wayward son of a movie star - to participate in an armored car robbery to take place during a four-hour stopover in Chicago during the trio's train trip from Los Angeles to New York. Tucker and his henchman Sidney (Glass) fly ahead to set up the robbery, which goes off without a hitch. However, once back on the train, Leland's greed gets the better of him, but Tucker double crosses the trio, eliminating Leland and Miller, leaving Mapes as the only one left to stop Tucker from getting away with murder - along with the entire haul.

The Episode

Host Segments


Joel tries to read a scary story

Prologue: Joel attempts to read the Bots a scary story, but Tom and Crow are too jaded and aren't biting, until Joel produces the unrelenting terror that is Life's Little Instruction Book...

Invention Exchange (Segment One): While Dr. F has an even scarier book, Frank introduces the time saving but rather cumbersome Quick Primp Kit styling station, where as Joel removes all the trouble from modern art production with the Mark Rothko Paint-by-Number kit.

Quick Primp Kit styling station

Segment Two: "Co-starring with Scott Baio" acting lessons.

Segment Three: Inspired by the movie, Joel asks the Bots what they'd do with a four-hour layover in Chicago, but only Crow gets into the spirit. Rather too into it.

Segment Four: Joel hosts a writing workshop with the Bots using the supposed Merritt Stone method, but seems interested only in stories that reference, take place on or otherwise involve trains.

SOL writing workshop

Closing (Segment Five): Murder on the Orient Express style, Tom "Hercule Poirot" Servo has an elaborate process of elimination to settle once and for all the identity of Merritt Stone, but things end up becoming much more confused and Servo's head explodes. Down in Deep 13, a now also obsessed TV's Frank fares no better.

Stinger: The weird old beatnik poet proclaims, "I am bugged!"

Other Notes

  • Upon returning to the movie after Segment Two, Tom says "Hey look, you know who that is? I'll give you a hint- 'I sing whenever I sing whenever I sing...'." Tom is identifying actor Don Sullivan (in the role of George Leland), who had previously appeared as the singing mechanic Chase Winstead in The Giant Gila Monster.
  • Later, Tom is correct when he points out that Merritt Stone is not the actor playing the train conductor and doesn't appear in The Rebel Set. The role is played by fellow Bert I. Gordon regular Gene Roth.
  • For the record:
    • Merritt Stone played the spider-eaten dad Pete Flynn in Earth vs the Spider, the clergyman in Tormented, an uncredited role as a policeman near the end of War of the Colossal Beast and the king in The Magic Sword.
    • Apart from the train conductor in this movie, Gene Roth played the sheriff in both Earth vs the Spider and Attack of the Giant Leeches as well as the lunch stand guy in Tormented.
    • Jack Kosslyn played a lieutenant in The Amazing Colossal Man, the KTLA newscaster in War of the Colossal Beast, Fraser in Earth vs the Spider and the ogre in The Magic Sword
    • The only experiment in which all 3 men appeared was Earth vs. the Spider. Coincidentally, none of these 3 actors appeared in any subsequent experiments after The Rebel Set.
  • At the end of the final host segment, Frank identifies Gene Roth as having appeared in "She Demons, a 1958 film with Irish McCallahan". The actress' name is actually Irish McCalla. She Demons became a RiffTrax Presents: Bridget & Mary Jo presentation in 2019.
  • When Frank obsesses over "Who is Merritt Stone?", Dr. Forrester's closing remarks are "I'll get you for this Joel!" This could be foreshadowing the season's remaining episodes, which include some of the most infamously bad movies they ever riffed: Monster A-Go Go, Bride of the Monster, and Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Obscure References

  • "I'm reading for Mel Brooks tomorrow."

Mel Brooks was one of the producers of the popular 1960s TV series Get Smart in which actor Edward Platt (who plays Tucker) gained fame as the Chief. The rest of episode contains several references to Get Smart, including the show's characters (Max, Agent 99, Larrabee) and catchphrases ("Sorry about that, Chief..." "Missed it by that much..." "The Cone of Silence", etc).

  • "RUN, VON RYAN!"

A quote from the 1965 World War II movie Von Ryan's Express.

  • "Jeez, the horse from 'Equus' had it better than this!"

Equus is a play about a mentally ill stable boy who blinds six horses.

  • "He's about so high." "Well, yes, there was a Mr. Barty here..."

A reference to little-person actor Billy Barty.

  • "Hey, Vern!" "Ernest does a dime in Attica!"

Ernest P. Worrell was a well-meaning yokel character played by actor Jim Varney. He appeared in a series of commercials, and later movies including Ernest Goes to Jail. He often addressed the unseen character Vern.

  • "Theo Bikel? Must be 200 Motels."

Theodore Bikel appeared in Frank Zappa's movie 200 Motels.

A play by Samuel Beckett,  in which an old man listens to monologues he has recorded on tape over the course of his life.

  • "May I..."Dance" with your dates?"

Line from Animal House spoken by a burly bar patron who confronts the Delta Tau Chi frat boys trying to "fit in" at a 'black bar'.

  • "She's Danielle Quayle."

Spoken after the waitress misspells a word, this is a reference to an incident in which former Vice-President Dan Quayle, using a card prepared by a teacher, had "corrected" a grade-school student's spelling of the word "potato" by telling them to add an "e" to the end.

  • "Travelin' along... Footloose and fancy free..."

Sung over a shot of a car driving along a back road, Joel is paraphrasing the song "Movin' Right Along" from The Muppet Movie.

  • "Ya know, the committee to re-elect the president!"

Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign was run by an organization with the acronym CREEP: the Committee to RE-Elect the President. Its list of prominent members was essentially a roster of those who would later face charges for various crimes revolving around the Watergate scandal. There is subsequently a reference to Howard Hunt, who was a former CIA officer and member of this organization.

  • "My boss, always comin' up with phrases like that."

Spoken in the manner of the opening narration for the TV show Hart to Hart in which Max, the roughneck valet (played by Lionel Stander), affectionately describes his employers Mr. & Mrs. Hart. Subsequent takes on this riff from Crow occur throughout the episode.

  • "Visit the off-world colonies!"

Referencing the inviting offers spoken through the city intercoms from Blade Runner.

  • "Reverend" " jeans"

A pun on the title of the Neil Diamond song, "Forever In Blue Jeans".

  • "Art Linkletter! They all have Art Linkletter on them!"

Art Linkletter was the long-time spokesman for the board game The Game of Life, and appeared on the $100,000 bills in that game as late as the 1985 revision.

  • "Alright, who wants gum?"  "I DO, I DO!"

A play on the slogan used by Trident gum in commercials shown in the nineties.

  • MST3K 419 Promos

    MST3K 419 Promos

    "I write about the life of the mind."

A reference to the movie Barton Fink -- in that movie, Barton declines a similar offer from a working-class guy to give him stories he can use.

  • "A screaming comes across the sky..."

The first line of the novel Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon .

  • "In nomine Patri!"

Latin for "In the name of the Father", this is part of the blessing bestowed by a priest during a Catholic mass.

Video Release

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