"We've got to get organized. We should not be losing to grasshoppers, people."
  — Mike

The Movie


Beginning of the End

Newspaper photojournalist Audrey Aimes (Peggie Castle) accidentally stumbles upon information that a small town in Illinois has been inexplicably destroyed. All 150 people in the town are missing, and the evidence indicates they are dead. The local fields are also barren, as if a swarm of locusts had eaten all the crops. Aimes suspects that the military is covering something up, and travels to a nearby United States Department of Agriculture experimental farm to learn what creature might have caused the agricultural destruction. She meets Dr. Ed Wainwright (Peter Graves), who is experimenting with radiation as a means of growing gigantic fruits and vegetables to end world hunger. Dr. Wainwright reports that there have been a number of mysterious incidents nearby, and that locusts have eaten all the radioactive wheat stored in a nearby grain silo.

Gigantic mutant locusts rampage over the countryside. Dr. Wainwright and Ms. Aimes begin to track down the source of the mysterious occurrences, and quickly discover that the locusts which ate the grain have grown to the size of a city bus. The monsters have eaten all the crops in the area, and now are seeking human beings as a means of sustenance. It is also clear that they are headed for the city of Chicago. Wainwright and Aimes meet with General Hanson (Morris Ankrum), Colonel Sturgeon, and Captain Barton to concoct a solution. Machine gun and artillery fire seem ineffective against the creatures, and there are far too many to effectively deal with all at once. The United States Army and Illinois National Guard are called upon to help protect the city. But the monsters quickly invade Chicago, and began to feast on human flesh as well as several buildings.

Beginnig of the End.jpg

General Hanson concludes that the only way to destroy the beasts en masse is to use a nuclear weapon and destroy Chicago. However, Dr. Wainwright realizes that the locusts are warm-weather creatures. He concludes that he might be able to lure the locusts into Lake Michigan. There, the cold water will incapacitate them, and they will drown. The lure itself will be a decoy locust mating call, generated electronically with test-tone oscillators. The plan is put into effect, and it works at the last possible moment. The monstrous locusts drown, but Dr. Wainwright and Ms. Aimes wonder if other insects or animals might have eaten other radioactive crops. They ponder whether the whole world might be facing an attack of monstrous creatures.


  • Some grasshoppers were harmed during the making of this movie: at the start of the movie, they had 200 grasshoppers (a flightless, hop-less species from Texas). During the filming they began to eat one another, so by the time the last shots were done, only about a dozen were left.
  • Grasshoppers and locusts are the same species. When environmental conditions are right, grasshoppers undergo a variety of physical changes to become swarms of locusts.

The Episode

Host Segments

Mike & the Bots present new playing cards

Prologue: Mike and the Bots attempt to sing some classic standards is repeatedly interrupted by a woman on the hexfield who keeps dialing the wrong number.

Confused woman contacts the SOL by mistake

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Still getting calls from the wrong number woman on the SOL. Down in Deep 13 the Mads have come up with the Re-comfy bike, even more comfortable than the recumbent bike. Mike & the Bots finally present new playing cards, like Todd and the Eight of Chris Lemmon.

Segment Two: While the Bots advise against it, Mike calls the Mads and catches them acting very "unmanly". Mike says he won't be calling them again for a while.

The Mads before Mike's call

Segment Three: Crow has written a screenplay: Peter Graves Goes to the University of Minnesota. It gets somewhat repetitive.

Segment Four: Tom's standup routine at the Improv (with its trademark red brick wall) is heavy on jokes comparing grasshoppers and locusts.

The Mads box

Segment Five: Mike unlocks the secret to Bert I. Gordon special effects. Meanwhile in Deep 13, the Mads attempt to re-assert their masculinity by boxing.

Stinger: "Alright, men. Into the woods!"[1]

MST3K cast


  • This episode premiered as the fifteenth during Turkey Day '93.
  • Unusual credits: Before the copyright, an additional credit was added: "Shot entirely in Minneapolis, home of the University of Minnesota".
  • No title slate has ever been included before the opening credits of this episode.
  • At the time of this episode's original broadcast, Chris Lemmon's most recent film credit was 1991's Firehead, which became a RiffTrax presentation in 2013.
  • The tune Tom hums during the reading of Act 1 of Crow's screenplay is the Minnesota Rouser.
  • Mike encourages Tom to send a tape of his stand-up act to The Chevy Chase Show, but the short-lived talk show had already been canceled by the time this episode first aired.
  • Beginning with this episode, Mike's green jumpsuit gains a Wisconsin patch on the right arm.

Guest Stars


Obscure References

  • "Let's see what Benny and Joon are doing!"

A reference to the 1993 psychological romantic comedy Benny & Joon.

  • "Miss Mansfield?"

Actress Jayne Mansfield was killed in a vehicle collision in 1967. Urban legend said (mistakenly) that she was decapitated, most likely due to the fact that her wig was found some distance from the crash.

  • "Why is Walter Winchell in this scene?"

Walter Winchell was a radio commentator and gossip columnist. His fast-paced speech pattern is best remembered in his work as the announcer on The Untouchables TV series.

  • "Must get Vivarin!"

Vivarin is a brand of over-the-counter caffeine pills.

  • "Jimmy Jam does his thing!"

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are highly successful R&B and pop music producers.

  • "File on Dalton Trumbo, sir." 

Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten, being blacklisted by Hollywood after refusing to answer questions about his involvement with the Communist Party.

  • (Singing) "This is the army, Audrey Aimes...!"

A riff on the title song to the 1942 musical "This Is the Army" by Irving Berlin.

  • "It's a star city."

Refers to a Minnesota rural economic development initiative.[2]

  • "Suddenly it's turning into Topper!"

Topper is a 1937 comedy film about a pair of ghosts.

  • "This was no boating accident!"

An oft-misquoted line from the 1975 movie Jaws, spoken by Richard Dreyfuss. (Actual quotes: "This was no boat accident." "Well, this is not a boat accident!")

  • "Women on the Verge of an Atomic Breakdown."

A reference to the 1988 Spanish film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

  • "Coincidence? Read the book!"

A quote from commercials for the Time-Life book series Mysteries of the Unknown.

  • "Is this a snipe hunt?"

A snipe hunt is a type of practical joke that often involves sending the person on the receiving end to "find" a nonexistent animal or object.

  • "Exterminate with extreme prejudice!"

A reference to Apocalypse Now, in which Capt. Williard is ordered to "terminate" Col. Kurtz's command "with extreme prejudice" (that is, assassinate him).

  • "America responds to the new Robert Ulrich/Faye Dunaway sitcom!"

It Had to Be You premiered on CBS in September 1993. It only aired 4 episodes.

  • "Animals trained by Rudd Weatherwax."

Rudd (and brother Frank) Weatherwax trained animals for movies and TV. Most famously they handled the training of dogs for the Lassie movies/TV series and Old Yeller.

  • "'One weekend a month' my ass!"

"One weekend a month, two weeks a year" was the former recruitment slogan for the US National Guard, noting the requirements to be a Guardsman with benefits.

  • "...Just like they handled the Chicago convention."

The 1968 Democratic National Convention, held in Chicago, was marked by an aggressive and violent response to protests by the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois National Guard against demonstrators and others, both outside and inside the convention center.

  • "Bad Lieutenant!"

Bad Lieutenant is a 1992 neo-noir crime drama film starring Harvey Keitel.

  • "And this is the 1910 Fruitgum Company!"

The 1910 Fruitgum Company is a pop band founded in 1966. After disbanding in 1970 and a brief reunion in 1979/80, they reformed permanently in 1999.

  • "Hey general, where ya goin'?" "Decatur! I'm gonna shoot that paper-hangin' sonofabitch!"

A quote from the movie Patton: "...And when we get to Berlin I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging son of a bitch" (meaning Hitler).

  • "Mister Mitchell!"

The newsreader has an uncanny resemblance to Henry Mitchell, the father in Dennis the Menace.

  • "The Cubs don't win the pennant! The Cubs don't win the pennant!"

A double reference, to Russ Hodges' call of Bobby Thomson's home run to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants in 1951 ("The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!") and also the historical futility of the Chicago Cubs: they had not won the World Series since 1908 or a NL pennant since 1945 before they won both in 2016.

  • "They've got a picture of Russ Bender!"

Russ Bender played Richard Kingman in The Amazing Colossal Man and Dr. Carmichael in War of the Colossal Beast.

  • "I gotta have those Glengarry leads!"

    MST3K 517 Promos

A reference to the play and film Glengarry Glen Ross, in which the "Glengarry leads" are coveted premium "leads" (i.e. names of interested buyers) that the salesmen compete to get. The reference is suggested by the sight of a man pacing nervously around an office.

  • "This is what it sounds like when grasshoppers cry!"

A reference to the Prince song "When Doves Cry".

Video Release


  • Commercially released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in March 1999.
  • Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in January 2001, the DVD was later pulled in December 2005 due to rights issues with the movie. The single-sided DVD also includes the uncut/unMSTed version of the original movie, along with previews for episodes 506, 513 and 515.This DVD version is infamous for having two big mistakes:
    • Joel’s picture is on the package and he is touted as the star.
    • On the menus, you can hear Arch Hall Jr. croon "Vicky" from the episode Eegah.
  • A new release of this episode was released in February 2011 by Shout! Factory, still as a single disc, and only available in the Shout Select section of their website.
  • Available for rent or purchase on Amazon's streaming service.


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