"Right in the middle of the Steinman-Hopsburg wedding reception!"
  — Mike

Design for Dreaming


The short "Design for Dreaming"

In this musical short, a woman dreams of a mysterious masked man who takes her to see the future... as represented by the 1956 General Motors Motorama.


The Movie



The movie opens with the launch of a rocket and missiles from various cities around the world. A gavel bangs down and we cut to the title and credits. The Secretary General of the International Space Order (Francis X. Bushman) explains that a program to launch a rocket to the moon is underway. The moon will be proclaimed as international territory. Rocket Ship Lunar Eagle 1 will be crewed by twelve crew members from around the world. Dr. Erich Heinrich (John Wengraf) designed and supervised the construction of the rocket. He is the oldest crew member. The youngest member of the crew is Rod Murdock (Robert Montgomery, Jr.). Dr. Selim Hamid (Muzaffer Tema as Tema Bey) is from Turkey and a medical doctor. Assisting Dr. Hamid is Dr. Sigrid Bomark (Anna-Lisa) from Sweden. She is both a physician and physicist. From France is Dr. Etienne Martel (Roger Til), engineer and technician. Sir William Rochester (Phillip Baird) is a noted British Geophysicist. Dr. Hideko Murata (Michi Kobi) will be acting as astro-photographer and pharmacist. The Russian Geologist and Cartographer is Dr. Feodor Orloff (Tom Conway). Dr. Asmara Markonen (Cory Devlin) is a Nigerian Astronomer and will be acting as chief navigator. Dr. David Ruskin (Richard Weber) is an aeronautic engineer and will be keeping the official log. Dr. Luis Vargas (Anthony Dexter) is from Brazil and is the pilot. The twelfth member of the crew is the leader, Captain John Anderson (Ken Clark).

The twelve crew members take a freight elevator to the crew quarters. Anderson turns on the lights and the crew take their stations. Many animals have been brought aboard earlier including a dog, a pair of cats and monkeys, and a cage of birds. They are all wearing their space suits, but don their helmets for take-off. Ruskin records the first log entry just before take-off. Anderson grabs the control switch and launches the ship. After launch, we see the crew and animals react to the G-forces of acceleration. The crew occupy two decks on the ship. At 1500 miles above the Earth they switch to atomic power. Doctors Bomark and Hamid perform post-launch medical exams on the crew. Murdock asks Rochester about the equipment used to take pictures of the Earth. The only crew member who is not quite up to the stresses of space travel is Dr. Heinrich. There are some politically motivated conflicts between the crew members that involve World War II and the Cold War.

Radar picks up a meteor cluster approaching the ship. They manage to pass without causing any damage to the ship. Dr. Orloff proudly claims credit, "It worked perfectly. After all it was our invention." Dr. Heinrich adds, "With a little help from our German scientists." Dr. Bomark proudly explains how the shower works, "Cleaned by ultrasound and massaged by air spray jets." The ladies have not quite finished in the bathroom when Anderson struts up to the bathroom door wearing only a towel. He apologizes for barging in.


They approach the moon and run into another meteor shower, but this time it is a cloud that must be destroyed with a rocket. They turn the ship around and allow gravity to pull them towards the surface of the moon. Landing will be in about an hour and a half. Murdock, Heinrich, and Ruskin compute their trajectory for landing. Unfortunately Ruskin dredges up the Nazi involvement by a man who did the early work on the mathematics of rocketry. Ruskin does not know that Heinrich is the son of that same mathematician who was involved in the genocide of his parents and family. Bomark calls Rod Murdock over and explains the situation about Ruskin and Heinrich. Heinrich changed his name. Anderson tells his crew to prepare for landing on the surface of the moon. Anderson calls Earth Control to let them know they've landed safely on the moon. The crew prepares to disembark the ship to walk on the surface. Martel will stay behind to see after the ship.

Anderson and Vargas are the first to leave the ship. We see the surface of the moon with several river channels and a low, steaming volcanic cinder cone. Also shown is a humanoid figure receding into the shadows. The crew assembles on the surface and Ruskin records his notes. They plant a flag on the surface and begin their scientific exploration. They set up a magnetic perimeter in a valley and explore for rock specimens. Doctors Bomark and Hamid search for signs of air and life. The pair finds a cave with steam billowing inside. They enter and detect a breathable atmosphere. Weird cactus-like plants are scattered with mushroom shaped growths on them. Hamid picks one and hands it to Bomark. It explodes into flames in her hands. Combustion suggests oxygen in the atmosphere of the cave. The other nine crew have found rocks and piled them up for evaluation by Orloff. The first specimen examined is gold and Orloff dismisses it and tosses it aside. He does spot something that piques his interest. It is a large glowing stone, "It's like fire, like liquid fire." But Markonen warns, "It's beautiful, but evil. Evil and sharp like the jewel of Medea." Orloff likes the observation, and names the find the Medea Stone. Hamid and Bomark continue to explore the cave. Hamid tells Bomark, "There must be air." He takes off his helmet and can breathe. Bomark takes her helmet off and the two embrace and kiss. They pass through a portal and it closes behind them as a wall of ice. The remaining nine decide to use explosives to mine for more samples. A rock face is blown up and a liquid pours out. Orloff does not employ good judgment and places his hands in the liquid and is severely burned. Their air supply is running low. Hideko takes Orloff back to the ship and the others search for Bomark and Hamid.

They find clues that the pair went into the cave. They search and find their helmets and the wall of ice. They are unable to chip away the wall and decide to return later. Rochester gets stuck in quicksand and is pulled under. The others try to help, but he sinks deeper. Anderson also starts to sink but their magnetic meteor deflector equipment is employed to pull him out. Rochester sinks deeper and disappears into the sandy soil. They do manage to rescue Anderson and return to the ship. Toll so far, three crew members either dead or missing. The crew managed to return to the ship just as the lunar night begins and the outside temperature drops. Anderson reports that all communication with Earth has failed. All lights in the ship dim and a weird humming sound is noticed. A message appears on their equipment in a strange foreign language. The characters are vaguely Japanese in appearance and Hideko is asked to translate if possible. She is able to read it, "I speak for the great coordinator of the moon. We advise and warn you. Return to Earth at once. You have done enough damage. You have been bombarding us for years, incessantly. Leave us in peace. We read your minds, we know your every thought. Cannot speak as you do, we communicate through thought waves." They continue by explaining they live underground and the crew must leave at once. They acknowledge that Bomark and Hamid are with them. Dr. Heinrich starts gasping and collapses. He has suffered a heart attack. He mutters in his state of consciousness and reveals to Ruskin that he is the son of Bernauer, the man who murdered Ruskin's whole family.


The moon people send another message. They request the two cats be left behind. Vargas and Murdock take the two cats outside and leave them in their cage. Two creatures, seen only in shadow, retrieve the cats and carry them away. The ship departs the surface of the moon. The dog begins barking to warn the crew of a fire on board. The Medea Stone sample has started burning. A fire extinguisher is employed, along with a fire blanket, to get the stone in an airlock. A routine radio check with the Earth is cut short. Hideko reminds Anderson that the moon people told them they could immobilize them at will. They manage to avoid another meteor shower. A strange sound is heard when they are 500 miles above the Earth. They notice the temperature inside the ship has dropped to 55 degrees and on Earth the North American continent is freezing. Various cities are seen freezing. Heinrich deduces that the process is like an implosion bomb, the H-bomb in reverse. Heinrich calls together Ruskin and Murdock to work on a solution. Heinrich proposes a solution: build a bomb and pilot the taxi ship over a volcano and drop the bomb into it. He warns that it will probably be a suicide mission.

Martel completes the bomb under Orloff's supervision. When Orloff leaves, Martel sabotages the bomb but is caught. He wants the North American continent to freeze so the Soviet Union and his fellow travelers can take over the world. Orloff disagrees with the Frenchman, and they struggle. Anderson breaks up the fight. They draw lots, using tongue depressors, to select the crew for the mission. The two chosen are Ruskin and Heinrich. Ruskin leaves a final log entry explaining what he and Heinrich will attempt. Heinrich and Ruskin manage to break through the atmosphere and drop their bomb into the volcano, but are unable to pull out and are killed in an explosion. The ship is now caught in the freeze. The cabin begins to freeze over. Then a message comes through. The moon people tell the crew, "Now you have seen our strength, but we have seen your human strength. The way your people have sacrificed themselves to save the others. To those you left behind, we have also learned that all your Earth emotions are not evil and war-like. That you have come to us in peace. Your people on Earth have been in suspended animation and have not been harmed. Return to Earth at once and someday, when you come back, you will be welcome." Communication with Earth is restored. Anderson tells the crew, "Prepare for landing." We close with a view of Earth at sunrise.[1]


  • Young mathematician Rod Murdock was played by Robert Montgomery Jr., younger brother of Elizabeth Montgomery (star of the TV show Bewitched).
  • When the crew is ready to explore the moon's surface, the door of the ship is thrown open, revealing an astronaut already on the moon. The shot is taken from a few scenes later in the film, in which Hamid and Bomark explore the moon's surface for oxygen; it appears to be Hamid, carrying a box of equipment.
  • In the scene where the “space-taxi” leaves the ship, the black rod attached to the plastic model can clearly be seen moving it along against a backdrop.
  • The film is notable for many effects and depiction of futuristic technology so bad as to be laughable. Worthy of note here are: less-than-realistic star fields (as seen from space); part of the rocket's controls appears suspiciously like a workshop bench grinder; lunar volcanic fumaroles vent smoke which lazily curls upward in an apparent airless environment; helmets' lack of proper airtight attachment to the wearers' spacesuit (which would leak vital air and kill the occupant in minutes); the spaceship/rocket depicted prior to launch appears to be genuine footage from one of NASA's launches - this changes into a Buck Rogers-type of finned spaceship when depicted in space; tiny inadequate air tanks (worn by crew) which wouldn't contain nearly enough pressurized air for an astronaut.

The Episode

Host Segments

Gypsy's tea party

Prologue: Crow and Tom Servo make fun of Mike for being forced to attend Gypsy's tea party. He inadvertently reveals that he knows less about Designing Women than Gypsy thinks he does.

Segment One: Frank hosts a roast to Dr. F until his "jokes" begin to fall flat, and Dr. F retaliates with repeated blows to the stomach. On the SOL, the crew has its first ever Celebrity Open. When Gypsy calls him out of bounds, Tom has a tennis tantrum a la John McEnroe.

Frank roasts Dr. F

Segment Two: The gang is in the middle of playing international astronauts when Nuveena pops in on the SOL. Her singing and dancing is greeted with fear and trepidation.

Segment Three: The crew packs to leave with Nuveena. The Bots observe she sings and dances a lot. Gypsy is not entirely optimistic about moving, while Tom wants to blow the SOL up when they leave.

Nuveena on the SOL

Segment Four: Nuveena makes Crow into a blender, Gypsy into an oven, and Tom into a pressure cooker. In her world, robots are nothing more than slaves and appliances, and so Mike chooses the Bots over her and tells her to leave.

Segment Five: Mike consoles himself over the loss of Nuveena with cookie dough and reads some letters to make himself feel better. In Deep 13, Nuveena makes one last appearance to dance with Frank.

Stinger: Heinrich says, "Ahh, ridiculous!"

MST3K cast

Regular cast

Guest cast


  • A list of the tough guy names given to Captain Anderson. None of these were duplicated in Space Mutiny. See also the 'rules' for tough guy names in host segment 3 of Hercules Against the Moon Men.
    • Cliff Beefpile
    • Sledge Riprock
    • Tank Concrete
    • Bronc Drywall
    • Stump Hugelarge
    • Chunk Pylon
    • Chunk Manmusk
    • Ron Codpiece
    • Sledge Fisthammer
    • Clint Stompheader
    • Chuck Hardslab
    • Chunk Ironchest
  • Nuveena is the first human female to make an appearance on the Satellite of Love bridge.


Obscure References

  • "...Merchant and Ivory are calling!"

A reference to Merchant Ivory Productions.

  • "You're out of order! She's out of order! The whole damn court's out of order!"

Servo is paraphrasing Al Pacino in the 1979 movie ...And Justice for All.

  • "Just call me 'Bobo', Frank."

Dr. Forrester is referring to the 1990 film and novel The Grifters. The crime boss called Bobo (played by Pat Hingle) would beat his unsuccessful subordinates with oranges wrapped in a towel. This method of punishment was extremely painful for the victim but did not leave any telltale marks on them. There is no apparent connection to Professor Bobo.

  • "Janine Turner!"

Actress Janine Turner was well-known at the time for her role on the popular TV series Northern Exposure. She had short dark hair similar to the dancer here.

Another reference to the theme song from the TV series Baretta.

  • "...It seems that Jerry has already dickie-birded into the cheese factory, sir!"

From Monty Python's Flying Circus RAF Banter sketch.

  • "This is a rebuttal to Roger & Me!"

Roger & Me was a 1989 documentary in which Michael Moore assailed General Motors for closing its plant in Flint, Michigan.

  • "It's Deal-A-Meal!"

Deal-A-Meal was a diet plan promoted by Richard Simmons that involved using a set of cards to plan meals.

  • "Looks like her Mother's Little Helpers kicked in."

A reference to "Mother's Little Helper", a Rolling Stones song about a pill-abusing housewife.

  • "Happy Birthday, Wanda June!"

"Happy Birthday, Wanda June" is a play written by Kurt Vonnegut.

  • "Oooh-oooh, Black Diamond..."

The chorus from the Kiss song "Black Diamond".

  • "This is what happens when you go to a car show with Michael Crawford."

Michael Crawford played the title role in the Broadway musical version of The Phantom of the Opera.

  • "Stockard Channing IS Peter Pan."

Stockard Channing played Rizzo in the film version of the musical Grease. She had short, dark hair. Stage productions of Peter Pan often have performers appearing to fly by being attached to wires suspended from the rafters.

  • "Atomic batteries to power..."

This was part of the checklist that would often be made on the 1960s Batman TV series when Batman and Robin prepared the Batmobile for action.

  • "With my sword and magic helmet!"

The implements Elmer Fudd plans to use to "kill the wabbit" in the cartoon What's Opera, Doc? (though he had a spear, not a sword).

  • "...I'd like to welcome you on board People's Express Flight 201 to the moon!"

People Express was a low-cost American airline that operated during the 1980s.

  • "Looks like Thierry Mugler designed these suits, huh?"

Thierry Mugler is a French fashion designer.

  • "Again with the finger!"

A quote from from the movie version of writer Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys.

  • "We are out of Colombian coffee!"

A reference to a series of commercials from the 1990s, in which a cruise ship or Orient Express-type train would turn around after the chef announced that the supply of Colombian coffee had run out.

  • "Oh, Vince Coleman is here! Look out!"

Vince Coleman is a now-retired baseball player who had infamously thrown a lit firecracker at a crowd of autograph seekers outside of Dodger Stadium during the 1993 season.

  • "Sentimental hygiene..."

"Sentimental Hygiene" is a song by Warren Zevon.

  • "My guest tonight via satellite, the Earth."

Crow is imitating Ted Koppel, former host of the ABC news show Nightline, as the background music in the final scene of the film sounds familiar to the Nigthtline theme.

  • "Looks like a NORML meeting."

Referring to the vast quantities of steam; NORML is the National Organization for the Reform of Marjuana Laws.

Video releases