You, the ice cream manufacturer.
Up against the wall! Spread 'em!
- Crow

The Short[]

The Selling Wizard



A promotional film for grocery-store freezer cases, brought to you by Anheuser-Busch.


This short was included on Shorts, Volume 3, released by Rhino Entertainment on VHS in January 2001, and on DVD in August 2004 as an limited time exclusive bonus for ordering MST3K: The Essentials from a specially created Rhino site (then by Shout! Factory on Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection in May 2018).

The Movie[]

Main article: The Dead Talk Back (film)


A researcher who claims to be able to communicate with the dead helps the police to investigate a murder that took place at the boarding house where he lives.

The Episode[]

Host Segments[]


SOL fire drill

Prologue: Gypsy's fire drill makes it clear that the SOL crew has nowhere to escape to if there’s a fire.

Segment One: Dr. Forrester attempts a pinpoint marketing campaign with Nelson cigarettes. Mike is not interested, but Tom and Crow are.

Segment Two: The Bots put on a radio talk show, The Dead Talk Back. They communicate with the dead ("Abe from Illinois" and Winston Churchill). Much to Mike’s chagrin, the dead guys only want to chat about the chances of the Buffalo Bills making a fifth straight Super Bowl appearance.


Nelson cigarettes


Mike & the Bots are "The Dead"

Segment Three: Based on a loose association with the title of the film, Mike and the Bots are "The Dead". They begin to perform "Cosmic Freight Train", but Crow starts an interminable guitar solo a la Jerry Garcia and doesn't pay attention to the interruption of movie sign until Mike grabs him to haul him into the theater.

Segment Four: Dr. Forrester wants to interrogate the SOL crew. Frank immediately confesses to everything, including shooting J.R., killing that fat barkeep and eating all the Frusen Glädjé. Crow continues his guitar solo.

Segment Five: Crow is still playing the guitar. Gypsy starts another fire drill. Mike reads a letter midst the noise and chaos, ultimately screaming "Simon, Theodore, Allllllllviiiin!" Dr. Forrester practices his archery skills - on Frank.

Stinger: A woman screams after seeing Renee's dead body.

MST3K cast[]

Regular cast

Guest cast


  • Unusual credits: Crow's guitar solo continues instead of "Mighty Science Theater" starting up.
  • The concept of fire drills and emergencies aboard the SOL would be revisited in one of the promos the Brains did for the American Red Cross during season six.
  • Winston Churchill turned out to be correct - the Buffalo Bills have not returned to the Super Bowl since 1993, and Jim Kelly never earned a championship ring.
  • Crow's guitar solo was performed by Minnesota musician Andy LaCasse. LaCasse recalled that Jim Mallon stopped him at one point and told him to make the solo "more grating and irritating."


  • "Plenty of lip and tongue action." (Speech: Using Your Voice)
  • "I killed that fat barkeep!" (The Beatniks)

Obscure References[]

  • "EEeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeEEeeeeeee..."
Mike and the Bots imitate the haunting choir]surrounding the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The silhouette of the ice cream cabinet resembles it.
  • "And don't forget Ed McMahon's Budweiser-flavored Ice Cream. Hayoooh! (hiccup)"
Ed McMahon was Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He had also been a spokesman for Budweiser beer during the 1960s and 70s.
  • "...and then my wife came downstairs, and her face was split!"
A line from the stand-up comedy film Bill Cosby, Himself, in which Cosby describes his wife disciplining their children.
  • "Arnold Stang, fugitive!"
Arnold Stang was an American character actor known for playing "nerdy" types.
  • "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Dweeb!"
Allusion to The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
  • "Stop! In the name of Eddie Deezen!"
Eddie Deezen is an American character actor known for playing awkward, nerdy roles. He would later appear in Laserblast (featured in Episode #706) as a bully's sycophant.
  • "Invisible army?! I don't see anything."
A reference to John F. MacArthur's book God's Invisible Army.
  • "Excuse me, do you know what evil lurks in the heart of men?"
A reference to famed pulp magazine and radio character The Shadow.
  • "Esther Hoffman Howard!"
Esther Hoffman Howard is the name of Barbra Streisand's character in the 1976 version of A Star is Born.
  • "Ignatz and Krazy Kat are calling!"
A reference to the early 20th-century comic strip Krazy Kat. Ignatz Mouse is the antagonist of the strip.
  • "The selling revolution will not be televised!"
Mike is paraphrasing the Black power-era poet Gil Scott-Heron who stated that "The revolution will not be televised."
  • "Turn on your flood lights!"
A parody of the Neil Diamond song "Heartlight".
  • "You, Manute Bol!"
Manute Bol was a Sudanese-born basketball player known for his height of 7'7".
  • "Not since Moonraker has there been such an exciting opening sequence!"
Moonraker is a 1979 James Bond movie with strong science-fiction elements and a focus on spectacle.
  • "Have you been hearing some weird stories lately?" "...About Chuck Berry?"
In 1987, pioneering rock & roll musician Chuck Berry was charged with physically assaulting a woman at New York's Gramercy Park Hotel. In 1990, he was sued by several women who claimed that he had installed a video camera in the bathroom of his restaurant. Reportedly, a police raid on his house found intimate videotapes of women, one of whom was allegedly a minor. Police also found 62 grams of marijuana.
  • "Oh, he's got a Heathkit!"
Heathkit is a line of amateur electronic and radio equipment sold in disassembled kit form. Defunct at the time of this episode's airing, they returned to activity in 2015.
  • " be in the Cramps."
The Cramps were a psycho-billy music band with a penchant for cross-dressing.
  • "Oh look...My Father the Hero is out on video now!"
My Father the Hero is a 1994 comedy film starring Gérard Depardieu.
  • "Aw damn, I'm gonna miss The Commish!"
The Commish is a light-drama TV series about a put-upon police commissioner that ran from 1991 to 1996.
  • "The Eyes of Kenneth Mars!"
A reference to both the 1978 thriller The Eyes of Laura Mars and the late actor Kenneth Mars.
  • "Shoot that poison arrow through my hea-ea-eart!"
A quote from the 1980s pop song "Poison Arrow" by ABC.
  • "It's the Mary Jo Kopechne Memorial Bridge!"
In 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne was a passenger in a car being driven by Senator Ted Kennedy, who drove off Dike Bridge into Poucha Pond. Kennedy survived, but Kopechne did not. It is known as the Chappaquiddick incident.
  • "Thom McAn!"
Thom McAn is a brand of shoes and a former retail chain often found in shopping malls. By 1996, all Thom McAn outlets were closed. The brand is currently owned by Transformco (owners of Sears and Kmart).
  • "The heater never works in this thing..."
Volkswagen Beetles is an automobile line manufactured from 1938 until 2003 that was known for having notoriously bad heaters, due to a combination of their spartan design and physics.
  • "The film seems to have taken a decidedly Jarmusch-ian turn!"
A reference to independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, whose works are known for having scenes with long silences and very little movement.
  • "Used to be Ray MOR."
"Middle of the road" ("MOR") music is a radio format that features melodic and lighter music, such as soft rock and smooth jazz.
  • "With Jack and Neal and Me."
A reference to the song "Neal and Jack and Me" by King Crimson.
  • "Wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean?"
A reference to the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Nudge Nudge" in which a man makes innuendos (which he follows with gestures that he also identifies verbally) to a stranger.
  • "Hey, Helmut Kohl's working the counter!"
Helmut Kohl was a German politician who served as the chancellor of Germany (originally West Germany) from 1982 to 1998.
  • "Try to understand." "I'm a magic man!"
A reference to the Heart song "Magic Man".
  • "I'm an octoroon, you know."
Octoroon is an outdated term for people with one-eighth black or aboriginal ancestry.
  • "Ah, Swisher Sweets!"
Swisher Sweets is a brand of inexpensive cigars.
  • "I'd like to thank Edmund Scientific for their generous support for this project."
The Edmund Scientific Corporation is a brand of laboratory supplies and educational kits originally sold through mail-order catalogs.
  • "He caught her in a tryst with Aleister Crowley!"
Aleister Crowley was a famed British occultist of the early 20th century.
  • "Oh, so *there's* Bunny Lake!"
A reference to the 1965 thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing.
  • "Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret!"
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. is a young adult novel by Judy Blume.
  • "Yes, another great Saul Bass title sequence!"
Saul Bass was a graphic designer best known for his movie title sequences, logos and posters, which often incorporated highly stylized or abstract imagery. He also directed several films, including Phase IV (used in Episode #K09, his only feature).
  • "Don't rot away, Renée!"
A parody of the song "Walk Away Renée" by The Left Banke, which made it to number five in 1966.
  • "Leni Riefenstahl's most powerful film."
Leni Riefenstahl was a German filmmaker best known for creating the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Riefenstahl's techniques have earned Triumph of the Will recognition as one of the greatest propaganda films in history.
  • "This must be CBS' replacement for the NFL."
From 1994 to 1997, CBS lost rights to air National Football League games. Their attempts to find programming to fill in that gap in their schedule were not viewed as successful.

Video Release[]

  • Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in November 2005 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 8, a 4-DVD set with Hobgoblins, The Phantom Planet, and Monster A-Go Go.
    • The set was re-released by Shout! Factory in November 2018.
      • DVD special feature includes the Myron Natwick Talks Back interview.