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Flag on the Moon... How'd it get there?
  — Narrator


This movie stops at nothing...and stays there!
  — Tom Servo


The Shorts

Synopses

621s1

Money Talks! Having trouble saving money, a kid gets advice from Ben Franklin himself.

Progress Island, U.S.A. Modern Puerto Rico has a lot to offer.

Memorable Quotes

[Scene where Benjamin Franklin first visits William.]
Ben Franklin: You must learn how to manage your money.
William: What money?
Mike [As Ben Franklin]: Don't smart mouth me BOY!
621s2
[Benjamin Franklin looks over William's floor plans.]
Ben Franklin: Judging from these drawings, you'd like to be an architect someday.
Servo [As Ben Franklin]: Forget it "Soda Jerk!"
[William writes down what Benjamin Franklin is teaching him.]
William: ...Plan...My...Savings...
Servo [As William's "mother."]: William! What are you doing in there? You're not talking to 'The Founding Fathers' again are you!?
William: That's important! To keep a budget "flexible."
Crow [As William]: "Like Gumby.

Information

  • Released in 1973, Progress Island U.S.A. is the most recent short to be featured on the show.

The Movie

Synopsis

Beastmovie

Tor Johnson in The Beast of Yucca Flats

A clock ticks. A beautiful girl. A hidden killer. The clock stops. There is no connection.

The vast desert. A plane lands. Joseph Javorski, noted scientist, has the fate of the world in his briefcase. The Kremlin's best make him a target. The wheels of progress grind on.

A chase. Bullets. Murder. Flag on the moon...how did it get there? A bomb. More progress. Touch a button, something happens. A scientist becomes a beast.

Figures in a landscape. Who knows how long we really have? A woman's purse. Joe and Jim, desert patrolmen. They guard freedom and democracy in this bleak landscape. A beast is on the loose. Joseph Javorski, once a noted scientist, now...nothing.
Beastgirl

The Beast of Yucca Flats

There is no progress in the desert. Yet its effects are everywhere. Man's progress. Quench the killer's thirst. A family stops for a rest. The beast appears. A terrible mistake. Policemen with quick guns and the minds of swine. An innocent man dies. Who cares? Two boys feed soda pop to thirsty pigs. It's progress, you know.

Confrontation. A fight that is not a fight. A gun with no bullets fires. Joseph Javorski, noted scientist, becomes rabbit food. The wheels of progress grind on. End. [1]

Information

  • This movie was mentioned during the first host segment of 513, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, as part of Mike's training in the art of riffing, where it was claimed to be a "cake walk" compared to the movies they usually watch. That assessment becomes puzzling given their extremely despairing reactions to the film in this episode.
    • It's possible that Servo and Crow chose not to watch it when training Mike or they were not aware that it was another Coleman Francis movie
  • The two boys, Randy and Art, are played by Coleman Francis’ sons Ronald and Alan.
  • Tor Johnson was paid $300 for starring in this movie. That’s roughly a dollar a pound.
  • The movie took a year to film, shooting primarily on weekends. Tony Cardoza filmed his scenes as an agent early on. By the end, after spending time with Tor for a year, he had gained 60 pounds and appears again in the chase scene at the end as a "fat" guy.
  • The murder in the opening scene is seemingly committed by The Beast, but that murder is never mentioned again in the film, and it's really impossible to see where it would fit into the storyline. The scene was added after filming was complete, mostly so Francis could put some nudity in the movie -- in uncut versions of the movie, we get glimpses of the woman's breasts after she drops her towel.
  • According to Tony Cardoza, even though Coleman Francis is credited as editing the film, Coleman never edited anything. Cardoza, Lee Strosnider and Austin McKinney did all the editing.
  • As is pointed out by Mike and the Bots, no one ever talks on camera throughout the whole movie. The closest that happens are characters talking while looking away, hiding their face, or being too far away from the camera.  The movie was filmed without a soundtrack, and all sound (dialogue, music, sound effects, and narration) was added in post-production. One effect this has is that because gunshot sound effects aren't synchronized to when we see the guns actually firing, gunplay scenes become extremely hard to follow, and it looks in some scenes like someone has received a fatal gunshot would, only to see them later seemingly unharmed.
  • As in Red Zone Cuba and The Skydivers, there is a strange amount of attention paid to a scene (and plot point) involving an extrajudicial killing.
  • Cast and crew roundup:

The Episode

Host Segments

SOLPaintingParty

Mike & the Bots wallpaper the SOL

Prologue: Mike and the Bots are wallpapering the SOL. The patterns aren't matched up, mostly because they're not the same pattern. Gypsy does not react as expected.

Segment One: Proposition Deep 13 proposes to speak for the Mads in the form of the feature film's overt badness. Candidate Mike Nelson responds for the SOL with a stirring speech from Tom Servo and fanfare from Crow's horn. However, the fact that the film is from Coleman Francis causes some backpedaling from Mike and the gang.
Beastcrow

Crow's film anti-preservation presentation

Segment Two: The SOL's nice quiet afternoon is interrupted by a visit from some noisy teen party-ers. Crow takes them up on their offer to join the festivities.

Segment Three: Crow wants to know if it's 11:30 yet. There are many times at which it is not 11:30, as Mike constantly tells him.

Segment Four: Crow offers a plea for film anti-preservation to help bad films deteriorate more quickly. Mike disapproves, but Crow doesn't care.
CrowLunch

Crow wants to know if it's 11:30 yet

Segment Five: The Bots read letters of congratulations, and Mike gives his victory speech after defeating Proposition Deep 13. Dr. F gives his concession speech. He then slaps Frank. A lot.

Stinger: The beast is very pissed off.

Other Notes

  • Unusual credits: Dr. F can be heard repeatedly slapping Frank as the credits play.
  • The host segment in which Crow keeps asking if it's 11:30 yet is an inside joke, aimed at Frank Conniff. He reportedly often skipped breakfast, so he'd frequently interrupt writing sessions by asking if it was time to break for lunch.
  • The comic book Crow is reading in the second host segment is the DC Comic Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld Vol. 1 #2 (from 1983).

Guest Stars

Callbacks

Obscure References

  • "Proposition Deep 13"

A reference to the "Culture War" speech during the 1992 Republican National Convention, in which terms like "counter-culture" and "Contract with America" were employed.

  • "Need I describe how he stood with us before the goons of Peabody Mining?"

The Peabody Award is awarded for excellence in storytelling in television or radio. MST3K won one in 1993 (a video of the award presentation can be found here).

  • "Will our mystery guest enter and sign in, please?"

The phrase used on the game show What's My Line? to introduce the celebrity guest round.  

  • "Helter Skelter. Very nice."

A song by the Beatles, also infamously known as the phrase that the Manson Family wrote in blood on the wall of Sharon Tate's house after murdering her and several of her friends. It subsequently became the title of the all-time best-selling True Crime book (written by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi) about the Manson Family killings.

  • "Benjamin Franklin was tried in the 8th Circuit Court on stalking charges. In a minute, the result of that trial."

A reference to the voice-over that ended every episode of Dragnet.  

  • "Feel the glory of the Royal Scam!"

A misquoted line from the Steely Dan song "The Royal Scam".

  • "Why do I conk my hair?"

In period African-American slang, the verb "conk" refers to processing one's hair.

  • "It's the KGB Mr. Benny!!"

Referring to African-American comedian Eddie "Rochester" Anderson who was a regular cast member on The Jack Benny Program as Benny's valet. The KGB were the main security and intelligence gathering agency of the former Soviet Union.

  • "Time for go to ground transportation."

A callback to the line "Time for go to bed", delivered by Tor Johnson in The Unearthly.

  • "It was a dark and boring night."

A play on the infamous line "It was a dark and stormy night", first written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, often cited as a prime example of bad writing.

  • "It's Trudy."

A Local Hero reference; the protagonist named a rabbit he hit with his car "Trudy", after his ex-girlfriend.

  • "A phrenologist would have a field day with Tor's skull!"

Phrenology was a pseudoscience popular in the 19th century that held it was possible to determine a person's mental abilities and personality traits by feeling the shape of their skull.

  • "Father McKenzie. Darning his socks in the night when no one is there..."

Alluding to some lyrics from The Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby"

  • "The Killer's in Memphis, marrying his 12 year old cousin."

Jerry Lee Lewis, aka "The Killer", did indeed marry his cousin (who was actually 13 at the time).

  • "They're vacationing at The Most Dangerous Game dude ranch!"

"The Most Dangerous Game" is a short story by Richard Connell, later adapted into a movie, in which a human being becomes the target of hunters (the basic premise was used by Bloodlust).

  • "Bit of a ripoff, huh?" "Coleman only steals from the very best."

The shot of the guy running from the plane piloted by someone shooting at him is almost identical to an iconic shot from Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest.

  • "He's got a high albedo."

Albedo is a measure of the reflecting power of a surface, commonly used with planets.

  • "Now the rabbit eats Tor and becomes The Night of the Lepus!"

Referring to the 70's movie Night of the Lepus which featured giant mutated rabbits. When Mike Nelson replaced Joel on the SOL, Night of the Lepus was one of his training films (along with Beast of Yucca Flats) as referenced in The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Night of the Lepus would later be used by RiffTrax.

  • "Tor could have been contender, instead bum, which am."

A reference to Marlon Brando's legendary "I could have been a contender, instead of a bum, which is what I am" speech from On the Waterfront.

  • "Tor is posing for a Rubens painting."

Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens is now best known for his nude portraits of full-figured women, to the degree that the word "Rubenesque" has entered the language as a term for a voluptuous woman.

  • "The dingoes took my baby!"

A quote from the Australian movie Evil Angels (titled A Cry In the Dark outside Australia and New Zealand) starring Meryl Streep, about the case of the disappearance of Azalia Chamberlain, a 9 month old baby who disappeared during a camping trip. Her parents stated she was taken by a pack of dingoes, though many in the public at the time believed that they had killed their infant daughter. (It should be pointed out that the line is actually stated accurately here: it's often quoted as "The dingo ate my baby", which is neither the line from the movie or anything that Lindy Chamberlain, Azalia's mother, ever said.)

Video releases

Beastyucca

MST3K DVD Cover

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