Well, here we are. The start of SEASON FOUR
! This is the 2nd of 4 in-a-row', 'twenty-four' episode seasons the group will produce. Talk about job security!
The team at BBI seems to be confident with their formula, and so they begin to crank out what this reviewer feels is probably the pinnacle season of the series.
"Turn Down Your Lights (Where applicable)"Experiment #401 ~ SPACE TRAVELERS (1969)
Original Air Date: June 6, 1992
Studio: Columbia Pictures Corporation ~ (Re-released by Film Ventures International)
Starring: Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, James Franciscus, David Janssen, Gene Hackman, Lee Grant, Nancy Kovack, Mariette Hartley
Directed By: John Sturges
Theatrical Running Time: 134 Minutes
Tagline: Three marooned astronauts. Only 55 minutes left to rescue them. While the whole world watches and waits....Film Synopsis:
The crew of Ironman One, consisting of astronauts Jim Pruett (Richard Crenna
), Clayton Stone (James Franciscus
) and Buzz Lloyd (Gene Hackman
) is testing man's endurance in space. Upon seeing that the crew's efficiency has deteriorated after five months in space, Houston Mission Control supervisor Charles Keith (Gregory Peck
) orders the mission be ended and that the team return to Earth. While attempting to achieve return attitude to Earth, Ironman One's primary engine fails to fire, leaving the crew stranded in orbit.
Veteran astronaut Ted Dougherty (David Janssen
), after examining all available data, makes an impassioned plea and convinces a reluctant Keith that a rescue mission is feasible, even using a 'non-man rated' spacecraft and rocket boosters. NASA has about 40 hours to put the whole mission together and take-off from Cape Kennedy, but an impending hurricane threatens to push the rescue mission past it's launch window. In the interim, Houston control advises the crew of Ironman One to "go into 'low-tide' mode, lower your oxygen pressure to three-point-five, execute a full emergency power down... and take your pills
As Ironman One's oxygen supply continues to dwindle, the astronaut's wives Celia (Lee Grant
), Teresa (Nancy Kovak
) and Betty (Mariette Hartley
) are brought to Mission Control for what could be their last chance to speak with their husbands. The hurricane has all but scrubbed any chance for a successful launch of the rescue mission. After studying the most current data available, Keith and Dougherty are willing to gamble on a launch through the eye of the hurricane, and it is successful with a possible rendezvous in 55 minutes. However, an emotional and mental breakdown by Lloyd, during his conversation with Betty has used up quite a bit of the mission's precious oxygen. Even if the rescue ship reaches them in 55 minutes according to calculations, there will not be enough to sustain three people in Ironman One until rendezvous.
Keith not so subtly suggests a sacrificial suicide of one of the team members, but the crew rejects the idea immediately. Upon further consideration, Pruett leaves the capsule under the guise of repairing a mechanical defect. His space suit gets accidentally ripped and he floats away into space. Although the oxygen supply has been almost depleted, Stone donates the rest of his supply to Lloyd and struggles to breathe what is left in the capsule.
A soviet space capsule arrives at Ironman One, and with oxygen deprivation setting in a delirious Buzz blows the American capsule's hatch. Lloyd and Stone exit the capsule and Stone attempts to propel Buzz toward the soviet craft. The cosmonaut cannot capture Lloyd, and he drifts off into space. The rescue ship piloted by Dougherty arrives as Stone sinks back down into the interior of the command module. The soviet signals Dougherty to Lloyds' position and Dougherty retrieves him, returning him to the rescue ship. The cosmonaut provides oxygen for Stone until Ted Dougherty can transfer 'Stoney' to the safety of the American rescue craft, and bring the two Ironman One survivors safely home to Earth.Intro:
Wearing a circus ringmaster's top hat, Tom Servo introduces "The Great Crowdini! Lord of Unseen Forces, Robotic Ruler of the Misty Underworld and Master of Escape!" Crow, suspended upside-down and bound by chains attempts to escape his bonds as a lit cannon is pointed at his head. (Crow
): "Tonight, in my most daring and death-defying dance with doom, I will escape from these cruel and unforgiving and... somehow pleasurable chains!" Whoops!!! Probably shouldn't have dropped that key to the locks. Ouch!Invention Exchange:
Joel is holding Crow's head in his hands. (Crow
): "I'll bet you're wondering how I got out of that one. Simple really. Chewed my own head off just as the cannon was about to blow." Frank and Dr. F. are concerned that Bruce Willis' career slide could be a setback to the forces of evil everywhere, considering the lackluster box office performance of 'The Last Boy Scout
'. Joel combines the instant camera and the instant cash machine to present... the Dollaroid, "a way to put anybody's kisser on any currency.", an idea the Mads find "absurd, ridiculous and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever." Frank loves
it! The Mads present facial tissue with faces on it. Frank has chosen the 'Presidential candidates of 1992' line, whereas Dr. F. has chosen the 'Star Search comedy competition runner's-up' series. Frank has a sneezing fit in "Sensurround".Host Segments:Host 1:
Scientific advancements that benefit us in our everyday lives thanks to the space program. Some examples... The vitamin pill. Frozen cookie dough. The tie clip. The coffee table. 'Spam'. 'Chia' technology. Chin whistles. 'Naugahyde'. Swirled yoghurt, essential for space flight. Battered fish sticks. The collapsible top hat. The 'Thingmaker.' Helicopters, planes and ordinary table salt. Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo. Branford, Wynton and chicken Marsalis. The meatball, 100% space technology. The styrofoam peanut, the circus peanut and the Woozle whose name was Peanut. The bendy straw. Jim Mitchum. The bassett hound. 'Scattergories.' 'Police Woman', the TV series. Margarine...
): "You see... the space race has contributed so much to our lives, that we really couldn't even understand it all. All we know is that it's friendly, it's good for us and we all need it, really
...and the list goes on and on.Host 2:
Joel and the Bots present a skit which highlights Crow's Gregory peck impression from today's experiment.
Favorite line from the sketch: (Crow
): "Roger. Stay calm, boys. Shut down all SDS dissident controls but number 1." >beep< (Tom
): "Speaking of number 1 Stoney, I've got way
too much 'Tang' in me. I've got real
overflow!" >beep< (Joel
): "Uh, better send up that johnny, Houston. Looks like Hackman here has screwed the pooch!. Over." >beep<
Crow ruins the sketch by trying to liven it up with his David Janssen speaking in C.B. radio slang impression. Joel gives Crow a 'time-out'.Host 3:
Joel asks the Bots "Have you ever considered, what if one of us would have to leave the ship in order to save the others?" The thought has never occurred to Tom and Crow. Not in the least. (Crow
): "Seems pretty cut-and-dried if you think about it!" (Tom
): "Joel, I hate to be the shriveled carrot under your peach cobbler..." (Crow
): "Yeah, there really isn't anything to talk about. You're Human
): " You need oxygen to breathe." (Crow
): "We don't!"End:
Joel is playing fetch with Gypsy. After she leaves the bridge, he presents to Tom and Crow his version of the 'Three Shell Game', which amounts to finding the James Franciscus action figure under one of three so called "scale representations of the Apollo command and service modules" from today's experiment, a parlor trick that Joel calls "The Finder of Lost Loves." Tom picks module three which reveals... the Tony Franciosa action figure! After another shuffle, Crow picks module one revealing... the Ben Gazzara action figure! One module left reveals...the James Farentino, Joseph Campenella and Burl Ives action figures! It's MAGIC
!!! Joel reads a couple of fan letters. Gypsy returns to the bridge and spits out a ball from just about every sport one can think of. The Mads are disgusted and speechless.Stinger:
Hackman, contemplating his sleeping pill and proving that as an actor... he's good in anything!Items of Note:
~ The film is actually the 1969 Columbia Pictures release titled "MAROONED", edited and re-distributed by Film Ventures International.Personal Notes:
~ Quite a number of Firesign Theater references.
~ Not only does Crow do an amazing Peck impression, but Tom Servo does a very convincing Burt Reynolds laugh as well!The 'Riffs':
): "Oh, ya know 'mark' and 'roger' do such a good job down at the plant!"
): "Hey, it's the 'Big Blue Marble' brought to you by that painting
): "Do you read, Ironman?!" (Joel
) "No. But I read 'Final Exit
', and it's gonna come in pretty handy!"
): "Uh, we've got Judy Garland on the line and she'll be advising you about the 'pills' thing!"
~ (Teresa Stone
to her husband): "How are the mice?" (Tom
): "Oh, they're dead. How is the rabbit?!"
): "Hey! Someone left the 'Cape' out in the rain!"
): "Jim, how do you evaluate the oxygen situation?" (Pruett
): "Well, we have whatever oxygen is left in the spacecraft system..." (Joel
): "And we have whatever is left in the air!"
~ Pop culture references ranging from comedians Sinbad, Geechy Guy, Charles Rocket and Wheeler and Woolsey, to then presidential candidate Pat Buchannan, as well as nods to Tangerine Dream, Dan Fogelburg, Estes model rockets, rock band Clash and the movie Casino.
Actually a pretty cool movie, and a brilliant start to a new season of 'MST3K' !!!Rating:
5 'Gregory Peck impressions out of 5!' Just outstanding!
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