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Episode 201

Rocketship X-M (1950)

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**Season two kicks off with a slightly new opening sequence. Who was that with Dr F? On the satellite of love, Joel is working on Tom Servo’s new voice and Crow has a tooth ache. Suddenly there is a new face down in Deep 13. Frank has replaced Dr Earnhardt, who is missing. Joel demonstrates his new drum kit then it’s time for the movie.

A press conference is being held to introduce the crew of the first rocket ship to the moon. The crew consists of four men and one women. The leader of the crew is Dr. Karl Eckstrom (John Emery). He designed the ship. None of the crew are in any sort of special clothing at all. The ship is set to lift off in less than 15 minutes but no one seems to be in the least bit of a hurry. Finally the crew boards the ship with about one minute to go and it lifts off without a hitch.

**First break
**Joel and the bots pay tribute to the men and women of the Press Corp.

All the members of the press are in the control room as the rocket circles the earth and then heads for the moon. The crew are all hanging around the ship waiting for something to happen when suddenly something happens. The engines stops working. The pilot, Col. Floyd Graham (Lloyd Bridges) and flight engineer, Maj. William Corrigan (Noah Berry jr) look to see if they can find the problem but nothing seems amiss. It must be a problem with a fuel mixture. Eckstrom and Dr. Lisa Van Horn (Osa Massen), a chemist, set to work trying to calculate a new mixture. Eckstrom and Van Horn are in dispute over which formula to use. Eckstrom decides they should use his. Dramatic music plays as some officials on earth are not sure of what is going on with the ship since they can’t communicate with it.
Back on the ship the riveting calculations continue. It’s so fascinating that everyone is asleep except for Van Horn and Graham. Graham starts to put the moves on Van Horn with talk of moon light and its effect on people.

**Second break
**Joel puts on a demonstration for Tom and Crow about selective gravity and quizzes them on whether certain things are funny floating or not.
Movie sign!!

Suddenly they pass through a very noisy meteor shower which wakes the others. Luckily nothing happens, literally. Finally the calculations are done and the fuel mixture is corrected. Van Horn is still not so sure about the calculations. Eckstrom dismisses her woman’s intuition again. The ship’s rockets are fired and all goes horribly wrong. They are flying at tremendous speed out into space. Everyone passes out from shear boredom, I mean the speed. They awaken days later. Harry Chamberlain (Hugh O’Brian), the navigator, determines they are headed straight for Mars. After a few more calculations they are able to land on Mars.
The next day, wearing only oxygen masks, they head out to explore the Martian landscape. There they come across the remnants of an ancient civilization. There is also a lot of radiation. Looks as though a nuclear blast caused this. Despite this they continue on and even spend the night under the Martian night sky. Of course they brought nothing to sleep so they lay down on some rocks.

**Break three
**Joel and the bots are in deep conversation but they are using nothing but music lyrics. Suddenly another ship appears next to them. It’s Valaria from Robot Holocaust. Joel asks her to help them get back to earth but she can’t seem to help them.
Movie sign!!

Chamberlain is keeping watch when he sees several Martians walking around below them. He wakes the others but the Martians scatter. So the crew goes running down to see where they went. Eckstrom and Corrigan head off to search for them. The Martians attack and crush Corrigan with a large rock. Eckstrom runs but is killed with an axe just as he reaches the others.  Chamberlain is hit with a rock but the three crew members make it back to the ship and quickly take off.
Time for more calculations as Van Horn tries to figure out how much fuel they will have left but she isn’t sure. Chamberlain is unconscious so she can’t get a precise location. Graham takes this as an excellent opportunity to start hitting on Van Horn again. As they get closer they realize they don’t have enough fuel to land. They call headquarters and tell them everything that has happened. Realizing they are going to die, Graham and Van Horn get all snuggly. The rocket crashes into Nova Scotia.

**Joel and the bots are upset that they had to watch a movie about being stranded in space while stranded in space.  Dr F has to teach Frank how to “push the button.”

Lloyd Bridges is most know for his role as Mike Nelson on the tv series Sea Hunt. My personal favorite was his role in the movie Airplane!

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Osa Massen She made three guest appearances on Perry Mason
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John Emery appeared in small roles through the late 1930s to the early 1960s.
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Noah Beery, Jr. best known for his role as Joseph “Rocky” Rockford on The Rockford Files.
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Hugh O’Brian stared in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. He also played the last character that John Wayne ever killed on the screen in The Shootist in 1976.
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Best riffs
# A guy can get used to anything, I guess.” Yeah, I once ate a woodchuck.
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# By this time my lungs were aching for air!
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# “I see a girl that’s sweet…gentle.”
And when I get back on Earth I’m gonna call that girl, but in the meantime, love the one you’re with.
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This movie is tedious and preachy. Eckstrom can’t stop making speeches even when he’s dying. The misogyny is hilariously bad in it as well.
I do like this episode. The addition of Frank Coniff to the show gives it a huge boost. TV’s Frank is one of my all-time favorite characters on tv.

3 out of 5

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Frank showing the missing Dr Earnhardt.
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Valaria pays a visit.

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Episode 113

The Black Scorpion (1957)

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After a large earthquake, a new volcano is born in a remote section of Mexico. Two geologists, Dr. Hank Scott and Dr. Arturo Ramos, are sent to study it. On the way there the jeep they are driving begins to overheat. They stop by a home looking for water to fill the radiator. The house is partially destroyed and a mangled police care is also there. They find the officer dead. Suddenly they hear a rattling noise. It turns out to be a baby, unhurt and playing in it’s crib.
They take the child to the nearby village of San Lorenzo. There they meet Father Delgado. He tells them of the problems that have been raining down on the village. Many locals have disappeared. There has also been homes destroyed, livestock killed and strange noises in the night. The Mexican military arrives to help with relief efforts.
The next day Hank and Arturo head out to begin their geological work. While out on the survey they see a lady get thrown from her horse. Hank (Richard Denning) comes to her rescue. Her name is Teresa Alvarez (Mara Corday) and she owns a local ranch. They give her a ride home and stay for dinner. Hank and Teresa are immediately smitten with each other. Arturo (Carlos Rivas) heads back out to retrieve Teresa’s saddle and finds a piece of obsidian with a scorpion in it. When they break it open they find it’s still alive. Another day gone with Hank and Arturo getting no work done.
Into this mix comes Juanito ( Mario Navarro) the son of Teresa’s housekeeper. He desperately wants to go with Hank and Arturo, which can’t be good.
The volcano erupts and a chasm opens up to an underground area full of giant scorpions. Many of them climb out. Three telephone repairmen are attacked and killed by the creatures. The military try shooting at the scorpions but it has no effect on them. When the scorpions return underground Hank and Arturo get help from entomologist Dr. Velasco (Carlos Múzquiz). Velasco’s plan is to use poisonous gas to kill the beasts. Hank and Arturo are lowered into the chamber only to find it full of other giant insects as well. Unbeknownst to them Juanito has stuck down with them and is quickly in trouble. The scientists rescue him and escape but not before all the gas canisters are lost. The scientists are left with only one course of action: seal the cave with explosives before dark. The plan works but a few scorpions find another way out and begin tearing up the countryside.
The largest of the group turns on the others and kills them. It is the last one left now and it heads for Mexico City. Hank and Arturo use a truckload of beef to lure it to a stadium where the military is waiting. Despite throwing everything at it the weapons do nothing to the giant creature. It destroys many tanks and helicopters in the battle. As a last ditch effort a spear is rigged up to a power line and they are able to harpoon it in the only weak spot it has, under the throat. The 600,000 volts are enough to kill the behemoth. Hank and Teresa can now go back to the ranch and start a family or something.

The stop action work on the scorpions was really good but otherwise this movie was kind of dull. They waited so long to show the scorpions that the movie gets really boring in the first half. The kid was extremely annoying as well.
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Richard Denning is best known for starring in science fiction films of the 1950s, including Unknown Island,Creature from the Black Lagoon,Target Earth and the Day the World Ended.
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Mara Corday in 1955 appeared in Tarantula where she met Clint Eastwood. They would remain lifelong friends. She later got married, appeared in Playboy and gave up acting in 1961 to raise a family. She returned to acting in 1974 in Clint Eastwood’s The Gauntlet. She may be most remembered for being the waitress in Sudden Impact that dumps a ton of sugar in Harry Callahan’s coffee leading to the famous “Go ahead, make my day” line from Eastwood.
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Carlos Rivas appeared in The King and I and True Grit as well as many guest roles on tv shows from the 1960’s through the 80’s
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Mario Navarro played one of the children in The Magnificent Seven that Charles Bronson befriended.
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Carlos Múzquiz made over seventy movies in his native Mexico. He died in 1960 at the age of 54.

Best riffs
# Could you scream a little slower? I can’t understand you!

# Paul, if you die can I have your hat?

# Oh, this isn’t good. Not at all. I mean, I’ve seen good before and it didn’t look anything like this. Remember that bad thing we saw? Well, it looked like this. Remember? Yeah, definitely bad.

# Don’t run, just look unappetizing

This is the end of season one. Over all the show was hit or miss. About half the movies were fun to watch but the host segments were mostly rather poor. Big changes were coming in season two.

This episode gets a 2 out of 5.

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Episode 112

Untamed Youth (1957)

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Penny and Jane Lowe (Mamie Van Doren and Lori Nelson) are hitchhiking from Illinois to California to try their luck in the entertainment world. While cooling off in a pond the local sheriff arrests them. The Judge Steele sentences them to thirty days confinement. They and a group of others, are then sent to work on an agricultural farm owned by Russ Tropp. Tropp (John Russell) runs the farm with an iron fist and is paying the sheriff to arrest the kids so he can use them for cheap labor.
After sending everyone to the bunk house Tropp finds his hand picked house girl, Lilibeth (Jeanne Carmen) fooling around behind his back and sends her back with the others to pick cotton. She arrives at the barracks to find Penny and Jane in the middle of a song. Afterwards she and Jane get into a fight. Jane gets the better of her and they become friends.
Meanwhile Judge Steele’s son, Bob (Don Burnett), comes home from the navy. She sends him to Tropp’s farm where he hires him to work at full pay. Tropp actually bought the farm from the judge so Bob is very familiar with the place.
Out in the fields Penny, Jane and the others are picking cotton when, led by Bong (Eddie Cochran), they break into song. Unfortunately a girl know as Baby passes out from heat exhaustion. Bob finds her and gets her to some help.
Tropp ends up at the judge’s house. It turns out they are secretly married but he is just using her to undercut the other farmers in the area and get rich.
After a hard day picking cotton the youngsters sing and dance (again). Tropp wants Penny to come up to the house hear her sign in private. Jane tries to talk her out of it but can’t. Once there Tropp puts the moves on Penny but Jane talks Bob into going to the house and foils his plans. Bob is beginning to suspect something fishy is going on and Tropp doesn’t trust Bob either.
Back in the fields Baby (Yvonne Lime) collapses again and Bob rushes her to the doctor but she dies. Turns out she was 5 months pregnant. Bob then confronts his mother with all his suspicious about Tropp. She confesses to her relationship with Tropp and tells Bob he should go to Montana for a while. Bob heads back to the farm and tells Tropp where to stick it. Before he leaves he finds Jane and tells her he wants to see her again sometime. Jane convinces him to stay.
Judge Steele (Lurene Tuttle) has Jane brought to her home and Jane tells her everything Tropp has been up to. The Judge is devastated and angry. She and Jane head back to the farm.
At the farm, despite one of their group has just died, Penny and the rest are singing and dancing (again). Bob shows up looking for Jane. He over hears Tropp and the sheriff talking to a Mexican man. They’re cutting a deal to smuggle some workers across the border. When Tropp spots Bob, he and the sheriff grab him. They are going to send him to Mexico and have him killed. Just then all the other kids come out and confront Tropp. Then the Judge and Jane show up. The Judge forces the sheriff to arrest Tropp and she commutes the sentences of all the workers to time served.
The Judge, Bob and Jane are then sitting watching Penny singing and dancing on tv.

This movie really anoyed me but I’m not sure why. Russ Tropp is a perfectly lousy villain. The look on his face when he had to show affection to the judge is great. Maybe it the way this movie tries to manipulate you and I never really care for movies like that. Just too preachy for me to enjoy.

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Mamie Van Doren stared in many teen-exploitation film like Teacher’s Pet, Born Reckless, Girls Town and Sex Kittens Go to College 

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Lori Nelson appeared as “Rosie Kettle” in Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair and Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki. In 1957, she stared in the tv show How to Marry a Millionaire.

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John Russell stared as Marshal Dan Troop in the tv series Lawman. Throughout the 1960s and into the 1980s he appealed in more than twenty films, including Pale Rider as Clint Eastwood’s main villain, Marshal Stockburn.

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Don Burnett appeared in film and tv from 1955 – 1962

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Lurene Tuttle had an extensive carrer on radio for many years. Most significantly on the Adventures of Sam Spade where she played just about every female role. She latter became a familiar face to television viewers with over one hundred appearances from 1950 to 1986.

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Eddie Cochran was a rockabilly singer with songs like “Somethin’ Else”, “Summertime Blues” and “Twenty Flight Rock”. He died at the age of 21 after a car accident during his British tour in April 1960. He wad elected to the rock n roll hall of fame 1987.
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Yvonne Lime appeared in tv and movie rolls from 1956 to 1968 including Loving You with Elvis Presley. She then left acting to devote much of her time to philanthropy, working to better the lives of orphans worldwide and neglected children in the United States.
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Jeanne Carmen ran away from home at age 13 and became a trick shot golfer, hustling people for money and getting in close with a few gangsters. In her 20s, she began appearing in B movies. She later became friends with Marilyn Monroe. When Monroe died she was advised to “leave town” by Chicago mobsters. She then hid out in Scottsdale, Arizona for over a decade.

Best riffs
# Hey, it’s Blond Lemon Jefferson
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# They call her coffee ‘cuz she grinds so fine.
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# Oh, Ross. You’re wonderful. “Thanks grandma.”
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# Okay, tell me something and be honest: do I really look like Colonel Tom Parker?
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# “There’s a woman out-standing in her field
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# I’m sorry, I have some very bad news for you.” I’m not a real doctor
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# Hey, it’s Greg Bradey.
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The episode it self was good but this movie drags it down.
2 out of 5

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Episode 111

Moon Zero Two (1969)

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It the year 2021 and Bill Kemp (James Olson) runs a satellite salvage operation. Kemp is a former astronaut and was the first man on Mars. He quit being a regular astronaut because the Space Corporation was only interested in shuttle flights for tourist to Mars and Venus. Kemp wanted to do more exploration, like going to Mercury.
After retreiving a satellite, Kemp returns to the moon station and meets Clementine Taplin (Catherine Schell). She is looking for her brother. He is a miner who works on the far side of the moon and has found something, but now he is missing. Kemp tells her he is probably ok.
After having a drink at a lunar watering hole, Kemp has a meeting with millionaire tycoon J J Hubbard (Warren Mitchell). Hubbard has discovered a 6000 tonne meteorite made of sapphire and wants to illegally have it crashed on the far side of the moon so he can mine it. Hubbard convinces Kemp to help him get it and promises to buy him a new spacecraft.
Meanwhile, Clementine is still trying to locate her brother. When a group of miners from the far side arrive, she asks them about her brother, but they have not seen him for months.
Kemp, his co-pilot and two of Hubbard’s men head out and attach small rockets to the rock to get it to change its trajectory. Everything goes off just as planned. They will have to give it a second correction in three days.
Back on the moon Kemp finds Clementine at the bar still waiting for her brother. She asks him to take her to her brothers mine. Kemp agrees but not before Hubbard’s goon tries to stop him. Kemp shuts off the gravity and a huge brawl ensues.
The two of them fly in his spacecraft to the far side and rent a “moon buggy” to drive to the site. Once there, they find her brother dead. Suddenly three people show up and start shooting at them. Kemp takes out two of them and busts the oxygen pack on the third one. When he puts her brothers pack on the man’s suit to try and save him, he dies instantly. They realize now the Clementine’s brother was killed.
Since their bug was damaged in the fighting they are forced to drive back in a mining machine . They barely make it to the nearest outpost but not before they both are forced to strip down to their underwear to try and survive the heat from the sun.
At the outpost the local constable is waiting. Then Hubbard and his goons show up. Once Hubbard’s plot is exposed he has the police officer shot, and forces Kemp to continue with the plan. Back in space they are setting up for the finally course correction when Kemp, Clementine and the co-pilot out wit Hubbard and his men, killing them all. The asteroid crashes right on her brothers claim making her a very rich women and Kemp her happy new boy friend.

This movies was billed as a space western and wow is it bad. It’s basically a claim jumper story. It also has a very typical 1960’s view of the future – lots of pastel colors and vinyl. There are many scenes that are down right comical with the bar brawl being at the top of the list.

Here are some of the better riffs.
# And so they set out in the wiener car in search of the giant kielbasa
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# I know it’s rough now, but it’ll get better when we fall in love later in the picture
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# Good Lord! He’s ugly.
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# Do you think I look like a zucchini?
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James Olson has made numerous television appearances include guest roles on Murder, She Wrote, Hawaii Five-O, Battlestar Galactica,Wonder Woman, Mannix, Marcus Welby, M.D., Police Woman, Barnaby Jones, and Maude.
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Catherine Schell appeared opposite Peter Sellers in The Return of the Pink Panther and for several seasons on Space: 1999
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Warren Mitchell was Dr Clevett in The Crawling Eye from episode 101. He also appeared in Help!, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Jabberwocky and has enjoyed considerable success on stage winning the Olivier Award in 1979 for Death of a Salesman.
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For Monty Python fans Carol Cleveland has a brief appearance.
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One of the best parts are the dancers in the saloon.
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Then one of the dumber moments.
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Lots to see here. One of the better ones of this first season.

I give this a 4 out of 5.