Mystery Science Theater 3000: WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET
June 5, 2014 8:10 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

(1966, Color, Sci-Fi, Twist ending) A spaceship lands to rescue crash victims. Two stay behind, a male and a female, on the Edenic, Earth-like planet, which the departing admiral christens from space: Earth! OMG WHAT A TWIST. There's some racial stuff in there too, an unexpectedly deadly dry ice pond, rampaging Neanderthals, and a chimp. Original airdate: probably February 10, 1990. YouTube video. Our first color movie! While fourth in the production numbering, this is actually the last show made and broadcast in the first season. It feels like a second season episode in some ways, and is a better jumping-in point than the earlier shows.

DVD available from Amazon (volume 9)

Women of the Prehistoric Planet
IMDB [2.2 stars]
Directed and written by Arthur C. Pierce.
Starring Wendell Corey, Keith Larsen and John Agar.
posted by JHarris (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's a little tough watching a clearly-inebriated Wendell Corey in this one and Agent for H.A.R.M.
posted by usonian at 8:25 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

From The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film: Ultracheap science fiction with shoddy sets, man-eating plants, giant lizards, and a huge spider. It also has Wendell Corey and John Agar, ridiculous as astronauts who bring together Linda and Tang (the oriental Adam and Eve) and name the planet they explored Earth! Linda and Tang presumably begat all mankind in this tacky studio-set Eden. Produced by Jack Broder. (Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla [Previously!]). With Leith Larsen, Merry Anders, Adam Roarke, Lyle Waggoner, and Stuart Margolin (The Rockford Files).

Mike Nelson, from The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide:
This movie contains the original "Hi-keeba," our most popular catchphrase, as part of a monologue delivered by Wendell Corey. I can't tell you how much this little piece delighted the then-brand-new Frank Conniff. Even on his thirtieth viewing, his cherubic face would glow red, his chest would heave with laughter, and he would stop breathing. Teams of paramedics, fighting all odds, would bring him out of the countless comas this film would induce, and scores of doctors would plead with him not to watch it again. But Frank being Frank...

When I was younger, adults would assuage my fears, insisting I would never have to see Sam from the
Quincy M.E. show gamboling about in a tiny animal skin. Then I saw this film and like a cold, hard slap I realized that most adults were liars.

Host Segments:
Pre: One of the first really great invention exchanges, I think, is the Mad's new restaurant venture, "Clay and Lar's Flesh Barn," where they save money by not cooking the food. The theme song's great. Joel's invention, a roll of toilet paper in a Coke bottle, isn't as great, and he seems to recognize this.
1: "Joel... this is your life!" Also, a death satellite is spotted outside the ship.
2: The Satellite, now on the bridge, is identified as an "Issac Asimov Literary Doomsday Satellite." Attempts to disarm it fail.
3: The satellite goes off with dire consequences.
End: The consequences turn out to be rather less dire than they thought. The winner of the contest from Robot Holocaust (which was actually made and broadcast before this episode!) is announced.

We should clarify: the "Women" of the title should actually be "woman," singular. There are women in the cast, but only one could really be considered to be "of" the planet, and then only at the end.

The movie is brought to us by the "Standard Club of California." I suppose that's the club by which all other clubs are measured?

The comic relief guy in this movie, the guy who contributed HI-KEEBA to the MSTie lexicon, is really sad.

The movie deserves credit, I suppose, for trying to use time dilation, a feature of Special Relativity, as an plot element. But it's not really essential to the story, its usage doesn't make sense when you think about it (does the entire space command ride in near-luminal craft to keep everyone on the same time scale?), and the attempts to explain it are idiotic and, ultimately, wrong.

The scene when the blond crew member falls into the dry ice pool is exceptionally laughable. For one thing, it's about six feet wide and could have been cleared with a running jump. For another, they obviously could have just walked around the darn thing. And when one foot lands in he makes such a fuss before falling in all the way, while his crewmates stand just a few feet away doing nothing. Not a great moment in cinematic history.

The host segments for this one really have it in for now-deceased classic science fiction author and all-around polymath Issac Asimov. In the early days of the show, it seemed like the targets they picked tended to be whatever famous person they could think of rather than the more obviously deserving -- there was a joke in an earlier show in which they complained about Julie Andrews, of all people. The voice of the Issac Asimov Literary Doomsday Satellite appears to be Mike.

This episode ends, after the credits finish and a slow fade to black, with the SOL bridge background sound effects behind the Best Brains and Comedy Channel production cards. I always liked that little touch. It ended in the second season when they started putting a stinger, a representative silly moment from the movie, after the credits.

Finally, don't ever forget: man evolved from Tang. Take that creationists and evolutionists alike!
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on June 5, 2014

The watching will be tomorrow (Friday). If you've been holding back because of the first season this is the best jumping-in point so far. Personally the one I'm looking forward to is 107: ROBOT MONSTER, but there's a lot of weirdness and shlock Hollywood on display here.
posted by JHarris at 11:50 AM on June 5, 2014

The show is to begin at 8 PM, but I won't be on until soon before it, as I have to get my compensation from working in the pizza mines (and use some of it to procure Mario Kart 8). It'll be running for a bit before even if I'm not in. As usual, the link will appear in this thread ahead of time.

If there's a specific short or something you'd like to be in the pre-roll or as an extra, let me know.
posted by JHarris at 9:20 PM on June 5, 2014

I won't be home for this one (Dead Authors podcast!) but as always, thank you for putting it all together.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:29 AM on June 6, 2014

I have a rare free night, and will try to make the watching! I have this episode, but I don't think I've ever watched it.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 AM on June 6, 2014

The room is up:

As usual, we have some additional things after the movie. The "main event" starts at 8 PM Eastern, but that's just an arbitrary point, the same roll will be going up until then in repeat, I'll just reset the sequence to the beginning then.
posted by JHarris at 12:07 PM on June 6, 2014

I'll definitely be there tonight, but before all that, relevant to everyone's interests:
posted by hobgadling at 12:17 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's... wonderful.
posted by JHarris at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2014

Love these posts!
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:57 PM on June 6, 2014

Ah, Wendell Corey.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:20 PM on June 6, 2014

Thanks for showing up everyone, we got up to six viewers at the most tonight. Other things I threw in included a few host segments and the shorts A Case of Spring Fever, Century 21 Calling and the unaired Assignment: Venezuela. Glad everyone enjoyed it, next week it's 105: THE CORPSE VANISHES, with Bela Lugosi!
posted by JHarris at 9:20 PM on June 6, 2014

Huh! According to Satellite News, Wendell Corey is not the HIKEEBA guy! That's Paul Gilbert!
posted by JHarris at 7:31 PM on June 7, 2014

D'oh! Sorry I dropped out halfway through; I lost my connection and then got interrupted by another shiny thing.
posted by usonian at 7:22 AM on June 8, 2014

Yeah, Gilbert is the sexist, racist, Odious Comic Relief Guy. Random fact: he adopted Melissa "Little House on the Prairie" Gilbert.

Corey is Admiral King, who also played Adam Chance's boss in Agent for H.A.R.M. He had a severe drinking problem, and frankly, it kind of shows.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:00 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always feel bad for Corey in these, having first seen him alongside Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelley in Hitchcock's Rear Window.
posted by usonian at 9:41 AM on June 11, 2014

« Older Sherlock: The Empty Hearse...   |  Adventure Time: Breezy... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments