Mystery Science Theater 3000: UNTAMED YOUTH
December 9, 2014 2:37 AM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

(1957, B&W, Teensploitation, Agriculture, Work farms, Musical) A couple of sisters are arrested for skinny-dipping and hitchhiking, and are given a choice of a month in jail or on a work farm. But the farm turns out to be a scam to get cheap forced labor out of young people, run between Judge Tropp and her secret husband Russ. Mamie Van Doren stars pneumatically. Contains five musical numbers. "They 'Calypso'! They 'Rock'! No guards in the Recreation Hall -- but these dogs aren't pets!" "Starring the girl built like a platinum powerhouse Mamie Van Doren." The first non-sci-fi, non-horror movie MST did in their national run. Features a song sung by Eddie Cochran, two years before his untimely death at age 21. YouTube (1h36m) First aired around January 27, 1990.

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IMDB (2.9 stars)
"Sisters Jane and Penny are arrested for hitchhiking on their way to Los Angeles when they stop for a quick skinny-dip in a rural town. Local agricultural magnate Tropp is a sponsor for a local prison work program and the women get put in the cotton fields to work off their sentence. Tropp marries the middle-aged widowed judge in order to ensure a stable supply of cheap labor in order to undercut his competition. The prisoners suffer ill treatment, but the judge's son has signed on as a hired hand and begins to figure out the scam as he begins falling in love with Jane, and Penny dreams of making it big in showbiz."
Directed by Howard W. Koch
Written by John C. Higgins and Stephen Longstreet
Starring Mamie Van Doren, Lori Nelson and John Russel. With Eddie Cochran as "Bong."

Notes: Mamie Van Doren is still alive at 83, bears no hard feelings towards the MST guys, and has a website.
posted by JHarris (16 comments total)
I accidentally deleted my reminder last week, but I'll be joining in again barring more tooth pain. I really appreciate the amount of work you put into these screenings.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:31 AM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

No problem. I'll have a writeup on this one later. The Thursday night showing is still on, 6PM Eastern as always.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 AM on December 9, 2014

Charles Beesley writes in the incomparable Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film:
The ads promised a look "inside a juvenile prison farm!" Two entertainer sisters are picked up hitchhiking and get 30 days' labor at a reform school/cotton farm run by senile lady judge Lurene Tuttle and lascivious tyrant John Russel. Russel's labor scam blows up after Yvonne Lime miscarries and dies from overwork. "Starring the girl built like a platinum powerhouse" (Mamie Van Doren), with Lorie Nelson as her sister. Musical sequences feature Eddie Cochran and the Hollywood Rock 'n' Rollers, with incidental themes by Les Baxter.
In The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Kevin Murphy (who's probably my favorite ACEG writer) says:
Mamie Van Doren sparkles with boobs akimbo in this fifties teen prison-farm potboiler. No opportunity to show her in her underwear is wasted. Jane Lowe (Mamie Van Doren) and her sister Penny are arrested for swimming in--guess what?--their underwear and are sentenced to thirty days. The sisters then become entangled in the old work-farm setup, where they get paid pennies and have to buy everything so they owe their souls to the company store and never get out. This is of course the same labor system used successfully today by large fruit-picking companies from California to Flordia. The camp is run by a big white man named Tropp, who's stiffer than a Ken doll and not as good an actor. He's been gettin' him some from the old lady judge who is probably related to him and sends him his convict laborers in a relationship snugger than Mrs. Mulwray's in Chinatown. Wasting no time, Mamie strips down to her underwear and does a song. The teen convicts, or titular untamed youth, work long, brutal hours in the hot sun, yet seem to have no problem cleaning up all nice and throwing impromptu sock hops in the bard. It's all fun and games until somebody gets killed, then a strange Mexican man enters the picture as some sort of spiritual harbinger of Tropp's demise.
Host Segments:
Pre: Joel removed a virus from Tom Servo.
Invention exchange: Joel's Never-Light-Pipe vs. the Mads' Tongue Puppets
1: The guys do a "pageant" retrospective of the life of Greg Brady, who bears a passing resemblance to one of the girls in the movie.
2: Crow remembers the time Joel hooked a monitor up and saw the contents of Gypsy's brain.
3: After Joel asked Gypsy to make some cotton in the theater and it didn't turn out right, Gypsy's manufacturing plant goes nuts. Features the creation of the first of the show's many duplicate Tom Servos.
Post: The guys talk about the geeky guy in the dancing scene in the middle of the film.

This is one of those movies where you can almost imagine the writers brainstorming ways to make the bad guys more despicable. The girls get brought in and sentenced to 30 days of either jail or hard work on a farm, for skinny-dipping and hitchhiking. The cops are on the take, the teens net 75 cents a day, the girls are sexually harassed, and all the kids gets fed dog food. The judge gets kinda redeemed at the end, but boss Tropp is gleefully evil.

There are several songs in the movie, one of them being Eddie Cochran singing something with the line "You ain't gonna make a cotton picker outta me." It's not really that great a use of him. He died in a car crash two years after this movie was made. Here's something better with him. Satellite News notes that he the youngest person ever to die who was in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie that they have records on.

Eddie's song's not that hot, and the other songs aren't anything to write home about either. Particularly there's one that's just an excuse for Mamie to dance and stretch about, but contains the word "Ooo-ba-la."

Two weeks ago during Robot Holocaust, in a scene with a scantily-clad young woman, Joel said "Guys, I miss Earth so much right now." The next week during Moon Zero Two, when the go-go dancers were at it, he said "I miss the moon so much right now." This time, during the first musical number when Mamie Van Doren's singing and luxuriating it's "I really miss the cotton fields of Earth." Heh.

The first two host segments in this one are pretty weak, but the third, with Gypsy's malfunction, is a classic.

This is the episode in which the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Fan Club becomes the Information Club, which it remains today.

Later on we meet Pinky, the cook who serves the kids, who is supposed to be read as an intellectual beatnik-type but just wastes time with his spiel. Pinky's presented as sympathetic, but is still working for, seems to be friends with, that bastard Tropp, and is presumably the one feeding them dog food, so we're not really sure what Pinky's deal is.
posted by JHarris at 10:55 PM on December 9, 2014

if Moon Zero Two was all trumpets, Untamed Youth is all saxaphones
posted by hellojed at 9:28 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hey, Joel in the AV Club!
posted by Chrysostom at 8:56 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The room is open and showing more than the average number of shorts and RiffTrax clips this time. The URL is:

Hope to see you there!
posted by JHarris at 1:04 PM on December 11, 2014

So uhh, what's an "Italian Haircut" in a catfighting context?
posted by Drinky Die at 12:28 AM on December 12, 2014

Whatever it is, the movie certainly didn't clear it up. My best guess is Servo's: "I dunno, extra mousse or something?"

We got up to seven people in the channel, which is pretty good. The good news is we only have one first season episode left to get through! Next time it's 113: BLACK SCORPION.

After that the following Thursday is Christmas Day, which I'm planning on having an all-day loop of MST-related stuff. I'm pretty sure I can get Santa Claus Conquers The Martians and (Mexican) Santa Claus going. I'd like to include the RiffTrax of the Star Wars Christmas Special and (the dreaded) Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny (both of which I own bought-and-paid-for copies of -- I have over 50 purchased RiffTrax collected over the years), but those are not available on YouTube for completely understandable legal reasons. I've thought about ways around that, just for that one day, but I'm loathe to risk incurring YouTube copyright strikes myself. If we could find another good way of streaming it might work out, but I'm iffy that there's a good solution.

After Christmas we'll pick up on January 1, 2015, ringing in the new year with the start of the second season, and episode 201: ROCKETSHIP X-M.
posted by JHarris at 12:42 AM on December 12, 2014

Jack Frost!
posted by Drinky Die at 1:25 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks again JHarris! Like I mentioned, there's a meet-up I'll be getting ready for next week, so see you all NEXT YEAR!! Have a teRIFFic holiday everyone.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:16 AM on December 12, 2014

Thanks for hosting, that was a lot of fun! I usually have rehearsal on Thursday but it was cancelled this week, so that's the first one I've made (even if I only saw the last third of the movie, that was probably enough). Now I'm kind of torn with hoping for the occasional rehearsal cancellation...
posted by ilana at 3:26 PM on December 12, 2014

We've also had a request to move to 7 PM ET. Maybe we should have a discussion of a better time to hold these? I'm pretty flexible at the moment, when would be best for everyone? Speak up!
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on December 12, 2014

I've usually been watching these the following weekend long after you all have finished. Thursday at 6:00 pm is a pretty busy time at my house. Thanks for all the excellent commentary! Moving to 7 would be a step in the right direction for me.
posted by Roger Dodger at 3:51 PM on December 13, 2014

We've hit a snag --

113 BLACK SCORPION is blocked from YouTube on copyright grounds. I don't know of a good streaming autosync solution with supplied extra text chatroom at this time. Will look for solutions but not sure there are any good ones. If it's too much of a problem we might move on to 201 ROCKETSHIP X-M a week early. I'm sure you're all saddened by this, heh.
posted by JHarris at 2:03 AM on December 14, 2014

May have come up with a way around this. We'll find out Thursday.
posted by JHarris at 7:37 PM on December 14, 2014

Oh, hey, 7PM is fine for me, except for this week when I'll definitely be out.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:47 PM on December 14, 2014

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