Mystery Science Theater 3000: WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST
August 27, 2015 12:50 AM - Season 3, Episode 19 - Subscribe

"The Towering Terror From Hell!" "SEE a Sixty Foot Giant Color!" When we last saw Col. Glenn Manning, he was 60 feet tall and had fallen into the Colorado River, where we might presume his corpse would have stopped its flow at some point, or at least provided free sustenance for weeks to its aquatic wildlife. But they never found his amazing colossal body! Well that's because he survived, somehow, improbably, even though he was supposed to be close to death from his untimely embiggening. His sister (the first movie said he had no family but no matter) is determined to find out what happened to him. With the short MR. B NATURAL: A magical pixie that gives off mixed gender signals comes to visit a confused young boy and tries to sell him band equipment. The movie's another Bert I. Gordon monsterpiece, and a sequel to the movie featured in episode 309, THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN. It's a black and white movie, but it's color for the very VERY end so they could say that ad up above wasn't a lie. The episode's okay, but tends to languish in the shadow of the short which, in terms of concentrated riffing power, might be the funniest thing the Brains ever did. YouTube (1h37m) BONUS: A real rarity, Mr. B Natural (26m) on YouTube, un-MSTed!

Episode 319:
Mighty Jack's MST3K Review - MST3K Wikia

UnMSTed (This version is more complete than the one that appeared on MST3K.)
RiffTrax has done their own take on this short. It's available here for $2.99.
Daddy-O - TV Tropes
The Satellite News mourns Betty Luster, who played Mr. B, deceased 2011.
IMDB (2.2 stars)
"A young boy is sitting in a room one day, bored, when suddenly a leotard-clad woman calling herself Mr. B Natural appears in his room. Mr. B Natural describes to the boy the wonder and beauty of music[...]"
Directed by Phil Patton. Written by Martin David. Starring Betty Luster, Bruce Podewell and James Andelin.

Rotten Tomatoes (Audience score: 16%)
IMDB (3.2 stars)
"Glenn Manning, "The Amazing Colosasal Man," believed dead after falling from the Hoover Dam, reemerges in rural Mexico, brain damaged, disfigured, and very hungry."
Directed by Bert I. Gordon, and written by him and George Worthing Yates. Starring Sally Fraser, Roger Pace and Duncan "Dean" Parkin.
posted by JHarris (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We will be watching this episode tonight for our weekly viewing for the MST3K Club, at at 9 PM Eastern time. The details of our weekly shows can be read in the club FAQ.

We have a special rare movie showing before the episode. Here's a hint... it's from the director who brought us Those Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies. It's taken me a lot of trouble to obtain it. This movie is superbad, so I have to say it's for connoisseurs only. If you're interested in it, try showing up about two hours early.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 AM on August 27, 2015

Mr. B, you're hot!
posted by Chrysostom at 6:50 AM on August 27, 2015

Whiiiite, we're white
We're really, really white...

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:19 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's a direct question for all you guys: how do we feel about the riffing on Mr. B Natural now that the internet is trending towards acceptance of genderqueer persons?

Could Mr. B Natural be taken actually as a metaphor for Buzz coming to terms for not wanting to be conventionally-gendered?

Although really, the shilling-for-band-equipment thing kind of undercuts this interpretation.
posted by JHarris at 10:33 AM on August 27, 2015

If shilling for band equipment was good enough for Robert Preston in "The Music Man", and Shirley Jones' Marian was pop culture's first known "sexy librarian", then I don't see anything in "Mr. B Natural" as inappropriate for the time. Still. I wonder why nobody has ever done a Mr. B remake... as a porn parody. You see, there was that one time at band camp...
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:08 AM on August 27, 2015

I see it more as being part of the theatrical convention of having the young assistant or magical helper be a "breeches role," something which would have been relatively unremarkable in the 1950s, but which has declined in more recent years. In opera, this was usually so that a "youthful" male part could be sung in higher ranges (the classic examples being Cherubino in Le nozzi di Figaro, or Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier). Even in its most unconvincing manifestations (Nicklaus in Powell & Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffmann, for instance), it would not really have had connotations of cross-dressing or gender-switching to a mainstream '50s audience (except where cross-dressing was a plot element). Of course, for LGBTQ performers and audience members in pre-Stonewall theater, it would likely have had additional connotations, but these would be at the level of deep subtext for most others.

Having the performance be manic and terrifying was certainly not an aspect of this convention, and probably unique to Mr. B Natural.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:19 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

May I take a moment to remind everyone of this week's Very Special Episode of The Pre-Roll, scheduled for two hours before the regular show, 7PM Eastern Daylight Time, 4PM Pacific, 11PM GMT, Sometime Tomorrow in Beijing.

I aided Your Gracious Host by using some of my massively surplus webspace and bandwidth to make it available for this afternoon/evening, so I know what it is, and while carefully avoiding any SPOILERS (which is damn hard for me to do), let me paraphrase a minor Seinfeld character, "it's real and it's spectacular"!!!

But it is also being provided "raw" and outside of the MST3K format, so we need a good crowd of participants in the chat in order to bring it the riffing it truly deserves!!! Be there or be square (and totally not B Natural).
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:44 AM on August 27, 2015

I will say I am now somewhat uncomfortable with some of the more gender-targeted Mr B quips. Like Tom's, "Excuse ME, sexless man-woman!"
posted by Chrysostom at 12:03 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think it's good to recognize when a joke that might offend some of us gets made, and encourage you to mention this in chat (if you decide to watch with us) when this happens.
posted by JHarris at 12:56 PM on August 27, 2015

Trigger Warning: This was done in a pseudo-improvisational style more than 20 years ago by comics working in the #15 media market for cable TV. It speaks to their genius that 95% of it is NOT considered offensive today.

There is so much has become forehead-slappingly obvious in the last few years that I was blissfully unaware of for my first 50 years, as have most of us... although I do get to take obnoxious pride when something comes up about which I can say "I ALWAYS thought that was wrong, even if nobody else did"... it's about 7 times so far
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:10 PM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

We made it through! In addition to the main movie and Mr. B, beforehand many of us sat through a showing of Ray Dennis Steckler's thoroughly ridiculous Rat Pfink A Boo Boo. Next week is episode 320: THE UNEARTHLY, along with shorts POSTURE PALS and APPRECIATING OUR PARENTS.

Experience awards:
Experiment: 12,000 XP
Rat Pfink A Boo Boo: 24,000 XP
posted by JHarris at 7:56 PM on August 27, 2015

Swamp Thingy, the tumblr blog of old horror movie images and stuff featured the final scene from War of the Colossal Beast today... coincidence?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:12 PM on August 27, 2015

Well it could be. But remember, Satellite News is roughly in sync with our showings right now, so it could be that they inspired them to show it. So slightly less of a coincidence, or maybe rather a coincidence of a different nature.
posted by JHarris at 11:41 PM on August 27, 2015

I literally laughed himself into a coma at the line "What would you know of dignity, Mr. B Natural?" and so missed the actual film. Apparently it's pretty bad.
posted by Naberius at 9:24 AM on August 28, 2015

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