krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Moving on to the third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, I've started into the black-and-white 1950s movies interleaved with the Japanese movies I've already commented. I suppose that with "Teenage Caveman," one of the reasons I decided to get around to it now was the shorts that precede the short (yet tedious) movie...

"Aquatic Wizards" features a great deal of waterskiing, probably all right on its own but still working well with the "riffing." I did happen to notice this time around that, just as with "Body Care and Grooming" and "The Chicken of Tomorrow," some of the music sounded very familiar to "Johnny at the Fair." As for the second short of the episode, though, "Catching Trouble" makes for a great big target as the not-really-an-actor Ross Allen paddles into the Everglades ("Now folks, this has all been levelled and turned into a golf course.") with his Seminole companion "Sour Puss" to catch a wild cat, some bear cubs, and some snakes. The screaming sounds the bear cubs make do get sort of horrifying and the condescending narration doesn't help, but as our heroes get more and more worked up over all of it I do sort of worry some might start making smirky counter-comments about "political correctness" getting out of hand. Still, the "host segment" that follows, in which Joel and the bots visit appropriate vengeance on a doll made up like Ross, does fit in with the experience.

As for the movie itself, it starts with a recounting of the first creation story from Genesis as if not to ruffle the sensitive before getting to the fairly clean "caveman" tribe, dressed in over-one-shoulder outfits faintly reminiscent of the clothing in the "Hercules" movies. The "teenaged" (yet wrinkly-foreheaded) Robert Vaughn (to become famous in the next decade on "Man From U.N.C.L.E.") questions the restrictive "Law" and the round spinning thing kept next to the ceremonial fire in the cave village, and gets told in the same very pretentious dialogue not to question anything. At last, he crosses the forbidden river with people who might be a little closer to being "teenagers" and runs into familiar stock footage of crude dinosaur puppets and gruesomely battling lizards (if not the same lizards of "King Dinosaur...") Hanging around after one of his group stumbles into quicksand, he manages to invent the panflutes and a spindy-looking but still effective bow, and then the mysterious raggedy beast whose existence he had questioned (although a beast familiar enough from "Night of the Blood Beast") shows up...

After much meandering rebellion against the tribe, the "teenaged" caveman is about to make contact with the beast when the bad guy of the tribe drops a rock on it and gets hit with an arrow for his trouble. It turns out that in this movie, the raggedy mutant parrot was a sort of survival suit for somebody with a book of pictures from the atomic bomb-destroyed old world. It does seem, though, that this will produce our own world anyway just to keep the plot twists coming...

Along the way, Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank get into a fight over who's going to present their "Invention Exchange" and continue battling over most of the length of the episode. I suppose that adds to a sense of "entertaining enough."

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