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21 December, 2011

Cambot's Voice by S. J. Martiene: EXPERIMENT 9: SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS





“Here we are as in olden days ... happy golden days of yore …” Ah, nothing says “Christmas” like a keenly written carol.  And in my house, nothing smacks tradition like watching many of our favorite movies this time of year.  We get in on ALL the holiday fodder:  Miracle on 34th Street, the assorted versions of A Christmas Carol, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, JUST to name a few.   None of those, however, stinks like decade-old fruitcake as our experiment does for this month:  MST3K #321 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.  Sure, it starts innocently enough.  There’s an interview with Santa by a stalwart journalist.  There are Martian children who are sad because they have no Santa.  Did I mention Pia Zadora???  No?  Well, never fear my gingerbread cookies…SHE IS IN THIS MOVIE!!  Well if THAT doesn’t jingle your bells, I’m not sure what will.   Now, the rest of the cast doesn’t have the same “FAME” that Ms. Zadora accomplished.  HOWEVER, the resume of the remaining actors include the following:  The Long, Long Trailer, …And Justice for All, Steel Magnolias, Pirates of the Caribbean:  At Worlds End; and Broadway versions of Oliver! &  Miracle on 34th Street.  EVEN the Polar Bear had roles in Cotton Comes to Harlem and All the President’s Men, as well as FIVE episodes of Dark Shadows under his belt.  Just think what his career might have been had he been cast as a penguin instead.
So buckle your seatbelts kids, as Joel and the gang on the SOL present Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!
Cast (in credits order) verified as complete
...
...
...
...
...
...
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Bomar
...
Girmar
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Momar
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...
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Andy Henderson
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...
Chochem / Von Green
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Winky
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Stobo
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Shim (as Joe Elic)
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Lomas
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Children TV Announcer
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TV News Announcer
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Santa's Helper
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Santa's Helper
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Santa's Helper (as Ronnie Rotholz)
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Santa's Helper
...
Polar Bear (uncredited)

HOST SEGMENT
Crow and Servo sift through an array of Christmas Catalogues.  *Parents, remember, kids know best so give them what they want*  (Crow)  Servo moons over a golf ball polisher.  Joel enters and asks the bots what they want for Christmas.  Servo wants a Ted Williams inflatable bathtub pillow, Gypsy wants a pony, and Crow, *I want to decide who lives and who dies*.  Joel decidedly responds with an *Oh…I don’t know.*   The Mads present “The Wish Squisher” which turns bad gifts into good ones. ..or helps eliminate the gifts that *…chafes a kid's hinder…* (Dr. F.)  J&TB have more gifts that should be on The Island of Misfit Toys, capping with Gypsy’s Mr. Mashed Potato Head doll.
MOVIE SIGN
There are MANY Road House references in this movie.  The opening credit sequence is particularly painful as the theme, Hurray for Santy Claus exuberantly plays throughout the opening.  The Martian children are watching a report from an earth tv station (KID-TV) where our stalwart reporter is at the North Pole to interview Santa.  Reporter Andy Anderson asks Santa if he will be ready by Christmas Eve.  Santa chortles, “We’ve never disappointed the kids yet.  *Except for the poor ones* (Joel)  Mrs. Claus, the Union Boss apparently, chastises Santa for not painting hobby horses, UNTIL she finds out she is on television.  Her reaction is just zany.  Anderson and Santa have a good laugh at her expense.  *We’re having her committed*  (Servo).  They come across a Martian Doll….and immediately switch back to the goings on at The Angry Red Planet.  Martian father, Kimar, is looking for Droppo (who is sleeping under his foot).  “Droppo, you are the laziest man on Mars.  WHY are you sleeping?”  *Because I’m the laziest man on Mars*  (Joel)  Kimar learns the children haven’t been eating and seems to be sad.  Film cuts to the cave of the Martian version of Gandalf, Chochem.  Chochem explains that on earth it is time for “The Christmas”..  *I had Jell-o today* (Crow reciting one of the repeated riffs throughout the series whenever an old man was on screen) *Hey, just in case, where are your nitro pills?* (Crow)  After a long dissertation, Chochem tells them the children need to be children.  This leads to the decision to KIDNAP SANTA CLAUS!!!!!  Oh, all except for dissenter, Voldar; the evil Martian.  Presently, their space ship takes off and they are on earth.  All of the occupants of the space ship spot ALL of the Santas on earth.  *Santa is within ALL of us* (Servo)  By now, the military has gotten involved, and plans to shoot the UFO down have begun.
HOST SEGMENT
J&TB are decked out in caroling outfits so they can belt out a rendition of Crow’s newly written song *There’s no tradition like a new tradition* (Crow)  Enjoy “ Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas”
MOVIE SIGN
The Martians land, the media is clueless (the only smack of realism in this flick), and we are introduced to our two tiny protagonists, Betty and Billy.  Kimar enlists them to help find the “REAL” Santa.  *great kid, you just fingered Kris Kringle* (Crow).  Droppo gives the kids a tour of the Martian space ship.  The kids have to hide and the Martians get ready to blast off.  Kimar wants to use a robot to help them get Santa.  Billy and Betty overhear and exit the ship to warn Santa.  *These are like cheap versions of the Lost in Space sets* (Joel).  Voldar announces the children have escaped; evident by their footprints.  *Hmm child tracks..two, three days old” (Crow)  The kids are getting cold and tired *Betty, have you ever seen the movie, Alive* (Servo) They run into a cave and get accosted by a Polar Bear….umm yeah… *IT’S SANTA BEAR* (Crow)  Both kids are complaining about the cold.   *We’ll freeze to death and become little kidcicles* (Joel)  The Martian’s robot comes after them next and captures them. Billy cries, “You won’t get away with this, you MARTIAN!” *Santa’s gonna cut you man.  Santa’s a blade man, man* (Crow)  The Martians finally make it to Santa’s place and kidnap him.
HOST SEGMENT
The Bots are depressed about the movie.  Joel comes in with a bunch of movies that he tricked out of Frank.  He has Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Frosty, and then some movies…It’s a Wonderful Life with Marlo Thomas, Miracle on 34th Street with David Hartman, and a bunch of movies about curmudgeon-y old men and old women who learn the true meaning of Christmas.
MOVIE SIGN
The newspapers are reeling about “SANTA CLAUS HAS BEEN KIDNAPED BY MARTIANS”  (sic)  The media is still clueless, but Mrs. Claus identified the Santa-nappers as Martians.  NASA gets involved….  *Before this decade is out, we will bring Santa back from Mars* (Crow as JFK)  The Martians are enjoying Santa’s humor; Voldar is not amused.  Santa is with a remorseful Billy and Betty.  Droppo is serving dinner (in pill form), but the kids don’t want any.  *Droppo plays broader than Larry Storch* (Joel)  Voldar takes Billy, Betty, and Santa to the air lock to kill them.  Billy knows too much about the spaceship.  *I like you that’s why I’m going to kill you last*  (Joel)  The trio are trapped!  *Now, what would MacGyver do* (Joel)  They escape up the vent.  Kimar and Voldar have an altercation while Droppo announces Santa and the kids are missing.  The three walk into the control room.  *Santa Claus, you have a nasty way of surviving* (Crow)  They’ve landed the spaceship and two of the Martians (caroling, no less) discover that Voldar has escaped.  Everyone becomes acquainted with each other; the earth kids meet their alien counterparts.  Maniacal laughter ensues.  *Santa left his medication at home* (Servo)  *You know it’s the little things that can clue you into drug abuse* (Crow)  The scene changes to the cave where Voldar is hiding and they plan to kidnap Santa….again OR discredit him.  The Martian kids, the Earth kids, Droppo, and Santa are working diligently in the toy shop.  No child labor laws on Mars, I guess.  Lady Momar *Khadaffi* (Servo) made Santa an extra suit….with a beard.  Santa’s finger is tired.  *Oh, Santa…no* (Servo)  Billy and Betty are sad because they are homesick.  Droppo aspires to be Santa, tries on the second suit, and goes to  toy factory because his finger IS NOT TIRED.  *Watch out nose* (Crow)
HOST SEGMENT
J&TB have Christmas essays.  The entire segment is excellent, especially Gypsy’s part.  Please watch the clip below.

MOVIE SIGN
SOMEHOW, Droppo’s disguise fools the villainous kidnappers. *It’s Joseph Biden, Howard Metzenbaum, and Ted Kennedy as you’ve never seen them before*  (Servo)  *Something stupid this way comes* (Crow)  Lady Momar cannot find Droppo and Santa’s extra suit is ALSO missing.  *He’s probably at the bar* (Crow)  Santa and the gang head to the shop and believe Droppo is playing hide and seek.  *It’s not funny Santa.  He could be seriously hurt.  EVERYTHING’S a joke to you!* (Crow)  They decide to go to work instead; but something is awry..all the toys are mixing up.  SABOTAGE!!!   Back at the villain’s cave, Voldar is ready to get revenge.  Kimar tries to arrest Voldar, they say they have Santa…..Kimar takes control of the situation…and then SUDDENLY….a Three Stooges movie breaks out.  A round of “HO HO HOs” for everyone, and Santa Claus declares Droppo, The Santa Claus of Mars.  The Earth trio leave.  Closing credits have Servo singing along with the Hurray for Santy Claus theme and since he is misbehaving, Joel must admonish him.  Santa’s face pops up near the end of the credits.  *Filmed in Christmas Card Vision*  (Joel) 

HOST SEGMENT
 There is another round of caroling and then, STOCKING TIME!  Gypsy gets a picture of Richard Basehart.  Tom gets food, Play-Doh, plastic toys; and Crow’s stocking has *a breathable cotton panel*  Not to be forgotten,  Joel’s sock contains a letter.  Dr. F and TV’s Frank exchange gifts.  Dr. F. gets a watchband, and TV’s Frank gets a copy of Final Exit.  Neither are happy with their gifts, but wouldn’t we be shocked if they were?

That wraps up this month’s movie and brings an end to the year 2011.  I want to thank my colleagues, The Unimonster and Bobbie for allowing me to be a part of this endeavor each month.  It’s been a great joy for me --  Merry Christmas, my friends.
And to all of you:
Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas everyone and may 2012 be a blessed and wonderful year!!

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