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MiSTed: Safe Fun For Halloween [ 1 / 1 ] [message #184180] Thu, 29 December 2011 14:48
nebusj- is currently offline  nebusj-
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[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. The Desk. The decor is ``several days past
Christmas'' with lingering wrapping and such cluttering the
set; wrapping paper even covers the movie/commercial sign
lights. TOM and CROW are behind the desk; MIKE is off-stage. ]

TOM: [ Eagerly ] Mike! Hey, Mike!
CROW: [ Gleeful ] MikeMikeMikeMikeMikeMikeMike!
TOM: C'mon, Mike, it's important!

[ MIKE, carrying some plastic electronic gizmo that's not working,
and a screwdriver which will not improve matters, saunters
on screen. ]

TOM: Mike! Mi--
MIKE: Yyyyyyes?
CROW: [ Still calling ] MikeMikeMikeMike!
[ MIKE puts a hand on CROW's shoulder, making him stop. ]

TOM: Okay. Mike ---
CROW: [ Quickly ] Mike!
TOM: Have you given any thought *what*soever into plans for our
Halloween party for this year?
MIKE: It's December 29th.
CROW: Exactly! We have to hurry!
MIKE: The 29th day of *December*.
TOM: Yes, yes, your true love gave to you and stuff. But we can't
just stand in an awkward line in front of haphazardly strewn
decorations and call that a party.
CROW: [ Calling ] Mike!
MIKE: Two days to New Year's.
CROW: So, *MIKE*, we called Pearl ---
[ MIKE groans. ]
TOM: Yeah! And she promised to send us a bunch of fun ideas!
[ MIKE groans louder. ]
CROW: And, ah, it's going to be from a _Popular Mechanics_ article
from, like, the Great Depression.
[ MIKE covers his head as he groans. ]
TOM: Plus we have to get into the theater and read it when movie sign
goes off or else and you know what else that else is or of.
[ MIKE, face-covered, groans and doubles over. ]
CROW: And, ah, Movie Sign went off like five minutes ago so we're in
*real* trouble.
MIKE: What?!
[ MIKE puts the gizmo down and pulls the wrapping paper off the signs,
which start flashing MOVIE SIGN. General alarm among the


[ 6... ]

[ 5... ]

[ 4... ]

[ 3... ]

[ 2... ]

[ 1... ]

[ THEATER. All file in. ]

MIKE: Haven't I told you about having ideas without me?
CROW: Well ... no.
TOM: You should tell us about it sometime.

> ween/
> SAFE FUN for HALLOWEEN (Nov, 1936)

CROW: Halloween in November! The best time of year.
MIKE: December 29th.

> Source: Popular Mechanics ( More articles from this issue )

TOM: Well, I hope so.
MIKE: There's just the one article, thinnest edition they ever printed.

> Issue: Nov, 1936

CROW: Halloween ran a month late in 1936 because of the Depression.
MIKE: 29th day of the twelfth month.


MIKE: New, joy-less fun occupies time while leaving spoilsport
parents secure.

> UPON arriving, every member of this Halloween party must be
> fingerprinted and ``mugged'' as regular routine for
> identification records in the archives.

TOM: Well! Already it's a merry time.
MIKE: Last party I have planned by J Edgar Hoover and Meyer Lanski.

> The newcomer presses
> the thumb of his right hand down on the ``ink pad,'' for which
> purpose ordinary carbon paper will do.

CROW: Alternatively, ink pads may be used as ink pads.
TOM: Crow, that's mad talk!
MIKE: You know, they were hard years, we had to make a single
ink pad last through four years of Halloween safe fun!

> This is pasted to a
> piece of sheet metal on a small box which contains two dry cells
> and a Ford vibrating coil,

MIKE: A vibrating coil?
TOM: Man, these Model A's were *kinky*!

> connected together as shown in Figure
> 1.

CROW: Figure omitted for clarity.

> The ``guard'' presses a push-button switch

TOM: Shouldn't he *push* a push-button switch and *press*
a press-button switch?

> the moment the
> guest touches the carbon paper and has his left hand on the
> table

MIKE: Oh, did I mention you need a table?

> directly over another sheet-metal plate also wired up as
> indicated.

CROW: A table and *another* sheet-metal plate? Man, fun is
too complicated, this is why I like boring.

> The result is a sudden shock which is surprising but
> not harmful.

MIKE: B F Skinner sez, ``That's the Halloween for me!''

> To offset suspicion, it is a good idea to place
> the left-hand electrode under a tablecloth.

TOM: Plus, the tablecloth helps you cover up the fried corpse.

> Direct contact with
> the metal is not necessary.

CROW: Just ramp it up to 186,000 volts there, Tesla.

> A long strip of metal along the
> edge of the table is better than a small plate

MIKE: As it's a much easier cudgel to wave about.

> as any one seated
> at the table naturally rests the left hand somewhere along the
> edge.

TOM: [ In a nerdy voice, as the Victim ] ``Do you electrocutify
*all* your friends?'' [ Whimper ]

> Another shocking episode, which may take place right on the
> ``welcome'' mat,

MIKE: [ Making air quotes ] ``Welcome'' mat.
TOM: No solicitors or emergency medical technicians. Thank you.

> is shaking hands with the ``ghost host'' who is
> a head taller than anyone in the party. See Figure 11.

CROW: Figures 2 through 10 omitted for the giddy fun of it.

> He
> stands near the entrance and extends his hand to the guest who

TOM: ... who foolishly came to the party not expecting to struggle
for his life.

> takes hold of a cloth glove having four wiggly coil-spring
> fingers.

MIKE: Ah, the Six Dollar And Thirty-Nine Cent Man.
CROW: Hey, in the Depression that was a lot of money.

> These and a metal door mat are the electrodes, and are
> connected to a vibrating coil or a toy shocking machine operated
> by someone behind the ghost.

TOM: I just think it indecent this is how they killed Bruno Hauptmann.

> The ghost has pearly eyes, which
> look as if they were suspended in void space of an empty hood.

CROW: [ As the Victim ] ``I'm haunted by Muppets!''

> The next job to get the records straight is mugging.

MIKE: First, fashion your brass knuckles and find a stick as in
Figure 24.

> This is
> done in a semidarkened room with a cardboard camera as in Figure
> 2.

CROW: A cardboard camera?
TOM: Yeah, my kid made it in second-grade art class. You get a
Polaroid from it by drawing with magic markers.

> The startling effect comes when the light is suddenly
> flashed and a cap pistol is fired at the same instant.

MIKE: Ha ha! Now you've shot your friend in the face!

> After
> this, everything tried on the newcomer will be looked upon with
> great suspicion

CROW: [ As the Victim ] ``Well, the mugging and the electrocution may
have been accidents but *now* I suspect something's up.''

> but he may be convinced to observe Mars without
> a shock or a scare.

TOM: Yeah, heck, why not?
MIKE: In the 30s you could not lose money asking people to observe Mars.

> He will actually see something through the
> enchanted telescope, pictured in Figure 3.

CROW: Now we're on Figure 3?
MIKE: The ``enchanted telescope''.
TOM: [ As the Victim ] ``Are we entering your magic fantasy land?''

> When the star gazer
> first puts it to his eye he sees nothing, and is told to revolve
> it until he does.

MIKE: Ooh hoo.
TOM: I smell the bubbling-over of wacky.

> The eyepiece has a felt rim dipped in
> lampblack, which leaves an interesting ring around the eye.

CROW: Lampblack?
MIKE: Yeah, you know, so you don't have those pesky ``bright'' lights.

> However, the victim has his reward for with one complete
> revolution of the telescope,

TOM: I have the sad feeling this isn't just gonna be
a ring around the eyeball.
CROW: I'm stuck on 'lampblack' still.
MIKE: It's for offensive minstrel show light bulbs. Move on.

> a swinging switch lever makes
> contact

TOM: Well, of *course* it does.

> and a small light inside reveals a witch or comic
> figure.

MIKE: And a 75,000-volt discharge right into the corneas!

> To make the telescope, use a mailing tube about 14
> inches long and 2-1/2 inches in diameter.

CROW: Like the dozens you have around your house already.

> Cardboard partitions
> hold the lamp bulb and the revolving switch, which are joined by
> a copper strip.

MIKE: Won't they notice the little witch figure hanging off the
front of the telescope?

> The switch must work freely. By making the
> tube in two parts, the assembly is easy.

TOM: Would it be even easier if I made it in four parts?
CROW: No! That way lies madness!

> Paper wrapped around
> it completes the joint. Four bands of black paper are wrapped
> around the telescope to make the sooty eyepiece less
> conspicuous.

MIKE: The lampblack doesn't seem to be an important part of this.

> Figure 4 shows an elaboration of the popular ``grab-bag'' idea.

CROW: So we just jumped out of order for Figure 11?

> In this case a large carton is equipped with three shelves,
> which fold up against the sides of the box, giving free access
> to the favors for guests in the bottom.

TOM: Ah, the giddy fun of playing The Refrigerator Game.
MIKE: Now that your friend's inside the cardboard fridge, close the
door up and abandon him in a junkyard to suffocate!

> Lights are arranged so
> that the inside of the box is dark.

CROW: Arrange the lights so they're not on the inside. Got it.

> After two or three
> merrymakers have drawn prizes from the box, an attendant ``in
> the know'' lets down one of the shelves by means of a concealed
> string.

MIKE: Dropping a 16-ton anvil on your so-called friend.

> This shelf may have on it a shallow pan of lard, or a
> sheet of paper coated with lampblack or graphite and oil,

TOM: Whale blubber and bauxite.
CROW: Uneeda biscuits and cottolene!
MIKE: Greased slime and detonator caps!

> or red
> grease---anything that will not flow when the shelf is in the
> vertical position.

MIKE: What do you have in congealed blood?

> In the laughter which follows the victim's
> predicament,

CROW: The shrieking, howling laughter of the mad.

> the attendant draws up the shelf and another guest
> is invited to draw from the box,

MIKE: He tears out a fistful of hair.
TOM: Maybe rip off a nose or two.

> this one of course brings out a
> favor.

CROW: A nose or two?

> Eventually the other two shelves are let down to provoke
> more laughter.

TOM: This is in case your parties don't end in enough brawls.

> A collapsible chair can easily be made from a common kitchen
> chair,

MIKE: And set up above your conveniently available tiger pit.

> and, if others of the same design are placed in the room,
> the tricky one will not be noticeable.

TOM: Apart from how everyone who has dinner with you, dies.

> Remove the legs and
> round off both ends as in Figure 6.

CROW: Figure 5 was lost in a tragic ``collapsible Linotype'' prank.

> They are then joined in two
> pairs consisting of one front and one back leg connected with a
> rung.

MIKE: The rung snaps open, releasing cyanide gas.

> Coil springs, concealed inside of thin tubes are
> substituted for the front and rear rungs.

TOM: Sure, for *this* we have springs.

> The tubes should fit into the holes formerly occupied by the
> rungs, and are painted to resemble them.

MIKE: You sneer, but this is how the Italian resistance
got Mussolini.

> As soon as a guest
> sits on the chair the tubes pull out and the chair sprawls.
> Strong tension springs should be used.

CROW: Grab a tube and beat your friend even more senseless!

> A most surprising effect is afforded by the ``X-ray'' helmet
> shown in Figure 7.

TOM: Here, we put 500,000 roentgens into your friend's brain.

> This, briefly, is a cardboard box with two
> mirrors arranged to throw the vision directly behind.

MIKE: Painted with radium.

> The user
> of the helmet will have the strange sensation of seeing what
> appears to be the foreground receding from him as he progresses,

CROW: He'll never suspect unless he's ever looked at a thing before.

> and although there may appear to be an open door ahead, more
> likely he will fetch up against a wall.

TOM: Cover the wall in foot-long pointed daggers.
MIKE: 'Fetch up'? Did people back then just not know what words mean?

> For a confetti blizzard,

CROW: Only at Dairy Queen.
MIKE: The best 15,000 calories of your between-meal snacks.

> an electric fan is rigged as shown in
> Figure 8. This also can be operated by an extension switch.

TOM: Jab your friend's fingers into the spinning blades.

> Make a large cardboard cylinder to fit over the fan frame,

CROW: Man, you could do everything with cardboard in the 30s.
MIKE: Also cylinders.

> paste
> a disk of tissue over the front end, just enough to hold it
> until the blast strikes it,

MIKE: Stand out of the way of the shock waves.

> and then fill the space half full of
> confetti.

TOM: No, no, only half. Six-elevenths would be too much!

> When the unwary guest steps in front of the fan, he
> is deluged with a shower of confetti.

CROW: So, this article. Here. This explains the irony of people who
read _Popular Mechanics_ magazine not being popular, right?
TOM: Also not being mechanics.
MIKE: Also not being magazines.
CROW: Yeah, that ... what?

> Ideas for Halloween costumes are pictured in Figures 9 and 10.

TOM: Let me guess: executioners and axe murderers?

> The frog suit is an ordinary union suit dyed a light green,

CROW: For everyone who's got extra union suits laying around.

> with
> dark green cloth spots sewed or cemented on.

TOM: Cemented on, so your friend can sleep with the fishes.
MIKE: That *concrete* you're thinking of, not *cement*.
TOM: Thanks ever so for saving me from my snarky ignorance.

> Cardboard,
> plywood, wire and doth are all that is necessary to make the
> turtle costume.

CROW: Or every movie we've ever seen.

> By cutting the back halves as indicated and
> joining along the ridge with adhesive tape, a very convincing
> shell can be made.

MIKE: Do it fast, before Roger Corman makes a film out of you.

> The anchor is simply made of plywood and
> cardboard,

TOM: For those 'floating' and 'falling apart in water' properties
every anchor needs.

> and the wearer should be clad in trunks and have
> tattoo figures on arms and legs painted with harmless coloring,

CROW: Harmless? Why start on harmless *now*?

> such as fruit juice.

MIKE: Or strychnine. Sheesh.

TOM: Time to blow this popsicle stand.
MIKE: [ Picking up TOM ] Mercifully.

[ ALL exit. ]

[ 1... ]

[ 2... ]

[ 3... ]

[ 4... ]

[ 5... ]

[ 6... ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. The desk. TOM, MIKE, and CROW are behind it;
the decor is much as before, but a bowl of almonds wrapped
in aluminum foil is on the desk. ]

CROW: [ Calling, as in the introduction ] MIKE!
MIKE: Bowl of tin foil to chew on, I saw the ``dance floor'' of
greased roller bearings you made, and yet, you come out
of this party pranking activity completely shown up, and
what do you draw from all this?
TOM: I ended up wondering how your grandparents survived to the
age of marriage.
CROW: Heck, how did they survive to the age of six?
TOM: Yeah, I mean, magazines telling everyone how to kill each
other in wacky party games?
CROW: No concept of avoiding nutritional deficiencies when you ate
mounds of butter slathered on fried lard.
MIKE: Wait, that ---
TOM: Trolley cars running at 35 miles an hour through packed city
streets, never stopping or slowing down except when the
piled-up corpses derail the train.
CROW: Black death sweeping across the continent because you won't
stop rubbing rat corpses in your eyes.
MIKE: That was like the 14th century and it didn't happen.
CROW: Parents figuring the only time they had to touch their kids
was for spanking and one handshake when they turned 14 and
could drop out of school to throw hay into steam locomotives
until the railroad police caught them.
TOM: Feeling a little off? Drink some mercury and drain a gallon
of blood.
MIKE: OK, by now I don't even know what point you've wandered
away *from*.
TOM: Well, fortunately, humans have robots now, so you don't have to
be stupid on your own.
MIKE: We can be stupid together.
CROW: Yes, and let's make that our New Year's Resolution.
TOM: Agreed!
MIKE: [ Shaking his head ] Sure. Thanks, everyone, and from the
Satellite of Love, let's all look into the New Year being
a little less stupid together.
TOM: Yay!

[ MIKE pushes the button; the screen blanks out to ... ]

CROW: [ Calling ] MIKE!

\ | /
\ | /
\ | /
/ | \
/ | \
/ | \

Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters and situations and
everything are the property of Best Brains, Inc, and don't think anyone
is challenging that at all. The original article is used in what is
honestly thought to be a spirit of fair comment and clean sportsmanship.
However you remember the Rankin/Bass special to be, it's actually a
weirder thing than you remember. And let's be carful out there.

This and other MiSTings can be found, now or soon, at

> The result is a sudden shock which is surprising but
> not harmful.

-- Joseph Nebus
Current Entry: Came On Down
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