Let the experiment begin!
"Turn Down Your Lights (Where applicable)"Experiment #322 ~ MASTER NINJA I (1984)
Original Air Date: January 11, 1992
Studio: NBC Television Studios (Made for TV)
Starring: Lee Van Cleef, Timothy Van Patten, Sho Kosugi, Demi Moore, Clu Gulager, Claude Akins
Directed By: Robert Clouse
Theatrical Running Time: 47 Minutes (per television episode)
Tagline: "ONE MASTER AGAINST ANOTHER!"Film Synopsis:
John Peter McAlister (Lee Van Cleef
) an American veteran of World War II, stays in Japan after the war to become the only occidental to become a master ninja. Now an old man, he comes to America to search for his long lost daughter. At the same time, he is pursued by Okasa (Sho Kosugi
), determined to kill his former master for breaking the ninja code. Once in America, McAlister meets Max Keller (Timothy Van Patten
) and Max's pet hamster, Henry. The pair (trio?) travel the country in Max's van trying to find McAlister's daughter and along the way helping people in need. In Part One
of the film, Max and McAlister get involved in a dispute between a land developer and Sheriff Christensen (Clu Gulager
) and the Trumbull family, comprising of daughter Holly (Demi Moore
) and her father (Claude Akins
) that want to expand a time honored and family owned airfield. Part Two
deals with an Asian crime-lord that mistakes our unwitting duo for bodyguards hired to protect a nightclub owner that the Asian mafia wants to control.Intro:
The Bots build a model car (I'm pretty sure). (Crow
): "That's a '440' with twin four-barrels and Cherry Bombs, hopped-up with Thrush pipes, Hooker Headers and glasspacks, deliverin' 600 horsepower and 1300 ft./lbs. of torque to the axle!" (Tom
): "Yeah, it lays rubber in every gear! We were sorta tracing the development of the American muscle car and it's symbiotic relationship to the feelings of isolation and disillusioment in post-war adolescents! You know, the almost mythic leather-clad loner in the hot-rod with the secret and the soul in torment! His spirit lives on finding it's deepest meaning in the the songs of Morrisey and Bruce Springsteen... and The Turtles!" (Gypsy
): "Wrap your hands 'cross these velvet rims, and strap your hands 'cross my engines!" (Joel
): "ALRIGHT! Who taught her that!! WHICH ONE OF YOU TAUGHT HER THAT!!!"Invention Exchange:
Dr. F. and Frank present 'Boil-in-Bag' intravenous dinners. (Frank
): "Who says a coma can't be delicious! Is that thyme I'm tasting?" Joel and the Bots present 'Pop-Up Books' for adults featuring titles like Dickens' 'Great Expectations', Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina', Albert Camus' 'The Plague' and William S. Burroughs' 'Naked Lunch'.Host Segments:Host 1:
Crow (assisted by Cambot with the appropriately tension filled incidental music
) reveals a plot that will "blow the lid off the entertainment industry!" (Crow
):"The Van Patten Project!
" (No, not the Swayze conundrum
). "His plan... to place one of his own hellish drop in every 'B' grade movie or TV production in Hollywood! Him, and his sister Joyce. Think of 'I Remember Mama (1950's)'. Then in the '70's... 'The New Dick Van Dyke Show', ' When Things were Rotten' and 'Eight is Enough', (a show that launched the criminal careers of many a hack talent). Now, Timothy Van Patton comes forth to do his evil with ' The White Shadow' and 'The Master'. Then, James appears in the western mini-series 'Chisholm'. Next, along comes Vincent, who was truly abyssmal in ' Apples Way' and 'The Bionic Boy', (at least he had enough sense to become a tennis player). Enter sister Joyce. 'The Don Rickles Show', 'The New Mary Tyler Moore Hour', that Herb Edelman and Bob Denver show ..." Joel has had enough. Crow gets a time out.Host 2:
It seems that every character in today's experiment has their own theme music. They're demonstrated here by Joel and the Bots.Host 3:
Nunchaku get the SOL treatment. Joel and the Bots display... "the personal defense weapon for farmers," Nun-clucks!, "For the clumsy ninja..." Thumb-chucks!, "For meat lovers..." Ground-chucks!, "Summon the earl with these..." Up-chucks!, "Drinkin' man?..." Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum-chucks!, etc... End:
Joel and the Bots perform an original musical composition, "Master Ninja Theme Song". Frank gets the upper hand on Dr. F.!Stinger:
"To them, it's some kind of ritual!"Items of Note:
~ The "movie" is actually two episodes of a short-lived 1980's television series.
~ The series tried to cash-in on the martial arts craze of the '80's, but just didn't catch on. Only ran 1 season (13 episodes).
~ Joel asks the viewers to send in their own 'chuck' ideas to the fan club.Personal Notes:
~ That's a whole
lotta exhaust Crow's talking about. And a whole lot of hot air!
~ And to go along with that hooey, Tom and Crow didn't even get the Born to Run lyrics that they taught Gypsy right.
~ Nunchaku or, as Tom Servo would say, "the bastardized American nunchucks", are a traditional martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at their ends by a short chain or rope.The 'Riffs':
) "What... did Lee Harvey Oswald shoot this footage?!"
~ (Max---after being thrown through a tavern window
): "Hi! I'm Max Keller. This is how I usually leave a bar." Sorry, but that's a funny voice-over. Finally a movie that 'riffs' itself!
): "Whoa! You're a mess! Have been at Prince's house!"
: "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Gerbil!"
): "Hey! What's a guy gotta do to get beat up in this place?!"
): "WOW! He got paid to kiss Demi Moore!" (Tom
): "Most people do!"
Pop culture references ranging from 'The Electric Company', Stephen J. Cannell and the 'Martha Graham Dance Company' as well as 'Mutiny on the Bounty' and 'Mumenschantz'. A pretty bad TV series plus pretty good 'riffs' combine to deliver a really solid MST episode. Better stuff upon a repeat viewing than I remember originally. Rating:
3-1/2 'Shuriken throwing stars' out of 5
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