Think you're as funny as Joel/Mike and the 'bots? Well, I used to suggest that you try the homegame - a free, chat-software-based live riffing of televised movies. Unfortunately it looks like the homegame died shortly after the Mystery Science Theater series itself did. That link still works, but the page hasn't been updated in ages.

Zappa Refs on MST3K

Last updated June 8, 2013

This is the big, complete list of everything that could even concievably be a Frank Zappa reference on the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. I stopped updating the list a couple years ago because submissions from people who thought I had missed something have pretty much dried up, but in case you want to point out something that's not already here, you can find my email address cleverly "encrypted" towards the bottom of my home page (look for the bold word email). I used to just have a direct email link here, but I'm trying to cut down on spam. Sorry. If you email something that hadn't been noticed by anyone before, and it really does sound like a possible Zappa reference, I'll add it to this page and add you to the big list of...

Folks who have contributed to this page - Many thanks to the following for their input:

Matthew Kells, Rich Kegarise, John Hopkins (RIP), Dan The Kitti man, Stephen Cooke, Judith Jacobs, Ian W. Hill, Keith Browne, Antaeus Feldspar, Jacob Churosh, Joe Blevins,,, Brian S. (, Joshua Nichols, Scott Kelley, Jeremy Root (aka Philocleon),, Jeremy Philley, Aaron Peck, Patrick Drazen, Spider Gecko, Michael Turyn, Stephane Babin, John Bigolski, Dave Quinn,, Daniel Gustafsson, Charles Ulrich, Neal Burgess, Michael Ferrari, Jeffrey Quisenberry and Alex St. John.

Also, I'd like to thank all the people who I've gotten MST3K episodes from - Tom Warren (for taping a ton of Comedy Centra-era episodes), Chris Swab (who could have kept said tapes, but forwarded 'em to me instead), Maria Forrest (who sent me dozens of CC-era tapes in return for Sci-Fi era tapes), my parents (who put up with me showing up at 1am to tape Comedy Central episodes because my cable company didn't carry CC), and everyone else who's ever traded with me or otherwise provided MST3K tapes or FZ references.

For ease of use, the list has been expanded to show all episodes, and the prefixes of "d" for definite reference and "p" for possible ref have been "color coded" as follows:

Black = Contains definite Zappa ref
Blue = Contains ref possibly inspired by Zappa
Red = Contains no Zappa refs (that I could find)
Green = Not seen or not checked thoroughly for refs yet

Any additions/corrections that anyone can provide, especially with the Green episodes, are appreciated.

The Opening Theme Song

Leading off the references is one that surprisingly went for a long time without anyone noticing it. Finally, Jeremy Philley sent me an email to suggest that there's a Zappa reference right in MST3K's opening theme song:

>Forgive me if I failed to notice it on your site,
>but I believe you missed the most apparent one of all to me.
>During the opening song for I believe the full first eight seasons; the
>"Lalala" that Dr. Forrester says HAS to be a reference to Zappa's "Jewish
>Princess" off of SHEIK YERBOUTI. (during the chorus)

The KTMA Episodes

(A big "thank you" goes out to Rich Kegarise who checked several of the KTMAs for Zappa refs, and then sent me good copies of 10 KTMAs. Score!)

Pilot - "The Green Slime" - someone emailed me to say that he found references to the Zappa song "Dirty Love" in the pilot episode. When asked where he had seen the pilot, since it was never aired and is not known to exist on tape (at least amongst tape traders), he backed off his claim and admitted he was just trying to tempt me into a tape trade. So this episode remains in the "not seen" category.

KTMA 1 - "Invaders From the Deep", 2 - "The Revenge of the Mysterians", 3 - "Star Force: Fugitive Alien 2" - Not yet checked (as far as I know, no copies of these episodes are available to traders. If you have copies, please contact me for a trade!)

p 4 - "Gamera vs. Barugon" - During one of the host segments, Crow starts talking about lubricants, and how they can come from bodily orifices. May have been inspired by the Zappa song Keep It Greasy from Joe's Garage - "Any kind of lube will do, maybe from another part of you".

5 - "Gamera" - no Zappa refs found

p 6 - "Gamera vs. Gaos" - 45Min. into movie, Joel says "Once you've seen a couple of giant monsters, you're gone" and Servo adds "You're vapor, you're history!". This might be a reference to Ike Willis' line from "The Untouchables" on Broadway the Hard Way: "Reagan, you're asleep, wake up! The country's in a mess; you're on your way out anyway...You're history, you're meat, you're through, you're vapor!"

p 7 - "Gamera vs. Zigra" - This one is just chock full of possible refs. During the movie's opening credits, Joel says "Better music this time - I wonder if it's the Turtles. Would that be possible?" and Servo replies "So very happy together." A little later, when the woman from planet Zigra says that they have traveled as far as the Remus system, Servo asks "Uncle Remus?" (the same line is used when they redo this movie during season three). Then, 1hr, 27 min. into movie (including some commercials), a man on a radio asks "How's your supply of oxygen?", and a man in a Bathescope replies "Enough for about 50 minutes", and his daughter exclaims "Oh Papa!". Crow corrects: "No, it's 'Oh my papa!!'". Possibly a ref to the "Oh my papa" line used in "Billy the Mountain" from Just Another Band From L.A. (8 Min. 45 Sec. into song). Also, 1hr 36 min. into movie (including commercials), Gamera enters the water hard, making a big splash. Joel pretends to sneeze. Crow says "Gesundheit!" and Joel replies "Excuse me. Did I get any on you guys?" Possibly a reference to "Didja Get Any Onya?" from Weasels Ripped My Flesh (also used by Ike Willis as Thing Fish in the active tense (as in the movie) on the album Thing Fish: "Did I get any on ya down dere?"

8 - "Gamera vs. Guiron" - no Zappa refs found.
9 - "Phase IV" - no Zappa refs found.
10 - "Cosmic Princess" - no Zappa refs found.
11 - "Humanoid Woman" - no Zappa refs found.
12 - "Fugitive Alien" - no Zappa refs found.
13 - "SST Death Flight" - no Zappa refs found.
14 - "Mighty Jack" - no Zappa refs found.
15 - "Superdome" - no Zappa refs found.
16 - "City On Fire" - they make reference to the song "Ring of Fire" during the first fire scene, but this is more likely a reference to the Johnny Cash original than it is to the Zappa cover version.
17 - "Time of the Apes" - no Zappa refs found.
18 - "The Million Eyes of Sumuru" - no Zappa refs found.

KTMA episode 19 - "Hanger 18" - towards the end of the movie, some music being played in the UFO the scientists are studying must remind Joel of the Zappa song "Yo Cats", because he suddenly sings "Your career will take a thud, unless you kneel and..." He then seems to realize that he can't finish that line on TV, and Servo (Josh Weinstein) also realizes it and taunts Joel by saying "and what?" A couple minutes later, when the UFO investigator tells the military man in charge that he'll be held personally responsible for the safety of an astronaut, Joel again sings "His career will take a thud..." After a pause in which you can practially hear Josh thinking of a "clean" next line, Servo follows up with "Unless he sits and drinks a bud".

20 - "The Last Chase" - no Zappa refs found.
21 - "The Legend of Dinosaurs" - no Zappa refs found

Season One

p 101 - "The Crawling Eye" - When a movie character shouts a list of names, someone (Servo?) adds "Rico! Youngblood!". Possibly a reference to Zappa's "The Untouchables" on Broadway the Hard Way. Yeah, it's a long shot... [Or maybe not - I got the following email from Zappa fan Charles Ulrich: I don't think this is a long shot at all. Given that the character on The Untouchables was actually named Youngfellow, this reference must come from Ike's monologue, not directly from the TV series.]

p 102 - "The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy" - A flashback to ancient Aztec times shows some Mexican actors playing drums, and Joel says "It's the Jets!". Possibly a Cruising with Ruben and the Jets reference. On the other hand, had this to add:
>when you mentioned the mexicans playing drums and "its the jets", there was
>a band in the 80s called the jets who all looked hispanic and danced around
>so i dont think it was a ruben and the jets reference
and suggested:
>"It's the Jets," probably is a reference to the street gang The Jets from the West
>Side Story musical, although The Jets were not the Puerto Rican gang.
but Aaron Peck pointed out another band called The Jets, this one with an FZ connection:
>This may (but probabbly doesn't) apply to all the "It's the Jets!" quotes. In 1973,
>Ruben Guevarra approached Zappa wanting to use the name 'Ruben and the Jets'
>for a old style rock and roll group. Frank liked the idea so much that he engineered
>and produced their album. It's called "For Real." He even wrote a song for them
>(it's not on ANY FZ album) and got Jim Moterhead Sherwood to play sax with them.
>The Lead vocalist is Tony Duran who helped with the Grand Wazoo album. The
>album art was done by Cal Schenkel, who did all of Zappa's albums.

103 - "Mad Monster" - no Zappa refs found.
104 - "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" - no Zappa refs found.
105 - "The Corpse Vanishes" - no Zappa refs found.
106 - "The Crawling Hand" - no Zappa refs found.
107 - "Robot Monster" - no Zappa refs found.

p 108 - "Slime People" - near the end of the movie, a shot of jets flying overhead causes Crow to say "It's the Jets!" (see 102 for more info).

109 - "Project Moonbase" - no Zappa refs found.
110 - "Robot Holocaust" - no Zappa refs found.
111 - "Moon Zero Two" - no Zappa refs found.
112 - "Untamed Youth" - no Zappa refs found.
113 - "Black Scorpion" - no Zappa refs found.

Season Two

201 - "Rocketship X-M" - no Zappa refs found.

p 202 - "The Sidehackers" - Two lines that may have been FZ inspired (although both are stretches): When someone mentions "the establishment", Joel says "The establishment's plastic man" (possibly inspired by "Plastic People"). Later, while Joel and the 'bots are inventing sidehacking lingo, they call one of the teams the "Allentown Poodles" (both words have been mentioned in Zappa songs, Poodles frequently).

p 203 - "Jungle Goddess" - After the short feature, Dr. Forrester says "Well, as you know, Joel, the torture never stops around here", and then introduces the main movie. There are a couple other things that might be Zappa inspired - in the "Phantom Creeps" short, when Bela Lugosi says "What can the police do against my robot army?", Joel replies "They could give you a plastic hassle" (see episode 204, below). Also, after a musical number in the main film, Joel starts shouting "Free Bird!" and then Servo yells "Whippin' Post!" (I've gotten so many emails from people who assume that I don't know that "Whippin' Post" was an Allman Brothers song, that I feel I've got to fully explain this one. On Zappa's You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 2 album, just before they start playing "Montana", some guy in the audience yells "Whippin' Post!". Frank wants to oblige, but the band doesn't know "Whippin' Post". So instead they just make as many references to a whipping post as they possibly can while singing "Montana". Yes, it is a stretch calling that a Zappa ref, but that's why I put it in the "possibly inspired by FZ" category).
Brian S. ( adds: "I think that it is worth mentioning that Frank Zappa eventually did a cover of "Whippin' Post" on the album entitled Them or Us. I think that the reference was a combination of the You Can't Do That On Stage. . . and Them or Us albums."

p 204 - "Catalina Caper" - as with the previous episode, Joel again uses the phrase "a plastic hassle", which could conceivably be inspired by Zappa's song Plastic People, which features lyrics about authority figures giving "freaks" a hard time. The way Best Brains uses the phrase "plastic hassle" just sounds very Zappaish to me. But in May, 2009 I got an email from Jeffrey Quisenberry who offered this alternate explanation:

"As a fellow MSTie and quote researcher, I thought you might want to know that the phrase 'plastic hassle', while admittedly sounding Zappa-esque, is actually from the 1968 film 'Psycho-Out', starring Susan Strasberg, Dean Stockwell, Jack Nicholson, and Bruce Dern. Stockwell's character Dave, dismissive of his friends' ways, says to Nicholson's pony-tailed character Stoney, 'All the games have to go, man, 'cause it's all one big plastic hassle."

p 205 - "Rocket Attack USA" - at one point, Crow says "The white zone is for unloading of spies...". It's a real stretch (as are all the "white zone" refs on this page), but it might possibly have been inspired by the Central Scrutinizer's "white zone" annonouncements on Joe's Garage. On the other hand, Scott Kelley has this to say:
>I'm fairly certain that all the "The zone is for unloading only"
>type references are to the joke at the beginning of the movie
>The same voice, intonation, and words used to play continually at LAX in
>the 70's and early 80's (so that's where the "Airplane" joke came from).
Editor's note: It's been mentioned on a few times that, while Zappa and Airplane may have taken that ref from LAX, the same announcement has also been heard at many other airports across the US.

d 206 - "Ring of Terror" - At the very beginning of the movie, the camera pans past an unreadable sign on a brick column, and Joel (before he's even in his seat), says "Hey look at that Tom, it says...", then both Joel and Tom in unison say "Centerville, a real great place to raise your kids up".

p 207 - "The Wild Rebels" - After a musical number, Joel and Servo start shouting for encores, and Servo yells "Whippin' Post!". (see 203)

p 208 - "The Lost Continent" - There's a "Rico! Youngblood!" ref (see 101), a reference to the soundtrack sounding like Stravinski (one of FZ's favorite composers), and one line where a character is hanging from a rock ledge and Crow says "He's hung up" (possibly a ref to "Are You Hung Up?" from We're Only In It For The Money.

d 209 - "The Hellcats" - during a close-up of two bikers in a bar, Crow says "Look, it's Flo and Eddie."

p 210 - "King Dinosaur" - during the short, "X Marks the Spot", there's a shot of a stadium that prompts Joel to yell "Freebird!" and Servo to call for "Whipping Post!" (see 203).

211 - "First Spaceship on Venus" - no Zappa refs found.
212 - "Godzilla vs. Megalon" - no Zappa refs found.

d 213 - "Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster" - While the film's characters wander around on an island looking for something, Crow comments on the soundtrack: "We've gotta find that rhythm combo. Sounds like the Mothers of Invention".

Season Three

d 301 - "Cave Dwellers" - when the character of Thong is introduced, Servo says "Played here by Jimmy Carl Black of the Mothers of Invention."

302 - "Gamera" - no FZ refs found.
303 - "Pod People" - no FZ refs found.
304 - "Gamera vs. Barugon" - no FZ refs found.

p 305 - "Stranded in Space" - during the invention exchange, Frank is playing with a pair of nunchucks (sp?). He yells the usual "Hi Keeba!" and then, inexplicably, something that sounds like "Aynsley Dunbar!" He might be saying something else though - the sound quality on my tape is too crappy to tell.

306 - "Time of the Apes" - none found.
307 - "Daddy-O" - none found.
308 - "Gamera vs. Gaos" - none found.
309 - "The Amazing Colossal Man" - none found.

d 310 - "Fugitive Alien" - This episode is chock-fulla definite and possible Zappa refs. The definite reference comes near the end, when an alien who looks like a cross between an Arab and a Native American gets a close-up. Servo says "It's Jimmy Carl Black, the Indian of the group." and Joel adds "Yeah, from the Mothers". Earlier in the show, a computer display in a spaceship inexplicably shows a shipping order for something being sent to Utah. Servo comments "Hey, that truck's headed to Utah!". Possibly a Truck Driver Divorce reference. Later, as a spaceship is landing, Crow says "The white zone is for loading and unloading...", possibly a Joe's Garage ref. (See 205).

p 311 - "It Conquered the World" - I thought for sure there'd be a Zappa ref in this one to tie in with "Cheepnis", but the closest thing I found was Servo ending some speech with "I'm Lowell George". For those who aren't familiar with Zappa's "Cheepnis", on the Roxy and Elsewhere album the song features a spoken introduction that mentions this movie by name, and makes fun of its "inverted ice cream cone" monster. I'd be willing to bet that this was the inspiration for the folks at MST3K to pick this movie to riff on.

d 312 - "Gamera vs. Gurion" - When one of the evil space women shaves a kid's head, Servo says "Hey..." and then Servo and Crow say together "Weasels ripped my flesh! Rzzzzzz!"

p 313 - "Earth vs. the Spider" - there's a scene of a teenage band rehearsing, and Servo says "We'll lead off with the Rite of Spring, then go into Blue Suede Shoes", and later "Every rock band needs a conductor".

p 314 - "Mighty Jack" - during a battle scene, when a character yells "A direct hit!", Servo responds with "With a bullet! Right to the top of the charts!" Possibly inspired by the use of "With a bullet!" to describe hit songs on Fillmore East, June 1971.

p 315 - "Teenage Caveman" - during the first host segment, Joel and the bots are counting the seconds between lightning strikes (in space?!?) and the resulting thunder to see how far away the storm is. Joel figures it must be somewhere "over Centerville". During the movie, when the title character says "Age is not always truth", Servo follows up with "And truth is not always beauty".

p 316 - "Gamera vs. Zigra" - Towards the beginning of the movie, someone mentions a star system called "Remus". Servo asks, "Uncle Remus?" I'm pretty sure that's a reference to the Zappa song of that name, but it could be a reference to the literary character, so I'm marking it as a "possible" FZ ref. Also, near the end of the movie, Gamera starts playing Zigra like a xylophone, and Joel requests "Whipping Post" (see 203).

d 317 - "Viking Women and the Sea Serpent" - during the opening short, "The Home Economics Story", when a home ec. student holds up a garment, Crow asks "Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?" and Joel adds "Watch those huskies...".

318 - "Star Force: Fugitive Alien 2" - none found.
319 - "War of the Colossal Beast" - none found.
320 - "The Unearthly" - none found.

p 321 - "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" - another "Rico! Youngblood!" ref (see 101).

322 - "Master Ninja 1" - none found..

p 323 - "Castle of Fu Manchu" - when a character named Omar Pasha is mentioned, Servo says "Ooooh my paaaa shaaaa!" in the same tone that "Oh my pa pa" is said in Billy the Mountain. Also, at one point when Fu Manchu turns to his daughter, Crow says "Fer sure, gag me!" in a Valley Girl accent.

d 324 - "Master Ninja 2" - when a long haired guy jumps out of a jeep, Joel says "It's Jimmy Carl Black!".

Season Four

401 - "Space Travelers" - No Zappa refs found.

d 402 - "The Giant Gila Monster" - during the Stupid Jerk, er, um, Soda Jerk host segment, the 'bots use some "teen lingo". Crow says "Solid gone, Jasper!" and Servo follows up with "Hungry Freaks, Daddy!"

403 - "City Limits" - no FZ refs found.

p 404 - "Teenagers From Outer Space" - When space teen Derek first arrives at the home of the Earth girl, Servo says "This looks like a nice place to bring your kids up". A questionable ref, but the fact that Kevin Murphy (the main Zappa fan) says it, and the stilted way he says it, makes me think it's a ref to "Centerville, a real nice place to raise your kids up" from 200 Motels.

Also, this one was sent to me by one Daniel Gustafsson: "When the nice alien and his new girlfriend returns to confirm that the dog is really disintegrated, someone goes 'Arf' when you see the remains". Granted, Zappa didn't invent the word "Arf", but it had a place in his conceptual continuity, making this a possible ref.

d 405 - "Being From Another Planet" - as a girl named Suzy runs down a hallway trying to escape from the title character, Servo asks "Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you?"

d 406 - "Attack of the Giant Leeches" - When the leeches are shown, Servo says "The leeches are just guys in fancy ponchos". Crow says "They're not leeches, they're scientologists!". Joel adds, "They're Sears ponchos".

d 407 - "The Killer Shrews" - when a "Shrew" bites a character, Crows says "Weasels ripped my flesh!" and Joel adds "Rzzzzzz".

408 - "Hercules Unchained" - no refs found.

d 409 - "The Indestrucible Man" - during the "Undersea Kingdom" short, when the character Unga Khan is introduced, Servo says "Looks like Jimmy Carl Black", and Crow says "the Indian of the group". Later, during the main movie, there's a shot of the LA skyline that prompts Joel to say "Whoa, Centerville, a real great place to bring your kids up". And yet another ref - during a shot of an old car, Crow says "We can crash in my Nash" and Servo says "Cruising for burgers".

d 410 - Hercules Against the Moon Men - Joel's invention at the beginning of the show is something called the "Super Freak Out". The "Poopie Tape" (a half-hour video of outtakes available from Best Brains) shows Servo singing "Kanzus, Kanzus, doot doot doot!" during this scene, which makes it even more likely to be a Zappa reference.

d 412 - "Hercules and the Captive Woman" - during a strange dance scene, Crow says "They're dancing to Uncle Meat by Frank Zappa", and Servo adds "Sounds like Dog Breath in the Year of the Plague" (a song from Uncle Meat) and sings "Fuzzy dice and bongos..." (lyrics from "Dog Breath").

413 - "Manhunt in Space" - no Zappa refs found.

d 414 - "Tormented" - A strange reference to the song Penguin in Bondage during the final host segment; Joel says that they should think happy thoughts to "shoo away all those dark, smelly images that are knirping for moisture." There's also a reference to Paul Frees earlier in the episode - Paul did the narration for the move "The World's Greatest Sinner", which Zappa did the soundtrack for.

p 415 - "The Beatniks" - When a hotel manager sees that the "beatniks" have trashed their room, Crow says "No Magic Fingers for you, young man." Possibly inspired by 200 Motels' "Magic Fingers". I was surprised that there wasn't a Zappa ref when the singing beatnik's manager told him that he'd be an Overnight Sensation.

416 - "Fire Maidens of Outer Space" - No Zappa refs found.

d 417 - "Crash of Moons" - When the character Rocky draws a diagram and says "Now assume this is the space station", Joel adds "and assume this is a ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch."

d 418 - "Attack of the (the) Eye Creatures" - about two thirds of the way through the movie, the soundtrack inspires Servo to sing "fuzzy dice and bongos, fuzzy dice! La la la la la!"

d 419 - "The Rebel Set" - The name "Theo Bikel" is written on a sign outside a coffee shop, causing Joel to say "Theo Bikel? This must be 200 Motels". Later, some vibes play on the soundtrack and Servo comments "Tell Zappa to turn the music down. Ruth Underwood wants her vibes back".

420 - "The Human Duplicators" - I had this one marked down as "no refs", but then I got this (somewhat confusing) email from
>Anyway, after reviewing you're website, and a few old tapes in
>circulation that i have. I have found a possible Zappa Reference. It's in the
>movie ''The Human Duplicators'' with Hugh Beaumont. Anyway, the possible
>variations on the possible theme is where there in the diner place and with
>the checkered tabletop, i will get back to you on the time later. The quote
>is "Shakey's Pizza'' which is off of Zappa's song and Album ''Tinseltown
>Rebellion'' song Tinseltown Rebellion. Okay. later

p 421 - "Monster a Go-Go" - during the opening short, "Circus on Ice", Servo says "Prelude to the Afternoon of a murder!" Possibly inspired by Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask from Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

d 422 - "The Day the Earth Froze" - during a shot of a blizzard, Crow says "Watch out where the Huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow". Another possible reference was sent to me by Joshua Nichols: If you consider that Dr. Forrester (who is evil and lives "down below") is playing the role of the devil, then his line while introducing the movie - "Oh, blow it out your...experiment today is..." sounds similar to the devil's line "Blow it out your ass, motorcycle man!" from the song "Titties and Beer". Also consider the fact that on the show, a character named Frank (TV's Frank) is trying to get something back from the devil (his money), and in the song a character named Frank (Zappa) is trying to get something back from the devil (his beer and Chrissy). Yeah, this one's kind of a stretch, but it's not as far fetched as some of the stuff Ben Watson comes up with...

d 423 - "Bride of the Monster" - when a big, old car appears on the screen, Servo sings "We can crash, in my Nash".

d 424 - "Manos, the Hands of Fate" - It's noted that a painting of "the master" looks like a "Frank Frazzetta of Frank Zappa". Also, when the family's pet poodle first appears on screen, Servo says "the poodle bites, the poodle chews it".
And this reference was sent in by Patrick Drazen:
>I was just rewatching "Manos, The Hands of Fate" and I realized
>that there is a third Zappa reference in addition to those cited...
>Remember that Deep Purple's big hit "Smoke on the Water" was about
>a Mothers concert in Switzerland that had to be called because the
>hall caught on fire. During the death of Torgo sequence, the
>smoke from the fire blows in front of the Master. At which point
>Servo says "Hey, guys...(sings) 'Smoke on the Wierdo'." It may be
>a bit of a stretch, but I think it's a hat-trick.

And if that doesn't do it for you, in 2005 Neal Burgess emailed me with this:
> Don't know if this has been caught before but during the second host segment,
> when Joel and the bots are discussing various exaggerated physical attributes
> that would make them monsters, Tom says he would wear his intestines on top of
> his head and he would have to "keep 'em greasy". 'Keep It Greasy' is of course
> from Joe's Garage.

Season Five

501 - "Warrior of the Lost World" - no refs found.
502 - "Hercules" - no Zappa refs found.
503 - "Swamp Diamonds" - no Zappa refs found.

p 504 - "Secret Agent Super Dragon" - A man walks into a room and Crow says "It's Andy Devine!" (who is mentioned in a couple Zappa songs, most noticably "Andy" from "One Size Fits All").

505 - "Magic Voyage of Sinbad" - no refs found.

d 506 - "Eegah!" - When a mummy that looks like it's wearing a poncho appears on screen, Crow asks "Is that a real poncho, or a Sears poncho?" Also, when our "hero" yells "Roxy!", Servo responds "And Elsewhere!".

p 507 - "I Accuse My Parents" - During the short, the narrator says something about food while a shot of a snow-covered field is on the screen, prompting Servo to say "Instead, they ate the yellow snow".

d 508 - "Operation Double 007" - after I had written this one off as not having any FZ references in it, Spider Gecko emailed the following to me:
>In the scene where Alpha (I think) of THANATOS is describing their evil
>magnetizing plot, he mentions something about a dynamo, and
>Joel quickly says "Dinah Moe Humm."

509 - "The Girl in Lovers Lane" - no refs found.
510 - "Lassie: The Painted Hills" - no refs found.
511 - "The Gunslinger" - no refs found.

p 512 - "Mitchell" - During the opening credits, Servo comments about the wa-wa guitar in the soundtrack: "Any movie with Waka Jawaka in it is OK with me." Later, during the 5 mph car chase, Servo again says: "You know it's not an official chase scene without the Waka Jawaka."

513 - "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" - no Zappa refs found.

d 514 - "Teenage Strangler" - Near the beginning of the movie, a girl says "Did you hear something?" and Mike (referring to background music) says "Sounds like Ruth Underwood."

515 - "The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman" - no refs found.
516 - "Alien From L.A." - no refs found.
517 - "The Beginning of the End" - no refs found.

d 518 - "The Atomic Brain" - About halfway through the episode, the soundtrack features a xylophone run just as a female character looks up in puzzlement, causing Mike to say (in a falsetto voice) "Did I hear Ruth Underwood?" Another section of the soundtrack prompts Mike to say "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask".

519 - "Outlaw (of Gor)" - no refs found.
520 - "Radar Secret Service" - No Zappa refs found.

p 521 - "Santa Claus" - Mike says "The giant turtle known as Gamera is approaching the city", in the same tone of voice that Zappa uses to announce that Frunobulax is approaching the Power Plant in the song "Cheepnis" from Roxy and Elsewhere.

p 522 - "Teenage Crimewave" - when Mike and the 'bots re-enter the theater after the "Mystos" host segment, it sounds like they might be humming the "Fuzzy dice and bongos" line from Uncle Meat. Also, this isn't a Zappa ref, but most of the actual movie itself is set in Antelope Valley, near Lancaster. Zappa lived in Lancaster, CA and went to Antelope Valley high school.

d 523 - "Village of the Giants" - This episode featured a song called "The Greatest Frank of All". It was originally written to be about TV's Frank, but this episode first aired just after Frank Zappa died. So the song was replayed over the closing credits, which ended with a picture of Zappa and a "FZ RIP" caption instead of a stinger.

p 524 - "12 to the Moon" - when one astronaut puts his helmet on, Crow says "One size fits all", but I don't think he was reffing the Zappa album.

Season Six

d 601 - "Girls Town" - At the beginning of the movie, a guy is attacking a girl and rips her dress, which makes Crow say "A weasel ripped my dress! Rzzzz!". A couple minutes later the opening credit song has the line "Mind your Ps and Qs" and Crow says "Why does it hurt when I P&Q?"

602 - "Invasion USA" - no Zappa refs found.
603 - "The Dead Talk Back" - no Zappa refs found, but there are a ton of Grateful Dead and jazz refs.

p 604 - "Zombie Nightmare" - Servo says "The Dead zone is for loading and unloading...". Possible Joe's Garage ref. (See 205)

605 - "Colossus and the Headhunters" - no refs found.

p 606 - "The Creeping Terror" - About five minutes into the movie, Crow comments on the soundtrack by saying "What, is the band warming up? It's Ionisation", referring to the Edgar Varese piece that Frank named as a major influence.

p 607 - "Bloodlust" - Female character in movie says "Oh", Crow says "Mein Papa". Possible Billy the Mountain ref.

608 - "Code Name: Diamond Head" - no refs found.
609 - "The Skydivers" - no refs found.

d 610 - "The Violent Years" - During a pojama party scene, Crow says "Po-jama party people". I would mark this as a "possible" ref, but something about the way he says it makes me sure it's a Zappa ref.

611 - "The Last of the Wild Horses" - no Zappa refs found, but there's a nice Lark's Tongue in Aspic ref.

p 612 - "The Starfighters" - Crow says "the turtle called Gamera is approaching the base" in the Cheepnis Frunobulax/Power Plant tone of voice (see 521, "Santa Claus").

613 - "The Sinister Urge" - no Zappa refs found.
614 - "San Francisco International" - no Zappa refs found
615 - "Kitten With a Whip" - no Zappa refs found.

d 616 - "Racket Girls" - When the character Peaches (a big, big girl) is introduced, Servo says "Peaches...EN Regalia!"

617 - "Sword and the Dragon" - no Zappa refs found.
618 - "High School Big Shot" - no Zappa refs found.

p 619-"Red Zone Cuba" - As the title appears, Tom says, "The Red Zone is for Cuba and un-Cuba only...."--I think it's a deeply hidden Joe's Garage reference (submitted by Jacob Churosh, aka JakeThFake). (See 205 for an explanation of the first " is for..." ref and how it relates to Joe's Garage).

620 - "Danger!! Death Ray" - no Zappa refs found.

d 621 - "Beast of Yucca Flats" - at the beginning of the host segment following the second short, Mike and Servo are playing chess and Servo is quietly singing "Fuzzy dice, bongos in the back..."

d 622 - "Angel's Revenge" - First, there's a possible ref - when a limo pulls into a dirt yard, Crow says "You and your date will be chauffeured to lovely Centerville, MN". Then, just past the one hour mark, there's a section of the soundtrack that prompts Servo to sing "fuzzy dice and la la...???...fuzzy dice and bongos" (if anyone can figure out what he's saying in the ??? section, let me know). Then he leans over to Mike and whispers "Frank Zappa". Mike leans back and says "Yes, I know". Shortly after that, another possible ref as Crow wonders if a villian is wearing "a Sears 12-piece suit, or a Johnny Carson collection".

623 - "The Amazing Transparent Man" - no Zappa refs found, but there's a couple nice Yes refs, including a host segment that parodies Wakeman's Six Wives of Henry VIII.

p 624 - "Sampson vs the Vampire Women" - A shot of a vampire woman carrying an urn causes Servo to comment "Ah, she's a member of the Mudd Club." I'm not sure what he meant by that, but Zappa has a song called Mudd Club on You Are What You Is, and You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 4 features a version of Love of My Life recorded in New York City's Mudd Club.

Season Seven

p 701 - "Night of the Blood Beast" - It's probably just my imagination, but the melody Crow plays on trombone in the first host segment sounds an awful lot like the vocal melody of "America Drinks and Goes Home".

701A - "Night of the Blood Beast (Turkey Day version)" - no refs found.
702 - "The Bruteman" - no refs found.
703 - "Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell" - no refs found.

d 704- "The Increadible Melting Man" - Towards the end of the movie, the soundtrack inspires Crow to sing "Fuzzy dice and bongos, fuzzy dice!", and Servo continues "La la la la".

p 705 - "Escape 2000" - at the very end of the movie, Crow (I think) says (of the main character): "My name is 'Moon'. I can see why you'd think it's 'Trash' though, since that's what everyone calls me". Possibly a reference to Moon Unit Zappa.

d Also, unbelieveably, after almost six years of thinking I had found every definite Zappa reference, I got an email from Michael Ferrari who pointed out one that everybody had missed all these years. At the very end of 705, after the "Escape 2000" credits have run and Mike, Crow and Servo have left the theater, at the tail end of the door sequence, as the last door is closing, you can hear Crow singing "...and pasting and pooting..." from "Let's Make the Water Turn Black". After just a few words, Mike enters and Crow stops singing to ask him where Tom is. It's very faint, and it's partially covered by the sound of door #6 closing, but it's there. Just for the heck of it, I even documented it with an MP3 file.

706 - "Laserblast" - no Zappa refs found.

Season Eight

p 801 - "Revenge of the Creature" - Here's another possibility sent in by
>When it shows a shot of the aquarium with two people swimming in it, Servo
>sings "So happy together." that would be a possible Zappa ref seeing how Flo
>and Eddie sang it when he and the Mothers performed at the Filmore East.
[Editor's note: What prompts Servo to sing that song is a big turtle that swims past the camera - before singing with Zappa, Flo and Eddie originally sang with the Turtles, who had a hit with "Happy Together".]

d 802 - "The Leech Woman" - Servo sings "Movin' to Montana soon, gonna be a mental toss flycoon" along with the soundtrack, then hums a bit of Uncle Meat.

803 - "The Mole People" - No Zappa refs found.

p 804 - "The Deadly Mantis" - while two military men are examining a snow bank, Mike says "Yellow snow sir, can I eat it?"

805 - "The Thing That Couldn't Die" - no Zappa refs found.
806 - "The Undead" - no Zappa refs found.

p 807 - "Terror From the Year 5000" - as the movie's four main characters walk towards a boathouse one pauses, causing Mike to say something that sounds like "Uncle Meat hangs back".

d 808 - "The She Creature" - When the evil Dr. Carlo Lombardi is putting his unwilling assistant into a hypnotic trance, he says "I'm going to give you substance..." and Crow adds "...and my Zappa boots."

809 - "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" - no Zappa refs found.
810 - "The Giant Spider Invasion" - no Zappa refs found.
811 - "Parts, the Clonus Horror" - no Zappa refs found.

812 - "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies" - long after I had given up on anyone ever finding any more possible Zappa references in MST3K, I got an email from Alex St. James in June of 2013 that pointed out the following: In episode 12 of season 8, "The Incredibly Strange Creatures", in the host segment where Mike gets a new hair-do and is checking it out in a mirror, Tom Servo asks, "What's the matter Mike, isn't it good in the back?" I think this is referencing the Zappa song "Who Needs The Peace Corps?" ("Oh my hair's getting good in the back!")

813 - "Jack Frost" - no Zappa refs found.

p 814 - "Riding With Death" - continuing a series of "Turkey" jokes (mocking the groovy 70s lead character's use of the word to describe the bad guys), Crow comments at one point on the soundtrack: "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Turkey" (see entry for episode 421).

d 815 - "Agent for h.a.r.m." - Joe Blevins sent me the following:
> Tom hums a bit of the"Uncle Meat" theme. It's when they're all making fun
> of the background score of the movie.
This page went unchanged for several years with this listed as a "possible" reference because I couldn't find the bit of the episode that Joe was talking about. Then I started converting my MST3K tapes to CD-R, and eventually got to Agent for h.a.r.m. This time the hummed bit of Uncle Meat jumped out at me - I don't know how I could have missed it before. It's near the end, a couple minutes before the last commercial break - Crow starts humming along with the movie soundtrack, which sounds vaguely similar to Zappa, and then Servo clearly hums part of Uncle Meat.

816 - "Prince of Space" - no Zappa refs found.

p 817 - "Horror at Party Beach" - Flavia's reference to Servo as a "squat, crimson pig" may be a possible Joe's Garage reference.

818 - "Devil Doll" - no Zappa refs found.
819 - "Invasion of the Neptune Men" - no Zappa refs found.
820 - "Space Mutiny" - no Zappa refs found.
821 - "Time Chasers" - no Zappa refs found.

p 822 - "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" - about 5 or 10 minutes into the movie, part of the soundtrack causes the 'bots to start singing "Happy Together". This is probably more of a Turtles ref than a Zappa ref, but since the song has appeared on a Zappa album (and that performance included members of the Turtles), I'm counting it.

Season Nine

p 901 - "The Projected Man" - submitted the following possible ref:
About 1:05 to 1:10 in, Professer Steiner takes off his rubber glove and Crow (?) says "smell the glove". This line is also used in Be In My Video on the album Them or Us.
(Editor's note: Both the MST3K ref and the Zappa line probably come from the movie "This is Spinal Tap".)
And here's another possible ref from Philocleon:
>While the main character is looking around in the room with all the bottles,
>Servo says, "Oooohhhh, and a giant bottle of Anusol." A ref to Cosmic Debris
>from The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life when Frank says, "You can
>get better results with Anusol."

p 902 - "The Phantom Planet" - submitted this possible ref:
>There is a ref when the old guy is at the controls, and one of the bots says,
>"Dominus vobiscum", a line that Father O'blivion says in the song of that same
>title in Apostrophe (').

p 903 - "Pumaman" - Several weeks ago (sorry it took me so long to look into this), John Bigolski emailed me the following:
>hey, I think I might have found a Zappa ref. In Pumaman, when Pumaman regains
>his powers, towards the end, he breaks through the ropes and uses his power
>to go to Donald Pleasance's mansion to come to the rescue of the Aztec guy.
>His stupid theme song comes on, and it sounds like Tom Servo hums "Little
>House I Used To Live In" from the Fillmore East 71' album; Its when Flo &
>Eddie hum the song in high, soprano voices. If I'm right, Servo hums it, or
>something like it. It sounds pretty convincing. Check it out.
It took me a while to locate it, but I think I've finally found the humming in question. Actually Servo does three bits of humming during the section of movie in question. The first bit of humming clearly sounds like the Pumaman theme song. The second does sound a good bit like the descending riff from "Little House", but since Tom hums it over top of the wah-wah heavy movie soundtrack and just after Crow says "Do the Hustle!", I think they were going for more of a generic bad disco riff than a Zappa ref. The third is during the big fight scene in the movie, just after Mike and the 'bots improvise lyrics for the Pumaman theme - this bit of Servo humming also sounds a good bit like "Little House", but not enough to convince me that it's a definite ref. So I'll leave this one as a possible ref.

d 904 - "Werewolf" - when a character examines the werewolf scratches across his back, Mike says "Ow, weasels ripped my flesh again!"

905 - "The Deadly Bees" - no refs found.
906 - "The Space Children" - no refs found.
907 - "Hobgoblins" - no refs found.
908 - "The Touch of Satan" - no refs found.
909 - "Gorgo" - no refs found.
910 - "The Final Sacrifice" - no refs found.
911 - "Devil Fish" - no refs found.
912 - "The Screaming Skull" - no refs found.
913 - "Quest of the Delta Knights" - no refs found.

Season Ten

p 1001 - "SoulTaker" - A couple possible 200 Motels refs in this one. First, as the main characters are driving away from Summer Fest, Mike says "Well, let's go to Centerville's Summer Fest." Then there's this possibility, sent to me by
>At the beginning of the movie, you see a machine vibrating. Mike says, "The
>Magic Fingers are acting up." possibly a ref to Magic Fingers from the
>soundtrack to 200 Motels.

p 1002 - "The Girl In Gold Boots" - another possible ref sent in by
>When a guy is talking to the girl about the audience clapping at her, Mike
>says, "Getting the clap is something different." A ref to "Maybe a hot one
>(To give me the clap!)" from What Will This evening Bring Me This Morning
>from the 200 Motels soundtrack. It may also be a ref to to Howard Kaylan
>saying, "Oh, there was that one time in Minneapolis... when I thought I had
>the clap for sure." from Road Ladies on Chunga's Revenge.
(Editor's note: There's also a song called The Clap on C'sR).

1003 - "Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders" - no Zappa refs found.
1004 - "Future War" - no Zappa refs found.
1005 - "Blood Waters of Dr. Z" - no Zappa refs found.

p 1006 - "Boggy Creek 2: And the Legend Continues" - about 45 minutes into the episode, as a valley-girlish character walks through the woods, Crow comments "Nature is grodey!" A little later, Mike describes the main character as having his beer gut "pooched out" - I haven't heard too many people other than Zappa use that phrase.

p 1007 - "Track of the Moon Beast" - after initially writing this one off as not having any Zappa refs, I ended up getting email from both and Rich Kegarise, both mentioning the same potential reference to Zappa's Billy the Mountain. Here's what Rich wrote:
>47 min. into Attack of the Moon Beast:
>INDIAN PROFESSOR: "You might get a better answer at the paleontology
>department at the university".
>SERVO: "...Or the meat department at Ralph's".
>Just Another Band From LA - Billy The Mountain (17M 28S):
>After which he hit up the Ralph's on Sunset
>for some Aunt Jemima syrup, some Kaiser boiler foil
>and a pair of blunt scissors, he-hey!
>Yes, and in the parking lot of Ralph's...
>(Where no prices are lower prices than Ralph's...)
>In the parking lot of Ralph's,

p 1008 - "Final Justice" - here's another couple lines possibly inspired by listening to Zappa music, sent in by the sharp-eared
>in the beginning of the episode, Servo is comparing the Yes song Owner of a
>Lonely Heart to other things. while he is making comparisons, he makes the
>comparison to a plot of land in Montana. possibly a ref to Montana.
>He also compares a jar. possibly a reference to sleeping In A Jar
>from Uncle Meat.

p 1009 - "Hamlet" - At the beginning of the episode, Servo decides to change his name to Sirveaux. This may have been inspired by Zappa's tour bus, an old converted Grayhound. It still had the dog logo on the side, but Frank changed the name to Phydeaux. Here's another possible ref, sent in by the ever-resourceful Philocleon:
>when Mike is doing a 3 card monte game, Pearl gives Bobo the virus drink,
>and he collapses. Of course, she didn't care for him. Just like in the
>booklet to uncle meat, which tells how uncle Meat gives the serum to his
>servent Bimbo up the nose, and Bimbo collapses, seeing how Uncle Meat never
>really cared for Bimbo.

p 1010 - "It Lives By Night" - when a motel manager is seen walking in front of the motel, someone (Mike?) makes a comment that he's going to count the money in the Magic Fingers (see episodes 415 and 1001).

Also from 1010, Philocleon (who is just nailing these season 10 refs) sent this in:
>during a shot of a tape recorder, Mike says, "I only speak through
>my tape recorder." Servo then says, "I made a recording of me
>stealing a tape recorder." A possible ref to how, on numerous
>occasions, Frank carried a tape recorder with him and recorded
>conversations on it.
>The tape recorder ref is also a ref to "I got a stilson wrench and comes with
>a tape recorder..." from Uncle Bernie's Farm on Absolutely Free.

1011 - "Horrors of Spider Island" - no refs found.
1012 - "Squirm" - no refs found.
1013 - "Diabolik" - no refs found.

Random Odds and Ends

Joel's stand-up routines on Letterman, SNL, etc - no Zappa refs found.

d The "Shorts" tape - includes the "poncho" ref from "The Home Economics Story" short (see 317 - "Viking Women and the Sea Serpent")

"Shorts, Vol 2" - no refs found.
"This is MST3K" special - no refs found.
"Little Gold Statue Preview" special - no refs found.

p MTV clip with the 'bots - someone (Servo?) sings a bit of Lovesick Blues, which JCB & Kansas can be heard singing on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol 5.

p Joel's TV Wheel special - between two sketches, someone (Joel?) is playing bongos, and an off-camera voice shouts insults, including "You Call That Music?" There's a Zappa song by that name on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore. Vol 4.

"MST3K: The Movie (This Island Earth)" - no Zappa refs found.
"1997 Making of MST3K Special" - no Zappa refs found.
"1997 Summer Blockbuster Special" - no Zappa refs found.
"1998 Academy of Robot's Choice Awards" - no Zappa refs found.

Mike and the 'bots riffing on Playstation promo video - no Zappa refs found.
Mike and the 'bots discussing Godzilla on CBS News This Morning - no refs found.
Mike and the 'bots on Talk Soup (aired just prior to final episode of season 8) - no refs found.
"1998 Summer Blockbuster Special" - no refs found.

MST3K movies mentioned in Zappa songs

As noted in the entry for episode 311, "It Conquered the World", that movie is mentioned by name in the Zappa song "Cheepnis" on the Roxy and Elsewhere album.

Dave Quinn emailed me to suggest that FZ's song "The Radio is Broken" is also mostly about movies featured on MST3K. The song never mentions any particular films by name, but rather makes fun of generic plot devices used in many bad 50s sci-fi flicks. Here's Dave's analysis of the song:

I came across this while listening to The Man from Utiopa. In the song "The Radio is Broken", there are lyrics that read "They get you in the neck when you're not looking", which is a referance to It Conquered the World where the 'giant pickel' would fart out the bat-like creatures that would ram into the back of the town-folk's neck. The next three are from the same film. "The co-pilot always plays the harmonica The navigator gets killed by a bad space person" And yet another possibility from this tune, "The porthole where you see the earth for the fist time" I think the scene involves the guy that thinks Texas is it's own country. I forget the name of the movie, but it might be 12 to the Moon or Project Moonbase. All I can remember is that they try to get to the moon, but somehow end up on Mars as a result of an asteroid field or something absurd like that.

MST3K refs in Zappa-related music

Turning the tables on the reffing game, guitarist/singer/songwriter/all around good guy Mike Keneally has shown his appreciation of MST3K by referencing the show in one of his songs. Mr. Keneally's connections to Zappa are many, including being the "stunt guitarist" on Frank's final tour in 1988, as well as performing in the band "Z" along with Zappa's sons Dweezil and Ahmet.

Mike is an admitted MSTie, although he says he hasn't seen the show since it left Comedy Central (on 2/25/98, someone on asked if MK preferred Crow or Servo. Mike's response: "I'm all about Servo, especially since I prefer Trace doing Crow's voice over whoever's been doing it lately. But I actually haven't seen new episodes since they went to the Sci-Fi").

There are two references to MST3K in Keneally's music, one definite and one possible. The definite one appears in the song 'Cause of Breakfast from the album Boil That Dust Speck. The last verse goes: "And my frame of mind? Disaster area is being too kind. Silhouetted 'bots jeer it, Motorists slow when near it, It's maniac time."

The possible ref appears on his collection of early rarities, Tar Tapes, Vol 1. The song Molehead Revisited is preceeded by some dialog about a weenie roast from the short feature What To Do On A Date, which was used as a short on MST3K.

Another potential MST3K ref can be found on the album Intestinal Fortitude by the band French TV. This band has no real connection to Zappa, although many people compare their music to Frank's. The reference comes in the song The Souls of the Damned Live in Failed Works. The "lyrics" to this song consist of a band member reciting the narrator's monolog from the MSTed film Beast of Yucca Flats, including the infamous "Flag on the moon, how did it get there?" line. I believe the band's main composer, Mike Sary, has denied the MST3K connection though, saying that he put that quote in the song before he ever heard of MST3K.

Related Sites:

This web page was listed in the Black Napkins Link Page, (, which was a big ol' collection of links to various Frank Zappa related web pages. On last check though, that page seems to have disappeared.

This page also seems to have outlived the Mining Co's MST3K page (, since trying to follow that link now just leads to the main Mining Co page and a search for MST3K turns up nothing.

This page was also picked for Yahoo Internet Life's "Coolest of the Cool" for the week of August 5th, 1998, under the Extremely Specialized Sites category, but the page announcing that ( is, once again, defunct. Doesn't anyone leave a web page up for more than a month anymore?

John Hopkin's regulars bio page ( was a great place to meet some of the folks responsible for turning me into an obsessive Zappa fan. It's gone too now, but John has a good excuse - he unfortunately went to jam with Zappa in hebbin sometime around 2006. You are missed, John. His Darkhop site now seems to have been taken over by some sort of shopping network. Ew.

An email I got on May 17th, 2001 informed me that this site had been linked to from, which appears to be a huge collection of links to Zappa-related web sites, arranged into categories. English is not the primary language of the site, but there's enough there that English-speaking visitors shouldn't have too hard a time figuring it out. Unfortunately the link there back to this page still has the old address for this page. Oh well.

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