MST3K Story: The movie starts after an extremely brief introduction. When Joel tries to work out the trajectory of an incoming meteor shower, Crow just acts like a petulant child until an aggravated Joel makes him “get the belt”. For his calculations, Joel needs to access some of Crow’s memory, so the crew looks over his memory banks and dumps useless information like the King Family Specials, Mario Andretti STP commercials and tons of infomercials. (Crow apparently fell asleep watching KTMA late one night.) Finally having gained access, Joel shows Crow’s first memory. In the flashback it’s shown that CROW stands for “Cybernetic Remotely Operated Woman”. Crow takes it far too seriously until Joel admits it was all a needlessly complicated practical joke. After the movie, Joel is pleased to announce that the Mystery Science Theater Fan Club has almost 1,000 members. Servo announces that the thousandth member will win a Demon Dog, his or her name mentioned on the air and self satisfaction.
Hangar 18 Story: While on an otherwise routine satellite launching mission, three astronauts encounter a flying saucer. Accidental contact leads to the death of one of the astronauts and to the saucer crash-landing on Earth. NASA recovers the alien craft for study and stows it in a secret location: Hangar 18. Meanwhile, one of the President’s aides proceeds with a cover-up of the whole situation, hoping that it can be kept quiet until after the upcoming election. When the two surviving pilots, Steve Bancroft and Lew Price, escape their captivity, an all-out manhunt begins. After Price is killed, Bancroft is able to make it to Hangar 18 where he finally sees and boards the alien spacecraft. An attempt to destroy the space ship and everyone involved by crashing a plane into Hangar 18 is thwarted when the alien ship’s hull proves invulnerable to the massive explosion. Bancroft and most of the NASA scientists survive and all is revealed.
MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy (and most likely additional writing by Brian Funk)
MST3K segments director unknown
Hangar 18 written by Thomas C. Chapman (as Tom Chapman), James L. Conway, Steven Thornley & Stephen Lord
Hangar 18 directed by James L. Conway
Hangar 18 music by John Cacavas
MST3K Guest Cast: none.
Hangar 18 Cast: Darren McGavin (Harry Forbes), Robert Vaughn (Gordon Cain), Gary Collins (Steve Bancroft), James Hampton (Lew Price), Philip Abbott (Frank Morrison), Pamela Bellwood (Sarah Michaels), Tom Hallick (Phil Cameron), Steven Keats (Paul Bannister), Cliff Osmond (Sheriff Barlow), Joseph Campanella (Frank Lafferty), William Schallert (Professor Mills)
LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey
Notes: I’m not sure what those “mid-morning pleasure stimulations” are that Joel mentions and I don’t want to know.
Crow’s gullibility where his origins are concerned would re-emerge as a running theme during MST3K’s period on the Sci-Fi channel (seasons 8-10).
The specifics of this episode’s MST credits are unclear, as fan tapes of the show do not include most of the closing credits roll.
Darren McGavin’s career dates back to the mid-1940s, but he entered into pop-culture immortality with his portrayal of Ralphie Parker’s “Old Man” in 1983’s A Christmas Story. His genre work has been relatively sparse, but includes the mini-series The Martian Chronicles, the TV movie The Six Million Dollar Man (1973) and Captain America (1991). His role as Carl Kolchak in the Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV movies and series paved the way for the similarly themed The X-Files, on which McGavin also appeared.
Robert Vaughn is best known for his portrayal of Agent Napoleon Solo on 1960s spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. His other genre work includes Starship Invasions (1977), Battle Beyond The Stars (1980), and Superman III (1983), an underrated film, actually. He also starred in the title role of the film MSTied in episode #315 – Teenage Caveman.
Gary Collins has appeared in several movies and countless TV shows, but is probably best known for his short-lived talk show Hour Magazine. His genre work includes appearances on Night Gallery, Fantasy Island and the 1979 film Killer Fish.
James Hampton is perhaps still best known from the 1960s TV series F Troop. He has appeared in many low budget genre works like The Cat from Outer Space (1978), Condorman (1980) and Teen Wolf (1985). He also made guest appearances on shows such as The Greatest American Hero and Superboy.
Joseph Campanella is a well-known character actor, having been a fixture on television and in films since the 1950s. Genre work is extensive, including shows like Mission: Impossible, Superboy, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Star Trek: Voyager.
William Schallert is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, having appeared in literally hundreds of movies and television shows. He is best known as Martin Lane (Patty’s father and Cathy’s uncle) on The Patty Duke Show. His numerous genre appearances include The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), and the role of Nils Baris in the fan-favorite Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles. He also appeared in the films MSTied in episodes #511 – Gunslinger and #602 – Invasion USA.
Music by John Cacavas can also be heard in the films in episodes #K13 – SST Death Flight and #K15 – Superdome.
Notable Riffs: “The first objective is to get inside and turn off that dry ice machine.”
“Don’t ever go into interplanetary travel without a big bowl of liquor in the back.”
“Greatest thing since sliced computer.”
Hangar 18 original release date: 1980