Experiment K10: Cosmic Princess

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: Hoping to watch the Super Bowl, the Mads decide to send the movie (which is just two episodes of Space: 1999 stitched together) using an auxiliary transmitter they bought with the profits from the sale of “No-D” glasses. Later, Crow gives Joel a haircut and they engage in typical barbershop chit-chat. At a break, Crow cons Servo into testing the theory of evolution by trying to fly. Servo crashes, causing a disagreement between the Bots that lasts for some time. Crow and Servo begin to do Joel’s taxes, but are upset to learn that they are “business expenses”. When the movie finally ends, Joel, Gypsy and Crow play a little catch, culminating in Joel singing a horribly off-key rendition of “We Are The Champions” and the Bots getting into a tickle fight.

Cosmic Princess Story: A prologue tells us that in the year 1999, the moon was blasted out of its orbit around the Earth and hurtled off into space. Its only inhabitants, the crew of Moonbase Alpha, struggle for survival against terrible odds. First, the “Alphans” confront Mentor, an alien who is attempting to revitalize his dead planet Psychon by using the psychic energy of aliens who wander near. He captures an Alphan exploratory ship, feeding one of the crew’s minds into his “biological computer”, Psyche. Then he captures Moonbase Alpha’s leader, Commander John Koenig, along with Medical Officer Dr. Helen Russell and astronaut Alan Carter. Mentor plans to use the remaining Alphans to complete his goal. Mentor’s shape-shifting daughter Maya is unaware of the deadly affects of “helping” Mentor, believing her father’s methods to be benign. Koenig is able to convince her of the truth, allowing him to escape and defeat Mentor. With the destruction of his world imminent, Mentor pleads with Koenig to take Maya to safety. Later, Koenig and crew member Tony Verdeschi get trapped on the other side of a “space warp” that has sent the Moon millions of miles away from its previous position. Back on Moonbase Alpha, Maya is having hallucinations and is transforming into various deadly creatures in a delusional attempt to return to her father. She is eventually cured of her madness, just as Koenig and Tony find a way through the warp and rejoin Moonbase Alpha.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Cosmic Princess written by Johnny Byrne & Fred Freiberger (as Charles Woodgrove)
Cosmic Princess directed by Charles Crichton & Peter Medak
Cosmic Princess music by Derek Wadsworth
additional music by Barry Gray

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Cosmic Princess Cast: Martin Landau (Koenig), Barbara Bain (Russell), Catherine Schell (Maya), Brian Blessed (Mentor), Tony Anholt (Verdeschi), Nick Tate (Carter), Zienia Merton (Sandra Benes), Anouska Hempel (Annette Fraser)

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Notes: Whatever that thing is under Tom Servo’s torso, it’s obviously not a hoverskirt. Otherwise, he could fly. The episodes used to make Cosmic Princess are The Metamorph and Space Warp from the second season of Space: 1999. Changes for the movie version include: cutting five minutes from each episode, new effects shots and a new voiceover for an alien message. In the new version, the alien refers to himself as “Vader, Commander of the Whills Interplanetary Star Fleet”, a reference to Star Wars‘ most famous villain, Darth Vader, and original subtitle, “Journal of the Whills” along with a reference to Star Trek’s Starfleet.

Cosmic Princess producer Gerry Anderson also produced (with then-wife Sylvia) “Supermarionation” shows used on MST3K in episodes #K01 – Invaders From The Deep (from Stingray) and #K02 – Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars (from Captain Scarlet).

It takes a very special kind of lady to carry off sideburns.

Speaking of Catherine Schell, her varied career includes films as diverse as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Madame Sin (1972), The Return Of The Pink Panther (1975) and The Prisoner Of Zenda (1979). She also appeared in the celebrated Doctor Who serial City Of Death. Additionally, she appeared in another MSTied film with a moon theme, used in episode #111 – Moon Zero Two.

Martin Landau’s early work in films such as North By Northwest (1959) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) brought him acclaim, but it was his role as Rollin Hand on Mission: Impossible that made him a household name. After leaving Mission: Impossible over a pay dispute, Space: 1999 proved to be one of his few notable performances until later in his career, when Oscar nominations for Tucker: The Man And His Dream (1988) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) firmly established him in Hollywood’s upper echelon of character actors. He finally won an Academy Award (as well as several other major honors) for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s 1994 biopic Ed Wood. Other genre work includes Sleepy Hollow (1999) and appearances on The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Barbara Bain is most likely best remembered for her portrayal of Cinnamon Carter on Mission: Impossible from 1967 to 1969 alongside then-husband Martin Landau. During this period, she had a lock on the “Best Actress” Emmy, winning in all three years. She has continued to work steadily, with appearances in films such as The Spirit of ’76 (1990) and Bel Air (2000) and on television in shows such as Millennium and Diagnosis Murder, where she reprised the role of Cinnamon Carter.

Brian Blessed has worked in every conceivable type of production over the course of his over forty-year career, beginning in 1962 on the police drama Z Cars. Major work includes appearances in Man Of La Mancha (1972), the 1976 mini-series I, Claudius, Waiting For Godot (1991) and many Shakespearean films such as Henry V (1989), Much Ado About Nothing (1993) and As You Like It (2006). Genre work has been just as plentiful, including appearances on The Avengers, Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, The Black Adder, MacGyver, and in Flash Gordon (1980) and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).

Nick Tate’s career stretches back to the mid-1960s. After working steadily in Europe throughout the 1970s and 80s, he shifted his focus to America, where he continued to work mainly in television, including genre shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Lost World, Farscape and the 1994 mini-series The Red Planet. He has also had great success providing voiceover work for movie trailers and in video games such as Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (where he played Prince Xizor) and Escape from Monkey Island.

Tony Anholt was quite active throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, but spent most of the 1990’s out of the spotlight. In 2000, he made a return to genre television with an appearance on Relic Hunter, followed by two guest turns on Lexx. Anholt passed away in July, 2002.

Zienia Merton began her career with appearances in the 1962 film Masters Of Venus and in the highly acclaimed (and sadly lost) 1964 Doctor Who serial Marco Polo, where she played the pivotal role of Ping-Cho. Other genre work includes appearances on Chiller and in the 2000 mini-series Dinotopia.

Anouska Hempel appeared alongside Catherine Schell in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Other genre work included Scars Of Dracula (1970) and several appearances on the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series UFO.

The “additional” music in Cosmic Princess by Barry Gray is taken from themes written for the first season of Space: 1999. The bulk of the music is by season two composer Derek Wadsworth. More significant quantities of Gray’s music can be heard in episodes K01 – Invaders From The Deep and K02 – Revenge Of The Mysterons From Mars.

Not that you care, but #K10 – Cosmic Princess is my favorite episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Notable Riffs: “It’s the feel good mineral of 1999.”
“That is the worst chunk of crap monster I’ve ever seen in any movie, TV show or radio program in my life.”

Cosmic Princess original release date: 1982, from episodes of Space: 1999 that originally aired in 1976