Experiment K17: Time Of The Apes

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The KTMA SeasonMST3K Story: The Mads try to contact Joel, but Crow answers. He and Servo are evasive about Joel’s whereabouts. The Mads quickly tire of the Bots’ games and send Time Of The Apes. The Bots mention Joel throughout the movie, but there is no sign of him. Gypsy shows up with Joel’s uniform in her mouth, which means…”Joel is floating naked in space!” The Bots consider what to do about Joel, while someone or something keeps pounding on the hull of the ship. Servo decides it’s space barnacles, but movie sign prevents Crow from firing the retro rockets to “shake them off.” Cambot shows some video footage of Joel that tricks Crow into thinking Joel is back. Servo then shows how reality simply can’t be trusted on a TV show. It all ends with a shot of Joel (or a small, plastic representation thereof) floating in space, while the Bots ponder life without him.

Time Of The Apes Story: While visiting the lab of his uncle Charlie, Johnny and his friend Caroline are being shown experiments in suspended animation by Catherine, one of the lab assistants. An earthquake hits while Johnny is in a sleep capsule and Catherine and Caroline climb into two others for safety. The capsules are accidentally activated and they wake to find themselves in the distant future. Almost immediately they are captured by intelligent apes. They are taken to be executed, but escape and come into contact with Pepe, a little ape girl. She takes them to her friend Godo, the only other human. They are recaptured, but Godo’s execution is halted by the ape Commander. The Commander proves to be civilized and decries the mistreatment the humans have suffered at the hands of the Police Chief. Although Catherine believes the Commander is trustworthy, Pepe helps Johnny and Godo to escape. Meanwhile, there is a mysterious spaceship that seems to be keeping an eye on the proceedings. When Godo, Johnny and Pepe attempt to rescue Catherine and Caroline, the flying saucer disables the apes’ weapons, allowing them to escape. Catherine has learned that the flying saucer is from Green Mountain and appears to be friendly to humans. With the apes in pursuit, the humans try to make for Green Mountain and are confronted by the Police Chief who reveals that he hates Godo because he blames Godo for the death of his family. The space ship arrives and reveals that the Chief is himself responsible for his own family’s death. The Commander appears and asks the humans to stay with him. They decide to make for Green Mountain in hopes of finding other humans. However, at Green Mountain they find a computer that controls the Earth and demands that they either leave the planet or be transported to the future. They decide to go to the future, but Godo balks and is blasted by the computer. After entering sleep capsules just like those at the lab, the humans awake to find themselves back in their own time. Godo, meanwhile, has been sent somewhere unknown, though Catherine says he will always live on in their hearts.

MST3K segments written by Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon & Kevin Murphy
additional writing by Brian Funk
MST3K segments directed by Vince Rodriguez
Time Of The Apes written by Keiiche Abe
from an original story by Sakyo Komatsu, Kouji Tanaka and Aritsune Toyoda
Time Of The Apes directed by Atsuo Okunaka and Kiyo Sumi Fukazawa
Time Of The Apes music by Toshiaki Tsushima

MST3K Guest Cast: none

Time Of The Apes Cast: Reiko Tokunaga (Catherine), Hiroko Saito (Caroline), Masaaki Kaji (Johnny), Wataru Omae (Commander), Tetsuya Ushio (Godo), Baku Hatakeyama (Police Chief Gebar), Kazue Takita (Pepe), Noboru Nakaya, Hiroyuki Kawase

LogBook entry by Philip R. Frey

Notes: The cruel way the Bots treat Joel in this episode is decidedly uncharacteristic and much more similar to the way they would treat Joel’s replacement, Mike Nelson. Joel’s relationship with the Bots was generally a fatherly one. It’s hard to imagine the Bots locking Joel in space during seasons 1-5.

Joel Hodgson was out of town and missed the taping of this episode.

Time Of The Apes was edited together from episodes of Japanese television show Saru no Gundan (Army of the Apes).

Wataru Omae’s 25-plus year career saw him appear in many genre productions including seven films in the Godzilla series, starting with Mosura a.k.a. Mothra (1961). He also appeared in the film MSTied in episode #213 – Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster.

This film was re-used in episode #306 – Time of the Apes.

Notable Riffs: “Let’s buy these guys a tripod. Whattya say?”
“Jeez, you give them opposable thumbs and they’re still crummy shots.”
“She must’ve been paying better attention than I am.”

Time Of The Apes original release date: 1987, from episodes of Saru no gundan that aired in 1974