46. “Hey look, ‘All My Vikings!'”

The episode:The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent,” ep. 317. (Note: This title was so long that even the MST3k writers just called it “The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Who knows what Roger Corman was thinking.)

The riff: Pointed out by Crow right as the film opens with a fancy-looking leather-bound book, which opens to show the title card.

The explanation: In the mid 1980s to 1990s, the famed soap opera “All My Children” used an opening sequence that looked almost identical to this one. It’s an obvious reference to someone who was watching soaps during that period. To others, they might recognize the “All My Children” reference, but the sight gag portion of it is clearly meant for those who know that “All My Children” starts with a big, leather-bound book being flipped through.

Novelty factor: I recognized the meaning of the gag when I heard it. I think I may have understood because of vauge memories of the soap operas that my mother used to watch–“Days of our Lives” and “General Hospital” standing alongside “All My Children” as her favorites. Interestingly, I am finding that memories of my mother’s tastes keep recurring in this project, as they did in the “Kalgan, blow me away” riff.

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2 thoughts on “46. “Hey look, ‘All My Vikings!'”

  1. Oh you spoiled, spoiled kids who may only dimly remember the Horrors of carbon paper. I was just looking at a small college creative writing annual that I edited in 1969. To come in under budget, the letterpress printers allowed me one font and one size for any and all text and one size for headlines. It did not matter whether the text was for a haiku or for a short story with a ridiculous number of footnotes. Decent layout under cost constraints was impossible.

    In the 50s and 60s technology was advancing to far pricier printing methods like photo-offset. Deep pockets were beginning to use the new technologies with fancier cover design on books and inside of magazines. e e cummings had experimented with capitalization and punctuation and everybody with artistic presumptions was more than happy to push the envelope of what was possible– as long as someone else was paying. Imagine trying to tell a small town printer who is racking slugs of lead type that your name really should be e e cummings.

    About then starting in the 50s and 60s. Titles really started to get outlandish. If you were an “ARTISTE” you either had to have tons of money to hire your insane ideas done to YOUR specifications or you had to be willing to micromanage every aspect of your work’s production. People that are willing to do the latter are not very popular with anybody they work with, earning reputations as bloviating cranks. Very often, since indy producers have not been able to get deep pockets interested in their projects, this overblown self-importance is comical, when attached to “c” and “d” movies.

    These titles spring to mind for works that challenged the printing barriers and made it successfully to the Big screen.

    How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. 1952
    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. 1957
    Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad (1959)

    Roger Corman always considered himself on the cutting edge and I think that all of the above was what motivated him in titling THE VIKING WOMEN…

    • And of course, MST3k fans will all remember “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.”

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