“Why don’t you tell Joel about the experiment this week, Frank?” “Well Joel, Daddy-O is the movie you’ll see, but first here’s one for baby and me.” A drag racing singer investigates a murder? Hello NBC Mystery Movie. Flashlights!!! Who wants a flashlight? Oddball? Yep. Seeking his own justice? Yep. Defying everybody? Yep. Clear out Columbo!!! Sat-O-Love Industries, Air Freshener Mobile, Alien Teething Nook, Alphabet Antics, “Hike Your Pants Up”, Drag Race, Spit-Takes, Want Some? “Daddy-O. Must be Harry-O’s father” “Or Wendy-O’s dad maybe”, “Hey, Contino for fine Italian food at its best”, “Do you know if the stars in this show are so unimportant, just think how these people feel.” “Oh I bet Firestone tires financed this” or “Oh no, John Williams before he heard Stravinsky”?
I must say, when I first saw this a couple of years ago, I was thoroughly underwhelmed and am confounded regarding this episode’s popularity. First there’s the short, which was aimed at the Sesame Street demographic and left me cold. As for the main feature, it’s a crime drama, so automatically gets off on the wrong foot. The main plot concerns a trucker/singer (an obvious knockoff of Elvis Presley) who investigates the death of a friend who somehow got roped into a drug smuggling racket. But just as prominent is his relationship with a sassy, busty platinum blonde with whom he shares an initial mutual loathing that clearly must mean Love. Much Ado About Nothing has so many crimes to answer for.
I find the host segments to be largely duds. The only memorable bit involved Dr. Forrester’s invention of a pacifier shaped like a facehugger. Their parody of the drag race scene fails on account of them not doing anything that interesting with it. Then there’s the conclusion where the button used to go to the end credits malfunctions. The credit roll stops a few seconds in to go back to Deep 13 and gets repeated ad nauseum. In a way, it recalls the Cheese Shop Sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. This should not be considered an endorsement, because I HATE the Cheese Shop Sketch. It’s drawn-out, wears out its welcome almost immediately, is not as clever as it thinks it is, and is lacking in any comedic value. It’s also the basis of the absolute worst card in the Monty Python Fluxx deck. It did my heart good when John Cleese indicated in an interview that he doesn’t really care for it either.
The final insult comes from the choice of stinger. You’d think that the “Want some?” bit would be a perfect choice. It’s prominently alluded to in the final host segment as well as the introductory bumper for this episode in the first ever Turkey Day Marathon. Instead, they chose the nearsighted gym manager prohibiting Phil from entering the locker room. Alas, this won’t be the final baffling stinger choice.
Daddy-O is kind of a mixed bag for me. There’s some great riffs in it, and it came at a time where MST3K was really starting to step into high gear. They had a national platform, they had distilled their “process”, and they were getting their formula down. At the same time, there were a few leftovers from previous eras which were still working their way through the system so its got a mix of great and of meh. Still, it has a solid feel and the movie is so cheesy that any weaknesses are easy to forgive because of the target rich environment. The Pants Up Song was absolute gold.
The movie itself though … kind of icky. The “protagonist” is kind of a jerk … but I guess that’s supposed to be OK because the leading lady is also a big jerk? Seriously, this stupid woman almost kills people several times … LIES about it to everyone … and we’re supposed to like her just because she falls for Daddy-O (for some reason)? Meanwhile Daddy-O is bipolar between threatening to punch her face and then getting kind of rapey with her. We’re supposed to think he’s “cool” but his performances make you want to cringe especially when he’s pretty much singing that he wants to take the brunette to a back room and rock her candy, baby. The Butter Boss and his goon are ridiculous with yet another I Accuse My Parents criminal enterprise of delivering ‘packages’ for exorbitant money. There’s so much to just not like about the movie. But it’ll always have a soft spot in my memory. 6.5 out of 10.
Around when did the meh clear their system do you think? The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)? Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)? Space Travelers (1969)? The Giant Gila Monster (1959)? Hercules Against The Moon Men (1964)? A great question for @optiMSTie.