The Phantom Creeps - Episode 1. The evil Dr. Zorka, having discovered the secrets of suspended animation and invisibility, is plotting to rule the world (of course). Zorka has developed a mechanical spider which will destroy whoever holds an electrically charged wafer. He refuses to turn the invention over to the U.S. government and is determined to sell it to whichever country is the highest bidder. Zorka's former colleague, Dr. Mallory, believes Zorka is guilty of treason. Mallory contacts military intelligence, and agents are sent to question Zorka. To throw the agents off his trail, the mad scientist fakes his death in a car crash using the body of a hitchhiker. Later, plucky girl reporter Jean Drew stows away on the military airplane which is bringing Zorka’s wife to identify the scientist's body. The plane is destroyed by one of Zorka's mechanical spiders which Zorka had previously planted on his wife.
Greta Venderhorn, a young girl, is the only survivor of a plane crash in the African jungle at the beginning of World War II, and she is rescued by a tribe of natives who proclaim her as their "White Goddess." Six years later, two ex-Army Air Corps pilots, Mike Patton and Bob Simpson, searching for the plane wreckage spot it, and land in an attempt to find the missing girl. It seems that Gloria's father's will stipulates that the person or persons that find his daughter, dead or alive, will receive a large reward. They find the village and Gloria, and learn that she has had all she wants of playing Miss White Goddess of 1948, so she, Mike and Bob plan to escape and head back for civilization. BUT...one of the two men discovers that there is nearby a valuable deposit of ore, and he decides that he wants the ore... and the reward... and Gloria all for himself. Plus, the tribe witch doctor, Oolonga, isn't all that happy that these two intruders are making off with the White Goddess and the tribe's ore.
While not the strongest episode, it was still quite decent. The host segment mocking infomercials was rather lame and kind of grated on my nerves a bit, but aside from that I can't complain much. I did fall asleep for a tiny bit near the end of the movie, but it was late and it's not like I haven't seen it many times already.
We get a nice serial short at the beginning... I'm personally a fan of the educational ones, but the serials are okay. This one had Bela Lugosi, who always makes a fun riff experience. The main feature was some sludge about two guys trying to find a missing girl, simply for the reward. Upon finding her, one of the guys gets way too trigger-happy and shoots practically anything he can, especially when that's the worst thing to do at the moment. Joel and the bots thankfully make a point to comment on the extremely racial stereotype of the natives in the film. The movie really does drag out much longer than it should have, especially near the end, which may be why I fell asleep so easily.
I think this may be the first on-screen appearance of Jim Mallon, as the trigger-happy character from the film... Maybe he appeared as someone else before, but not recogniseably. Of course, I think he was doing the voice of Gypsy at this time, but that doesn't really count as "on-screen appearance."
I always enjoy the very simple "Gobos" segment, demonstrating the binocular mattes and so on... As soon as this bit began, I giggled and shouted "The nope scope!!!" Joel is correct: it is "ever-popular."
During the final segment, Joel introduces Crow as "Art Crow" in a joke satiring Art Carney's casting in The Honeymooners... Apparently this caused a viewer to call Crow "Art" in a future letter, spawning a wonderful running joke where Crow is referred to as "Art", mostly by Dr. Forester's mother Pearl. Keep that in mind when we reach the last three(3) to four(4) seasons.
Favourite line: "My partner shot HIM too!"