Greetings from the edge!
This week we’ve got a fistful of tickets for Carnival Magic, the 1981 movie that proves talent and money aren’t as important to a production as a badly dubbed chimp and carnival stock footage. Starring Don Stewart as Markov the magician with the talking chimpanzee and the tragic past, and Trudi the chimp playing Alex the talking chimp in her only acting credit. Here’s hoping this doesn’t mean she ended her days testing cosmetics or possibly as a McRib.
We kick off our merriment this week with Shinga announcing her intention to marry Jonah, much to the consternation of Jonah and Max! The invention exchange from the crew features Yeast-a-Pet, the asexually reproducing pet that’s fun for the whole family and a handy baking ingredient in the bargain. On the Mads’ side, we have Flavor Sweat, the only sports drink guaranteed to randomly change the flavor of your sweat. Whether it is chocolate truffles, kimchi, or longpig, make your next workout fun… and delicious!
A bit of trivia: this film was lost for many years before being rediscovered in a warehouse in 2009, and I just want to say to whoever made this important discovery… WHY?! You could have found one of the lost Doctor Who episodes or London After Midnight or even the early Japanese King Kong films seemingly lost to history forever, but no, instead you brought us Carnival Magic. Thanks…
Also in this episode, we get a special guest appearance by Mark Hamill as P.T. Mindslap, intergalactic impresario of the Great Space Circus, in a musical number that segues into Mr. Mindslap trying to buy Jonah and the crew from Shinga. I promise this is “Joker” good Mark Hamill and not “Star Wars Holiday Special” bad Mark Hamill.
Carnival Magic was the last film for Regina Carrol exploitation/drive in movie queen. She appeared in such films as Satan’s Sadists, Dracula VS Frankenstein, Blazing Stewardesses, and Black Samurai.
With bad ape dubbing, a script that couldn’t be saved by a stadium full of writers, actors that are obviously being paid in beer, and a subplot that may or may not involve a child bride, I think that this film might not so much have been lost as sealed away for the protection of all mankind.
The crew are in overdrive this episode with more original sketches and musical numbers than you’d usually expect and, boy, does this film need them. The riffs are on point, however, and Jonah and the crew have an almost manic energy this episode that really carries you through the mundanity of the film. So grab some friends, funnel cakes, and refreshing beverages, and have a time with Carnival Magic.
A little point of interest: during the end of the episode’s parade float extravaganza, we see a different actor in place of Jonah on a monitor behind Shinga and Max for a moment before being told to ignore it. Could this be a hint that next season we’ll be seeing a replacement for Jonah?
Favorite riff of the episode: “Give me 20cc of whatever brings monkeys back from the dead!”
Come back next week for episode 13: The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, the 1966 Italian/US co-production sure to fill you with childlike wonder and the true spirit of Christmas… or the sucking existential despair that waits lurking in the darkness to consume us all. You pick!
And always remember, “Keep circulating the tapes!”