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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S01 E06: The Crawling Hand

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"The Crawling Haaaaand!"
"That's the Helvetica constellation we're looking at."

Dr. Forrester: Well, speaking of violations, here's a little cinematic intrusion called The Crawling Hand.
Dr. Erhardt: It has the star from Gilligan's Island, and one from The Big Valley, and one from the Hamburger Helper commercial!

Film watched: The Crawling Hand

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here.

The Segments:


  • Joel explains the premise of the show to some canned applause from Cambot.

Segment 1

  • Joel invents a circular saw that automatically turns off when it gets too close to your fingers, which he uses to play a little prank with a fake hand. The Mads have the Limb Lengthener, which Dr. Forrester painfully demonstrates on Larry’s arm.

Segment 2

  • Crow goes bowling while Tom provides voiceover. When Joel suggests playing mumbly-peg, Tom and Crow ditch him.

Segment 3

  • Joel, Crow, and Tom impersonate William Shatner while pretending to be choked by fake hands.

Segment 4

  • Crow thinks that a crawling hand isn’t scary, asking what the worst a hand could do is. This comes back to bite him when a giant hand sneaks up behind him.

Segment 5

  • As usual, RAM chips are given for a good thing and a bad thing about the movie, and a letter is read. In Deep 13, Larry uses his new extra-long arms to strangle Dr. F, who also impersonates Shatner.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of The Crawling Hand contains examples of:

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The silhouettes are a very dark green in this episode rather than the standard black; Comedy Channel execs insisted on this experiment, worried viewers wouldn't be able to see them against the film (and thus end up confused by the riffing). Their concern makes some sense given that like most Season One experiments it's a black-and-white film, but the Best Brains gang thought it "look[ed] really stupid" according to The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • Mostly of the "Let's give him a hand" or "armed and dangerous" variety. Groan.
    • At one point the Bots have a little run of "fish" puns.
      Crow: Hey, why is she wearing a swimsuit with a codpiece?
      Servo: Oh, just for the halibut.
      Crow: Stop it, you're giving me a haddock.
      Servo: You're a pain in the bass.
      Crow: You have no sole.
  • Knew It All Along: After Crow escapes the giant hand in Segment 4, Joel confesses to him in the theater that it was really Gypsy playing a prank on him. Crow brags that he knew it was her all along.
  • Large Ham: Joel and the Bots spend a segment pretending to be William Shatner while being strangled.
  • Rubber Man: The Mads' "limb lengthener" invention.
  • Running Gag: "Tell him I'm smoking."
    • There are lots of Gilligan's Island-related jokes because of the presence of Alan Hale, Jr.
    • The morgue ambulance driver mentions wanting a cold beer, prompting a number of beer-related riffs.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: The fan letter at the end accidentally misidentifies Gypsy as a he. Joel is quick to correct this.