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I am going to give this sucker a 10, but not because it's any good. It
to be the most horrifying and strange concoction ever seen by mortal man -
Lynch, Argento and Cronenberg couldn't come up with anything as weird as
this if they put their heads together.
If this thing was one frame longer than it was, it would take a nose dive in my rating. It would also create deep psychological torment attended by suicidal tendencies.
The only way I can imagine anyone actually finding a copy of this is attached at the beginning of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," episode 319 ("War of the Colossal Beast"). The reactions of Joel and the 'bots are priceless.
Seems to me Betty Luster was trying to be a cross between Mary Martin's
Peter Pan and Betty Hutton's Annie Oakley, two popular female stars and
characters circa the time Mr. B Natural was made. In Mr. B's case,
however, something went awry with the character's nervous system. Not
sure if Betty was over-acting or was directed to be that way in an
exuberant attempt to mimic Martin and Hutton. It's too bad her career
seemed to have stopped after Mr. B. Got to admire her enthusiasm!
The concept of the film is so charmingly innocent. A grown woman can magically appear in a boy's bedroom anytime he chooses to summon her! What pornographers would do to that story today!
Like everyone else, I saw this late one Friday night on MST3K. Essentially
it's a really lame 1950s infomercial to help high schools recruit more band
zombies. It was produced by Conn, a manufacturer of band instruments, and is
(entertainingly) bad beyond belief.
The essential plot: Buzz, a shy (and apparently, seriously disturbed) teen, is visited by an extra-perky and sexually confused woman in a Peter Pan suit, calling herself "Mr. B Natural." She than takes him on a magical misery tour of the hip world that is High School Band. He's under her evil spell! Slinging his trumpet like Miles Davis, our Buzz is now one of the popular kids and quite the chick magnet. Gosh, when *I* was in band all it did was get me out of P.E.!
The shrill, artificial dialogue (complete with horrible puns about being natural) and "Mr. B Natural's" gyrations defy description. One IMDb reviewer compared this film to the darkest thing David Lynch ever imagined, and I must agree. All you'd need is a dwarf talking backwards and Kyle McLachlan brandishing a trombone, and I think David has his next dream sequence. Do NOT see this film while on acid; it could do your psyche serious damage. And if Buzz were in school today, he'd quite likely wander into the band room when everyone else is out selling candy, and shoot holes in the tubas with his Uzi. One of Crow's lines in response to the awesomely bad script was "Have you no shame?" No, they didn't.
I must say upfront that I've only witnessed the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, but I've never laughed that hard and loud outside of my favorite Benny Hill skits. This is EASILY one of my Top 13 favorite items I own on video. The retro-kitch factor is matched superbly by the strangeness of it all. It makes me wonder whatever became of Betty Luster? As Mr B Natural, she is now an internet icon, posted on many websites. Obviously, without the MST3K Joel & the robots commentary, this film would seem unwatchable, but would still be quite fun at a party. The line "You've got to inspect your horn, boy." will go down in Hollywood comedy history. Mr B can haunt my house anytime.
This utterly bizarre short, basically an ad for Conn musical instruments, was perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and as part of that show, was simply one of the most hysterically funny things ever shown on TV. "I feel ill."
In this horrifying short film, a genderless pixie-ish entity named Mr.
B Natural who is apparently the spokesperson for Conn instruments tries
to awake the spirit of music inside a dorky loner 12 year-old named
Buzz. After giving chase from his locker and his apparently Pee-Wee's
Playhouse-esquire home, she tries convincing him to play an instrument.
Apparently, if you become a bandie, you just wrote your own ticket to
being cool, at least this rule applied in the 50s...
Anyway, after being shown how to make instruments give "happy schmiiiiiles!" and "big laaaaaaaaaughs!", Buzz and his parents go to the music store to pick out a trumpet. After seeing how old ladies make instruments and how the instruments are tested in gas chambers, Buzz gets his trumpet, conforms to be like the other kids, and joins the band. After seeing his hilarious trumpet solo and the "really really white" school dance, we are left with the most terrifying film ever created.
Of course, we all saw this watching MST3K (the best show in the universe), so we all know that this was going to be bad. As a short film, this is probably the worst short movie EVER MADE. Basically, it is band propaganda told by a sexless fairy! Scary? HELL YES! As an MST3K, probably the funniest episode ever!
This short was made the same year I was born, and when my music teacher in elementary school showed it to me, I didn't rush out and get an instrument. I went home, locked the window and checked under the bed for women who dress like Peter Pan and pass themselves off as guys. Actually, Betty Luster is sort of attractive in her own way, but she should have stuck to singing on variety shows. As Mr(s). B. Natural, she is so sickingly sweet, jovial and spirited that even Marcia Brady would have slapped her. The production staff must have been laughing under their breaths as she is forced to keep a painful, perpetual smile and jump around like Tinkerbell on acid. If this had been a movie, gawdforbid, I think she really would have ended her visit with sucking the lifeforce out of the boy and moving on to the next one.
Okay, this started out innocently enough by trying to create a
character that would excite the kids into the wonders of music. What
they created instead has to be the most terrifying... whatever you want
to call it... that has ever been put on the screen.
I have no idea why they decided to call a female character "Mr." B Natural but my guess is that they went with her as she was the best thing that the casting crew saw all day. My other guess is that they thought that the actress looked unisex enough to pass as something the kids could relate to. But the fact that she is following a guy named Buzz kind of defeats the purpose... Scratch that. It takes the "purpose" and obliterates it.
If you ever want to see my little brother cringe, just say "Mr. B Natural". The only cut of this short that I would suggest seeing is the one that Joel and the bots make fun of. I think they did their country a service by doing what they did to this.
After all, "Mr. B, what do you know about dignity?"
This is a horrid 1950's marketing short for an instrument company, and
to my knowledge cannot be found on its own on video today. But the
Mystery Science Theater 3000 version can be found, so that's what I'm
IMHO, this is the funniest short ever covered by MST3k (Circus on Ice would be second). First, it's a Joel episode, and I always found those best. Second, this short is so psychotic that it provides almost limitless riffing possibilities. I wonder how many other jokes they came up with that just had to be thrown out because they couldn't fit them in. Let's hope Joel gives Mr. B another good going over with his new show, Cinematic Titanic. He did it for Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
I was fortunate in that I recorded all the MST3k episodes shown on Comedy Central. I've been converting the tapes over to DVD and came across this episode today while doing so. I'd seen it many times in the 1990's, but found it has lost none of its impact. Drop dead funny!
I've got too many favorite lines to list them all, so I'll just keep it short and leave you with this-
Mr. B Natural: You've got to inspect your horn, boy....
Crow: ....And wash it every day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Without a doubt, "Mr. B. Natural" is one of the worst "educational"
films foisted upon hapless high-school students during the late 1950s
and early 1960s. Purporting to inspire youngsters to study music, the
film is, as has been pointed out by other commentators, a half-hour
dramatic infomercial for the Conn (appropriate name) Music Company.
Instead of inspiring anyone to purchase a musical instrument, this
movie could convince people to gouge out their ears with a screwdriver
so they'd never hear another thing again. Films of this ilk helped to
put the death seal of eternal dorkiness on anything of any cultural
value. Just listen to Mr. B. Natural describe the instruments of an
orchestra. It would make any sane youngster think you'd have to be a
pathetic, hopeless uncool, loser to want to even touch one, much less
All this said, I must confess I found this grotesque film mesmerizing as I watched Mr. B Natural prance around Buzz's room, knocking him over at one point. The poor kid who played Buzz looked obviously intimidated by Ms. Luster (how inappropriate a name here!)as the demonic fairy, Mr. B Natural. One almost suspects if Buzz had rejected Mr. Natural, he/she would have dragged him by his hair into the fiery pits of hell, like the statue of the Commandatore did to Don Juan. In a way Buzz was smart taking up an instrument: he got rid of Mr. B Natural and at least wasn't as lonely as he was at the start of the film.
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