If you were looking for the article about the machine, then see skill crane (machine).

"Skill Crane" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season four. In this episode, Squidward attempts to win a prize from the Skill Crane.



At the Krusty Krab, a fish dressed in a suit comes to the door. Mr. Krabs believes him to be a tax collector and panics and jumps in SpongeBob with his cash register until the man shows his business card, which identifies him as an employee of "R.A. Pennypincher Vending Supplies." Mr. Krabs is overjoyed as the delivery men bring the claw vending machine that he ordered for the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs explains that it will "pay for itself in no time" and insists that SpongeBob and Squidward try it, giving them each a free quarter.

Squidward plays the machine and almost picks up a stuffed snake but drops it and loses. He excitedly exclaims to SpongeBob that he almost got a toy on his first try. When SpongeBob tries the machine, Squidward expects him to lose, but SpongeBob effortlessly wins two times, winning a stuffed animal with each try.
Skill Crane 124

Squidward asks SpongeBob to help him win.

Later on, SpongeBob continues to win several more stuffed animals from the machine effortlessly. Squidward desperately tries to win. After running out of money, Mr, Krabs turns Squidward’s paycheck into quarters and gives to him. Even using his money from payday, he still does not win.

When Squidward goes home, he finds he cannot pick up anything because of the crane, and he caves in, convinced he must win. He puts back on his normal clothes, gets his piggy bank, and runs to the Krusty Krab and tries the crane again until the next morning, but to no avail. Mr. Krabs then empties the machine and finds an enormous amount of Squidward's money, along with the deed to his house. SpongeBob tells Squidward the secret to winning, which is to be the crane, and he wins a teddy bear and rubs it in everyone's face. He even viciously mocks a kid who just lost the game and the kid gives Squidward a well-deserved kick in the shin before storming out while Squidward hops up and down holding his shin in pain.

Skill Crane 177

The construction site is destroyed.

At the end of the day, Squidward walks home with SpongeBob and sees a construction site. He operates the unoccupied crane with his eyes closed, thinking he can control it and picks up a girder, but he cannot apply the same secret with that type of crane. He destroys a mall and the Krusty Krab, and Squidward soon finds himself surrounded by the angry construction workers. SpongeBob tries to rescue him with the crane, but only picks up Squidward's toy and comes to the conclusion that he can only pick up toys as the episode ends with the workers getting ready to beat up Squidward.



 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music
  Dombummel - Gerhard Trede [title card]

  The Girl I Left Behind Me - Brian Peters ["My machine has arrived?"]
  Ta-Ra C - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [Skill Crane revealed]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["First one's free!"]
  Sailor's Waltz - Heinz Matschurat ["Come on, Squidward, you know you want to."]
  You Lose - Nicolas Carr [Squidward loses]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band ["My work here is done."]
  Ta-Ra A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [SpongeBob wins]
  Comic Tension (a) - Dick Stephen Walter [claw falls onto a toy]
  Lighting the Fuse (b) - Dick Stephen Walter [Squidward sees "grab" button]
  Desperate Dilemma - Dick Stephen Walter [Squidward presses "grab" button]
  You Lose - Nicolas Carr [Squidward loses again]
  Ta-Ra A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [SpongeBob wins again]
  Steel Licks 8 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Oh, I loosened that one up for you."]
  Drunken Sailor (b) - Robin Jeffrey, Tim Laycock [Squidward remembers what Krabs said]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band [Squidward depressed as SpongeBob keeps winning]
  Unease - Dick Stephen Walter ["Squid... ward..."]
  The Tip Top Polka/The Cliff Polka - Chelmsford Folk Band ["Need some change?"]
  You Lose - Nicolas Carr [Squidward loses]
  Towerstreet 17 [#21] - Gerhard Narholz [montage of Squidward losing]
  You Lose - Nicolas Carr ["You lose!"]
  Steel Licks 3 - Jeremy Wakefield [Squidward says he's out of money]
  The Rake Hornpipe - Robert Alexander White [payday]
  Steel Licks 9 - Jeremy Wakefield [Squidward used all his money on the crane]
  Ta-Ra C - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [SpongeBob wins]
  Goodbye Rodney - Peter Winslow [Squidward goes home]
  Pua Paoakalani B - Kapono Beamer, Queen Lili'uokalani [Squidward in bed]
  House of Horror - William Farran ["I gotta win that crane!"]
  Towerstreet 17 [#4] - Gerhard Narholz [piggy bank sheds tear]
  ? [SpongeBob being the crane]
  Ta-Ra A - Sammy Burdson, John Charles Fiddy [SpongeBob wins]
  Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield ["Yes! Yes, I do!"]
  ? [Squidward being the crane]
  Hollywood Fanfare - Larry Hochman [Squidward wins!]
  You Lose - Nicolas Carr [a little kid loses]
  Comic Walk - Sidney Torch [Squidward teases him]
  Lap Steel - Nicolas Carr [kid kicks Squidward]
  You're Nice - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Squidward operating a construction crane]
  Dramatic Impact 5 - Ivor Slaney [Squidward destroys a mall being built]
  Drama Link (b) - Hubert Clifford ["Squidward, open your eyes!"]
  Sponge Monger - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [vehicle out of control]
  SpongeBob Theme - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [ending]



  • "Skill Crane" was ranked #8 on the Winner Take All Sunday.
  • "Skill Crane" was ranked #22 during the Best Day Ever event from November 9–10, 2006.



  • The background of the title card is similar to that of "Welcome to the Chum Bucket."
  • The idea of the skill crane was taken from the educational video game SpongeBob Saves the Day.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Mr. Krabs is seen paying SpongeBob and Squidward, and given the number of quarters he gave Squidward, he pays them a standard worker's salary, in contrast to numerous claims of them being underpaid in other episodes, such as "Squid on Strike."
  • If one does the math, 3,499 quarters equal $874.75.
  • It is shown that Squidward's deed to his house is in the money carton. This means he sold his own house to get more money to win.
  • In 2013, a real-life version of the skill crane from this episode was constructed for the SpongeBob Fan Shellabration. To coincide with the event, Nickelodeon also released an online game featuring a virtual skill crane.
  • This was the only episode to ever be written by Kyle McCulloch until his return as a writer on "Squid Plus One" in season 9.
  • This is the only episode to use "Dombummel" as a title card track. It is heard as background music, typically in arcades, in some other episodes.
  • Mr. Krabs is shown hiding in SpongeBob's body at the beginning of the episode. Coincidentally, the opposite happened earlier in the season with "Shell of a Man."
  • This episode and its sister episode were rated 13+ on Amazon Prime Video in August 2020.

Cultural references


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Rough Draft Korea

  • During the bubble transition there is a blue screen which was made sometime in 2005 from Rough Draft Korea.
  • At the beginning of the episode, the coloring is in a lighter shade, most notably Squidward's workstation, before changing back to normal after the crane is introduced.
  • When the episode starts, R.A. PennyPincher's truck is right in front of the Krusty Krab windows, but when it cuts to Squidward mopping, his truck is farther away and the Krusty Krab clam sign is missing.
  • At first, the skill crane says, "You Win," but when SpongeBob wins the last time,
    Pants Color Error

    The short construction worker's pants changes color.

    it says "Winner" instead.
  • When SpongeBob is having a tea party with his stuffed animals, the seahorse toy he won is not shown.
  • When Mr. Krabs walks away with Squidward's deed to his house, Mr. Krabs puts it in his pants, but it disappears as he walks.
  • When SpongeBob shows Squidward the secret to winning the crane, the machine says "winner;" however, no prize comes out the machine slot.
  • When SpongeBob and Squidward walk out of the Krusty Krab, Squidward's mouth is moving despite the scene being silent.
  • After Squidward says, "Don't be the crane!," the moving animation freezes until the next shot.
  • In some scenes, the short construction worker's pants changes color. 
  • While SpongeBob and the construction workers are running away from the crane, the Chum Bucket is not seen despite them running directly to the Krusty Krab.
  • When Squidward immediately leaves the crane at the end of the episode, he is in the Krusty Krab. However, when he is stopped by the construction workers, the Krusty Krab is nowhere to be seen, nor is there any debris.
  • In the Norwegian dub, the title screen is cut.

Running gags

  • Squidward losing and SpongeBob winning at the skill crane.
  • Mr. Krabs asking Squidward if he needs more change to win the skill crane.
  • Squidward bragging that he is a winner after winning the skill crane.
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