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BORN ON THIS DATE
1910: Albert Zugsmith, producer of the movies in episodes 601- GIRLS TOWN and 602- INVASION U.S.A.
1914: Larry J. Blake, who played Corporal Mathias in the movie in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END and Sgt. Connors in the movie in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.
1924: John J. Fox, who played an attendant in the movie in episode 908- THE TOUCH OF SATAN.
1924: Jay O. Lawrence, production supervisor for the movie in episode 424- MANOS, THE HANDS OF FATE.
1926: William Riggs, who appeared in the movie in episode 307- DADDY-O.
1934: Shirley MacLaine, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 311- IT CONQUERED THE WORLD and in a host segment in episode 505- THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD.”*
1942: Richard M. Daley, who was included in the list of prominent “doughy guys” shown in a host segment in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.*
1966: Kelly Zombor, who did the sound for the movie in episode 910- THE FINAL SACRIFICE.*
DIED ON THIS DATE
1981: Patrick Conway (age 50), who played Sgt. Pete Allen in the movie in episode 804- THE DEADLY MANTIS.
1984: Eijiro Yanagi (age 88) who appeared in the movie in episode 314- MIGHTY JACK.
1989: Mickey Finn (age 50), who played Sam Haskall in the movie in episode 313- EARTH VS. THE SPIDER.
1998: Leslie Stevens (age 74), co-creator, co-producer and co-screenwriter of the TV series “Gemini Man,” two episodes of which were featured in episode 814- RIDING WITH DEATH.
1998: Frederic Downs (age 81), who was barkeep Jack in the movie in episode 209- THE HELLCATS, the pharmacist in the movie in episode 609- THE SKYDIVERS, Tinsley in the movie in episode 619- RED ZONE CUBA and Prof. Howard Erling in the movie in episode 807- TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000.
EVENTS ON THIS DATE
1954: Peter Lawford, who played Burke in the movie in episode 622- ANGELS REVENGE, married Patricia Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy.
1962: John Ashley, who played Stan Kenyon in the movie in episode 418- ATTACK OF THE THE EYE CREATURES, married actress Deborah Walley.
2003: Rachel Taylor becomes the 100,000th member of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Information Club.
Opening: Space trucker and rebellious Renaissance man Jonah Heston is returning to Gizmonic Institute with a load of meteors, when he receives a phony distress call from Moon Base 13 on the dark side of the moon. Jettisoning his load, he lands and is immediately captured and brought to the underground lair of Kinga Forrester, daughter of Clayton Forrester, granddaughter of Pearl Forrester. With her is her chief henchman, who calls himself TV’s Son of TV’s Frank, but whom everyone calls Max. Kinga announces that she is restarting her family’s greatest experiment, Mystery Science Theater 3000. Intro: Jonah introduces Tom and Crow and demonstrates Gypsy’s new voice and flying rig. Also Tom can FLYYYY … but only in theater. Crow wants an improvement. Kinga introducers herself, Max does as well. Jonah shows off his invention: a bubble fan. Kinga introduces the movie. Segment 1: Jonah & the bots “Every Country Has a Monster.” Segment 2: Tom Servo clones himself Segment 3: Jonah reads letters. Closing: Jonah creates a tiny Copenhagen for Gypsy to destroy; Kinga is not impressed.
Skeleton Crew songs: “Wild Rebels,” [Can somebody tell me what song the second song is?] “Livin’ In Deep 13” and “Canada Song.”
• The new door sequence, as near as I can tell is:
1—Workshop (aka “the fab lab”)
• For the record, MSTies had to wait 6,424 days since the debut of episode 1003- MERLIN’S SHOP OF MYSTICAL WONDERS.
• The new lyrics to the theme song (please correct if I have something wrong:
Har Mar Superstar: In the not-too-distant future, Next Sunday A.D.
There was a guy named Jonah, Not too different from you or me
He worked at Gizmonic Institute, Just another mug in a yellow jump suit
A distress call came in for him at half past noon
That’s when an evil woman trapped him on the dark side of the moon.
[Kinga] I’ll send him cheesy movies, the worst I can find
He’ll have to sit and watch them all and I’ll monitor his mind
Now keep in mind that Jonah can’t control when the movies begin or end
So he’ll have to keep his sanity with the help of his robot friends
Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo Crowwww
[Har Mar Superstar] If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes and other science facts
Just repeat to yourself: “It’s just a show, I should really just relax”
for Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Other thoughts and observations
• That’s Erin Gray and Will Wheaton as the Gizmocrats.
• The little device that taps into Jonah’s ship plays a little mechanical version of the old theme song, and Jonah says it “sounds familiar.”
• There’s a pyramid in Jonah’s payload…hmmm…
• oel plays “Ardy,” the “movie in the hole” guy.
• My observation is that the riffing begins slowly but eventually picks up steam.
• Callbacks: “I’m squishy” (Young Man’s Fancy), Killer Shrews were mentioned.
• At one point there’s a bit of a drum beat in theater when Jonah does a riff on “Monster Mash.” A bit of a departure…
• There is much excitement about the “Hamilton”-esque monster song, but my question is: No mention of England and Gorgo?
• Isn’t it nice to have Rebecca (the new voice of Gypsy) there for harmonizing purposes?
• Gypsy brings something — a cooler maybe? — into the theater and then makes a riff!! Later she removes it. We’ve been told that it is “the payload.” Nobody involved with the show will say what it is…
• Fave riff: “How about Reporticus Shutupicus?” Honorable mention: “It’s just a sign that says ‘Made you look’!”
Short: (1956) An American oil executive struggles to assimilate after he is transferred to South America.
(179 votes, average: 4.66 out of 5)
• You can watch this one here.
• The short was originally intended to be one of two that were to be included on a planned MST3K CD-ROM (back when CD-ROMs were a big thing; recall “Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time”). The project fell through when the bottom fell out of the CD-ROM market and the company that was going to produce the product, Voyager Co., got radically downsized.
• For the record, the second short, never seen by anyone outside of BBI as far as we know, riffed on an industrial film called “Mylar, What’s It To You?” You can watch the unMSTed original here. Although the short we’re discussing today is generally thought of as MST3K’s “lost” short, that description is literally true of the “Mylar” short. The master somehow got misplaced at the BBI studio. In the Sci-Fi era, following the release of this short, a concerted effort was made to find the tape but it never turned up. It appears to be lost to the ages.
• This short was shown to the public for the very first time on Friday, Aug. 30, 1996, in a large hall of the Minneapolis Convention Center, at the second MST3K convention. If I remember correctly, it was Paul Chaplin who introduced the short. He coyly teased the audience a bit, saying that the short existed, but then saying he wasn’t supposed to show it … and then finally giving in and off they went.
• For several years, the only publicly available version of that short was video footage recorded by convention attendees. The angles to the screen were not great, and the sound was terrible (the acoustics in the large hall were atrocious, and several of the riffs were obscured by laughter and/or applause in reaction the previous riffs), but MSTies will take what they can get. These videos, along with videos of the “MST3K: The Movie” outtakes that were also shown that night, soon found their way onto bootleg “MST3K: The Movie” DVDs that were selling on E-bay for $100 and more.
• It was eventually released on a VHS shorts collection from BBI and later that collection was an extra on a Rhino set.
• The short was an incredible treat for fans, who had not had any new MST3K for months, and did not expect to get any more for a long time. I can remember, as the short ended and the lights came up, seeing more than one fan around me wiping tears of laughter from his or her eyes. One was a friend who, a line from Season Two, muttered, “Wow, blindsided by a short!”
• Crow channels “Apocalypse Now” with the riff “Never get outta the boat. Absolutely goddam right.”
• Tom Servo and then Crow BOTH invoke country music personality Minnie Pearl with a boistrous “HOWWWDEE!”
• The whole “narrow-wide” thing really had folks roaring. It was one of those running gags that just gets funnier and funnier. “Well, if it isn’t Mr. Big Lake!”
• However, it was the riff “Bag-o in car-o!” that really brought the house down. It was a little like RiffTrax’s now-infamous “Rudolph, I need you tonight,” moment during one of their live shows. People just fell out and on the amateur videos, you can’t even hear the next two or three riffs, much less figure out what they’re saying. It was one of those memorable moments of being a MSTie, when you’re in a large group and the funny just gets funnier because there’s more of you to enjoy it.
• Fave riff: “I saw a nude midget circus.”
And now some housekeeping matters, as we enter the new era of MST3K:
To begin with, we at Satellite News, all of us proud backers, are just LOVING season 11. Our congratulations to Joel, first and foremost, to the tremendous cast and crew and all 48,000-plus backers. Give yourselves a round of applause!
Second, YES, we know that our FAQ, show history and other sections are now out of date. We are working to update them, but, as we have noted before, we both have full-time jobs. We will get to it. Please be patient. (By the way, Steve “Daddy-O” Finley is also at work on an update of Daddy-O’s Drive-In Dirt but, again, it’s going to take some time.)
Third, because of renewed interest in the show, there will come a day, shortly, when you are going to be asked, if you wish to partake of our comment threads, to register with the site. Sorry, but with the influx of people, this is going to be necessary.
Fourth, episode guide Thursdays will continue as normal, with two exceptions. Next Thursday we will look at “Assignment: Venezuela” and then, for the following two weeks, we will take a short break and tackle the two KTMA episodes, (K01 and K02) that were posted as kickstarter bonuses. After that, we will begin season eight. When we finally get to season 11’s proper place in order (some time next March?), we will do them again there, more formally.
Fifth, discussion of each season 11 episode, in numerical order, will begin next Saturday as weekend discussion threads. These will be proto-episode guide entries and you get to help construct them!
That is all. Enjoy this wonderful moment in the history of the show.
Well, the spoiler commands have been lifted, but before we begin discussing each of the episodes, I’m going to you another week to get some of these watched.
So, in the meantime, here is the official list of the movies that will be riffed in season 11:
1102- Cry Wilderness
1103- The Time Travelers
1105- The Beast of Hollow Mountain
1107- The Land That Time Forgot
1108- The Loves of Hercules
1109- Yongary – Monster from the Deep
1110- Wizards of the Lost Kingdom
1111- Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
1112- Carnival Magic
1113- The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t
1114- At Earth’s Core
Movie: (1977) A troubled teen finds an alien’s weapon and takes revenge on those who taunted him.
First shown: 5/18/96 Opening: With Mike tied up, Crow and Tom present the “Thunderdome” joke Intro: Dr. F.’s funding has been cut, so he cuts the SOL loose! But Tom gets the thrusters working Host segment 1: The SOL picks up Monad, an annoying robot Host segment 2: The SOL hits a field of star babies — and one of them needs changing Host segment 3: With the SOL heading toward a black hole, Mike undergoes a terrifying but useful transformation End: The SOL reaches the edge of the universe and its inhabitants become beings of pure energy. Meanwhile, Dr. F. becomes unstuck in time, has a revelation and is reborn Stinger: “Faaar out!” (246 votes, average: 4.62 out of 5)
• And so we come to the end of another era of MST3K and the departure of MST3K’s powerhouse, Trace Beaulieu. It really is hard to imagine that the show could have become the classic it is without him, and while it did manage to find its footing again after his departure, his absence was keenly felt for a long time. Thanks for everything, Trace.
• As for the episode itself, it’s mostly a winner. As usual when they have a story to tell in the host segments, they do it with brisk efficiency. The sci-fi parodies are everywhere (perhaps preparing viewers — and themselves — for what was to come) and a couple of the segments are classics. The riffing is steady and strong — and they had a LOT to work with. All in all, it would have made a fine farewell episode if the show had not been picked up.
• This episode appears in Shout! Factory’s “20th Anniversary Edition.”
• Mike writes about the episode and then Paul, Mary Jo and Kevin wrap up the season here.
• Joel Hodgson’s “TV Wheel” was shown immediately following this episode’s debut, so it was kind of a big day for MSTies.
• It had been 10 weeks since the last new episode and, as far as anybody knew when this first aired, there would never be another episode again. As it turned out, we would have to wait eight and a half months.
• In his writeup, Mike explains that the hilarious opening sketch was something that arose from a running gag in the writing room. I actually had an opportunity to use the thunderdome joke recently. Its message is still timely.
• The umbilicus, completely forgotten since about mid-season six, suddenly makes a reappearance and is suddenly a critical connection that determines whether the SOL’s orbit begins to decay or not. (And in the “how does he eat and breathe?” department, what was preventing their orbit from decaying in seasons K through 5?) Mike notices this in his writeup as well.
• I love how Mike does the Star Trek “shirt tug” before he says “Engage!”
• It’s fun to make fun of Kim Milford, who plays Billy, but that becomes more difficult after you find out that Milford died of heart failure following open heart surgery. He was only 37. (Incidentally he did NOT die of HIV, as was rumored.)
• You might recognize some of the background score. It’s the same Richard Band noodling that was also used in the movie in episode 110-ROBOT HOLOCAUST.
• Callbacks: “Roxie!” (Eegah) also “Eegah!” “It was after the Acropolis.” (Robot Holocaust) “Hi, I’m Max Keller.” (Master Ninja I) “It’s the Coleman Francis mountain!” Also a mention of Cherokee Jack. “Robert Ginty” (Warrior of the Lost World). And “Leave the Bronx!”
• I love the riff: “Let’s pop amyls and watch ‘Days.'” I’d assumed he was referring to the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” but a commenter suggested he might be saying “Dazed” as in the movie “Dazed and Confused,” which might also make sense. I previously asked if that line was from something and nobody so far has recognized it.
• Of course that’s Jim as the voice of Monad the perfection-seeking robot. It’s a funny idea but the bit feels a little rushed to me.
• After going several seasons without so much as making mention of it, this episode features not one but two uses of the “hatch” at upstage left. In the past it has been used by Joel/Mike to get to the theater. Now it seems to be a portal into space. Mike also notices this in his writeup.
• The “changing the starbaby” bit is a cute idea (I especially like Mike as the quintessential NASA flight controller guy), but it doesn’t really have a payoff (“put it on a shelf”?).
• The whole “ready for some football” thing became a catchphrase, and long-lived one. it pops up every fall on MSTie social media to this day.
• Obscure riff: “This sucks, I was supposed to headline,” as the characters pull up in a car together. This is reference, as I think I have mentioned before, to the experience many of the writers had as traveling comics working a circuit of comedy clubs in the upper midwest. They tended to travel to the club in one car, with the headliner getting the best seat, etc.
• Over several seasons, they’d established Mike’s bizarre ability to “become” other people at times of stress. He became Carol Channing and Kenny G, for example. This strange notion finally pays off in segment 3 when Mike — in one of the most notorious segments of the series — becomes “Star Trek Voyager”‘s Captain Janeway and saves the day.
• The whole Leonard Maltin thing really does point up the fundamental flaw of his rating system. I was once a devotee of his books: buying a new one every September was an annual rite of the fall. And before the arrival of the IMDB (which pretty much made Maltin’s guide superfluous) it was pretty handy. But I always felt his rating system was completely out of whack. The problem, to begin with, was he used a four-star rating system when a five-star system would have served him better. But the bigger flaw in the system was that, for reasons that I felt were never adequately explained, his lowest rating (other than “bomb”) was 1-and-half stars. No film received a one-star or half-star rating, which created a kind of odd star-rating inflation among bad movies. Had he made use of the half-star and one-star ratings, I believe this sort of problem would not have happened (or at least would not have been so acute) and he might not have let himself in for the well-deserved mockery he gets here.
• By the way: in Ward E we have a list of MSTed movies that have been given 2-and-a-half stars by Leonard Maltin.
• The final bit, of course, is amazing; as Mike notes, that’s Trace’s dad (who has since passed away) as “old Forrester.” The final moment of that segment gives me chills every time.
• Cast and crew roundup: Editor Jodie Copelan also worked on “Ring of Terror” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Special effects guy Harry Woolman also worked on “The Incredible Melting Man.” “Hangar 18” and “Agent for H.A.R.M.” Score composer Richard Band also worked on “Robot Holocaust” (as noted above) and “Being From Another Planet.”
In front of the camera: Cheryl Smith was also in “The Incredible Melting Man.” Keenan Wynn will be seen again in “Parts: The Clonus Horror.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. This of course was Trace’s last episode with the show. In addition to his acting and writing credits, this is the last episode he got “art direction” and “set design” credits. Joel Hodgson’s and Jef Maynard’s “set design” credits end with this episode as well. The “additional original music written and arranged by” credit goes away completely. This was Helen Espinoza’s last episode as prop master. It is Beth “Beez” McKeever’s last show as prop assistant (she would get a promotion beginning with season eight). We also bid farewell to: production manager/post-production coordinator Wendell Jon Anderson, production assistant Michael D. Parker, Info Club poobah Julie Walker (assistant poobah Barb Tebben would get a promotion in season eight) and interns Danika King, Ben Mooers and Kelly Schrandt.
• Fave riff: “So they’re just off County Road C goin’ at it, huh?” Honorable mention: “Look! Everyone was sending a sheet of paper to everyone else.”
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