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Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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This Date in MSTory

BORN ON THIS DATE
1907: Carl Hittleman, producer of the movie in episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES.
1911: Ann Doran, who played Martha Blake in the movie in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS and Mavis Varden in the movie in episode 615- KITTEN WITH A WHIP.
1912: George Cisar, who played Lem Sawyer in the movie in episode 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES and Fred, the man at the bar (aka “the doughy guy”), in the movie in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.
1912: Colin Douglas, who played Hans in the movie in episode 101- THE CRAWLING EYE.
1920: Andrew V. McLaglen, who directed the movie in episode 512- MITCHELL.
1923: Dean Dillman Jr., producer of the movie “Monstrosity,” seen in episode 518- THE ATOMIC BRAIN.
1926: Remo De Angelis, stunt coordinator for the movie in episode 501- WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD.
1944: Tsunehiko Watase, who played Ashizawa in the movie in episode K21- THE ‘LEGEND OF DINOSAURS’.
1947: Hugh Corcoran, who played Jaffe’s son in the movie WORLD WITHOUT END, riffed in MST3K’s first live show.*
1955: Nina Axelrod, who played Susie Fuller in the movie “Time Walker,” seen in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.*

DIED ON THIS DATE
1965: Ronald Davidson (age 66), screenwriter for the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1981: Ray Mercer (age 85), who did the special effects for the movies in episodes 208- LOST CONTINENT, 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS, 520- RADAR SECRET SERVICE, 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES, 613- THE SINISTER URGE and 621- THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS.
1984: Bess Flowers (age 85), who played a party guest in the movie in episode 808- THE SHE-CREATURE.
1985: Grant Williams (age 54), who played Neil Foster in the movie in episode 802- THE LEECH WOMAN.
1994: Aldo Farnese (age 57), who played Henry Krasker in the movie in episode 603- THE DEAD TALK BACK.
1996: Bryant Haliday (age 68), who played The Great Vorelli in the movie in episode 818- DEVIL DOLL and Prof. Steiner in the movie in episode 901- THE PROJECTED MAN.
2003: True Boardman (age 93), screenwriter for the movie in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS.
2004: Sam Edwards (age 89), who played Red in the movie in episode 415- THE BEATNIKS.
2014: Vanna Bonta (age 56), who played “student in lab” in the movie “Time Walker,” seen in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.

EVENTS ON THIS DATE
1973: Lee Majors, who played Franklyn Hart in the movie in episode K20- THE LAST CHASE, married actress Farrah Fawcett.
2015: Shout! Factory releases The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. XXXIII.


This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce This Date in MSTory items in any form without express written permission from the authors.
* = According to the IMBD this person is alive. If you can supply evidence that he or she has died, and when, please let us know.
** = If this appears next to a birthday, the IMDB indicates that the person has died, but the IMDB does not have a full death date (probably just a month and year or just the year he or she died). If you can give us the exact date (with some sort of proof we can check), please let us know.
** = If this appears next to a death date, the IMDB does not have this person’s full birthday. If you can provide it (with some sort of proof we can check), please let us know.

Episode guide: 812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

Movie: (1964) A couple of slackers stumble across a cult of monsters at a carnival.

First shown: 6/14/97
Opening: It’s walk-a-thon season
Intro: Pearl is taking the space kids home and has Bobo and Observer send the movie
Host segment 1: The bots try to read Mike’s future for 50 cents
Host segment 2: M&tB ask Shelli the Nanite for the “big hair” look
Host segment 3: Crow hires Ortega to cater the break
End: Crow and Tom build a roller coaster; Pearl meets the kids’ parents
Stinger: “What do you think we came here for … to eat?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (240 votes, average: 4.48 out of 5)
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• Ah, what’s not to like about this episode? Unless, of course, you count the movie itself, which is less a coherent story than a particularly vivid fever dream. Still, the riffing is great, the segments are funny and, if that wasn’t enough, there’s … MADISON!
• Paul’s take is here.
• This episode was released by Rhino on its The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 9 and was more recently re-released as a single disk by Shout!Factory.
References.
• Daleism: During the first dance number, during a shot of the dancers hands, all sing: “I thought you were Daaaaale…”
• Obviously the idea for the acronym sketch came from the movie’s very long title and accompanying acronym, TISCWSLABMUZ. The part where Tom keeps reciting the very long name of the charity is very reminiscent of the Monty Python sketch about Johann Gambolputty-de-von-Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crass-cren-bon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelter-wasser-kurstlich-himble-eisenbahnwagen-guten-abend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwürstel-gespurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumeraber-schönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittleraucher-von-Hautkopft of Ulm.
• It’s with this episode that a new occasional character arrives: Ortega, who will occupy a similar spot in sketches that Torgo did in the Comedy Central days.
• Obscure reference: Theatrical director JoAnne Akalaitis.
• This is one of those movies that posits the existence of a burlesque/strip joint in which nobody actually takes any clothes off and which is attended by as many women as men (see “Flashdance”). I maintain that such places never actually existed, especially in the time frame of this movie.
• Call back: “o/` Night train…“
• Mike is still sporting his very high hair in the theater but only for about a minute.
• Tom has a brief freakout during the movie, but who can blame him?
• The Angel’s Flight trolley, also seen in “Indestructible Man,” is briefly visited by a distraught Jerry.
• Some behind-the-scenes stuff about this movie:
–> It was shot on a budget of only $38,000. Can you tell?
–> It ran into trouble with Columbia Studios, which was releasing another long-titled movie: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Apparently there was concern that people would mix up the two long-titled movies. To stave off Columbia’s lawyers, director Ray Dennis Steckler agreed to re-title this movie “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Etc.”
–> It was released in so-called “Hallucinogenic Hypnovision,” which basically meant that just after a turning hypnosis-inducing spiral would appear on the screen, a few people wearing rubber masks of the movie’s characters would run down the aisles and try to scare the audience. I don’t know how many theaters this happened in, but I can’t imagine it was very many.
–> Believe it or not, a soundtrack album was released.
–> Steckler directed and performed in 1962’s “Wild Guitar,” starring Arch Hall Jr., star of “EEGAH!” Steckler also appeared briefly in “Eegah!” (You can see a poster of “Wild Guitar” in this movie: it’s on the wall of the boozing dancer’s dressing room).
• Then-current references: Crow mentions a “C prompt.” I think you have to be of a certain age to know what that is. During the fortune teller scene, Crow invokes Nancy Reagan. Again you would need to be old enough to remember that the former first lady had a personal astrologer.
• Bill and Kevin are the voices of the space kids’ dad and mom, respectively.
• The “space children” story arc ends.
• That’s Paul as the voice of Ned the Nanite and Mary Jo and the voice of Shelli the Nanite.
• Pearl calls Crow Art again.
• Cast and crew roundup: Script writer Robert Silliphant also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli also worked on “The Atomic Brain.” Editor Don Schneider also worked on “Eegah.” Assistant director Mike Harrington also worked on “The Skydivers.” Score composer Henry Price also worked on “Eegah”
In front of the camera, Titus Moede a.k.a. Titus Moody was also in “The Skydivers.”
• CreditsWatch: Kevin gets the “Produced and directed by” credit. With this episode a new line in the credits appears: “Audio Post Production: Fred Street, PostAudio, Inc.” It will continue for the rest of season 8.
• Fave riff: “You know what I’m looking at right now? That exit sign.” Honorable mention: “This whole movie has an oily T-zone.”

New(ish) Short from RiffTrax…

Riffed live last year. Now you can download it here.

Weekend Discussion Thread – Episode Guide, First Draft: 1114- At the Earth’s Core

Movie: (1976) A Victorian era scientist and his assistant take a test run in their Iron Mole drilling machine and end up in a strange underground world.

Opening: J&tB are having a pre-nuptial heart-to-heart but the Jonah introduces Growler
Invention exchange: With nobody coming to her wedding, Kinga turns to the Observer Hive Mind Manager. The bots have permanent temporary tattoos; The Mads have the Rip Taylor urn cannon
Segment 1: Jonah gives the bots a steampunk makeover
Segment 2: Crow’s a Mahar
Segment 3: Doug McClure visits and offers Max some romantic advice
Closing: As the wedding draws near, Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy appear to give their blessing, but in the midst of the vows, Max has other plans.
Stinger: “He died as he lived…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (36 votes, average: 3.92 out of 5)
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• Skeleton Crew songs: “I Wish I was in Old Canada,” “Livin’ in Deep 13,” “To Earth” and “Wild Rebels.”

• Well, one of the headlines, if not the biggest one, is the appearance by Joel McHale. In a season full of guest stars, he held his own.
• Biggest news: Jonah’s apparent death. I assume season 12, if there is one, will find him making a miraculous recovery…
• As a kid who grew up in the Philadelphia area, I enjoyed the reference to the giant heart you can climb through at the Franklin Institute.
• Classic riff: “Gamera is friend to all the children,” and “And the crowd goes wild! Yay!”
• Callbacks: Pearl sings a few bars of “When Loving Lovers Love.”
• More in-theater percussion as J&tB go all “Ballroom Blitz.”
• Nice visual riff: “Fantasia” riff with Tom in Mickey ears.
• Fave riff: “I dreamt I as a protocol droid.” Honorable mention: “Back to the Amazon.com warehouse!” and “This Petco adoption day is now what I thought it was gonna be.”

Thoughts?

Episode guide: 811- parts: the clonus horror

Movie: (1979) At a remote facility, clones are being bred to serve as a source of replacement organs for the wealthy and powerful.

First shown: 6/7/97
Opening: Mike has a mustache and the bots like it — sort of
Intro: Three runaway space children awaken the campers
Host segment 1: The campers are forced to play games with the kids
Host segment 2: M&tB help Pearl out by putting on a public TV show
Host segment 3: Pearl, Bobo and Observer have “that” talk with the kids
End: Crow has a nosejob, and Tom has written a poem for the kids
Stinger: “Sure!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (256 votes, average: 4.55 out of 5)
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• This is a (comparatively) thought-provoking idea for a movie, even if it is hamfistedly written, acted and directed. Still, it’s in color, it’s in focus, and its budget was (compared to most other MSTed movies) pretty big, so it’s pretty easy to look at, which helps make it a very watchable episode. The riffing starts slowly, but builds, and by the time of the campfire love scene, they are really clicking. The segments —- featuring a new, brief, story arc with the temperamental and omnipotent space children —- are fun. Not sensational, but there are definitely some laughs there.
• Paul’s take on the episode is here.
• Rhino included this episode in its The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 12.
References.
• In 2005, when DreamWorks released “The Island,” also about a colony that breeds clones to harvest organs for the elite, the makers of “clonus” filed suit, claiming copyright infringement. DreamWorks settled out of court.
• As you enjoy Peter Graves’ performance, remember that he HATED MST3K.
• Just to make a fool of me, the guys completely disregard what I’ve said in the past about them usually showing restraint when a popular TV actor shows up. The presence of Dick Sergeant prompts quite a large number (this time I counted about 10) of “Bewitched” jokes and references. There are plenty of “Biography” references as well.
• I enjoyed Mike’s use of the famous Belloq taunt from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’ve used it myself a time or two since this episode aired. It does have a certain insouciance.
• Daleism: Shot of man’s hand on podium. Servo: “Hey it’s…oh, I thought it was Dale.”
• For those of you playing along at home, this movie was shot a year after Keenan Wynn did “Laserblast,” so pretty much the same Keenan-ey era.
• Speaking of Keenan, I always feel sorry for the Nobels. This complete stranger shows up on their doorstep and they pretty much do the right thing right down the line, and they get blown up as a reward. Sheesh.
• Nice use of Dorf-style camera trickery during the segments. It works especially well on Paul, for some reason. Mike and Bridget are the other two children, of course.
• As Dr. F learned when he asked M&tB for help with his bed and breakfast, NEVER ask M&tB for help! Pearl learns this in segment 2.
• They would actually do a movie called “The Space Children” next season, but I don’t think they are really making a direct reference to that movie here.
• There’s a residual Adam Duritz riff.
• Best host segment line: “Tanta Bobo has to go see Uncle Reconstructive Urologist.”
• Mary Jo is hilarious in the “facts of life” segment.
• Then-current reference: Tom’s cry of “50 free hours of AOL???” Which was an offer Americans were getting at every turn.
• Cast and crew roundup: special effects guy Steve Karkus also worked on “The Touch of Satan” as did makeup guy Joe Blasco (he also did special effects for “Track of the Moon Beast.”)
In front of the camera, Peter Graves, of course, was in “It Conquered the World,” “Beginning of the End,” “SST: Death Flight” and was a narrator for “Attack of the the Eye Creatures. Keenan Wynn, as noted, was also in “Laserblast.” Lurene Tuttle was also in “Untamed Youth.” Greg Brickman did some stunts in “Hangar 18.”
• CreditsWatch: Beginning with this episode, Jim gets an “executive producer” credit that continues through the end of season 10. Kevin gets the first of several “produced and directed by” credits this season. This is the last week Brad Keeley gets an “audio mix” credit. And this is the last week John Sims gets a “SFX/foley” credit (but he’ll be back).
• Fave riff: “She really WAS on top of old smokey, wasn’t she?” Honorable mention: “Just making sure he hates this…”