BORN ON THIS DATE
1893: Robert Pritchard, who did the sound for the movie THIS ISLAND EARTH, riffed in MST3K: THE MOVIE.
1901: Emperor Showa, aka Hirohito, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST.
1904: Kenneth Terrell, who played Joe Marcella in the movie in episode 409- THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN and played a henchman in the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1905: Hal Pereira, production designer for the movie in episode 906- THE SPACE CHILDREN.
1912: Richard Carlson, who played Tom Stewart in the movie in episode 414- TORMENTED.
1929: Ted V. Mikels, producer/director of the movie in episode 1002- GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS and cinematographer for the movie in episode 204- CATALINA CAPER.*
1934: Akira Takarada, who played Yashi in the movie in episode 213- GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER.*
1940: Jack Morris, who played Lt. Morris, the rocket pilot, in the movie in MST3K pilot, THE GREEN SLIME.*
1948: Reb Brown, who played David Ryder in the movie in episode 820- SPACE MUTINY.*
1955: Kate Mulgrew, whose Captain Janeway character Mike Nelson became in a host segment in episode 706- LASERBLAST.*
1958: Michelle Pfeiffer, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 503- SWAMP DIAMONDS.*
DIED ON THIS DATE
1945: Malcolm McGregor (age 52), who played Zogg in the season four serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM.
1979: Martti Turunen (age 76), choir leader for the movie in episode 422- THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE.
1991: Ken Curtis (age 74), who played Jerry Lacer in the movie in episode 407- THE KILLER SHREWS. He was also the producer of the movie in episode 402- THE GIANT GILA MONSTER.
2011: Russell A. Mosser (93), the co-founder of the Centron Corp., which produced the shorts SPEECH: USING YOUR VOICE, featured in episode 313- EARTH VS. THE SPIDER; CHEATING, featured in episode 515- THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN; WHAT ABOUT JUVENILE DELINQUENCY, featured in 518- THE ATOMIC BRAIN; WHY STUDY INDUSTRIAL ARTS?, featured in episode 609- THE SKYDIVERS; and SPEECH: PLATFORM POSTURE AND APPEARANCE, featured in episode 619- RED ZONE CUBA.
2012: Joel Goldsmith (age 54), who composed the musical score for the movie in episode 706- LASERBLAST.
EVENT ON THIS DATE
1947: Arline Judge, who played Mrs. Hotchkiss in the movie in episode 106- THE CRAWLING HAND, married Henry J. Topping. She married many times.
This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2016 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.
Movie: (1952) A sea-going adventurer sets sail to find the bluebird of happiness, which he believes will help his down-on-its-luck hometown.
First shown: 8/14/93
Opening: J&tB are presenters and nominees at the SOL-tie awards
Invention exchange: The Mads present chin-derwear, while J&tB show off the rat pack chess set
Host segment 1: J&tB have a meeting of the Junior Jester Club
Host segment 2: J&tB are the bearded town council debating the Sinbad problem
Host segment 3: Crow’s lifelong quest thingy goes awry
End: The bots are amazed by Joel’s channel cat puppet, letter, Frank meets Mr. Fistie
Stinger: Laughing horse
• Oh my, oh my, oh my, what a wonderful episode. An all-time fave. Everything works, everything clicks. Great invention exchanges, great host segments, great riffing and a well-shot, expensive — albeit weird — movie. Despite my personal attachment to “The Day the Earth Froze,” I have to say this is the best of the Russo-Finnish movie episodes.
• This episode was included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XX.”
• You gotta assume the opening is perhaps a reflection on their “always a nominee, never a winner” TV award history.
• Both inventions, chin-derwear and the Rat Pack chess set, are not just clever, they are downright witty.
• That’s Mike, of course, attempting Frank Sinatra. He doesn’t sound much like ol’ Blue Eyes, but he has the intonation down pretty good. In any case, as we approach the switch in hosts, Mike is seen and heard more and more.
• He’s not Sinbad, and director Aleksandr Ptushko never intended him to be. But when this Soviet-financed film was released to American audiences, the lead character was given the name “Sinbad” in hopes of fooling American moms and dads, who, the American importers knew, would never allow their kids to see a movie made by commies.
• Comedy Central used this episode for a contest: viewers were asked to write in and guess what the riff would be after Morgana (or whatever her name was) said “You seem troubled.” The correct answer was: “Have some Prozac.” The winner was a lady in New Jersey named Susan Schneider (she’s at the beginning of this collection of ’93 Turkey Day bumpers) who was on, I forget, either Prodigy or AOL. The prize was one of those god-awful giant-screen rear-projection TVs that were unaccountably popular at the time (and five grand, which was pretty sweet, even if the ridiculous TV took up half the space in her rec room). She threw a party and invited some of the folks she knew on line for the weekend — a decision she came to regret, but that’s another story for another day. I’m sure that behemoth she won is moldering in a landfill somewhere now.
• Crow the jester is carrying the little mini Crow last seen in the possession of Sir Giggles Von Laughs-a-lot.
• Again, the writing in the Junior Jester Club sketch is off-handedly brilliant.
• J&tB are still wearing jester hats when they enter the theater after the first segment. Also, Crow has no net for a lot of the riffing.
• Arty reference: “I can’t tell if that’s a Magritte or a hole in the wall.” Did Magritte do many giant frescos?
• Odd riff: “…and a tetherball.” What’s that about?
• Too-harsh riff?: “Jell-O tonight!”
• Did anybody else notice a similarity between the creepy laughing horse in this movie and the creepy laughing reindeer in “Santa Claus”?
• As if the segments up to this point haven’t been great, the second sketch is a riot, maybe one of their best. It even has an ending! “I wanna be the Labor MP from Brixton!”
• Callback: “Tom Stewart killed me!” (Tormented), “Please give my best wishes to everybody!” (Minsky the robot in last week’s episode) “A sampo?” (Day the Earth Froze), “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• This is one of those episodes with some theater business: First Joel and Crow drift off under the spell of the magic bird, then off goes Crow on his lifelong quest thingy. I love how Crow flies in from above upon his return. I guess Jef Maynard or somebody was up on a ladder next to the riffing chairs?
• Obscure reference: the infant of Prague.
• The movie was already really strange, but in the last 15 minutes it really gets goofy.
• Gypsy seems a little hungry in the final segment.
• Firesign Theatre reference: “Those eyes! Weird!”
• There are not one but two uses of “wha happa?” in this episode.
• And just to finish things off, the appearance of an instant classic bit, Mr. Fistie!
• Cast and crew roundup: Some of the same folks worked on “The Sword and the Dragon,” including cinematographer Fyodor Provorov, costumer Olga Kruchinina, art director Yevgeni Kumankov and actors Sergei Stolyarov, Yelena Myshkova and Sovol (a.k.a. Sergei) Martinson. Actor Mikhail Troyanovsky was also in “The Day the Earth Froze.” And of course Alfred Pusco a.k.a. Aleksandr Ptushko, also directed “The Day The Earth Froze” and “The Sword and the Dragon.”
• CreditsWatch: Andrea J. DuCane is back for a 14-episode run doing hair and makeup. Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy.
• Fave riff: “And stock up on socks! You know, you’re never gonna have this chance again!” Honorable mention: “Is this really the best away team he could have chosen?”
LOS ANGELES–Michelle McNamara, a crime writer and wife of comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, died in her sleep at her home here April 21. McNamara was 46.
Our sincere condolences to the family.
The Hollywood Reporter has the story.
Alert reader Jay suggests:
Food. The Brains brought up food in many, many episodes. What is your favorite? For me it has to be Hamdingers. Not only were they Joel’s exit device, but they sound darn tasty! Too bad they aren’t around anymore.
I kinda like The Mads’ breakfast bazooka.
If you have WDT ideas, email me at msampo at aol dot com.
Chanhassen, Minn. — Prince Rogers Nelson known to millions by his stage name Prince — songwriter, singer, producer, one-man studio band and consummate showman — died April 21 at home here. He was 57.
Best Brains writers and performers, fellow Minnesotans that they were, gently mocked and imitated him many times throughout MST3K’s history, most noticeably
in episode 815- AGENT FOR H.A.R.M.
The New York Times has an obit.
Movie: (1966) A report of drugged chewing gum in Michigan sends a suave super agent to Amsterdam to investigate a sinister crime organization.
First shown: 8/7/93
Opening: Crow and Tom build a robot, who soon becomes annoying
Invention exchange: Frank demonstrates virtual comedy until Dr. F. programs in a few hecklers, J&tB demonstrate micro-golf
Host segment 1: Joel, Crow and Tom are a jazz trio playing the “Secret Agent Super Dragon” theme
Host segment 2: J&tB read through Crow’s latest screenplay: “The Spy Who Hugged Me”
Host segment 3: J&tB discuss spy movie post-kill puns
End: Dr. F.’s holds a super-villain conference call
Stinger: Jumping the Super Dragon, with xylophone accompaniment
• I don’t watch this one often, but when I do, it always surprises me all over again. It’s really a solid episode. The host segments are clever and the riffing is very good. My biggest gripe is the awful awful condition of the print.
• This episode is on Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. 12.”
• Minsky the robot is an actual vintage toy, and that is what it really says. BBI named him Minsky in honor of artificial intelligence guru Marvin Minksy.
• Tom invokes “WKRP in Cincinnati” with the mention of “Chy-chy Rodragweez.”
• Callbacks: “I killed that fat barkeep.” (The Beatniks) Also: “Any talent to declare?” (Warrior of the Lost World), a mention of Ward E (Stranded in Space), “…but there was no monster” (Monster A-Go-Go).
• Joel wears his glasses in segment 2, which tells me he’s actually reading his lines off that script.
• Then current: “Herb from Burger King.” Also: “I ate the last Frusen Gladje.”
• Naughty riff: “We’ll be covering you from behind.” Crow: “You’ve been in prison too long.”
• Plot question–why did the bad guys choose a college town in Michigan to test their drug, when it’s fairly clear all their operations are in Europe? I don’t think the movie ever says.
• Frank is great in the ending segment, humming: ” …I sing whenever I sing…” and doing the exact minimum required to assist Dr. F. “Eagerly.”
• A very small cast and crew roundup: Set designer Arrigo Equini also worked on “Danger! Death Ray.” In front of the camera, Marisa Mell was also in “Danger: Diabolik,” Carlo D’angelo was also in “Hercules Unchained” and Benito Stefanelli was also in “The Pumaman.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. Clayton James does hair and makeup for the last time in season 5.
• Fave riff: “Emo, avec lute.” Honorable mention: “Remind your engineers to use coasters on me.”
This is more than a week old…
The latest annotated episode is 517- THE BEGINNING OF THE END
As always, post additions and corrections THERE, not here.
And this is a few days old…
RiffTrax’s MST3K episode this week is 417- CRASH OF THE MOONS. Boopie!
NEW YORK CITY — Actress Michi Kobi, who was known for roles in movies including “Tokyo After Dark” (1959), died March 1 at her home here, according to a statement released by her family this weekend. She was 91.
MSTies will remember her role as Dr. Hideko Murata in the movie in episode 524- 12 TO THE MOON.
Born Machiko Okamoto Nov. 2, 1924, in Sacramento, California, Kobi experienced a life-changing period during World War II, when her family was interned in a concentration camp in Utah along with others of Japanese descent. She turned to acting while in the camp, appearing in a production of “Our Town” as a means of self-expression. After the war, she studied acting at New York University.
Kobi’s notable films also included “Hell to Eternity” (1960). She was in the original Broadway cast of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1963, playing Nurse Nakamura. On television, she appeared on series including “The Californians” and “Law & Order.”
Other than a handful of small roles, Kobi largely left acting after the early 1960s, frustrated by the dearth of good roles for Asian women.
Thanks to Paul for the heads up.
LONDON — Christopher John “Kit” West, the mechanical special effects ace behind such films as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” for which he won an Academy Award, and “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi,” died April 16 at his home here. He was 80.
MSTies will recall that he did special effects photography for the movie in episode 111- MOON ZERO TWO.
The Hollywood Reporter has the story here.
Thanks to Timmy for the initial catch and to Paul for noting the THR story.
Alert reader Sarah had an idea for a topic about reconnecting with an old friend/relative by discovering their shared love of our favorite cowtown puppet show. I’m going to expand it a bit and ask about discovering a MSTie in an unexpected situation. For example, I was interviewing a corporate executive about something completely unrelated and we got onto the topic of our hobbies. I told them about the site and suddenly we were talking Joel vs. Mike and RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic. Amazing.
Has that happened to you?
Got an idea for a WDT? Email me at msampo at aol dot com.