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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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Episode guide: 614- San Francisco International

Movie: (1970) Series pilot in which the administrators of a large metropolitan airport must deal with several crises and problems.

First shown: 11/19/94
Opening: Tom and Crow have a political debate on politics
Intro: The Mads are construction workers, M&TB do the old board routine
Host segment 1: It’s Urkel! Hahahahaha!
Host segment 2: It’s still Urkel! Hahahahaha!
Host segment 3: More Urkel hilarity until Torgo has his say
End: Comments on the movie, Tom and Mike read letters, Dr. F.’s ears
Stinger: “My job, my way.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (180 votes, average: 4.41 out of 5)

• Ah, the TV pilot: they usually have great riffablilty and the riffing really clicks here. And that’s good because the Urkel host segments are, for me, a long walk to not much of a payoff. As for the other segments, I do like the political debate at the beginning, and Trace and Frank are hilarious as the shirtless contractors, but the ever-increasing ears bit at the end doesn’t do much for me either (though whoever created the ears deserves kudos).
• This episode is available on Shout Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol XXXII.”
• Callbacks: “Shut up Iris.” (The Beatniks) “o/` Laaaa-da-da-daaaa o/` (The Starfighters), “Megaweapon!” (Warrior of the Lost World)
• Perhaps the ultimate “then-current reference:” This ep was made in the heyday, such as it was, of Jaleel White’s rein of terror as wacky neighbor Steve Urkel on TV’s “Family Matters.” He really did loom large on the cultural landscape at that point, and the segments really do take you through the stages of feelings most people had toward him. But topicality has its dangers and this is a classic example.
• Unlike “Code Name: Diamond Head,” this pilot DID go to series, however briefly. Clu Gulagher was the only cast member from the pilot to be asked back. It started airing in 1970 in rotation on NBC’s “Four-in-One.” (The other three series were “McCloud,” “Night Gallery” and “The Psychiatrist”). Pernell Roberts, as was noted by the riffers, was replaced by Lloyd Bridges, and new characters were added. It only ran three episodes.
• Celebrity dirt: Robert Sorrells, who plays the big-eared thug who kidnaps David Hartman’s wife, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2005. On the afternoon of July 24, 2004, he was kicked out of a Los Angeles bar after an altercation. He returned with a gun and shot and killed one guy and wounded another. Sorrells had reportedly been depressed over the death of his mother and his dog. He was sentenced to 32 years to life, and as far as I know he’s still behind bars.
• Great repeating bit: the kitty noises Crow makes every time somebody jabs a knife into a bag.
• Non-spaghetti-ball bumpers: Beaker, date book, bulletin board.
• Cast and crew roundup: Costume guy Charles Waldo also worked on “Riding with Death.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore did a bunch of MSTed movies, including “This Island Earth,” “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Leech Woman.” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing That Couldn’t Die.” Set designer John McCarthy also worked on “Radar Men from the Moon” and “Kitten With a Whip.”
In front of the camera, Clu Gulagher was also in “Master Ninja I.” Van Johnson was in “Superdome.” Walter Brooke was also in “Space Travelers,” and “Bloodlust.” Jim B. Smith was also in “Mitchell.” Frank Gerstle was also in “Atomic Brain.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. One Tim Paulson, who had worked as an editor for a total of 15 episodes in seasons two and three, returns to the editing booth for the remainder of the season. For the record, that’s Mary Jo as Jan in the Pan, Paul as Huggy Bear, Patrick as Rooster, Bridget as Nuveena (though the credits said “herself”), Kevin as Santa, Paul as Pitch and Mike as Torgo.
• Fave riff: “The answer, my friend, is blow it out your ass.” Honorable mention: “You know, Tab Hunter was Troy Donahue at one point.” “If only I had some thread — oh wow!”

This Date in MSTory

1888: Robert Carlisle, director of the short LAST CLEAR CHANCE, seen in episode 520- RADAR SECRET SERVICE.
1915: George Wilbern, editor of the short APPRECIATING YOUR PARENTS, seen in episode 320- THE UNEARTHLY and the short ARE YOU READY FOR MARRIAGE?, seen in episode 616- RACKET GIRLS.
1916: Arduino “Dino” Maiuri, screenwriter for the movie in episode 1013- DIABOLOK.
1921: Paul Carpenter, who played Larson in the movie in episode 416- FIRE MAIDENS OF OUTER SPACE.
1925: Sammy Davis Jr., who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 505- THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD.
1930: Maximilian Schell, who played the title role in the movie in episode 1009- HAMLET.
1935: Hylton Socher, who played soldier Frank in the movie in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END.*
1941: Paul Bogel, lead guitarist for the group “Davy Jones and the Dolphins,” whose music can be heard in the movie in episode 209- THE HELLCATS.*
1943: Patti Chandler, who played Louise in the episode K18- THE MILLION EYES OF SU-MURU.*
1945: Donna Michelle, who played Marion in the movie in episode 815- AGENT FOR H.A.R.M.
1950: Rick Baker, who provided the special effects make-up for the movies in episodes 704- THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN, 1007- TRACK OF THE MOON BEAST and 1012- SQUIRM.*

1976: Cathy Downs (age 52), who played Carol Forrest (Glenn’s fiancee) in the movie in episode 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN and Dorothy Chappel in the movie in episode 808- THE SHE-CREATURE.
1980: Millard McGowan (age 77), who played a chamber guard in the season four serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM.
1980: John Lennon (age 40), who was mentioned in host segments in episode 502- HERCULES and episode 514- TEENAGE STRANGLER.
1982: Marty Robbins (age 57), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 610- THE VIOLENT YEARS.
1998: John Veitch (age 78), who played farmer Jackson in the movie in episode 112- UNTAMED YOUTH.
2000: Thelma “Tad” Tadlock (age 69), who played the female lead in the short DESIGN FOR DREAMING, seen in episode 524- 12 TO THE MOON.

1990: episode 209- THE HELLCATS first shown. This is the first episode in which Alexandra Carr provides the voice of Magic Voice.

1936: John Carradine, who starred in episodes 320- THE UNEARTHLY and 619- RED ZONE CUBA, celebrates the birth of his son, future actor David Carradine.
1955: The movie THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED (riffed by fans in Sci-fi Channel’s “MST3K: The Home Game”) has its premiere.

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.

RIP Leonard of Mayfair

leonard Leonard of Mayfair, a celebrity hairdresser who created looks for many stars, including Twiggy and the Beatles, has died. He was 78.
MSTies might remember his work for the movie in episode 111- MOON ZERO TWO — he provided some wigs.
The Daily Mail has the story.

Bad and Good News from Shout

This email has been received by several people:

Dear MSTies:

We regret to tell you that the source material for the KTMA host segments we had planned to use for the Volume XXXVIII bonus disc is not of good enough quality to create a DVD that’s up to our — or your — standards.

We’re as disappointed as you must be. We were so excited about the prospect of sharing the beginnings of MST3K with you and while we haven’t given up on the releasing KTMA host segments completely, we have run out of production time to get them ready for this release.

In light of that, we have decided to move up production on a bonus DVD that was planned for later in 2017: a limited-edition reissue of the Play MSTie For Me Triple Decker DVD, the long out-of-print collection of MST3K musical performances that would put Broadway to shame.

If that sounds OK to you, there’s nothing you need to do — you’ll get that bonus DVD with your order. But if you would rather cancel your order, we understand and apologize for the inconvenience. Please email with your order number and we will take care of it.

Thanks for understanding. We really appreciate your support!


Team Shout! Factory

Thanks to several of you who shared this.

Weekend Discussion Thread: Outdated Riffs

Alert regular Paul opines:

The Chicago Cubs’ recent World Series win got me thinking. I recalled all the jokes made by the MST3K gang about the Cubs being perpetual losers.

Now those jokes are no longer as relevant. I began to think of other memorably-dated riffs.

There was that joke about the high gas prices on a shot of a gas station in episode 904 – Werewolf. That episode was seen in 1998, when gas prices were much lower than today. I cringe whenever I hear that joke now.

What are your favorite examples of dated riffs and jokes on MST3K?

There was one a few weeks ago in the episode guide: “Marilu Henner is replacing Vicki!” To be honest I couldn’t even remember who “Vicki” was (it was Vicki Lawrence, thank you internet.)

What’s your pick?

Now Available from RiffTrax…


Starring Ted Prior as Michael “Mike” Danton. Stream or download it here.

RiffTrax Show Reports

An open thread for your reports about tonight’s RiffTrax Christmas show.

RIP Tony Zarindast

zarindastTehran, Iran — Iranian-American director and actor and producer Tony Zarindast died here of cancer Nov. 29. He was 82.
He was reportedly considered by some to be the “Persian Ed Wood” and MSTies will remember his work as writer, director and producer of the movie in episode 904- WEREWOLF (in which he also appeared).

We’ll have more soon.

Thanks to Rick and Paul for the heads up.

Episode guide: 613- The Sinister Urge (with short: ‘Keeping Clean and Neat’)


Short: (1956) A fifth-grade girl and boy demonstrate how to have obsessive hygiene habits.
Movie: (1959) Detectives investigate a murder that they suspect is related to a secret porno operation.

First shown: 11/5/94
Opening: M&tB throw Gypsy a shower
Intro: Frank’s missing and Dr. F. begins to worry
Host segment 1: Frank has become a mad bomber, and gives the SOL a taste of what he’s planning for Deep 13
Host segment 2: M&tB check Frank’s background for clues
Host segment 3: There’s little hope until Mike remembers Frank’s weakness
End: Dr. F. stops Frank’s plan, Mike reads a letter, Frank has been deep-fried
Stinger: “Dirk? No that can’t be Dirk…uh-uh…no…that’s not Dirk…no.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (239 votes, average: 4.53 out of 5)

• I had a lot of people disagreeing with me the last time around, but I watched it again and I am going to stick with the “good-not-great” rating. It’s an Ed Wood movie, so you know it’s going to be good, and the riffing is fine, but the very topical host segments haven’t aged very well and that drags the overall rating down for me. Great short, though.
• You’ll find this episode in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 9.”
• Of course that’s Paul as Huggy Bear and Patrick as Rooster. On the basis of these incredibly brief cameos, they’ll make a re-appearance in next week’s “Urkel” segments. In fact I wonder if these appearances were thrown in just to add two more characters to the bits in the next episode.
• The springboard for the host segments was the spate of “mad bomber” movies that hit theaters in ’94, in particular “Speed,” “In the Line of Fire,” and the now-pretty-much-forgotten “Blown Away.” At the time, I didn’t get most of the references, because I don’t go to the movies a lot and I hadn’t seen them on video yet. I do give Frank credit for capturing the tone most of the villains in these movies had. His evil faces are fun.
• Tom says: “I think these scenes are from a completely different movie” and in fact they are. The pizza joint sequences were shot in 1956 for a film that was to be called “Rock and Roll Hell” a.k.a. “Hellborn.” It was never finished, so Ed used the footage for this.
• This movie has no relationship with what the porn industry — even back then — was really like. Sadly, in about 10 years, Ed would know a lot more about what the porn industry was really like.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: datebook, bulletin board, film canister.
• Callback: During a host segment, Frank says: “You’re stuck here!” (Fugitive Alien).
• Speaking of callbacks, Mike refers to the the grinning car as “Jet Jaguar” and Crow whispers: “How would YOU know?” Fans had been doing that sort of thing for a while, so I guess it was inevitable that the writers would do it.
• Tom falls off his theater seat laughing, at one point.
• Cast and Crew Roundup: Cinematographer William C. Thompson (who was nearly blind when this film was made and required assistance) also filmed “Bride of the Monster,” “The Violent Years,” “Racket Girls” and “Project Moonbase.” Score composer Manuel Francisco a.k.a. Mischa Terr also composed music for “The Violent Years,” “King Dinosaur,” “The Unearthly” and “Bloodlust.”
In front of the camera, Harvey B. Dunn was also in “Bride of the Monster,” and “Teenagers from Outer Space.” Reed Howes was also in “The Phantom Creeps.” Harry Keatan was also in “The Violent Years.” Nick Raymond was also in “The Hellcats” and “Red Zone Cuba.” Conrad Brooks was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “Red Zone Cuba.” Kenne Duncan was also in “Radar Secret Service.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. Interns Wendell Anderson, Julie Van Goethem and Sarah Swanson (though in this episode they gave her first name as “Sara”–they fixed it in the credits of the next ep) begin their stints.
• Fave riff from short: “Remember, people like you better when you’re pretty.” Honorable mention: “Don’t touch that!”
• Fave riff: “Well, THERE’S her hat!” Honorable mention: “I’m just gonna ask: Is this a juniper bush?”

Weekend Discussion Thread: The MSTie ‘Abbey Road’ Cover

This one is very silly but fun. Alert regular Timmy says:

I was looking at the Beatles Abbey Road album cover and thought, who four MSTed movie characters would you pick to be crossing the road?
Mine: Commander Jansen, The Soultaker, Steve (from ‘This Island Earth’) and Troy. What would yours be?

Rowsdower, The Master, The She-Creature and Winky.

What’s yours?