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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Visit these!


Visit mst3k.com, the official site of Best Brains, Inc. and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

And be sure to visit Cinematic Titanic by Joel Hodgson and other original MST3K cast members.

And don't forget about rifftrax.com, the place to download DVD commentaries by Michael J. Nelson.

And check out the official web site of Joel Hodgson.

And also be sure to visit the official web site of Mary Jo Pehl.

Also also be sure to visit the official web site of Kevin Murphy.

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Episode guide: K13- SST-Death Flight

Movie: (1977) Aboard the maiden transatlantic flight of a supersonic plane, mechanical problems and a killer virus cause a crisis for an all-star cast.

First shown: 2/19/89
Opening: Dr. F. is back from Vegas, bringing money, gifts and this week’s movie. They send it to Joel, catching him off-guard
Host segment 1: Joel shows Servo what it’s like to feel pain
Host segment 2: Gypsy has a sexy new voice … or does she?
Host segment 3: Joel, Crow and Gypsy have a limbo contest; Servo provides the music.
End: Viewer mail.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (84 votes, average: 4.24 out of 5)
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• This is a movie I’d have loved to see them tackle again. It’s got everything: stupid plot, a huge “Fantasy Island”/”Love Boat” cast, hackneyed story lines, the works. And it sure is a breath of fresh air after so many weeks of Sandy Frank.
References.
• The opening is very similar to a segment in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES.
• Portions of the theater segments were included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
• Local jokes: “We can bail out Midwest Federal.” “They look like they got their suits at Foreman & Clark.”
• At one point Crow mispronounces a word and Tom immediately mocks him for it. It’s the kind of thing they seldom did later on.
• Pre-riff: I said, “You sank my battleship!” a few seconds before Servo did.
• In between segments one and two, in a jump cut between two scenes in the movie, it looks like they stopped tape and then restarted it. Servo is suddenly off his chair and Joel says “Whoa! Turbulence!”
• That’s make-up lady Faye Burkholder doing the sexy Gypsy voice and some puppetry in segment 2.
• Wow, can I just say that John DeLancie really does a good job of being a jerk. I met him once. He seemed really nice.
• Firsts: Crow mentions ram chips,” the Mads mention “pushing the button, “we get the very first reading of letters to the show and the first mention of Cambot’s “stillstore” function, which, at this point, appears to be a piece of cardboard and some masking tape.
• My DVD contains what is apparently a commercial for the show in which J&TB perform the “SST Death Flight Theme Song.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Cinematographer Joseph Biroc also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “Kitten With A Whip.” Score composer John Cacavas also worked on “Superdome” and “Hangar 18.” In front of the camera: Peter Graves was also in “It Conquered the World,” “Beginning of the End,” “Parts: The Clonus Horror” and did some narration in “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Burgess Meredith was also in “The Last Chase.” Robert Reed was also in “Bloodlust.” Robert Ito was also in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.” Tom Stewart was also in “Space Travelers.” Walter Maslow was also in “Human Duplicators.” Lorne Green was the narrator for the short “Johnny at the Fair.”
• CreditsWatch: We now begin an ongoing feature in which we note changes in the closing credits. In all the previopus episodes (as far as we know) Vince Rodriguez is listed as director and Todd Ziegler is credited with handling the audio. For some reason, in this episode and the next one, both their credits have vanished.
• Fave riff: “If I could do that I wouldn’t leave the house!” Honorable mention: “Put the masks on the important stars first!”

This Date in MSTory

BORN TODAY
1901: Leonid Vasian, art director for the movie in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS.
1902: Louis J. Haszillo, makeup artist for the movies in episodes 423- BRIDE OF THE MONSTER and 509- THE GIRL IN LOVERS LANE.
1904: Martin Berkeley, screenwriter for the movies in episodes 801- REVENGE OF THE CREATURE and 804- THE DEADLY MANTIS.
1907: Herbert Luft, associate to the producer for the movie in episode 107- ROBOT MONSTER.
1912: Paul Landres, editor for the movie in episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES.
1914: Robert Emmet Smith, art director of the movie in episode 803- THE MOLE PEOPLE.
1919: Bill Idelson, co-screenwriter for the movie in episode 106- THE CRAWLING HAND.
1956: Kim Cattrall, who played Dr. Wickings in the movie in episode 403- CITY LIMITS.*

DIED TODAY
1940: Lev Davidovich Bronshtein a.k.a. Leon Trotsky (age 60), about whom Gypsy prepared a report in a host segment in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS.
1958: Kurt Neumann (age 50), who was the producer, director and screenwriter for the movie in episode 201- ROCKETSHIP X-M.
1960: Glen Glenn (age 52), who did the sound for the movies in episode 203- JUNGLE GODDESS and episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES.
1983: William G. Troiano (age 69), cinematographer for the movies seen in episodes 108- THE SLIME PEOPLE and 515- THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN.
1987: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (age 78), musical score composer for the movie in episode 909- GORGO.
1988: Jerry Warren (age 63), producer, director, screenwriter, editor and musical director of the movie in episode 515- THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN.
1990: Wes Dawn (age 51), makeup artist for the movie in episode K15- SUPERDOME.
2006: Lomax Study (age 91) who played Professor Rayburn in the movie in episode 206- RING OF TERROR.


This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2014 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.

Maltin Ends Annual Print Update after 45 Years

Pete Hammond at deadline.com reports that the 2015 edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, due out in a couple of weeks, will be the final print version update.

Maltin and his guide were mentioned several times on MST3K, most notably a closing credits conversation in episode 706- LASERBLAST. Of course, Maltin himself appeared on the show — and held up a copy of the book — in episode 909- GORGO (and also appeared in a DVD extra when that episode came to DVD).

Joel to Be a Guest This Weekend at Chicago’s Wizard World

He will do a meet & greet Saturday, Aug. 23. More info here.

Nicki Minaj is a MSTie?

In a true testament to the staying power of our favorite cowtown puppet show, guess what visual pops up in Nicki Minaj’s new video “Anaconda” (it’s apparently completely coincidental that RiffTrax live will be riffing a movie by that name in October). Oh, the video is soooo NSFW (“not safe for work,” because when I put in a NSFW notation, somebody invariably asks what it means) and parental guidance is suggested for young viewers.

MTV has the story.

Weekend Discussion Thread: The MSTIEbles

Alert reader “Gobi” suggests:

With the release of “Expendables III”, two things occurred to me. First, why isn’t Joe Don Baker in it? Second, there’s a rich, untapped vein of talent available for a new movie to be titled “The MSTIEbles!” OK, the title needs work, but you get the idea. What’s your dream cast of action stars (not characters) drawn from the ranks of MST3K movies? Bonus points for a brief plot description, and double bonus points if all of your choices are still alive, so they’re available to star in next year’s blockbuster hit movie “3000!”

Have at it!

Kevin Featured in a Non-RiffTrax Kickstarter

We’ve mentioned our pal Scott Bateman several times in the past. Now he’s started a Kickstarter campaign to get his “funny fake documentary” You, Your Brain, & You, which features a small part by Kevin Murphy, completed. Take a look at the trailer and decide if you’d like to help.

RiffTrax Live Reports

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

As we always request, we’d appreciate it if you held off on spoilers until the west coast show lets out.

Episode guide: K12- Fugitive Alien

Movie: (1978 original TV show episodes; 1986 compilation movie) Alien marauder Ken becomes a fugitive from his home planet, then joins the Earth spaceship Bacchus 3 to fight against his former masters. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Rita is sent with a deadly mission.

First shown: 2/5/89
Opening: Dr. E. calls Dr. F., who is attending a mad scientists’ convention in Las Vegas
Host segment 1: Servo and Gypsy have disassembled Crow
Host segment 2: Ever notice how you never see certain celebrities in the same room together? Joel and Servo discuss
Host segment 3: Joel hosts a robot dance competition
End: Joel announces the formation of the fan club
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (81 votes, average: 3.73 out of 5)
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• The third-season riffing of this movie is one of the most seminal episodes in the series, so I guessed that this version was going to really pale in comparison, and it does. Plus, Trace is AWOL again, making it an even weaker incarnation. But if you take it on its own merits and don’t compare it, you can definitely see them getting stronger and more comfortable in the format.
• The Mad Scientist Convention would come up again in season one.
• Once again Servo sits in Crow’s seat (as he did in episode K06- GAMERA VS. GAOS) – Josh probably preferred not to have to crawl so far during the exits and entrances. Although he does not appear in the episode, Trace is still listed as a writer, puppeteer and “mad scientist” in the credits.
• The second half of this “movie,” Fugitive Alien 2, was done in episode K03, of which no fan copy exists.
References.
• The opening is really pretty funny; Josh is channeling Bob Newhart. Meanwhile Joel is disturbingly distraught. “I MISS MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY! GET ME DOWN!” Acting!
• Servo cracks Joel up with his “Strawberry Fields” parody. Despite the lack of Crow, Tom Servo really takes up the slack in the theater. It feels like he has many more riffs than Joel, but the two of them seem very in sync.
• One thing about this version: We get to see a lot of footage that was cut from the season three version.
• I wonder if that’s Kevin running Gypsy in the segments where Servo is there.
• It was a fairly typical February night in Minneapolis the night this show aired: a balmy 1 degree at 7 p.m.
• So many riffs from the third-season version are ingrained in me. Every time Ken says “Rita!” I reflexively say “Meter maid!”; every time anybody says “Rocky!” I reflexively say “Again?”): but it’s especially true of the score, and the lyrics that the Brains wrote for that music. I defy you to sit through this version and NOT burst out with o/` “He tried to kill me with a forklift…” o/`
• Josh genuinely amuses Joel up with his dance competition comments during segment 3.
• I’ve been meaning to mention this for several episodes: “Heavy on the 30-weight,” which Joel says to Cambot in several episodes, is a Firesign Theatre reference.
• Joel seems a little distracted during the closing.
• Fave riff: “Don’t you have, like, a Highlights Magazine I could wait with?” Honorable mention: o/` …and no refrigerator to stick on to. o/`

Podcast Interview with Joel

J.C. and Rita De La Torre of Transmissions from Atlantis has a nice interview with Joel. His interview starts at about the 14:00 mark.