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Sampo & Erhardt

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Episode guide: The MST3K Scrapbook

The MST3K Scrapbook is compilation of video memorabilia about the show that was sold by the BBI Information Club. The first fans to see it were attendees of the 1994 convention, where a shorter version was shown over and over on the hotel TV channel, as well as at the convention.
When a videocasette version went on sale a few months later, it had been expanded to include footage of the convention.
The complete Scrapbook as sold by BBI will never be sold commercially. Brian Ward of Shout!Factory noted that the Scrapbook …

… is FULL of stuff that is, in fact, nearly impossible to release. Logos, uncleared faces, etc.

The portions they COULD clear were included as extras (“GLIMPSES OF KTMA: MST3K SCRAPBOOK SCRAPS”) on “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XV.” But you can still see the whole thing on YouTube, in 7 parts.

Part 1

• We begin with scenes from episode K00- THE GREEN SLIME, the so-called “pilot” episode. Here again are all the now-familiar early stirrings of what would become our favorite cowtown puppet show. including poor inarticulate Beeper and the primitive door sequence (which I recall getting a HUGE laugh at the convention).
• The “chiropractic helmet,” renamed the “Chiro-Gyro,” would be an invention exchange in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES.
• We also see some KTMA promos, and that is clearly Josh doing the voice-overs.
• One thing I wondered: How did they get footage of Joel on NBC that they used on the commercial? Did Joel have it?
• The commercial shows Beeper, which I always thought was interesting, since he wasn’t on the actual show. It also shows brief clips of those Super-Marionation movies they did in the first two episodes. If I had never seen this show, I’m not sure this would be much of an enticement.
• It also shows Joel alone in theater.
• We get the now-familiar KTMA opening, which I had only heard about before I saw it in Minneapolis at the convention. It was quite a revelation.
• The video gives us our only look, so far, of the host segments for episode K01.
• We then get more KTMA: Having now sat through every available minute of those shows, I’m not sure I would have chosen some of the moments BBI did to typify the show.

Part 2

• After some more KTMA, we get footage of a live show at the Comedy Gallery in the Twin Cities in “Spring 1989.” An actual date would have been nice.
• It looks like there about 12 people in that crowd.
• It looks as if Joel did some stuff from his standup act. I’d love to know who those two kids are, and where they are now.
• Then we get into what might have been the most interesting portion of the entire “Scrapbook,” the actual 9-minute “pitch tape” Joel and Jim played for TV execs in New York, to try to interest them in the show. But for some reason BBI chose to steal its own thunder on this tape, and we are subjected to several of the SAME CLIPS (including the KTMA opening) that we JUST SAW not TEN MINUTES EARLIER. I have never understood this. The Pitch Tape would have had much more impact if we had not already seen some of this material.
• However, the KTMA stuff that is fresh is a lot of fun. I remember Crow’s “Get a catcher’s mitt!” riff getting a huge laugh at the convention.
• Both Joel and Tom call Gypsy “Gypsum,” and somebody calls Gamera “Gameron.” I remember a lot of puzzled looks at the convention showing.
• We then go into some amateur footage that Jim shot as they built the first set. Then-current reference: Norm Abram. (Yes, he has returned to “This Old House,” but the show just isn’t the pop culture sensation it was back then.)

Part 3

• Jim gives us some footage of the prop room and it’s fascinating to see the work benches so empty in those early days. When I visited the studio years later those shelves were jammed with stuff.
• Trace is seen painting the set in what I surmise are the wee hours, featuring some now-forever-memorialzed random Twin Cities radio.
• Standing next to Joel is a fellow Jim calls “Tim.” No idea who he is.
• We get a look at the making of the first door sequence, and I only wish it could have been shot from a better (i.e. closer and unobscured) angle.
• At one point Jim asks Trace to move Crow’s hands. It’s clear he thought this would a feature of this new Crow. It wasn’t.
• We get the now-familiar season 1 opening and the opening segment from episode 112- UNCHAINED YOUTH.
• We then get several early Comedy Channel promos including the blackboard promo, and one that is mostly focused on the Mads.
• We also get one that is very focused on episode 102- ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY, including the phrase “the experiment begins,” more anecdotal evidence that this ep was the first one shown.
• We also get the promo with the old console TV that calls the show “The future of television today.”
• We then get a promo for episode 103- MAD MONSTER that puts a little spotlight on the riffers, I guess helping the audience notice them.
• Then we move on to the VERY familiar Season 2-5.5 opening followed by the nicest treat of the whole tape, the complete 1991 Turkey Day bumpers.
• We also get the terrific Turkey Day promos, including Joel waving us off organ meats and Crow warning us of the dangers of l-tryptophan.
• For a comprehensive look at what happens in those bumpers, visit here.

Part 4

• More Turkey Day bumpers, including several of my personal favorites.

Part 5

• We finish up with the bumpers and move on to…
• “Scraps from the cutting room floor of ‘This is MST3K.'” featuring an extended look at the writing process.
• One interesting aspect: Joel reads off a submission from home writer Bridget.
• Note the Macintosh Classic being used to type up riffs.
• We visit with Jef Maynard, who explains how he got the moniker “toolmaster.”
• We get some shots of what taping is like, first an SOL scene, then a Deep 13 scene, then a movie scene.
• After that it’s the famous “Death & Taxes” promo.
• And then we get extended footage of the live show they did at the Uptown Theater. Some of the fans are a little TOO excited, but can you blame them?
• Are any of you in this footage?

Part 6

• We finish up with the Uptown show and move on to the first Mike-era opening and Mike’s first segment.
• After that, we move on to the footage that was added after the Scrapbook was shown at the convention. There are two Red Cross promos and then we move into the footage of the first convention.
• There are a lot of people in this footage that I know or knew. A few have, sadly, died, and it’s a little disconcerting to see them standing there.
• The footage does not try to hide the biggest problem of the convention, the endless lines.
• We get footage of people watching the Poopie! tape, and of a group of people taking the studio tour.
• Then there is footage of the “keynote/panel” the first night of the con, including the thunderous reception for Mike.
• We also get footage of the cast signing endless autographs, and of comments by guests Beverly Garland, John Humphries and David Worth at the celebrity panel. I missed this panel at the convention because my studio tour was scheduled for the same time.

Part 7

• We get more of the con guests, then we move on to the live show on the last night of the con. I love how HUGE the camera of the local TV station is.
• There all-too-few scenes from the live show itself, though we do get Frank’s wonderful dance right before intermission and some great moments backstage.
• Then we get some great footage of the costume party after the show, and again, so many people I know or knew, some no longer with us.
• This is the end of added footage.
• The final part of the tape is, I have to say, my favorite. It’s a sort of slide show of still photos all through the years of the show. There are some truly wonderful candid moments.
• Overall, I give this compilation a B+ with the completely unnecessary repetition of the KTMA footage the biggest drawback.

61 Replies to “Episode guide: The MST3K Scrapbook”

  1. mst3ktemple says:

    I love the Scrapbook Tape. I was already interested in the KTMAs, but like most folks knew almost nothing about them. Once I saw the tape I was on a search for everything KTMA I could find. A couple comments:
    1. The supermarionation vision clips in the early KTMA Sales Tape are NOT from either Invaders From The Deep or Revenge of the Mysterons From Mars. The tape mentions they will do a show called Thunderbirds to the Rescue, but the clips aren’t from that either. They are from an episode called Thunderbirds in Outer Space, which of course was never made into an MST episode.
    2. The live show with Joel performing with the two kids was called appropriately Mystery Science Theater Live! and was performed at the Comedy Gallery on June 5th and 6th, 1989. I’d love to see the entire tape of that show.
    3. To answer #45 above, Josh actually performed Crow in the first episode Invaders From the Deep so that is why we see him holding Crow while laying on the floor. If you watch the clip from that episode that Jim posted you can clearly tell it is Josh voicing Crow too.

       3 likes

  2. zxcvv says:

    I bet they still didn’t have any particular permission to use the KTMA movies.

       0 likes

  3. thequietman says:

    Is it controversial of me to say that I sort of like the KTMA door sequence more than the first Comedy Central one? It just seems a bit more creatively done.

    Knowing what a bona fide classic “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” would soon be known as, it’s amazing that that’s the one chosen to have the behind the scenes views from. Imagine if they’d tried going in the writer’s room for “Monster A-Go-Go” or even Manos!

    But the best thing of all in my opinion is the first Turkey Day bumpers. It’s amazing to think that we’re within a few episodes of all of the shows chosen for that marathon being out on DVD. Someday I might try to recreate it, someday…

       1 likes

  4. Dan in WI says:

    thequietman:

    But the best thing of all in my opinion is the first Turkey Day bumpers. It’s amazing to think that we’re within a few episodes of all of the shows chosen for that marathon being out on DVD. Someday I might try to recreate it, someday…

    I’ve actually re-created this marathon twice in the past (with the aid of tape trading) and with this year being the 25th anniversary of the Turkey Day Marathon I’ll likely recreate it again come this November.

       2 likes

  5. SoCalChevy says:

    Haven’t seen this yet but glad someone put it on Youtube!

       0 likes

  6. zxcvv says:

    @54
    a few years back somebody put together a simulated Turkey Day even throwing in TV commercials appropriate to the year and released isos of it in DVD format, really neat stuff

       2 likes

  7. AFFA says:

    I may be wrong, but is this the first (only?) time that we hear Joel say Dr. Erhardt’s first name? It sounded like he said Willis Erhardt in one of the clips from the first string of KTMA host segments.

       0 likes

  8. Prime Minister Jm J. Bullock says:

    If some extensive blurring was done, a release could happen. Depends on how much they want to release it. So, how did it get released in the first place, if so much clearance issues?

       1 likes

  9. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #58: Possibly it was a similar situation to when Godzilla Vs. Megalon was put on the Volume 10 DVD set.

       2 likes

  10. zxcvv says:

    @58
    It was simpler time with a cowtown puppet show selling VHS tapes to their fans out of their PO Box.

       3 likes

  11. Prime Minister Jm J. Bullock says:

    zxcvv:
    @58
    It was simpler time with a cowtown puppet show selling VHS tapes to their fans out of their PO Box.

    Let’s go back to that!

       3 likes

Comments are closed.