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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Cinematic Titanic Will Stop Touring at the End of 2013

Those on the Cinematic Titanic mailing list have received this:

As we have been adding dates to our live show schedule for 2013, we have come to the decision that this will be our last year actively touring as Cinematic Titanic. We feel that with any project there is a time to move on and as 5 people living in 5 different cities with different lives and projects, it has become increasingly difficult to coordinate our schedules and give Cinematic Titanic the attention it requires to keep growing as a creative enterprise and a business. As a result, we have decided to take this indefinite hiatus.

The last 5+ years have been an amazing opportunity for us all to reconnect creatively with one another and more importantly to connect with the fans of MST3K and new fans of Cinematic Titanic. We’ve had the great pleasure of playing some beautiful theaters around the country and have taken movie riffing to places we never dreamed, like ILM and Pixar, a sports arena, and even Broadway! The love we’ve been shown by those we’ve met and performed for will be with us forever.

We will be performing as many dates as is feasible this year and we hope you’ll come out and see us go at it one last time if we come to a theater near you in 2013. We are still in discussions about the production of additional DVDs and we’ll keep you posted.

We thank you deeply for all the support you’ve shown Cinematic Titanic over these years and we’re looking forward to many great shows in the year ahead.


The CT Crew

The tour as it stands now:

Feb 23, 2013
7 pm – The Wasp Woman
10 pm – The Doll Squad
Royal Oak Music Theatre
Royal Oak, MI
get tickets


May 31 – June 1
Arlington Drafthouse
Arlington, VA

Sept 20-21
Pabst Theater
Milwaukee, WI

Nov 2, 8 pm
Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
get tickets

Nov 3, 2013
Wilbur Theatre
Boston, MA

135 Replies to “Cinematic Titanic Will Stop Touring at the End of 2013”

  1. King_Stannis says:

    I am #82 and I wanted to clarify that I am a big fan of CT. As I said, I own every DVD. However, I will say with all due respect that CT ultimately undeserved their base. Proof of that can be found here with every “never made it to a live show and won’t be able to now”. Count me in that, too. If people can get past being a bit starstruck, they would have to agree with what is really an objective analysis.

    I didn’t say RiffTrax was “correct”, I said it was powerful. Powerful in that in addition to all the commentaries and obscure downloadable DVD’s, they do a few live shows that almost everyone can see. I know it’s a little different because we can’t see them in person at the fathom events, but honestly I don’t care. I wish CT would have found a way to balance touring and studio work.

    No harm meant to MJ, but we’re all big boys and girls, so I figured I would offer my. 02. And lest any of you think I’m some RiffTrax shill, remember that I am asking for MORE CT! I hope the hiatus is not permanent and I hope they come back and are able to give all their fans what they crave.


  2. Yipe Striper says:

    i have never had the opportunity to attend, but always wished i could. Dedicated MSTie. Dedicated to all involved. I know they’ll find a way to infiltrate the lunacy of my life in another way. Look forward to the future.

    Not really looking forward to the future of wearing aluminum foil outfits… so if someone could do something about that, i’d appreciate it.


  3. Brandon says:

    I don’t see why they have to close up shop completely, just because not every is always available for shows.

    They don’t ALWAYS have to do the Joel/Trace/Frank/Josh/Mary Jo line-up all the time. Gruber has filled in occasionally when one’s been abest. They could always have guest riffers. Maybe have Paul Chaplin in for a show, or maybe Mike or Kevin. Shake the line-ups a little.

    It seems like such a hasty decision. But either way I am glad I saw them when I did in 2009. Hopefully I can see them one more time this year.


  4. ackbar1138 says:

    “CT ultimately undeserved their base”?????


  5. King_Stannis says:

    Sorry, that was a typo. Should have said undeRserved their fans. Damn auto correct.


  6. Rockox says:

    I’m really glad my wife and I made the trip from Winnipeg down to Minneapolis to see their show in 2011. The food at Pepitos, the show itself…all in all it was a wonderful experience. Thanks CT.


  7. Zim! says:

    Yay, another Northampton show!


  8. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    Hmmmm, while I don’t want to get into any “wars” here (too easy and I’m too old :>) I’m not sure I’d buy the “under served” argument, for any artist.

    That gets into some interesting and complicated areas — and it sounds too much like the “you owe me” sort of line that folks get into when their favorite performers don’t seem to be delivering what they want, be it an album, a tour, a movie, another painting or their presence.

    I’m not trying to reframe your comment, but I certainly don’t believe any artist owes anything to any fan. And I don’t think they have to “serve” them in any sort of way. Art is what it is, and an artist can choose to do what their talent and whims dictate and those of us who enjoy are lucky to have what we get.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not all for CT producing more DVDs, as I said — I’m *pining* for them (like the Fjords, don’t ya know?) But I certainly don’t think I’m owed them, nor do I think I’m being under served if I don’t get them. My own particular argument in this matter is that the work they’ve already done (in the writing and/or performing) ought to at least be made available to as many as possible if only for the fact that it preserves their art (and makes them money without much additional effort). My failure to understand why they can’t at least release live versions of their last tour probably comes down to negotiated rights among the original movie producers, but if that hurdle can be overcome (and production costs, which nowadays are minimal, are found) I just can’t see why they wouldn’t do so.

    I love and buy most of what Rifftrax produces (outside of the “mainstream film” riffs) but I also think at times they are spreading themselves a little too thin. Perhaps they are OVER serving their fan base?


  9. King_Stannis says:

    I don’t feel I’m necessarily owed anything, but I am a consumer with a wallet who wants to buy their product. They provided that product to many others, but to those of us not in cities where they performed they failed to reach us. That’s all. No hard feelings, I’ll love the DVDs I do have. I’d stack Doomsday Machine up with the very best MST3K had to offer plus anything Rifftrax has done. Having said that, We’re talking about an average of a little over 1 DVD a year for their existence and zero live shows for many of us. I know I should simply be happy with the DVDs they produced but I wish they had given us a little more. They surely gave effort, probably Herculean effort, over the last few years. Travelling for your job absolutely sucks. But that effort meant nothing to me. I didn’t really benefit one iota, in fact in the end I and many others got a little bit left out as a result.

    I’ll buy the artist angle a little bit, as I’ve always sort of thought that the Titans viewed themselves more as artists while the Rifftrax crew probably view themselves more as blue collar workers with the occasional flair for higher level jokes. That sort of works, though. It gave a great diversity of movies and styles. I loved the high brow CT jokes and I also like the “you have got to be kidding me!!” style of Rifftrax. The world is a better place with both of them.

    Finally, I know I’m skirting the ledge of blasphemy here, but could this have anything to do with Joel’s seemingly chronic fear of success? He scuttled his own stand up career when he was poised to hit it big and he left MST on the brink of what could have been a breakout full length feature film. I know if it wasn’t for those fears, we’re not here talking about any of this. The man is a genius but as great a mind as he has, I’m not sure CT ever had a fighting chance for lasting success. Maybe that’s his way, to burn bright and fast and move on.


  10. Captain Cab says:

    I was fortunate enough to see CT Live each of the two times they were in Minneapolis (Oct 2008 – Blood of the Vampires and Sept 2011 – Rattlers) and will always cherish the laughs and memories seeing those shows brought. And of course meeting Joel, Trace, Frank, Mary Jo, Josh and Gruber who are all friendly, down to earth class acts was the sublime end of my evening in each case. It’s sad to see you guys end it but it’s understandable that a good thing which takes so much organizing can only last so long and we’re fortunate we got five solid years (hey! That’s a long time when ya think about it). I look forward to following each and every one of your projects going forward!


  11. JC says:

    @109: I agree with you on most parts regarding CT. I wish they had been a little more out there in terms of DVD production and social media. However, it seems that their side projects and live touring took up most of their time. And I can’t say I blame them for that. RiffTrax strikes me as a much more blessed endeavor in terms of money and resources. CT did the best they could with what they had available. Even saying this I acknowledge that I have no idea whether my assessments on CT are true or not. None of us have been behind the scenes and thus are unable to provide an accurate assessment of CT’s true circumstances.

    What does irk me is your hypothesis that Joel is afraid of success. I find that to be insulting and based on no substantial evidence. The way you frame it sounds like Joel ultimately sabotaged (or doomed) CT from the start. And I can say with 100% certainty from what I’ve read about Joel and his backstory that this is absolutely not the case. I’m sure you don’t mean any harm, but not cool, man, not cool.


  12. hookemhorns says:

    I was lucky enough to see CT twice here in Dallas (2008 at the film festival and 2009), and Joel last month. Joel said many theater owners did not understand the concept and the CT cast was “old.” Maybe so. But I know I’ll cherish the memory of seeing the shows live and meeting the cast of my favorite TV show until I die. The feeling in the crowd was electric for every show I went to. I remember at the 2008 show here how the crowd roared when Albert Glasser and Roger Corman’s names came on the screen, and seeing Joel and the Titans smiling at each other during the film when the audience got the jokes. It was as if they were back in their element, but feeding off the energy of the audience. Truly wonderful! Much of the rest of the population will never understand this, but the right people do. We’re just lucky to have had a form of MST3K back with new movies after it ended its run on TV almost ten years ago, so while I am sad, I am happy to have the memories and to see the show live on in different ways in the 21st century. I hope we can have more DVD’s for the movies not already released and that the Titans will continue to find outlets for their talents. We still have Rifftrax and a fantastic library of MST3K that never gets old, though.

    To the cast: whatever you do in the future — film, live shows, books, you name it — I will support you. You’re fine people and your humor helps me get through life with a smile. God bless you all.


  13. Matt D says:

    Gotta agree with most and thank the CTers for all the laughs. I saw them many times in the Northeast and loved every one of them. Hell, I loved seeing Alien Factor twice, once in Philly and once in Princeton. The New Year’s Eve show in Upper Darby was probably my favorite single night of seeing CT live, but that is because I saw two new movies that night (Samson, War of Insects) from them.

    You guys and gal had a great run and I wish you all the success in the world.


  14. Frank Conniff says:

    Old? Where does that whippersnapper Joel get off saying we’re old? He’s never said this to me personally, but then again maybe he has, my hearing aide hasn’t been working too well. I’d have a lot to say about this, but my arthritis is acting up andI can’t type much longer. RIght now I’m going to turn on my television machine and visit the one man who can comfort me at a time like this – Matlock.


  15. EricJ says:

    And I have to ask: Has any old (as in 80’s-survivor) Boston fan ever asked Joel or Trace in person whether they ever knew about the Boston/Cambridge 24-Hour Sci-Fi Festival?
    (We like to claim we “invented”, nay perfected, trapped-in-the-theater MST3K for real ten years before they did, and we tried to invite M&tB one time, but Universal had already ruined the chance by dumping all their theatrical prints of MST3K:TM.)

    I’m assuming they must get asked about it constantly at the Boston appearances, but as this’ll be the last chance for anybody to ask, I didn’t want to make a fool of myself asking at the last Northampton appearance.


  16. AmazingRando says:

    Frank, Mary Jo… thanks for bringing us CT. I loved those brief riffing sessions on MST3K and was glad to get more of it. Sorry to see that CT won’t be touring as frequently–if at all–but I hope that fewer live shows doesn’t mean the end of Cinematic Titanic.

    I understand that RiffTrax has Legend Films and company financing them, and as a creator-owned endeavor CT doesn’t have the same resources. I love both projects and always hoped CT would find a way to increase their output. We fans are greedy, no doubt, but we used to get as many as 24 episodes a year of Joel or Mike and the bots, it’s hard to get used to only one or two DVDs from you guys.

    I went to one live show and I enjoyed it a hell of a lot. I drove 5 1/2 hours to see it. I spent quite a bit beyond my budget, but it was worth it, as I got to shake hands with all of you. I don’t go to concerts anymore and it’s painful to wait in lines because of problems with my legs, but again, it was worth it. When CT came around again, I had to weigh all these problems and expenses and decided I couldn’t go again, but I always wish I could have. I understand that the live experience is probably far more enjoyable and rewarding than producing DVDs or VOD, but the DVDs or internet-based productions are probably going to be more accessible for some of us. Hopefully the spirit of similar comments overcomes the jaded or self-indulgent way we sometimes say it.

    Thanks for CT all the same. I imagine most of us felt the same when the first DVD was announced–Christmas came again… and nobody was getting socks!


  17. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    Frank (114) — you have a hearing “aide”? Wow, I always knew the rich and famous lived life differently from the rest of us, but having someone around just to hear for you… that’s kind of like a seeing eye dog, I guess (“Master, I just heard Joel over there in the corner bad mouthing you!”). Except it sounds as if that aide is letting you down (and, I guess, pun intended).

    I’m pretty old and one day I’m sure I’ll need help with my hearing — would love to know where I could get a hearing companion as well (with my luck that person would have fleas and want to go walkies all the time).


  18. Dan in WI says:

    Underserved: I can see where the word has some negative connotations but I don’t think it was meant that way. I’m gonig to assume each DVD release made some money. After all if they didn’t make money we wouldn’t have as many releases as we do. In this case underserved means they left money on the table. The market could have supported a few more releases. When I say underserved I’m not talking about a sense of entitlement. I’m talking about that money left on the table.

    I don’t think it is fair to say Joel is afraid of success. He was afraid of selling his soul to get success. That’s my two cents on that issue.

    What to do about the final Milwaukee CT dates. That is where I go to see them. But these dates conflict with another vacation I’ve been planning to take in another passion of mine: Sports Car Auto Racing. For those who don’t enjoy auto racing substitute another top three hobby/interest. I’m really torn here.


  19. Neptune Man says:

    #109: Oh yes, Rifftrax is only about fart jokes and everybody complains about their lack of enthusiasm, chemistry and passion for riffing, unlike those Comedy Gods of Cinematic Titanic. Get bent.


  20. nekouken says:

    Whether it’s a last hurrah or just an itch to get back into the studio, I appreciate that they toured so long. That said, I really did like the Time Tube stuff, and I would happily buy a studio riff of East Meets Watts, because, among other reasons, the audience laughed loud enough that some of the riffs were hard to hear.


  21. King_stannis says:

    Neptune Man – You shouldn’t get so worked out of shape. Just a generalization that Rifftrax leans to observational humor and CT leaned to the obscure. Obviously both outfits used both kinds of humor.

    I must be doing something right as I seem to have irked fans of CT and Rifftrax. Did I mention I really like both? Oh, yes I did, actually. More than once. :-(


  22. Captn Ross Hagen says:

    # 114 Mr. Conniff
    You have a hearing aide? What kind is it?
    ” 7:05 “


  23. Captn Ross Hagen says:

    I want to know with the final show are there any special plans?
    Sort of like The BANDS LAST WALTZ. I will say we plan to see both shows in Ma. and gifts will be given. I do plan to give something to each member of the CT crew. I would love to give J.ELVIS a Paul McCartney RICKENBACKER Bass, but sadly it would only be a shadow cut out like the one Joel gave him in SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. I do want to get something for everyone, to give back to some special people that gave and continue to give me so much. That have helped me through some of the hardest times of my life, a night doesn’t go by without me falling to sleep to a MST or a CT movie. Their voices comfort me and remind me of all the escape they’ve provided for me over the years. How no matter what trial I faced they gave me a reminder of better times when I needed to step away from the hard realities I was dealing with and could enjoy laughing at a horrid movie and it was a safe place. No show or entertainers have or will ever mean as much to me.


  24. Well, hell, what a shame. I hever got to see them, but speaking as an old MST3K freak from way back, it was great to know that they were out there. I’m hoping that they’ll just be doing like The Beatles did — retiring from touring to become a “studio band”.

    Still, I noticed this one date:
    May 31 – June 1
    Arlington Drafthouse
    Arlington, VA

    Would this by chance be the “Arlington Cinema And Drafthouse”, a really awesome little cabaret-style movie theater with great burgers, potato skins and good cheap beer, the theater where I saw Inglorious Basterds — for me, quite possibly the most pleasant and civilized filmgoing experience in many years?


  25. Droppo says:

    My thoughts on the recent posts:

    1. The “Joel is afraid of success” theory is way off given that we’re all here on a fan site for the show he created and starred in and are commenting on a thread about another project he created and starred in. By any measure, Joel has been an enormously successful artist and performer.

    2. I love Frank. There, I said it. And I’d say it again if I had to.


  26. Rob says:

    Very glad my wife and I took our son to see them on his 11th birthday this past year, he’s been a mstie since he was a toddler and as awesome as it was for me to meet my MSTie heroes, it meant so much more for me to see him and Joel have a little conversation at the autograph session. Wish we could’ve seen them one more time.


  27. Pete From Canada says:

    (Time to try reverse psychology. Everyone play along.)

    Yeah, that’s ok, we don’t mind. All us fans are getting more into good movies anyway. Yep, gonna go watch North By Northwest right now. Maybe follow it up with 2001, Casablanca, Ben Hur… maybe Moonstruck… yeah, that sounds… great.


  28. Dan in WI says:

    I hate to throw cold water on the optimism of some, but if this indefinitely suspending touring were to lead to the return of studio releases don’t you think they’d tease that to keep us from thinking we are losing our co-favorite MST alumni group? And since it wasn’t in the statement, either Mary Jo or Frank could have teased it as well in their posts above. The statement says indefinite hiatus. Period. We can all hope a few years down the road they once again realize this miss this movie riffing thing. But for now I read this statement to mean we are in for a period of total silence from this group. The possible exception may be the release of another live DVD or two recorded during the upcoming farewell tour.

    Just me reading between the lines.


  29. AmazingRando says:

    I’ve assumed the same thing as Dan (#128) since the announcement. The only plan is to make no new plans for a while. Let absence make the heart grow fonder, maybe.

    But I hope some kind of reunion is inevitable, sooner rather than later, and it never hurts to let them know how much fans appreciate the DVDs or other delivery methods.


  30. Droppo says:

    I haven’t had a chance to see CT live yet…although I’m going to do everything I can to see them this year. But, even if I had, I still would be a huge advocate of more DVD’s. That’s just me. I’ve seen Paul Simon in concert and it was amazing. But, I’d still rather have Graceland the album rather than just my memories of his live performances of Graceland songs. Recorded content keeps giving. Lord knows that’s been the case with MST3K all these years later.

    That said, CT doesn’t owe me or anyone else anything. The fact that they’ve created any new content at all post MST3K is a huge treat for us fans. Giving many of us the chance to see them live is just another cool thing to have done.

    There’s no “right model” for them. They’ve earned the right to do whatever they want to do. But, if they’re interested: I definitely am one of those fans who will buy any DVD they put out….whether they’re touring or not.


  31. Anthony Williamson says:

    If there were any justice in this world, I’d be reading these words instead: “Michael Bay, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan and Judd Apatow have decided to take an indefinite hiatus from the business of dumbing down the culture, and taking all the joy out of going to the movies.” Wouldn’t that be better news? Next you’ll be telling me there’ll be no more Monty Python, or Firefly, or…now I’m just depressed.


  32. Maybe they can join Rifftrax, or at least try and get another MST3K movie out.


  33. ringbearer1420 says:

    The live show was amazing. But I by far prefer the DVD that aren’t loud. I’m 50% deaf and the audience noise really makes it hard to catch alot of jokes.


  34. Mgabrys says:

    Don’t forget, March 8, Frank, Trace, and Elvis will be in Portland OR.


  35. sandyfrank says:

    I am saddened to hear this but was thrilled over the years with this project, I was fortunate enough to see both Mesa Arizona shows live with my wife (I was working in Arizona at the time) and we will never forget those 2 nights. Even though my wife is not as nutty a fan as I, she had a blast and I think she even started to “get” why I love all your work. Like others have said before MST3K got me through very dark times in my life and I will never forget that. Thank you for bringing so much joy to the world.


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