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RIP to Two MST3K Mentions

Two men who were mentioned in MST3K host segments have passed away.

Most notably…
fish Woodland Park, N.J.–They’ve updated isabevigodadead.com because sadly the hollow-eyed character actor, best remembered as the rumpled, over-the-hill Detective Fish on the comedy-drama “Barney Miller” (and for a memorable role in “The Godfather”) has died at his home here of old age at 94.
MSTies will recall that Vigoda, played by Mike Nelson, was found in the Mads’ junk drawer during an invention exchange in episode 211- FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS.
ABC News has a look back.

Also, ever wonder why, when Crow and Tom built a robot for Joel in episode 504- SECRET AGENT SUPER DRAGON, they named him Minsky? I never got the reference until now.

RIP to both distinguished gentlemen.

21 Replies to “RIP to Two MST3K Mentions”

  1. EricJ says:

    Ohhh! Always thought “Minsky” was some in-joke about the burlesque theater, which seemed a bit obscure…

       2 likes

  2. goalieboy82 says:

    Minsky now that is some obscure references.

       0 likes

  3. Lee says:

    The Godfather is the only place where I’ve ever seen Abe Vigoda.

    As for Minsky, I also assumed that it was a reference to The Night They Raided Minsky’s. I had read that it was Elliott Gould’s first movie and I watched it for that reason – he plays the son of the nightclub’s owner – but more than anything, that movie reminds us that Britt Ekland was one of the supreme hotties.

       0 likes

  4. Blonde Russian Spy says:

    Abe Vigoda was a brilliant actor, and I always enjoyed him on Barney Miller and Fish. It sounds like he led a long, full life, and he will be missed.

    As for Prof. Minsky, he sounds fascinating. I work in the computer industry, and it’s interesting to hear how computers have evolved throughout the years. But I assumed the reference was from The Night They Raided Minsky’s as well.

    I have an odd connection with that movie. Over the Labor Day weekend before I started 11th. grade, Hurricane David was approaching our area (a real one, not like the one in Sharknado). The local stations had bulletins all throughout the weekend, and one of the stations decided to stay on for all of Monday night to broadcast weather updates (that station usually went off the air in the early morning hours in those days). But they needed something to air besides the weather, so they showed The Night They Raided Minsky’s. I watched the beginning of it, until the power went off. Fortunately, we weren’t hit very hard by the hurricane, but every time I hear a reference to that movie I think of that night. Of course, now I know the reference I thought they made was completely wrong, but I’ll probably still think of it whenever I watch that episode.

       0 likes

  5. Edge says:

    RIP TV’s Fish.

    A lot of found (and faded) memories of enjoying Barney Miller and TV’s Fish. :(

       3 likes

  6. Ryan says:

    When I read the article yesterday about Abe Vigoda’s death, my first thought was: He was only 94?

       2 likes

  7. Laura says:

    Had he been in anything recently? I never saw “The Godfather” and have never heard of “Barney Miller”. ?:-)

       0 likes

  8. majorjoe23 says:

    Laura:
    Had he been in anything recently?I never saw “The Godfather” and have never heard of “Barney Miller”.

    There was a Snickers commercial with him and Betty White a few years back. He was also on Conan O’Brien a lot.

    You should see The Godfather.

       0 likes

  9. Twiggins says:

    His portrayal of Fish was funny, but he was wonderful as Tessio in “The Godfather” was brilliant. Only Abe could make a gangster like Tessio a sympathetic character.

       1 likes

  10. Keith in WI says:

    Hard to believe that he was only in his 50s when he was on Barney Miller. He was also in “Look Who’s Talking” where he played John Travolta’s father – and only in his 60s in that movie as well. He definitely played the role of elderly man very well.

       4 likes

  11. Mattfire64 says:

    Fun fact, Abe Vigoda appeared on 3 episodes of Dark Shadows roughly ten years before his role on Barney Miller. What did he play you ask? First as an old man scared to death by the ghost of Quentin Collins. Then he was brought back a year later to play ANOTHER old man scared to death by a disembodied head. RIP Abe Vigoda.

       6 likes

  12. littleaimishboy says:

    Barney Miller was one of the best US sitcoms ever.

    If it were set in Liverpool or someplace and the characters had various British accents, it would be a perennial on PBS.

       7 likes

  13. Kali says:

    Of course, with all the “is Abe Vigoda dead” websites, will anyone believe it? RIP, Mr. Vigoda.

       1 likes

  14. dafs says:

    RIP and Godspeed to both these men. Please give my best wishes to everybody.

       2 likes

  15. Mr. Krasker says:

    Abe Vigoda was also in The Cheap Detective, a very funny spoof of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.

       3 likes

  16. Atorgo says:

    The genius of MST3k: Even the hardest of the hardcores won’t pick up on all the jokes until nearly 25 years later.

       7 likes

  17. EricJ says:

    majorjoe23: There was a Snickers commercial with him and Betty White a few years back. He was also on Conan O’Brien a lot.
    You should see The Godfather.

    And you shouldn’t watch Barney Miller (way too downbeat and cynical, even for a Nixon-era-NY sitcom), but you should have at least SOME familiarity with Hulu’s treasure-trove of streaming 70’s series, for decency’s sake! If only to get more Joel riffs, if nothing else.
    The Arc-Binge generation should be reminded why a nation stayed home to watch TV in those days, and why workplace sitcoms back then had characters who actually liked each other. (Except for these terminally depressed clowns.)

    I didn’t remember much post-Fish Vigoda besides his bit part in North, the movie that Roger Ebert “hated, hated, hated”, so that was it for the 90’s that I knew of, since I didn’t watch Conan.

    Lee:
    As for Minsky, I also assumed that it was a reference to The Night They Raided Minsky’s.I had read that it was Elliott Gould’s first movie and I watched it for that reason – he plays the son of the nightclub’s owner – but more than anything, that movie reminds us that Britt Ekland was one of the supreme hotties.

    Also for the last appearances of veteran banana Bert Lahr without his lion suit, and would have been in the movie more if he hadn’t died during filming. (As for the “true story”, it’s anything but, as filtered through late-60’s comedy.)

       0 likes

  18. Cornjob says:

    I grew up with Barney Miller. Great show.

       6 likes

  19. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy says:

    If someone has never heard of Barney Miller, I can only imagine how many pop television/film references are going over their head in many MST3K episodes.

    But hey, we will always have Paris.

    8-)

       3 likes

  20. EricJ's Mother says:

    Hot Pockets are ready! Time for my little man to eat!

    Remember, your V for Vendetta mask is not allowed at the dinner table, honey-bunch.

    And if you don’t come eat right away, and get away from that nasty old computer, mommie will give your portion to Skippy the stray three-legged poodle that lives behind our garage where your father used to sleep.

    Hope you’re hungry!

       7 likes

  21. Laura says:

    Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy:
    If someone has never heard of Barney Miller, I can only imagine how many pop television/film references are going over their head in many MST3K episodes.

    But hey, we will always have Paris.

    That I can’t help. I either wasn’t alive or not old enough to notice when those shows where on the air.

       1 likes

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