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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Vol. 39–the end of the line?

We have news Shout about Volume 39 and the future of MST3K releases:

The set will be available Nov. 21, 2017, and available for pre-order on the Shout! Factory website and Amazon later this week. We hope you’ll share this update with your readers.

It will be a four-disc set, here are the titles:

The Amazing Transparent Man
Girls Town
Diabolik
“Satellite Dishes”

The 4th disc, called “Satellite Dishes” is a collection of the host segments from episodes from the remaining unreleased episodes. They are:

Ep #201 Rocketship X-M
Ep #212 Godzilla Vs. Megalon
Ep #213 Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster
Ep #309 The Amazing Colossal Man
Ep #311 It Conquered the World
Ep #416 Fire Maidens from Outer Space
Ep #418 The Eye Creatures
Ep #807 Terror from the Year 5000
Ep #809 I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Ep #905 The Deadly Bees
Ep #906 The Space Children
Ep #913 Quest of the Delta Knights

Despite our best efforts to include the remaining unreleased episodes, due to licensing issues, it is very likely that Volume 39 will be the last collection of never-before-released episodes, and that these remaining episodes may never get a legitimate release. With this in mind, we decided the next best option was to release the remaining host segments by themselves.

91 Replies to “Vol. 39–the end of the line?”

  1. trennerdios says:

    Shout has done a great job. It’s a bummer that out of the 11 episodes I won’t be getting, only 3 of them are ones I don’t care about. Here’s hoping they don’t have any trouble with re-acquiring the rights to any episodes from volumes 7-12. We’ll see what the future holds; perhaps they’ll still find a way to surprise us and we’ll get a few single episodes in the next few years. As others have stated, I wouldn’t mind a few volumes of the old single episode Rhino releases. I bought all of my from Hollywood Video when it was going out of business, so they’re not in the greatest shape.

       2 likes

  2. proczach says:

    so we can all find a copy of the riffed movies somewhere and they can release just the MST audio riffing track

       1 likes

  3. It would be great if Shout would also include all of the MST Hour segments on that fourth disc. That would give them the opportunity to include any they missed, as well as giving all of us fans one convenient place to go to for all of the host segments.

       9 likes

  4. claybone says:

    Turquoise Plastic Pith Helmet:
    It would be great if Shout would also include all of the MST Hour segments on that fourth disc.That would give them the opportunity to include any they missed, as well as giving all of us fans one convenient place to go to for all of the host segments.

    This is a great idea! Is there a licensing issue here because they show clips from the movie in the recaps as well as photos from the film behind Jack Perkins?

       3 likes

  5. claybone says:

    Thank you Shout for getting this many episodes on disc! Hopefully, as the new stewards of the property, you will still transfer the remaining episodes over to a more reliable medium for long term preservation. It’s quite tragic that the previous stewards seemed to treat the property so carelessly, whether it was a matter of improper storage or simply losing the material.

    I really don’t understand how the remaining rights holders to the films can be so willing to drop the ball on this. The window on the dvd market is slamming shut and I imagine the options for properties of such minimum value are rather limited. They haven’t prevented us from watching our personal copies. All they’ve really done is shot themselves in the foot by missing out on the best commercial opportunity likely to come their way.

       17 likes

  6. claybone:
    Thank you Shout for getting this many episodes on disc!Hopefully, as the new stewards of the property, you will still transfer the remaining episodes over to a more reliable medium for long term preservation.It’s quite tragic that the previous stewards seemed to treat the property so carelessly, whether it was a matter of improper storage or simply losing the material.

    I really don’t understand how the remaining rights holders to the films can be so willing to drop the ball on this.The window on the dvd market is slamming shut and I imagine the options for properties of such minimum value are rather limited.They haven’t prevented us from watching our personal copies. All they’ve really done is shot themselves in the foot by missing out on the best commercial opportunity likely to come their way.

    Agreed. Without exposure to a wide audience through MST3K (at least, as wide as those flms are ever going to get by a large margin) the films will fade back into obscurity and rapidly become worthless (Godzilla movies excepted for obvious reasons – they’ll always have their fans). I guess the rights holders don’t like money. Wish I could afford to be that snooty.

       9 likes

  7. Lisa H. says:

    trennerdios: I bought all of my from Hollywood Video

    Wow, now there’s a pastenblasten!

       1 likes

  8. proczach:
    so we can all find a copy of the riffed movies somewhere and they can release just the MST audio riffing track

    Unfortunately, they edit the heck out of most of the movies. So that wouldn’t work.

       3 likes

  9. skrag2112 says:

    Oh no!
    But really, I’m sure I can still see the missing episodes online.

       0 likes

  10. majorjoe23 says:

    Shout has added the set to their site, with the complete Poopie as the bonus disc.

       2 likes

  11. BobNotThatBob says:

    majorjoe23: The problem is with Rocketship XM and the Suan Hart films, there aren’t even official unriffed versions they could pair the MP3s with.

    Actually Rocketship XM did have an official unMSTied DVD release from Wade Williams. I wish we could know what Susan Hart’s reasons are for not releasing her properties. I know she fought long and hard to get those rights, and they were tied up in the court system for years. I think the “Just the Riffs” idea could be cool, but remember the guys also did a lot of visual stuff too, down there in their little corner, in silhouette. On the plus side, at least people really did “Keep circulating the tapes” and all episodes are out there (unofficially). Just not as pretty as they’d have been if they’d gotten released through Shout! Factory.

       3 likes

  12. BobNotThatBob says:

    I really hope “The Last Dance: Raw” gets put as an extra on the “Diabolik” DVD. Imma go suggest it to them right now.

       7 likes

  13. BobNotThatBob: On the plus side, at least people really did “Keep circulating the tapes” and all episodes are out there (unofficially).Just not as pretty as they’d have been if they’d gotten released through Shout! Factory.

    Back in the pirate days of digisubs, when BitTorrent was in flower, and before the rise of YouTube, the Digital Archive Project was one of the best sources for unreleased bootleg TV rarities, and had pretty much the whole(?) unreleased series on burn-ready DVD-ROM archive form, with nice looking menus and all.
    http://mst3k.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_Archive_Project

    Don’t know whatever happened to them after the whole BT industry seemed to vanish off of fan radar, as DapCentral.org is long gone, but some of the files should be floating around in the (comparatively) more respectable places?

       0 likes

  14. eegah says:

    BobNotThatBob:On the plus side, at least people really did “Keep circulating the tapes” and all episodes are out there (unofficially).Just not as pretty as they’d have been if they’d gotten released through Shout! Factory.

    I really, really wish we could get a better copy of It Conquered The World. The second half of the circulated copy has issues.

       6 likes

  15. I went back just now to look and it looks fine to me — obviously not *quite* broadcast quality, but as good (or better) than the movie looks when it shows up on television by itself late at night at times. What issues are you talking about?

       2 likes

  16. claybone says:

    I seem to recall in an interview with Shout’s Jordan Fields not too long ago that he said he had a good feeling about securing a deal for the Susan Hart films. Although nothing came to fruition, it sounded like there was at least some dialogue going on, as opposed to Shout being shut down right out of the gate. Perhaps she will come around and negotiate a deal or pass it onto her heirs who could be more inclined to negotiate….by that time the question would be whether Shout is still in the dvd business.

       5 likes

  17. Turquoise Plastic Pith Helmet says:

    Mike “ex-genius” Kelley:
    I went back just now to look and it looks fine to me — obviously not *quite* broadcast quality, but as good (or better) than the movie looks when it shows up on television by itself late at night at times.What issues are you talking about?

    I’ve heard the second half has a lot of “tape hits”, yours doesn’t? Where did you get yours, Cheesy Flicks?

       2 likes

  18. thequietman says:

    I think it’s worth reiterating that personally I’d like just a bit of clarification on a key point: is Shout! discontinuing their efforts to secure the rights to the remaining episodes?

    It’s one thing if this is meant as a way to soften the blow that the sets can no longer come out as regularly as they have been (and again, Shout! deserves MAJOR kudos for getting so many episodes out with the schedule they’ve been maintaining). But if Shout! is giving up even trying to clear the episodes, that’s something else altogether.

    I remember that interview with Mr. Fields and I recall him saying that for these holdouts, they still contact the rights holders periodically, JUST to see if anything has changed, even though the odds are nothing has. Will that continue to happen?

       0 likes

  19. claybone says:

    I just read a very illuminating forum exchange with Wade Williams. The MST part starts here:

    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/posts/4408379/

    But if you read the whole exchange it sounds as if he and Susan Hart, with whom he’s friends, are totally oblivious to the limited and diminishing value of their property. It’s kind of sad, really, to see someone so entrenched in a world of make believe. Forget about MST for a moment and consider that he rejected or botched very generous offers from Kino Lorber and 3D Film Archive to restore and distribute his collection in HD. At one point the guy from 3D Film Archive even went so far as to unload a stone cold dose of reality about the minuscule, rapidly diminishing worth of these films and that these were the best offers he was ever likely going to get.

    In a way I feel sorry for the guy. I mean, he’s invested so much in saddling himself with property that is becoming more worthless by the day because interest in the product isn’t being regenerated with the younger folks. But MST’s audience is growing because there IS interest from a young audience, so he’s got a lifeline for Rocketship right in front of his face, but he feels as though he has to protect it from being defiled….as if it’s sacred or something and it’s the riffing treatment that diminishes its worth. He says he even has an entail on Rocketship so that, after he sheds his mortal coil, the heirs can’t even green light the MST version.

    So let the guy shoot himself in the foot. We’ll still be watching our personal copies and “circulating the tapes” and he won’t ever see a dime from us!

       9 likes

  20. I wanna know who the people were that complained about MST3K riffing Rocketship X-M. They seem to have partially influenced his decision.

       2 likes

  21. SaveFerris says:





    Not that they’d do it, but I’d find it VERY interesting if SHOUT! Factory were to be forthcoming enough to tell us which, of the remaining 12 unreleased episodes they believe there might one day at least be a CHANCE of getting released, and which we should just completely forget, since there is probably no chance it will ever actually happen (for instance (I’m guessing), ‘The Godzilla’s’……..though if MST was once able to get the rights to make fun of them in the first place, why is it completely beyond the realm of comprehension that it couldn’t ever happen again?).


    I’ve lived long enough to learn that when it comes to human beings, and situations like this one where a potential for profit exists, NEVER say never………

       1 likes

  22. Wade Williams seems very unreasonable about Rocketship XM. I can’t believe he passed on a deal from Kino to restore his precious film. You’d think think he made Forbidden Planet or something. Those angry fans seem be the same kind who hold This Island Earth on a pedestal.

       5 likes

  23. eegah says:

    Mike “ex-genius” Kelley:
    I went back just now to look and it looks fine to me — obviously not *quite* broadcast quality, but as good (or better) than the movie looks when it shows up on television by itself late at night at times.What issues are you talking about?

    Multiple horizontal black bars that keep flashing on and off.

    Turquoise Plastic Pith Helmet: I’ve heard the second half has a lot of “tape hits”, yours doesn’t?Where did you get yours, Cheesy Flicks?

    Aren’t tape hits more squiggly?

       1 likes

  24. Yeah, the Rocketship X-M rights stuff always puzzled me too, since they licensed other movies to Shout. It’s not even on the quality of This Island Earth, and the movie historically was sort of a lower budget effort to ride the success of the movie Destination Moon. Maybe the tragic ending moved him deeply?

    Even though I don’t think the movie is great I would love to see a restored version of Rocketship X-M and it’s sort of interesting historically. A lot of these old movies are getting lost to the sands of time.

       2 likes

  25. Lisa H. says:

    I can kind of understand being miffed by one’s baby getting the MST treatment, but holding out against Kino Lorber? Why on earth would he not want a straight, possibly even quite nice, release? Weird.

       3 likes

  26. They should release a whole box set of all the movies Susan Hart owns, too, even if they can’t release the MST3K versions. It’s criminal that Invasion of the Saucer Men hasn’t gotten a good DVD or Blu Ray release. Those cabbage-head aliens are iconic. Someone needs to butter her up.

       2 likes

  27. Chuck Thompson:
    They should release a whole box set of all the movies Susan Hart owns, too, even if they can’t release the MST3K versions. It’s criminal that Invasion of the Saucer Men hasn’t gotten a good DVD or Blu Ray release. Those cabbage-head aliens are iconic. Someone needs to butter her up.

    Oh man. My head went head-long into the gutter when you said “butter her up”. :O

       3 likes

  28. claybone:
    I just read a very illuminating forum exchange with Wade Williams.The MST part starts here:
    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/posts/4408379/

    But if you read the whole exchange it sounds as if he and Susan Hart, with whom he’s friends, are totally oblivious to the limited and diminishing value of their property.It’s kind of sad, really, to see someone so entrenched in a world of make believe.Forget about MST for a moment and consider that he rejected or botched very generous offers from Kino Lorber and 3D Film Archive to restore and distribute his collection in HD.At one point the guy from 3D Film Archive even went so far as to unload a stone cold dose of reality about the minuscule, rapidly diminishing worth of these films and that these were the best offers he was ever likely going to get.

    The HTF thread was in response to the off-MST3K fact that the 3D Film Archive guy had already completed an amazing, reverential and non-ironic (unlike Rhino’s first VHS release of it) restoration of Robot Monster’s 3-D for Blu 3D disk, even years before the industry started saying “Welp, that’s it, everyone sez it’s dead now, so let’s wrap things up!”, and the Archive saw the value of restoring rare 50’s 3D in its original form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpz2JERo3AY

    Wade…there is no WAY you can tell yourself there’s going to be a better offer down the road. I can appreciate Wade and Susan felt they had “earned” the right to hold onto their property from the hard work it took to get them, but there’s also such a thing as being just plain nuts.

       9 likes

  29. Mr. Williams would probably turn down Criterion too.

       2 likes

  30. Turquoise Plastic Pith Helmet says:

    Lisa H.:
    I can kind of understand being miffed by one’s baby getting the MST treatment, but holding out against Kino Lorber? Why on earth would he not want a straight, possibly even quite nice, release? Weird.

    ring?

    Maybe he’s afraid of a Gamera-like situation occurring?

       1 likes

  31. Turquoise Plastic Pith Helmet says:

    eegah: Multiple horizontal black bars that keep flashing on and off.

    Aren’t tape hits more squiggly?

    I thought “tape hits” referred to any defects originating from the medium of the tape itself (as opposed to underlying defects in the film that were transferred to tape), but I could be wrong. In any case, if Mike Kelley’s copy is tape defect-free I’d be interested to know where he got it.

       1 likes

  32. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    Hmmm, as far as the episodes that are unlikely to be released, it would be great if a site devoted to cheesy movies would release a set of them. Yes, cheesy movies, sometimes called Cheesy Flix….. http://cheesyflix.com/store/mystery-science-theater-3000/theme-gift-sets/MST3KSatWishes

       3 likes

  33. docskippy says:

    The Original EricJ: Wade…there is no WAY you can tell yourself there’s going to be a better offer down the road. I can appreciate Wade and Susan felt they had “earned” the right to hold onto their property from the hard work it took to get them, but there’s also such a thing as being just plain nuts.
      (Quote)

    There is no shortage of crazy people with a vastly overinflated sense of the value of their possessions, as evidenced every day on eBay.

       3 likes

  34. claybone says:

    A lot of Wade lashing out against MST in that forum exchange was probably because he was coming under attack from all angles. In a more reasonable response he did say the following:

    “I have some of my films under license with MST3K. I like what they do and they give a new life to some of these old “b” films.”

    So he understands MST’s importance with regard to rescuing these films from obscurity. He’s just over-inflating the value of Rocketship, so he’s probably looking for a much bigger payday than Shout is willing to give for an obscure b-flick in a dying dvd market.

    Perhaps an amount could be reached if the fans raised the licensing fee directly in a Kickstarter campaign (we’ve seen the crazy amounts MST fans can generate there). I’d love to see Wade turn down that kind of money when dangled in front of his face.

       3 likes

  35. The Original EricJ: The HTF thread was in response to the off-MST3K fact that the 3D Film Archive guy had already completed an amazing, reverential and non-ironic (unlike Rhino’s first VHS release of it) restoration of Robot Monster’s 3-D for Blu 3D disk, even years before the industry started saying “Welp, that’s it, everyone sez it’s dead now, so let’s wrap things up!”, and the Archive saw the value of restoring rare 50’s 3D in its original form:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpz2JERo3AY

    And seriously, if you don’t have a 3DTV with a PS4, but at least have some kind of a YouTube-enabled Google Cardboard for your smartphone, check out Bob Furmanek’s restoration clip in its Side-by-side 3D form:
    Like all those danged snowflakes that kept turning up in late-00’s 3D movies, now you know why Ro-Man in 3-D had a Billion Bubble Machine.

    …THIS is why to hate Wade Williams’s grudges.

    claybone:
    A lot of Wade lashing out against MST in that forum exchange was probably because he was coming under attack from all angles.In a more reasonable response he did say the following:
    “I have some of my films under license with MST3K. I like what they do and they give a new life to some of these old “b” films.”

    So he understands MST’s importance with regard to rescuing these films from obscurity.He’s just over-inflating the value of Rocketship, so he’s probably looking for a much bigger payday than Shout is willing to give for an obscure b-flick in a dying dvd market.

    The discussion of “Freedom for Ro-Man!” basically turned into an MST3K-fan discussion of the other titles Williams was sitting on, and–in connection with our Susan Hart grudges–the old Sandy Frank-bashing demons came out. Which didn’t exactly help the diplomacy any.

    Frank in interviews didn’t seem to hate the show with a murderous passion, just didn’t want his babies to be undignified, and that ban didn’t turn out to be permanent.
    Williams, however, has a much inflated idea of what MST3K “did” to Rocketship X-M, that, like This Island Earth, pretty much can’t be undone for its old-movie reputation by this point. It was one of those old movies that seemed like it should be a “classic” for its design or time in history, until you actually sit down and watch it.

       3 likes

  36. My version of “It Conquered The World” *should* have been my own (I say should because, for the most part, about 90% of all of the episodes I recorded myself, leaving aside the KTMA and first season. After that the 20 or so episodes I was missing I got from a guy who wanted my “broadcast quality” episodes so we traded. I used to be in the industry so my recordings were transferred over digitally using professional equipment (my studio alone at the time was well over $5k — now, of course, you could duplicate the equipment for quite a bit less but back then no one could hardly transfer videotape themselves to DVD).

    The real problem is that up until around season five I was recording them on SLP instead of the highest quality — who knew I’d want to keep them? — and so my own recordings, recorded as they were off a local feed, weren’t exactly stellar. So when I look at it now it doesn’t look nearly as good as my later efforts, when I really made an attempt to get pristine copies (all of the sci-fi years, for example, was recorded off my satellite dish at the highest quality and after I transferred them to DVD I really can’t tell them apart from the commercial copies — sometimes I have to watch for quite a bit to see. However, I always did buy anything released by Shout and Rhino just to support them.

    I’ll go back and watch the last half again — hell, we’ll watch the whole thing :>) — to make sure, but I’m pretty confident this was one of my own (While I still have *most* of the original tapes I’m in the process of giving them away to fans — once transferred electronically as good as they would ever be, I packed the boxes up and still have three of them sitting in my closet, for when I “getaroundtoit”).

       1 likes

  37. BobNotThatBob says:

    The Original EricJ: Back in the pirate days of digisubs, when BitTorrent was in flower, and before the rise of YouTube, the Digital Archive Project was one of the best sources for unreleased bootleg TV rarities, and had pretty much the whole(?) unreleased series on burn-ready DVD-ROM archive form, with nice looking menus and all.
    http://mst3k.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_Archive_Project
    Yes! I got a bunch of eps from them (still on my hard drive, waiting for me to one day burn ’em). DAP was awesome!

    Don’t know whatever happened to them after the whole BT industry seemed to vanish off of fan radar, as DapCentral.org is long gone, but some of the files should be floating around in the (comparatively) more respectable places?

       0 likes

  38. SaveFerris says:



    Hmmm, as far as the episodes that are unlikely to be released, it would be great if a site devoted to cheesy movies would release a set of them. Yes, cheesy movies, sometimes called Cheesy Flix….. http://cheesyflix.com/store/mystery-science-theater-3000/theme-gift-sets/MST3KSatWishes

       1 likes

  39. rvoyttbos says:

    All the singles should be released in two sets. 9 movies. EEGAH, CRAWLING HAND, WILD WILD WORLD, BEGINNING END, MANOS, I ACCUSE, CUBA, HELLCATS, SC CONQUERS MARTIANS.

    And I bet SPACE CHILDREN, DEADLY BEES, & FIRE MAIDENS will probably become available sooner then later.

       1 likes

  40. Dirk Diggler says:

    “…DapCentral.org is long gone…”

    DAP is still alive and kicking. Google “DAP Tracker”

       0 likes

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