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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Weekend Discussion Thread: Origin Stories

Alert regular Andrew suggests:

Which MST3K character, main or supporting, would have the most interesting origin story and/or what might the facts of their origin story be?
How did Calgan become the head of the Enforcers and why is he so upset?
Was Torgo, like Mike, a normal man and might one of Manos’ brides have indeed been Torgo’s own before being taken over by the power of Manos?
Despite the rigors and discipline of obvious combat training, why is Deathstalker so laid back?
Has Mr. B Natural ever failed to bring a tormented soul into the musical fold?
Eegah?

Batwoman and Rat Fink seem to know each other. What is THAT about??

Your pick?

85 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Origin Stories”

  1. I’d love to see a prequel to Catalina Caper that follows the conniving parents as they scam their way across the country. Each episode takes place in a different town, and Marty Milner Jr. always tries to foil the scheme and keep his parents out of jail. The baseball loving doofus provides the comedy relief (allegedly), and Fingers O’Toole is hot on their heels pratfalling all the while.

       2 likes

  2. Torgover says:

    Santa Claus from “Santa Claus” he’s got a completely different backstory than other Santas, he’s a alien that has more of Batman or Iron Man’s tech rather than magical powers. How did he get in the gig of delivering toys to the world’s kids? How did he get a large number of child slaves?

       3 likes

  3. The Great Crowdini says:

    “Merlin’s Shop of Misfit Toys”

    Psychic lady buys an old, haunted house wanting to escape the backlash of her failed 900 number and fraudulent infomercials.

    Apparently nobody in the audience knew a Thomas Johnson. Nobody.

       1 likes

  4. jklope4 says:

    I want to see some of the other cases when Krasker consulted with the police. He must have had some results for the cops to go along with his cockamamie “dead talk back” scheme.

       6 likes

  5. IR5 says:

    Old Malla- her affair with Lincoln.

       3 likes

  6. Blonde Russian Spy says:

    I’d like to know the story behind that “No input file specified” guy. He seems to have a habit of showing up at this website.

       10 likes

  7. mst3kme says:

    Touches:

    Well, either way, the film would be a good one for Rifftrax to mock.

    touches no one's life, then leaves: However, per Wikipedia:

    “According to Steckler, however, the choice of title was deliberate: “The real story is that my little girl, when we were shooting this one fight scene, kept chanting, ‘Rat pfink a boo boo, rat pfink a boo boo…’ And that sounded great! But when I tell people the real story, they don’t wanna hear it, so you better print the legend.””

    Personally, I like that explanation better. :-)

       2 likes

  8. Mibbitmaker says:

    Blonde Russian Spy:
    I’d like to know the story behind that “No input file specified” guy.He seems to have a habit of showing up at this website.

    And, for some reason, they shut down the general public’s access to the site – JUST FOR HIM.

    Must be someone really special!

       3 likes

  9. Andrew writes:
    Was Torgo, like Mike, a normal man and might one of Manos’ brides have indeed been Torgo’s own before being taken over by the power of Manos?

    Of course, the answer to the whole “big knees” joke is that Torgo is supposed to be a satyr, and thus, presumably, a demonic “familiar” servant to the Master, once the Master got that cool robe.

    Like most evil demonic villains, the Master could have hired a midget, but that might be getting a little familiar. ;)

       3 likes

  10. bartcow says:

    And apparently Ryder caused MacPheason’s limp (alluded to in the un-MSTied version). So were they on the same team at one point (since MacPhearson became a trusted member of Santa Claus’ council)?

    And if they have smaller spaceships that can enter and leave the Southern Sun, why don’t the mutineers, you know, JUST LEAVE? Steal a cargo ship and go live with the pirates, if that’s what you want. Did the Southern Sun actually start out as a prison ship, but now that so many generations have passed, it’s like an intergalactic Australia now?

       4 likes

  11. GareChicago says:

    C’mon guys, there’s a huge one out there that nobody has mentioned:

    Vadinho knew Tony’s father, he did! He was a great PumaMan in the Andes. Soooo.. what’s the deal? Why didn’t dad ever, y’know.. mention that he could turn into a big cat that could fly (poorly). And where has Vadinho been all this time? No other situation had come up prior to the Mask being found that warranted his involvement?

    Speaking of which – where did Kobras find the mask? Why do he and his henchman dress up like it’s S&M Day at the Field Museum? For that matter.. why did Jane have on the same outfit? Do they keep extras handy for contractors?

    Oh, and what’s the deal with Tony’s Gilbert-Gottfried-esqe friend? There’s definitely some history there..

    Gare

       11 likes

  12. mando3b says:

    Wouldn’t you love to learn more about Audrey Ames’s pre-grasshopper/pre-Peter Graves career (Beginning of the End)? She’s one of my favorite characters in a MST-ied movie: she’s really done something special and valuable, she’s a widely-respected journalist, even all the male characters know about her and admire her work (not something you commonly see in a ’50s B-movie). The story of her WW II & Korean War assignments could actually make for an interesting film in the hands of a real director.

       7 likes

  13. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    bartcow:
    And apparently Ryder caused MacPheason’s limp (alluded to in the un-MSTied version). So were they on the same team at one point (since MacPhearson became a trusted member of Santa Claus’ council)?

    And if they have smaller spaceships that can enter and leave the Southern Sun, why don’t the mutineers, you know, JUST LEAVE? Steal a cargo ship and go live with the pirates, if that’s what you want.

    It would break The Law of the Galaxy. About which we know negative bupkis. ;-)

       3 likes

  14. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    ANOTHER ADDENDUM

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    ADDENDUM:
    So, if Jerry Warren films (Batwoman) connect to Aztec Mummy films (there were eight of them altogether, including our own “The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy”) and to Ray Dennis Steckler films (Rat Pfink), well, there’s a cinematic universe right there for ya. :-)

    And, of course, if the Aztec Mummy films tie in with all the other Lucha Libre films, that expands the cinematic universe even further. :-)

    Not really on-topic (just drawing a blank at the moment, sorry), there are at least two cinematic universes that EXIST but no one’s actually doing anything with them:

    Lloyd Kaufman’s Tromaverse, which involves not just the Toxic Avenger and additional super-heroes but other films set in Tromaville.

    The Charles Bandiverse, which also has some super-heroes where characters move back and forth between each other’s franchises (Dollman vs. Demonic Toys being just one example).

    Alas, as noted elsewhere, the creative forces in these universes take themselves so NON-seriously that I’m dubious as to whether they could produce any Cin/Uni-style films that could be considered “good” in any meaningful sense of the term. Unless they got me to help, of course. :-)

    Fortunately or not, neither Lloyd Kaufman nor Charles Band seem to have thought of jumping onto the train that Marvel and DC are riding into Mundo Fine. Not even the Italian film industry seems interested in ripping off this trend by creating brand-new super-hero universes, and the Italian film industry used to rip off almost everything. Sure not like the 1960s when everyone was jumping on the TV Batman bandwagon. So it goes.

       2 likes

  15. bartcow:
    And apparently Ryder caused MacPheason’s limp (alluded to in the un-MSTied version). So were they on the same team at one point (since MacPhearson became a trusted member of Santa Claus’ council)?
    And if they have smaller spaceships that can enter and leave the Southern Sun, why don’t the mutineers, you know, JUST LEAVE? Steal a cargo ship and go live with the pirates, if that’s what you want. Did the Southern Sun actually start out as a prison ship, but now that so many generations have passed, it’s like an intergalactic Australia now?

    (So, if we watch MST3K at all, we’re SUPPOSED to know you’re talking about the Holy Ayy Mutinii? Gotcha–I must’ve missed the memo.)

       0 likes

  16. Lawgiver says:

    GareChicago:
    C’mon guys, there’s a huge one out there that nobody has mentioned:

    Vadinho knew Tony’s father, he did! He was a great PumaMan in the Andes. Soooo.. what’s the deal? Why didn’t dad ever, y’know.. mention that he could turn into a big cat that could fly (poorly). And where has Vadinho been all this time? No other situation had come up prior to the Mask being found that warranted his involvement?

    Speaking of which – where did Kobras find the mask? Why do he and his henchman dress up like it’s S&M Day at the Field Museum? For that matter.. why did Jane have on the same outfit? Do they keep extras handy for contractors?

    Oh, and what’s the deal with Tony’s Gilbert-Gottfried-esqe friend? There’s definitely some history there..

    Gare

    Well, I just read through all of these, not finding the one I wanted to see, till I came across this post ;)

    I’d like to see when and how Vadinho became a mentor to Pumamen (Pumamans?) and how many he mentored before Tony. Maybe while he was in training as a Pumaman mentor he went through some learning experiences that we need to see.

       6 likes

  17. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    Vadinho was the real hero and definitely needs an origin story.

    But as he is now he simply fills the “wise ethnic” role >_>

       3 likes

  18. IR5 says:

    I have a list:
    Valeria from Robot Holocaust- her pre-Dark one days and if she was hot then.
    The scoliosis guy who screams “Puma” and taunts gravestones- has he always been such a dickweed?
    What about Lobo in The Unearthly and Bride of the Monster? Are we to assume they are the same person (or henchman?)
    Ken and Rita? What kind of Romance did they have before he killed her.
    Questions, Questions, Questions-I WANT ANSWERS, ANSWERS, ANSWERS.

       3 likes

  19. bartcow says:

    The Original EricJ: (So, if we watch MST3K at all, we’re SUPPOSED to know you’re talking about the Holy Ayy Mutinii?Gotcha–I must’ve missed the memo.)

    Quoth Joel: “The right people will get this.”

       0 likes

  20. bartcow says:

    GareChicago:
    C’mon guys, there’s a huge one out there that nobody has mentioned:

    Vadinho knew Tony’s father, he did! He was a great PumaMan in the Andes. Soooo.. what’s the deal? Why didn’t dad ever, y’know.. mention that he could turn into a big cat that could fly (poorly). And where has Vadinho been all this time? No other situation had come up prior to the Mask being found that warranted his involvement?

    Speaking of which – where did Kobras find the mask? Why do he and his henchman dress up like it’s S&M Day at the Field Museum? For that matter.. why did Jane have on the same outfit? Do they keep extras handy for contractors?

    Oh, and what’s the deal with Tony’s Gilbert-Gottfried-esqe friend? There’s definitely some history there..

    Gare

    One thing I’ve never quite understood is if it’s Vadinho who’s throwing Americans out the window, or if it’s a Korbas plot to ferret out the Pumaman. But did Korbas know about the Pumaman ahead of time? And if it’s Vadhino defenestrating, why wouldn’t he start with the former Pumaman’s son? Or at least ask around, or something? I need to rewatch that one, apparently.

       3 likes

  21. Lawgiver says:

    bartcow: One thing I’ve never quite understood is if it’s Vadinho who’s throwing Americans out the window, or if it’s a Korbas plot to ferret out the Pumaman. But did Korbas know about the Pumaman ahead of time? And if it’s Vadhino defenestrating, why wouldn’t he start with the former Pumaman’s son? Or at least ask around, or something? I need to rewatch that one, apparently.

    It was Korbas doing the others, but I don’t know how/if he knew about PUmamen ahead of time. Vadinho only defenestrated Tony because he knew he was Pumaman.

       3 likes

  22. GareChicago says:

    Lawgiver: It was Korbas doing the others, but I don’t know how/if he knew about PUmamen ahead of time. Vadinho only defenestrated Tony because he knew he was Pumaman.

    Truth. Kobras’ goons were throwing random Americans out of windows, as he apparently knew that the PewmaMan was American. How? Never explained.

    Vidalia Onion then needed to prove to himself that Tony was the guy by giving him a toss too. Which used up a perfectly good pants-wetting but did result in a jaunty harpsichord rendition of a Topol song.

    You can see evidence of Kobras coming to the realization that Tony has God-blood in his veins (which is hard to get out) in the scene that follows Tony hiding in the tool shed:

    – Rankin reports to Kobras that they’ve found him, or that Tony seems to be the right guy, or some such…
    – Kobras, in a rare display of actual compassion, says something along the lines of “Fine Rankin.. I hope so, if only for the sake of the others.. ”
    – Here, he’s referring to the other guys that are being thrown to their deaths.

    Again – none of this is very clear. It’s like the director had this thought in his head but didn’t know how to put it on film.

    So, there you go, won’t you?

    Gare

       3 likes

  23. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    GareChicago:
    Vadinho knew Tony’s father, he did! He was a great PumaMan in the Andes. Soooo.. what’s the deal? Why didn’t dad ever, y’know.. mention that he could turn into a big cat that could fly (poorly). And where has Vadinho been all this time? No other situation had come up prior to the Mask being found that warranted his involvement?

    Evidently not. Remember, the Mask and Vadinho are part of the same big picture, both connected to The Gods That Come From Other Worlds. Possibly, if Kobras had been using the super-weapon of some OTHER alien race, Vadinho wouldn’t have gotten involved at all. Jurisdiction stuff, you know.

    GareChicago:
    Speaking of which – where did Kobras find the mask? Why do he and his henchman dress up like it’s S&M Day at the Field Museum? For that matter.. why did Jane have on the same outfit? Do they keep extras handy for contractors?

    “Every morning, I look down and I’m wearing boots with lightning bolts on them, and I think…where did I make the wrong turn?” — Ms. Indestructible, “The Specials” (2000)

    Hey, wear a leather outfit, call the boss “Master,” as long as the check clears, am I right? At least she didn’t have to run around in a sailor suit or have films projected onto her back like some of the operatives in “Operation Double 007″…

       4 likes

  24. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I remember mentioning this one for “Starcrash.”

    Stella said that Akton was her “only human-like friend.” Exactly what kind of life had Stella led up to shortly before the start of the film, when all her friends were “not human-like”?

    That’s not necessarily saying that she couldn’t have had human friends back then, mind you, just that none of them were human-LIKE, a description that has been applied to select human characters in a variety of films. ;-)

       1 likes

  25. yelling_into_the_void says:

    We’re all ignoring the big question here. If Thepumaman is from South America why is he white?

       1 likes

  26. GizmonicTemp says:

    Why, WHY, WHY?!?!?!?! … did Paul switch from anthropology to mineralogy at the graduate level?

       5 likes

  27. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    yelling_into_the_void:
    We’re all ignoring the big question here. If Thepumaman is from South America why is he white?

    Because white people CAN in fact be found in select areas of South America?

    Also, Pumaman/Tony’s father was a doctor on the Andes Plateau (which sounds like it’s relatively hard to get to) so there’s a “Great White Doctor administering to the Primitive Villagers” vibe that probably wasn’t even intentional, it was just THAT pervasive. :-|

       3 likes

  28. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    IR5:
    Ken and Rita? What kind of Romance did they have before he killed her.

    Bland and acceptable? Incredibly average? White-hot tepid?

       2 likes

  29. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Another one:

    The start of “Laserblast” appeared to be the ending of an entirely different movie. What happened in THAT movie? What was THAT green guy with a printer cartridge on his arm’s story? Could that film have told us more about Operation Sand Dune and Nondescript Government Guy?

    Producer Charles Band later gave the world 1989’s “Deadly Weapon,” which started out as a sequel to “Laserblast” (1978) (see, even back then, he was kind of trying for a shared universe) but ended up as a remake instead. Eleven years between films might have seemed like a lengthy span of time back now but sequels have come further apart than that.

    Said “Laserblast” follow-up “Deadly Weapon” sounds like yet another obvious candidate to be in turn followed up on by Rifftrax. :-)

    ***

    Parenthetically, technically speaking, many filmmakers create “shared universes” simply by having minor characters appear in multiple films in identically minor roles, although that’s not quite the same thing.

    There’s also the approach of following a particular actor from film to film, presuming that, for example, every time Angelo Rossitto played a mad science assistant (as he did in “The Corpse Vanishes”) he was in fact playing the SAME mad science assistant over and over and over, cannily escaping one fiasco after another. Yes, the itinerant mad science assistant, living in a flurry of name and specialty changes, roaming the highways of Our Fair Land, poignant “David Banner” music playing in the background…

       4 likes

  30. mando3b says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: The start of “Laserblast” appeared to be the ending of an entirely different movie. What happened in THAT movie? What was THAT green guy with a printer cartridge on his arm’s story? Could that film have told us more about Operation Sand Dune and Nondescript Government Guy?

    Great post. Laserblast is chock full of unexplained stuff–it could be the sequel to about five earlier (cheesy) films. The green guy: how the hell did he get the blaster and the disco necklace that activates it? Why are the turtle aliens satisfied with killing whoever has the blaster, but don’t ever simply retrieve it? Billy’s relationship with his turtle-alien/overweight mom is obviously dysfunctional–and who the hell is constantly inviting her to Acapulco? Why do the redneck sheriffs have it in for Billy? What was Operation Sand Dust, why did it leave Grandpa wacko, and what does it have to do with the turtle aliens? Why does the Bill Bixby secret agent man seem to know all about the aliens and the blaster? Was he after the green guy? Why the hell does the Mister T pendant create an organic metal commemorative coin in the user’s chest? Why does the high school hard guy who looks like a sneering Steven Stills hang out with Eddie Deezen and Eddie Deezen only? Why Roddy McDowell and why the Gertrude Stein lab tech who seems to know the Bill Bixby guy? Why why why? Youth wants to know!

       4 likes

  31. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Shouldn’t someone have by now told Eric that the satyr theory has long since been disproven and that one can in fact clearly see Torgo’s feet in the film?

       1 likes

  32. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    mando3b: Why Roddy McDowell and why the Gertrude Stein lab tech who seems to know the Bill Bixby guy?

    Eh, it’s probably a small intelligence community (no pun intended), everyone knows everyone else, kind of like Mayberry USAF…

       2 likes

  33. touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    Another one:

    The start of “Laserblast” appeared to be the ending of an entirely different movie. What happened in THAT movie? What was THAT green guy with a printer cartridge on his arm’s story? Could that film have told us more about Operation Sand Dune and Nondescript Government Guy?

    Producer Charles Band later gave the world 1989’s “Deadly Weapon,” which started out as a sequel to “Laserblast” (1978) (see, even back then, he was kind of trying for a shared universe) but ended up as a remake instead. Eleven years between films might have seemed like a lengthy span of time back now but sequels have come further apart than that.

    Said “Laserblast” follow-up “Deadly Weapon” sounds like yet another obvious candidate to be in turn followed up on by Rifftrax. :-)

    ***

    Parenthetically, technically speaking, many filmmakers create “shared universes” simply by having minor characters appear in multiple films in identically minor roles, although that’s not quite the same thing.

    There’s also the approach of following a particular actor from film to film, presuming that, for example, every time Angelo Rossitto played a mad science assistant (as he did in “The Corpse Vanishes”) he was in fact playing the SAME mad science assistant over and over and over, cannily escaping one fiasco after another. Yes, the itinerant mad science assistant, living in a flurry of name and specialty changes, roaming the highways of Our Fair Land, poignant “David Banner” music playing in the background…

    There is a re-make and/or sequel to Laserblast? OMG! You are totally right, this needs to be riffed by either Rifftrax or the new MST3K post haste!

       1 likes

  34. GareChicago says:

    touches no one's life, then leaves:
    Shouldn’t someone have by now told Eric that the satyr theory has long since been disproved and that one can in fact clearly see Torgo’s feet in the film?

    It was? I thought I read it somewhere officially from the director that the satyr thing was legit, though they had problems making the leg thingies work correctly.

    I also read a great article a while back about the making and release of this movie – I’m sure most of you have also read it as well. In particular, it notes that the director could only afford one limo for opening night at the little town theater that the premiere was held at, so he would send only a few people at a time in the limo to the theater, then have the limo circle around, pick up a few more people (I think they were waiting in a parking lot somewhere), and then drop them off at the theater, etc.

    The thing that really stood out to me was that only a day or so into the shoot, everyone on the set became painfully aware that the movie was going to be terrible, and apparently they began referring to it as “Mangoes: Cans of Fruit”.

    I thought this was delightful.

    It also answers a question that is often asked about movies of this ilk – do you think the people who made it knew it was going to be terrible? In this case – yes.

    Gare

       4 likes

  35. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    The Unearthly , Incredibly Strange Creatures: How long did it take Conway and Estrella (assisted by Lobo and Ortega) to build up their respective collections of mutated prisoners? It must have been more challenging for Estrella because, hey, carnivals move from place to place, and herding mixed-up zombies probably isn’t all that much easier than herding cats.

    Bride of the Monster: Vornoff’s years of traveling the world, leaving reports of “monsters” wherever he goes.

    The Undead: Quintus in Tibet. Maybe he studied with Tor “Lobo” Johnson (whom Vornoff found in Tibet) and The Great Vorelli, among others.

    Racket Girls: Scalli and Joe: The Early Years.

    So, the Junior Rodeo was here to stay back now, huh? Did it get better? And what got Old-Timer Billy Slater sentenced to a nickel up at Attica followed by three years community service?

       3 likes

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