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Weekend Discussion Thread: Packaging KTMA

Alert reader Thequietman suggests:

I periodically see mini-debates about the KTMA episodes of MST3k and how/whether they should be publicly released. Therefore I’d like to propose a Weekend Thread idea: If you were working for Shout! Factory and were given the green light to distribute the KTMA episodes (assume all the rights issues have been resolved), how would you package them?

Myself, I’d do something like the ‘Satellite Dishes’ disc on Volume 40, only instead of just the host segments also include a selection of the best riffs from the movie (as selected by Joel and/or whoever else wishes to participate). I’d call it something like ‘The First of the Worst’.
What do you think, sirs?

Thoughts?

36 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Packaging KTMA”

  1. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    The Birth of the Mirth: When the Riffing and the Robots Emerged

       4 likes

  2. Kenneth Morgan
    Ignored
    says:

    jay:
    The Birth of the Mirth:When the Riffing and the Robots Emerged

    That sounds like a better title.

    Otherwise, I’d go with the original post’s idea of the host segments and clips of the best riffs. For some of the better shows, like “SST-Death Flight” or “Hangar 18”, I’d try and get the rights to the movies so the full episodes can be included. Add in intros from the cast & crew, plus a Ballyhoo documentary on KTMA and the show’s formation, too. And, if possible, add in some of the stuff Jim & Kevin did for KTMA pre-MST, from the commercials to the hard-hitting journalism of Bob Bagadonuts.

    Plus a coupon for a free melon from Stop & Shop for next New Year’s Eve.

       6 likes

  3. Kevin Wallace
    Ignored
    says:

    We are Back in a Flash with the Trash: You wanted the worst and you’ve got the worst!

       2 likes

  4. RedZoneTuba
    Ignored
    says:

    Honestly? If the rights issues are all resolved I’d rather see RiffTrax re-do all those movies. They’ve learned ALOT in the intervening years and the riffing would be orders-of-magnitude better.

       19 likes

  5. skrag2112
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d want it to come with KTMA version figures of Crow, Gypsy and Beeper (Tom).

       10 likes

  6. pete_plums_drivers_license
    Ignored
    says:

    …mmm…Gonna get deep here. ‘Cause just recently, I watched those “new” first two episodes, and then I got a really good copy of the original Million Eyes of Sumuru.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see all the KTMA eps with the dialog and skits remastered against the best prints available, not just whatever twenty-sixth generation, 16mm prints KTMA had in their vaults?

    Of course it couldn’t happen, would cost the earth, but, man, was Million Eyes a completely different experience when you could actually SEE how awful it was.

    Parenthetically, check out the comments on imdb about Humanoid Woman. That one was apparently something special, and it’s a shame that the MST’d version is all most of us will ever see.

       9 likes

  7. EAG46
    Ignored
    says:

    Rifftrax versions of the KTMA movies aren’t a bad idea. MJ and Bridget taking on Sumaru, for example, would be most interesting.

       13 likes

  8. nomad
    Ignored
    says:

    Sampo:
    Thoughts?

    Well, I’m glad you asked!

    MST3K is not your traditional TV show, therefore we must dispose of any traditional means of release, and instead find a more fitting format. Might I suggest a Forrester-like approach and force feed the unsuspecting mass public? I’m talking mandatory viewing on every screen in the United States. The Gauntlet? Puh-lease, that’s for amateurs! I’ve got a plan that would make even the Mads go mad: Starting on Super Bowl Sunday, instead of watching the big game, Americans will instead be treated to an uninterrupted 42-hour marathon of the entire KTMA-era of MST3K. Try turning the channel.. HA! It doesn’t work! Joel’s on every channel now, playing with his puppets! Invaders of the Deep? Turn this crap off! But you can’t… even if you unplug the TV, you’re forced to watch Joel awkwardly mumble his way through an old Supermarionation movie. Look away from the TV–it doesn’t matter because it’s playing on your phone now too! Every iPhone, iPad and computer monitor has been converted into a visual showcase for Joel Hodgson’s airbag helmet & electric bagpipes! What are you going to do? Read a book?!? I don’t think so! You try to get some sleep, but for some reason you keep having the same badly-dubbed dream about a giant spinning turtle! That’s right–Kingachrome has now invaded your REM sleep! There’s no escape and by the time the sun rises in the morning, you’re still only on the New Year’s episode!! Only 14 more agonizingly slow-paced episodes left to go! Muahahahaha!!!!

    …or we could just put them out on DVD I guess.

       13 likes

  9. Mibbitmaker
    Ignored
    says:

    Keeping in mind rights issues and other real-world issues that could arise…

    Bonus discs a la the 25th Anniversary Edition in every MST3K volume necessary. Shows re-riffing KTMAs during season 3 would have their season 0 counterparts in the same set as them (example: Time of the Apes – both episodes on one disc, possibly). The extras could be the same as in Kenneth Morgan’s idea on such sets.

    Also, an official MST3K YouTube channel having the KTMAs on there in the best versions of the episodes possible.

    I’d love to see Rifftrax, and even the new era MST3K, redo the movies not already redone.

       5 likes

  10. disqus_ojjjo1bX8L
    Ignored
    says:

    I like the idea of having Rifftrax reshooting the episodes and then having the KTMA eps as a bonus feature. If you sell it on dvd people will buy it not understanding what the KTMA eps are.

       4 likes

  11. Ray Dunakin
    Ignored
    says:

    I have to be honest and say I don’t really care to see them. With a few exceptions, even the Season One episodes are a bit of a slog, IMHO.

       7 likes

  12. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    Perhaps I misread Sampo’s prompt, but it seemed to me the question referred to the actual KTMA shows rather than a redo. That does not take away from the various ideas.

       3 likes

  13. duke of puddles
    Ignored
    says:

    it took a while, but the KTMA eps grew on me.
    i might suggest a two or three box set:
    “Gamera vs. KTMA” all the Gamera movies of course..
    “File this Larry…” the rest of the movies that are available and if quality is worthwhile..

       1 likes

  14. michaelkz
    Ignored
    says:

    For better or worse, we should just have the full episodes. Maybe make the set inexpensive to ease the experience.

       9 likes

  15. SpaceChief
    Ignored
    says:

    Full episodes and make it a Kickstarter.

    Life is too short to keep waiting and waiting on something the fans obviously want.

    A best of would be a very easy pass.

       7 likes

  16. SpaceChief
    Ignored
    says:

    And getting the rights to those films open the potential for them to be redone as new eps.

       3 likes

  17. jjk50
    Ignored
    says:

    michaelkz:
    For better or worse, we should just have the full episodes. Maybe make the set inexpensive to ease the experience.

    I agree the KTMA episodes should be the way they were originally done. I have 7 of these on DVD and yes the show was more “primitive”, especially the look of the bot’s. The riffs were few and far between compared to the later more “polished” look but I think true fans of the show would love to see how it all began. If there was no KTMA season none of us in the rest of the country would ever have had a chance to see this great show.

       8 likes

  18. Ern Darnpath
    Ignored
    says:

    Did anyone ever dare try Shadowrama as a sort of AR filter? Granted having access to the “clean” silhouettes to superimpose would be a problem for developers, but one could iterate. Start with just the static IT STINKS pose (I think Compuserve used to have a “desktop frame” that did this) with synched audio (like the current Rifftrax app). Then you could add all sorts of features over time, like letting people know when the cheapest streaming platform had a majority of source movies…

       1 likes

  19. pete_plums_drivers_license
    Ignored
    says:

    jjk50: I agree the KTMA episodes should be the way they were originally done. I have 7 of these on DVD and yes the show was more “primitive”, especially the look of the bot’s. The riffs were few and far between compared to the later more “polished” look but I think true fans of the show would love to see how it all began. If there was no KTMA season none of us in the rest of the country would ever have had a chance to see this great show.

    Remember that, if you want to check them out, all twenty available KTMA eps are sitting there on Digital Archive [EDIT; NO THEY’RE NOT The Original Eric J Johnson is right. Sorry] and *cough*notpiratebay*cough*, and they’re all worth sitting through once.
    Two things, though. First, because of the way Joel and wossname got hold of them in the first place, there’s several that, as complete movies, are almost totally unobtainable anywhere else, as are many Rifftraxes.
    Second, yeah, I’ll confirm that there’s maybe half a dozen actually funny lines in all twenty of them, mostly from Josh being naughty. But, hey, the same thing’s true about the first MAD magazines, National Lampoons, or, surprisingly, Saturday Night Lives.
    So I’d be first in line for official two-sided DVDs with the restored KTMA version backed with the full movie

       4 likes

  20. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    pete_plums_drivers_license: Remember that, if you want to check them out, all twenty available KTMA eps are sitting there on Digital Archive and *cough*notpiratebay*cough*, and they’re all worth sitting through once.

    ONCE. Like S1, on-the-fly ad-libbing works okay for a local UHF station, when it was just the local afternoon host, but didn’t quite suit the big time.

    And link?–I remember those DAP burnable-archive files (I could finally dispose of my Amazing Colossal Man VHS, along with all my home tapes), but didn’t know the site was still around past the end of the 00’s.
    Back in the BitTorrent 00’s, anime and cult-movies (where else would you find the Roger Corman “Fantastic Four”, before YouTube?) had a “gray-market” that would often remove the notpiratebay-file once the DVD had been commercially licensed, and Shout finally getting MST3K back hit that market hard.

    Two things, though. First, because of the way Joel and wossname got hold of them in the first place, there’s several that, as complete movies, are almost totally unobtainable anywhere else, as are many Rifftraxes.
    Second, yeah, I’ll confirm that there’s maybe half a dozen actually funny lines in all twenty of them, mostly from Josh being naughty. But, hey, the same thing’s true about the first MAD magazines, National Lampoons, or, surprisingly, Saturday Night Lives.
    So I’d be first in line for official two-sided DVDs with the restored KTMA version backed with the full movie

    Not sure how many of them have had the “rights resolved”: Pretty sure the Green Slime, Phase IV and Space:1999 haven’t, and things were different back in the days when local stations could actually show licensed packages of movies with impunity.

    As for a marketing line, I keep flashing back on the time Cartoon Network had to sell Dragon Ball Z’s earlier-incarnation “kiddy” series, once their cool later teen hit had taken off:
    “They were so cute at that age…” :)

       2 likes

  21. pete_plums_drivers_license
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: ONCE.Like S1, on-the-fly ad-libbing works okay for a local UHF station, when it was just the local afternoon host, but didn’t quite suit the big time.

    And link?–I remember those DAP burnable-archive files (I could finally dispose of my Amazing Colossal Man VHS, along with all my home tapes), but didn’t know the site was still around past the end of the 00’s.
    Back in the BitTorrent 00’s, anime and cult-movies (where else would you find the Roger Corman “Fantastic Four”, before YouTube?) had a “gray-market” that would often remove the notpiratebay-file once the DVD had been commercially licensed, and Shout finally getting MST3K back hit that market hard.

    Not sure how many of them have had the “rights resolved”:Pretty sure the Green Slime, Phase IV and Space:1999 haven’t, and things were different back in the days when local stations could actually show licensed packages of movies with impunity.

    As for a marketing line, I keep flashing back on the time Cartoon Network had to sell Dragon Ball Z’s earlier-incarnation “kiddy” series, once their cool later teen hit had taken off:
    “They were so cute at that age…”:)

    “Amazing Colossal Man” VHS–oh, Jeebus H. Kripes. We had a huge local indy video store that had an (authentic) copy. I have never in my life been tempted to accidentally “lose” a video rental, except that one.
    Anyway, torrent and direct-download sites are a moveable feast, of course. At any given moment, SOMEBODY’S got a copy of EVERYTHING; you just have to improvise, adapt, overcome. Last week I found a site I’d never heard of with direct downloads of a bunch of garbage, AND a flawless copy of Blanche Fury AND a bright copy of Once Upon A Coffee House–maybe it’ll be there next week, maybe it won’t. Of course, the same applies to PirateBay

       1 likes

  22. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    pete_plums_drivers_license: Anyway, torrent and direct-download sites are a moveable feast, of course. At any given moment, SOMEBODY’S got a copy of EVERYTHING; you just have to improvise, adapt, overcome. Last week I found a site I’d never heard of with direct downloads of a bunch of garbage, AND a flawless copy of She Demons AND a bright copy of Once Upon A Coffee House–maybe it’ll be there next week, maybe it won’t.

    Except there’s that one reality check every time every single neurotic Hollywood studio blames the failure of their would-be movie franchise on “All those kids out there know how to use the Internet thing, and were probably PIRATING it online!”:
    Apart from the gray-market DAP and the anime lists, most average users with some workable online knowledge think of BitTorrent sites like swimming in a Jamaican sewer, and immediately run five anti-virus softwares if they so much as end up on Pirate Bay by accident.

    Finally managed to look up DAP’s site, http://tracker.dapcentral.org : It’s still around, but is pretty much a site dedicated to ONLY the remaining un-Shouted MST3K titles on burnable .ISO’s. (And no KTMA’s that I could see.) Along with their remaining 00’s cult-titles of Comedy Central and Adult Swim Back When They Were Supposed to Be Cool, and a couple of CW series that never got to Blu-ray.
    Nowadays, those looking for a burnable copy of “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” just have to watch it streaming.

       2 likes

  23. littleaimishboy
    Ignored
    says:

    I periodically see mini-debates about the KTMA episodes of MST3k and how/whether they should be publicly released. Therefore I’d like to propose a Weekend Thread idea: If you were working for Shout! Factory and were given the green light to distribute the KTMA episodes (assume all the rights issues have been resolved), how would you package them?
    Myself, I’d do something like the ‘Satellite Dishes’ disc on Volume 40, only instead of just the host segments also include a selection of the best riffs from the movie (as selected by Joel and/or whoever else wishes to participate). I’d call it something like ‘The First of the Worst’.
    What do you think, sirs?
    ……………………………

    Give ’em the Criterion Collection treatment.

    Complete with Commentary tracks (“Now in this scene, we didn’t actually riff it because, uh, we couldn’t think of anything . . “) and little booklets with quotes from critics (“‘kind of an interesting idea’ raved the Gopher Prairie Chronicle”) and in-depth sociopolitical analysis (” . . . but in the truest sense, the ‘green slime’ represents . . .”).

       4 likes

  24. pete_plums_drivers_license
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: Except there’s that one reality check every time every single neurotic Hollywood studio blames the failure of their would-be movie franchise on “All those kids out there know how to use the Internet thing, and were probably PIRATING it online!”:
    Apart from the gray-market DAP and the anime lists, most average users with some workable online knowledge think of BitTorrent sites like swimming in a Jamaican sewer, and immediately run five anti-virus softwares if they so much as end up on Pirate Bay by accident.

    Finally managed to look up DAP’s site, http://tracker.dapcentral.org :It’s still around, but is pretty much a site dedicated to ONLY the remaining un-Shouted MST3K titles on burnable .ISO’s.(And no KTMA’s that I could see.)Along with their remaining 00’s cult-titles of Comedy Central and Adult Swim Back When They Were Supposed to Be Cool, and a couple of CW series that never got to Blu-ray.
    Nowadays, those looking for a burnable copy of “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” just have to watch it streaming.

    Just sayin’, for informational purposes only, PB has the KTMA eps in several flavors. Kiss Meets etc. is on there, five times. Just need to go to a PB proxy site list first.
    The easy way? Well, annoyingly, YouTube has only clips of the Kiss thing, but has maybe a dozen KTMA eps. Firefox and the right extension(s) and you can download THOSE, quasi-legally.
    Viruses? I don’t participate.
    Not sure you’re right about “average users.” MSTies, at least, are heavily downloading Rifftrax, to the extent that almost every Rifftrax posting on PB has an apparently sincere exhortation to “SEND THESE GUYS SOME MONEY SO THEY’LL KEEP MAKING RIFFTRAX for us, ya filthy animals!” Never seen that on any other torrent site, for any other title.

       2 likes

  25. H
    Ignored
    says:

    Kenneth Morgan: And, if possible, add in some of the stuff Jim & Kevin did for KTMA pre-MST, from the commercials to the hard-hitting journalism of Bob Bagadonuts.

    Plus a coupon for a free melon from Stop & Shop for next New Year’s Eve.

    Pizza? Pasta? Pizza and Pasta!

       6 likes

  26. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    I love MST3K with a passion and I always love tracing the history of the things I love, but I’m not sure sure all that would ever compel me to pay money for the KMTA episodes. I still have to grit my teeth to get through Season 1 eps for more than a minute at a time, and I can’t watch KMTAs even for that long. (This is only natural, of course: the early seasons even of beloved TV series are not going to be nearly as good as later seasons.) Still, just for the sake of completeness and in case I ever change my mind, it would be nice to have something “official” available at some point. Specials could include tracing the evolutionary development of the robots, the SOL, the theme song, the hallway sequence, etc. (BTW, love the vid on YouTube that strings together all variations of the theme song!)

       2 likes

  27. Ro-man, aka one of several possible Steves
    Ignored
    says:

    I think they would best be packaged in some green slime…

       2 likes

  28. DiscoJer
    Ignored
    says:

    I really enjoy the KTMA episodes. Some of them are the funniest things they’ve ever produced and as a whole I would say it’s better than seasons 4,5, and 6

    So I’d just like them released as in a clean as format as possible.

       0 likes

  29. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d put them all in one big box set with whatever extras can be mustered (or ketchup). A guide to the better material would be helpful, but “the right people will get it”. Phase 4 is one of the best episodes of any season in my opinion, and the disaster movies are among the best. Bring it on.

       7 likes

  30. InvaderPet
    Ignored
    says:

    I still think it was a blown opportunity to not include the KTMA versions of the Sandy Frank episodes as bonus features when Shout released the Season 3 versions.

       3 likes

  31. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Ray Dunakin:
    I have to be honest and say I don’t really care to see them. With a few exceptions, even the Season One episodes are a bit of a slog, IMHO.

    It’s interesting from a MST-orical standpoint to watch “Cosmic Princess” and find out where the “It’s the Land of Dairy Queen!” riff was first invented, every time we see fake multicolored papier-mâché alien landscapes…
    It’s another thing to hear it seven or eight times because they couldn’t think of anything else yet.

    (And did a decade ever exist where I used to think Space:1999 was cool? Even the Catherine Schell episodes??)

       0 likes

  32. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    Wait a second, there is no Vol. 40!

       1 likes

  33. Larry P
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d love a comprehensive box set with not only the episodes themselves but also any other KTMA-related artifacts from the era; commercials/specials/etc. that Mallon and Murphy worked on. Bonus points if they can keep the temperature updates and TV-23 station I.D. in the eps, too. This era is too important to not be given the royal treatment! While it may technically pale when compared to what came later, as far as local programming goes it really was a pretty ambitious production; it would be wonderful for the general MST3K populace to not only have easy-access to it, but also to have it in pristine quality as well.

    ‘Course, I realize KTMA isn’t to everyone’s taste and that someone who didn’t know (or didn’t care) about the historical aspects of it may be left disappointed with the sparser riffing. So, I propose alternate commentary tracks for all of the theater segments; get Joel, Trace and Josh to basically re-riff the films and lay that track over the old KTMA footage. Yes, that would mean we’d be getting new riffs of some movies that were done better during the Comedy Central-era, and it may even be considered akin to colorizing a black and white movie. (KTMA tackled that subject once!) But, it could also provide an interesting juxtaposition – or at least give those who don’t care for KTMA as-is (or those who wouldn’t understand what it’s all about) more bang for their buck. Plus, hey, it would be an *optional* track…

    Let’s talk film rights: it was my understanding that the movies featured during the season were from movie packages KTMA acquired, with a certain movie getting so many runs on the station per an allotted period of time. If that was indeed the case, I don’t think it was really ‘unauthorized’ for them to use the flicks in the first place, though I don’t know if the silhouettes and commentary changed the legality in any way. Horror hosts across the country culled their weekly offerings from packages their respective stations picked up, after all. (And some even used music and sound effect drop-ins during the movie, too.) So wouldn’t it just be a matter of negotiating the rights to distribute the movies on disc like any other episode? Or am I way off-base here?

    Or if nothing else, give us at least a few episodes with movies that are cheap to acquire. SUPERDOME has appeared in cheapo DVD compilation sets, and I can’t imagine SST – DEATH FLIGHT being prohibitively expensive. So if not all, at least SOME…

       2 likes

  34. Skiptastic
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ:Finally managed to look up DAP’s site, http://tracker.dapcentral.org :It’s still around, but is pretty much a site dedicated to ONLY the remaining un-Shouted MST3K titles on burnable .ISO’s.(And no KTMA’s that I could see.)Along with their remaining 00’s cult-titles of Comedy Central and Adult Swim Back When They Were Supposed to Be Cool, and a couple of CW series that never got to Blu-ray.
    Nowadays, those looking for a burnable copy of “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park” just have to watch it streaming.

    They still have the KTMA episodes.

    http://tracker.dapcentral.org/index.php?page=torrents&category=2&order=filename&by=ASC

    Scroll down to the K section. Episodes 4-21 are there.

    I downloaded them all back in the day. Those were exciting times, watching as slowly but surely, a new episode would be released and the amount of missed episodes would dwindle down until every episode other than the first three were available for purchase or download. So many good memories.

    As far as how I would release them all, I would just release them all as they were, perhaps with some look backs from Joel, Josh, Trace, and Kevin. I know that they would probably scoff a bit at it, but the materials are out there and it’s okay to show how far you’ve come. You don’t need to be ashamed of the past!

    I actually like some KTMA episodes without irony, mostly because some of the films are pretty cheesy or enjoyable. I actually liked The Last Chase with Lee Majors and Burgess Meredith, and it makes for a good riff. The Sandy Frank films are clearly much better in Season 3, though.

       0 likes

  35. Ro-man, aka one of several possible Steves
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: (And did a decade ever exist where I used to think Space:1999 was cool? Even the Catherine Schell episodes??)

    Speak no evil of Space 1999! And Catherine Schell was my first crush…

       2 likes

  36. Our_Singing_Star_Ms_Kitty_Reed
    Ignored
    says:

    I agree that it would be boss to have the current MST3k crew or Rifftrax write and perform a modern riff of one of the KTMA episodes, and release the KTMA version as a b-side. The DVD release could even make use of the underuse “angle” feature – so you could toggle between versions as you watched. :D

       0 likes

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