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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: The Episode that Made you a MSTie

An exchange in another comment thread found “SaveFerris” coommenting on “Terry the Sensitive Knight’s comment about “the episode that made me a MSTie.” SF’s comment: “THERE’S your Weekend Discussion Thread, Sampo.

And so it shall be. Mine was “Women of the Prehistoric Planet. Hi-Keeba! I was never the same.

What’s yours?

81 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: The Episode that Made you a MSTie”

  1. Trumpys Dad says:

    My sister (who lived nine hours away) told me that she taped this show that she knew I would enjoy. The first tape was Rocketship XM, Jungle Goddess, Sidehackers and Catalina Caper. She left me the tape and I played them again and again. And I love my sister, too.

       7 likes

  2. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    pete_plums_drivers_license:
    …and as a companion piece, how about a WDT, “After I saw them all, if I’d seen THIS one the first time I tuned in, I probably never would have come back”?

    That easy. For me it’s a tossup between The Sidehackers, The Girl in Lover’s Lane, or High School Big Shot.
    Special mention goes to The incredible Melting Man for sheer grossness, although the episode itself is damn funny (I just can’t actually *watch* the movie, ya know?)

    Those other three are just a mix of bleak and boring, and not even the riffing makes them very watchable. At least Red Zone Cuba ended with Coleman Francis getting gunned down and the only two likeable characters surviving. And when Coleman Francis makes a film with a more satisfying ending than you, that’s really saying something…

       3 likes

  3. Lawgiver says:

    pete_plums_drivers_license:
    …and as a companion piece, how about a WDT, “After I saw them all, if I’d seen THIS one the first time I tuned in, I probably never would have come back”?

    I’ve already got my answer for that one :-P

       2 likes

  4. thequietman says:

    While I had exposure to MST3k starting around age 7 or 8 (I’d occasionally come across Dad watching it) it wasn’t something I took much interest in, though I vividly remembered seeing the ‘chocolate tootpaste’ invention exchange.

    It wasn’t until I was older and was willing and able to pay more attention that I came across the show again. I want to say it was ‘Horror of Party Beach’, during the first party scene. I just remember being in stitches at almost every other line and thinking “why didn’t I start watching this years ago?”. The same thing happened shortly afterward when I stumbled onto the last third or so of “Prince of Space”. That clinched it for me and from then on I’d scour the TV listings to make sure I never missed a new episode and when the show went into its final period of Saturday morning reruns, that was my ‘appointment TV’.

       6 likes

  5. pete_plums_drivers_license says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight: That easy. For me it’s a tossup between The Sidehackers, The Girl in Lover’s Lane, or High School Big Shot.
    Special mention goes to The incredible Melting Man for sheer grossness, although the episode itself is damn funny (I just can’t actually *watch* the movie, ya know?)

    Those other three are just a mix of bleak and boring, and not even the riffing makes them very watchable. At least Red Zone Cuba ended with Coleman Francis getting gunned down and the only two likeable characters surviving. And when Coleman Francis makes a film with a more satisfying ending than you, that’s really saying something…

    Incredible Melting Man will always be on our watch list, for two reasons: 1. Rick Baker 2. TED AND JUDY NELSON’S LIVING ROOM, MY GOD, TED AND JUDY NELSON’S LIVING ROOM. NUKE THE SEVENTIES FROM ORBIT, IT’S THE ONLY WAY WE CAN BE SURE.
    My wife’s term for a movie that means, “Don’t even THINK about putting that into the MICCA ever again,” is “mean-spirited.” Side-Hackers, Girl in Lover’s Lane, and High School Big Shot all qualify, and no, Coleman Francis’ stuff doesn’t. But if my first exposure to MST had been Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders–EITHER HALF–I would have sold my TV and taken up trainspotting on Guam.

       5 likes

  6. pete_plums_drivers_license: My wife’s term for a movie that means, “Don’t even THINK about putting that into the MICCA ever again,” is “mean-spirited.” Side-Hackers, Girl in Lover’s Lane, and High School Big Shot all qualify, and no, Coleman Francis’ stuff doesn’t. But if my first exposure to MST had been Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders–EITHER HALF–I would have sold my TV and taken up trainspotting on Guam.

    Ohh, she means if the movie is “mean-spirited”?

    I’d had whole routines ready about first-time viewers thinking “Cool, a show that picks on ‘cheesy sci-fi movies’!….Okay, Joe Don Baker, this is what, a TV-movie?…Er, yeah, he drinks beer, how is this ‘sci-fi’??…Okay, yeah, ‘he’s a slob’, I get it, and then, what, aliens show up?…”, but I figured I’d better save it just in case. Never know, probably will show up as a thread.

       1 likes

  7. Skiptastic says:

    Cave Dwellers.

    I was hanging with my friend, Mike Wells, at his house and he said, “You gotta see this show, it’s called Mystery Science Theater” and he put in the Cave Dwellers Rhino VHS. Given the VHS release date and the time I left that city, must have been late 1996/early 1997 so I would have been 13-14 years old.

    The one that cemented it was Pod People, which I watched every day for a full week after having moved to a new city, discovering that they had MST3K VHS at the library.

       6 likes

  8. mando3b says:

    pete_plums_drivers_license:
    …and as a companion piece, how about a WDT, “After I saw them all, if I’d seen THIS one the first time I tuned in, I probably never would have come back”?

    Not a bad idea for a WDT! But, alas, I fear it would only prompt the socially challenged among us to recycle age-old rants that weren’t interesting or funny the first time . . . (Org, it already has, sort of . . . )
    Anyway . . . For me the question wouldn’t have been “. . . probably never would have come back”, but rather simply making MSTification a much longer process. What I love so much is the whole concept: the lovable ‘bots, the fact that there are host segments, the WTF mad-scientist backstory . . . Original music for cryin’ out loud! Like all of you, I like riffing cheesy movies myself, but all of THAT takes it to a whole ‘nother level I could never aspire to. As I wrote earlier, my first episode was Kitten With a Whip: it hooked me instantly, but it’s one I have hardly ever gone back to. I can only assume that the same thing would’ve happened with any of the less-inspired episodes from Seasons 2-10.
    That being said, I don’t know what would have happened if my first had come from Season 1. I still have a hard time getting through any of those for more than a few minutes at a time. Again, though, it’s the overall concept I love so much! If I had seen a S1 ep during S1 (i.e., without being able to compare it to the more polished and assured work of later seasons), I probably would’ve come back again at some point. (There’s a reason why CC didn’t regularly rerun Season 1 episodes later in MST3K’s run . . . )
    (And how many of you are secretly half-convinced that Crow, Servo & Gypsy are actually sentient robots and not masterfully-worked puppets?)

       3 likes

  9. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    mando3b: (And how many of you are secretly half-convinced that Crow, Servo & Gypsy are actually sentient robots and not masterfully-worked puppets?)

    This is one the things I dislike most about the new series. It’s hard to see Tom and Crow as anything other than puppets. This is somewhat ironic since Tom in particular has moving arms and can actually hover, but still feels rather lifeless. It also doesn’t help that Baron and Hampton’s voices are much too similar to one another.
    The older Tom and Crow just oozed with personality and had their own quirks, whereas the new Tom and Crow are just sort of there (one episode does mention Crow’s desire to become a screenwriter, but nothing came of it). Tom not singing anymore is a goddamn tragedy.

       3 likes

  10. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    They’re basically brand new characters. They *look* like CC/Sci-Fi Tom and Crow, but they don’t sound or act anything like them.

    As for Gypsy, still on the fence about her. She’s also basically a brand new character but the old Gypsy was rather absent to begin with.

       2 likes

  11. Gravity says:

    I don’t really remember the year (early nineties mebbe?) or the network (HA!, I think?), but I was absently scrolling through the channels when I suddenly came across the big drooly, drippy cartoon face of The Black Scorpion. It gave me a start for two reasons: one, that particular scene had scared the holy hopping bratwurst out of me when I first saw the movie as a five-year-old with my folks at the drive-in, and two, some yahoos in the corner of the screen were *laughing* at it. A few seconds after that disconcerting start I found myself laughing with them, and I never looked back.

    And for what it’s worth, I have very nearly all the episodes from the Joel and the Bots years on rapidly-eroding VHS tapes. Yeah, I was (and am) a fan!

       3 likes

  12. Terry the Sensitive Knight:
    They’re basically brand new characters. They *look* like CC/Sci-Fi Tom and Crow, but they don’t sound or act anything like them.
    As for Gypsy, still on the fence about her. She’s also basically a brand new character but the old Gypsy was rather absent to begin with.

    New Gypsy sounds like she’s been “possessed” by Magic Voice, after one of Jonah’s experimental rewirings, and almost as funny.

       1 likes

  13. jay says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight:
    They’re basically brand new characters. They *look* like CC/Sci-Fi Tom and Crow, but they don’t sound or act anything like them.

    The time of Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank with their bizarre relationship, the time of Joel/Mike and Bots having such complex interplay, the time of them knowing who they were and us knowing who they were and every episode being both predictable and unpredictable. That zeitgeist is unto itself and would be impossible to duplicate, I think. Mightn’t all of the offspring be better enjoyed on their own terms?

       5 likes

  14. mando3b says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight: The older Tom and Crow just oozed with personality and had their own quirks

    So very true. My favorite part of the original Poopie! collection is how Crow and Servo (and Gypsy, too, to a lesser extent) stay in character after the blown line or prop failure–you feel you’re watching actors cutting up, not plastic puppets.

       3 likes

  15. pete_plums_drivers_license says:

    mando3b: Not a bad idea for a WDT! But, alas, I fear it would only prompt the socially challenged among us to recycle age-old rants that weren’t interesting or funny the first time . . . (Org, it already has, sort of . . . )
    Anyway . . . For me the question wouldn’t have been “. . . probably never would have come back”, but rather simply making MSTification a much longer process. What I love so much is the whole concept: the lovable ‘bots, the fact that there are host segments, the WTF mad-scientist backstory . . . Original music for cryin’ out loud! Like all of you, I like riffing cheesy movies myself, but all of THAT takes it to a whole ‘nother level I could never aspire to. As I wrote earlier, my first episode was Kitten With a Whip: it hooked me instantly, but it’s one I have hardly ever gone back to. I can only assume that the same thing would’ve happened with any of the less-inspired episodes from Seasons 2-10.
    That being said, I don’t know what would have happened if my first had come from Season 1. I still have a hard time getting through any of those for more than a few minutes at a time. Again, though, it’s the overall concept I love so much! If I had seen a S1 ep during S1 (i.e., without being able to compare it to the more polished and assured work of later seasons), I probably would’ve come back again at some point. (There’s a reason why CC didn’t regularly rerun Season 1 episodes later in MST3K’s run . . . )
    (And how many of you are secretly half-convinced that Crow, Servo & Gypsy are actually sentient robots and not masterfully-worked puppets?)

    MMmmm…I know we all usually refer to Season One as Season One and Season 0 as KTMA-something, but the online guides occasionally refer to the KTMA eps as Season One. ‘Cause if you mean Season One Season One, I’ve got a lot of deep, deep affection for a number of those, starting right up front, with Jennifer Jayne and Janet Munro’s epic battle for on-screen dominance beginning at 37:10. And, hey, there’s always Hi-KEEBA!
    [If you get bored, look up Paul Gilbert’s (Red Bradley) imdb entry and his Wiki article.]

       0 likes

  16. pete_plums_drivers_license says:

    jay: The time of Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank with their bizarre relationship, the time of Joel/Mike and Bots having such complex interplay, the time of them knowing who they were and us knowing who they were and every episode being both predictable and unpredictable.That zeitgeist is unto itself and would be impossible to duplicate, I think.Mightn’t all of the offspring be better enjoyed on their own terms?

    Oh, hell, YES. Someday, somebody will start calculating how old you’ve got to be to get what percentage of the references in each ep. When that magic number gets to about, “you’ve got to be at least sixty-five to get any more than fifteen percent of the jokes in Season Two,” us old guys will look in the mirror, go to the Montgomery Ward entertainment center in the living room, and finally chuck our Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys eight-tracks.

       4 likes

  17. eegah says:

    I’m pretty sure that it was Rocketship X-M sometime in 1992. A list of all historical MST3K airings used to exist on the internet somewhere, so had an idea when I first watched it. I wasn’t able to find the list just now, but it may still exist.

       2 likes

  18. Torgover says:

    eegah:
    I’m pretty sure that it was Rocketship X-M sometime in 1992. A list of all historical MST3K airings used to exist on the internet somewhere, so had an idea when I first watched it. I wasn’t able to find the list just now, but it may still exist.

    Here you go, Eegah, right here at Satellite News: http://www.mst3kinfo.com/sched/index.html

       2 likes

  19. GareChicago says:

    Sometime in the early 90’s, I wandered through our living room in Florida to find my dad chuckling at something on TV (and to be fair – love my dad, but this show is wayyyy out of his wheelhouse.. I’m not sure he ever watched it again). But at that particular moment, Godzilla was just having a seat, and they made a riff about “Gotta hit the ol’ thunderbucket..” and we both started laughing.

    So I was only somewhat aware of it, and after I moved out to my own place, my crappy cable didn’t carry Comedy Central. It wasn’t until years later in college that I really started getting into it (the cable company in Columbus OH carried CC), and I spent many late nights studying and laughing with the show on in the background. As mentioned previously, my all time favorite is still “The Sword and the Dragon”. (I may not make it Death *tonight*.. I might spend the night in Serious Injury and head over to Permanent Disability in the morning.)

    It got to the point where I even downloaded an MST3K episode guide program for *Windows 3.1*! I’d click through it at work when I was bored and chuckle at riff samples and such.. picked up the ACEG, read it till it fell apart (still have it though), and have been nuts with it ever since.

    Here at work, I have a small pocket-sized Western Digital 500GB external drive with a ton of episodes and shorts on it. I run VLC player on my computer, the viewer shrunk down to almost thumbnail size, and I have it on randomn play all the time. When at home, I’ve either got the MST3K or Rifftrax channel on the smartTV thanks to Pluto.

    It has kind of become my all-day background soundtrack.

    Gare

       7 likes

  20. GummoMarx says:

    For most of the 90s I didn’t have cable, so i had read about MST but hadn’t actually seen it! Occasionally I’d catch a couple of minutes here or there but that was about it. Finally, while visiting my parents in Florida in the mid-90s, I was bored and going around the dial in their den and, lo and behold, MST3K was on! It did not disappoint! I laughed so hard my mother stuck her head into the room a couple of times to make sure I was okay. I’m fine, I told her, but don’t bother joining me to watch, you won’t get it.

    The name of the episode was (fanfare please) Alien From L.A.

       6 likes

  21. Cornjob says:

    Lost Continent: I tuned in to the rock climbing sequence while channel surfing in the early nineties when I was in my early twenties. I instantly “got it”, having been a fan of B-movie hosts like Elvira. MST seemed like a natural extension, like if Elvira was making jokes during the movie and not just at commercial breaks. I loved it.

       5 likes

  22. Cable had just come to my area, and my two favorite cable channels were the original American Movie Classics, and Comedy Central. I got home from work one morning, and flipped over to Comedy Central, to perhaps catch a Jack Benny Show rerun, and there on the screen was the movie Lost Continent, with these weird shadow figures at the bottom! One was a guy (Joel), and the other two things were unidentifiable puppets. And all of them were talking back to the movie! It was fantastic! There’d been a show a few years earlier called L.A.Connection, or something similar, where they replaced the dialog in movies with their own voices and lines. As I recall, the show was only a half-hour long, and ran at like three in the morning on weekends. I enjoyed it, but there was something missing…and MST3K was the answer! Fell in love with Joel and the bots that day, and have been a big fan ever since then!

       4 likes

  23. Graboidz says:

    While on a date with my future wife, I stumbled across “Eegah!”, and that was it. Whatever plans we had were canceled, and we’ve been MSTies ever since.

       7 likes

  24. bartcow says:

    I knew of the show in college, but never really picked up on it. Post-college, I lived with my uncle for a bit, and he was a casual watcher. I’m pretty sure the first piece of an episode I saw was The Girl In Lover’s Lane. It wasn’t until about a year later that I was up way too late and caught I Accuse My Parents. By the time I figured out why they kept making duck sounds every time the door to Kitty’s apartment opened, I was hooked. Then I actually started setting my VCR to tape and actually keep (not just record over) episodes, starting with The Day The Earth Froze. “Are you with the bride or the Failure” made me an evangelist (hooking one of my friends and future wife). Pretty soon, instead of saying thank you, we would say “Bart Fargo owes you a favor.” Ahh, the days.

       7 likes

  25. geomst3kfreak@hotmail-com: There’d been a show a few years earlier called L.A.Connection, or something similar, where they replaced the dialog in movies with their own voices and lines.As I recall, the show was only a half-hour long, and ran at like three in the morning on weekends.I enjoyed it, but there was something missing…and MST3K was the answer!

    “Mad Movies with the LA Connection”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ9DDMf5WvU
    And yes, while it was silly, and picked on funny onscreen happenings in the style of Whose Line is It Anyway’s “Old film” game, it was just disjointed scenes, and the jokes didn’t have anything to do with the original movies’ stories. Sort of an 80’s evolutionary proto-Missing Link between the early 80’s Golden Turkeys and early 90’s MST3K.
    At the same time, on the late, great USA Network Night Flight, there was also the one-episode pilot for “Cinema Veri-Bad”, where an obnoxious theater couple MSTies old Italian B-movie trailers, and remember thinking it was a shame the concept never got beyond the one show.

    Me, I’d like to say I’d ALWAYS been a MSTie since our old film-fests in the 80’s, just that we didn’t have a name for it yet–But think I did that in another thread already last week. :)
    The looser riffing style of the first season did feel more like the “cozy” cramped-theater style I remembered from the old all-nighters once the audience started getting a little punchy–Think I’d actually tuned into my first episode of Robot Holocaust just as they were finishing up the last episode of Commando Cody (and had no idea who the Mads were when “Sorry!”, the film broke), but seeing B/W movies also riffed brought that experience immediately back. It felt like one of “our” audience had finally gotten a TV deal.

       4 likes

  26. GareChicago says:

    The Original EricJ:
    Me, I’d like to say I’d ALWAYS been a MSTie since our old film-fests in the 80’s, just that we didn’t have a name for it yet–But think I did that in another thread already last week.:)
    The looser riffing style of the first season did feel more like the “cozy” cramped-theater style I remembered from the old all-nighters once the audience started getting a little punchy–Think I’d actually tuned into my first episode of Robot Holocaust just as they were finishing up the last episode of Commando Cody (and had no idea who the Mads were when “Sorry!”, the film broke), but seeing B/W movies also riffed brought that experience immediately back.It felt like one of “our” audience had finally gotten a TV deal.

    You’ve been participatory and refreshingly… different of late. This is nice to see.

    Gare

       7 likes

  27. pete_plums_drivers_license says:

    OK, is it my imagination or are the WDT’s continuing later into each week?
    Anyway, I found this by accident–yes, the Hi-Keeba guy.
    http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/paul-gilbert/

       2 likes

  28. Terry the Sensitive Knight:
    They’re basically brand new characters. They *look* like CC/Sci-Fi Tom and Crow, but they don’t sound or act anything like them.

    That’s basically how I feel about Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc. made after 1963. Chuck Jones likened them to actors who appeared in films by different directors. They had slightly different styles and even appearance whether they were working for Jones or Freleng or McKimson, they maintained a continuity of personality. In later corporate cash-ins they have lost their style. It’s like an actor impersonating the original actor. Like, say, if someone tried to re-create Peter Sellers’s Inspector Clouseau. Even if you got a good comedian to play the part, it would probably turn out pretty awful. So, yeah, Netflix Crow and Servo feel like someone trying to impersonate the real Crow and Servo. It just doesn’t quite make it.

       1 likes

  29. Chazzzbot says:

    Teenagers from Outer Space! I remember now. The lobster alien for sure, but the real hook was that middle-aged teenagers from out space riff. That sealed the deal. Mistie for life!

       3 likes

  30. Lawgiver says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight:
    They’re basically brand new characters. They *look* like CC/Sci-Fi Tom and Crow, but they don’t sound or act anything like them.

    As for Gypsy, still on the fence about her. She’s also basically a brand new character but the old Gypsy was rather absent to begin with.

    I agree.

    My problem with the new Gypsy is that, while I get that they felt like they had to use a woman to voice her, they got rid of the falsetto voice which I think is the funniest thing about Gypsy. And a woman CAN do a falsetto voice – I do a pretty fair impression of Gypsy and I have no talent; if I can do it, any other woman can.

       2 likes

  31. Johnny Drama says:

    Warrior of the Lost World got me back into the show over a decade a go. Daddy-O and It Conquered The World originally got me into the show.

       1 likes

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