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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 624- Samson vs. The Vampire Women

Movie: (1961) Masked wrestler El Santo battles vampire women who believe a young woman destined to become their queen.

First shown: 3/25/95
Opening: A moment of silence
Intro: Frank enjoys some Chinese food, Dr. F not so much; on the SOL the food is confounding
Host segment 1: While playing Stratego, Crow gets a message
Host segment 2: Torgo the White arrives to take Frank to Second Banana Heaven
Host segment 3: Song: “Who will I kill?”
End: The ‘Bots read their letters to Frank, who visits Dr. F. and pushes the button one last time
Stinger: “Chief, I saw two corpses in the garden.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (174 votes, average: 4.49 out of 5)


• And so we come to the end of another era of MST3K. This is the last episode of the fourth consecutive 24-episode season, and pretty much the end of four years of job security for everybody at Best Brains. And of course, it is our bittersweet goodbye to Frank, which in turn is a harbinger of Trace’s farewell to come. It was about this time, March of ’95, I remember I began regularly checking in with Julie Walker with questions like “so, season seven starts in June, right? July?…August??” She didn’t know and nobody was giving it much thought, because they were headed into movie making. “MST3K: The Movie” had been greenlighted, and it was taking up everybody’s time. It would only be later in the year that the ominous silence from Comedy Central began to be recognized.
• The episode itself is in the “good-not-great” area for me. Sure the host segments are historic, and very funny, but the movie is kind of a cross between “Aztec Mummy” and “Racket Girls” (not a winning combination for me) and the riffing seems a little less than inspired. Maybe Frank’s departure and the movie distraction is part of the reason.
• This episode appears in “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIV.”
The references.
• The “moment of silence” opening is appropriate and great fun. It’s one of those bits where the idea is simple, but the execution is what makes it work.
• I love when they cut to Deep 13 in the intro and Frank takes a breath to say something, but never gets to say it.
• Lo mein seems to have been on somebody’s mind–Auntie McFrank served it last episode.
• Dr. F’s fortune is very accurate.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers (which seem to have been freshly shot for this episode): Film canister, book, bulletin board.
• One of the most blatant LOTR references ever on this show is the appearance of Torgo (again played by Mike), but not Torgo as we knew him but Torgo “the White.” “Yes, that was the name,” he mutters.
• Callback: “…and a good friend.” (Rocketship XM)
• Trace does a terrific job with the song, but a little pitchy, dawg.
• Frank departs with the wonderful “Wave your freak flag high!” speech and a final “Eyukgaoo!”–the strange guttural sound he popularized back in season two, but hadn’t really used in a few seasons.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Luis Garcia DeLeon also worked on “Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy.” American producer K. Gordon Murray also worked on “Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy” and “Santa Claus. American director Manuel San Fernando also worked on “Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. Additional contributing writers: Bill Corbett and Drew Jansen. Of course, the music for “Who Will I Kill?” was written by Mike, but I never noticed before: the lyrics were written by Bridget Jones!
There were also some farewells with this episode: The were shutting the show down for a while, and people were either departing or heading to the movie studio. It was Tim Paulson’s last show as editor. This was also the last show for post production coordinators Jann L. Johnson and Ellen McDonough Thomas, both of whom had been with the show for years. And finally, interns Wendell Andersson, Michael D. Parker and Sarah Swanson also worked on their last show.
• Fave riff: “Fiends are visiting from Europe.” Honorable mention: “He’s got a full acre of area!”

Next week we will do “MST3K: The Movie” and from there will go on to Season 7.

95 comments to Episode guide: 624- Samson vs. The Vampire Women

  • 51
    Creepygirl says:

    I agree with much that has posted above. It was truly an end of an era. Does anyone else think that FATHER/PROFESSER guy sounds like Henry Krasker form THE DEAD TALK BACK?

    When Diana is combing her hair…

    *Look, It’s Butterfield Ocho* Crow


  • 52
    Cornjob says:

    One of the best and most signifigant episodes in my opinion. The host segments are touching and hilarious. The movie is hysterical even without the riffing.

    Many countries have many things wrong with them. Here in America we loot and polute the world and wonder why other countries don’t like us. And what we have to show for our plunder seems to mostly consist of epidemic levels of obesity, depression, and impotence.

    Japan, as we misties know, has an embarressing tradition panicking in times of crisis and turning control of the country over to pre-schoolers. It’s worked out pretty well, but is that any way to run a nation.

    With this in mind I would like to humbly submit that there is also something seriously wrong with Mexico. I will submit the movies Santa Claus and Samson vs. the Vampire Women as exhibit A. The scene where Samson bursts into the Professors study dressed like a flaming gay executioner with no sense of shame pretty much says it all. It’s downright surreal.

    That people who dress like this can not only be taken seriously, but be exalted, means that Mexico has some explaining explaining to do. After Japan finishes explaining their obsession with naked fat men bumping stomachs.


  • 53
    This Guy says:

    This may be a valid argument, but in fairness, after Supes shows up in a movie (which he typically does before half of it has elapsed), he actually does things and accomplishes goals. El Santo, for all his wrestling prowess (I’m assuming he’s got it, since I wouldn’t really be able to tell), essentially achieves nothing outside the ring, making the praise heaped on him by the professor at the end completely bizarre.


  • 54
    crowschmo says:

    Oh, yeah. Forgot to add what I thought was pretty stupid about those vampires: 1) their idiotic swooping with their capes. Really necessary? Yep, vampires – get it.
    2) (pointed out by Crow) A castle filled with vampires and they don’t think to BLOCK THE WINDOWS? Sunlight will kill us -let’s leave every window open. Rolls Eyes


  • 55
    Nicias says:

    The whole “Gee, it’s great to be back at the castle, hope your sister’s dress-up Halloween slumber party went well….OH MY GOD!!!” bit is one of my favorite Servo moments. I love it when he has a total meltdown. No one can freak out as quite as memorably as Kevin. He had equally good moments at the tail end of Gunslinger and of course his agonized “EENNNNNDDDD!!! EEEENNNNNDDDDD!!!” in Wild World of Batwoman. I can’t help but laugh every time at these scenes.


  • 56
    pearliemae says:

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention my fave riff: “We’re gonna party like it’s 1959!!”


  • 57
    wcf says:

    Our First, and favorite!!

    “This is what Baptists think Catholic mass is like”!


  • 58
    bigdaddy320 says:

    Just finished watching this ep for the first time. I thought it was great. I tend to agree with a few of the other posts about the legitimacy of Mexican folk heroes. Yes, #39, Superman’s outfit is silly if it’s not within the comic book or movie format. But, at least he has great powers and gifts to set him apart form the mortal man. El Santo wrestles and gets around by convertable coupe. I just find it all wonderful mst fodder.

    Fav. riff.
    Tom-“It’s the Mexican Larry Tate!”
    Crow-“EL STEVENS!”


  • 59
    The Toblerone Effect says:

    I actually enjoyed this episode, in spite of losing TV’s Frank. The riffing was excellent and the host segments were inspired. I’m glad Frank went to second-banana Heaven rather than going back to Arby’s; its much more clever, and sets up for a hilarious return of Frank during the “Soultaker” episode. Forrester’s “How Will I Kill?” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

    It’s probably in the translation of cultures, but this to me is one of the goofier movies they’ve ever done. Samson’s first entrance is one of the great movie moments, it’s exactly what this show is all about. I also enjoy the scene where, right after Samson throws the vampire in disguise out of the ring, the vampire starts fighting people in the stands, then suddenly realizes Samson is waiting for him. It’s a great “wtf” scene.


  • 60
    Timothy Wallace says:

    WOW! Don’t much care for this website’s half-hearted take on this episode. It’s one of my all-time favorites, but then again, my other favorite episodes include “Starfighters” and “Invasion of the Neptune Men”, so you’ve been warned. I happen to think that “Samson” was a gift from God to MST3K…c’mon, a Mexican vampire wrestling movie? What more could you ever ask for? The show is hilarious…but Frank’s departure never meant much to me (I never thought he was all that funny) and let’s face it: MST3K The Movie SUCKED. And Rifftrax? No thanks. Give me classic MST3K anytime…and don’t forget to forward past the host segments!


  • 61
    robot rump! says:

    This was a tough one because as crazy, whacked out funny mexican silliness goes, this is da king. i was laughing on the outside but crying on the inside for the loss of one TV’s Frank. in the end Additionally, in retrospect, when taking in all that is ‘Samson the silver mask man.’ I’d have to say the vampire really must have had some major holes in their plans to get beaten by the big headlock administering load.

    good bye TV’s Frank you were enjoyed.


  • 62
    Sitting Duck says:

    It’s rather unusual how Frank is bossing Dr. F. around in the introductory host segment.

    They must have ordered their Chinese food from the Swedish Chef.

    They still had Tab in the Nineties? I thought that beverage was a relic of the Eighties.

    The riff “This is what Southern Baptists think Catholic Mass is like,” particularly cracks me up, as I’m a Catholic who lives in rural Virginia (where there are more Baptist churches than Catholic individuals). However, only the sort who take Jack Chick seriously actually believe that.

    This may be somewhat pedantic, but it’s suppose to be, “Hi yo Silver!” and not “Hi ho Silver!”

    BTW which are we doing next week, Night of the Blood Beast or This Island Earth?

    Favorite riffs:

    So for two hundred years nobody tried to develop this castle into upscale townhomes?

    They were going to have vampires take the form of squirrels, but it wasn’t the same.

    I am not anxious. It is you who are anxious.

    Be sure to stop by tomorrow, and then leave immediately.

    Her tragic destiny was announced by her parents of Red Wind, Minnesota.

    Many times, lint gets in your eye and takes on ghoulish shapes. It happens to everyone.

    So the Devil’s minions are cheap thugs.

    Well I think it was the vampire, but let’s keep that guy locked up.

    You are not the Kissinigers!

    I just realized that this is a totally boring party. Let’s bring out the peyote.

    Uh oh, more supernatural tomfoolery.

    It’s fun being the Eternal Damned!

    Come to the Dark Side or I’ll take your lunch money.

    Hi honey! Gee, it’s great to be back at the castle. Hope your sister’s dress-up Halloween slumber party went we- Oh my God!


  • 63
    Dan in WI says:

    Let me tell you how much I loved Frank. I’m a Reagan/Limbaugh conservative. I say this not to start a fight but to point out I’m on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Frank. Yet this is a man I idolize and feel lucky to see him perform. I missed him the rest of the show’s run and now with Cinematic Titanic shutting down I’ll miss him again. It really is amazing how a character who averages less than 5 minutes of screen time per 2 hour episode can make such an impression.

    Wow, I haven’t seen that much Chinese food on screen since Cliff Barnes on the classic Dallas show.

    Clayton’s fortune cookie really is on the money. You will die, alone and afraid, knowing that not a single human being ever loved you. I just can’t imagine why he always gets the same fortune.

    Favorite Riffs:
    With the castle in the background of the opening credits, Tom “Suddenly I’m in the mood for a black castle hamburger.”

    Tom commenting on the portrait over the mantle: “Isn’t it strange the way the eyes DON’T follow you no matter where you are in the room.”

    Mike as Samson “Ah, do you need any wrestling done?”

    Tom as cop “All right you folks need to turn down the Straus. There’s been some complaints.”

    Mike “If a wrestler falls in the forest and nobody is there to see it does it count as a fall?”

    Samson is searching the castle. Mike “Come on do something already. Wrestle even.”


  • 64
    Dan in WI says:

    Sampo> I echo Sitting Duck’s question. What should we watch to prep for next week? I’m assuming you’ll go The Movie before 701 like we did four years ago but let us know for sure.

    Sitting Duck #62> While I recall Tab’s heyday as the late 70’s, it always has existed and still exists today in an extremely niche way. There is a person in my office who always has one on his desk.


  • 65
    Tom Carberry says:

    Lucha Libre (Mexican masked wrestling) was very popular in Mexico in the 1950’s. El Santo started in the 1940’s and was a professional athlete. In the 1950’s he made many movies which expanded his popularity even more. The first two were filmed in Cuba. By 1962 we were finally treated to Samson vs. the Vampire Women which was filmed in Mexico.

    Favorite lines:

    Must be the maid’s century off.
    It looks like Miss Havisham’s summer place.
    Oh, boy, Angie Dickinson has hit a rough spot.
    This is an ugly sorority.
    She woke them up so they could move the couch.
    It’s Butterfield Ocho [she does look a little like Liz Taylor in profile.]
    She’s got combination skin—one part is fetid and one part is rotted.
    Can you imagine the huge apocalyptic grease fire if they threw Rush Limbaugh in there?
    Transfer the County’s funds to derivatives. [This was an obscure Orange County, California reference even then.]
    [Father] I know I look like Vincent Price.
    Tonight, we’re gonna party like it 1959.
    [Vampire Women] “In a little while we’ll be back.” She must have drank Chinese blood…Boy, I tell ya, you only rent blood, huh?
    [Wolfman wrestler] It’s an Oak Ridge Boy…Run, it’s Butch Patrick.
    She’s been stuccoed…Lillian Hellman on a bad day.
    I got a dine and dash on Table 4.
    [Witches are burned in their coffins] Authorities suspect arson.

    Final Thought: This movie looks old even for 1962. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.


  • 66
    Sampo says:

    Next week we will do “MST3K: The Movie” and from there will go on to Season 7.


  • 67
    snowdog says:

    Like Dan in WI above, I occupy the opposite end of the political spectrum from Frank (although age has moderated me a bit). Fortunately, I was a MSTie long before I’d heard any of his views and very much enjoyed his performance on the show. I would miss him in the coming months as the first episodes with Pearl would nearly ruin the whole show for me. Season 8 would win me over, though, but that’s another guide entry.


  • 68
    Of no account says:

    One of my top 10 favorite episodes. Fun movie (even the wrestling!), hilarious riffing, and amazing host segments. That said, the Chinese food sketch was mildly amusing, but not really all that funny. The SOL side of it, anyway. The Deep 13 side was funnier.
    What fascinates me most about the wrestler/hero movies, is that even outside the ring they still abide by wrestling rules. Even the vampires don’t just flat out punch people (even in the ring, when the vampire is supposedly using ‘karate’ on Samson). Seems like being evil, they would at least use some foreign objects. I mean, would it violate vampire pride to take a folding chair, or even a crowbar to Samson?
    I guess you go with the skills you know…


  • 69
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    To me, Frank’s leaving was the sign that this show was basically over. I think season 6 was vastly inferior to the seasons that preceded it and Frank’s departure coming after this bad season was like a big sign to me that said “Move along, nothing to see here.” I stuck around for the movie and season 7 but didn’t like them that much either so I declared myself done with the show and I completely ignored the Sci-Fi era when it originally aired.
    I only watched them all a few years ago after discovering this site and think while they don’t approach the greatness of seasons 2-5, they were better than season 6-7.
    As for this particular episode, they always wrote characters out well but the episode and movie didn’t do much for me, I would say just 3 stars.


  • 70
    Mitchell "Rowsdower" Beardsley says:

    This was a pretty dreary movie, coupled with Frank’s departure and the uncertainty surrounding what was going to happen to the show – it just wasn’t as much fun as I would imagine MST3K doing a crime-fighting mexican wrestler movie would be.

    It’s just terrible that we now know that the movie itself was what led to Joel’s departure, plus the truncated 7th season. If the movie was good it’d be one thing, but to me it was essentially the least funny episode of the series – I’m sure due, at least in part, to studio meddling.

    This just felt like limping to the finish line for me. I taped this on a very crappy garbage tape at the time, so I will revisit it one day on DVD. But it’s another one of those I rarely put on since there are many, many funnier episodes to choose from.

    On to season 7, but I don’t think things improved much until they hit Sci-Fi (which was as much a surprise to me as to anyone.)


  • 71
    Fred Burroughs says:

    Love the food skit (especially Mike having to fight off his own entree) and Dr. F’s reaction to his fortune: “Why do I keep getting the same one?” Plus I always order Chicken in a Distinctive Sauce when getting take-out.

    This is one of eps I’ve seen the fewest, but I’ve heard about it for so long, especially Frank’s departure and Torgo the White. it wasn’t depressing as I knew what was going to happen but it also flattened the funny a bit for me. I appreciate the endless add libs in the professor’s voice, and any episode that has Strauss jokes in it is a winner for me.


  • 72
    safaw says:

    a big problem with the movie was that they cut a ton of the riffs

    They script they worked with at the con live shows was much more in line with their normal work.


  • 73

    So for some people, Frank was the best part of MST3K? I’m afraid I can’t relate. The host segments are not essential to the concept, anyway, as Rifftrax demonstrates.


  • 74

    Ah yes, we come to the end of Season 6, the end of an era, with a Mexi-wrestler movie. Simply being Frank’s final episode (and the final 24 episode season [good god, people, we were/are some lucky fans to live in a world that had this cowtown puttper-show on tv for as long as it was]) is enough to put this one into the realm of important MST episodes, but it also happens to be a really funny one too.

    The opening moment of silence is cute and suitably funny, but it’s only now that I realize that this was a moment of silence for Frank.. The Host Segments serve the departure of Frank rather well, HS#1 is maybe the weakest of the bunch but it still contributes to the overall story. Plus, STRA-TE-GO!!

    HS#2, with Torgo the White (Mike’s final portrayal of Torgo) and Frank’s ascension is just fantastic stuff, I particularly love Torgo’s assurance that “there are no bum knees in my world, child.”

    HS#3 is bittersweet indeed, Dr. F delivers such a touching and threatening plea for friendship with “Who Will I Kill?.” The closing, with Frank’s declaration that we must “always be yourself and wave your freak flag fly!” followed by one last “Eyukgaoo!,” is one of the reasons I love this show so dearly, it’s at times equally ridiculous and poignant.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: the ending of this made me a little sad, almost (almost!) on the verge of a tear or two. I got the chance to meet Frank a couple weeks ago here in Portland, OR and tell him how much I’ve enjoyed his work over the years. He said, “thanks” and that he “appreciated that.” It was a brief conversation/photo-op, but it meant a lot to me, meeting one of my cultural heroes. Goodnight TV’s Frank, sleep well in second banana heaven….

    As for the movie itself, SAMSON VS THE VAMPIRE WOMEN does start off a bit slowly, but I think it picks up considerably as it goes on. The weird overdubbing, goofy special effects, and El Santo (er, Samson) more than make up for it. It’s a fun slight change of pace compared to their usual 50s horror output. This episode is twice as good as RACKET GIRLS, c’mon..


    during the American/International logo:
    Mike: “Oh, Capitol Critters is on.” —-Man, that is an obscure reference; anybody else remember it?

    Servo: “It’s like Mrs. Havisham’s summer place.” ——we were reading Great Expectations in high school the same week I first saw this one; it made me feel smart to “get” one of the literary references.

    Crow: “Boy, Angie Dickinson has hit a rough spot.”

    Crow: “Too much middle management in this organization.”

    Servo: “I feel sort of silly right now, did I overdress?”

    movie: “Now hide them, in a little while we’ll be back.”
    Crow: “She must of drank Chinese blood…”

    Crow: “I just realized this is a totally boring party, lets bring out the peyote.” —I quote this all the time!!

    Servo: “It’s a Robert Mapplethorpe photo session.”

    Crow: “You have a kind face. . . ”

    Mike: “And the crowd goes wild…”
    The Bots: “Yaaaaay…” ——callback to Junior Rodeo Daredevils (ep#407)

    Crow: “It’s an Oak Ridge Boy!”

    Crow: “C’mere you mortal sonofabitch.”

    after El Santo’s torching of the crypt,
    Mike: “Authorities suspect arson.”

    odd credit:
    Utility Infielder: Patrick Brantseg. Have I just not noticed this credit/baseball joke before?

    This is a great episode of MST3k,
    4 out of 5 Mexican vampires agree,

    Vampire Vampire Vampire Vampire


  • 75
    Goshzilla says:

    The Chinese food sketch on the SOL is one the most “Muppet Show” bits ever featured on MST3K, especially the clam biting Mike. It’s surprising they didn’t do that kind of thing more often during the Joel years.

    I love the wackiness of the Santo movies, but this episode tends to disappoint me, simply because the movie doesn’t feature nearly enough Santo. “Am I overdressed? I feel a little silly right now.” For me, the most memorable line from this ep is “Chicken in a distinctive sauce.” Grin That’s pretty much 90% of the typical Chinese food menu.


  • 76
    Alex says:

    I have a copy of this and the two previous episodes on a tape. It’s my least favorite of the three, but I can still recall some fun from it. I love it when he just comes in and starts torching the vampire women without checking or anything. I’ll have to watch it again. It was sad to watch Frank go, but I understood it. I actually watched less and less as time went by. I was very much a Joel person. Not to say that the years to come didn’t bring some great episodes. You still had Werewolf and Space Mutiny coming up.

    Again, I’m going to watch this again while my VHS tape still works.


  • 77
    pondoscp says:

    Yep, a lot of others have already expressed the same sentiment as me, that this is the end. Frank leaving really ended the show for me. Something is definitely missing in the writing of the riffs from here out. A few semi-interesting episodes would follow over the next few seasons, but for me, the ship sails with this one.
    I also feel this episode is all about the host segments. The movie just drags. An average, yet important, episode from the golden CC era.


  • 78
    Droppo says:

    Let me be frank about Frank. I adore the man. I can’t overstate how much I enjoyed his performance on MST3K. I remember being so depressed when I heard he was leaving. I just didn’t feel his amazing comic chemistry with Trace could be improved upon or equaled….and, IMHO, it couldn’t….not by a longshot.

    I love Joel. He seemed to be the heart and soul of the show and his delivery was so original and unique….and yet, I immediately loved Mike too. Even more surprising to me, I loved Bill’s Crow when I thought it was impossible for anyone to replace the brilliant Trace.

    But, one area they just weren’t able to get right was replacing Frank. My thoughts on Pearl, the character (not Mary Jo), have been expressed many times here. But, even beyond that….Frank, to me, was the one truly irreplaceable cast member. The host segments never were consistently good, again IMHO, after Frank left. The riffing was still often off the charts hilarious and there were many classic episodes to come as a result. But, the show changed for the worse after he left. To be clear, it still was better than any other show ever….it just lost something special.

    To recap, Frank is the best Frank that ever happened to me.


  • 79
    Neptune Man says:

    According to some people, this was the final show, all the other episodes, from Night of the Blood Beast to Diabolik were figments of my imagination, the cosmic switch was pulled, there was no MST3K! Come on people, Frank was great and all, but the core of the show was riffing movies. The mad science experiment was a mere excuse. Also, I don’t get why you seem so emotionally attached to a fictional character, they are just that.
    Well, back to the movie, I enjoy very much this episode, the riffing is hilarious and the movie is one Hell of a goofy trip, courtesy of K. Gordon Murray and René Cardona. I wish the MST3K would have tackled all of their productions, specially Santo Against the Martians and Ship of Monsters.
    Let the Cher jokes begin!


  • 80
    Fred Burroughs says:

    Speaking of Cher jokes, I find it interesting that that is the only Cher joke, yet they repeat it several times, and each time the delivery is completely different and gets funnier as it gets quieter. You are never done mining the depth of mirth to be had at the expense of that mononymous cultural icon. and yet, it’s too easy to use very often. *sigh*


  • 81
    ToolAssist says:

    Stellar episode. Vastly superior to the movie, imo. Sad to see Frank leave, but at least he went out with a bang.

    They should have done some other Santo flicks. Santo and the Wax Museum, maybe?


  • 82
    Depressing Aunt says:

    I was trying to remember why I missed so many of these Comedy Central episodes while they were running. College, maybe, or limited access to CC. As a result of this sporadic viewing I didn’t see Frank’s departure till well after the fact. What a blow it must have been. And yet I always feel bad that Dr. F got no Chinese food…

    I’d like to thank YouTube for letting me find the Stratego commercial. Now I finally get it.

    I love movie dad’s goofy lines and he had a great foil in the inspector with the mild, boring voice. Also love:

    Mike, as Samson examining the portrait intensely: Re-be-ca? What the hell is Re-be-ca?

    By the way, I can’t think of a single thing more distracting than YouTube, every single commercial from my childhood is there.


  • 83
    Sitting Duck says:

    @Depressing Aunt: How about providing a link to that Stratego commercial so the rest of us can get it?


  • 84
    Droppo says:

    #79: I think that’s a bit unfair. After all, this is a fan site celebrating MST3K so it’s not hard to understand why a “fictional character” would mean so much to us.

    To be clear, there are many, many episodes that I adore post-Frank exclusively because of the riffing: The Incredible Melting Man, Deathstalker, Time Chasers, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, Werewolf, Hobgoblins, Track of the Moonbeast and Merlin’s Mystical Shop of Wonders to name a few.

    But, the fact remains: prior to Frank leaving, I enjoyed every part of the show. From the opening credits on, I was transported. The framing device was a huge reason why I fell in love with MST3K. It had such a goofy charm and somehow (I know this sounds kind of odd) added a poignancy to the whole thing. Somehow, it gave it more heart. And Frank’s delivery and comic sensibility is just so unique. He blended brilliantly with Trace, their comic chemistry was truly as good as any comedy team I’ve ever seen. That dynamic was forever lost when Frank left. Now, what was left was the brilliant bedrock of the show – the riffing. And the goodwill of the whole premise and the characters that remained. But, I loathed….and I mean LOATHED…..the Pearl character. Nails on a chalkboard for me. So now one of my favorite parts of the show was replaced by a new dynamic that I actively and strongly disliked.

    Is it just a show? Of course. Should I just relax? Without question.

    But, if one can’t profess their love for TV’s Frank on the site dedicated to celebrating MST3K….where, I ask you, can he?


  • 85
    hortense says:

    Although it’s probably been done, I’d like to see a poll amongst fans to see how much the host segments mean to people. I can see by this thread that many sincerely love the characters and sketches. I feel guilty saying how few I really watch, I mean to me it’s always mostly about the riffing. I have a few favorites from the Joel era and probably more from mostly season 9 & 10, but mostly I just haven’t watched enough to fall in love with the characters.


  • 86
    Neptune Man says:

    I never said you shouldn’t express your love of all things Frank. My point was that I don’t see the chemistry, that I recognize it worked incedibly well, between Frank and Dr. Forrester as a vital part of the show. It added value, like the songs or skits, but the vedettes were always the movie and the riffing.
    When I said “I don’t get why you seem so emotionally attached to a fictional character”, I expressed a honest curiosity, I never felt a strong connection with anything fictional, it’s a trait of my personality I’m not sure is good.


  • 87

    I do enjoy the host segments. I tend to accept them as a nice bonus regardless of quality.

    I remember when MST3K started playing on the local Comedy Central and my first reaction to a cast change was “Who is this non-Joel person with the robots in some episodes? He’s not Joel!”. I didn’t often see the episodes in sequence. Frank was just kind of there sometimes and not at others. But he wasn’t out in the theater riffing, either way, so it wasn’t that important. To me, the main significance of this episode was that I’d already become a fan of the movie after seeing it on Reel Wild Cinema. I sure didn’t hold Frank’s departure against the show.


  • 88
    Depressing Aunt says:

    Sitting Duck and all:


  • 89

    It’s not just Frank’s character that was missed, it’s the riffs he took with him. The style of the riffing changed after Frank and Trace left, for the worse in my opinion, although there were still some very good episodes. But if one of the things you enjoyed were the riffs that tickled your memory about some almost-forgotten commercial or movie, those would be mostly gone after season 7. And it seems likely that a lot of those had come from Frank.


  • 90
    John S. says:

    I remember reading speculation at the time that Master Ninja III would be a season six episode. Was very excited at the prospect of checking in on the continued adventures of Max Keller and his pet hamster.


  • 91
    Droppo says:

    #86: Totally fair. And I do agree, the host segments always were the sprinkles on top of the sundae. I just loved the sprinkles. In sum, Frank = sprinkles.

    I’m not sure loving fictional characters as I do is necessarily healthy either.

    #90: Master Ninja I and II are my favorite episodes ever. I was crushed when the III rumor didn’t pan out. I’m still holding out hope that Rifftrax gets their hands on Master Ninja III one day. In fact, I may start a Kickstarter for it.


  • 92
    Cornjob says:

    Oh, and, Sra-Tee-Go-Oooohh.


  • 93
    Jason says:

    I only have a Youtube version of this, but the first time they go into the theater, it looks like Crow’s head pops clean off his body. I’ve seen that happen to Servo dozens of times, but never Crow! Laugh


  • 94
    1 adam 12 says:

    Gotta disagree with you regarding this episode, Sampo. This is one of my ten favorite episodes ever! From the baffling conversation where the detective tries to get the professor to tell him what the heck is going on (I know the feeling), to the goofy cheap thug/vampire violence (vampire wilding), to the atrocious special effects (I don’t get the physics of a hovering bat either), this one is a winner all around for me.


  • 95
    Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    When I was a college student, this was the final nail in the coffin for the show for me. The show did OK with the replacement of Joel with Mike, but I couldn’t see how MST3k could survive the departure of Frank. After coming back to the show recently via internet and watching the later episodes, I can say now I was horribly wrong, for the most part, but the dynamic of the show did change. Not only did Frank contribute a singular foil to Dr. F, but behind the scenes he was a valued writer and (don’t forget) also did the main work of selecting the cheesy movies for the show. Much of Season 7 (and afterward) shows this shift: the humor (IMHO) got a lot meaner and negative, and the choice of films also changes. Season 7 reflects the stress the cast and crew were undergoing with work on the movie and cancellation. Seasons 8-10 take a new direction, but also reflect a much more limited film selection and writing style, due to the machinations of SyFy. Definitely the end of an era.

    Anyone think the vampire guys look like The Misfits?

    Push the button, Frank!