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Enlightening Email from Joel

Well, it’s interesting (and a little intimidating!) to learn that Joel seems to be dropping by this site once in a while…

Last week in the episode guide I again asked about the origin of the “hat party” gag that gets used a number of times on the show. Again, nobody knew for sure. Then an email from Mr. Hodgson arrived:

Noticed you were curious about the term “hat party”

“Hat Party” and especially “We’re staging a Hat Party” was something I read in a Magic Magazine. It was part of a promotion for a Magic Convention, I think, as a way to entice wives and girlfriends to want to go to a magic convention – which they never do. I think the copy also read “the name of the game is HATS”. So it fascinated me, still does – I think I may have read it to everyone in the writing room and I remember Frank really laughing about it. That was it.

So I surmise that the “mine will be the grandest of all” is a Frankism, as he went with the premise in the writing room.

Joel also volunteered this stunner:

Also, by the way, the name “Best Brains” was also a phrase I found in a magic catalog. It was the old “Vick Lawston” magic catalog. The copy read something like: “from some of the Best Brains in the magic business!”

Never knew THAT!

Never one to let a good thing rest, I decided to ask for one more: I had wondered in that episode guide entry if that “beat” poem Joel reads at the top of that episode (210- KING DINOSAUR) was his, so I asked. He replied:

Yes, I think I may have wrote that poem – it has some references that I recognize from other sources – mostly the Suburbs album (a local Minneapolis band) “Stories for Boys” and George Harrison’s “33 and a 3rd” record with the song “Pure Smokey” – also Tom Servo is dropping some lines from the Van Morrison
song “Rave On, John Donne”.

So there’s that! Thanks, Joel!

34 Replies to “Enlightening Email from Joel”

  1. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Interesting and amusing information. Thanks to Joel for writing and Sampo for sharing.


  2. kismetgirl88 says:

    I thought had do with English people or Easter where everyone put on fancy hats. (Did anyone else see the royal weeding? I keep making that comment.) But I was wrong.


  3. TarlCabot says:

    I’ve seen Frank comment before (and completely dismantle a troll at the same time). So, its not too outside the normal field of thinking to see Joel scan through every once and while.

    Heck, if I created and/or worked on a show that had a website dedicated to it 25 years later where people still dissected everything I said/wrote I would probably be browsing through it, too.


  4. Dan in WI says:

    I big thanks to Joel for lurking and enlightening.


  5. Zee says:

    While you had him on the horn you should’ve asked him “What the hell is the deal with the Joey the Lemur sketch!?”


  6. Droppo says:

    Love you, Joel!!!!


  7. Laura says:

    I second Droppo! I am a huge fan of yours Joel! You’re my favorite and always will be!


  8. Dan in WI says:

    Gee, I wonder if Joel did any amount of lurking during the KTMA discussions. I know he is still very reluctant to have these see the light of day. Perhaps if he was lurking he found that some of us are interested in those more for what they are (historical genesis domcuments) then for what they are not (comedy gold).
    Then again I’d guess at this point the only opinion that matters (as far as them seeing the light of day are concerned) is Jim who probably has the masters as well Best Brain’s “share” of the rights.


  9. Fart Bargo says:

    Just goes to show that Joel cares about his fans. Thanks buddy!


  10. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    Sampo, I’ve also always considered the “grandest hat of all” line as a Frankism, for some reason; I’m glad to find I’m not the only one. Thanks for sharing the info!

    kismetgirl88, I had the same thought when I caught part of the wedding; though I think my exact comment was, “She has the grandest octopus of all,” when I saw Fergie’s daughter with that thing on her head. How would we survive without MST?


  11. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Three Cheers for both Joel and Sampo !


  12. Ryan says:

    That is cool that Joel checks this site out sometimes.

    I always wanted to know if the various Best Brains ever check out the riffs by the others (CinTit checking out Rifftrax and visa versa) and if they check out any of the fan riffs over at iRiffs on


  13. ck says:

    Not only that, I hear Joel is checking your IPhone.
    Oh my God, he’s posting from inside your house!


  14. Liggy says:

    JOEL IS WATCHING US. Pardon me while I have a freak-out moment…Man, if he e-mailed me – or acknowledged my existence in any way, really – I think I’d die… :inlove:


  15. Johnny Ryde says:

    I remember seeing (or reading?) an interview with Joel where he said that a few times he’d go into MST3k chatrooms anonymously and start trolling people with the “Mike vs. Joel” argument…

    Should we troll him back by pretending to all be big Mike fans? ;>


  16. aprilmay says:

    Oh no, not that Joel again *oh my GOD, Joel is lurking here?*. I wish he’d just give it up *Joel, here? Squee!!*. Mike was 100% funnier *I love you Joel!*


  17. Joseph Nebus says:

    @15 Johnny Ryde says:

    I remember seeing (or reading?) an interview with Joel where he said that a few times he’d go into MST3k chatrooms anonymously and start trolling people with the “Mike vs. Joel” argument…

    Yeah, but Mike trolls better.


  18. ck says:

    Btw, I wouldn’t worry too much about Joel or Mike
    trolling. Remember, Richard Basehart is watching
    over us all. (Except for the evil Richard Basehart
    in the Columbo movie set in London).


  19. The Professor says:

    Big Brother is watching. And he has some answers! Thanks Joel. Stick around, won’t you?


  20. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Cool stuff Sampo and thanks Joel, but please allow me to drop some more knowledge. Joel mentions getting the name BEST BRAINS from a Vick Lawston magic catalog. This instantly brought to mind Joel’s TV special THE TV WHEEL, in which there is a skit involving Vick Lawston (played by Paul Feig of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ fame) who’s selling items out of his magic catalog called House of 1000 Mysteries along with his monkey sidekick, Pumpernickel. Hilarious skit. (Check out the link below) But even more incredible is that the real Vick Lawston’s magic catalog was called House of 1000 Mysteries and featured a cartoon monkey named Pumpernickel who recommended items.

    The more you know!

    All info from MagicPeda, which is real apparently.

    For those of you who haven’t seen it, THE TV WHEEL is pretty hilarious. Here’s that link:

    “No one laughs in the House of 1000 Mysteries, I know this to be true!”


  21. Gary Bowden says:

    @20..And you can get THE TV WHEEL and STATICAL PLANETS at,but you might already know that. :-D


  22. Gary Bowden says:

    @21..Oops! I know that link won’t work,so here it is again:


  23. Brandon says:

    If Joel had no comment on the Joey the lemur thing, that could be an indication that he doesn’t remember what provoked that segment either. Or he just wants to keep it a mystery.


  24. Laura says:

    @ 23
    Or he just doesn’t want to admit he even did in the first place. I’ll stick with my “too much caffeine” theory until proven otherwise.


  25. Cody Himes says:

    Yes, thank you, Joel! One thing I really enjoy about the MST3K fan community is that the guys and gals behind the show are involved in fan activities and take the time to provide answers to our questions. Very cool.


  26. mst3ktemple says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how obliging all of the ex-Brains are. Thanks Joel,


  27. Hopkins says:

    Oh man, I’ve wracked my brain on the “hat party” thing on more than one occasion thinking I *should* know where it comes from. No chance, lol. Thanks, Joel.


  28. big61al says:

    Great to see Joel reads the discussions here. It may seem trivial to some who are not totally into the show as most of us here are but I think talking about the show has merit. Joel still must feel a lot of pride that so many hold his early career work in such high esteem. Now for Joel stirring the pot of the Joel/Mike debate….I have said this before and I’ll keep saying it….There is no better host/writer…..They are in my eyes equals with the same stature in my love of the show. So you like Joel, fine. And you like Mike, fine. Like what you like and that’s ok. End of debate.


  29. Sara CC says:

    Must be a fantastic site if he bothers to read and respond. Or I could be reading way into things :) A Hat Party sounds devastating.


  30. Edge says:

    Great! I prove I don’t know the difference between no and know while Joel is reading. Typical me. :blush:


  31. Rob S says:

    Wow, I had no idea Vick Lawston was an actual magic dealer! I thought the TV Wheel sketch was just a style parody, not a straight-up shot at the genuine article! Guess I was just too young for that…

    “HIM! HIIIIM!” Good memories…

    Nice of Joel to drop some knowledge on us. Thank you, Mr. Hodgson!


  32. Sharktopus says:

    Why do I get that “Dad’s been reading my email” feeling? I wonder who else might be lurking out there… :shock:


  33. EricJ says:

    I remember reading Magic Magazine (trade journal for the pros) once or twice as a kid–Y’know, “when I grow up”, etc….Makes sense that Agent J would consider himself in the same magic-prop construction business.

    And even if Satellite News is now the “only” devoted MST3K site out there (now that personal fansites of the 90’s have all turned into the blogs of the 00’s), nice to know that the professionals still turn to us first. :)
    Now, that leaves only the question of whether “And mine is the GRANDEST of all!” was anything specific, or just atmospheric embellishment.


  34. …and mine will be the GRANDEST of all!

    That line is so Frank, it’s got to be his.
    And I spent 20 years trying to think of where it had come from, but now I’m resolved.


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