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MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000
THE UNOFFICIAL EPISODE GUIDE


SEASON SEVEN: COMEDY CENTRAL, 1995-1996 [and MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVIE and the “lost” short ASSIGNMENT: VENEZUELA]


Episode guide: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Last modified on 2017-03-02 20:19:28 GMT. 237 comments. Top.

Movie_title

Movie: An atomic scientist is invited to collaborate on a mysterious project that has interplanetary consequences.

First shown: 4/19/96
Intro: Dr. F. explains the premise
Opening: Mike’s begins his day, but what’s that rhythmic pounding?
Host segment 1: After the film breaks, Crow and Tom goad Mike into piloting the SOL–with disastrous results!
Host segment 2: Mike and Crow check out the interociter in Tom’s room, but the Metalunan they contact is no help
End: Dr. F. is sure Mike’s will has been broken, but on the SOL its party time — with a “THIS ISLAND EARTH” theme. Dr. F.’s attempt to poop the party backfires. Aaaahhhh!
Stinger: No stinger, but Mike, Crow and Tom return to riff their own credits!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• There is SO much to talk about when it comes to this all-too-brief attempt at mainstreaming an almost unmainstreamable product. I’ll try to hit as many of the high notes as possible.
• For a lot of background on the movie, read our FAQ (which needs a little updating, see below).
• There were a number of releases of the film, first on VHS, later on DVD, also on Laserdisk and Blu-ray. The DVD went out of print for a while (which was around the last time we updated the FAQ) and then came out in a bare-bones, movie-only edition. After that went out of print in 2013, Shout Factory finally got the rights and put together a features-laden DVD release, including the deleted scenes. And take note of the background music on the menu: it’s the almost-never-used Dave Alvin and the Blasters (actually on his Facebook page, he says it was he and a group called “The Guilty Men”) rendition of the theme song, which had been, in Alvin’s words, “in rights limbo” for more than a decade.
• In many ways, all their years of hard work were leading up to this and the movie is at the heart of so much that happened at (and to) Best Brains. One giant example: Joel has revealed that it was Jim’s insistence on directing this movie that was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and led him to depart the series. How might the world, the show and Best Brains have been different if they never thought to try to make a movie? We’ll never know. The movie also caused them to put the regular series on the back burner, and that may have helped give Comedy Central the impression that BBI had no interest in continuing the show. I could probably come up with a dozen more examples, and who knows what sort of backstage stuff went on that we don’t know about?
• The movie proves one thing without a doubt: It IS possible to have closed captioning for MST3K. I forget now if the DVDs have captioning, but the VHS versions did — the dialog from the movie ran at the top of the screen and the riffs ran at the bottom. It worked reasonably well, and I really wish EVERY episode was closed captioned. I’m a bit of a militant on this issue, but I do think it can be done and I wish it would be done.
• I visited the set while they were filming (it was the day they shot Trace doing the opening bit) and everybody seemed pretty upbeat. Kevin was even speculating on the prospect of doing one of these a year for the foreseeable future (Joel told me something very similar more recently).
• Trace worked like a real trooper that day. They must have done 20 takes. Oh, and anybody who says making a movie is exciting has never actually been on the set when a movie was being made. It’s a little like a baseball game: lots of standing around and waiting, punctuated by a few seconds of excitement.
Take a look here if you want to read many of the reviews at the time, or at least excerpts.
• Many of the harshest reviews came from people who felt “This Island Earth” is “too good” to have been the subject of riffing. And as I read these reviews, I noticed something really strange: among the people who made this charge, the words “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were often part of the review. It really was a remarkable thing. “This Island Earth” is NOT “The Day the Earth Stood Still” but the mere PROXIMITY of “This Island Earth” to “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” in the minds of these critics, was enough to disqualify it for mockery.
• I told Kevin, during a break on the set, about the people who were saying TIE was “too good to riff.” His response was very simple: He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. Then he began to tick off the fundamental flaws in the movie. First of all, he said, Cal, our hero, goes on a mind-bending journey across the universe — and yet he returns utterly unchanged in any way. Secondly, Cal is supposed to be the hero, but his most heroic act is to yell, “Run, Ruth, run!” at one point. Third, it’s fairly clear that both Rex Reason and Jeff Morrow thought THEY were the hero of the movie, and that jumbles everything up. Fourth, the chemistry between Faith Domergue and Rex Reason was tepid at best, and on and on. He hadn’t even gotten to all the criticisms before he was called back to the set.
• On the other hand, it’s hard to fairly judge TIE based on the chopped-to-shreds version we get in MST3K:TM (as noted in the FAQ, the entire running time of MST3K:TM is less than the original running time of TIE). But I have seen the full thing (indeed I watched the full thing riffed by Mike, Kevin and Trace at the first convention in 1994) and I am here to tell you that it is NOT a good movie. Visually arresting, okay, I’ll grant you that. But a deeply flawed flick.
• In the opening, just watch the real estate Trace covers as he goes through his explanation of the premise. Now imagine doing that about 20 times under hot lights.
• After the little Dr. F intro, we go into an elaborate “2001” parody during the credits. If you’re watching it carefully, they give away the joke (i.e. that at first Mike looks as if he is jogging in a giant circular spaceship as in “2001,” but then we realize he is actually on a giant hamster wheel) pretty early, but I also suspect that a lot of casual viewers may well have been finding their seats etc., and might have only gotten the joke as the credits end.
• Note that a copy of the old Satellite News newsletter is the “wire service reports” Gypsy gives to Mike.
• Also during the early moments of this scene look past Servo and Mike to the wall behind them. The set is decorated with many pink flamingos. These were a gift from some fans (me among them) presented to the cast and crew at the end of the first convention.
• One of the things that the publicity people for the movie pushed was that we would get our first glimpse of other parts of the SOL. But, in the end, we didn’t really get to see anything very memorable. I suspect they were thinking about the scenes that were eventually cut.
• As we get ready for movie sign, they make explicit the threat Dr. F has always sort of implied in the past. He pulls a lever and apparently cuts the oxygen in the SOL. Mike, of course, has the most reason to cooperate, but Crow and Tom comply as well, not wanting to be the cause of Mike’s demise.
• Look for Frank on one of the doors during the door sequence.
• The movie contains many riffs that loyal fans have heard before, sometimes on several occasions. Among them: “It’s a long par five to the nation’s capital,” “Football practice!” “Put your shoes on, we’re at grandma’s,” “I have tubes in my ears!” “I kind of live out of my [insert vehicle type]” and [you] “wake and bake every day.”
• One of the problems I do have with the movie is that, early on, when they should be establishing a riffing rhythm, there is an upsettingly long stretch of no riffs. It happens during the scene in which Cal holds an impromptu press conference as he prepares to climb into his jet. A long painful minute goes by with only a few paltry riffs, and it’s really the wrong place for a dead zone.
• Then current riffs: “John Sununu goes for a haircut,” “Look out President Clinton!”, a reference to pilots drinking rum and cokes and “The Kingdome!”
• In the live riffing, the “secret eggo project” scene went on much longer and established the “Cal always breaks things” running gag. The shortened version doesn’t really establish it, with the result that when Servo says “Cal, I don’t think there’s anything left to break!” we really don’t understand what he’s talking about.
• Take note of a few familiar faces: The “sort this, deliver that” delivery man is none other than Coleman Francis!! And, later, the Metalunan pilot who punches up the “Normal View” is none other than Richard Deacon, Mel Cooley from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
• Another little in-joke for fans, you can hear a light musical riff on the “Manos” theme as Mike activates the manipulator arm, which is labeled “Manos.”
• It always cracks me up the way Crow nuzzles Mike while doing his George Takei impression.
• Servo mentions hamdingers under his breath as he looks for his interociter.
• One of the most surprising, and head-scratching moments of the movie came with the appearance of actor John Brady as a Metalunan taking a shower. Brady had never been involved with MST3K (in fact this was his first movie role) and many fans were baffled by the appearance of this complete stranger.
• Just a shout-out to Jef or whoever built that replica of the catalog in the movie. Looks perfect.
• The movie contains three “shits” in the dialog, expressly added so that would avoid the dreaded “G” rating. I’m sure this made sense at the time. but, in hindsight, doesn’t seem to have helped.
• Obscure riff (there were a few!): They enter a room on the ship that looks to have wooden tile floors. Crow, in his best Henry Fonda, says “Hey the floors look great!” Fonda was a longtime pitchman for GAF flooring.
• As they riff the closing credits, most of the names they pick out are folks who have been longtime BBI staffers.
• Cast and crew wrap-up: We’re going to do this one a little differently because basically the usual Universal crew worked on this thing, and many of them also worked, within a few years on “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Leech Woman,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.”
Those also working on “Revenge of the Creature ” were producer William Alland, the director of the Metaluna scenes Jack Arnold, assistant director Fred Frank, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, costumers Jack Kevan, Millicent Patrick, Robert Beau Hickman, Chris Mueller and John Kraus, hairdresser Joan St. Oegger, art director Alexander Golitzen, set dressers Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey and score composers Herman Stein and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Robert B. Williams.
Those also working on “The Leech Woman” were special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, art director Alexander Golitzen set dressers Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson (who served as producer).
Those also working on “The Mole People” were producer William Alland, editor Virgil Vogel, special effects guy Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, hairdresser Joan St. Oegger, art director Alexander Golitzen, set dresser Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson, score composers Herman Stein, Hans Salter and Henry Mancini. In front of the camera: Mark Hamilton, Regis Parton and Ed Parker.
Those also working on “The Deadly Mantis” were producer William Alland, special effects guy Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, art director Alexander Golitzen, special effects guy Fred Knoth, set dresser Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
Those also working on “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” were cinematographer Clifford Stine, special effects guy/costumer/makeup guy Bud Westmore, set dresser Russell A. Gausman and Julia Heron, sound person Leslie I. Carey, musical director Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
In addition, producer William Alland also worked on “The Space Children.” Special effects guy Clifford Stine also worked on “The Creeping Terror.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore also worked on “San Francisco International. Hairdresser Joan St. Oegger also worked on “The Amazing Colossal Man.” Art director Alexander Golitzen also worked on “Kitten With A Whip,” as did musical director Joseph Gershenson. Set dresser Russell A. Gausman also worked on “The Brute Man,” as did score composer Hans J. Salter.
In front of the camera: Lance Fuller also appeared in “The She Creature.” Coleman Francis, well, you know. Ed Parker was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “Undersea Kingdom.” Russell Johnson was also in “The Space Children.”
• CreditsWatch: Regular crew members who also worked on the movie were Jeff Stonehouse, Bradley J. Keely, Michael Kienitz, Andrea Jackson DuCane, Jef Maynard, Wendell Jon Andersson, Patrick Brantseg, Crist Ballas, Tim Johnson, Barb Tebben and Julie Walker.
• Fave riff: “Hey, keep it on the road! We’re in the tubes back here!” Honorable mention: “Recognize me now, Ruth?”

Next week, we’ll start season seven.

Episode guide: 701 and 701T- Night of the Blood Beast (with short: ‘Once Upon a Honeymoon’)

Last modified on 2017-02-19 22:17:11 GMT. 171 comments. Top.

0701s

Short: (1956) While her songwriter husband struggles with a difficult tune, a newlywed dreams of redecorating her house with phones.
Movie: (1958) After his rocket crashes, an astronaut discovers he is carrying alien embryos.

Turkey Day bumpers
1: Dr. F. is at it again, planning to rule the world using his collection of MST3K experiments. His mother is stopping by later, and he wants to rule the world before she gets there. Then, Jack Perkins arrives. He explains that TV’s Frank invited a bunch of guests for Thanksgiving dinner months before he was assumed into second banana heaven.
2: Mr. B Natural pops in.
3: Pitch appears.
4: The Kitten With The Whip arrives.
5: Dr. F is unhappy until he hears piano stylings of Michael Feinstein.
6. The party continues but nobody hears Pearl banging at the door of Deep 13.
7: Pearl arrives. She’s upset that Frank is gone but joins the party.

Turkey Day host segments–aka 701T
First shown: 11/23/95
Opening: M&tB rain sports cliches on a baffled Gypsy
Intro: Dr. F.’s party continues with Pearl providing the movie
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom present: “Stuffing vs. Potatoes”
Host segment 2: “Art” and Pearl have a chat
Host segment 3: Thanksgiving dinner on the SOL and in Deep 13
End: Tom is mincemeat; Pearl’s “Turkey surprise” is a hit in Deep 13
Stinger: “Wounded animal that large isn’t good”

Regular show host segments
First shown: 2/3/96
Opening: Crow and Tom are concerned about their personal security, so they taze Mike
Intro: Dr. F. has a traumatic trombone recital, but Crow shines
Host segment 1: M&tB sing about decorating with phones
Host segment 2: Pearl makes Dr. F. apologize
Host segment 3: Crow claims he’s pregnant with shrimp babies
End: Crow’s rant about babies disrupts Mike’s attempts to read letters; Pearl wants Dr . F. to act like a baby
Stinger: “Wounded animal that large isn’t good”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• This episode, with the Turkey Day bumpers included as extras, is included in the “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVI.”
• We are proud to point you to our EXCLUSIVE season-seven continuation of the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, here on this site. We paid good money to get these! You’re welcome. Read them! Mike talks about the main episode here and Bridget offers some thoughts on the Turkey Day version here. Now on with the discussion…

Turkey Day bumpers
• Of course, there’s no way any of the following Turkey Day bumper sets could ever rival the fun and delight of the first one, but these were okay. They got the job done and there were some genuine laughs.
• In the third segment, Dr. F says “I will rule the WORLD!! AHAHAHAHA!” almost exactly like he does in the opening of “MST3K:TM.”
• Mike’s song goes on too long.
• Mike is hilarious as a smitten Jack Perkins, prepared to “change teams” if necessary to the enjoy the pleasures of Mr. B Natural, and Bridget is equally funny as a guy who isn’t really into what Jack has in mind.

The Turkey Day host segments:
• According to our records, the host segments, that debuted on Nov. 23, 1995, ran three more times, on Dec. 2 (at 5 p.m.), Dec. 3 (at 10 a.m.) and Dec. 4 (at 2 a.m.). So that makes a total of four showings.
• For the record, the stretch between the end of season six and the beginning of season seven was 243 days (more than eight months!), the second-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes. (The stretch between seasons 7 and 8 was the longest.). Fans were jonesing bad.
• Of course, we have new theme song lyrics, mostly involving changing the personal pronouns from plural to singular, reflecting the departure of Frank. There’s also some great new footage in the opening.
• The opening is fun and breezy, with poor Gypsy trying to make sense of M&tB as they spout endless sports cliches.
• Why does Pearl call Crow “Art?” [Deep breath] Calling Crow “Art” is an obscure BBI in-joke. During a host segment in episode 203- JUNGLE GODDESS, Joel was introducing the ‘bots at the end of a sketch in the same manner Jackie Gleason used to use at the end of his TV show: bringing out each cast member to take a bow. In fact, when he got to Crow, he got so into the Jackie Gleason premise that he introduced Crow as “Art Crow!” much as Gleason would yell “Art Carney!” when introducing his long-time co-star. Well, apparently some little kid saw that, didn’t get the Jackie Gleason reference, and assumed that Crow’s name was actually Art. That kid wrote a letter to the show, which was read in episode 402- THE GIANT GILA MONSTER. The letter included pictures of each of the robots, and the drawing of Crow was labeled “Art.” When Pearl calls Crow “Art,” it’s a reference to that. [Exhale]
• The stuffing vs. potatoes bit is very funny. “Nature’s Bouncing Betty…”
• Although Dr. F would be browbeaten and henpecked by Pearl — to the dismay of some fans (see below) — this season, the two also seem to work reasonably well together in this episode, working together to defeat the unpleasant guests.
• I had forgotten Pearl’s hilarious “Turkey Surprise” recipe: “Bake at 200 degrees for one hour and then rub with a turtle.” Brilliant.

The regular episode:
• This was the first new episode (sort of) in six weeks.
• The riffing, both of the short and the main feature, is just hilarious. Very strong and a great start to this all-too-short season.
• If the movie’s scenery looks familiar, it should: Yes, this was another movie featuring exterior shots done in Bronson Canyon. Other movies where that location was used include: “Robot Monster,” “King Dinosaur,” “It Conquered The World,” “Viking Women,” “War Of The Colossal Beast” and “Teenagers From Outer Space.”
• Note that in the background of the redecorated Deep 13 is the projector from Deep 13 set of “MST3K: TM.”
• The opening, with the bots torturing Mike for no discernible reason, is the beginning of what will be a season 7 running theme.
• Ah, the trombone recital. The beginning of all “the troubles” in the view of some folks (again, see below). I will be honest: I laughed. I thought it was pretty funny and I think Trace and Mary Jo do a great job in the scene. But not everybody thought so. Another reason there was some dismay about this segment came later: the outtake that appeared in “Poopie 2,” when it appears that Trace actually was injured slightly during the filming. A bit disturbing.
• Crow’s solo is the same song — “Getting Sentimental Over You” — that our hero plays at the end of Mr. B Natural. And, hey! Crow’s arms work!
• Nice job on the prop trombone that constantly shoots spit.
• Pearl again calls Crow Art.
• Pearl makes several references to wishing Clayton had been a girl, topped with the announcement that Dr. F’s two middle names are “Deborah Susan.”
• The short is a gem: One of those weird promotional things that never actually comes right out and says what they’re selling.
• The little song “Line em up against the wall and pop goes the weasel,” is from “Duck Soup.”
• Crow mispronounces Ray Manzarek’s name.
• During the riffing they do a parody of Eddie Bauer — “comes in loden, pant and twerp” — that they would expand on in a later episode.
• I love Tom singing the sign in the movie.
• One riff, “We learned not to send Polacks into space” caused a small kerfuffle after the episode aired. Some felt it was an uncharacteristically mean-spirited riff.
• A couple of times they make a reference to “undercupping.” Visit this site, for an explanation of what that term means.
• Callback: “The Beast of Yucca Flats.”
• The whole “Steves” running gag was funny and all, but there was only one character in the movie named Steve. Don’t really see where it comes from, is all…
• I want to address what happened in the fan base when Pearl arrived and the whole dynamic in Deep 13 changed. What happened, I believe, was an unfortunate disconnect between the writing staff and the fans, and although the fans might have made more of an effort to understand what was happening, I must lay most of the blame at the feet of the writing staff. Let me lay it out for you.
In the writing room, it’s clear they felt they were running out of fresh comedic permutations for the characters. I think they felt they’d taken these characters in every direction they could possibly go. And I got the sense that they were thrilled at the arrival of Pearl, and the chance to “shake things up” — a phrase they would use often later on, when fans began to ask them what the hell was going on. From the writers’ point of view, Dr. F and Pearl were simply characters on a page, representing a whole new set of comedic possibilities.
But for a lot of fans, Dr. F was not a concept on a page, to be played with any way the writers liked. He was an established character, a personality they had come to love and appreciate. And when the writers took that established character and began to take it in new directions, some fans didn’t like it. Put simply, they liked to see Dr. F. evil and in charge. They didn’t want to see him henpecked and timid, even if that allowed the writers to try new comic ideas. It was really one of the first times on this show that the fans and writers parted company.
In public appearances and interviews, Mary Jo and Trace expressed genuine confusion when fans questioned the direction they were taking Dr. F (and that’s when the “we just wanted to shake things up” explanations began coming out). It was pretty clear they simply didn’t see any reason not to change the characters any way they liked, as long as they thought it was funny.
In the end, for most fans, it wasn’t a deal breaker (though for a few it was). But it was something new for a show where, previously, the cast and the writers could virtually do no wrong.
• Cast and crew round up. I am not going to do the Arkoff or Roger Corman litany again. Producer and story writer Gene Corman was also the producer of “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Director Bernard L. Kowalski also worked on “Giant Leeches.” Cinematographer John Nicholaus worked on “Giant Leeches” and “High School Big Shot.” Editor Jodie Copelan worked on “Ring of Terror” and “Laserblast.” Editor Richard Currier also worked on “The Unearthly.” Makeup guy Harry Thomas also worked on “The Unearthly,” “High School Big Shot,” “The Mad Monster,” “Project Moon Base,” “Bride of the Monster,” “Invasion USA” and “Racket Girls.” Production Manager Jack Bohrer also worked on “Giant Leeches” and was assistant director on “Teenage Caveman” and “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Art director Dan Haller also worked “Giant Leeches” and “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” Prop master Karl Brainard also worked on “It Conquered the World,” “Teenage Caveman,” “The Undead” and “The She Creature.” Sound guy Herman Lewis also worked on “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent” and “Mitchell.” Score composer Alexander Laszlo also worked on “Giant Leeches,” “Manhunt in Space” and “Crash of Moons.”
In front of the camera: Michael Emmet was also on “Giant Leeches” and “Untamed Youth.” Ed Nelson was also in “Teenage Caveman,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Riding with Death” and “Superdome.” He was also a costumer for “Giant Leeches.” Tyler McVey was also in “Giant Leeches. Ross Sturlin was also in “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women” and “Giant Leeches.”
• CreditsWatch: Beginning with this episode, Best Brains began to behave in a way they hadn’t had to behave in several years: When they got an order for episodes, they assembled a crew and pumped them out. When the order was complete, they laid people off and closed down the studio until another order came in. In other words, there were a lot of new faces. And many longtime regulars had departed.
Gone from the season six list of writers are Frank Conniff and Mike Dodge. Gone from contributing writers is Colleen Williams. The Turkey Day host segments were directed by Jim Mallon. The regular episode segments were directed by Trace Beaulieu. Replacing Jann Johnson at production manager (the separate job of production coordinator goes away completely) is Wendell Jon Andersson (formerly an intern–something that rarely happened!). In the job of “production assistant,” held by the departing Sarah Wisner since season four, is Mary Banovets and Michael D. Parker in the Turkey Day episode. Parker took over the job by himself during the regular season. With the departure of Toolmaster Jef Maynard, the new job of “prop master” appears. One Dean Trisko did the job for the Turkey Day segments. During the regular season the job was held by Helena Espinosa. There was also a new “prop assistant” job. One Beth McKeever first appears in the credits in that role for the Turkey Day episode, along with a Wilson Webb. Beez was also an intern for the first two episodes of the season. Dean Trisko was in the role for the regular episode. The “audio” credit is gone. Tim Paulson no longer appears under “Editors” leaving Brad Keeley in that post alone. Jann and Ellen McDonough are both gone from the “post-production coordination” job and in their place are Wendell and Brad. Andrea DuCane did hair and makeup for all episodes this season except 704. Working as an intern both on the regular show and the Turkey Day segments was Debra Baxter. Danika King and Kelly Schrandt worked as interns for the entire regular season. The “additional original music written and arranged by” credit, which went to Mike for all of season six, again goes to him for the Turkey Day segments and for the rest of the season, but not the regular episode, where Kevin’s name appears instead. Barbara Tebben appears in the credits for the first time, with the title “assistant poobah,” as Julie Walker began to eye the exit. The “special makeup effects” credit for the turkey day segments went to Crist Ballas and Gary Bohem.
• Fave riff from the short: “What would Liberace do? Oh, better not do that!” Honorable mention: “What rhymes with blue balls?”
• Fave riff from the movie: “No more questions! More boobies!” Honorable mention: “You ever seen stroganoff?” and “Honey! You’re taller than you were last year!”

Episode guide: 702- The Brute Man (with short: ‘The Chicken of Tomorrow’)

Last modified on 2017-03-04 18:41:49 GMT. 150 comments. Top.

702s

Short: (1948) The many aspects of the modern chicken farming industry are shown.
Movie: (1946) A disfigured man takes revenge on the college pals he believes caused his condition.

First shown: 2/10/96
Opening: Tom is getting into real estate
Intro: Pearl is going out and puts Crow in charge
Host segment 1: Tom is inside an egg
Host segment 2: Mike calls his old girlfriend to ask her to help him escape
Host segment 3: Crow wants Mike and Tom to sing “Hang down your head, Tom Dewey”
End: Letters, Tom is not a good landlord, and Dr. F. turns Pearl’s date into a chicken of tomorrow
Stinger: “Creeper, Creeper, Creeper! YOU give me the creeps!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• This is one of those episodes where the short really builds up a head of steam, but the riffing of the movie just can’t maintain the pace, so it starts to drag in the last half hour. But overall it’s a great episode, with mostly good host segments with Dr. F a bit less wimpy than last week.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXII.”
• You can read Paul’s comments on this episode here.
• In the opening, watch Mike think about Crow’s “cajones” remark for several moments before objecting. Nicely done.
• I had no memory of the bit in the intro where they seem to be extracting a portion of a stuffed animal from Gypsy’s teeth. Nice little random element.
• Why is Dr. F quietly sewing the head of piglet onto the body of a fish? Why not?
• Of course that’s Paul as the oily lothario Sandy. Poom!
• Pearl again calls Crow Art.
• Mike is pitch perfect as a pouting 7-year-old when told Crow will be his babysitter.
• Note for anyone seeking an unMSTed version of this short: There is a different short with same title at archive.org. It does include some of the same footage, but it’s definitely a different short.
• There is so much realty talk in this episode. Who on the writing staff was buying a house?
• Obscure reference: Mike mentions a painter named Susan Rothstein. I’ve googled her and there does appear to be such a person, but she’s pretty obscure.
• Only slightly less obscure: Mike’s reference to Alicia de Larrocha. Also pretty obscure: references to jazz musicians Terry Gibbs and Diane Schuur.
• In the short, the narrator claims there is no county in a America where somebody is not raising chickens (I assume he means commercially). That’s a remarkable thing, if true, and I bet that’s not true any more (again, at least not commercial chicken farming; raising a few chickens for personal use is, I think, on the increase).
• Sadly, this is the last short for more than 30 episodes.
• Season seven brings us a new non-spaghetti ball bumper: A shot of a movie projector with the name of the movie on a card nearby. Rather than the rotating series of bumpers we had in season six, either the projector or the spaghetti ball was used.
• Callbacks: “Oh, it’s true.” (The Dead Talk Back)
• This is one of the oldest movies MST3K did. Only “The Corpse Vanishes,” “The Mad Monster” and “I Accuse My Parents” are older. By the way, the woman playing Joan Bemish is Mickey Dolenz’s mom.
• Of course, an early highlight is the old grumpy shopkeeper Mr. Harkins, who seems to have cracked them up.
• In segment two, for the first time in a long time, we find Mike actively trying to escape the SOL. That’s not something that had really been on the front burner in the latter half of season six.
• That’s Bridget on the phone, and, I think, Paul as the little kid.
• Interesting line when Crow sees the “23” on the Creeper’s lair: “Hey. it’s KTMA!”
• Segment 3 is one of those sketches about a bad idea for a sketch. The brains seem to enjoy the meta-ness of them. But they’re not so much funny as kind of wry.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Ben Pivar had a story credit on “The Leech Woman.” Editor Philip Cahn also worked on “Lost Continent.” Makeup guy Jack Pierce also worked on “Amazing Transparent Man.” Set designer Russell A. Gausman also worked on “The Leech Woman” and “This Island Earth.” “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” (which I think is why you keep seeing that hamburger/map picture on people’s walls). Sound tech Joe Lapis worked on “The Leech Woman.” Score composer Hans J. Salter also worked on “This Island Earth” and “The Leech Woman.”
In front of the camera: Tom Neal was also in “Radar Secret Service.” Fred Coby was also in “Jungle Goddess.” Peggy Converse was also in “The Thing that Couldn’t Die.” Tristram Coffin was also in “Radar Secret Service,” “The Corpse Vanishes” and “The Crawling Hand.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. This was prop assistant Dean Trisko’s last episode and Beth McKeever’s last episode as an intern.
• Fave riff from the short: “I’ve seen the episode where the eggs are coming too fast and she puts them in her mouth!” Honorable mention: “You think I can wear these pants out tonight?”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Honey? My face is as big as ever and someone shot my sizzler off!” Honorable mention: “Clog dancers!”

Episode guide: 703- Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell

Last modified on 2017-03-05 11:14:10 GMT. 161 comments. Top.

Movie: (1988) In medieval times, a smirky hero goes on quest for some magical stones and battles an evil sorcerer.

First shown: 2/17/96
Opening: Crow has new hair–and calf and hinder implants
Intro: Pearl is sick, and M&tB’s fast food restaurant just makes things worse for Dr. F
Host segment 1: The bots put on a Ren Fest for Mike
Host segment 2: Mike just can’t get enough of the Ren Fest
Host segment 3: Crow reads a trashy romance novel to a medicated Pearl
End: Mike reads a letter while Servo forges the One Ring; meanwhile Dr. F. goes Hitchcocky
Stinger: “Potatoes are what we eat!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• You can read Kevin’s comments on this episode here.
References.
• This episode is available on Shout’s “Volume XXXV.”
• After two good-but-not-great installments, the season really picks up steam with this one. I love it! Zany movie, great riffing, funny segments, just lots of fun.
• Kevin has a few thoughts about Pearl’s endless cries of “Clayton!” I loved it. Great work by Mary Jo. Great work by Trace. Hilarious bit, but even funnier by the intrusion of M&tB doing an elaborate fast food bit that drives Dr. F to the brink.
• Note that Crow and Tom’s name tags say “Mary Jo” and “Paul.”
• Crow and Tom wear the goofy hats into the theater, but Mike soon removes them.
• “Aw, this is a sequel to somethin’!” cries Crow in dismay. Indeed it is. It is a sequel to “Deathstalker” (1983) and “Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans” (1987). But wait! There’s more! It is also a prequel to Deathstalker IV: Match of the Titans (1990). Sheesh.
• M&tB take on Ren Fests once again (previously pummeled in episode 303- POD PEOPLE and also given the razz by Frank in an invention exchange in episode 402- THE GIANT GILA MONSTER, with his renaissance festival punching bags). But here they devote two entire segments to it.
• Then-current reference: Douglas Brackman, a character from the TV series “L.A. Law” played by Alan Rachins.
• The bots mention Edgar Bronfman a guy who was looming large in BBI’s life at the time: he was at the heart of a series of big media deals that were causing various companies that were paying BBI to repeatedly change hands, causing them to have a constantly changing series of corporate overlords.
• The line “I dreamed a gold man was reading to me from a dirty book” will live forever in the hearts of MSTies.
• When, toward the end of the movie, they yell “Sampo! Sampo!” I assume they are talking about me. You are invited to think so, too.
• I hadn’t noticed before that this episode has an instance of “I thought you were Dale.”
• Callback: “Mr B…Natural!”
• Being a LOTR buff makes this episode extra fun (and remember that this was still years before the popular movies came out, and LOTR was still the province of uber-nerds). We hear Tolkien proper nouns like Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, Khazad-dum and Nazgul. There’s even a segment in which Tom tries to forge The One Ring (and apparently succeeds – good for him!). I know that Paul was a LOTR fan (when Erhardt and I visited BBI just before the beginning of season eight the topic somehow came around to Tolkien and he admitted to being a fan and even used the phrase “ash nazg gimbatul,” which caused much derisive snickering among his cohorts).
• The final bit with the glass of milk is a reference to Hitchcock movie “Suspicion.”
• The cast and crew round-up has only one entry this week: Miguel Angel Fuentes is also in “The Pumaman.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. She was credited as a “prop assistant” in episode 701 (both versions) but then was not in the credits for 702. But in this one, Beth “Beez” McKeever returns as “Prop assistant/Buyer.” Ben Mooers begins a four-episode stint as an intern, apparently replacing Beez.
• Fave riff: “Guess what I’ve been doing!” Honorable mention: “I put the .. beats … in my own … script and I’m sticking … with them!” and “That was the name of the last guy!”

Episode guide: 704- The Incredible Melting Man

Last modified on 2017-03-11 13:33:42 GMT. 136 comments. Top.

Movie: (1977) Upon his return to Earth, an astronaut develops melting skin and murderous tendencies, and the authorities try to hush it all up.

First shown: 2/24/96
Opening: M&tB are playing a little hardball
Intro: Crow’s “Earth vs. Soup” screenplay is being made into a movie, with Dr. F. and Pearl in charge
Host segment 1: A script conference goes nowhere
Host segment 2: Crow shoots his movie
Host segment 3: Dr. F. leads a focus group
End: Crow learns the fate of his movie
Stinger: “Let’s get the hell out of here!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• You can read Mary Jo’s thoughts on this episode here.
• Of course, this ep is dominated by the movie-making segments. The Brains openly admitted that this was their chance to get even with the Hollywood suits who made their lives a living hell during the making of MST3K: The Movie. If they saw it (and they probably didn’t) a few execs may have recognized themselves. In any case, the segments are great fun, the movie is dumb and a little drippy and the riffing is very memorable. A great episode.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Volume XXXVI.”
References.
• Trace and Mary Jo are pitch-perfect as smug studio heads and it’s nice to see Dr. F and Pearl working together, rather than being at odds. Trace’s running gag with the water bottles is classic.
• Callbacks: Tom is singing “Are you happy in your work” (from “I Accuse My Parents”) as segment 1 begins. M&tB sing a few bars from “Only Love.” (Sidehackers) “What’s the matter, don’t you like it?” (Brute Man) “You always were a good judge of men, Deathstalker.” (Deathstalker) “The melting man was found alive and of normal size” (Monster A-Go-Go).
• This is one of those movies where the Brains find themselves having to riff the same scene (in which our hero Steve gets a bloody nose) several times. They managed it remarkably well.
• Director Crow is wearing a Deep 13 hat.
• This is the movie that features the great “What did we learn?” conversation. They should have done it for every movie.
• A little behind-the-scenes note: Confused about the scene showing a girl sobbing in a police car and a photographer taking pictures of everything in sight? That’s because the scene just before it was cut from the MSTed version. In the scene, the photographer gets the girl model (played by Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith) to pose and bounce around, then forcibly removes her top after she refuses to. She starts hitting him as he continues to take pictures, and then trips over the Bill-Gates-look-alike corpse, making an oozy mess and screaming a lot. That’s why she’s crying in the police car, and that’s why the photographer happens to be there.
• Then-current reference: Now-forgotten sitcom “Caroline in the City.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Executive producer Max J. Rosenberg also worked on “The Deadly Bees.” Makeup/special effects guy Rick Baker also worked on “Track Of The Moon Beast” and “Squirm. Special effects guy Harry Woolman also worked on “Laserblast,” “Aent for H.A.R.M.” and “Hangar 18.” Assistant director Henning Schellerup also worked on “Hangar 18.” In front of the camera, Myron Healey was also in “The Unearthly.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. Crist Ballas did hair and makeup for the only time this season. The focus group members were Paul, Jim, Beez, Ben Mooers, Helena Espinoza, Kelly Schrandt and Barbara Tebben.
• Fave riff: “You know, I’m actually starting to hate Hans Geiger.” Honorable mention: “Did they have a race horse tied up to the wall?”

Episode guide: 705- Escape 2000

Last modified on 2017-03-18 15:23:28 GMT. 140 comments. Top.

Movie: (1981) A band of outlaws fights an evil corporation overseeing a forced evacuation of the Bronx.

First shown: 3/2/96
Opening: Crow’s charity auction
Intro: Crow starts a fire on the SOL, Dr. F. puts his mother in a “home”
Host segment 1: Mike helps Crow try bio-feedback, but a fire starts
Host segment 2: Men’s night on the SOL
Host segment 3: Dr. F. has a plan to boost ratings: Timmy Bobby Rusty
End: Letter, Servo arrives by helicopter, and Toblerone visits Deep 13
Stinger: “PTOO!” “HA, HA, HA!” sez Toblerone
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• This one is hit and miss for me. Some funny segments, some “meh” ones. Some great stretches of riffing, some quiet sections. And the movie: ugh. Boy, is it stupid but, wow, does it have some wacky characters. But above all, there is Toblerone, Dablone, or whatever his name is.
• This episode is included in Shout! Factory’s “Volume XXXVII.”
References.
• Mary Jo also provided the commentary for this episode in our season seven episode guide. Did she mention she loves Dablone? Yes. Yes, she did.
• Fans had been getting episodes pretty regular for the past month, but this was the last one we would get until mid-May (about 10 weeks away) and THAT would would the last one we’d get for many months.
• By this time, fans knew the show had been canceled on CC and suddenly, on this brand new thing called World Wide Web, there were already hundreds of “Save MST3K” sites. It would be several more months before Sci-Fi Channel would make the announcement that the show was coming back.
• Between this and the next episode, “MST3K: The Movie” hit theaters. Indeed, by the time the next episode aired, the movie was already fading fast.
• The phrase “Leave the Bronx!” became an immediate catchphrase.
• Is it just me, or does leaving the Bronx for New Mexico seem like a pretty good idea?
• The opening is a cute idea but it kind of gets driven into the ground. But it does feature that “award show” music we’ve heard before.
• The intro, in which Dr. F puts Pearl “in a home” is a very nice reveal. And it’s definitely a return to form for Dr. F.
• And nothing says “We’ve been canceled” having a big fire for no reason.
• The “men’s night” bit is great, with poor Crow completely unfamiliar with Mike’s 700 different slang requests for a brewski. Nice and breezy.
• Sometimes in an MST3k episode, they’re going along, riffing the movie, minding their own business, then all of a sudden a larger-than-life character appears. Torgo is like that, of course. And later there would be Rowsdower. But in season seven, there was Toblerone. Ha-ha-ha!
• One other thought about the movie: the little demolition expert kid is cute and all, well sort of, right up until he calmly murders a guy. Sure, he’s been blowing them up at a distance for a while now, and yes, the guy was about to shoot his dad, but still.
• In 1980, Peter Gabriel wrote and recorded a song called “Jeux Sans Frontières.” Many casual listeners — like Crow — never guessed that the phrase he was singing was French, and instead struggled to find an English phrase that fit the phonemes they were hearing. Crow apparently thinks Peter was singing o/` “She’s so pop-u-lar …” o/` (I will admit that, before I knew better, I thought he was singing “She’s so funky.”)
• The Timmy Bobby Rusty stuff definitely reflects the kind of notes I’m sure they’d been getting from the suits at Comedy Central. The bit is not terribly funny, but it was probably cathartic for them. Segment 3 is also the first reference in a long time to Dr. F “selling the results of his experiments to cable TV” as Joel used to tell us all the time. That’s Paul as TBR, of course.
• Callbacks: “I gotta get to the ‘Zombie Nightmare’ set,” “I’m Cherokee Jack.” (Red Zone Cuba) “No, Lupita!” (Santa Claus).
• With only one episode to go, BBI seems to have created a brand new bumper for this episode, one with the planet Earth in the background and the SOL going by. It’s pretty, and it was used again in the next episode.
• Somebody makes a riff that is premised on the notion of a Kinko’s being on every corner. I’d forgotten that era 15 years ago when when the chain was aggressively expanding. They’ve now been absorbed by FedEx, most of those locations have closed and the brand has largely faded away.
• That’s Mike, of course, as Toblerone, in the closer.
• Cast and crew roundup: Just one name this time: costumer/art director: Massimo Lentini was also art director on “The Cave Dwellers.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon.
• Fave riff: “Kill us! … Thank you!” Honorable mention: “All right we’re here in the K-Rock super van with the — AIIIEEEEEE!!!”

Episode guide: 706- Laserblast

Last modified on 2017-03-24 13:19:54 GMT. 223 comments. Top.

Movie: (1977) A troubled teen finds an alien’s weapon and takes revenge on those who taunted him.

First shown: 5/18/96
Opening: With Mike tied up, Crow and Tom present the “Thunderdome” joke
Intro: Dr. F.’s funding has been cut, so he cuts the SOL loose! But Tom gets the thrusters working
Host segment 1: The SOL picks up Monad, an annoying robot
Host segment 2: The SOL hits a field of star babies — and one of them needs changing
Host segment 3: With the SOL heading toward a black hole, Mike undergoes a terrifying but useful transformation
End: The SOL reaches the edge of the universe and its inhabitants become beings of pure energy. Meanwhile, Dr. F. becomes unstuck in time, has a revelation and is reborn
Stinger: “Faaar out!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)

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• And so we come to the end of another era of MST3K and the departure of MST3K’s powerhouse, Trace Beaulieu. It really is hard to imagine that the show could have become the classic it is without him, and while it did manage to find its footing again after his departure, his absence was keenly felt for a long time. Thanks for everything, Trace.
• As for the episode itself, it’s mostly a winner. As usual when they have a story to tell in the host segments, they do it with brisk efficiency. The sci-fi parodies are everywhere (perhaps preparing viewers — and themselves — for what was to come) and a couple of the segments are classics. The riffing is steady and strong — and they had a LOT to work with. All in all, it would have made a fine farewell episode if the show had not been picked up.
• This episode appears in Shout! Factory’s “20th Anniversary Edition.”
References.
• Mike writes about the episode and then Paul, Mary Jo and Kevin wrap up the season here.
• Joel Hodgson’s “TV Wheel” was shown immediately following this episode’s debut, so it was kind of a big day for MSTies.
• It had been 10 weeks since the last new episode and, as far as anybody knew when this first aired, there would never be another episode again. As it turned out, we would have to wait eight and a half months.
• In his writeup, Mike explains that the hilarious opening sketch was something that arose from a running gag in the writing room. I actually had an opportunity to use the thunderdome joke recently. Its message is still timely.
• The umbilicus, completely forgotten since about mid-season six, suddenly makes a reappearance and is suddenly a critical connection that determines whether the SOL’s orbit begins to decay or not. (And in the “how does he eat and breathe?” department, what was preventing their orbit from decaying in seasons K through 5?) Mike notices this in his writeup as well.
• I love how Mike does the Star Trek “shirt tug” before he says “Engage!”
• It’s fun to make fun of Kim Milford, who plays Billy, but that becomes more difficult after you find out that Milford died of heart failure following open heart surgery. He was only 37. (Incidentally he did NOT die of HIV, as was rumored.)
• You might recognize some of the background score. It’s the same Richard Band noodling that was also used in the movie in episode 110-ROBOT HOLOCAUST.
• Callbacks: “Roxie!” (Eegah) also “Eegah!” “It was after the Acropolis.” (Robot Holocaust) “Hi, I’m Max Keller.” (Master Ninja I) “It’s the Coleman Francis mountain!” Also a mention of Cherokee Jack. “Robert Ginty” (Warrior of the Lost World). And “Leave the Bronx!”
• I love the riff: “Let’s pop amyls and watch ‘Days.'” I’d assumed he was referring to the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” but a commenter suggested he might be saying “Dazed” as in the movie “Dazed and Confused,” which might also make sense. I previously asked if that line was from something and nobody so far has recognized it.
• Of course that’s Jim as the voice of Monad the perfection-seeking robot. It’s a funny idea but the bit feels a little rushed to me.
• After going several seasons without so much as making mention of it, this episode features not one but two uses of the “hatch” at upstage left. In the past it has been used by Joel/Mike to get to the theater. Now it seems to be a portal into space. Mike also notices this in his writeup.
• The “changing the starbaby” bit is a cute idea (I especially like Mike as the quintessential NASA flight controller guy), but it doesn’t really have a payoff (“put it on a shelf”?).
• The whole “ready for some football” thing became a catchphrase, and long-lived one. it pops up every fall on MSTie social media to this day.
• Obscure riff: “This sucks, I was supposed to headline,” as the characters pull up in a car together. This is reference, as I think I have mentioned before, to the experience many of the writers had as traveling comics working a circuit of comedy clubs in the upper midwest. They tended to travel to the club in one car, with the headliner getting the best seat, etc.
• Over several seasons, they’d established Mike’s bizarre ability to “become” other people at times of stress. He became Carol Channing and Kenny G, for example. This strange notion finally pays off in segment 3 when Mike — in one of the most notorious segments of the series — becomes “Star Trek Voyager”‘s Captain Janeway and saves the day.
• The whole Leonard Maltin thing really does point up the fundamental flaw of his rating system. I was once a devotee of his books: buying a new one every September was an annual rite of the fall. And before the arrival of the IMDB (which pretty much made Maltin’s guide superfluous) it was pretty handy. But I always felt his rating system was completely out of whack. The problem, to begin with, was he used a four-star rating system when a five-star system would have served him better. But the bigger flaw in the system was that, for reasons that I felt were never adequately explained, his lowest rating (other than “bomb”) was 1-and-half stars. No film received a one-star or half-star rating, which created a kind of odd star-rating inflation among bad movies. Had he made use of the half-star and one-star ratings, I believe this sort of problem would not have happened (or at least would not have been so acute) and he might not have let himself in for the well-deserved mockery he gets here.
• By the way: in Ward E we have a list of MSTed movies that have been given 2-and-a-half stars by Leonard Maltin.
• The final bit, of course, is amazing; as Mike notes, that’s Trace’s dad (who has since passed away) as “old Forrester.” The final moment of that segment gives me chills every time.
• Cast and crew roundup: Editor Jodie Copelan also worked on “Ring of Terror” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Special effects guy Harry Woolman also worked on “The Incredible Melting Man.” “Hangar 18” and “Agent for H.A.R.M.” Score composer Richard Band also worked on “Robot Holocaust” (as noted above) and “Being From Another Planet.”
In front of the camera: Cheryl Smith was also in “The Incredible Melting Man.” Keenan Wynn will be seen again in “Parts: The Clonus Horror.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. This of course was Trace’s last episode with the show. In addition to his acting and writing credits, this is the last episode he got “art direction” and “set design” credits. Joel Hodgson’s and Jef Maynard’s “set design” credits end with this episode as well. The “additional original music written and arranged by” credit goes away completely. This was Helen Espinoza’s last episode as prop master. It is Beth “Beez” McKeever’s last show as prop assistant (she would get a promotion beginning with season eight). We also bid farewell to: production manager/post-production coordinator Wendell Jon Anderson, production assistant Michael D. Parker, Info Club poobah Julie Walker (assistant poobah Barb Tebben would get a promotion in season eight) and interns Danika King, Ben Mooers and Kelly Schrandt.
• Fave riff: “So they’re just off County Road C goin’ at it, huh?” Honorable mention: “Look! Everyone was sending a sheet of paper to everyone else.”

Episode Guide Special: Short- Assignment: Venezuela

Last modified on 2017-04-23 12:15:38 GMT. 96 comments. Top.

Short: (1956) An American oil executive struggles to assimilate after he is transferred to South America.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)
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• You can watch this one here.
• The short was originally intended to be one of two that were to be included on a planned MST3K CD-ROM (back when CD-ROMs were a big thing; recall “Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time”). The project fell through when the bottom fell out of the CD-ROM market and the company that was going to produce the product, Voyager Co., got radically downsized.
• For the record, the second short, never seen by anyone outside of BBI as far as we know, riffed on an industrial film called “Mylar, What’s It To You?” You can watch the unMSTed original here. Although the short we’re discussing today is generally thought of as MST3K’s “lost” short, that description is literally true of the “Mylar” short. The master somehow got misplaced at the BBI studio. In the Sci-Fi era, following the release of this short, a concerted effort was made to find the tape but it never turned up. It appears to be lost to the ages.
• This short was shown to the public for the very first time on Friday, Aug. 30, 1996, in a large hall of the Minneapolis Convention Center, at the second MST3K convention. If I remember correctly, it was Paul Chaplin who introduced the short. He coyly teased the audience a bit, saying that the short existed, but then saying he wasn’t supposed to show it … and then finally giving in and off they went.
• For several years, the only publicly available version of that short was video footage recorded by convention attendees. The angles to the screen were not great, and the sound was terrible (the acoustics in the large hall were atrocious, and several of the riffs were obscured by laughter and/or applause in reaction the previous riffs), but MSTies will take what they can get. These videos, along with videos of the “MST3K: The Movie” outtakes that were also shown that night, soon found their way onto bootleg “MST3K: The Movie” DVDs that were selling on E-bay for $100 and more.
• It was eventually released on a VHS shorts collection from BBI and later that collection was an extra on a Rhino set.
• The short was an incredible treat for fans, who had not had any new MST3K for months, and did not expect to get any more for a long time. I can remember, as the short ended and the lights came up, seeing more than one fan around me wiping tears of laughter from his or her eyes. One was a friend who, a line from Season Two, muttered, “Wow, blindsided by a short!”
• Crow channels “Apocalypse Now” with the riff “Never get outta the boat. Absolutely goddam right.”
• Tom Servo and then Crow BOTH invoke country music personality Minnie Pearl with a boistrous “HOWWWDEE!”
• The whole “narrow-wide” thing really had folks roaring. It was one of those running gags that just gets funnier and funnier. “Well, if it isn’t Mr. Big Lake!”
• However, it was the riff “Bag-o in car-o!” that really brought the house down. It was a little like RiffTrax’s now-infamous “Rudolph, I need you tonight,” moment during one of their live shows. People just fell out and on the amateur videos, you can’t even hear the next two or three riffs, much less figure out what they’re saying. It was one of those memorable moments of being a MSTie, when you’re in a large group and the funny just gets funnier because there’s more of you to enjoy it.
• Fave riff: “I saw a nude midget circus.”


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