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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000
THE UNOFFICIAL EPISODE GUIDE


SEASON NINE: THE SCI-FI CHANNEL, 1998


Episode guide: 901- The Projected Man

Last modified on 2013-10-30 18:56:50 GMT. 126 comments. Top.

Movie: (1966) A scientist builds a teleportation device and tests it on himself. It doesn’t go well.

First shown: 3/14/98
Opening: The SOL exits the wormhole; they’re back orbiting the Earth in the present
Intro: Pearl arrives at Castle Forrester, the Forrester ancestral home; she decides to move in
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom have invented a projecting machine–or have they?
Host segment 2: Mike tries to convince Lembach to stay; Pearl learns more family history
Host segment 3: Crow acquires the Touch of Death, and accidentally kills Mike
End: Tom and Crow vie to get funding from Mike’s new foundation; while in Castle Forrester Pearl rededicates herself to taking over the world
Stinger: Lembach is staying!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• There are many terrific episodes ahead of us in season nine, but, in my view, this is not one of them. The riffing is steady and most of the riffs make me smile, but there are too few real gut busters. The host segments are clever but not really memorable. And the movie … you know, it may actually be a little TOO good. Plus, there was a terrible technical screwup for the debut. All in all, a less-than-rousing start to the season.
• Paul’s take on this one is here.
• The stretch between the end of season 8 and the beginning of season 9 was 98 days, the shortest amount of time MSTies had to wait between seasons.
• This episode is not yet on DVD.
• References. http://www.annotatedmst.com/episodes/projectedman/index.htm
• One reference not in the list: Rosemary Woods.
• During the debut of this episode, as soon as M&tB headed into the theater, viewers could tell something was wrong. Essentially, it sounded like their individual mics were off, and all the riffing was being picked up by one mic that was about 10 feet away. Surprisingly, it took online fans a couple of days of complaining before BBI or Sci-Fi Channel would even acknowledge that there even WAS a problem. Eventually, the problem was fixed, but it would be 4-and-half months before the cleaned-up version made it to air.
• This movie is a bit overwrought, and the premise is wacky, but it’s not dreadful. Perhaps the worst aspect, in terms of watching it on a regular TV, was that it was that it was a wide-screen movie, forcing the print to resort to some major “pan and scan” — as Tom mentions at one point. You can tell what you’re in for with the very first frame of the movie when the studio logo is seriously elongated.
• Annoying commercials: With this season, the Kahlua commercials started. On my copy there were three of them. My copy is of the one with the fixed sound that was broadcast several months after the season began, so it may not have been a fixture all season long. But they soon became so ubiquitous that Crow actually made a joke about it during one of the specials.
• The “door sequence ad” — in which a sponsor’s logo is slapped atop the door sequence, was still happening. On my copy the sponsor was Mercury cars.
• Of course, the most notable plot development of this episode was the arrival of the Castle Forrester premise. I remember thinking on a previous viewing that the bit with organ — in which Pearl sits down to play but can only pound out baseball stadium tunes — went on a bit long. But on this viewing, it seemed okay and pretty funny.
• Callback: “Mitchell!” “And bring some ham” (and several other lines from Devil Doll).
• Turns out St. Blaise really is a patron of the throat, but who knew Mike was Catholic? Or maybe it’s just his relative that is?
• After Mike is killed by Crow’s “touch of death,” the bots drag his lifeless body back into the theater and prop him up for some of the riffing.
• There are not one, not two, but three Pink Floyd references: a mention of “Mister Floyd…”, a little chorus of “Pigs” and an observation that a shot of a factory belonged on a PF album cover.
• A character says “You cahn’t!!” in a very English accent and Tom asks: “What’d she call him?!” Pretty spicy!
• You can clearly see there’s no wine in the bottle during the last host segment.
• As the final segment ends, Pearl firmly re-establishes why she’s sending movies to Mike. I have a suspicion the suits asked for this.
• Cast and crew round up: Surprisingly short, considering how many British movies they did. Sam Kydd was also in “Moon Zero Two.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. For many seasons there was a post production “coordinator” but beginning with this ep Brad becomes post production “supervisor.” (I suspect he was the one stonewalling — and eventually taking the blame — for the audio snafu.) The entire season of episodes is produced by Kevin. Jim is executive producer and that’s it.
• Fave riff: “Oh sir! Finally!” Honorable mention: “I declare this movie suddenly great!”

Episode guide: 902- The Phantom Planet

Last modified on 2013-11-06 20:57:09 GMT. 121 comments. Top.

Movie: (1961) An astronaut crashes on a planet inhabited by tiny people. After he shrinks down to their size, he learns they are at war with an aggressive neighboring planet.

First shown: 3/21/98
Opening: Crow and Tom challenge Mike to an Andy Rooney-off
Intro: Pearl’s World Domination Starter Kit arrives from Speigel, but the all-important “thing” has been mis-delivered to the SOL
Host segment 1: Mike and Tom focus their attention on the Good and the Beautiful
Host segment 2: Mike slips Crow’s mind; spooky sounds in Castle Forrester turn out to be less than other-worldly
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom, having taken up water glass rim music, invite Mike to try it, and soon regret that they did
End: Crow is baffled and enraged by his Solarite costume; Pearl despairs of taking over the world until torch-wielding neighbors arrive
Stinger: The “Good and the Beautiful” are extolled
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• If I choose to focus my attention on the good and the beautiful, as I should, there’s much to enjoy in this episode. First of all, the movie. I love these rocketship movies. They’re my favorite genre of MST3K movie (giant bug movies are a close second). And this one is just pure cheese from start to finish, complete with the obligatory flock of Fiddle Faddle asteroids, “Lost in Space” quality sets and squarejawed white guys piloting the space ships. The riffing is great in this one too. The host segments are hit-and-miss, but generally it’s a fun episode.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 8.
• Bill’s observations on this one are here.
• The “good and the beautiful” speech became an instant hit in internet MSTie forums.
• The Andy Rooney-off classic is a classic bit that sounds like something that started as a friendly competition in the writing room.
• After the sound problem in last week’s episode, I couldn’t help noticing that the sound on this one is also a little echoey, but not enough to be distracting or any kind of problem.
• Then-current reference: Anna Nichole Smith, then young and sexy, is presented as an example of “the beautiful.” What a long time ago that was.
• The effect of Mike floating away in segment 2 looks very nice. The spooky sounds bit, however, is one of those “long walk for a little joke” things they sometimes get themselves into.
• Take note: The Francis X. Bushman character is named Sesom: that’s Moses spelled backwards!
• “I should really just relax” item of the week: Hey, suddenly Tom’s hands work in segment 3!
• The bit at the end where Crow again goes insane is similar to the several previous bits, including the Bellerian bit in Space Mutiny, but Bill commits and it works anyway.
• That’s Patrick, Peter Rudrud and Beez as the voices of the scalded villagers.
• On my Rhino disk, the stinger cuts out about two seconds too soon. Does anybody else’s do that or did I get a defect?
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer-screenwriter-story guy Fred Gebhardt also did “12 to the Moon.” Production designer Robert Kinoshita also worked on “Viking Women.” Assistant director/production supervisor Maurice Vaccarino also worked on “The Screaming Skull” and “Teenage Caveman.” Assistant producer/editor Hugo Grimaldi also worked on “First Spaceship on Venus,” “Human Duplicators and “Hercules and the Captive Women.” Editor Donald Wolfe also worked on Human Duplicators. Special effects guy Louis DeWitt also worked on “Viking Women.” Special effects guy Charles R. Duncan also worked on “The Crawling Hand” and “Slime People.” Costumer Oscar Rodriguez also worked on “The Magic Sword” and “I Was A Teenage Werewolf.” Set designer Joseph Kish also worked on “The Rebel Set.” Sound mixer Al Overton also worked “Screaming Skull,” “Earth Vs. the Spider” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Score composer Gordon Zahler also worked on “First Spaceship to Venus,” “Hecules and the Captive Women, “Human Duplicators” and “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.”
In front of the camera: Coleen Gray was also in “The Leech Woman.” Anthony Dexter was also in “12 to the Moon” and “Firemaidens From Outer Space.” Dolores Faith was also in “Human Duplicators. Francis X. Bushman was also in “12 to the Moon,” as was Richard Weber. Lori Lyons was also in “Human Duplicators. Richard Kiel was also in “The Magic Sword,” “Human Duplicators” and “Eegah.” Marvin Miller is also in “King Dinosaur” and “Day the Earth Froze.” Leon D. Selznick was also in “Hercules and the Captive Women. Gloria Moreland was also in “The Rebel Set.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Brad gets another credit–Technical Supervisor. This would be intern Todd Severson’s last of two shows. The “Teachers of America” are again thanked at the end of the credits, but after this they are gone for good.
• Fave riff: “Thank you for attending pleated skirt day here at Combat Rod Park.” Honorable mention: “So you can just take a hard left in space?”

Episode guide: 903- The Pumaman

Last modified on 2013-11-14 13:39:01 GMT. 181 comments. Top.

Movie: (1980) After discovering that he has inherited super powers, a mild-mannered young professor must do battle with a villain using a mind-control device.

First shown: 4/4/98
Opening: Tom has Short Man’s disease
Intro: Tom is better; Pearl’s ball is somewhat under-attended, while Observer has Ortega and some buddies over
Host segment 1: Mike offends Shelli the Nanite, so his dry look does not come out well
Host segment 2: Mike has been chosen to be Coatimundi Man
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom capture the mind of Roger Whitaker
End: Crow resigns briefly; while a guest finally arrives at Pearl’s party
Stinger: Puma Man is defenestrated
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• This is a beloved episode, so beloved that the last time we did a poll of fans to find out which episode they wanted to see released on DVD, this one was at the top of the list. Me, I’d call this one good, not great. The movie is incredibly stupid and reasonably watchable and the riffing is top-notch, but the host segments range from only mildly funny to not.
• Paul’s take is here.
References.
• A lot of people assumed this movie was somehow a ripoff of the TV show “Greatest American Hero.” After all, the story line is remarkably similar and the flying sequences are practically identical. But the TV show hit the air waves a year after this movie came out. Call it parallel development.
• Watch Pearl’s beauty mark. It moves around quite a bit.
• The intro segment marks the first instance of segments that mention how Observer has begun to develop a, um, personal life outside Pearl’s orbit. In this case, instead of buying into the whole “ball” thing Pearl has going on, he simply begs off because a gang of pals is over to watch “Sliders” (remember “Sliders”?). That’s Beez and Patrick as the pals, and of course Paul as Ortega.
• When Servo hits the theater for the first time, he still has his wig on.
• Of course that’s once again Mary Jo as Shelli the spiteful hairdessing nanite in segment 1.
• Following segment 2, Mike still has coatimundi hat on, prompting Servo to make a little host segment callback: He quietly says “Bold, Mike” (a reference to the famous barbecue sauce sketch in which he wore the same hat, or one very like it).
• Cast and crew roundup: Scriptwriter Massimo De Rita was assistant executive director on “Hercules.”
In front of the camera, Donald Pleasence was also in “Warrior of the Lost World,” Miguel Angel Fuentes was also in “Deathstalker III,” Benito Stefanelli was also in “Secret Agent Super Dragon” and Guido Lollobrigida was also “Operation Double 007.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. Intern Scott Bowman begins a six-episode stint.
• Fave riff: “It’s S&M day at the Field Museum.” Honorable mention: “Donald’s only use of the word ‘comb’.”

Episode guide: 904- Werewolf

Last modified on 2013-11-21 15:08:50 GMT. 194 comments. Top.

Movie: (1996) A man develops lycanthropy when he’s injured by werewolf bones unearthed at an archeological dig.

First shown: 4/18/98
Opening: Mike thinks he’s James Lipton
Intro: After being de-Liptonized, Mike attempts to escape down a ladder to Earth, only to arrive at Castle Forrester
Host segment 1: Mike and Tom present who would be in their werewolf movie, but Crow isn’t as good at it
Host segment 2: M&TB sing “Where, o, werewolf”
Host segment 3: Mike has become a werecrow!
End: Mike is still Crow, Tom has become Mike; in Castle Forrester, Bobo ruins Pearl’s attempt to create a werewolf
Stinger: “This is absolutely fascinating!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• Bill’s take is here.
• Now THIS…this is MST3K at its best. I would stack this episode up against any other one from any era. Even if you’re a total Sci-Fi era naysayer, you’ve still got to love this one. The riffing is brilliant, the segments (well, most of them) are fantastic and the movie is, oh, so very ripe for riffing. It’s just great in every way. Did I mention how much I like this episode?
References.
• Obscure reference not in above: King Timahoe, Richard Nixon’s dog.
• I think I told this story once before, but it needs to be told here. Sci-Fi Channel threw a little wingding in New York City just before this season started to drum up some publicity. They invited all the major TV press people and most of them came (including my pal and former mentor David Bianculli). In front of a packed amphitheater were Mike and Kevin and I can’t quite remember who else. I don’t think Bill was there and I don’t recall Jim being there, but I could be wrong on both counts.
In any case, in the audience was none other than James Lipton. I suspect he had been put up to it, but during the press conference, he rose and attempted to ask Mike some of the Bernard Pivot/Marcel Proust questions he famously asks his guests on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”
Now, I can’t say for sure what was going on with Mike, but I strongly suspect he was having one of his famous headaches. I’ve been around him when he’s had one, and in general he is, at best, quiet and cool, and at worst surprisingly short-tempered. I think that explains what happened. The other explanation would simply be that Mike simply has no use for James Lipton, especially at an event where the purpose was to focus media attention on his TV show, and not Mr. Lipton’s.
Anyway, Lipton asked Mike: “What is your favorite curse word?” and Mike, slowly and with a pained expression his face, replied something to the effect of “I would have to say that it’s ‘Go to hell, Mr. Lipton.'” Lipton didn’t attempt to ask him any more questions.
• This was the episode Sci-Fi Channel submitted for Emmy consideration. It was not nominated.
• Host segment 1 is one of those “bit about not quite being able to manage to do a bit” bits. They’re a bit wry for my taste.
• The song in segment 2 became an instant classic.
• M&tB are still wearing their girl group hair as they return to the theater.
• Segment 3 is a gem featuring the instantly beloved line: “Well, your voice is going to change inexplicably every seven years…”
• Mike is still a werecrow when he returns to the theater
• At the end of the movie, just when you think they can’t possibly top what they’ve done so far, we get the brilliant closing credits song, in which they chime in with an eclectic mix of songs that they think fit the song’s rhythm. Don’t recognize them all? They’re all identified here and here.
• Ya know, considering that Kevin is the most musically experienced of the three riffers, it’s kind of surprising that Servo messes up the tempo a couple times during the song.
• Of course, the cocker spaniel seen in the final segment was Kevin’s beloved Humphrey. Humphrey lived a long and happy life and, sadly, has um, “gone to live on a farm upstate.”
• Cast and crew roundup: Joe Estevez was also in “Soultaker.” That’s it.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. Intern Dan Breyer took a one-episode break after this show, then returned for three more episodes. That’s Beez as the peasant.
• Fave riff: “Okay, stop. Everyone go up a shirt size.” Honorable mention: “I’m still in this movie, ya know! You might not think I am, but I am!”

Episode guide: 905- The Deadly Bees

Last modified on 2013-12-26 00:00:56 GMT. 131 comments. Top.

Movie: (1967) A burned-out British pop star is sent to remote Seagull Island to rest her nerves, unaware that two rival bee keepers live there.

First shown: 5/9/98
Opening: Previously on the Satellite of Love…
Intro: The Observers are back…and they’re pissed
Host segment 1: Crow offers a sonnet to the cigarette hag in the movie
Host segment 2: Pearl, Bobo and Observer perform the “Please Stay” operetta
Host segment 3: Mike communicates like a bee
End: The Observers have it out and Brain Guy is victorious
Stinger: “The dog’s meat! Have you seen it?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• Well, SOMEthing had to follow the brilliance of last week, and it was going to pale by comparison, but I think this episode holds its own pretty well. The British movies are not always my favorites, but this one is just silly enough to hold my attention. The riffing is very good and there’s a nice little running story in the host segments. All in all, lots of fun.
• Paul’s observations about this episode are here.
References.
• This episode is not yet available on DVD.
• This week’s door sequence sponsor: Head & Shoulders.
• I forget where, now, (maybe somebody can remind me) but I recall that Mike, in some public setting, named the “Previously…” sketch in the opening as a personal favorite. I like it lot too, particularly Crow’s use of the word “skel,” which I only ever heard on “NYPD Blue.”
• This ep marks the first time we have heard Magic Voice since episode 809- I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF. (It’s Beez, natch.)
• And in this episode we get the return of the Observers (Mike and Paul), who are none too pleased to see what’s become of Brain Guy. Mary Jo is particularly funny in the intro sketch.
• Naughty riff: “Catherine? Oh, it’s you…”
• The VW logo is in the corner of the spaghetti ball bumper, the first time I recall Sci-Fi doing that. Later we get a second door sequence sponsor: also VW. I believe this is the first episode that had two in one show.
• Segment 1, featuring the sonnet to the cigarette hag, is a marvel. Quick, funny, well-written, everything works.
• I like the “Please Stay” operetta (which was written by Mike, by the way). My only problem is that piano is a little loud. I can’t quite make out some of the lyrics.
• This week’s annoying commercial: many many ads for Propecia, which make very non-specific promises to grow your hair back, and then makes some very specific and scary warnings about side-effects.
• (And by the way, between ads for Head & Shoulders and Propecia, what the heck is going on with MSTies’ hair?)
• Segment 3 is one of those “long walk to a kind of cute idea” segments, but it’s harmless.
• Of course that’s Jim as the bowler-hatted man, the first time he’s been on camera since he was an ape in Deep Ape early in season 8.
• And I’m not quite sure why the bowler-hatted man’s appearance in the movie puzzles M&tB so much. It’s only baffling if you haven’t been paying attention. He’s that guy from the beginning of the movie who was dispatched to look into whoever was sending threatening letters to the government. I assume his appearance at the end is a little jab at British bureaucracy: The whole thing is over and dealt with, and he finally arrives to look into things. Not hilarious, but not really baffling either.
• Behind the scenes: It was April 30, 1998, just before this episode debuted, that it was announced that Sci-Fi Channel was not picking up the “back nine,” (that’s TV industry lingo for the nine episodes the channel had an option to order or not order in addition to the 13 episodes it had already ordered for season nine). Fans reacted glumly.
• Cast and Crew roundup: Producer Max J. Rosenberg also worked on “The Incredible Melting Man.” In front of the camera, Michael Ripper was also in “Moon Zero Two.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. Formerly an intern, Dan Breyer, becomes a grip and continues as one for the rest of the series. Intern Brian Bull worked this episode and then departed.
• Fave riff: “Objection! Stupid hat!” Honorable mention: “Frankly, to me, any bra is a Wonder Bra.”

Episode guide: 906- The Space Children (with short: ‘Century 21 Calling’)

Last modified on 2013-12-26 00:05:05 GMT. 118 comments. Top.

0906s

Short: (1962) A couple of clean-cut kids tour the phone company exhibit at the Seattle’s World’s Fair.
Movie: (1958) The children of rocket technicians come under the control of a mind-controlling blob.

First shown: 6/13/98
Opening: Tom has a kissing booth
Intro: Pearl attempts to take over the worked through officing
Host segment 1: Mike’s the kid from the short! Bonk!
Host segment 2: M&tB have a model rocket; but Pearl has a space program
Host segment 3: Crow lashes out with Jackie Coogan fashions
End: The peace loving blob visits; Pearl’s space program has a problem
Stinger: Dead Professor
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• There’s much more good news than bad with this one — a short, some funny segments, great riffing, TV sitcom stars galore — that I can forgive the drab little movie at the center of it all, and a foulup by the Brains.
• Paul’s observations are here.
• The opening is light and fun. Mike’s delivery of the line “A kissing booth? WHAT FOR?” is hilarious.
• That’s Patrick as “Lacks” the phone guy.
• The officing sketch goes on a little long, but you can tell Mary Jo is into it. She’s written about “officing” experiences in some of her short stories, so she knows whereof she parodies.
• This was the first short of the Sci-Fi era. There was much rejoicing among fans.
• Short producer Jerry Fairbanks made other shorts for Ma Bell, including ‘Once Upon a Honeymoon.’ Fairbanks was nominated for two Oscars and won one.
• Sharon Lawrence was born in 1961, so that is definitely not her in the short. But wow, it sure looks just like her.
• Naughty riff: Singer: “You’re seeing it all…” Crow: “…at the Annie Sprinkle show…”
• I like how Tom leans over to tell us one more thing as Mike carries him out at the end of the short.
• Segment 1 is one of those “here’s a bit that’s not funny” bits. Again, a little wry for my tastes, but any segment where somebody gets hit by that big clown hammer is okay by me.
• It may not be quite as bad as not recognizing the Battlestar Galactica spaceships in “Space Mutiny,” but a lot of fans were stunned that the Brains failed to recognize Raymond Bailey, who played Milburn Drysdale on TV’s “Beverly Hillbillies.” Were they too busy coming up with bald jokes (there had to have been dozens) to notice?
• Segment 2 is just really, really funny. Mary Jo really channels Trace in this one and it works brilliantly.
• Nerdy reference that was obscure then and is about to enter the general public’s consciousness: Smaug.
• Second reference this season to St. Blaise, patron saint of ailments of the throat.
• Segment 3 is very reminiscent of seasons 2 or 3, and actually it works pretty well.
• Then current reference: Let’s get in line for Beanie Babies.
• Behind the scenes: Fans, glum after the announcement a few weeks ago that “the back nine” would not be picked up, were cheered up slightly on June 4, about a week before this episode debuted, when it was announced that Sci-Fi Channel had renewed the channel for season 10 (though privately cast and crew members were all saying that it looked like the last one).
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer William Alland also did “Revenge of the Creature,” “The Mole People,” “The Deadly Mantis” and “This Island Earth.” Director Jack Arnold also did “Revenge of the Creature” and “This Island Earth.” Scriptwriter Bernard C. Schoenfeld also worked on “The Magic Sword.” Cinematographer Ernest Laszlo also worked on “Tormented.” Process photography guy Farciot Edouart also did “Village of the Giants,” as did makeup guy Wally Westmore and sound recorder Charles Grenzbach.
In front of the camera, Peggy Webber was also in “The Screaming Skull,” Johnny Crawford was also in “Village of the Giants.” Russell Johnson was also in “This Island Earth. Vera Marshe was also in “Tormented.” Eilene Janssen was also in “Beginning of the End.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. Dan Breyer begins a three-episode stint as both intern and grip (they must have really liked him). Additional music written and performed by Michael J. Nelson.
• Fave riff from the short: “How do animals learn? Well, as long as they learn to taste good…”
• Fave riff from feature: “Hang on. Niels Bohr’s using the toaster.” Honorable mention: “Go find out what he put on his job application under ‘Do you drink a lot?'”

Episode guide: 907- Hobgoblins

Last modified on 2013-12-12 01:20:45 GMT. 182 comments. Top.

Movie: (1987) Some not-too-bright teens pursue aliens — who make people’s dreams come true, then murder them — who have escaped from confinement.

First shown: 6/27/98
Opening: On the SOL, there’s a rash of unintentional on-turning
Intro: M&tB mistreat Pearl’s new couch, and soon regret it
Host segment 1: Crow presents: “Let’s Talk Women!”
Host segment 2: Bobo calls Crow’s crisis hotline
Host segment 3: Pearl is only briefly fooled by Mike’s cutouts
End: Servo has solved the Rick Sloane problem…or has he?; Pearl expresses her disappointment
Stinger: The hobgoblins enjoy a ride
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• Wow. Well, there are bad movies, there are really bad movies, and then there are bad movies like “Hobgoblins.” It’s one of those movies where somebody is sure to say “even the riffing couldn’t save it.” If nothing else, it’s memorable. The riffing is as good as it’s been all season and the segments are all pretty strong, and all that adds up to a great episode.
• Paul, who was doing these a lot at this point, offers thoughts here.
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 8.
• Producer Rick Sloan famously lobbied to get this movie on the show, something that didn’t happen often.
• Sloan revisits the movie in this video.
• The whole “on-turning” thing is brilliant.
• The intro is also a gem. We can’t have nice things.
• Crow, it’s pronounced “cerberus,” not “cerebus.”
• Among the more memorable credit sequences is the opening credit sequence, in which Mike is forced to corral the bots as they understandably attempt to flee the movie.
• In segment one, Mike is reading Dickens’ “Bleak House” as the scene opens, while Tom is reading Richard Scary’s equally gripping “What Do People Do All Day.”
• That’s Beez in the grainy photo Crow shows during segment 1.
• I like that the TV says “Stony.”
• Once funny, now dead references: JFK Jr.; Hunter Thompson.
• I was completely taken in by segment 2. Never saw the twist coming.
• Is my disk defective or does the sound cut out during the door sequence after segment 2?
• Naughty riff: “You’re the expert on that.”
• The run of “parking” riffs just gets funnier and funnier.
• Segment 3 is particularly funny to me because of the the three complete different reactions of Brain Guy, Pearl and Bobo. Reminds me a bit of some comment threads… :roll:
• I wonder if Rick Sloane began to regret offering this movie, after the infamous “interview” at the end of the movie.
• The closing bit is probably the weakest of all the segments, but even that one is pretty funny.
• No roundup this week: Nobody who worked on this movie did any other MSTed movies.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. After this episode, Mary Jo took then next two episodes off from the writing room–I’m guessing that was so she could head to the coast to do the “Gorgo” segments.
• Fave riff: “Aha! And what brisk witticism will this chappie have to offer?” Honorable mention: “o/` It’s the 80s… do a lotta coke and vote for Ronald Reagan…” o/`”

Episode guide: 908- The Touch of Satan

Last modified on 2013-12-19 13:34:29 GMT. 164 comments. Top.

Movie: (1971) An aimless young man encounters a rural family that seems to have some secrets.

First shown: 7/11/98
Opening: The bots seek wassail from Mike
Intro: Mike finds a wassail loophole; Steffi the babysitter is left in charge
Host segment 1: Mike learns that walnut ranching is hard work
Host segment 2: Crow tries a test to see if he’s a witch
Host segment 3: Grandma Servo attacks
End: Crow sells his soul to Stan; storytime with Steffi
Stinger: “This is where the fish lives.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• This is a pretty unremarkable and meandering movie, and it’s one of those episode that I remembered as being kind of dreary and not terribly funny, but on rewatching it I found myself laughing quite a bit. The segments are mostly the usual random silliness, but of course they are livened by the appearance of the totally awesome (and deadly) Beez.
• Paul, who at this time was doing a lot of the writeups, offers his thoughts.
References.
• This ep was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 5
• The movie is directed by a guy named Don Henderson. The director and star of the movie “Billy Jack,” Tom Laughlin, occasionally used the pseudonym Don Henderson. Because that, a number of MSTies, including our own Daddy-O, became convinced that Laughlin was the director of this. I was never convinced, and more than a little uneasy about his claims, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Laughlin passed away a couple of weeks ago and I scoured the obituaries about him and found zero evidence to back up this belief. We have removed any reference to it in the page for this episode in Daddy-O’s Drive-in Dirt and we apologize that the falsehood appeared on our site for so long.
• On the Rhino DVD, Mike does a little introduction and calls it “A Touch of Satan,” and makes a little riff on that. But it’s THE Touch of Satan. Kinda ruins the joke.
• Beez’s stint as Steffi the babysitter had a huge reaction from fans, especially young male ones. There was much hopeful conversation about whether she would be a permanent cast member.
• You sometimes wonder what sparks a segment. How did “wassail” come up?
• In segment 2, Mike climbs a ladder and we can see that he is wearing some pretty fruity sandals, if you ask me.
• Several shots of flowery meadows sparks an attack of Tom’s hay fever. Kind of reminds me of when Josh sneezed in the theater back in season one.
• Callbacks: “Stay!” (The Undead) and “You been hittin’ the BOOZE again!” (Giant Spider Invasion).
• In segment 3, Mike, who last week was reading “Bleak House,” is this week reading Henry Kissinger’s “Years of Upheaval.” Where is he getting these books?
• That’s Paul as the voice of Stan Johnson.
• Cast and crew roundup: Special effects guy Steve Karkus also worked on “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” Makeup guy Joe Blasco also worked on “Parts: The Clonus Horror,” and did special effects for “Track of the Moon Beast.” In front of the camera, Robert Easton was also in “The Giant Spider Invasion” and did voices for “Invaders from the Deep.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. This was Dan Breyer’s and Scott Bowman’s last episode as interns, and Nick Prueher’s first.
• Fave riff: “Get off the road, mangoat!” Honorable mention: “I sure hope he said peanuts.”

Episode guide: 909- Gorgo

Last modified on 2013-12-26 00:15:39 GMT. 125 comments. Top.

Movie: (1960) It’s an anglo-saxon mashup of Godzilla and King Kong, as a dinosaur-like creature is caught off the Irish coast and then exhibited at a circus in London.

First shown: 7/18/98
Opening: Crow’s head has become a nesting place of the Spix’s macaw
Intro: Observer & Bobo’s arm wrestling match is interrupted by a transmission from Pearl and…Leonard Maltin!
Host segment 1: “Waiting For Gorgo”
Host segment 2: The William Sylvester edition of Trivial Pursuit
Host segment 3: The Nanite’s circus encounters tragedy
End: The women of “Gorgo,” Pearl & Leonard continue to plot
Stinger: Irish fisherman says “Blow it out your…” something.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• This is as close as we ever got to a real “lost” episode. It aired once (or, rather, twice, once in the morning and once in the evening) on July 18, 1998, and then apparently somebody with a claim on the rights to the movie contacted SciFi Channel and made them pull it. It never aired again. And that’s a shame, because it’s pretty good. Not a home run, but a solid standup double of an episode, notable for the guest starring appearance of none other than Leonard Maltin. The movie is pretty watchable, clearly an “A” movie put together by professionals (shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Freddie Young) with a big budget, which is definitely a departure for the show. The non-Maltin host segments are, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide would say, mostly harmless.
• Paul gets a break and this week it’s Kevin turn to offer observations.
• For a long time, if you owned a copy of this one, you either taped it back in 1998 or you got it from a tape trader. Now, of course, it was recently included in the Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition.
• Bill does a nice bit of physical comedy in the opening bit when he convincingly launches himself out of frame.
• Maltin does okay, in my book. He’s not an actor and it shows, but he delivers his lines well.
• Actually the Spix’s Macaw is a kind of parrot and not nearly as large as depicted in the sketch. Incidentally, it is believed to be extinct in the wild.
• Callback: “We’ve got to go find Robert Denby!” (“Riding with Death”)
• Segment 1 is cute and silly, but there’s not much to it.
• Segment 2 is kind reminiscent of the “City Limits” trivia game in episode 403. I wonder if they remembered that they did it.
• That’s Kevin and Paul, of course, as the voices of the nanites in segment 3. As near as I can tell, this episode features the very last appearance by the nanites.
• Some may be baffled by the “Hey! Mike Nelson!” “Hey! Tom Servo!” bit. Mike Nelson was the name of the character Lloyd Bridges played in the TV series “Sea Hunt.” The character was a scuba diver (it’s where the phrase “By this time my lungs were aching for air” came from).
• The exchange “Well, whaddaya know?” “Not much, you?” refers to Michael Feldman’s long-running radio quiz show “Whad’Ya Know?”
• In the final segment, Maltin suggests that a Mickey Rourke movie will be a painful selection, and Pearl adds that he should cross reference that with Eric Roberts. So, “The Pope of Greenwich Village”? I don’t know…
• Cast and crew roundup: Camera Operator James Mills also worked on “Phase IV.” In front of the camera, William Sylvester was in “Riding with Death” and “Devil Doll.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. Intern Dan Tanz joined the show and would continue for the rest of the season.
• Fave riff: “Am…in…Ireland. Send…real…food.” Honorable mention: “Let’s go steal the captain’s strawberries. That’s always funny.”

Episode guide: 910- The Final Sacrifice

Last modified on 2014-01-01 20:56:54 GMT. 234 comments. Top.

Movie: (1990) Searching for his long-lost father, a teen runs afoul of a devil-worshiping cult, then teams up with a beer-guzzling drifter.

First shown: 7/25/98
Opening: With the power shut down, the bots go looting
Intro: Pearl decides to rule the world…one person at a time
Host segment 1: Servo’s song–a tribute to Canada–goes horribly wrong
Host segment 2: Everybody (but Mike) contracts Hockey Hair
Host segment 3: Mike comes down with a case of Grizzled Old Prospector Syndrome
End: The bots have formed a muffiny cult; Pearl has another victim
Stinger: “Rowsdower…?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• This is one of the Sci-Fi era’s best. The riffing is rock solid, the movie is mindbogglingly dopey and most of the segments are good fun.
• This episode is included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVII.
• The Shout disk, by the way, has a fascinating interview with the guy who played Zap Rowsdower, in which he reveals that he had not seen this episode! I hope the Shout people gave him one!
• Mary Jo offers her thoughts on this episode here.
• That’s Peter Rudrud, in his only on-camera role, as Todd Gunderson
• Not a big fan of the opening or intro segments. Both ideas sort of peter out.
• Segment 1 became an instant classic. Hard on its heels came South Park’s “Blame Canada,” and there really was a (jokingly) anti-Canada vibe going on for a while there. I recall Canadian fans (who were getting episodes shipped to them by fans in the states, so the show never aired there) desperate for details of the song as discussions began online immediately after the show.
• Speaking of blaming Canada, M&tB found the phrase “Lemon Mine” amusing but it’s a thing, a Canadian thing.
• Segment 2 is another winner, a funny idea mined for just enough laughs, that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
• Crow and Tom still have hockey hair when they return to the theater.
• One of the things I love about this episode is the way the movie just keeps giving them stuff to work with. Just when you think they were running out of Rowsdower jokes, the grizzled old guy arrives. Oooh, it’s comedy gold, consarn it!
• Callback: “A worwilf!”
• Segment 3 extends the premise of segment 2 very nicely. Mike really seems to enjoy that beard.
• Another highlight of the episode: Tom sings the Rowsdower song during the credits, while Crow attempts to pitch “Final Sacrifice: The Series.” Clearly written by somebody who has suffered through meetings like this.
• I actually like the closing bit in the castle, especially Paul as willing — and hungry — thrall Carl. I especially like the way he very comfortably calls Pearl “my liege.”
• Cast and crew roundup: nobody.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. Mary Jo returns to the writing room after her trip to the West Coast.
• Fave riff: “Dear Counselor Troi: I waited at Denny’s but you didn’t meet me!” Honorable mention: “I wonder if they have beer on the sun?”

Episode guide: 911- Devil Fish

Last modified on 2014-01-08 19:43:43 GMT. 120 comments. Top.

Movie: (1984) Bud-swilling Florida scientists discover a gigantic prehistoric shark.

First shown: 8/15/98
Opening: Mike loses his identity…or does he?
Intro: Pearl’s cruise ship scheme requires M&tB to make ice sculptures
Host segment 1: M&tB learn that dolphins are smart … and touchy!
Host segment 2: M&tB learn not to taunt electricians
Host segment 3: Pearl’s Italian filter malfunctions
End: Crow tries to think of animal combos, while dinner at the Captain’s table doesn’t go well
Stinger: “It’s right underneath us!” “I knowwwww!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• This episode is one of those comfortable middle-of-the-road ones for me. The riffing has lots of laughs, but there are some quiet spots. The segments are also fun and funny but not exceptional. This episode also featured two elements that had internet MSTies talking!
• Kevin offers his thoughts here.
• This episode is featured in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XIX.
References.
• Mike predicament in the opening bit is reminiscent of five or six action movies that were out at that time, especially “The Bourne Identity.”
• That’s Patrick and Beez as the tourists, Ann and Norm.
• The intro almost has an invention exchange feel to it, which everybody offering a different comic take on the ice sculpture idea.
• Did anybody notice that this movie has two title cards? I don’t think the Brains did. They don’t react when the second one appears.
• A generational thing: This movie’s director, credited as John Old Jr., is actually Lamberto Bava. His father was Mario Bava, director of the movie in episode 1013-DANGER: DIABOLIK (Lamberto was the assistant director on that movie) and cinematographer of the movies in episodes 408- HERCULES UNCHAINED and 502- HERCULES. Lamberto worked on many of his father’s films. Mario was sometimes billed as John Old Sr.
• Marc Cohn definitely seems to be one of those pop stars that earned the Brains wrath. I was never a huge fan, but his stuff never really bothered me.
• Segment 1 is less a segment by itself than it is a setup for the segment 2. It’s not a laugh-riot, but it moves along quickly.
• Segment 2 is the pay-off sketch, but it’s still not hilarious. I feel like maybe it’s Paul’s lowkey delivery that drags it down, but I’m not sure.
• This week Mike is reading Mary Tyler Moore’s book “After All.” Is he a member of the book of the month club?
• There’s kind of an odd moment in segment 2 where Gypsy doesn’t know who Pearl is. Made me go:”Huh?” She used to…
• Peter Rudrud is the voice of Sea World phone representative.
• About a third the way through the episode, one of the characters on the boat climbs quickly down a ladder, and is shot from below. Apparently we could see quite a bit up his shorts because Sci-Fi Channel felt the need to put a digital fig leaf over it, in the form of the spaghetti ball logo. The incident sparked a bit of a debate among online MSTies about censorship, etc.
• Incidentally, this addition to the episode apparently was made AFTER the episode was submitted to Sci-Fi Channel for broadcast, because M&TB do not react to the appearance of the logo, and instead react in horror to seeing what the logo covered up.
• This episode marks two Wizard of Id references in two weeks.
• During the dull scuba sequences, nobody thinks to mention that his lungs are aching for air. Just as well, I guess.
• A few fans conjectured that segment 3 was BBI’s response to some fan complaints (baloney, if you ask me) that the show was overdoing jokes mocking the movie characters’ nationality. By now, I imagine the writers have long forgotten whether it was or not, so we’ll never know if it was intentional.
• The first Richard Jewel joke in a while pops up.
• The long laughing-through-the-end-credits bit is reminiscent of the Jim Backus-Phyllis Diller comedy bit, “Delicious.”
• Why is Crow so hyper in the end segment?
• Cast and crew roundup: In addition to the Bava family mentioned above, assistant director Freddy (Goffredo) Unger was an actor in “Hercules Against the Moon Men.” Screen writer Frank Walker also worked on “Operation Double 007.” Cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando also worked on “Warrior of the Lost World,” as did costumer/production designer Anthony Geleng.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike, his last directing effort of the season.
• Fave riff: “You know, just because you CAN edit doesn’t mean you SHOULD.” Honorable mention: “Tiny Medical Center, starring tiny Chad Everett.”

Episode guide: 912- The Screaming Skull (with short ‘Robot Rumpus’)

Last modified on 2014-01-16 21:28:49 GMT. 169 comments. Top.

912s

Short: (1956) A Gumby cartoon. Gumby builds robots to do his chores for him.
Movie: (1958) Newly married headcase Jenni sees human skulls everywhere in her new home.

First shown: 8/29/98
Opening: Tom has become a beautiful butterfly
Intro: Tom’s still a butterfly, but you can’t really tell; Pearl, Observer and Bobo pull a not-so-fast one on M&tB
Host segment 1: The bots try to work through the pain of the Gumby short
Host segment 2: The bots try to scam a free coffin
Host segment 3: Crow, disguised as a screaming skull, freaks Mike out
End: The coffin arrives from Coffins Etc.; Bobo fails to pull an even-less fast one on M&tB
Stinger: Hubby flings his stool.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• This is another one of those episode where the spectacularly funny short outshines some decent riffing on a drab, dull movie. I wonder how it even came up that they would be able to use this cartoon. The segments are hit and miss, but a couple of them are real classics.
• Bill’s thoughts on the episode are here.
References.
• This episode is not yet on DVD.
• This was the last episode of the show broadcast on Sci Fi Channel, January 31, 2004.
• Nice build on Servo in the opening segment; kudos to whoever did it.
• Watch Mike as Servo explains his metamorphosis. His reactions are great.
• The opening bit in the castle is one of those long-walk-for-a-little-bit gags, but I have to admit everybody’s costumes are pretty funny.
• I wonder why Pearl didn’t mention the short in her intro.
• M&tB are still wearing their costumes as they enter the theater.
• The short is simply sublime, hilarious from start to finish. The reaction by fans was overwhelmingly positive, with a lot of calls for more cartoons.
• Fave riff from the short: Thank goodness for the internal genitalia!
• Alex Nicol, who plays unhinged gardener Mickey, was also the director. So I think you can pretty much blame him for this movie.
• Again, another nice build for segment 1. And the segment is hilarious, a rare look at the world through the eyes of the bots.
• Last time around I wrote a long plea for somebody to explain the movie to me, and I got several good responses. As I understand it, we are to believe that, in addition to the skulls evil hubby Eric was placing around the house, the ghost of Eric’s dead first wife was capable of conjuring up tangible, corporeal objects (see the skeleton in the wedding dress, which is clearly a physical object–though it is transparent as it runs around the garden) in revenge for what we assume was his murder of her?
• This may not be the worst print of a movie they ever riffed, but it’s up there.
• That’s Barb Tebben as the as operator at Coffins Etc.
• Arty riff: “Pinched lady at Giverny.”
• Jenni disrobes down to her underwear at one point, and I think the movie was trying to titilate the audience a bit, but jeez-louise that is the least sexy bra ever.
• Segment 3 is an all-time favorite, one of those Looney Tunes-style segments that works perfectly. I particularly like the way Mike keeps screaming in horror as he carefully selects just the right golf club.
• Also note, right at the end of the sketch, Mike’s elbow accidentally(?) brushes against Servo’s head — and of course it immediately falls off.
• That’s Patrick in the closing bit as the delivery guy. His “this must be a great place to work” comment is probably something they heard at BBI a lot.
• I have to assume Kevin was boiling in that costume inside a costume.
• And the episode closes out with a little blast from the past: a forced perspective gag. Paging Joel…
• Cast and crew roundup: Executive producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson worked on too many MST3K movies to name. In front of the camera, Peggy Webber was in “Space Children.”
• Creditwatch: Directed by Kevin. Andrea DuCane couldn’t do hair and makeup this episode (the only episode in season 9 where she didn’t) so Mary K. Flaa took her place. Barry Schulman, who renewed them one last time just before getting canned, gets a special mention in the credits.
• Fave riff: “Wow, too bad. So…some?” Honorable mention: “GET A BOX!”

Episode guide: 913- Quest of the Delta Knights

Last modified on 2014-01-23 22:12:19 GMT. 163 comments. Top.

913

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie: (1993) In medieval times, a young boy comes under the protection of a wizard, and they plot against a malevolent ruler.

First shown: 9/26/98
Opening: Crow’s in the shop, but the loaner Crow has a radio!
Intro: Worried about a lack of results in her experiment, Pearl trades places with Mike!
Host segment 1: Pearl completes her observations, while Mike, Bobo and Observer enjoy a guy’s night
Host segment 2: The Sir Thomas “Neville” Servo Consort of the Middle Ages Just After the Plague Singers performs an ancient Air on a Delta Knight
Host segment 3: Leonardo Da Vinci visits, and he’s a good fella
End: The bots mourn the loss of Pearl; the annual Delta Knights pancake breakfast is a success
Stinger: Even his co-star is embarrassed by Mr. “I’m Comeeeng!!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (213 votes, average: 4.69 out of 5)

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• A pretty good but not great final episode of the penultimate season, complete with a switcheroo in the theater, more workmen coming and going as they please, another choral treat from Sir Thomas, an almost TOO goofy movie and solid riffing throughout.
• Paul’s thoughts on this one are here.
• This episode is not yet available on DVD.
• Of course, the highlight of this ep is Pearl taking a turn in the theater, where she seems a little more Mary Jo-ish than Pearl-ish. But I think it works better that way. I’m not sure sustaining the Pearl character AND doing a good job riffing could really be pulled off. Yes, Mike did it with Eddie, but even that wore thin after a bit.
• I love the loaner Crow sketch. It may be one of my all-time favorites. Maybe it’s because that’s pretty much how my car runs.
• In the Intro segment, Servo says “No movie, no Mike.” I think he meant that the other way ’round. That was the best take they had? Or did nobody notice?
• Nice callback: “My boat.” a reference to a classic bad movie moment from “Waterworld,” referenced in episode 808- The She Creature.
• One drawback of this movie choice is that we get a rare foray into attempted comedy here, especially the scenes with Richard Kind. As expected, the riffing suffers a bit during these moments. Indeed, the whole movie really doesn’t seem to take itself very seriously, pretty much a prerequisite for a great episode.
• Self referential riff: “Later at Castle Forrester…”
• Several LOTR references: Legolas, Bombadil and Gollum.
• The medeival aire (words and lyrics by Kevin) is lots of fun. By the way, you can hear more of the “dirty” song at the end on the “Clowns in the Sky 2” CD.
• Also: Somebody put boobs on one of the Tom Servos! Yikes!
• Bill, in full James Gandolfini mode, is terrific as a mobbed up Leonardo Da Vinci in segment 3. He really sells it. One of the better hexfield viewscreen visits of the later years.
• Obscure reference: “Timothy? Where on Earth did you go?”
• Patrick is again a workman visiting the SOL. This time he’s “Eggs,” the pain leakage repairman. Always nice to see the big clown hammer make an appearance.
• For the pancake breakfast scene, the cast and crew pretty much called every relative and friend willing to be on camera. It holds the record as the segment with the most number of people. In addition to Paul, they were: Benjamin Bakken, Andrea Jackson DuCane, Ari Hoptman, Katie Johnson, Mikey Johnson, Anne Kleinschmidt, Joe Kleinschmidt, Marie Kleinschmidt, Rick Kleinschmidt, Edna McKeever, Tom McKeever, Rachel Mertz, Dara Moskowitz, Kathleen M. Murphy, Sandy Oian, Gerald A. Pehl, Nick Prueher, David Rudrud, Tom Schufman, Krista Skogland, Lorin Skogland, Anna Stonehouse, Dan Tanz and Marshall Tebben.
• Cast and crew roundup: Nobody who worked on this movie worked on any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. Intern Nick Prueher would be back one more time in season 10 but this was intern Dan Tanz’ last episode.
• Fave riff: Sit outside and pet our millipedes! Honorable mention: Well, the movie lost me. It lost me and it’s trotting off without me.


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