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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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Episode guide: 815- Agent for H.A.R.M.

Movie: (1966) A fey spy is assigned to protect a scientist from foreign agents.

First shown: 8/2/97
Opening: M&tB are into “extreme” things
Intro: Mike is put on trial for his crimes against the universe
Host segment 1: Pearl and Bobo give their opening statements
Host segment 2: The bots give their video depositions
Host segment 3: Observer takes the stand
End: Crow and Tom hold a candlelight vigil, and the judge gives his verdict and sentence
Stinger: Spaz chop!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (218 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

• This is another one of those episodes where the segments kind of overwhelm the movie and the movie riffing. I hadn’t seen this episode in a while, and my memory of it was that the movie just kind of laid there and didn’t give them a lot to work with. I liked the movie segments more on this viewing, but still I think the segments are the real standout element. Kevin and Mary Jo are both terrific.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIII.”
Bill’s take is here.
• As Bill notes, that’s Bill as judge, except when Paul fills in at one point.
• This was the episode in which Patrick took over as Gypsy—and with his arrival every single actor who had been an on-camera regular when the show began had been replaced with other performers. Has that ever happened on any other show?
• I believe the opening segment features the first mention of Mike’s love of rice.
• As somebody noted in the comments, Mike is really not responsible for the first two planets being destroyed. The monkeys destroyed the first one and the nanites destroyed the second one. Camping Planet is on him, however.
• The one henchman looks vaguely like Prince, and that’s enough for an avalanche of Prince references. Mike tries to put an end to it, but then HE does one a little while later!
• The preppy looking henchman also prompts a lot of funny preppy voiced riffs.
• Mike wears his prisoner hat during all the movie riffing segments. No way to know for sure if he’s wearing the full costume.
• The last time we saw Brad “Little Amish Boy” Keeley on camera was in episode 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS when he played Rodney the exotic cake dancer.
• Oh, and: my copy has a commercial for Sci-Fi Channel’s “extra-sensory summer” that includes a mention of the “Making of MST3K” documentary.
• My copy also has a commercial for a repeat of episode 803- THE MOLE PEOPLE.
• Daleism: As Dr. Stefanik dies, he holds his hand up: Crow: He thought he was Dale! Note: This may be the final Daleism. It’s the last one I have a notation for.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Joseph F. Robertson also produced “The Crawling Hand” and “Slime People.” Special effects guy Harry S. Woolman also worked on “Hangar 18,” “The Incredible Melting Man” and “Laserblast.” Makeup guy Marc Snegoff also worked in “Catalina Caper.” Production manager Lou Place also worked on “It Conquered the World,” he directed “Daddy-O” and was assistant director for “The Undead.” He also acted in “Swamp Diamonds.” Score composer Gene Kauer also worked on “The Atomic Brain” and “Beast of Yucca Flats.”
In front of the camera: Wendell Corey also appeared in “Women of the Prehistoric Planet” and Rafael Campos also appeared in “Girl in Gold Boots.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced by Kevin Murphy and directed by Mike Nelson, the first time he’s directed this season. Patrick is listed as Gypsy for the first time. Bob Seabold finishes up a two-episode stint at grip.
• Fave line: “They’re out of fumar! Now what do we do?” Honorable mention: “First rule of women everywhere: First, do no HARM.”

Weekend Discussion Thread: MST3K Live — thoughts?

Tonight, in Atlanta, is the final stop on the “MST3K Live: Watch Out for Snakes” national tour, so if you’re headed there tonight, you might want to wait till tomorrow to join us.

I saw the show in Philadelphia (or, rather, in a leafy Philadelphia suburb north of the city called Glenside), in a lovely old movie house called the Keswick.

The show was terrific and I laughed and laughed all night long. Joel was, of course, great, and Jonah was cool and relaxed and very funny. But I expected that. I want to praise Tim Ryder, who filled in for Hampton Baron and did splendidly, but especially Rebecca Hanson, who was, really a standout and who was completely unflummoxed by a couple line flubs (I’m sure Joel had some notes for his cast after the show was over).

The first movie was, as advertised “Eegah!” and the riffing was very very good, and I liked that in four or five places they just accepted that the funniest possible riff had already been written and just went ahead and used them, but mostly offered a brand new take on that terrible movie.

The “surprise” second movie was 1967’s “Argoman the Fantastic Superman,” sort of “”Secret Agent Super Dragon” meets “The Pumaman.” Again the riffing was very strong and I loved it.

One negative thought: I’m not sure “Clowns in the Sky” is the optimal choice for a big closer. I miss Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love.”

My grade: A.

Your thoughts?

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Episode guide: 814- Riding with Death

Movie: (1976) Two stitched-together episodes of the TV series “Gemini Man,” about a hero who gains the power of invisibility.

First shown: 7/19/97
Opening: Mike, who was once a teppanyaki chef, has a relapse
Intro: Pearl and company are under fire! She begs Mike for air support … and she gets it, and then some
Host segment 1: Tom sings about the 70s (and the 50s, too)
Host segment 2: Tom acquires a buttless truck driver body
Host segment 3: Crow is Turkey Volume Guessing Man!
End: Mike, Crow and Tom spoof the end of the film, while Pearl is weighed down with medals
Stinger: Jim Stafford is really happy!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (277 votes, average: 4.78 out of 5)

• I like this one. The movie — two poorly spliced-together episodes of a forgotten ’70s TV series (a la “Master Ninja”) — is not painful to watch, but gives them plenty to work with. The riffing is great and the segments are mostly pretty good. So rock it, you turkeys!
• Kevin offers his take here.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “MST3K: Volume XXXVI.”
• The opening, with Mike as the mindless teppanyaki chef, is hilarious. “There’s about a 1-in-4 chance were gonna get out of this alive!”
• This episode is the last one in which Jim is listed as providing the voice and puppetry for Gypsy, but Gypsy isn’t in this one. I had thought that meant his last actual performance as Gypsy was the previous episode’s “Lord of the Dance” sketch, but a commenter corrected me. More on that in the next episode’s writeup.
• Daleism: During the bar fight, the big guy tries to punch Buffalo Bill, but his fist is held back by invisible Sam. He looks at his fist. Crow: “Thought I was Dale.” Big guy tries again, and is again held back. He again looks at his fist. “Again, I thought I was Dale.”
• I love the way Mike answers the phone in this episode. His cheery little “Helloo?” is great.
• Mike destroys his third planet so far this season. This sets up the premise for the segments in the next episode.
• Crow and Mike reenact a memorable moment from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
• A perfect example of the genius of this show is the scene early on in which four characters are just standing around explaining the plot. Not much to work with. Then they pick up on Ben Murphy’s boss compulsively wiping his (apparently filthy!) glasses and suddenly the otherwise dull scene is a riot.
• Tom’s songs about the 70s and the 50s are a lot of fun. “The apostle Paul traveled to Greece…”
• I think the “Tom’s trucker body” segment seemed funnier on paper. Nice job on the body creation, however.
• Tom still has his trucker body in the theater. Mike and Crow are already there.
• The Turkey Volume Guessing Man segment is another gem, another hilarious example of Bill’s slightly deranged Crow.
• The “Pearl gets medals” bit at the end is cute, but doesn’t really go anywhere.
• This movie has two completely baffling elements, which probably only made sense in the context of the series, context which is completely lost in the movie. First there’s this Elliot guy, who angrily, even bitterly, berates Driscoll, who I think is his boss. Why is he doing this? Is he working for Denby? Is he just naive? As the movie plays out, it becomes clear that Denby is exactly the elusive crime boss Driscoll thinks he is. But we never see Elliot admit he was wrong (though he does seem a bit less grouchy in a later scene — maybe by then he’s seen the light).
Then there are the shots of Abby in the lab, watching some sort of super duper camera feed (it can pan and change angles and do closeups). Apparently the makers felt the need to include Abby, but why? (Note: A commenter had a plausible explanation for this.)
• On a related subject, you’re not seeing things: two different actors appear as Driscoll: Richard Dysart portrayed Driscoll in the pilot (and is seen briefly in the flashback sequence, which was taken from the pilot), while William Sylvester played Driscoll in the series.
• Then current reference: Kelly Flynn.
• Callback: “Look, a couple of VAAAAAANS!” (“Giant Spider Invasion”)
• Cast and crew roundup: “Village of the Giants” also gives H.G. Wells an amusing story credit. Costumer Charles Waldo also worked on “San Francisco International.” In front of the camera, Ben Murphy was also in “Being from Another Planet.” William Sylvester was also in “Gorgo.” Ed Nelson was also in “Superdome,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “Night of the Blood Beast,” plus he did costumes for “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Austin Stoker was also in “Being from Another Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Brad, who has been listed as “Editor” on and off since season five, is listed as “Editor” for the first time this season, a credit that will continue until the end of the series. Bob Seabold begins a two-episode stint as grip. Intern Joseph Olson begins a four-episode stint; intern Meshach Weber begins a six-episode stint. The music for “The Funky Seventies” and “The Fifties” was written by Michael J. Nelson, with lyrics by Bill Corbett.
• Fave line: “Dear, sweet, homicidal Murray.” Honorable mention: “Okay, now, who wants their butts kicked first?”

Two ‘in passing’ RIPs

Two passings of guys who did not loom large in MSTory but are worth noting:

Singer-songwriter Glen Campbell died Aug. 8. He was mentioned in a host segment in episode 514- TEENAGE STRANGLER.

And actor Ty Hardin, best known for the ’50s TV series “Bronco,” died Aug, 3. He got about three seconds of screen time early inhis career as a sentry in the movie in episode 906- THE SPACE CHILDREN.

Thanks to Timmy for the heads up.