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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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Rifftrax Live Tonight!

Don’t forget Rifftrax Live: Summer Shorts Beach Party is tonight at a theater hopefully near you. The guys will be joined by Bridget, Mary Jo, Trace, Frank and Paul F. Tompkins. The grand finale will be a “super riff-a-palooza” with all the guests at once.

RIP Adam West

LOS ANGELES — Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series “Batman,” died at his home here June 9, following a short battle with leukemia. He was 88.

MSTies will recall that he played Captain Tom Churchman in the movie in episode 604- ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE, and hosted Comedy Central’s 1994 MST3K Turkey Day marathon.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

Thanks to Paul, who beat Timmy by a few minutes with his email heads up.

Weekend Discussion Thread – Episode Guide, First Draft: 1108- The Loves of Hercules

Movie: (1960) Herc gets involved in palace intrigue in the nation of Ecalia.

Opening: J&tB are binge-watching “Wings”
Invention exchange: Tom Servo has the fried turkey dunk tank; The Mads have the Mexican jumping bean beanbag chair
Segment 1: Jonah, tied to a wall, endures People’s Throwing Court
Segment 2: J&tB discuss the political correctness of mythologies
Segment 3: A new robot, M. Waverly, invades J&tB girly Hercules party
Closing: Everybody is vocalizing
Stinger: Here boldly defeats the hydra
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 4.27 out of 5)
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• Skeleton Crew songs: “To Earth,” “United Servo Academy,” “I Wish I Was in Old Canada” and “Livin’ in Deep 13.”
• Love the “ooteeni” cries
• The big news, I guess, is the oh-so-brief appearance of M. Waverly, the first new robot in ages. I think I would have liked him. May he rest in peace.
• Movie observation: Some of the characters call Achilles “Achilles” and some call him “Aculo.” Huh?
• Callbacks: “Time for go to bed” (“The Unearthly), “Any fruit to declare?” (Warrior of the Lost World).
• Fave riff: “I saw it in the window and just had to have it.” Honorable mention: “Barricade by committee always ends like this,” “I’m gonna give you and your dungeon the worst Yelp review ever! I was barely flogged!” “Oh…may not want to go in there yet.”

Thoughts?

Now Available from RiffTrax…

Stream or download it here.

Episode guide: 805- The Thing that Couldn’t Die

805

Movie: (1958) A traysure-hunting family at a dude ranch digs up a severed head with evil powers.

First shown: 3/1/97
Opening: Artiste Tom creates negative images of patron Crow
Intro: We meet The Observers, super-intelligent beings who carry their brains around with them. Pearl and Bobo are their guests
Host segment 1: An irritating Observer arrives and observes
Host segment 2: The Observers enable Mike to materialize anyone from his memory
Host segment 3: Crow premieres his documentary on the Civil War
End: Tom has a plan to make Crow do unspeakable acts; Pearl and Bobo get ready for bed
Stinger: Observers
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (204 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)
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• Check out Paul’s take on this episode here.
• This episode is included in Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIX.
• This episode definitely causes me a lot of playsure, but it’s also a bit of a comedown after the wacky fun of “Deadly Mantis.” Some of the segments are more clever than funny, and this is a classic example of a movie that would be unwatchable without the riffing. But it’s there, and it is very good. That’s one thing I have to say about this whole period we’re getting into where some fans began to complain (about the loss of the stingers, about the sameness of the movies (see below), about the new premise, blah blah blah): I maintain that the riffing in all these episodes is as consistently good (and occasionally better) as what we saw in the Comedy Central years. There, I said it, I’d say it again if I had to.
References.
• It was about at this point that the string of black-and-white Universal b-movies began to wear on some fans. In retrospect, the relief that was “Giant Spider Invasion” was only a few episodes away, but at the time the sameness of the movies irritated some. My sense is that Sci-Fi Channel lined these up for them, thinking that these were the sort of movies fans wanted them to riff. (Though, to be sure, there were at least two others reasons: because they were compatible with the channel, and because, at that time, the company that owned these Universal movies was the same one that owned the channel, making them cheap to acquire.) But the complaints were less about each movie taken by itself and more about the sameness of the sequence. Had they interspersed these movie with some other types of films, the issue might never have come up. The moral: a little variety is always nice.
• Of course, the big news in this episode was the introduction of The Observers, characters not directly from any particular “Star Trek” episode, but certainly reminiscent of many of the sort of supposedly omniscient beings that Captain Kirk seemed to encounter often.
• Tom notes that much of the music in the movie is essentially a needle-drop on the “This Island Earth” soundtrack. It’s hard to miss.
• Callbacks: “She’s getting squishy!” (A Young Man’s Fancy); “Old Timer Billy Slater” (Junior Rodeo Daredevils).
• Early in the movie, something called a “trade rat” is mentioned. The writers apparently never heard the term before (neither had I), and so they have a lot of fun with the phrase. Well, the Columbia Encyclopedia says a “trade rat” is synonymous with “pack rat ,” a rodent of the genus neotoma, noted for its habit of collecting bright, shiny objects and leaving other objects, such as nuts or pebbles, in their place; also called trade rat or wood rat … the pack rat stores the objects it collects to decorate its nest.” There, don’t say you’ve never learned anything from Satellite News. :-)
• As Jessica prepares to leave, Crow wonders aloud where the heck she’s going. Pay attention, Crow. She said loud and clear she was going to her cousin’s.
• Paul is hilarious as the Observer. “I hate him, and can take solace only in my own cool detachment.”
• There were a total of 12 “Dale” riffs this season, and there were Dale riffs in 11 consecutive episodes beginning in this episode. (And there were some in previous seasons! For a complete list, visit Ward E.) From this point forward, they will be referred to as “Daleisms.” This episode’s Daleism: Mike the lunkhead (in the movie) looks at his hands and Mike (the lunkhead, in the theater) says “I thought you were Dale.”
• When Kevin’s appears as Hadrian, his helmet begins to come loose almost immediately and eventually falls off even though he attempts to secure it in mid-scene.
• Then Mike shoves Bridget in the face … THAT must have been a delicate rehearsal…
• Obscure references: Larry Wilcox, who played Officer Jonathan “Jon” Baker in TV’s “CHiPs” and Tracy Gold, best remembered as daughter Carol on the TV’s “Growing Pains.”
• One movie complaint: Toward the second half of the movie, the inhabitants of the ranch decide to dig for the coffin containing the head’s body. I have to ask: Why is the oily beat artist guy digging? He’s a GUEST at the ranch! Sure, both the ranch’s hands are dead, but that’s Flavia’s problem, isn’t it? If I were a guest at a dude ranch (an unlikely prospect, I assure you), you wouldn’t catch me doing heavy labor for the ranch’s owner without a serious cut in the room rate.
• There’s a classic moment in this one when the two women crawl into bed together, and Crow and Tom celebrate in great style.
• A lot of fans were very surprised and not many were pleased when the Observers usurped the stinger. It would continue for three episodes, and the howls of dismay grew louder each week.
• In a thread we did a while back, the consensus choice for the stinger was “You’re all evil and I hope you die!”
• Cast and crew roundup: Screenwriter David Duncan also worked on “Black Scorpion” and “The Leech Woman.” Cinematographer Clifford Stine also worked on “This Island Earth,” “The Creeping Terror” and “The Mole People.” Costumer Bill Thomas also worked on “The Leech Woman.” Makeup guy Bud Westmore blah, blah, blah. Same with art director Alexander Golitzen, set designer Russell A. Gausman, sound person Leslie I. Carey, score composer/music supervisor Joseph Gershenson and score composer Henry Mancini.
In front of the camera: Robin Hughes was also in “The Mole People.” Peggy Converse was also in “The Brute Man.” Phil Harvey was also in “The Deadly Mantis.” Thomas Browne Henry was also in “Beginning of the End.
• CreditsWatch: Bill’s credit as “Observer” begins; it will run though the end of the series. Paul and Mike’s credit as “Observer” begins and runs for three more episodes. Jim gets both the producer and director credit this time, and Kevin continues as associate producer. That’s Paul as Finnigan, Kevin as Hadrian and Bridget as Adrienne Barbeau.
• Fave riff: “Oh E.G. Marshall, you ARE a bold one…” Honorable mentions: “Well, there’s that all-night historical society.” “Now I want her more than ever!” and “Here’s lookin’ up your neck hole!”