What is the most perfect riff at the most perfect time in MST3K films. The one that immediately comes to my mind is from “The Giant Spider Invasion” after Robert Easton tells his wife, “You’re so dumb you wouldn’t know rat dropping from Rice Krispies.” Crow’s answer: “Snap, Crackle, Poop.”
I’ve noted this one before but it still stands, from “Catalina Caper”: “It’s Gloria Estefan and the Catalina Deus Ex Sound Machina.” Amazing.
What’s your pick?
The gang at MSTieCast gets DEEEP into the licensing weeds
with Shout! Factory’s Jordan Fields.
Mary Jo and Bridget learn that…
Download it and/or stream it here.
Movie: (1960) A betrothed jazz pianist believes he’s escaped his troublesome mistress when he fails to save her from a fall. But then he’s visited by her ghost … and a blackmailer.
First shown: 9/26/92
Opening: The bots have set up housekeeping in a ventilation duct
Invention exchange: J&tB demonstrate the Aunt Catherine wheel, while the Mads show off the drinking jacket
Host segment 1: Joel is stuck in ventilation duct, Crow and Tom are no help
Host segment 2: Joel asks the bots which pop singers they’d like to throw from a lighthouse
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom pretend to be bodyless ghosts, but Joel has the last laugh
End: J&tB are depressed so they think happy thoughts and sing a happy song, and does Frank
Stinger: “Tom Stewart killed me!”
• A lot of people say this may be Bert I.’s best, and it may be true. It’s definitely possible to get caught up in this one, as strange as it is. The riffing is good and the host segments are what we’ve come to expect from season four. Definitely a fun episode.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 11.”
• “This is one dark mama-jama of a movie,” Joel says toward the end, and, wow, is it ever. It’s also kinda dull for the first half, although the weirdness overwhelms the blandness in the second half. The script makes some bold narrative choices: nobody can sympathize with the awful, grasping, brassy Vi, and Tom didn’t actively kill her and yet he is still subjected to blackmail and as nightmarish haunting. It seems like Tom’s biggest mistake (not counting killing the hipster) was not immediately reporting Vi’s death.
• Cambot is leaning WAY over the desk to shoot Joel in the opening.
• That’s definitely Mike as “The Aunt Catherine Wheel” and “Uncle Carl,” and it sounds like the same voice as “Grammy Fisher” and “Aunt Ethel” but who is it? Trace, maybe?
• I have a special fondness for the “drinking jacket” invention — I created my own and wore it in the costume contest at the second convention.
• Sadly the “Spalding, old man!” joke is not so funny now.
• Movie comment: They’re sending the invitations only a week before the wedding?
• I’m no expert on men’s calves but certain people of the female persuasion have expressed agreement with Crow’s assessment. Any thoughts on Joel’s calves?
• This episode’s overused joke: “Sessions presents…” Once or twice, okay, but they really beat it to death.
• After segment 2, Joel is so excited he playfully tosses Tom as they reenter the theater (Kevin is apparently laying on his back waiting to catch him).
• Crow goofs: The snack bar chef is NOT Merritt Stone. That’s Gene Roth. But Stone IS in the movie: he’s the clergyman who marries Tom and his bride.
• Callback: “Charles Moffett…” (Ring of Terror)
• Joel suggests this is more depressing than hanging in a bar talking to Neil Young. Why is talking to Neil Young depressing? He seems like a pretty cheerful guy.
• One highlight of the episode is the hilarious “happy thoughts song,” including Frank’s verse at the end. Great stuff. Note that the Prince Roach from episode 408- HERCULES UNCHAINED is on the floor near Frank.
• I’ve always enjoyed Joel’s use of the phrase “K’nerping for moisture.”
• During the song, Tom Servo’s head falls off. They keep going.
• Cast and crew roundup: Of course, many of the people who worked on this worked on other BIG movies, to wit: scriptwriter George Worthing Yates also wrote “Earth vs. The Spider” and “War of the Colossal Beast.” Cinematographer Ernest Laszlo also worked “The Space Children.” Editor John Bushelman worked “War of the Dinosaurs” and “Village of the Giant. Costumer Marge Corso worked on “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Bloodlust” and “The She-Creature.” And of course Albert Glasser did every movie ever. In front of the camera, in addition to Gene Roth and Merritt Stone, there’s Harry Fleer, who was also in “The Unearthly,” Vera Marshe, who was also in “The Space Children” and George Stanley, who was in “Earth Vs. Spider.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. Tim Scott replaces Brian Wright as audio guy. Andrea DuCane did hair and makeup (the third of three times this season). And it is with this episode that we say farewell to Alexandra Carr, who was with the show since the KTMA days and did just about every job, including writer and performer. Her departure caused a lot of title shifts, but we’ll deal with that in the next episode. “Ammendment” is still spelled wrong.
• Fave riff: “Honey, I’m ho-o-o-o-oh, yeah, you’re dead.” Honorable mention: “C’mon, we’re going bowling.”
Our pal Brandon got this from a friend who’s vacationing in Hawaii…
BIG SUR, Calif.–Legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, best known for “The Deer Hunter” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” died here January 1. He was 85.
The Hungarian-born Zsigmond helped define cinema’s American New Wave in the 1970s through iconic collaborations and a preference for natural light. He first gained renown for his collaboration with Robert Altman on classics “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and “The Long Goodbye.” In addition to his work on Michael Cimino’s classic “The Deer Hunter,” for which he earned an Oscar nomination, Zsigmond also worked with Brian De Palma on a number of films including “Blow Out.” Zsigmond’s sole Oscar win was for Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
But, every great artist has to start somewhere, and MSTies know that among his first gigs was as a camera operator for the movie in episode 812- THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!? along with his pal and fellow Hungarian, László Kovács.
Variety has the story.
Thanks to Timmy for the heads up.
When MST3K first went big time, they redid some of their KTMA episodes, which, in my opinion, was a very good choice as the Comedy Central versions were much better. That being said, are there any episodes from the CC or Sci-Fi days you’d like to see given a second treatment?
Me. I’d like to see one Supermarionation movie. Maybe something from “Fireball XL-5”?
What do you think?
LOS ANGELES – Wayne Rogers, who portrayed wisecracking Army surgeon “Trapper John” McIntyre in the first three seasons of TV’s “M*A*S*H,” and who later became a respected financial analyst, died Dec. 31. He was 82.
MSTies will recall he was at the center of conversation in a host segment in episode 410- HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN when Joel and the bots discussed what Crow called “the Wayne Rogers syndrome.”
Reuters has a nice obit.
LOS ANGELES–Character actor Jason Wingreen died at his home here on Christmas day, at the age of 95, after a long illness.
You may not know the name, but one look at his photo will tell you he’s one of those “hey, it’s that guy!” guys — hard-working character actors with familiar faces but unfamiliar names.
Wingreen had a small role as a senator in the movie in episode 614- SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL. He may be best known for playing bartender Harry Snowden on “All In The Family” and its spin-off series,”Archie Bunker’s Place.” Also notable, Wingreen was the original voice of Boba Fett the Bounty Hunter in the 1980 theatrical cut of “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.” His voice was later replaced in the 2004 DVD special edition of the movie. He also appeared in three episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” including the well-remembered, “A Stop at Willoughby.”
The Hollywood Reporter has an obit.
Thanks to Paul, who met Wingreen and exchanged correspondence with him, for the heads up and the information.
If you are a contributor, you just got Joel’s final update for 2015. If not, it’s here
Among the news: He has chosen all the movies for the season, but he won’t reveal them before the episodes air. Aw. He’s looking for office and studio space. Read the whole thing.
Happy new year!