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

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Episode guide: 308- Gamera Vs. Gaos

Movie: (1967) In third outing of the long-running Japanese movie series, the giant flying turtle monster faces off against Gaos, a shovel-headed bat-monster with the ability to shoot laser beams. Caught between the two monsters are some nearby villagers, who want to stop the construction of a highway through their land (or at least get a good price when they sell it). The grandson of their leader is young Itchy who, after Gamera saves him, becomes an instant expert on both creatures.

First shown: 7/27/91
Opening: The bots are pretending they are raspy-voiced celebrities and Joel joins in
Invention exchange: Gypsy does her impression of the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie. The mads show off their self-image printers, Joel demonstrates his fax tissue dispenser
Host segment 1: Joel presents an arts and crafts project, but Crow and Tom are no help
Host segment 2: The “Gamera-damerung” never gets off the ground
Host segment 3: Ed Sullivan presents “Gaos the Great”
End: The bots suggest other ways to snuff Gaos and request ideas from the viewers
Stinger: Comic relief guys get scared.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (109 votes, average: 4.30 out of 5)

• I’ll admit I was dreading this one. After my encounter with it during the KTMA season, I remembered it as a long slog. What a pleasant surprise. It’s really a lesson for me not judge a season 3 episode by its KTMA antecedent. The riffing is sharp (though it sags a bit in the middle) the host segments are generally fun and the movie was more watchable than I was worried it was going to be. All in all, lots of fun.
• This episode was included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Gamera Vs. MST3K (aka Vol. XXI).
• For those keeping score, this was number 52 in that 1995 countdown.
• Joel blows his reading of the name “Brenda Vacarro.” They keep going.
• Joel is VERY funny in the opening sketch. Of course, most of the people mentioned in the sketch are now dead, because they all got their raspy voices from smoking which, you know, killed them.
• Alert dsman71: Joel seems to have gotten a haircut.
• This will not be the last time the “NBC Sunday Mystery Movie” is mentioned.
• I’ve always suspected that the Mads’ invention was largely a way that Jim could invest in some large-format printers and then write them off.
• The noise we hear as the printer images are revealed sounds like a dot matrix printer, which they probably had sitting around in the office. I suspect Trace and Frank are just unrolling the images by hand.
• That’s not to say it isn’t a funny sketch. Dr. F’s self-description is great. There’s probably several catchphrase T-shirts in that speech.
• Joel’s invention is dependent on the then-current nature of fax paper. Two decades later, with plain-paper fax machines having almost completely taken over, younger viewers might not even know what he’s talking about (or even know what a fax machine is).
• Callback: “Rex Dart, Eskimo Spy.” (Godzilla vs. Megalon); amid the striker rhubarb: “It’s pretty good!” (Sidehackers)
• This is as good a place as any to mention that quite a few of the little “Play MSTie for Me” bumpers CC ran during that summer of 1995 were, simply, wrong. One example came in this episode, in a message that reads: “Joel Hodgson was 10 in 1967.” No he wasn’t. The author of all or most of these cards was a MSTie named Mike Pearce, who managed to make friends with somebody in the Comedy Central scheduling department, and soon became quite useful to online MSTies by regularly posting largely accurate lists of which episodes were going to air. He apparently gained CC’s confidence enough that he got tapped for this gig. But there was no fact checking, apparently.
• Is this the first episode featuring the phrase: “You look at it, I’m bitter”?
• Then-current reference: “Arsenioooo Haaaall!” (Woo! Woo! Woo!)
• The “arts and crafts” segment is a classic, with a TON a great lines. And Joel, I believe you about the mucilage.
• Joel, usually quite the stickler about puns to the point of ripping parts off the bots, says: “I thought this was ferris wheel’s day off.” The bots glare at him. Hypocrite!
• Joel re-warns Tom about Anthony Newly impressions.
• Naughty line: “Have you ever seen ‘The Last Emperor’, sister?”
• Joel uses the phrase “deus ex machina,” not for the last time.
• I like the way Gypsy chuckles at the phrase “Gameradamerung.” As Mike mentions in the ACEG, that segment had a lot of set-up for a two-second bit.
• Tom is still wearing his Gameradamerung costume when he reenters the theater.
• Kinda dark riff: “Take one down, write piggy on the wall…”
• Sandwich riff: “The substation is burning.” “We’ll have to go Schlotzski’s.” I wonder if there was an actual place called “The Sub Station” near them.
• Gamera climbs on Gaos’s back and Tom says: “You’re a big ol’ hog!” Yikes!
• Then-current riff: “Just like when Gary died.” (It’s a “thirtysomething” reference.)
• I wonder how many young viewers have any clue what that Ed Sullivan sketch is about. I do love the way Joel slaps the plates together over and over, as if it’s supposed to demonstrate something.
• In the last segment Tom is again wearing the hat he was wearing in segment 3.
• Did anybody write in to the “Ways to Snuff Gaos” contest? They never read any of the entries if they did.
• Movie stuff: I noted this during the KTMA writeup and I will note it again. Sometimes Gamera doesn’t have to spin to fly, though sometimes he does. Weird.
• Another note from last time: Unlike Kenny in “Gamera,” Itchy does seem to have a genuine relationship with Gamera. Why, I have no idea.
• Cast and crew roundup: Again, I will not repeat the items that were mentioned in previous Gamera entries. Prod: Hidemasa Nagata also produced “Guiron” and “Zigra.” Planning person Kazutada Nakano also worked on “Guiron.” Cinematographer Akira Uehara also worked on “Zigra.” In the cast, Reiko Kasahara also appears in “Guiron” and “Zigra.” Isamu Saeki, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Yashushi Sakagami and Eiko Yanami also appeared in “Zigra.”
• CreditsWatch: Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Someone named Karen Lindsay does the first of nine season 3 eps as online editor. A Lori Schackmann was prop assistant for only this episode. Mike wrote the plate spinning music, which he entitled: “Opus 4, Number 23, Plate Spinning Song”
• Fave riff: “Grace Jones takes one to the head–she can’t take it there!” Honorable mention: “I wish to play with clay now!”

Weekend Discussion Thread: The MST3K Justice League

On Twitter this week, there was a great thread in which people were asked to create a Justice League of MSTed movie characters.

It was a good idea and so I’m stealing it.

Let’s hear your picks for the MSTed movie Justice League (and what each member would bring to the table).

Ambitious folks can also populate an opposing Legion of Doom or pick villain(s), solo, in pairs or whatever.

Go for it!

(And keep those WDT ideas coming!)

Now Available from RiffTrax…


Stream or download it here.

RIP Actor-Director John Carter

carter NEW YORK CITY–Actor-director John Carter, who had a 40-year career in theater, movies and television, died here May 23 from pneumonia. He was 87. MSTies may remember him in a small role as a flight surgeon in the movie “Marooned,” a re-edited version of which was featured in episode 401- SPACE TRAVELERS.
His film credits include Lasse Halstrom’s “The Hoax,” Woody Allen’s “Celebrity,” “Random Hearts” (directed by Sydney Pollack), as well as “Joe Kidd,” “Scarface” and “Badlands.” His numerous television appearances include recurring roles on “Law & Order,” “All My Children” and “Barnaby Jones” (appearing for five years as Lt. Biddle) and the miniseries “The Winds of War.”
More here.

Thanks to Duane (one of my angels of death) for the heads up.

Episode guide: 307- Daddy-O (with short: “Alphabet Antics”)

Short: (1951) A placid tour of the alphabet.
Movie: (1959) High-panted, cool-singing, truck-driving hepcat tangles with blonde bombshell, tries to solve his friend’s murder and becomes a courier for drug dealers.

First shown: 7/20/91
Opening: J&tB are marketing mad dogs gathered around the water cooler
Invention exchange: Dr. F is feeding the miracle growth baby; Joel shows off his air freshener mobile, while the mads demonstrate the alien teething nook
Host segment 1: Joel sings: “Hike Your Pants Up”
Host segment 2: J&tB reenact the drag race from the movie, with Joel getting killed a lot
Host segment 3: Joel is conducting a spit-take lesson, but the dumb guy from the movie keeps appearing on the Hexfield
End: Joel is studying the “Want some?” scene, Joel reads letters, and in Deep 13 the button doesn’t work
Stinger: “Couldn’t help ya if I wanted to, fella. Gym policy.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (139 votes, average: 4.65 out of 5)

• As the kids say, this episode is full of win (that is what they say, isn’t?). It is chock full o’ awesome. It’s got everything: a cheesy but watchable movie (featuring the high-panted Dick Contino) that even includes swingin’ musical numbers, great host segments, riffing that starts in high gear and stays there and a memorable closing segment. A classic.
• This episode will be included in Shout’s upcoming MST3K Collection Vol. XXXIII.
• If you’re playing along at home, this was number 30 on that 1995 Comedy Central countdown.
• Those who say host segments in the Joel years were more often related to the movie were probably thinking of episodes like this one: Just about ALL the host segments are not only related to the movie, they’re direct parodies or reenactments of scenes from the movie.
• The idea of the alien teething nook was taken up by this plush toy. It didn’t have the nipple, though.
• Again, that’s Tim Scott as the miracle growth baby.
• The blue tint is back. Ugh.
• The short is the first of many educational shorts (though some count “X Marks the Spot,” that short is more for adults) that would eventually become one of the most popular elements on the series.
• I love the way Joel imitates Dick Contino’s rictus grin as he sings.
• That lyric about Corey Haim in “Hike Your Pants Up” got a bit less funny in 2010.
• In the reenactment of the race, it’s interesting to note that Tom plays the guy and Crow plays the girl, for a change! It probably has to do with the placement of the guy and gal in the movie, but still, it’s a rarity.
• When they re-enter the theater, Tom covers the absence of the cars they were wearing by saying “Good thing we were thrown clear of those cars!”
• Callbacks: “Ya got me!” (Catalina Caper) “Chili peppers burn my gut” (Sidehackers) “Hey that’s from Catalina Caper!” “The driver is either missing or…” (The Phantom Creeps) “I don’t care!” (Time of the Apes)
• Is THIS the last time we hear the “Weiner Man” song? Similarly, is THIS the last episode with a mole person?
• Okay, Dick lost his license, but he doesn’t need a driver’s licence to race cars on private property, right? It’s a plot hole.
• Segment 3 features the first use of the hexfield viewscreen since episode 302. That’s Mike, of course, as the clueless Bruce.
• During segment 3, Tom’s Carmen Miranda hat almost falls off. Joel straightens it and they keep going.
• The lady in the club looks a LITTLE like Lou Reed from the Transformer album. It’s kind of a stretch, though.
• Little letter writer Christina, 7 when she wrote to the show, is now (assuming she is okay) cruising toward 30.
• The crowning glory of this terrific ep is the famous “broken button” bit, a gem people remembered for years. Unfortunately, in later years a lazy Comedy Central did not respect the bit and actually ran voice overs during it–an incident that sparked one of several major online protests among fans.
• The closing bit also features an uncredited mole person! Is THIS the last appearance?
• Cast and crew roundup: Director Lou Place was on the set of lots of MSTed movies. He was the assistant director for “The Undead,” played the police captain in “Swamp Diamonds” and was production manager for “It Conquered the World” and “Agent for H.A.R.M.” Editor Harold White also worked on “The Beatniks.” Makeup guy Carlie Taylor also worked on “Swamp Diamonds.” In front of the camera, actress Sonia Torgeson was also in “Teenagers from Outer Space.” Actor Bob Banas was the choreographer on “The Skydivers.” Dick Contino also appears in “Girls Town,” of course. Buttery Bruno Vesota wasm also in “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” “Gunslinger,” “The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman” and “The Undead.”
• CreditsWatch: Jim Mallon moves from writer to contributing writer for the rest of the season. Paul Chaplin joins the list of contributing writers. “The Pants Up Song” is by Mike and Kevin and Mike did the “baby music.” Trace and Frank are still guest “villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave short riff: “But he’s got a brain like a chick pea!” Honorable mention: “It’s the Georgia juvenile correction system.”
• Fave feature riff: “On my ANKLE, like I SAID!” Honorable mention: “Do you like the names of lots of fish?”

RIP William Newman

12805-15123 PHILADELPHIA–Character actor William Newman, who, in his more-than-30-year career, appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies, including “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” died here May 27 at a senior residence, after a long illness. He was 80.
MSTies will remember his very first movie role as Quigley in the movie in episode 1012- SQUIRM.
More info on him here.

Thanks to Duane for the heads up.

RIP Alberto De Martino

Martino ROME–Italian director and screenwriter Alberto De Martino has died. MSTies know his work as the director of the movies in episodes 508- OPERATION DOUBLE 007 and 903- THE PUMAMAN. He was 85.

Thanks to Timmy for the heads up.

Shout to Re-Release Vol. 1 + New Extras

MST3KV1PS72dpi On Sept. 1, Shout!Factory will re-release The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 1, originally released by Rhino Home Video in November of 2002. The set contains episode 204- Catalina Caper, episode 606- The Creeping Terror, episode 607- Bloodlust (with short: “Uncle Jim’s Dairy Farm”) and episode 609- The Sky Divers (with short: “Why Study Industrial Arts?”).
Shout will begin taking pre-orders Wednesday, June 3.
The even better news is there will be several new extras.

Here’s Shout’s press release.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Vol. 1
Experience the Riffs Again for the First Time
September 1st, 2015 from Shout! Factory

Experiencing déjà vu? Do not adjust your TV set (or tablet or phone), because it’s true: behold, again, the first collection of episodes of the beloved TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 1. Since we at Shout! Factory believe that no one should have to sell an organ to afford an out-of print DVD of their favorite show, we’ve gathered all four episodes: Catalina Caper, The Creeping Terror, Bloodlust and The Skydivers, along with their respective theatrical trailers; restored the missing little details from the original broadcast versions and added brand new bonus features including The Crown Jewels, a featurette on Crown International Pictures, The Creeping Terror trailer, an extended trailer for The Creep Behind the Camera and
The Creep Behind the Camera Q&A with Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu at Screamfest 2014.

On September 1st, 2015, experience the adventures of Joel, Mike and their robot sidekicks Tom Servo and Crow on board The Satellite of Love, as they riff their way into your hearts again for the very first time. Fans can pre-order their copy now from

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 1 brings us Catalina Caper (aka Never Steal Anything Wet) a cinematic party full of fun, sun, bikinis and boats in this 1967 tale of a Southern California island and the teens who party all over it; The Creeping Terror, a 1964 low budget movie about aliens coming to Earth to eat people, analyze their chemistry and send the results to the home planet; Bloodlust, wherein pleasure boating teens land on the island of Dr. Balleau in this powerfully limp re-imagining of The Most Dangerous Game; and The Skydivers, a this tale of murder, infidelity and coffee at an airfield in a small desert town.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume 1 Bonus Features
NEW The Crown Jewels featurette
NEW The Creeping Terror trailer
NEW Extended trailer for The Creep Behind the Camera
NEW The Creep Behind the Camera Q&A with Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu at Screamfest 2014
Theatrical trailers for Catalina Caper, Bloodlust and The Skydivers

Shout Adds 2 More Titles to Streaming Site

Two more episodes of MST3K are now streaming exclusively on Shout! Factory TV starting today: episode 818- DEVIL DOLL and episode 404- TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.

J. Elvis’s Documentary to Premiere June 11-12

J. Elvis Weinstein’s documentary on the life of rock star/actor Michael Des Barres debuts at DocFest in San Francisco June 11 and 12 at the Roxy Theater.

More info here.