Author Robert J. Sawyer has announced on his blog
that Canadian author and filmmaker Michael Lennick died Nov. 7 of a brain tumor. For 20 years Michael divided his time between writing and directing kids’ shows and documentaries for the CBC, TV Ontario and PBS, and creating visual effects for numerous film and television projects, including “Videodrome” and the TV version of “War of the Worlds.” MSTies will recall his special video and electronic effects work on the movie in episode K20- THE LAST CHASE. He was 61.
We’ve already had some inquiries about whether we’re going to offer another “Shorts” calendar. The answer is: Why, yes, we are.
Alert reader Andrew has an intriguing question:
Over the last few years, I’ve found that going back through episodes that I don’t remember that well is practically as exciting as seeing them for the first time. My goal is to only re-see official re-issued copies, because it’s wonderful to see them crisper than before, and also to pace myself a little better than I did last time thru.
So, my question is: what shows had you not seen in ages and nearly forgotten about that you had fun rediscovering?
Me, the last time I saw 305- STRANDED IN SPACE it was like seeing the episode for the first time. I’d almost completely forgotten the movie. Has that ever happened to you?
Short: (1951) Cody and Ted manage to steal the Moon Men’s gun, but are soon cornered.
Movie: (1942) A discredited scientist succeeds in turning his servant into a werewolf, and begins to plot revenge.
First shown: 12/2/89 (unconfirmed)
Invention exchange: Hell-in-a-handbag, acetylene-powered thunder lizard
Host segment 1: Tom hits on a blender
Host segment 2: Crow and Tom have questions about the werewolf in the movie
Host segment 3: Joel switches Crow and Tom’s heads (it’s Servo-Crow-ation!)
End: Good thing/bad thing. The Mads are not happy
• This one, eh. I used to think this felt like a KTMA, but that was before I saw the KTMAs. It’s better than that, at least. The riffing rate is, of course, much higher than most of the KTMAs and the pre-written jokes are more consistently funny. But there are plenty of klunkers and state park jokes. The segments DO feel very KTMA-like — perhaps because one of them IS a re-do of a KTMA sketch — but at least these all have a beginning, middle and end. And I’m not sure whether it’s the cheapness of the movie or the horribleness of the print, or a little of both, but the movie is just barely watchable.
• This appears in Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XIV
• “Mad Monster” is tied with “The Corpse Vanishes” as the oldest MSTed movie. Actually, the oldest film is the serial “Undersea Kingdom,” released in 1936.
• Again, no opening segment.
• Again, no buttons: table slapping.
• Again, no Bots during invention exchange.
• Both inventions were previously shown on KTMA and “hell in a handbag” is from Joel’s standup act.
• Is this the first we get the classic unison line “THANK YOU!” from the Mads? (Last time around, commenters noted that, no, that line was used last week.)
• Great line from the opening bit: “No, that’s when I became a SCIENTIST.”
• As Joel enters the theater, he is grumbling about having to carry Servo, and mutters “I gotta get wheels for you…”
• During the short, when the opening text appears, Joel and Crow duck out of the way so people can read it. Tom doesn’t care.
• The blue screen is still somewhat “thin” making Tom look a bit strange.
• The seats are again dark gray.
• I am going to guess that it was Josh who was the big NASA fan on the writing staff. His mention of Alan Shepard and his golf cart is incredibly space-program-nerdy.
• Host segment 1 is a first-season classic, as Tom Servo puts his best moves on an unsuspecting blender. It’s also an almost word-for-word do-over of a segment from episode K11- Humanoid Woman. Great line: “Nobody drinks from my gal!”
• This movie has a plot we will see again and again on MST3K: The mad scientist determined to prove his detractors wrong–just before he kills them, preferably by way of the very invention at which his detractors scoffed. But there’s an interesting twist to this plot: This guy may be mad, but he’s a patriot! He plans to give the war department his invention to help them build an army of werewolf soldiers to win WWII!
• It’s amazing that this movie came out in 1942. It feels like 1932, especially the sound, which sounds like an early talkie.
• The plot is somewhat similar to the “Phantom Creeps” serial of season 2 and I swear some of the same sets were used. If not they’re pretty similar.
• Movie comment: Does the title refer to the doctor? It can’t refer to poor Petro. And is the monster angry mad or insane mad? Wolf Petro is pretty surly but I don’t think you can call him mad.
• Joel’s hair is never in good order on the show but in segment 2 it’s particularly weird.
• Joel calls Servo “Crow” at one point…they both react with irritation.
• There’s a reference to Doonesbury at one point. Remember when Doonsebury was relevant? (This offhand comment caused some ruffled feathers in the comments section last time, and for that I apologize. I didn’t mean to diss Trudeau, who I think is very talented. I just think there was a period in the previous century, when the comics page was part of a daily ritual for most people — me included — where Doonesbury part of the daily conversation. With the decline of newspapers, that’s not really the case any more. That’s all I meant by it. Again, my apologies to Trudeau fans for the flip remark.)
• Joel turns the bots off at the end of segment three. Something he did not do much.
• There’s a comment about keeping one’s computer plugged in. This is at least a couple of years before people began to buy home computers in any real numbers. These guys were ahead of their time.
• In segment three, they again reference the idea that Tom Servo looks like a fire hydrant. I don’t really see it.
• Naughty line: “You’re very well equipped.” “Thank you, I didn’t think you could tell through the trousers.”
• In a very KTMAesque move, J&TB leave the movie before it is over and we get about 20 seconds of empty theater.
• Gypsy is still barely understood over her squeaking jaw joint, and her light is still off.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Sigmund Neufeld also produced “Lost Continent.” He is not to be confused with director Sam Newfield, who also directed “Lost Continent,” “I Accuse My Parents” and “Radar Secret Service.” (Perhaps his most infamous film was made in 1938: “The Terror of the Tiny Town,” a Western featuring an all-little-people cast.) Cinematographer Jack Greenhalgh also worked on “Lost Continent” and “Robot Monster.” Makeup guy Harry Ross also worked on “Lost Continent” and “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent.” Go-to makeup guy Harry Thomas also worked on “Project Moon Base,” “The Unearthly,” “Bride of the Monster,” “Invasion USA,” “Racket Girls,” “High School Big Shot” and “Night of the Blood Beast. Production manger Bert Sternbach also worked on “Lost Continent. Production Designer Fred Preble also worked on “Radar Secret Service.” Nobody in front of the camera was ever seen in another MSTed movie.
• What’s your pick for stinger? Mine is: Petro, sitting in the chair, “gettin’ a whiff of his own overalls.” Or Zucco laughing as he holds up a vial of his serum.
• Fave short riff: How come they got Groucho Marx mustaches on their helmets?
• Fave movie riff: “Now, Bingo is his name-o.” Honorable mention: “Now I’m going to go turn my daughter into a woodchuck.”
Although Joel has been hinting (and a couple of times point-blank saying) that it would happen for quite a while now, our pals at nerdist.com have the official announcement
that there WILL be another online Turkey Day marathon this year.
I loved that “Where the Hell Are You?” song at the RiffTrax Live. Turns out it was commissioned, as part of the Kickstarter, by one of the regular commenters here, “Snowdog.”
He got permission to post it on YouTube, which he has done.
Enjoy, and THANKS Snowdog!
Studio version of the live show. Apparently, the Kickstarter campaign didn’t include distribution rights, since this is the commentary track only. See a sample or download it here.
Alert regular Sitting Duck points out:
Let’s talk about the absence of stingers in the early episodes. Now I know we’ve technically already done this topic, but I think it’s worth revisiting for two reasons. The last time was way back in 2008. Since then, Shout has gotten the rest of the first season out on DVD, making it accessible to those who didn’t get into tape trading.
SD wanted to do a discussion each week as we do the rest of the season, but that would get dull. Starting with next week’s episode, I am going incorporate the question into each episode guide from this point forward. But we’ve already done two eps in season one, so let’s focus on them.
The original thread is here, by the way.
101- On the train, Miss Pilgrim lands in Forest Tucker’s lap.
102- A snippet of the silly Aztec ceremony and the singing lady.
What are your picks?
Also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep sending thread ideas!
An open thread for your thoughts on tonight’s show.
As always, we ask folks in the western half of the country to avert their eyes until after their time-delayed show, and for folks in the eastern half to go easy on the spoilers, or at least wait till after 11 p.m. eastern, when the westcoasters will be safely in the theater. And if you’re planning to see the repeat showing next week, well, just skip this thread altogether until then, I guess.