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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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Visit mst3k.com, the official site of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

And don't forget about RiffTrax, the place to find commentaries by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

And be sure to visit The Mads are Back to see Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff live!

And check out the official web site of Joel Hodgson.

This Date in MSTory

BORN ON THIS DATE
1893: Charles “Slim” Whitaker, who played Officer Dugan in the movie in episode 103- THE MAD MONSTER.
1922: Frank Marth, who played the space systems manager in the movie in episode 401- SPACE TRAVELERS.
1924: Robert Horton, who played Jack Rankin in the movie in MST3K’s pilot, THE GREEN SLIME.
1929: Keith Aldrich, who played co-pilot Jerry in the movie in episode 804- THE DEADLY MANTIS.
1938: Enzo G. Castellari, director of the movie in episode 705- ESCAPE 2000 and actor (as Forbes) in the movie in episode 324- MASTER NINJA II.*
1938: Peter Jennings, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 910- THE FINAL SACRIFICE.
1941: David Warner, who played both Lord Vultare and Baydool in the movie in episode 913- QUEST OF THE DELTA KNIGHTS.*
1949: Marilyn Quayle, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST.*
1953: Ken Burns, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 805- THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE.*

DIED ON THIS DATE
1890: Vincent Van Gogh (age 37), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 1006- BOGGY CREEK II.
1985: James Nolan (age 69), who played the police dispatcher in the movie in episode 702- THE BRUTE MAN.
1999: Yelena Fadeyeva (age 85), who played Maria Pavlovna in the movie in episode K11- HUMANOID WOMAN.
2001: Alex Nicol (age 85), director of the movie in episode 912- THE SCREAMING SKULL, in which he also played the gardener Mickey.

EVENTS ON THIS DATE
1918: Silent screen idol Francis X. Bushman, later to appear in the movie in episode 524- 12 TO THE MOON and episode 902- THE PHANTOM PLANET, marries Beverly Bane.
1982: Harold Sakata aka “Odd Job” (age 62), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 304- GAMERA VS. BARUGON.
2004: TV Guide for August 1-7 is on the newsstands and contains the article “The 25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends” in which MST3K is ranked number 13.


This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce This Date in MSTory items in any form without express written permission from the authors.
* = According to the IMBD this person is alive. If you can supply evidence that he or she has died, and when, please let us know.
** = If this appears next to a birthday, the IMDB indicates that the person has died, but the IMDB does not have a full death date (probably just a month and year or just the year he or she died). If you can give us the exact date (with some sort of proof we can check), please let us know.
** = If this appears next to a death date, the IMDB does not have this person’s full birthday. If you can provide it (with some sort of proof we can check), please let us know.

Episode guide: 518- The Atomic Brain (with short: ‘What About Juvenile Delinquency’)

Short: (1955) A teen gang member sours on his life of delinquency after his dad is mugged.
Movie: (1963) A rich, elderly woman wants her doctor to transplant her brain into the body of one of her young captives.

First shown: 12/4/93
Opening: M&tB have their final dress rehearsal for “Love Letters”
Invention exchange: M&tB are The Mads, The Mads are Crow and Tom Servo
Host segment 1: Tom is Weather Servo 9
Host segment 2: Mike demonstrates chin puppetry
Host segment 3: Magic Voice chats with the film’s voice-over guy
End: Crow is Hank Kimball–The Fugitive, Mike reads letters, “Dr.” Frank “consults” with Dr. Fist
Stinger: Spanish for “AAAAAAAH!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (194 votes, average: 4.11 out of 5)
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• Although the movie is icky, and slows to a crawl in places, there’s plenty to like about this episode: solid riffing and fun host segments. I’m going with “good, not great.”
• The original title of this movie was “Monstrosity.”
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 3. In 2011 Shout! Factory re-released it as a single.
• Bill wrote the ultimate sendup of “Love Letters,” called “Hate Mail.”
• Mike, Trace and Kevin (and the rest of the staff for that matter) have surely spent a lot of time around pretentious theater people. They parody them beautifully in the opening.
• This is an inspired invention exchange, as the show almost folds in on itself with self-parody.
• One of the notable mistakes in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide was in the listing of this episode, when they forgot to note that this episode has a short. And what a short it is!
• Incidentally, this short was riffed again by RiffTrax in 2009, and I don’t think Mike and Kevin even realized they’d done it before. Maybe it’s just that forgettable.
• The scenes in the short that take place in the teen hangout are eerily similar to the teen hangout scenes in “Teenage Strangler.”
• The Rhino version only contains one non-spaghetti ball bumper: a pan to the blackboard which gets hit by giant spitball. Maybe there were more in the original episode?
• Segment 1 is the first time Servo’s been in space since the Demon Dog incident, isn’t it? Note the nice sizzle sound effect as Mike touches Servo after he comes inside.
• There was a guy on a local kiddie show when I was growing up in the Philadelphia area that used to do a chin puppet routine, so I was familiar with the concept. Had anybody else encountered chin puppets before this?
• Returning to the theater from segment 2, Mike casually tosses Tom into his seat, much to his dismay. (I assume Kevin was on his back on the floor waiting to catch him.)
• The “old” jokes come fast and furious. My favorite: “Maybe you can take a real long time to write a check somewhere!”
• In segment 3, Magic Voice has her biggest part yet and her first commercial sign countdown in a while.
• Callbacks “So klandinctu!” (Crash of the Moons) Mike (hey how does HE know that?) says ”Trumpy you can do magic!” (Pod People) “Looking for the ‘Manos’ set.”
• At last we learn what the K in MST3K stands for.
• Dr. Fist, last seen in episode 505- MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD, returns to punch Frank yet again.
• One of the biggest controversies between Rhino and the fans (and BBI) arose when this volume came out, without the stinger. Best Brains said they were certain that the master they sent to Rhino had the stinger. Rhino representatives were equally adamant that there was no stinger on the master. Somebody’s lying. We may never know who. In any case, the recent Shout re-release has the stinger.
• Cast and crew round up: Producer Jack Pollexfen also produced “The Indestructible Man.” Associate prod/screenwriter Vy Russell also worked on “The Indestructible Man, as did assoc producer/screenwriter Sue Dwiggens. Score composer Gene Kauer also composed the scores for “Agent for H.A.R.M.” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.” In front of the camera, Frank Gerstle was also in “San Francisco International. Director Joseph V. Mascelli was cinematographer for “The Incredibly Strange Creatures…”
CreditsWatch: After three eps as a contributing writer, Bridget Jones returns to the list of writers for the rest of the season. Host segments directed by Jim Mallon.
• Fave riff from the short: “And the Suez Canal incident!” Honorable mention: “I’m too noodly!” and “You boys aren’t movin’ the stuff very well!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “The Cat Suite from ‘Carousel.’” Honorable mention: “Well, so much for the ‘landing on your feet’ theory.”

This Date in MSTory

BORN ON THIS DATE
1907: Carl Hittleman, producer of the movie in episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES.
1911: Ann Doran, who played Martha Blake in the movie in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS and Mavis Varden in the movie in episode 615- KITTEN WITH A WHIP.
1912: George Cisar, who played Lem Sawyer in the movie in episode 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES and Fred, the man at the bar (aka “the doughy guy”), in the movie in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.
1912: Colin Douglas, who played Hans in the movie in episode 101- THE CRAWLING EYE.
1920: Andrew V. McLaglen, who directed the movie in episode 512- MITCHELL.
1923: Dean Dillman Jr., producer of the movie “Monstrosity,” seen in episode 518- THE ATOMIC BRAIN.
1926: Remo De Angelis, stunt coordinator for the movie in episode 501- WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD.
1944: Tsunehiko Watase, who had a starring role in the movie in episode K21- LEGEND OF THE DINOSAUR.*
1947: Hugh Corcoran, who played Jaffe’s son in the movie WORLD WITHOUT END, riffed in MST3K’s first live show.*
1955: Nina Axelrod, who played Susie Fuller in the movie “Time Walker,” seen in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.*

DIED ON THIS DATE
1965: Ronald Davidson (age 66), screenwriter for the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1981: Ray Mercer (age 85), who did the special effects for the movies in episodes 208- LOST CONTINENT, 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS, 520- RADAR SECRET SERVICE, 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES, 613- THE SINISTER URGE and 621- THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS.
1984: Bess Flowers (age 85), who played a party guest in the movie in episode 808- THE SHE-CREATURE.
1985: Grant Williams (age 54), who played Neil Foster in the movie in episode 802- THE LEECH WOMAN.
1994: Aldo Farnese (age 57), who played Henry Krasker in the movie in episode 603- THE DEAD TALK BACK.
1996: Bryant Haliday (age 68), who played The Great Vorelli in the movie in episode 818- DEVIL DOLL and Prof. Steiner in the movie in episode 901- THE PROJECTED MAN.
2003: True Boardman (age 93), screenwriter for the movie in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS.
2004: Sam Edwards (age 89), who played Red in the movie in episode 415- THE BEATNIKS.
2014: Vanna Bonta (age 56), who played “student in lab” in the movie “Time Walker,” seen in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.

EVENTS ON THIS DATE
1973: Lee Majors, who played Franklyn Hart in the movie in episode K20- THE LAST CHASE, married actress Farrah Fawcett.
2015: Shout! Factory releases The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. XXXIII.


This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce This Date in MSTory items in any form without express written permission from the authors.
* = According to the IMBD this person is alive. If you can supply evidence that he or she has died, and when, please let us know.
** = If this appears next to a birthday, the IMDB indicates that the person has died, but the IMDB does not have a full death date (probably just a month and year or just the year he or she died). If you can give us the exact date (with some sort of proof we can check), please let us know.
** = If this appears next to a death date, the IMDB does not have this person’s full birthday. If you can provide it (with some sort of proof we can check), please let us know.

Titles for the Next Set from Shout!

The titles for the next set from Shout! Factory are…

420- THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS

705- ESCAPE 2000

817- HORROR OF PARTY BEACH

819- INVASION OF THE NEPTUNE MEN

More details when we get them.

Update: Comic-Con Announcements

 

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The big news:
Season 11 will be carried on Netflix.

Production news:
The panel revealed never-before-seen concept art and a sneak peak at the evolved version of the show’s-iconic “door sequence.” We’ll post video when we can.

Casting announcements:
Bill Corbett joins Season 11 to write and will have a guest appearance as his character “Brain Guy.”
Kevin Murphy will make a guest appearance in Season 11 as his character “Professor Bobo.”
Mary Jo Pehl will join Season 11 to write and for a guest appearance as her character “Pearl Forrester.”

John Jurgensen of the Wall Street Journal has a story…

The Netflix media center has a release…

Katie Rife at the A.V. Club has a story…

Crave Online interviewed Joel, Jonah Ray, Baron Vaughn and Hampton Yount:

They also interviewed Felicia Day:

Weekend Discussion Thread: Most Egregious Padding

Alert regular “Sitting Duck” observes:

All too often, the films shown on MST3K rely quite a bit on padding to get up to feature length. Frequently the padding has no perceivable relevance to the plot. So which occasions of non sequitur padding do you find particularly egregious? My top pick is the scene with Ike the Security Guard in The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman. A very close second would be the Fish Argument Theater from Gamera Vs. Zigra.

Gonna have to go with The endless traveling scenes in King Dinosaur. Completely useless to the plot.

What’s your pick?

Keep sending WDT ideas!

Now Available from RiffTrax…

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Stream or download it here.

Episode guide: 517- Beginning of the End

Movie: (1957) A swarm of giant grasshoppers, inadvertently created by a radioactive experiment, heads for Chicago.

First shown: 11/25/93
Opening: During a group sing, M&tB get a wrong number
Invention exchange: The Mads present the re-comfy bike, M&tB show off their new playing cards
Host segment 1: Mike calls the Mads and catches them off guard
Host segment 2: Crow unveils his latest screenplay: “Just Plain Peter: The U of M Years”
Host segment 3: Tom’s standup routine is heavy on grasshopper jokes
End: The bots post-card, Bert I. Gordon special effects, Mads are boxing
Stinger: “Alright, men. Into the woods!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (223 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)
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• This one’s a bit of a change of pace, literally: Bert I. Gordon slows things down and grinds out the filler thoughout a drab, monster-free first half — but that just leaves plenty of room for the riffs. Once the grasshoppers and Peter Graves arrive, things really pick up. The host segments are fun, especially Crow’s newest screenplay.
References.
• Mary Jo is VERY good at playing those trailer trash gals. Maybe a little TOO good. That’s Paul yelling in the background.
• The playing cards bit, which I think even they realized was a little wifty, would be parodied in season six.
• Some grasshoppers were harmed in the making of this movie: According to reports, the grasshopper wranglers started with 200 of the little guys. During the filming, they began to cannibalize one another, and by the time the last shots were done, only a dozen were left.
• When we started doing the Mike episodes, somebody in the comments said it was the beginning of an era when the Mads became more effeminate, and yeah, I guess there was a bit of an upswing of that kind of comedy. Segment one is a good example.
• Rhino really screwed the pooch on the packaging for this one: Joel’s picture is on the package and he is touted as the star. On the menus, you can hear Arch Hall Jr. croon “Vicky.” Bleah.
• Tom begins to sing a few bars of George Michael’s “Faith” before Mike and Crow threaten him.
• Callbacks: What would Mitchell do? “…sing whenever I sing…” (Giant Gila Monster) Trumpy! (Pod People)
• In the theater somebody who is not Mike coughs. I think it’s Kevin.
• Cast and crew roundup: I’m not going to recite the whole Bert I. Gordon litany. Screenwriter Fred Freiberger was the producer for the “Space: 1999” episodes that appeared in “Cosmic Princess. Cinematographer Jack Marta also worked on “Earth Vs. The Spider” and “War of the Colossal Beast.” Editor Aaron Stell also worked on “The Giant Gila Monster” and “Killer Shrews.” Flora Gordon also helped with special effects on “Amazing Colossal Man,” “Earth Vs. The Spider,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “Magic Sword” and “Village of the Giants. Special effects guy Dean Duncan Parkin was an actor in “War of the Colossal Beast. Production manager James Harris also worked on “Amazing Colossal Man.” Art director Walter Keller also worked on “Earth Vs. The Spider” and “War of the Colossal Beast.” Sound guy Dick Tyler Sr. also worked on “Radar Men from the Moon.” Our old pal score composer Albert Glasser did music for too many movies to name.
In front of the camera, I’m not going to recite the Peter Graves litany again. Morris Ankrum was also in “Rocketship XM.” James Seay was also in “Amazing Colossal Man.” Hank Patterson was also in “Amazing Colossal Man” and “Earth vs. the Spider. John Close was also in “The Slime People” and “The Deadly Mantis.” Rayford Barnes was in “Mitchell.” Don C. Harvey was also in “Revenge of the Creature.” Larry J. Blake was also in “Teen-Age Crime Wave.” Eileen Janssen was also in “The Space Children.” Patricia Dean was also in “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” Peggie Castle was also in “Invasion U.S.A.” Pierre Watkin was also in “Radar Secret Service.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. This was Stephanie Hynes last episode as an intern. There’s a special item at the end: “Shot entirely in Minneapolis, home of the University of Minnesota.”
• Fave riff: “Look, we’ll move to the loop to Schaumburg!” Honorable mention: “Yeah, terrible. Martinis?”

Weekend Discussion Thread: Your Favorite RiffTrax Live Show

Alert regular Paul notes:

The recent RiffTrax Live: MST3k Reunion show marked the 20th live show broadcast in theaters. Which shows are your favorite?

Along with the MST3k Reunion show, I hold the December 2009 Holidays Shorts show among the best! It’s also composed solely of shorts, which helped maintain attention spans. Also, they improved on their first show from that year by eliminating mid-show musical numbers! Oh, and who could forget…”I NEED YOU TONIGHT!”

I think I’ll go with “Birdemic.” I remember stumbling out of that one with a bad case of “laugh stomach.”

Your pick?

Also, keep those WDT suggestions coming!

Two Recent Titles from Mary Jo & Bridget

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Campbell’s Soup, The Magic Shelf

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Duties of a Secretary