The latest is episode 516- ALIEN FROM L.A
As always, if you have corrections or additions, post them in the comment section THERE, not here.
1889: Douglass Dumbrille, who played Charlie Cooper in the movie in episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES.
1892: Malcolm McGregor, who played Zogg in the season four serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM.
1914: Walter Brooke, who played network commentator Radin in the movie in episode 401- SPACE TRAVELERS, Dean Gerrard in the movie in episode 607- BLOODLUST and Clifford Foster Evans in the movie in episode 614- SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL.
1921: Bill Thomas, costume designer for the movies in episodes 802- THE LEECH WOMAN and 805- THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE.
1923: Meyer Dolinsky, screenwriter for the TV movie in the movie in episode K13- SST: DEATH FLIGHT.
1936: Judy Bamber, who played Beatrice “Bea” Mullins in the movie “Monstrosity,” seen in episode 518- THE ATOMIC BRAIN.*
1940: Master Hee Il Cho, fight consultant for the movie in episode 1004- FUTURE WAR.*
1970: John Jack Shea (age 70), who played a guard at Cody’s lab in the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1974: Ed Sullivan (age 72), who was impersonated by Crow in a host segment in episode 308- GAMERA VS. GAOS.
1997: Dick Gallegly (age 75), production manager for the movie in episode 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD.
1986: Felice Richmond (age 85), who had an uncredited bit part in the movie in episode 808- THE SHE-CREATURE.
1997: Robert Caramico (age 64), camera operator for the movie in episode 204- CATALINA CAPER.
2002: Dennis Patrick (age 84), who played Commander Yarnell in the movie in episode 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD.
2002: William Hughes (age 74), who played a bombsite control officer in the movie in episode 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN.
2004: Douglas Mellor (age 75), who played Hank Radcliffe in the movie in episode 621- THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS.
2012: Gary Collins (age 74), who played Steve Bancroft in the movie in episode K19- HANGAR 18.
1990: Episode 204- CATALINA CAPER first shown.
This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2015 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.
Alert regular Brandon says…
Many of the films that got the MST3K treatment were made on shoestring budgets (and some got a lot less). So the filmmakers couldn’t construct elaborate sets or expensive CG effects…or build reasonable props. The list of bad props in MST films is a treasure trove of WTF? I always wonder if the filmmakers knew going in that these props looked unconvincing, or if they really thought an audience’s suspension of disbelief was great enough to override those shortcomings.
Worst props in an MST’d film. The chewed gum/foil ball dead talker-thingy from The Dead Talk Back and that dingy paper circle calendar from Blood Waters of Dr. Z immediately stand out in my mind. What the hell was up with those?
I’m going to pick the monster in The Creeping Terror. Did they REALLY think that was scary?
What’s your pick?
Oh, Boy! Bridget and Mary Jo! Stream or download it here.
Movie: (1959) A 30-foot killer lizard is loose in the woods near a small town and its gang of hot-roddin’ teens.
First shown: 6/13/92
Opening: Joel has made Crow and Tom the Thing with Two Heads
Invention exchange: J&tB show off their sitcom radio, the Mads demonstrate their renaissance festival punching bags
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom disrupt Joel’s soda shop sketch
Host segment 2: J&tB discuss the funny drunk
Host segment 3: “Servo on Cinema” looks at Ray Kellogg’s “Leg Up” directorial style, but Crow and Joel horn in
End: J&tB have formed the rock group Hee-La, Joel reads some letters (including one from TV’s Frank!)
Stinger: Old guy gags on sody pop
• It’s hard to go wrong with this episode. It’s got it all: weird movie, great riffing and some great host segments. I love it. It’s also pretty good as a starter episode.
• This episode replaced episode 212- GODZILLA VS. MEGALON when Rhino released “Volume 10.2.”
• This episode became infamous in the 1995-1996 period on Comedy Central, as a number of other episodes dropped out of the rotation due to movie rights issues. The movie in this episode is in public domain, which meant that CC could play it as often as it liked, and it played it a lot, so much so that some online MSTies began to grumble about (yes, topic number 386 of the things online MSTies grumbled about).
• You’ve got to assume there were multiple puppeteers in the trench for that bit with the decapitated bots. Must have gotten a little crowded.
• That’s Mike, of course, as the radio announcer
• We get more trashing of the Renaissance Fest, last bashed in episode 303- POD PEOPLE. “Bite me, Frodo.”
• You can see Dr. F’s mic cord during the invention exchange
• Servo does his great coughing car sound, sort of an impression of Mel Blanc as Jack Benny’s car.
• Mildly naughty riff: “Old rubber? No! No!”
• Tom and Joel spit in the sheriff’s hat! Ew!
• The sound in this movie is uniformly terrible. One of the problems with a PD movie is that nobody takes care of it.
• Part of the plot of this movie involves our hero eavesdropping on a party line, a long-dead technology almost everywhere, and I sometimes wonder if young people even understand what’s going on. Our hero also has one of those Hooterville/Mayberry put-the-thing-to-your-ear-and-talk-into-the-thing-on-the-wall phones. Did people really still have those in the 50s?
• Another “broken sketch” sketch this week: this time it’s the bots who sabotage Joel’s sketch.
• Gypsy must be in a goth period. She’s got black lipstick.
• This is the episode that would give us the “sing whenever I sing whenever I sing” bit they’d do in many future episodes whenever somebody was banging or pounding on something.
• For those who have no idea who Crazy Guggenheim was, check out this piece by comedian Larry Miller, who, by the way, is also mentioned by in this episode. He takes a bit to get to his point, but it’s worth it.
• The little bit Joel and the bots do in unison at the end is a popular reading from AA meetings. Surely this was a contribution from Frank.
• Tom notices the reel change. I do that all the time.
• Joel does a little impression of comedian Kevin Meaney.
• Joel asks: “Was the ‘Richard Speck’ a popular haircut back then?” Yes, Joel. Sadly, it was.
• Movie note: Not that I expect much from this movie, but I feel I must note that in the scene where the old drunkie guy is racing the train, there’s footage of at least three, maybe four different trains that are all supposed to be the same train.
• There’s a nice little TV in-joke during Tom’s “Servo on Cinema” sketch when Tom turns to face a non-existent second camera during his introduction and has to be corrected by Joel.
• Nice film editing by Cambot!
• Joel (sort of) sneaks in the name of beloved cult band “They Might Be Giants”
• Callbacks: J&tB sing the “Wild Rebels” theme song. Also: “Glenn is 50 feet tall.” (War of the Colossal Beast)
• For those who wondered why Pearl called Crow “Art” many seasons later, it’s because of the illustration that accompanied one of the letters Joel reads in this episode. Apparently the young letter writer had just seen episode 203- JUNGLE GODDESS, in which Joel imitates the way Jackie Gleason would introduce his cast and the end of the show. For those who remember it, he would always save longtime pal Art Carney for last, shouting “ART CARNEY!” over the already-applauding crowd. Joel, in a takeoff of that, shouted “ART CROW!” The little letter writer, not understanding the reference, just assumed Crow’s name was Art.
• Watch and listen to Crow during the closing segment. Note how he says not a word, and when spoken to only sort of hums, exactly the way somebody WOULD do if they had a giant rolled-up tongue in their mouth and was waiting for the cue to unfurl it. I love it.
• Cast and crew roundup: Executive producer Gordon McLendon, a Houston media and real estate tycoon, fancied himself a movie mogul, but he only mad this movie and the movie in episode 407-THE KILLER SHREWS, and he did so with most of the same crew, including producer Ken Curtis (yes, Festus of TV’s “Gunsmoke”), director Ray Kellogg (who also wrote the story), script writer Jay Simms, cinematographer Wilfred Cline, editor Aaron Stellm makeup artist Corrine Daniel, produiction manager Ben Chapman (who was also a stuntman on “The Mole People”), Art director Louis Caldwell, set designer Louise Caldwell (who also worked on “The Amazing Transparent Man”), sound man Earl Snyder (who also worked on “The Amazing Transparent Man” and “The Crawling Hand”) and sound effects guy Milton Citron. In front of the camera, Don Sullivan was also in “The Rebel Set.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. The name John Carney appears at the end of the list of writers; he would not appear again. Bridget Jones was added to the writers list for the rest of the season. Dr. F’s last name is still spelled Forrestor.
• Fave riff: “Not the coda! No!” Honorable mention: “Things make sense when yer all liquored up!”
He’s never had anything to do with MST3K, but he was part of the mythos that led to it. He’s Leon Varjian, Jim Mallon’s partner in crime when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He and Jim masterminded the famous “Statue of Liberty in the lake” prank, as well as the equally famous “pink flamingoes in the quad” prank.
When he died on Tuesday, he was a beloved math teacher at Midland Park High School in New Jersey.
His obit is here.
Here’s a photo of Leon and Jim, celebrating their achievement.
Thanks to Tom Noel for the heads up, and the photo.
Alert reader Sitting Duck asks:
During the course of a film, the riffers will sometimes refer to one or more characters by (usually derisive) nicknames. Which of these are your favorites? Mine come from Time Chasers, where crooked CEO J.K. Robertson is referred to as “Bob Evil.”
My pick: “The Load” in “Mole People.”
There are two new episodes of MST3K streaming on Shout! Factory TV
: “Night of the Blood Beast” and “The Corpse Vanishes.”
An open thread for your thoughts about tonight’s show.
As always, hold any spoilers until after 11 eastern, when the west coast show starts.
Movie: (1969) In a re-edited version of the movie “Marooned,” various obstacles hamper attempts to rescue three NASA astronauts trapped aboard a crippled space capsule.
First shown: 6/6/92
Opening: The Great Crowdini attempts an astounding escape.
Invention exchange: J&tB demonstrate The Dollaroid, while the Mads show off their “facial” tissue
Host segment 1: J&tB present a list of space race advancements
Host segment 2: Reenacting the movie so Crow can do his killer Peck
Host segment 3: J&tB wonder: If one of them had to sacrifice themselves…
End: Magic fun, letters
Stinger: Hackman, demonstrating that he’s good in anything
• And so we begin the second of four 24-episode seasons BBI pumped out. You can really feel how settled in and relaxed they are. As they said in the ACEG, they were luxuriating in that rarity of rarities in the TV world, job security. We start off with a very good but not spectacular episode. The riffing is comfortable and steady, and we haven’t had a star-studded, very watchable movie like this since the KTMA days. None of the segments are clunkers, either, so it’s a great way to start the season.
• This episode was included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXII.”
• The stretch between the end of season 3 and the beginning of season 4 was 133 days, the eighth-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes.
• “Marooned,” the movie Film Ventures International chopped up to create “Space Travelers,” is the only MST3K movie that actually won an Oscar. It won for Special Visual Effects, and was also nominated for cinematography and sound.
• In episode 201- ROCKETSHIP X-M where Joel asks “Why didn’t you just show us ‘Marooned’?” and Dr. F replies “We couldn’t get it!” Guess they could get it after all.
• The opening bit is a little complicated. You’re supposed to notice that Crow accidentally drops the all-important key and nobody thinks to retreive it for him before he is blown to kingdom come. But you could easily miss it.
• Joel’s invention really doesn’t make sense, but they got a good bit out of it anyway.
• In the ACEG, they tell a story about meeting Dennis Miller, whose only comment to them was that he wished they hadn’t riffed “Marooned.” He likes it. It was an early instance of the response they would get a lot with “This Island Earth.”
• The riffing in this one starts a little slowly, largely because the movie itself starts a little slowly. It seems insane now, but I was alive then and I can tell you: The workings of NASA fascinated most Americans, and just watching them work was captivating enough for a lot of people. I’m sure the filmmakers thought nothing of beginning their movie with 10 minutes or so of random NASA footage. But there’s not a lot you can say about it.
• For a moment, J&tB do ethereal “eeeee” singing bit — a reference to the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” — that they used to such good effect in episode 205- ROCKET ATTACK USA.
• Then-current reference: Somebody mentions the president, and Servo says he’ll “vomit on some Japanese people.” Here’s a report on the incident he’s referring to. Also: Baby Jessica. Jessica, by the way, is married with kids now.
• Crow’s Gregory Peck is truly killer. Joel also attempts a Peck impression and pales by comparison.
• Servo, on the other hand, does a very good Burt Reynolds laugh.
• This ep has not one, not two, but three Firesign Theatre references!
• Host segment 2 is another “broken sketch sketch” — essentially Joel/Mike and the bots try to put on a sketch and the whole thing goes to hell — that was a MST3K staple throughout the years. Not all of them were that funny but this one is pretty good.
• Callback: Crow recalls that he “called dibs” on the ability to say who lives and who dies, back in season 3. Also, “That was number 9!” (Sidehackers)
• The wonderful “aaaaaaaahhh!” closing bit by the Mads became a great way to say goodbye to MSTie pals for years.
• Cast and crew roundup: It probably shouldn’t be surprising that most of the people listed for this movie also worked on KTMA movies, many of which were much more mainstream. 2nd unit director Ralph E. Black was a production manager for “Invasion U.S.A.” Script writer Mayo Simon also worked on “Phase IV.” In front of the camera, David Janssen was also in “Superdome.” James Franciscus was also in “City on Fire.” Tom Stewart was also in “SST: Death Flight.” And Walter Brooke was also in “Bloodlust” and “San Francisco International.”
• CreditsWatch: Additional Contributing Writer: Bridget Jones. Host Segments Directed by: Jim Mallon, but, unlike most of last season, they will take turns as the season goes on. Trace and Frank are no longer “villians” but Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Frank is, beginning with this episode, “TV’s Frank.” The new season means a new set of interns, most notably this episode marks the arrival of Patrick Brantseg. Also there was Nathan Devery, Brendan Glynn, Suzette Jamison and Steven Sande. Bryan Beaulieu and Bill W. are gone from the special thanks credit. Instead it’s Skyline Displays Inc., Teachers of America, Mark Gilbertson, all MSTies coast-to-coast, the authors of the 1st Amendment. This episode also marks the arrival of Bradley J. Keely, as assistant editor. For the entire season, they had the services of Rob “the engineer” Burkhardt in engineering. Clayton James comes in for a two-show stint in hair and makeup.
• Fave riff: “Oh they’re dead. How’s the rabbit?” Honorable mention: “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!”