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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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This Date in MSTory

BORN TODAY
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 TODAY
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.

EVENT
1973: Lee Majors, who played Franklyn Hart in the movie in episode K20- THE LAST CHASE, married actress Farrah Fawcett.


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.

Weekend Discussion Thread: Eps Your Significant Other Enjoys

Alert reader Rick suggests:

Significant others. Don’t we love them? And, do they love our obsession with MST3K? My girlfriend of seven years was a MSTie Turkey Day fan in college, but beyond that had been away from the show until we met. She now is the proud owner of her own top 10 episode list (and beyond) and embraces my passion. Her number 1 episode: Angels Revenge.
So, what experiments does your significant other like? Or, are they more obsessed than you, or, not interested?

My wife is hearing impaired, and it’s hard to read a puppet’s lips or read the lips of a guy who has his back to you. So she’s not a crazed fan, but she likes the host segments (especially the Deep 13 segments) and definitely enjoys the ones that are being closed captioned by Shout. She particularly likes The Movie.

What’s your special person think?

New Shorts from RiffTrax…

RelaxedAndConsuming_Poster

Double the pleasure, double the fun. It’s two shorts from Bridget and Mary Jo in one. Stream or download them here.

Episode guide: 314- Mighty Jack

Movie: (1968 TV series; 1987 compilation movie) A top secret organization, called Mighty Jack, makes use of a giant submarine, called Mighty Jack, to battle terrorist organization Q.

First shown: 9/21/91
Opening: Something horrible has happened on the SOL … face!
Invention exchange: The Mads show off the formal flipper; J&tB demonstrate ear-shaped earmuffs
Host segment 1: The bots show Joel their Mighty Jack pet food commercial
Host segment 2: The bots put Joel in the blinding light compartment
Host segment 3: Joel goes off the deep end while suggesting underwater movie ideas
End: J&tB sing “Slow the Plot Down!” and Frank’s quoting Melville, arr.
Stinger: He died as he lived … lovin’ his work.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.12 out of 5)
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• I’m going to put this in the “good-not great” column. The Brains are on such a roll at this point in the season that even a bolus like this movie can’t stop their momentum. There are a few slow/quiet patches in the riffing and segment 3 is a bit strange, but there’s a lot more to like in this episode than dislike.
• This episode appears on Shout Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXII.”
• For one of of only two times until he would leave the show, Joel is NOT wearing the standard maroon jumpsuit he’s been wearing since episode 212. Our jumpsuit list in Ward E calls it “pastel green,” dsman71 calls it “teal.” You make the call.
• The opening is a lot of fun. “I’m blind! That thing cut me!” cracks me up every time.
• Jerry the Mole person gets another mention.
• Then-hot phrase: “Hello, Federal!”
• At the beginning of the invention exchange, you may be wondering why there is Velcro on the bots’ heads. You soon find out.
• Tom’s little speech about winter sounds like it’s from something. Anybody recognize it?”
• Yikes, those awful pictures at the beginning of the movie. Bleah.
• Yes, Joel, the joke was a little racist, or at least languageist.
• Callbacks: Puma? (Ring of Terror) Also: “That’s pretty good!” (Sidehackers) “Glenn Corbett! (Stranded in Space) “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet) “You’re stuck here!” and “He tried to kill me…” (Fugitive Alien) and “It’s Gamera!”
• Segment 1 is just so conversational and laid-back, it’s a great example of their unique style of humor.
• Obscure riff (for me, at least): Riffing on the horn stuff in score, Servo rattles off the names of several horn players I recognized. But Teo Macero I had not heard of.
• Segment two is a real gem, one for the highlight reel. “You have GOT to be KIDDING me, Crow!”
• You can tell this episode was written only a few months after the end of the first Gulf War. It features a lot of buzzwords and phrases from that era, including “collateral damage” and “baby formula factory.”
• Vaguely dirty riff: “I was just daydreaming.” Also: Movie: “Full thrust!” Crow: “Really!?”
• Regional riff: There’s a reference to Tommy Bartlett, the Wisconsin impresario responsible for several attractions in the Wisconsin Dells. You pretty much have to have vacationed in the Midwest to get that one.
• Like “Time of the Apes” and “Fugitive Alien” before it, this is the first and last episodes of a TV series season, with a little connecting filler thrown in. Initially I, like Crow, could barely even remember anything that I had seen. The movie seemed to self-erase in my memory as I watched it. It took many viewings to get any sense of what the damn thing was about, or for any of it to stick in my memory.
• Joel follows right up on the “Earth vs Soup” bit from last week.
• Joel mentions Shake-a-Pudd’n. I loved Shake-a-Pudd’n. Or maybe I just loved the commercials. I forget.
• The “Slow the Plot Down” song is a classic. Note the way the camera rocks slightly as they sing. Makes me a little nauseous.
• There really isn’t a cast and crew roundup this time. There were a few people who were in other episodes but they were all mentioned already in previous episode guide installments.
• CreditsWatch: Mary Flaa completes her two-episode stint as hair and makeup person, and was never seen or heard from again. Trace and Frank are still guest “villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff: “Meanwhile, back on the Greasy Bastard…” Honorable mention: “Oh, my aching imperialist dogs!”

RIP Van Alexander

alexander
LOS ANGELES–Van Alexander, the three-time Emmy-nominated composer and band leader who co-wrote “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” with Ella Fitzgerald and went on to score dozens of films and TV shows in the 1950s and ’60s, died of heart failure Sunday, July 19, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center here. He was 100.
MSTies will remember his work as the musical score composer for the movie in episode 601- GIRLS TOWN.

Variety has the obit.

Thanks to my angels of death, Duane and Paul, for the heads up.

Now Available from RiffTrax…

JulieAndJack_Poster

Stream or download it here.

Weekend Discussion Thread: MSTed Movies You Saw Before MST3K

We did something very like this a number of years ago, but let’s do it again anyway. Alert regular Susan suggests…

Another suggestion: MST’ed movies you saw **before** they were riffing fodder, and what you thought of them.
My contribution would be memories of a very wimpy child. I saw “The Mole People” and “Teenagers from Outer Space” on the old 1960s Saturday afternoon b&w TV horror movie wastelands. TfOS scared the *** out of me with that skeletonizing ray gun! When I saw the movie again decades later on MST3K, I’d completely forgotten about it and was shocked to see scenes that I remember as being frightening looking so cheesy now. But, hey, I was just a little girl.

I’ve loved cheesy giant bug movies since I was a kid, and as a little boy “Beginning of the End” RIVETED me. I also remember “Kitten with a Whip” seeming VERY sexy to me! Smile

Do you have any memories?

Congrats…

…to Timothy Van Patten for today’s Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series” category for the “Eldorado” episode of “Boardwalk Empire.” Van Patten, of course, played Max Keller in episodes 322- MASTER NINJA I and 324- MASTER NINJA II before going on to a stellar directing career.

Restored ‘Manos’ Due in Fall

According the Synapse Films Facebook page:

SYNAPSE FILMS ART REVEAL for our upcoming edition of MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE! Cover art created by the awesome Joel Robinson, a man we’ve known for years and we’ve finally had the opportunity to work with. More details to come, but we’re fast-tracking this one as an October “Halloween” release. Once everything is coordinated for the sellsheet, etc. we may make the formal announcement next week, with extras, pre-order cut off, and street date details! To all the “Manos” restoration Kickstarter supporters out there… we are working RIGHT NOW to get both the DVD and BLU versions finished well before the “public” street date, so that all those that donated to Ben Solovey’s Kickstarter campaign for his restoration will receive their copies well ahead of everyone else. Stay tuned! For more information on Ben Solovey’s restoration efforts, please visit his site at: www.manosinhd.com

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Episode guide: 313- Earth Vs. the Spider (with short: ‘Speech–Using Your Voice’)

Short: (1950) Prof. E.C. Buehler explains how to be a good public speaker.
Movie: (1958) A teen discovers her father has become a meal for a giant spider, which then attacks the small town where she lives.

First shown: 9/14/91
Opening: Crow hosts Tom in “Inside The Robot Mind.”
Invention exchange: The Mads have invented the cheese phone, while Joel shows off his CD blow drier
Host segment 1: J&tB read through Crow’s screenplay, “Earth vs. Soup”
Host segment 2: A rehearsal of J&tB’s rock band Spidorr brings a visit, on the Hexfield, from the custodian of 7th galaxy
Host segment 3: J&tB discuss Creeple People and other dangerous but fun toys
End: Crow and Tom present their reports on Bert I. Gordon, Tom reads a letter, Frank is sick
Stinger: From the short, the mush-mouthed speaker is not pleasing.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (109 votes, average: 4.55 out of 5)
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• As we begin the second half of this season, there is a lot to love about this one. Hokey movie, classic short, familiar faces, great riffing, great host segments. This is one of those “firing-on-all-cylinders” episodes.
References.
• As noted elsewhere, it seems like they had season one and Josh Weinstein on the brain during this episode. In the opening bit, the Mads reprise the season-one catchphrase “Thank you!!” then look embarrassed. Later, as the deputy (who looks a little like Dr. E) is devoured by the spider, Joel yells: “Dr. Erhardt! No! So that’s what happened to him!” (a reference to the fact that Dr. E’s fate was never really spelled out when he was written out of the premise). And at the end, in another homage to season one, Joel offers ram chips to the bots as rewards, something he has not done in ages.
• Jerry and Sylvia get a mention in the opening.
• The short became an instant classic, with instant catchphrases like “Plenty of lip and tongue action.” I think it really showed them the riffing potential of this kind of short. This could have been one of those episodes where the short overpowered the movie, but they managed to rise to the occasion with the movie as well.
• Incidentally, the speaker standing by the American flag is none other than Herk Harvey, director of this and four other MSTed Centron shorts (and director of “Carnival of Souls.”)
• Callbacks: “…and a good friend” (Rocketship XM), “Joe Doakes…” (X Marks the Spot), Crow sings “Hike your pants up…” (Daddy-O), “the spider is either missing or he’s dead!’ (Phantom Creeps)
• After the spider attack in the opening, Crow says, approximately “Heyhepullhefilalayvava.” They keep going. By the way, once and for all, THAT is Merritt Stone driving the truck and being killed by the spider in the beginning of the movie.
• I love how, in segment 1, Crow’s “lips” move while the others read their parts. Classic Trace.
• A little Firesign Theatre reference, I think, when Joel says “Oh Porgie no!” while reading through “Earth vs. Soup.”
• I just love Joel’s skeleton voice. “I’m famished!”
• Gross riff: “Does your dad like bran?” Ew.
• Tom Servo twice pronounces Gary Busey’s last name “bussy” instead of “byoosie.” Had Kevin not heard of him? Thry keep going.
• Joel brings up, and then defends the reputation of, the Ashwaubenon High Jaguars, from his real-life Wisconsin high school.
• The ELP bashing is interesting. That feels to me like it came from Mike.
• Geek alert: In the Rocket Number 9 shot, the spaceship is a badly disguised TOS Klingon battle cruiser model. I’m so embarrassed that I know that.
• This would not be the last time Mike played a janitor…
• Mike says “What the Hector Alonzo is goin’ on?” I think he meant Hector Elizondo. They keep going.
• As Paul points out in the ACEG, the second host segment is in the wrong spot. But they seemed to know it at the time–as they’re coming back to the theater Joel says: “I don’t know what that janitor has to do with anything.” Later, when the janitor finally appears, Joel says: “Ohh! THAT’s how it fits in.”
• An odd moment as they re-enter the theater, Joel says “We’re comin’ out of the game thing.” In some of the outtakes that have come to light in recent years, we sometimes see them reminding each other what host segment just appeared in the show. Filming schedules were such that host segments were filmed on one day and theater segments another day, so it was sometimes easy to forget where all the pieces fit in the puzzle. I think that’s what Joel was doing here, but they didn’t bother to start over.
• Character Mike mentions wanting to see Bert I. Gordon’s “Attack of the Puppet People.” You can see the lobby cards for it in the background, and a poster appears outside the theater. Lobby cards and posters for the movie in episode 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN also appear, not-so-subtly. Originally titled, “The Spider,” this movie was retitled to cash in on the name of another successful movie with a similar title, 1956’s “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.”
• I can’t find it on the Web anymore, but we used to have a link in the Umbilicus to an odd web site by a guy who was REALLY into the Thingmaker and Creeple People. The page had a transcript of segment three, because he found it so moving.
• Segment 3 is weird–for most of it, they seem to be championing these toys and blaming the “careless” kids who got them taken off the market, but then Joel ends it with a saccharine little homily about the toymakers of tomorrow. I don’t get it. Not quite sure what’s supposed to be funny about that. Were they just desperate for an ending?
• Note the “Movie Sign!” bumper sticker on the desk in the ending segment.
• There’s an interesting “call-forward” to “Beginning of the End” in Crow’s report. Had they seen it? It was two seasons away.
• Cast and crew round up: Scriptwriter Laszlo Gorog also wrote “The Mole People,” while scriptwriter George Worthing Yates also wrote “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Tormented.” Cinematographer Jack Marta also worked on “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Beginning of the End.” Costumer Marge Corso also worked on “Teenage Caveman,” “Tormented, “The She Creature” and “Bloodlust!” Production designer Walter Keller was an assistant director for “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Beginning of the End.” Assistant director John W. Rogers also worked on “War of the Colossal Beast.” Sound man Al Overton also worked on “The Screaming Skull,” “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and “The Phantom Planet.
In front of the camera, Merritt Stone was in “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The Magic Sword” and “Tormented.” Gene Roth was in “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” “Tormented” and “The Rebel Set.” Jack Kosslyn was also in “The Amazing Colossal Man,” “War of the Colossal Beast” and “The Magic Sword.” June Kenney can also be seen in “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent” and “Bloodlust!”
• CreditsWatch: Paul Chaplin becomes a full-time writer. Tim Paulson is back as online editor. Cindy Hansen begins her stint as an intern. Someone named Mary Flaa does the first of two shows as hair and makeup person. Trace and Frank are still “villians” and Dr. F’s name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from short: “Here’s George Patton, a patriot and into high-grade weed.” Honorable mention: “We’ve had him put down.”
• Fave riff: “Everybody’s afraid of these crane shots!” Honorable mention: “We’ve got bugs!”