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This Date in MSTory

1876: John Elliott, who played Prof. Hatfield in the movie in episode 103- THE MAD MONSTER.
1900: Reed Howes, who played the Police Inspector in the movie in episode 613- THE SINISTER URGE.
1912: Richard Rubin, who did the props for the movies in episodes 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES and 607- BLOODLUST.
1919: Ward Costello, who played Captain MacIntosh in the movie in episode 608- CODE NAME: DIAMOND HEAD and Dr. Robert Hedges in the movie in episode 807- TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000.
1920: Ignacy Machowski, who played Prof. Orloff in the movie in episode 211- FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS.
1921: Aram Katcher, who played the factory window washer spy in the movie in episode 602- INVASION U.S.A.
1930: Tommy Cook, who played Mike Denton in the movie in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.*
1933: Lisa Montell, who played Deena in the movie WORLD WITHOUT END, riffed in MST3K’s first live show.*

1966: John P. Fulton (age 63), who did the special effects for the movie in episode 906- THE SPACE CHILDREN.
1976: Ray Kellogg (age 70), director of the movies in the movie in episode 402- THE GIANT GILA MONSTER and 407- THE KILLER SHREWS.

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: 4th of July Episodes

Alert reader “Gobi” suggests:

With July 4th upon us, what patriotism-themed eps will MSTies be watching
this weekend? “Starfighters”, anyone?

Since I think that topic is a bit narrow, I am going to widen it a bit: What episodes are good “4th of July weekend” watching, not just on the patriotism angle, but in any way. For example, “Time Chasers” has that whole Revolutionary War sequence…


Tape Circulation

We don’t normally do stuff like this, but, ah, what the hell, it’s a holiday weekend. A longtime MSTie contacted us because he’s got a load of VHS tapes he can’t bring himself to throw away and he wondered if anybody out there wants them. Here’s Karl!

“Hey, I’ve got a big box of history to give away! A whole comics longbox of video tapes of MST3K episodes originally recorded off Comedy Central, 54 tapes in all including two KTMA episodes (Cosmic Princess and The “Legend of Dinosaurs”)! Includes original Comedy Central commercials and a few random episodes of other contemporaneous TV shows, plus some doodles on the labels! All yours for the price of (media mail) postage! I’ve only got one box so first taker gets it!”

mst tapes

Contact him at Also, “Cincinnati area MSTies can save the postage if they’re willing to come pick it up in person!”

Episode guide: 311- It Conquered The World (with short: The Sport Parade–Snow Thrills)

Short: (1945) A newsreel spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of winter sports, (including “she-ing” and “she-horing.”)
Movie: (1956) With the aid of a deluded Earth scientist, a Venusian pickle creature uses bat thingies to take control of humanity.

First shown: 8/24/91
Opening: Joel tries his hand at ventriloquism, with Crow as his dummy
Invention exchange: The Mads show off their hanged man costumes; Joel has invented the “Sony Sea-man”
Host segment 1: Tom narrates “The Winter Cavalcade of Fun”
Host segment 2: J&tB share sarcastic banter over dinner
Host segment 3: With time to kill, J&tB sing a song about celebrity siblings with the same last names
End: J&tB rewatch Peter Graves’ speech, Crow, Tom and Gypsy each read a letter, the Mads rewatch Peter Graves’ speech
Stinger: “He learned too late that a man is a feeling creature…”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (112 votes, average: 4.59 out of 5)

• I’ll start with the good news. The short is great fun, with great riffing. All the host segments, even the oddball song in segment three, are entertaining. And the movie is, well, what can you say? It’s classic Corman. Now the bad news: the riffing just kind of limps along, with only occasional bright spots. State park jokes abound. As with “Amazing Colossal Man,” I think they kind of got caught up in the movie a little. So there’s fun to be had in this episode, just not as much as I would have liked.
• This episode is not yet on commercial DVD.
• For you younger folks, “Star Search” was sort of the ’90s version of “America’s Got Talent.” Amusingly, Geechy Guy (a repeat contestant on “Star Search”), STILL seeking fame, also appeared on AGT.
• Joel’s mannerisms as the ventriloquist are classic. The random movements are done to distract you from looking at the ventriloquist’s lips.
• In Googling around, I actually found a reliable site that gave me a definitive year–1945–for “Snow Thrills,” one of the few shorts we hadn’t been able to put a date on.
• Callback: “That’s not half bad!” “She’s givin’ it back to you!” (a paraphrase from Sidehackers) “Chili peppers burn his gut.” (Sidehackers.)
• Triple callback: “Thong? Ator? Puma?” (Cave Dwellers and Ring of Terror) I half-expected to hear “Chief?” next.
• Naughty line: Announcer: “It’s the biggest one-man thrill in Jack Frost’s show.” Joel: “I know a better one…”
• As previously noted, this movie is our first taste of oeuvre of one Roger Corman. Dr. F. introduces it as one of his best and that may be true. But he also says “it’s really really really bad,” and I don’t think that’s true. It’s not a “good” movie, of course, but it’s not really bad one either. Its chief defect is that it was clearly made on a very low budget. But, despite that, Corman coaxes some really pretty good performances out of people who would go on to be known as pretty good actors. In addition, the story, while silly in some places, is almost gripping in others. We’ll see many worse movies, including some from Corman, is I guess what I’m saying.
• Then-current reference: “I’d rather watch ‘thirtysomething’.” (And the second “thirtysomething” reference in two or three episodes.)
• Joel again warns Tom about Anthony Newly impressions.
• They again do a “Helloooo baaaaaaby…” joke during a plane crash. Two episodes ago somebody called it “mean.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I’ll grant you it’s a little dark.
• My copy is from Turkey Day ’94, and includes a commercial for the video game “Burn Cycle,” for Magnavox’s cd-i game platform. Remember THAT vaporware?
• During the song in segment 3, Tom again does his Tom Waits impression.
• Also, about the song: The joke is that they claim to naming celebrity siblings with the same last name, but they are actually naming people with the same last name who AREN’T actually siblings (i.e. Mary Tyler and Roger Moore). I hate to break it to whoever wrote the lyrics (the credits do not specifically name the person), but Julia and Eric Roberts ARE siblings.
• Somewhat obscure riff: “Not the craw, the craw!” (A “Get Smart” running gag.)
• The closing repetition of the speech can be explained by Joel’s earlier admission that the show was a bit short that week.
• Bot stuff: Is this the first time they’ve used the word “hoverskirt”? Also: In the final segment Joel, also takes a moment to explain Gypsy and her role again.
• Backstage stuff: The Venusian costume was lobster red. It was nicknamed “Big Beulah” by its creator, Paul Blaisdell, and “Denny Dimwit” by the screenwriters. Other names given by the cast and crew were the “Tee-Pee Terror,” “the Cucumber Critter” and “The Carrot Monster.” When she was a guest at an MST3K convention, Beverly Garland recalled that she kept telling herself that it wasn’t finished, that they were still working on it, that it would get better. But of course, it never did. Chocolate syrup served as the Venusian’s blood. Always ready to reuse props, Corman used the bat-thingies again the following year in “The Undead.”
• Once again, the exterior shots were done at Bronson Canyon, which was also used for exterior shots in the filming of seven other MSTed movies.
• Crow and Joel get out of the way so Tom can read the number off the side of the jeep.
• This movie was remade for television by director Larry “Attack of the the Eye Creatures” Buchanan as “Zontar, The Thing from Venus.”
• Cast and crew roundup: LOTS of folks we will meet again in this one, so strap in: Executive producers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson performed the same roles for “Earth Vs. the Spider,” “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “Night of the Blood Beast, “The Undead,” “Terror from the Year 5000,” “The She-Creature,” “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” and “The Screaming Skull.” Writer Lou Rusoff also helped write “The She Creature.” Writer Charles Griffith also helped write “Terror from the Year 5000″ and “Gunslinger.” Cinematographer Frederick West also worked on “Gunslinger,” “The She Creature” and “Swamp Diamonds. Editor Charles Gross also worked on “Gunslinger.” Prop Master Karl Brainard also worked on “Teenage Caveman,” “Night of the Blood Beast” and “The She Creature.” Score composer Ronald Stein also did the scores for “Gunslinger,” “The Undead,” “The She Creature,” Attack of the the Eye Creatures” and “The Girl in Lovers Lane.” And, of course, Roger Corman, in addition to this movie, directed “Teenage Caveman,” “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Gunslinger,” and “The Undead.” Corman also produced “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” “High School Big Shot” and “Night of the Blood Beast.”
In front of the camera, Peter Graves is one the actors most seen in MST3K movies: he also appears in “Beginning of the End,” “SST Death Flight,”and “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” He also provided the uncredited narration for “Attack of the the the Eye Creatures. Beverly Garland also appeared in “Swamp Diamonds” and “Gunslinger.” Lee Van Cleef also appeared in “Master Ninja I” and “Master Ninja 2.” Sally Frasier also appears in “War of the Colossal Beast” and “Earth Vs. the Spider. Dick Miller also appears in “Gunslinger” and “The Undead.” Another actor with a lot of MST3K appearances is Jonathan Haze, who was in this, “Viking Women and the Sea Serpent,” “Swamp Diamonds,” “Teenage Caveman” and “Gunslinger.” Karyne Kadler was also in “The Beatniks.” Marshall Bradford was also in “Teenage Caveman” and David McMahon was also in “The Deadly Mantis.”
• CreditsWatch: Karen Lindsey is back in the credits as online editor. Clayton James does the first of 11 stints as hair and makeup person. Additional contributing writers for this episode were Jef Maynard, Jann Johnson, Alexandra Carr and Timothy Scott. I suspect that credit happens when one of them wanders into the writing room and says something funny and they keep it. Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is again spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from the short: “Get in, old man, you’ve seen enough.” Honorable mention: “Yeah, well, you’re full of skit.”
• Fave riff: “Venus? You know: no arms, nice rack…” Honorable mention: “She’s just going to slip into something a little more clinical.”

New Short from RiffTrax…


More Bridget and Mary Jo goodness! Stream or download it here.

Weekend Discussion Thread: MST3k-Inspired Horse Names

Alert readers Steve & Keri suggest:

With the recent triple crown win, I thought: what if I owned a racehorse, and what MST-related name would I give it. I always thought “Prince of Space” would make a great racehorse name. Others I like include “Flag on the Moon.” “Satellite of Love,” “Sirveaux” and “Push the Button.”

I think my filly would be called “Torgo’s Knees.”

What about you?

Now Available from RiffTrax…


Stream or download it here.

Episode guide: 310- Fugitive Alien

Movie: (1978 original TV show episodes; 1986 compilation movie) Alien marauder Ken becomes a fugitive from his home planet, then joins the Earth spaceship Bacchus 3 to fight against his former masters. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Rita is sent on a deadly mission.

First shown: 8/17/91
Opening: Old Joel Robinson had a farm?
Invention exchange: The mads demonstrate their eye, ear, nose & throat dropper; Joel has invented a musical chair and there’s a special guest in Deep 13: Jack Perkins!
Host segment 1: J&tB stage a hat party
Host segment 2: Joel forces Crow and Tom to reenact a scene from the movie
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom are confused by the movie, so Joel helps out using Syd Field’s “Screenplay.”
End: Joel explains his buttons and reads a letter, in Deep 13, they’re still torturing Jack Perkins.
Stinger: “AHAHAHAHA….you’re STUCK HERE!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (134 votes, average: 4.63 out of 5)

• Wow, this was really a watershed episode. There’s so much going on here. The sketches are all great, the movie is mind-boggling and the riffing is everything you want from an MST3K episode. An instant and enduring classic. Plus, it’s full of phrases that immediately became part of the MSTie lexicon, from “You’re stuck here!” to the merry tune, “He tried to kill me with a forkliiiiift….” One of the best.
• This episode was on Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIV.”
• Love the opener. These folks have been around farmers and they know farmer talk. Tom’s “help ussss!” is priceless.
• Mike is also hilarious as Jack Perkins. Jack would return, and not just in Deep 13. The character of “the host” who introduced the “MST3K Hour” shows was loosely based on Jack, though he was never explicitly called Jack Perkins. By the way, the real Mr. Perkins reportedly found Mike’s impersonation as hilarious as everybody else did.
• Hopelessly dated line: “He’s in more trouble than ‘Hudson Hawk’ at the box office!” It seemed like a big deal at the time.
• Call forward: Tom mentions “Marooned.”
• The “Marooned” mention comes as part of a succession of bits Tom and Crow do in the theater when they pretend they are scif-fi geeks. Geek culture is now robustly defended by the members of its community. Did (does?) anyone who considers themselves part of that community have a problem with these bits?
• Vaguely dirty lines: Joel: “I wanna die in the thong section of Victoria’s Secret!” Also: “Speaking of punishing mercilessly….rooowrrr!”
• Literary riff: Tom: “Biff!” Crow: “Happy!” SOMEbody’s read/seen “Death of a Salesman.”
• Does this episode hold the record for the most callbacks? Among them: “Third planet from the sun shall be called…Earth” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet); a reference to the “geometric nucleus” (Cave Dwellers); “It was after the…Robot Holocaust;” “I was in Time of the Apes!” “…and a good friend” (Rocketship XM); “Trumpy, you’re stinky!” (Pod People) “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet.) “Hey, like the Wild Rebels!” “This must be the [fill in the blank]…I’ve heard them talk about…so much…lately?” (Gamera); “Rock climbing, Joel.” (Lost Continent). Did I miss any?
• Crow has a right to be concerned in segment two. Didn’t Gypsy have a six-foot foam scorpion stinger hanging off her butt during episode 113- THE BLACK SCORPION? There’s a precedent!
• I noticed something this time about the “forklift” song. The first time they sing “This is the chase, Rocky and Ken,” they do so before the movie reveals that it was Rocky driving the forklift (though Ken immediately suspects him and says so).
• When Joel punches the bots in segment 2, note how VERY GENTLY he punches them. He knows how fragile they are.
• Joel is great in the closing bit. “That’s portion control. Next question.”
• This week’s cast and crew roundup is a short one: screenwriter Keiichi Abe also was one of the writers for “Time of the Apes.” That’s it.
• CreditsWatch: Trace and Frank are still guest “villians” (misspelled) and Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.” Special Make-up: Crist Ballas and Glen Griffin. I’m guessing that’s Mike’s Jack Perkins getup. This was Faye Burkholder’s last episode doing regular hair and makeup.
• Fave riff: “Uh, you’re crying on my bombs.” Honorable mention: “Oh, those are bugs. They wash right off.”

RIP Dick Van Patten

Van Patten SANTA MONICA, CALIF.–Genial actor Dick Van Patten, perhaps best known as the dad in the TV series “Eight is Enough,” died Tuesday, June 23, at a hospital here. He was 86.
MSTies will remember he was presented as the mastermind in Crow’s expose of “The Van Patten Project” in a host segment in episode 322- MASTER NINJA I.

There’s a nice long obit here.

RIP James Horner

Horner SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.–Two-time Oscar-winning composer James Horner, who worked on three James Cameron films, two ‘Star Trek’ movies and hits like ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘Field of Dreams’ and ‘Apollo 13,’ died Monday, June 22, in a plane crash near here. He was 61.
MSTies will remember that he composed the theme music for the movie in episode 703- DEATHSTALKER AND THE WARRIORS FROM HELL.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story.