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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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This Date in MSTory

1892: Richard C. Currier, editor for the movies in episodes 320- THE UNEARTHLY and 701- NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST.
1908: Aubrey Schenck, producer of the movie in episode 112- UNTAMED YOUTH.
1910: Mother Teresa, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 619- RED ZONE CUBA.
1912: Taggart Casey, who played Sheriff N.J. Shallert in the movie in episode 311- IT CONQUERED THE WORLD.
1928: Yvette Vickers, who played Liz Walker in the movie in episode 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES.
1940: Don LaFontaine, who played a reporter in the movie in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.

1980: Knox Manning (age 76), who played a television newsman in the movie in episode 602- INVASION U.S.A.
1989: Santiago Ontañón (age 85), production designer for the movie in episode 323- THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU.**
1992: Arturo Martinez (age 73), who played El Tierno a.k.a. Bruno in the movie in episode 102- THE ROBOT VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY and Major Corso in the movie in episode 113- THE BLACK SCORPION.
2009: Sadie Corre (age 91), who, though uncredited, was inside “Hugo the Dummy” in the movie in episode 818- DEVIL DOLL.

1997: Rhino Home Video releases episode 506- EEGAH! and 320- THE UNEARTHLY on VHS.

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: 523- Village of the Giants

Movie: (1965) A boy genius invents a growth formula, which is consumed by some trouble-making teens.

First shown: 1/22/94
Opening: M&tB are doing their quarterly workout
Intro: While Mike juices, Dr. F. downsizes TV’s Frank!
Host segment 1: Dr. F. interviews Torgo
Host segment 2: M&tB interview rough-looking Frank
Host segment 3: M&tB sing: “The Greatest Frank”
End: A letter to Frank, Frank gets his job back
Stinger: Tribute to Frank Zappa
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (166 votes, average: 4.52 out of 5)

• This is just a great episode all the way around: Great segments, a fun and very riffable movie, great riffing, a great song, everything you can ask for.
• This episode is included in Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XXVI.
• If you want to know more about this movie — a LOT more — check out Some amazing stuff there.
• The song Tom is singing in the opening segment is “Chicken Fat” sung by Robert Preston in the original song. I have vivid memories of being forced to do calisthenics to it in elementary school gym class.
• The segments are essentially one story, but each sketch is also a little bit of brilliant free-standing satire on the inanities of the working world. Having been canned myself, the opening resonates.
• Of course, one feature of this movie is an appearance by The Beau Brummels. I had never heard of them when I saw this for the first time, but they have their admirers, apparently.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers; close up film canister; pan down to notebook; shot of blackboard–a big bone hits it
• Callbacks: “Coruba!” (Outlaw) “What sin could a duck commit in a single lifetime?” (Amazing Colossal Man) “I didn’t steal no bike, neither.” (Teenage Strangler) “Dang smoochers!” (The the Eye Creatures) “I’m gonna moon you, man!” (The Beatniks).
• Segment 1 is another gem. The line “Well, I work too hard…hahaha” never fails to slay me.
• See something familiar in those exterior shots? That’s the back lot. Some of those houses were also used for TV’s “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”
• Segment 2 is yet another classic. I always have a hard time not using Frank’s lines when being interviewed.
• “Let Me Be Frank about Frank” is great stuff. The Paul Williams impressions are particularly funny. It was performed at the live shows in 1994, and featured a lovely interpretive dance by a leotard-clad Frank (video of which was included on the “Scrapbook” tape). The segment also features a great montage: Again, Cambot gets the credit, but the real artist is probably Brad Keeley. The song was created by the songwriting duo of Michael J. Nelson (music) and Bridget Jones (lyrics).
• In the credits, we get a reprise of the song and we think it’s all fun and then the whole thing becomes poignant. In the ACEG, I believe it was Kevin who noted that Zappa had contacted the Brains shortly before his death with the idea of doing something together, but time ran out, alas.
• Cast and crew roundup: Again, I am not going re-recite the Bert I. litany. Suffice to say we know him well. Some guy named H.G. Wells also wrote stuff that “Riding with Death” was very loosely based on. Cinematographer Paul C. Vogel, special effects guy Herman Townsley and art director Franz Bachelin all worked on “Tormented.” Photo process guy Farciot Edouart, sound recorder Charles Grenzbach and make-up man Wally Westmore all worked on “The Space Children.” Sound effects guy Jack Cornall worked on “King Dinosaur.” Editor John Bushelman also worked on “King Dinosaur” and “Tormented.”
In front of the camera, Tommy Kirk and Jim Begg were both in “Catalina Caper.” Johnny Crawford was also in “Space Children.” Bob Random was also in “Being From Another Planet.” Joseph Turkel was also in “Tormented.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. Also, with this episode the “Manager of Business Affairs” credit vanishes, and in its place is a “Director of Operations” title, held by one Jeffrey P. Young. He lasted a grand total of five episodes. I bet there’s a story there.
• Fave riff: “This is Tommy Kirk REALLY acting!” Honorable mention: “A buffalo shot that covers three states.”

Weekend Discussion Thread: Advice that Would Ruin the Movie

Alert regular “GizmonicTemp” opines:

“Just Stop and Aim, You Idiots!”
Crow gives this free advice to the mutineers in “Space Mutiny” and I realized something. Had they actually followed this little “Duh!” nugget, it would have completely changed the outcome of the movie; Ryder is dead, the ship is overthrown and Kalgan is in control.
Of course, it would ruin the movie but lives would be saved, etc.

Therefore, what in-movie advice would you give that would greatly affect events or your favorite Mst3k movies? You can’t reveal plot points or secrets and you only get one intervention, but you have the undivided attention of the character or group of characters.

I’ll go with “Killer Shrews.” When Thorne and Griswold arrive, three of the five who are trapped on the island casually stroll down to the beach to meet them. With danger imminent (that’s why Jerry was armed and an 8-foot fence had been constructed) and your salvation arriving as scheduled, have Mario and Radford join you and get on the stupid boat!

I’ve said this before but I’ll say again: John Forsythe, TELL THE COPS THAT ANN-MARGRET IS IN YOUR HOUSE!!

Your advice?

What Did You Think?

Theater a bit more full than in recent shows (I wasn’t here for MST3K reunion show, so I don’t know how full it was, but maybe the increase is a residual effect) — maybe half full — in suburban Scranton.

I liked this one a lot. It was up there with “Jack the Giant Killer,” which I think was one of their best. Great short (“Time to visit that guy he can’t quit!”) and a truly crazy movie (“I’ve seen things no mouse should see…”).

What did you think? (“We don’t need any more ladders!”)

Episode guide: 522- Teen-Age Crime Wave

Movie: (1955) Delinquent teens on the run hold a farm family hostage.

First shown: 1/15/94
Opening: M&tB are escaping
Intro: Dr. has invented mace mousse, the escape plan fails
Host segment 1: M&tB salute the golden age of the “doughy guy”
Host segment 2: M&tB create the first deli in space
Host segment 3: M&tB present a commercial for Mystos
End: Tom delivers some letters; Frank is “Doughy Man” but Dr. F. sprays him again, again and again…
Stinger: “TURN IT OFF!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (149 votes, average: 4.37 out of 5)

• For those who missed the note last week, I am skipping episode 521- SANTA CLAUS for the time being. I will get to it around Christmas. (One alert reader noted that THIS episode is also a holiday movie — the events happen on Thanksgiving!)
• This episode is included in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. XXXIII.
• This movie has a great opening half hour and pretty exciting last 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it also has a deadly 40 minutes in the middle. The segments are hit and miss, with a wonderful finish. All in all, it’s in the fair-to-good range.
• Mike’s jumpsuit, which has been green since he became host, is suddenly tan in the opening segment, then reverts to green for the rest of the episode.
• Invention exchange fadeaway watch: The mace mousse seems to be a genuine invention. Frank is hilarious, by the way. Mike’s still busy escaping–though he does CALL it an invention!
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: pan to beaker; closeup on datebook.
• As the opening begins, Mike is pulling something off the wall that he says “we’re gonna need.”
• Movie observations: Why doesn’t Jane save herself and rat out the guys? She HATES them! They tricked her! What loyalty does she owe them? I don’t get it. Also, an example of stupid script writing: The matron asks the feuding inmates: “Who started this?” What real matron would bother? Has that EVER worked?
• Segment 1 was an instant hit and within hours the MSTie internet was bursting with tributes to doughy guys. And as a doughy guy myself, I enjoyed it. Mike really belts out his part.
• Segment 3, of course, riffs on Mentos commercials that had become a regular feature of the episodes of late. By the way, Trace, who famously has trouble carrying a tune, does pretty well singing the Mystos song.
• Callbacks: “Mitchell!” Of course, there are too many callbacks to count in segment 2. “Want some?” (Daddy-O) And “Thank God we have Radar!” and “Why don’t they look?” has already joined the rotation.
• Mike carries Servo by the neck when they enter the theater after segment 2. He doesn’t seem to mind.
• Of course this episode also gave us the classic line: “He’ll never touch you, Terry, you’re dirt.” The Brains apparently really liked because it was used many times thereafter.
• Somebody emailed me about this the last time around and I have still not been able to get a satisfactory answer. There is a quick shot of Ben and Jane sitting on the basement steps, and Mike’s riff is: “I like Wade, he’s just not a dancer.” What’s that from?
• The movie shows an obelisk and Mike (I think) says “The Roddy McDowall monument!” Um, huh? If they’d said “The Milton Berle monument” I’d get it. Was Roddy known for his, um, endowment? (Last time around, several commenters confirmed that he was.)
• Just like in 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, this movie’s climax happens at L.A.’s Griffith Observatory — quite a remarkable jump, considering that the rest of the film supposedly takes place in the Midwest.
• The mace mousse bit at the end just gets funnier and funnier. It’s very reminiscent to the “Daddy-O” ending.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Sam Katzman also produced “The Corpse Vanishes.” In front of the camera: Sydney Mason was in “Revenge of the Creature.” Larry Blake was in “Beginning of the End.” Robert Bice was also in “Invasion USA,” George “doughy guy” Cisar is also in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and Sydney Mason was also in “Revenge of the Creature.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. Andrea DuCane returns to do hair and makeup for the final three eps of the season. The title of “Manager of Business Affairs,” which appeared on the credits at the beginning of the season, appears for the last time in this episode, along with the person who held the title, Heide A. LeClerc-Becker.
• Fave riff: “You’re gonna have to get in line. Couple o’ cows ahead of you.” Honorable mention: “I will not be ignored, Ben. Hold please.”

MST3K Monday at RiffTrax…

The-Incredibly-Strange-Creatures-Who-Stopped-Living-and-Became-Mixed-Up-Zombies This week’s episode is 812- THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!?.

Frank’s Book Now Available

Frank’s new book “Twenty Five Mystery Science Theater 3000 Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever” is now available from Amazon. If you’d like to order a paperback copy, we’d appreciate it if you used this link. If you’d prefer a Kindle version, kindly use this link. Thanks.

Weekend Discussion Thread: ‘Fly on the Wall?’

Our alert pal Timmy asks:

What film that the Brains chose would you have like to been in the room for, when they watched/wrote the jokes. Mine are the 2 Joe Don Baker films.

I want to go with “I Accuse My Parents” ’cause I think they got SO into the movie, it would be fun to witness the creative process.


New Annotated Episode…


As always, post any additions or corrections there, not here.

And speaking of augmenting episodes, a brave fellow has begun completely closed captioning all the episodes (he hopes) for the hearing impaired. His Youtube Channel is here. It’s tough to read a puppet’s lips and it’s even harder when the puppet his its back to you, so, as somebody with a loved one who is hearing impaired, I very much approve.

His latest work is 113- BLACK SCORPION. A test run will stream at here on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 8:30 EDT.

Episode guide: 520- Radar Secret Service (with short: Last Clear Chance)

Short: (1959) Union Pacific scare film aiming to teach drivers to pay better attention at railroad crossings.
Movie: (1950) Government agents use the incredible power of radar to track down some crooks dealing in black market atomic “material.”

First shown: 12/18/93
Opening: Mike performs Crow’s maintenance checkup, but has no idea what he’s doing
Invention exchange/Intro: Mike has an escape plan, The Mads have created Hypno-helio-static-stasis
Host segment 1: Trooper Tom presents: “Why Don’t They Look?”
Host segment 2: The bots simulate Mike’s 10-year high school reunion
Host segment 3: Driven mad by the movie, Mike and Crow build the Quinn Martin Nature Preserve
End: The Mads are beaten by Ecstato-euphoro-fun (with patented Hinder 90)
Stinger: Hysterical maid
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (182 votes, average: 4.15 out of 5)

• Very good short, very dull movie. This one is reminiscent of episode 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, where the short tail wags the movie dog, as it were. As the Brains note, the gray, dull, men in gray or black suits and gray or black hats are almost indistinguishable (except for Sid Melton), and for long stretches the movie just lays there. (Each side even has a guy with a mustache!) The Brains try their best — in fact they do a pretty good job, and there are some great riffs — but this is a middling episode at best.
• This episode is included in Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Vol. XXXII.
• More differentiation between Joel and Mike in the opening, as Mike attempts something Joel did easily, and fails miserably. Crow is hilarious. “Help me!”
• I like how Gypsy just kind of nibbles on Crow to fix him.
• Crow’s sensible slacks make a re-appearance.
• The Poopie tape has a very funny outtake of the Hypno Helio Static Stasis sketch: The entire wall behind Frank falls over and Frank and Trace just go with it.
• It’s in this episode that the invention exchange kind of fades away and becomes a general intro. Hypno-helio-static-stasis is sort of an invention, but nobody calls it that. And Mike is just busy trying to escape.
• Crow still has panties on his head when he enters the theater after the opening. Mike quickly removes them. (I like the way Trace improvs a spitting noise when one gets caught in his beak.)
• The short is one of the show’s finest hours. They showed this one at the Museum of TV and Film event in Los Angeles, on a big screen, and the audience was just roaring with laughter. It was, I think the only time I saw people literally, not figuratively, falling out of their theater seats with laughter. It really reminded me how much more fun watching the show is with a group.
• Segment 1 is one of those great short-followup sketches. It’s too bad that BBI never thought to release a tape of shorts that also included their follow-up sketches.
• As of this episode Best Brains was STILL under the mistaken impression that Sam Newfield directed “Jungle Goddess,” something they also said in “I Accuse My Parents.” I wonder if there was some error in the edition of Maltin’s movie guide that they were using.
• Then-current references: the now-defunct Nashville Network and long-forgotten series “Powers That Be.”
• Callbacks: Dr. F references “Rock climbing” (Lost Continent) and “Deep hurting” (Hercules Against the Moon Men) and Frank refers to “Fire Maidens.” “Send up some gas juice! You know, laugh water!” (The Beatniks), “No waffles!”, Servo sings a little of “Are You Happy in Your Work” (I Accuse My Parents), “But there was no monster” (Monster A-Go-Go).
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: pan to blackboard as something that looks like a catcher’s mitt flies by; pan down to the notebook; pan to beaker.
• Mike mentions “The Nagely capers” during a shot of highway. Anybody know what that is? I asked Mike on Twitter. He doesn’t remember.
• In addition to all the similar-looking men, Crow seems to have trouble keeping the two women in the plot straight. When they finally appear in the same scene, he is dumbfounded.
• Ward E has a list of all the things they call that radar ball thingy on top of the car.
• Cast and crew roundup: I will not go through the Lippert litany again. Producer Barney A. Sarecky was associate producer for “The Corpse Vanishes” and production supervisor for “Undersea Kingdom.” Sam Newfield also directed “Lost Continent,” “Mad Monster” and “I Accuse My Parents” but NOT “Jungle Goddess,” as noted above. Special effects guy Ray Mercer also worked on “Lost Continent,” “I Accuse My Parents,” “The Sinister Urge” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.” Art director Fred Preble also worked on “Mad Monster.” Set designer Harry Reif also worked on “I Accuse My Parents,” “Women of the Prehistoric Planet” and “The She-Creature” and was assistant director on “Gunslinger.” In front of the camera, Sid Melton was also in “Lost Continent.” Ralph Byrd WAS actually in “Jungle Goddess.” Robert Kent was also in “The Phantom Creeps.” Pierre Watkin was also in “Beginning of the End.” Tristram Coffin was also in “The Corpse Vanishes,” “The Crawling Hand” and “The Brute Man.” Tom Neal was also in “The Brute Man.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. Charles A. Zimmermann joins the staff as editor. He will continue through the rest of the season and for the first 10 episodes of season six.
• Fave riff from the short: “I’m the impish officer of death.” Honorable mention: “…spilled my youth like cheap gin…anyway!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “It’s not the radar, it’s size of the amplitude, if you know what I mean!” Honorable mention: “Not in a strictly Cartesian sense…”

As we do every time we get to this point, we will skip the next episode, 521- SANTA CLAUS, and save it for the holiday season. Next week we will move on to 522- TEENAGE CRIME WAVE.