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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.

MST3K Reunion Show Now Available

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Stream or download it here.

Weekend Discussion Thread: Three Fictional MST3k characters

Alert reader “Johnny Drama” suggests:

With the recent #threefictionalcharacters thing going around, I thought it might be interesting to do #threeMST3Kcharacters (from the movies) that best describe you. I’ll have to give it some thought myself.

Krasker, Dad from “A Date with your Family” and Ator. Figure that one out.

You?

This Date in MSTory

BORN ON THIS DATE
Bridget Nelson (Happy birthday, Bridget!)
1922: Bert I. Gordon, producer/director of eight MSTed movies, including episodes 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN and 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST.* (Mr. BIG turns 94 today!)
1924: Albert Gramaglia, sound re-recordist for the movie in episode 817- HORROR OF PARTY BEACH.
1927: Gene Corman, producer of the movies in episodes 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES and 701- NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST.*
1931: Anthony Newley, who was mentioned in the song “Clowns in the Sky,” sung in episode 303- POD PEOPLE.
1936: Jim Henson, who was mentioned in the host segment in episode 407- THE KILLER SHREWS.
1941: Igor Yasulovich, who played Torki in the movie “Cherez Ternii K Zvyozdam,” seen in episode K11- HUMANOID WOMAN.*

DIED ON THIS DATE
1956: John MacBurnie (age 63), cinematographer for the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1976: Bruno VeSota (age 54), who played Sidney Chillas in 307- DADDY-O, Dave Walker in 406- ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, Zebulon Tabb in 511- GUNSLINGER, Mr. Seltzer in 515- THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN and Scroop in 806- THE UNDEAD.
1995: Arthur Walsh (age 72), who played a motorcycle cop in the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1999: Judith Exner (age 65), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 505- THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD.”

EVENT ON THIS DATE
2005: Demi Moore, star of episode 322- MASTER NINJA I, married actor Ashton Kutcher.


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: 603- The Dead Talk Back (with short: ‘The Selling Wizard’)

Short: (1954) An industrial number showcasing the attributes of grocery store refrigeration units, with the help of shapely model.
Movie: (1957) A paranormal researcher claims he has invented a device that will permit communication with the dead. Oh, it’s true.

First shown: 7/30/94
Opening: Gypsy calls a fire drill
Intro: Dr. F. tries pin-point cigarette marketing on Mike
Host segment 1: Crow’s radio talk show: “The Dead Talk Back”
Host segment 2: M&tB are “The Dead”
Host segment 3: Dr. F. tries his hand at interrogation and Frank quickly cracks; meanwhile, the guitar solo continues
End: Crow is still playing, Tom is acting up, Gypsy starts another fire drill, Mike reads a letter, Dr. F. practices his crossbow skills
Stinger: Woman screams after seeing dead body
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (235 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)
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• This is a weird episode, featuring an odd short and even odder movie. It’s fun, but not a favorite of mine.
• This episode was included on Rhino’s Vol. 8.
• Though clearly made in the ’50s, the movie was never released until it was discovered and purchased by a low-budget video company in the 1990s.
• I wonder if the fire drill segment led to the later fire safety PSA that they did.
• It’s the “umbilicon” again in this episode.
• The short is a bit of departure. This is what is known as an “industrial,” quite a different animal from the mental hygiene shorts they’d mostly done up until now. I’m not sure it always works for MST3K, as in this case. This may be my least favorite short MST3K ever did.
• Callback: “Plenty of lip and tongue action” (from the speech short). Frank says “I killed that fat barkeep” (The Beatniks)
• Spaghetti ball bumpers: beaker, film canister, book.
• Then-current reference: “James Farentino visits Tina Sinatra.” Farentino was charged with stalking his former girlfriend, Tina Sinatra, in 1993.
• “Oh, its true!” became a frequent callback in many future episodes.
• Segment 1 features the voice of Trace, one of the few times he ever did a “guest spot” on the show.
• Say what you want, Churchill was right about the Bills.
• The Rhino release of this episode had some encoding problems and was reissued.
• I was never much of a deadhead. I liked ’em, but a little guitar jamming goes a long way for me. Gypsy seems pretty natural as one, though.
• The closeup on Crow’s guitar gives us a close look at the stick that controls Gypsy’s jaw.
• Later in segment 2, Mike is folding Crow’s sensible slacks. He really DID get a lot of wear out of them!
• I had a nice Twitter DM back and forth with Andy LaCasse, who performed the “cheesy guitar solo.”
LaCasse said: “The director [that would have been Jim, he directed the host segments for that episode] kept laughing out loud and asking me if I could make it more grating and irritating. I said I could, and I did!”
He also recalls: “I brought my 1-year-old daughter, Kayla, with me to the studio. The writers whisked her away for a while. Later, the video guys [that would have been Brad and Tim] let her play with the controls on the video editing machine. The scene had already been shot, so I followed Crow’s hands as he played.”
On the technical side, he notes: “I played a cheap copy of a Fender Stratocaster with EMG pickups through a Big Jam Spit Wah pedal straight into the MST3K video editor.”
“My daughter had a great time and the writers adored her,” he concluded. “I had a blast! Definitely a career highlight for me. It’s still on my résumé.”
• Crow is still wearing his Grateful Dead costume when he reenters the theater. Mike removes it.
• No cast and crew roundup this week. Similar to “Teenage Strangler,” this appears to have been a cast that largely never did anything else.
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. Sarah Wisner does Post Production Coordination with Ellen McDonough for two episodes, instead of Jann Johnson. This is the last of three episodes where Tim Scott gets an audio mixing credit. This is the first of five episodes where Brad Keely gets a lighting credit. This is the last time we see Director of Operations Jeffrey P. Young in the credits. (He lasted all of three episodes and I would LOVE to heard THAT backstage story.) “Cosmic Freight Train” written and arranged by: Michael J. Nelson, Paul Chaplin and David Sussman.
• Fave riff from the short: “But don’t put your tongue on it!” Honorable mention: “Wow, that was close. She was mad!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Well! I’m going home for lunch.” Honorable mention: “…than springtime are you, sir.”

MST3K: The Movie in Lubbock, Tex.

The Alamo Drafthouse in Lubbock, Texas, will present MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVIE Monday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $3.
Rob Weiner, co-editor of “In the Peanut Gallery with Mystery Science Theater 3000: Essays on Film, Fandom, Technology, and the Culture of Riffing,” will be on hand to discuss the film.

More info here.

Weekend Discussion Thread: What Happened Next?

Alert reader Troy suggests:

What do you think happened to MSTied movie characters as soon as the film was over?

So, in Cave Dwellers, after Ator left, I think Dong (Thong?) and the crazy old man opened up a successful business installing safety railings and personal workout rooms in neighboring medieval castles, and after The Killer Shrews, the surviving shrews somehow made their way to Australia, where nobody even noticed another incredibly toxic voracious predator on the loose.

Following the end of “Beginning of the End,” several grasshopper meat-based restaurants opened in Chicago.

You got one?

New Mary Jo/Bridget short

flashthatsmile_poster

“Is this the chin you’re using?”

Stream or download it here.

Episode guide: 602- Invasion U.S.A. (with short: ‘A Date with Your Family’)

Short: (1950) A typical suburban family sits down for a rigidly formal and polite dinner.
Movie: (1952) America’s failure to accept “the universal draft” dooms the nation when the Russians invade.

First shown: 7/23/94
Opening: Mike tries to build a robot; it doesn’t go well
Intro: Dr. F. gives the bots a choice: him or a wire mother?
Host segment 1: A date with M&tB
Host segment 2: Tom tricks Crow into a Lois Lane discussion
Host segment 3: M&tB get a visit from “A. Bomb” on the Hexfield
End: Tom thinks it’s all a dream, Mike reads a letter, Frank is on patrol!
Stinger: Now that’s a walk-on!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (99 votes, average: 4.48 out of 5)
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• I wouldn’t say this is an episode where the short outshines the feature, but I think the two are about evenly matched. The short is an absolute classic but the riffing of the feature is just about as good. And most of the segments are a definite step up from last week’s drab entries.
• This episode is not yet released on commercial home video.
• Again, in the opening, they make very explicit that Mike is not Joel. I remember that killbot caused quite a stir on the MSTie internet. People were trying to make replicas within hours.
• Trace does a great job in the opening. I particularly love “Yat-dat-dada-dada-FACT!”
• This week the Umbilicus is the “Umbilcon” for whatever reason.
• Great little throwaway: As Tom is examining the “mother” we can hear him mutter “…usually have two…”
• The point of the movie seems to be a pitch for what is referred to as “the universal draft,” which apparently means that the military can just waltz into a tractor factory and demand that they build tanks. The goal, of course, is fighting Communism, under which the military can just walk into a tractor factory and demand that they build tanks. Maybe that’s why we didn’t hear too much about “the universal draft” after this.
• Segment 1 is great stuff, just the sort of segment I would include in a “shorts and the host segments they inspired” collection I would love to see Shout! Factory do.
• Annoying commercial: The Odor Eaters featuring “Swamp Foot.” Honorable mention: The “Real Bowl” Comedy Central bumpers, which were distinctly unfunny.
• “It’s a long par five to the nation’s capital” was later reused in MST3K: The Movie.
• I love the neon “stand by” sign in the TV studio. It’s elegant, I’ll grant you, but pretty useless.
• This movie must have been pretty easy to make–just edit together all the stock footage you can find, along with about 20 minutes of actual movie.
• Segment 2 comes before we’ve seen any of the Lois Lanes. It probably should have been segment 3. That aside, it’s lots of fun and has a very casual feel that I like.
• Then-current riff: “Vince Coleman’s final revenge.” Coleman was an outfielder, playing for the Mets in 1993, when he threw a lit firecracker into a crowd of fans in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, injuring three children, and deservedly got into a heap o’ trouble. Honorable mention: “This is all Andrew Guiliani’s fault.” Andrew was the mischievous son of then-New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.
• That’s comedian and MST3K writer Mike Dodge as the Bomb. Dodge joined the writing staff at the beginning of season six, and this was his only on-screen appearance. Mike’s performance is a little over the top for my tastes, but he didn’t have a lot to work with. May he rest in peace.
• Incidentally, written on the side of the Bomb is “MJ-P” and “2-27.” Feb. 27 is Mary Jo’s birthday.
• One little thing I noticed this time: during the dogfight stock footage, Crow seems to completely blow a line. Very strange, but even stranger is that his mouth movements do not synch up with the flubbed line. Which means he ACTUALLY said something else! Did the Brains actually insert a mistake??
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Albert Zugsmith also directed last week’s offering, “Girls Town,” and producer-scriptwriter-story writer Robert Smith (neither the guy from The Cure or the NFL star) worked on “Girls Town” as well. Cinematographer John Russell worked on “Girls Town” and “Indestructible Man. Special effects guy Jack Rabin worked on “Robot Monster,” “Rocketship X-M” and “Viking Women.” Makeup guy Harry Thomas also worked on “Mad Monster,” “Project Moon Base,” “The Unearthly,” “Bride of the Monster, “Racket Girls,” “High School Big Shot” and “Night of the Blood Beast.” Production manager Ralph E. Black was a 2nd unit director for “Space Travelers.” Art director James Sullivan also worked on “Attack of the the Eye Creatures” and of course Albert Glasser did the music for many many MST3K movies.
In front of the camera, Peggie Castle also appears in “The Beginning of the End.” Robert Bice also appears in “Teen-Age Crime Wave.” William Schallert (the man who was in everything) was also in “Gunslinger” and “Hangar 18.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments by Kevin Murphy.
• Fave riff from the short: “The less said about this the better!” Honorable mention: “Brother has a tight psychological grip on Junior.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Well, just keep coming down until you’re not in the sky anymore! Doncha know how to land???” Honorable mention: “So, are you gonna finish the windows?”

Weekend Discussion Thread: Date, Marry, Kill

alert reader fry1laurie asks:

How about a discussion on the old “date, marry, kill” theme. Which MST3K character, in a film or a host segment, would you chose for each one.
For date, Natalie of Wurwilf. I think it would be absolutely fascinating.
Marry, Betty from Teenagers from Outer Space. She could do housework wearing that black bathing suit. Hubba hubba!
Kill, Melissa Strickland from The Touch of Satan. A mercy killing really, to get her out of the clutches of Satan.

Me: Date: Talena from “Outlaw of Gor”
Marry: Kitty from “I Accuse My Parents”
Kill: That guy from “Ring of Terror.” (Was I supposed to pick a woman? I just hate him so much.)

You?

Episode guide: 601- Girls Town

Movie: (1959) A teen bombshell is sent to a Catholic reform school after she’s framed for a murder.

First shown: 7/16/94
Opening: Preparing for Dr. F.’s big announcement
Intro: Dr. F. unveils the Umbilicus
Host segment 1: Tom “scats” until Mike and Crow have had enough
Host segment 2: Mike explains the “honor system”
Host segment 3: Designing the woman of the future
End: M&TB make good use of the Umbilicus
Stinger: “You tell that boy to go home right now, or I’ll call the police!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (94 votes, average: 4.72 out of 5)
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Off we go on season six!
• The stretch between the end of season 5 and the beginning of season 6 was 161 days, the seventh-longest amount of time MSTies had to wait between episodes.
• For me, this is one of those episodes where the movie, and riffing of the movie, are great fun, but the host segments…meh. Nothing really catches fire. Of course, the big news in this episode was the introduction of Umbilicus — the physical link between Deep 13 and the SOL — with its umbuliport, umbilipod and other umbili-named things that would come later, which was connected to Gypsy, until it wasn’t. The science of the thing is, of course, crazy (and how does he eat and breathe?) but who cares? The Brains said the idea was to create a way for more interaction between the SOL and Deep 13, and that it certainly did, though I don’t really think it got off to an auspicious start with the pie gag.
• This episode is not yet on home video.
References One they missed is the reference to the mostly-forgotten TV show “Father Dowling Mysteries.” They also missed “We’re all bozos on this bus,” a Firesign Theatre reference (and one of the first since Joel’s departure).
• There’s a ladies’ room on the SOL?
• The Power Steves are Mary Jo, Paul and writer David Sussman in, I believe, his only appearance on the show. Sussman joined the writing staff for some season four episodes, worked on a lot of season five (including helping to write some of the songs) and the first five episodes of season six, before he dropped off the credits. He remains something of a mystery. If anybody knows David, please let him know we’re trying to find him for an interview. And David, if you’re out there, email us.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: desk calendar, beaker, bulletin board, film canister.
• This episode may have the most Bill Clinton jokes of any show they did, largely because that one guy sort of looked like him.
• Each of the host segments just kind of lays there for me. Segment 1 (“Tom scats”) is pretty much a one-joke bit that goes on too long even though they hurry through it. Segment 2 (“the honor system”) is cute, but we can see the punchline coming down Broadway, and the payoff is nothing special. Segment 3 is just weird.
• As the differs return from segment 2, Mike has to help an engorged Tom Servo into his seat.
• Annoying commercial: My copy is from the ’94 Turkey Day, and featured bumpers featuring Mamie and Adam West. It also features that incredibly irritating (apparently homemade) commercial for a CD featuring comedian Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling.
• Callbacks: “Shut up, Iris!”(Beatniks) “No ,Lupita!” (Santa Claus) “Radar!” (Radar Secret Service) “He’d never touch you, Terry, you’re dirt,” (Teenage Crime Wave) and ”Who’s gonna make, Daddy-O”
• I love Tom’s “..and then he died” bit during Kitten’s confession.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Albert Zugsmith also produced the movie in the next episode, “Invasion USA.” John L. Russell was his cinematographer for both movies, and he also worked on “The Indestructible Man.” Makeup guy William Tuttle also worked on “The Painted Hills.” In front of the camera, Mamie, of course, is also in “Untamed Youth.” Dick Contino, of course, is also in “Daddy-O.” Peter Leeds is also in “High School Big Shot.” Gloria Talbott is also in “The Leech Woman.”
• CreditsWatch: New season, several changes: Mike Dodge joins the writing staff (he would stay for the entire season). Tim Scott joins the writing staff (he would stay for five episodes). Contributing writer Colleen Henjum-Williams becomes Colleen Williams. Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. Audio guy Brad Keeley and technical supervisor Tim Scott switch jobs. Production coordinator Ellen McDonough becomes Ellen McDonough Thomas. The post of assistant editor (held by Brad) is gone and now both Brad and Tim are editors. Jann is alone in the position of post production coordinator (last season she shared it with Ellie, and they will share it again later in the season). Interns, for this and the next 11 episodes, are David J. Belmont, Shannon McNelly and Peter Ncolai.
• Fave riff: “Do you know ‘White Light, White Heat’?” Honorable mentions: “The last call shall be answered first…” and “We are knee-deep in a Freudian quagmire here!”