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

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Trace On ‘Svengoolie’

The great Svengoolie recently posted on his Facebook page:

Sat. nite- it’s William Castle’s “Night Walker” with Barbara Stanwyck! A new show, AND a special appearance by our friend Trace Beaulieu! MeTV 10 p.m. e/p, 9 c, check local listings.

Reminder: If You’re Headed to DragonCon…

… you will want to know about this, from our pal Daniel Griffith. No word yet on who the “special guests” might be, but Trace, Frank and Bill are slated to appear at the con (see below). Two words: En-joy!


Scheduled cast appearances (many run by our pal Ken Plume) include:

Riftrax. Bill Corbett hosts a lively hour full of rifftacular fun. J. Scrimshaw; Fri 10:00 am; Imperial Ballroom [M]

Joseph Scrimshaw & the Attack of Comedy Joseph Scrimshaw’s geekcentric comedy show on Star Wars, Batman, video games, &
our New Geek World. B. Corbett, M. Lewis, H. Lublin; Fri 1:00 pm; Intl. S [H]

Comedy Writing. A discussion about the art of writing comedy, with those who have done so professionally. T. Beaulieu, F. Conniff, B. Corbett, J. Scrimshaw; Fri 4:00 pm; Cent. I [H]

Gonzo Quiz Show & Doin’ Improv. Celebrity guests in a gonzo game face flurries of fast, furious improvised comedy. K. Plume, S. McCoy, T. Beaulieu, F. Conniff, Paul and Storm, B. Corbett, S. Adsit, J. Urbaniak, M. Lewis, J. Scrimshaw, A. Fever, Angela Webber, H. Lublin, M. Gagliardi; Fri 5:30 pm; Imperial Ballroom [M]; 2.5 Hrs

Gonzoroo III: A Musical Quizodyssey. Music, geekery, comedic delights, & surprises galore! A big ol’ concert followed by a big ol’ quiz show! K. Plume, D. Hammer, T. Beaulieu, F. Conniff, Paul and Storm, S. Adsit, J. Urbaniak, M. Lewis, J. Scrimshaw, A. Fever, M. Phirman, The Doubleclicks, H. Lublin, M. Gagliardi; Sat 8:00 pm; Atrium Ballroom [M]; 2.5 Hrs

We Got This. Mark & Hal settle once and for all which is the best Classic Movie Monster. K. Plume, T. Beaulieu, F. Conniff, B. Corbett, M. Phirman, H. Lublin, M. Gagliardi; Sun 10:00 am; Imperial Ballroom [M]

Reel Crime. MST3K’s Bill Corbett, Trace Beaulieu, & Frank Conniff defend cinematic guilty pleasures. K. Plume; Sun 1:00 pm; Grand Ballroom West [Hil]

You Know More Than We Do. An hour with the folks behind Mystery Science Theater 3000. K. Plume, T. Beaulieu, F. Conniff, B. Corbett; Mon 1:00 pm; Cent. I [H]

Bill: Fri 10:00 am, Fri 01:00 pm.
Bill, Trace and Frank: Fri 04:00 pm, Fri 05:30 pm, Sun 10:00 am, Sun 01:00 pm, Mon 01:00 pm.
Trace and Frank: Sat 08:00 pm.

This Date in MSTory

1904: Jack Voglin, assistant director of the movie in episode 104- WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET.**
1905: Ikio Sawamura, who played an elderly slave in the movie in episode 213- GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER.
1908: Edward Dmytryk, American producer of the movie in episode 1009- HAMLET.
1911: Billy Dix, who played Duke in the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1913: William Roberts, screenwriter for the movie in episode K13- SST: DEATH FLIGHT.
1916: Robert J. Schiffer, make-up artist for the movie in episode 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN.
1926: Helmut Ringelmann, production manager for the movie in episode 1009- HAMLET.
1953: Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 305- STRANDED IN SPACE.*

1960: Alfred E. Green (age 71), who directed the movie in episode 602- INVASION U.S.A.
1983: Bob Wehling (age 64), who played the searchlight guy Joe in the movie in episode 801- REVENGE OF THE CREATURE and who also was the screenwriter for the movie in episode 506- EEGAH.
1992: John Van Dreelen (age 70), who played Garvey in the movie in episode 802- THE LEECH WOMAN.

1993: Episode 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS (with the short THE TRUCK FARMER) first shown.

1953: The movie in episode 109- PROJECT MOON BASE premieres in the U.S.A.
1957: The movie in episode 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN is reviewed in Variety.
1975: The TV series “Space: 1999” is first broadcast in England, its country of origin. Two episodes of this series were later released on video and riffed on MST3K in the movie in episode K10- COSMIC PRINCESS.
1998: Kim Cattrall, who played Dr. Wickings in the movie in episode 403- CITY LIMITS, married Mark Levinson. Shhh! Don’t tell Crow!

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.

Episode guide: 320- The Unearthly (with shorts: ‘Posture Pals’ and ‘Appreciating Our Parents’)

Short 1: (1952) An elementary school teacher holds a posture contest in her class.
Short 2: (1950) A young boy realizes how much his parents do for him, and that he should help out around the house.
Movie: (1957) A mad scientist uses nefarious methods to acquire subjects for his bizarre experiments.

First shown: 12/14/91
Opening: The bots are making a “funny” submission for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and Crow gets the worst of it
Invention exchange: Crow is gnarled, but he likes it. The Mads demonstrate their “hard pills to swallow,” while Joel shows off his everyday products named for celebrities
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom present: “Appreciating Gypsy”
Host segment 2: With the help of the Video Toaster, J&tB present the many faces of Tor Johnson
Host segment 3: Tom and Crow create a “Unearthly” board game, but Joel gets hung up on reading the instructions
End: J&tB enjoy using their “Dead End Kids patois,” Joel reads a letter using the lingo, and even that Mads get into it.
Stinger: “Time for go to bed!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (125 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)

• This is really a case where the shorts save the episode. Both shorts are fun and the riffing is great. But once the movie starts, things bog down. The guys make fun of Tor for a while, then they start kind of free associating (mixing in some state park jokes), then they fall back on the whole Dead End Kids patois thing. But the riffing never really takes off. Most of the segments are good, which helps drag the rating up a bit as well.
• Oh, the irony of an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” parody. Little did Trace suspect he would be drawing a paycheck from it in less than ten years.
• The Mads’ invention is my all-time favorite IE. Trace and Frank are brilliant. My main problem with Joel’s inventions are how how cheesy they look. None of the figures looks anything like the celebrity they’re supposed to be, and they all look like they were made out of cottage cheese.
• Although there were episodes in the first season that had two episodes of “Radar Men from the Moon,” this is only the second time in the history of the series that we have had two shorts (the first was 315- TEENAGE CAVEMAN). They did it one more time in season six.
Incidentally, at a recent RiffTrax Live show, they riffed a short that supposedly was an updated version of “Appreciating Our Parents.”
• The Rhino version had alternate takes of the host segments. Always interesting to see which take they chose and which ended up on the cutting room floor.
• Dr. F says “Enjoy!” like Dr. Erhardt again.
• Short 1 was one of those instant classics that just struck a chord with the fans.
• During the first short, Joel says something odd: “That’s when the kids came up with a plan to blackmail Mrs. Reedy!” Where does that name come from? We know Joel knows the teacher’s name is Miss Martin, because he says it a few lines later. Is that a reference to something?
• Tom seems scandalized by Joel’s reference to VPL.
• Crow is still gnarled when they go into the theater, but during short 2 he says “I better go freshen up,” walks off, about three riffs go by without him, and then he returns good as new.
• During the segment 1, there’s a shot of the SOL bridge piled high with junk. Many of the items are past invention exchanges.
• At the end of segment 1, Gypsy breaks the button.
• In segment 2, the “artists renderings” make another appearance, only to be immediately rejected.
• In segment 2, Tom says “perfap…er…perhaps.” They keep going.
• Some techies may be amused by the appearance of an early version of the Video Toaster. It must have been fun ro use but, from a present-day perspective, it doesn’t seem that impressive. Maybe they were just not very good at it using it, but most of the images are pretty fuzzy and hard to make out.
• One other note about segment 2: the shot of Tor Johnson that is used over and over is at the very very end of the movie. Another example of them using a moment from the movie they are familiar with because they’ve seen it nine times, but that we aren’t because we’re still in the middle.
• Instant catchphrase: “Time for go to bed!”
• In segment 3 there’s a little Tom Servo figure among all the crap on the table. Where’d that come from?
• Tom and Crow are already there when Joel arrives back in the theater. Another example of Tom making it to the theater on his own.
• Cast and crew roundup: Editor Richard Currier also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast.” In front of the camera, Myron Healey was also in “The Incredible Melting Man.” Arthur Batanides was also in “The Leech Woman.” Harry Fleer was also in “Tormented.” John Carradine was also in “Red Zone Cuba” and Tor Johnson was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.”
• CreditsWatch: Barb Oswald was prop assistant for her third and last time this season (was SHE responsible Joel’s invention exchange?). She’d be back for a couple of episodes in season four. Jef Maynard gets credit for “Paint Box Artistry” which I assume means he was able to figure out the Video Toaster better than anybody else.
• Fave riff from short 1: “She should just go home to bed.” Honorable mention: “Yes, very much so.”
• Fave riff from short 2: “Well, I isolated that nucleotide today…” “Honorable mention: “Dad pulls the lever at the big house.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Stop fighting and give me some skin!”
Note: As we have done in the past, we will skip episode 321- SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (next in the rotation) and do it in the holiday season.

More Streaming Eps

Two fan-favorite episodes have been added to Shout! Factory TV: episode 424- Manos: The Hands of Fate and episode 512- Mitchell.

And this is several-weeks-old news (sorry, work has been crazy), but over at the official MST3k Youtube site, they’ve added an annotated version of episode 519- Outlaw As always if you have additions or corrections, post them there not here.

Reviews Coming In for New ‘Vol. 1’

Our pal Bruce Westbrook has one

So do our friends at… has one

And so does…

Weekend Discussion Thread: Introducing the Show to Millenials

Alert regular Jaybird suggests:

What about a discussion of everyone’s experiences trying to introduce younger people to MST3K. I had a mortifying experience along those lines recently, and it made me realize just how hard it is for the average millennial to relate to a show like MST3K. Most of these people have grown up being able to pick and choose exactly what they want to watch, and the methods of delivery they usually use (Netflix and other online streaming, Red Box rentals, etc) all heavily favor more recent shows and movies. With a few notable exceptions, most of these people have never seen a complete movie that is more than about ten years old, so the experience of sitting down in front of a creature feature show and watching a bad old movie with your wisecracking friends (which is what MST3K is meant to remind you of) is about as foreign to them as putting a quarter in a Kinetoscope machine. As a result, the genius of MST3K’s humor is almost completely lost on them, not to mention the now-dated references, and the whole experience leaves them completely cold. I’m just curious to know if anyone else has similar stories to share.

I would add what Kevin Murphy has noted a few times: that it seems as if when millennials are presented with a black and white movie, it’s like they’re simply unable to see anything on the screen at all.

Of course there are exceptions, and I would assume that any millennial who visits this site is a good example of one. But have you noticed this kind of attitude in your cohorts?

Episode guide: 319- War of the Colossal Beast (with short: ‘Mr. B. Natural’)

Short: (1957) A shrill, androgynous succubus urges a gawky middle schooler to take up a musical instrument.
Movie: (1958) When giant Glenn from “The Amazing Colossal Man,” now a deranged and disfigured monster, is spotted in Mexico, his worried sister tries to save him.

First shown: 11/30/91
Opening: J&tB come up with new names for Mex-American food combos
Invention exchange: The Mads have invented the breakfast bazooka, while Joel shows off his between-meal mortar
Host segment 1: Tom and Crow debate the topic “Mr. B. Natural: man or woman?”
Host segment 2: J&tB are singing the Big Head song when Glen revisits
Host segment 3: Joel presents “KTLA predicts!”
End: Joel offers the bots samples of his special bread, Joel reads a letter then Glen reads one; Frank gets another breakfast shot at him
Stinger: That’s a happy king?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (116 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)

• If there was ever an episode where the short outshines the feature, this is it. But, that being said, this was one of those times where I was expecting to struggle through the movie but was pleasantly surprised. Instead of the dull slog I remembered from previous viewings, I found it pretty entertaining and the riffing was pretty consistently good. The host segments are more good than bad as well. This really is a fun episode all around.
• Ah, Mister B. Calling it a classic short isn’t enough. It is probably the most famous of all the shorts the show presented and maybe the most watched 20 or so minutes of the entire series. I practically have the thing memorized. (Note: I admit to stealing the phrase “shrill succubus” from the ACEG. It’s just too perfect a description.)
• Can I just mention, however, that the short is in horrible shape? Mr. B’s arrival in the kid’s home has been spliced out, for example. It was probably hilarious, and therefore somebody cut it out of the print and kept it for his or her own collection of goofy footage. A lot of classic moments in movies have been lost to anonymous “collectors” savaging the only remaining copy of a particular movie.
• That being said, thanks to RiffTrax, we now know that a pristine, un-chopped-up copy of the short exists—it’s the one they used when RiffTrax re-riffed it.
• The short was filmed at the Waukegan (Illinois) Elementary School and Miami (Ohio) Sr. High School.
• Betty Luster, who played Mr. B, had a brief TV career in the early 1950s. Her first TV job was on the CBS show “Sing It Again” (1950-51), which was a game show similar to “Name That Tune.” Her second TV gig was on the NBC show “Seven at Eleven,” which was only on the air for one month in 1951.
• For a long time I wondered what the target audience of this short was. It couldn’t be the kids. It couldn’t be the school music teacher. Recently, it hit me: It’s for the PARENTS! The music teacher probably was paid to show this during parent-teacher night.
• In the segment 1, Joel says “bogart” instead of “robot.” They just keep going.
• The military guy says the river below Boulder Dam is “a mile deep in some places.” WHAT??
• The Big Head makes another appearance in segment 2.
• The gibberish Joel shouts at the end of segment 3 comes from the chaotic labels of a product known as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap–still available at your local health food store. There’s an explanation of this stuff here.
• Movie comment: Why didn’t they keep Glenn sedated once they got him into the hangar? (I know, they wanted to have the exciting escape scene).
• Callback: McCloud! (Pod People)
• Of course, this movie is known for the 30 seconds of color at the end, triggered by Glenn grabbing the power lines. Did Bert I. really think this was going to help the movie somehow?
• This is one of two MSTed movies (522- TEENAGE CRIME WAVE is the other) that ends at L.A.’s Griffith Observatory.
• Cast and crew roundup: Set designer Maury Hoffman also worked on “I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Assistant director/production manager Herbert E. Mendelson also worked on “The Magic Sword.” Sound mixer Ben Winkler also worked on “The She-Creature.” The voice of monster Glenn’s was provided by the great Paul Frees. We’ll hear his voice again in “The Sword and the Dragon” and “The Deadly Mantis.” By the way, he was the director and script writer for “The Beatniks.” George Becwar also appears in “Bride of the Monster.” George Milan also appears in “Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders.” Roy Gordon also appears in “The Unearthly.” Dean Duncan Parkin, who played Glen the monster, also was help behind the scenes of “The Beginning of the End”… he was a grasshopper wrangler!
• CreditsWatch: This was intern Cindy Hansen’s last episode. Trace and Frank are still “villians” and Dr. F’s name is still “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff from the short: “Mom, Dad? Tell me you heard that!” Honorable mention: “Forget music! I wanna dance!”
• Fave riff from the movie: “My nurse fell down his throat!” Also: “Hee Haw, it’s Sam Wainwright!” “Sir, you just described ME!”

A Couple of Mr. B Promo Pics

Banu Gibson, wife of Buzz Podewell, was recently archiving some of his old pictures and came across these two “Mr. B Natural” promo shots. She was kind enough to send them to us.

Mr B Natural w_director Mr B Natural on the clef

Says Banu: “Buzz never answered emails or inquiries regarding if that was him in the short. He wasn’t interested in that kind of attention but the posts after his death were so touching and lovely I thought I would share [these photos] in case anyone would be interested. By the way, those are Buzz’s real parents who play his parents.”

Thanks to Banu for sharing with us!

Weekend Discussion Thread: Your MST3K-Themed Restaurant or Bar

An alert reader suggests:

Have we ever had a WDT of “Name your MST3K bar or restaurant”?

I would have a bar called Beer on the Sun, kind of a weird Canadian/Jimmy Buffet hybrid. Then again, “Beer on the Sun” is pretty much my answer for everything.

What would your pick be?