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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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Episode guide: 902- The Phantom Planet

Movie: (1961) An astronaut crashes on a planet inhabited by tiny people. After he shrinks down to their size, he learns they are at war with an aggressive neighboring planet.

First shown: 3/21/98
Opening: Crow and Tom challenge Mike to an Andy Rooney-off
Intro: Pearl’s World Domination Starter Kit arrives from Speigel, but the all-important “thing” has been mis-delivered to the SOL
Host segment 1: Mike and Tom focus their attention on the Good and the Beautiful
Host segment 2: Mike slips Crow’s mind; spooky sounds in Castle Forrester turn out to be less than other-worldly
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom, having taken up water glass rim music, invite Mike to try it, and soon regret that they did
End: Crow is baffled and enraged by his Solarite costume; Pearl despairs of taking over the world until torch-wielding neighbors arrive
Stinger: The “Good and the Beautiful” are extolled
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (171 votes, average: 4.07 out of 5)
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• If I choose to focus my attention on the good and the beautiful, as I should, there’s much to enjoy in this episode. First of all, the movie. I love these rocketship movies. They’re my favorite genre of MST3K movie (giant bug movies are a close second). And this one is just pure cheese from start to finish, complete with the obligatory flock of Fiddle Faddle asteroids, “Lost in Space” quality sets and squarejawed white guys piloting the space ships. The riffing is great in this one too. The host segments are hit-and-miss, but generally it’s a fun episode.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 8.
• Bill’s observations on this one are here.
• The “good and the beautiful” speech became an instant hit in internet MSTie forums.
• The Andy Rooney-off classic is a classic bit that sounds like something that started as a friendly competition in the writing room.
• After the sound problem in last week’s episode, I couldn’t help noticing that the sound on this one is also a little echoey, but not enough to be distracting or any kind of problem.
• Then-current reference: Anna Nichole Smith, then young and sexy, is presented as an example of “the beautiful.” What a long time ago that was.
• The effect of Mike floating away in segment 2 looks very nice. The spooky sounds bit, however, is one of those “long walk for a little joke” things they sometimes get themselves into.
• Take note: The Francis X. Bushman character is named Sesom: that’s Moses spelled backwards!
• “I should really just relax” item of the week: Hey, suddenly Tom’s hands work in segment 3!
• The bit at the end where Crow again goes insane is similar to the several previous bits, including the Bellerian bit in Space Mutiny, but Bill commits and it works anyway.
• That’s Patrick, Peter Rudrud and Beez as the voices of the scalded villagers.
• On my Rhino disk, the stinger cuts out about two seconds too soon. Does anybody else’s do that or did I get a defect?
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer-screenwriter-story guy Fred Gebhardt also did “12 to the Moon.” Production designer Robert Kinoshita also worked on “Viking Women.” Assistant director/production supervisor Maurice Vaccarino also worked on “The Screaming Skull” and “Teenage Caveman.” Assistant producer/editor Hugo Grimaldi also worked on “First Spaceship on Venus,” “Human Duplicators and “Hercules and the Captive Women.” Editor Donald Wolfe also worked on Human Duplicators. Special effects guy Louis DeWitt also worked on “Viking Women.” Special effects guy Charles R. Duncan also worked on “The Crawling Hand” and “Slime People.” Costumer Oscar Rodriguez also worked on “The Magic Sword” and “I Was A Teenage Werewolf.” Set designer Joseph Kish also worked on “The Rebel Set.” Sound mixer Al Overton also worked “Screaming Skull,” “Earth Vs. the Spider” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches.” Score composer Gordon Zahler also worked on “First Spaceship to Venus,” “Hecules and the Captive Women, “Human Duplicators” and “Women of the Prehistoric Planet.”
In front of the camera: Coleen Gray was also in “The Leech Woman.” Anthony Dexter was also in “12 to the Moon” and “Firemaidens From Outer Space.” Dolores Faith was also in “Human Duplicators. Francis X. Bushman was also in “12 to the Moon,” as was Richard Weber. Lori Lyons was also in “Human Duplicators. Richard Kiel was also in “The Magic Sword,” “Human Duplicators” and “Eegah.” Marvin Miller is also in “King Dinosaur” and “Day the Earth Froze.” Leon D. Selznick was also in “Hercules and the Captive Women. Gloria Moreland was also in “The Rebel Set.”
• CreditsWatch: Produced and directed by Kevin. Brad gets another credit–Technical Supervisor. This would be intern Todd Severson’s last of two shows. The “Teachers of America” are again thanked at the end of the credits, but after this they are gone for good.
• Fave riff: “Thank you for attending pleated skirt day here at Combat Rod Park.” Honorable mention: “So you can just take a hard left in space?”

This Date in MSTory

1879: Lev Davidovich Bronshtein a.k.a. Leon Trotsky, about whom Gypsy prepared a report in a host segment in episode 510- THE PAINTED HILLS.
1889: Mikhail Troyanovsky, who played the soothsayer in the movie “Sampo” seen in episode 422- THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE and Trifon in the movie “Sadko” seen in episode 505- THE MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD.
1890: Fred Morgan, still photographer for the movie WORLD WITHOUT END, riffed in MST3K’s first live show.
1903: Dean Jagger, who played Carl Webster in the movie in episode 305- STRANDED IN SPACE.
1903: Georgi Millyar, who played the sorcerer in the movie “Sampo,” seen in episode 422- THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE and the witch in the movie “Morozko,” seen in episode 813- JACK FROST.
1907: Thomas Browne Henry, who played Col. Tom Sturgeon in the movie in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END and Capt. Fletcher in the movie in episode 805- THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE.
1907: Gerald Gibbs, cinematographer for the movie in episode 818- DEVIL DOLL.
1908: Theodore Lydecker, who did the special effects for the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON and the season four serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM.
1919: Aline Towne, who played Joan Gilbert in the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1925: John Stratton, who played Victor in the movie in episode 807- TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000.
1929: Richard Viktorov, director/screenwriter of the movie “Cherez Ternii K Zvyozdam,” seen in episode K11- HUMANOID WOMAN.
1933: Mort Fallick, editor for the short LAST CLEAR CHANCE, seen in episode 520- RADAR SECRET SERVICE.*
1938: Barry Newman, who played Frank Whitman in the movie in episode K16- CITY ON FIRE.*

1970: Edward Curtiss (age 72), editor of the movie in episode 805- THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE.
1976: Clarence Eurist (age 70), production supervisor for the movie in episode 107- ROBOT MONSTER.
1984: George Mathews (age 73), who played the guardian angel in the short X MARKS THE SPOT, seen in episode 210- KING DINOSAUR.

1993: Episode 514- TEEN-AGE STRANGLER (with the short IS THIS LOVE?) first shown.
1997: Episode 820- SPACE MUTINY first shown.

1951: Ava Gardner, who played Maggie Grayson in the movie in episode K16- CITY ON FIRE, married Frank Sinatra.

This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2013 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.

Turkey Month Sale at Shout! Factory

To celebrate MST3K’s 25th anniversary, Shout! Factory is holding a MST3K 25th Anniversary Turkey Month (Sale) Marathon. From now through November 25, each weekday at 9 am PST, a different MST3K box set will be offered for sale at a deep discount for one day only (offers posted on Fridays will stay up all weekend). Shout! will not be announcing which box is on sale ahead of time, so you’ll need to check the site daily.

Once you’ve ordered that particular day’s box set — and we’d appreciate it if you’d use the above links if you do — you’ll be able to purchase specially selected Shout! Factory Select MST3K single discs at the deeply discounted price of $7.99 each. You can buy multiple titles in one order, but you can only order a maximum of one copy of each Shout Select title each day. You’ll also receive free shipping on your order every time you purchase one of the MST3K boxes included in the promotion.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the new 25th Anniversary Edition box will not be included in the sale.

Mary Jo Begins Kickstarter Campaign for ‘Awesome Music.’

Mary Jo has started up a Kickstarter campaign to create “an album of original songs that pay homage to bad movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

Follow the link for more info.

We’re Back (?) — Take Two

It appears kidnapping several family members of our host company’s CEO did the trick and they have resolved our issues.

Again, the open thread for reports from last weekend’s Cinematic Titanic shows is here.

And if you didn’t get a chance to offer your two cents in our weekend discussion thread, it’s here.

MST3K Article in Screem Magazine


Screem Magazine issue 27 celebrates 25 years of MST3K with a cover article co-written and produced by our pal Daniel Griffith at Ballyhoo Motion Pictures. The issue features interviews with Joel Hodgson and ten directors whose films were parodied on the program. Issue 27 streets in stores on Nov. 6th, but is now available for purchase at

Odds and Ends

Just a couple of miscellaneous items that don’t belong anywhere:

“Lesley” at has a nice long piece about what MST3K has meant to her life, and how she reacted to meeting her idols recently.

RiffTrax writer Conor Lastowka has written a book called “Gone Whalin’.” I will not even begin to try to explain the premise but I can’t wait to read it. And when Conor needed a good voice for his Youtube promo video, the choice was clear:

We’re Back (We Think)…So, How Were the Shows?

The site has been down all weekend, but we’re back (maybe). (You can still contribute to the Weekend Discussion Thread, by the way.)

While we were gone, Cinematic Titanic did three shows in New England.

Nick A. Zaino III at The Boston Globe had a story on Saturday — and if you can figure out a way to get past their paywall, it’s here.

This is an open thread for reports from this weekend’s shows.

Weekend Discussion Thread: MSTed Movies that Maybe Are a Little TOO Good

As I said in this week’s episode guide, “The Projected Man,” while no “Citizen Kane,” might almost have been TOO good for MST3K. I think they got a little excited about Bryant Haliday being in the movie and didn’t think much further.

So is there there a MSTed movie you think might be a little too good? What do you think got the Brains thinking it was good fodder?

Now Available from RiffTrax...


See a sample or download it here.