Q: Which way did the 'bots face when they were in the theater? It looks to me like Crow was actually facing away from the screen.
A: The 'bots, in addition to Mike or Joel, faced toward the screen, with their backs to Cambot and the audience. What you are seeing is an optical illusion that many people have reported.

Q: Why can't we see through Tom Servo's head in the theater?
A: Puppet doubles were used for filming the theater segments. These doubles were painted black (Crow's double was used as the evil dark specter Timmy in episode 416- Firemaidens from Outer Space and Tom's double was seen as the "planetarium" Tom in episode 609- Skydivers). The doubles made better outlines for the final mix and didn't glare back at the camera.

Q: Was Servo's head always painted black?
A: No. In the KTMA episodes, the original 'bots played their own parts in the theater segments, not stand-ins, and the movie could be seen through Servo's head.

Q: How does Tom Servo see when he has no eyes?
A: The REAL answer to this question is: It's just a show, you should really just relax. But if you'd like to pretend Tom is real, over the years there have been several comments about his bubble-head being some sort of visual sensory device.

Q: Why does Tom Servo's head look like a cylinder in several season two episodes?
A: There are both "on-screen" and "off-screen" reasons:
On screen, Servo was given a "haircut" in episode
205- Rocket Attack USA.
Off screen, using a different kind of candy dispenser as Tom's head was an experiment to see if they could find a way to have Servo block less of the movie screen. It was abandoned after a few episodes and the old Servo head returned. (Note: that model of candy dispenser is also available at the many of the same places you can get the standard "Servo head" model.)

Q: Sometimes Tom Servo's hands were pinkish and sometimes they were white. Why?
A: Servo hands were created from a mold. For some episodes, ex-Toolmaster Jef didn't paint them.

Q: As we know, Tom Servo got around by use of his hoverskirt. Why did he need to be carried into the theater by Joel/Mike?
A: There are both "on-screen" and "off-screen" reasons:
The on-screen reason is explained in episode
110- Robot Holocaust: Servo reminded Joel to carry him over a ventilation grate that was apparently in the floor at or near the entrance of the theater. Mike was also informed of this fact in episode 513- The Brain That Wouldn't Die, his first episode as host. Apparently, Servo's hoverskirt had difficulty providing enough force to carry him over the grate on his own, although he did it on a few occasions.
The off-screen reason: When they entered the theater, Joel/Mike could walk in, and Trace/Bill could slide over with Crow from the right, but Josh/Kevin had to be already sitting in Tom Servo's spot. So Joel/Mike had to carry Tom Servo in and hand him to Josh/Kevin, and carry him out at the end.

Q: How many times did Tom Servo's head explode?
A: Four (not counting various times when he was just generally blown up or his head has fallen off or apart). Tom's head first exploded trying to think of a good thing about episode 105- The Corpse Vanishes. In episode 107- Robot Monster, it happened while he was trying to make sense of the fact that bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly. In episode 211- First Spaceship on Venus, his sarcasm sequencer overloaded. And in episode 419- Rebel Set, it happened because he was trying to figure out who Merritt Stone was.
And while it really wasn't an explosion, Tom's head suffered a serious meltdown in the theater during
318- Star Force: Fugitive Alien II.
Tom also suffered some explosions in
MST3K: The Movie.

Q: Why did Gypsy talk that way? Was she stupid? And why didn't she watch the movies with M&TB?
A: Within the premise of the show, Gypsy was probably the most sophisticated robot on the SOL. She was responsible for controlling all the "higher functions" of the ship, so that M&TB could watch the movies without worrying about it. She talked that way because all of her brain power was being used up in controlling the ship, and she has very little left over for normal conversation. In episode 207- Wild Rebels, she shut down most of the ship's functions for a little while in order to have a regular conversation, and she spoke perfectly normally (while Joel gasped for oxygen). She does not watch the movies, again, because she is busy elsewhere.

Q: Gypsy seemed to get smarter over the years, didn't she?
A: Like all the 'bots, Gypsy went through a complex personal evolution. Certainly the wise, loving Gypsy of later seasons was not the dopey, almost pet-like Gypsy we knew in season one. But then, you're probably smarter than you were 15 years ago, too, aren't you?

Q: Could Gypsy enter the theater?
A: Yes. Gypsy entered the theater in three episodes. She made brief appearances in the theater in episode 112- Untamed Youth and episode 207- Wild Rebels. Her longest appearance in the theater was in episode 412- Hercules and the Captive Women, when she actually participated in the experiment for awhile, before fleeing the horrible movie.
It should also be noted that in the opening credits for the
KTMA episodes it was Gypsy, not Servo, who was shown in the theater with Joel and Crow.

Q: Who is this Richard Basehart that Gypsy is so fond of?
A: He was a veteran movie and TV actor, perhaps best remembered as Admiral Nelson on TV's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."
The Richard Basehart thing on
MST3K was basically a running gag that started in episode 101- The Crawling Eye: Joel asked Gypsy what 2 + 2 equals. She responded with a complete non-sequitur: "Richard Basehart." 

Q: Why do we never see Cambot?
A: Because we are seeing the proceedings through his eyes. We can only see him if he looks into a mirror (as he does during the opening theme from seasons two through seven).

Q: Why is it that, in the opening credits of episodes 201 to 512, Cambot's image in the mirror looks straight ahead and then pans left, but the camera's point of view keeps pointing straight ahead and does not turn?
A: It's just a show, you should really just relax.

Q: What were the robots made of?
A: A whole bunch of stuff! Here's the official list.

Crow was mostly made of sporting equipment and Tupperware:

  • Eyes and head -- His eyes were glow-in-the dark Ping-Pong balls; pupils were square bits of electrical tape. His head (around his eyes) was a soap dish manufactured by the Schwartz Plastics Co. of Glendale, CA. This soap dish is no longer made and is extremely difficult to find. The top of his head was a hockey mask (Cooper XL7FG).
  • Mouth -- A plastic bowling pin cut in half. It used to have a circular emblem with what appeared to be a stylized lower-case "e" imprinted in it, but later the ones with the shapes of crowns embedded in them were used.
  • Arms -- Adjustable desk lamp parts, with closed-cell foam tubing (the kind used to insulate water pipes) on the upper part. Flexible rubber tubing was used for the rest of the upper arm. Toy claws for hands.
  • Neck -- PVC and flexible rubber tubing.
  • Torso -- A Tupperware "Floralier" flower-arranging set, plus part of another set. This set is no longer made. The set consists of a tall conical vase that snaps into a short conical vase that then snaps onto a tray. Two trays, placed face-to-face, make his shoulders. The vases are below, turned upside down. A short section of drainage hose (the same type used for Gypsy, see below) separates the two trays.
  • Legs -- More lamp parts, like his arms.
  • The whole thing (except his eyes) was then spray-painted gold over its original plastic.

Tom Servo was mostly made of toys:

  • Head -- A gumball machine (surprise!) made by Carousel Industries and distributed by LEAF, Inc. of Lake Forest, IL.; the name for it is "Executive Snack Dispenser." Although it comes in red, the head and torso are painted to keep the same consistency in color. His beak was spray-painted silver after the manual dispenser handle was removed. Also, there was an added extension (made from the lid of another snack dispenser) between the top of his beak and the bottom of his globe.
  • Torso -- The barrel was a "Money Lover's Barrel Bank" -- a very difficult item to find. Chest was a toy engine block. Both items were later made from a mold.
  • Shoulders -- Eveready flashlight heads. The rest of the flashlight was used for Gypsy. (See below).
  • Arms -- Arm assembly from a "Mr. Moonie" or "C. More Bunz" doll. These dolls drop their pants and "moon" people when a rubber bladder is squeezed. Once hard to find, the "C. More Bunz" doll has been reissued by its manufacturer and can be bought at almost any Spencer's Gifts. The entire arm assembly, including the rubber bladder, was kept intact when installed into the barrel. One change made to the assembly, however, were the springs. Originally they were also kept intact, but in later seasons they were replaced with heavy duty springs that can be found at any hardware store.
  • Hands -- Doll hands. Another rare set of items that were later made from a mold.
  • Hoverskirt -- A plastic Halloween "Boo Bowl." The base was made of foam tubing. Black decorations were made from plastic that has been vacu-formed around a toy train.

Gypsy was made of household items:

  • Eye -- Eveready flashlight, minus the hood. See Tom Servo listing above.
  • Head -- "Century Infant Love Seat" from Century Products, Inc. No longer made. The top of the head was the outside of the seat turned upside down. The lower part was made from the inner liner of the seat and was connected to the top by a PVC tube.
  • Neck -- Black hose "drain tile."
  • Lips -- Light-blue foam tubing.

The Nanites are made of A/V items and assorted clips:

  • Head -- Plastic audio cassette tape box (not the tape itself).
  • Mouth -- Spring-loaded buckle from duffel bag strap.
  • Eyes -- Plastic lids from small containers. The pupils were small plastic washers.
  • Body -- VHS cassette with the tape and inner workings removed.
  • Body markings -- Scrap pieces of plastic cut into assorted shapes.
  • Legs -- House gutter clips. Marketed under the name "Fascia Fixer," the clips can be found in the gutter section of Menards and other hardware/home improvement stores.

The many faces of Cambot (whose appearance has changed several times over the course of the series)

  • Season 1: Some sort of metal part. Sphere in middle. (The original Gypsy from KTMA TV23 was made of parts which later became part of Comedy Channel's Cambot, but both robots have been revised since then.)
    Episode 201-512: Rotating alarm light on top. Neck was some sort of hose, a la Gypsy.
    Episodes 513-706: Two fruit ripening bowls joined to form a sphere. Battery from a pack of Polaroid film. Gypsy tubing.
    Episodes 810-1013: He got a new paint job that changed him from gray to blue. 

Q: Why does Cambot's appearance keep changing?
A: The on-camera reason has never been explained, but fans have plenty of humorous theories about it!
The off-camera reason is: Because Cambot has never appeared on the show, it was never necessary to keep him around. Once the footage for the opening theme was shot, he was usually taken apart and the parts used for other things. So every time a new "robot roll call" needed to be shot, it was decided, rather than recreate the old Cambot, to create something newer and more interesting. If this lack of consistency bothers you, this is not the show for you.

Q: I'm building robots. Where can I find parts?
A: All over the place! Tom Servo's gumball head can be found at Mr. Bulky's or other candy shops. You might want to look for various items at Everything's A Dollar store, where everything's a dollar (price check, Earl!). Another great place to look is in various thrift stores around town. Also, foam tubing and drainage tubing can be found at most home-improvement stores. Certain items became so hard to find that BBI created more copies by using molds of the originals. These items are:

  • Tom Servo -- His torso, including both the barrel bank and the engine block. In the words of Jef Maynard, ex-Toolmaster of BBI, the bank is "about as rare as kryptonite." Tom's hands are also reportedly impossible to find.
  • Crow -- The soap dish around his eyes is another extremely rare item. Also, Crow's main body is hard to find, since that Tupperware set is no longer made.

Q: Where can I find instructions for building the bots?
A: There are many web sites devoted to bot building, but we recommend joining the Yahoo! Groups botbuilders mailing list. Most of the people who run bot building sites participate, and you won't find a more knowlegeable group of builders anywhere...outside of former BBI staffers. And if you're looking for pre-built bots, the folks there can help you out.

Q: What is the Satellite of Love model made out of?
A: Actually, there were three models: the old four-foot model that was seen in the opening credits of seasons one through six and two others made specially for the feature film. One of them was another four-foot long model which has also been used for the opening credits of seasons seven and onwards. The other, an eight-footer (!) can be seen in the opening credits of MST3K: The Movie.
All the models were made out of foam core. Why? It's light, easy to work with, and BBI always seemed to have a lot of it around. In keeping with the idea of making the SOL look like a giant dog bone, a "soccer ball" construction of hexes and pents was used, because it was a fast way to build shapes that are sort of round. The surface action of the four-foot models is composed of many old model kit parts, along with whatever was on hand that looked good. Of course, model parts don't provide much detailing for an eight-foot model, so BBI covered it with a lot of tiny toys, many of which they got through the mail.

Q: What were some of the items that can be seen in the walls of the set in seasons two through seven?
A: During the early seasons, it was a popular fan pasttime to try to spot as many recognizable shapes in the set walls as possible. Here's the definitive list that was finally compiled:

There were seven panels and half-panels in the bridge set. What follows is a list by panel, numbered stage right to stage left:

  • Upper half of stage rightmost panel -- motorman's helper; potty seat; crescent wrench; badminton racquet; bendable Gumby doll (screwed on to wall through the "heart"); Hot Wheels storage case; flatware trays; LEGO carrying case; shoe lasts; model train tracks.
  • Lower half of stage rightmost panel -- Speak 'N' Spell; flower pots; plastic baseball bat; Tupperware grater; ice cube trays, toy jeep; plastic ketchup bottle.
  • Half panel stage right beneath window -- hair curlers; toy truck; toy golf club; ice cube trays; Hungry, Hungry Hippos game; toy pistol; Millennium Falcon model (this might also have been the action playset); film reel; Star Wars Snow Speeder.
  • Panel areas surrounding Hexfield Viewscreen -- flower pots; speaker; toy dinosaur; toy telephone; Trouble Pop O Matic game; toy trumpets; telephone handset; hair curlers; mouse exercise wheel; toy race car; baby rattle.
  • Also on stage right -- bendable Poky; Big Bird head; plastic bowling pins; Playskool ball with shaped holes in it that kids put shaped blocks into; egg tray; two clocks.
  • Pentagonal panel above door to theater -- flatware trays; kneepads; two potty seats; Hungry, Hungry Hippos game; plastic Christmas reindeer cut in half (upside down); front of a castle-shaped action toy playset; bird cage cut in half (one on each side).
  • Hexagonal panel with hose -- speaker; flatware tray; plastic dish drain rack; hair curlers; Jell-O mold; plastic baseball bats; half a plastic horse; toy trumpets and horns.
  • Half panel stage left under window -- toy ukulele; toy pistol; toy boat; hair curlers; bowling pin; ice cube tray; Darth Vader Action Figure Storage Case; small pitcher; small toy car.
  • Stage leftmost full panel with hose -- motorman's helper; toy push mower; Santa's head; toy trucks; bowling pin set; baby rattles; toy pistols; large flashlights; canteen; pitcher; toy brontosaurus; mug rack; toy fire truck; wrench; shoulder pads; flower pots; sections of slot car track; model train tracks.
  • Also on stage left -- Fozzy figure sitting in cup; Playskool shape-ball; toy fencing sword; plastic ladle; plastic toy shovel; toy boat; toy crane; two kitchen clocks (one is a large "sun"); kid's doctor kit case; baby's busybox.
  • Desk front -- two bird bath bases (upside down); whiffle ball; toy bowling ball; hair curlers; seven 35 mm cameras; one Polaroid camera; bird cage cut in half (one on each side); plastic angel; doll's face; toy bird whistle.
  • Controls on top of desk -- spray can tops (for the buttons).
  • All over the set -- assorted trays; drawer organizers; bowls; divided dinnet plates; cups; silverware drawer trays; heart-shaped bowls.

Q: What was the Mads' "techtronic panel" made out of?
A: A teletype machine.