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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 Best Brains, Inc. and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

And be sure to visit Cinematic Titanic by Joel Hodgson and other original MST3K cast members.

And don't forget about rifftrax.com, the place to download DVD commentaries by Michael J. Nelson.

And check out the official web site of Joel Hodgson.

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This Date in MSTory

BORN TODAY
1899: Risto Orko, producer of the movie “Sampo,” seen in episode 422- THE DAY THE EARTH FROZE.
1904: Tom Conway, who played Timothy Chappel in the movie in episode 808- THE SHE-CREATURE and Dr. Feodor Orloff in the movie in episode 524- 12 TO THE MOON.
1904: Sheilah Graham, who played Sister Grace in the movie in episode 601- GIRLS TOWN.
1910: Shukur Burkhanov, who played Tsar Kalin in the movie “Ilya Muromets,” seen in episode 617- THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON.
1913: Paul Radin, producer of the movie in episode K09- PHASE IV.
1922: Glenn Corbett, who played Barney Stetson in the movie in episode 610- THE VIOLENT YEARS.
1925: Julius “Nipsey” Russell, of whom Crow did an impression in a host segment in episode 502- HERCULES,
1928: Henry Silva, who played Lloyd Wrangler in the movie “Escape from the Bronx,” seen in episode 705- ESCAPE 2000.*
1940: Merlin Olsen, who played Benton the butler in the movie in episode 512- MITCHELL.
1941: John Reynolds, who played Torgo in the movie in episode 424- MANOS, THE HANDS OF FATE.

DIED TODAY
1961: Harry Tyler (age 73), who played a Manhattan tunnel spectator in the movie in episode 804- THE DEADLY MANTIS.
1979: Tommy Leonetti (age 50), who appeared in the movie in episode 420- THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS.
1979: Gerald Roberts (age 70), music editor for the movie in episode 912- THE SCREAMING SKULL.
1986: Virginia Gregg (age 70), who played the ward administrator in the movie in episode 305- STRANDED IN SPACE.
1989: Michael Klinger (age 68), producer of the movie in episode 901- THE PROJECTED MAN.
1991: John Hoyt (age 85), who played Michael Rostov in the movie in episode 208- LOST CONTINENT.
1994: Henry Wills (age 73), who played a man on the dock in the movie in episode 324- MASTER NINJA II.
1997: Ivan Reiner (age 86), producer of the movie THE GREEN SLIME, riffed in MST3K’s pilot.
2007: Brett Somers (age 83), of whom Crow did an impression in a host segment in episode 502- HERCULES.

EVENTS
1994: The MST3K cast performs the first of three live riffings of the movie THIS ISLAND EARTH, at the State Theater in Minneapolis, on the eve of the MST3K CONVENTIOCON EXPOFEST-A-RAMA. This performance is mostly for locals, as con attendees were just beginning to arrive.
1998: Rhino Home Video releases “Poopie!: Mystery Science Theater 3000 Official Outtakes Reel” on VHS.


This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2014 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.

Mike Interview

Kristen Lopez of CinemaSentries.com interviews Mike ahead of next month’s “Anaconda” RiffTrax Live.

This Date in MSTory

BORN TODAY
1908: Alan Reynolds, who played a lieutenant in the movie in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END.
1914: Clayton Moore, who played thug Graber in the season one serial RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON.
1915: Douglas Kennedy, who played Joey Faust in the movie in episode 623- THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN.
1916: James H. Nicholson, founder of American International Pictures and co-executive producer of the nine MSTed movies including those in episodes 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN and 809- I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF.
1921: Henry Wills, who played a man on the dock in the movie in episode 324- MASTER NINJA II.
1926: Alejandro Ulloa, cinematographer for the movie “Operation Kid Brother,” seen in episode 508- OPERATION DOUBLE 007.
1927: Martin Caidin, who wrote the original story for the movie in episode 401- SPACE TRAVELERS.
1943: Kei’ichi Noda, who provided the voice of the monster Zigra in the movie in episode 316- GAMERA VS. ZIGRA.*
1952: Martyn Burke, writer, director and producer of the movie in episode K20- THE LAST CHASE.*

DIED TODAY
1968: Melville Shyer (age 72), assistant director of the movies in episodes 203- JUNGLE GODDESS and 517- BEGINNING OF THE END.
1969: James Anderson (age 48), who played Boyd Abercrombie in the movie in episode 805- THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE.
1972: Lane Chandler (age 73), who played Darius in the season four serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM.
1983: Alberto aka Albert Dalbes (age 61), who played the villain in the movie “Il Raggio Infernale,” seen in episode 620- DANGER!! DEATH RAY.
1986: Gordon McLendon (age 65), executive producer for the movie 407- THE KILLER SHREWS, in which he also played Dr. Radford Baines. McLendon also produced the movie in episode 402- THE GIANT GILA MONSTER.
1988: Louis Quinn (age 73), who played Samuel Tallman in the movie in episode 618- HIGH SCHOOL BIG SHOT.
1999: Charles Crichton (age 89), who directed the two episodes of “Space: 1999″ in the movie in episode K10- COSMIC PRINCESS.
2004: Dakkar, aka Dakar, (age 84), who was seen in a flashback (as “High Priest of the Spider” in the movie “Ator, the Fighting Eagle”) in the movie in episode 301- CAVE DWELLERS.**
2009: Best Brains’ favorite Patrick Swayze (age 57), who was saluted in Crow’s song “Let’s Have A Patrick Swayze Christmas” in a host segment in episode 321- SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS.
2010: Caterina Boratto (age 95), who played Lady Clark in the movie in episode 1013- DIABOLIK.


This Date in MSTory is written and compiled by Steve Finley, Chris Cornell and Brian Henry. Copyright © 2014 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.

New VOD Title from RiffTrax…

SwordAndSorcerer_WebA3

See a sample or download it here.

Weekend Discussion Thread: Laughing at MST3K at the Wrong Moment

This one’s been sitting in the cue for a couple of years:

Have you ever had MST playing in the background while you were ‘fooling’ around with your wife, husband, or significant other and started laughing at an inopportune time when you heard a funny line?
Klisch

Well, no, Klisch, but let’s expand this. MST3K is available on YouTube and Hulu (and Retro TV!), plus of course the many DVDs that are out there, so there really are lots of chances to be watching it at, say, work, or school, only to laugh at the wrong moment. I gotta tell you, I have had several instances of watching the show at work and having to desperately stifle my hilarity inside my cubicle.

I suspect others have had this experience. Tell us about it!

(And keep sending those topics!)

Episode guide: K16- City On Fire

Movie: (1979) A disgruntled former refinery worker starts a city-wide conflagration and a star-studded cast, each with their own subplot, must cope with the disaster.

First shown: 3/19/89
Opening: The Mad Scientist League threatens to revoke Dr. F. and Dr. E.’s licenses. Seems they’re merely “mildly peeved researchers.”
Host segment 1: Servo and Crow pull the old “telescope black eye” prank on Joel
Host segment 2: Joel demonstrates his new anti-theft device, “hell in a handbag”
Host segment 3: J&TB perform a military cadence
End: Joel again shows the stuff you get when you join the MST3K Fan Club
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (86 votes, average: 4.07 out of 5)
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References.
• The “hell in a handbag” invention in segment 2 would be re-used in episode 103- MAD MONSTER.
• The Brains apparently thought they had done some of their best work in this episode. Portions of segments 1 and 3 and a couple of segments of theater riffing (the “good morning!” sequence and the childbirth scene) were included on the compilation pitch tape that sold the show to The Comedy Channel. That compilation tape was included on the “MST3K Scrapbook” tape that was sold to fans by the Info Club.
• A portion of segment 3 also appeared in the Comedy Central special “This is MST3K.”
• A commercial advertising Joel Hodgson’s stand-up comedy act (with a voice over by Kevin Murphy) aired during the original broadcast of this episode, and is included in many fan copies.
• This is the first reference to the “Mad Scientists League” that is forever checking up on Dr. F and, later, Pearl.
• Local reference: “I haven’t been in research since I was at the U doing kitchen cabinet analysis for Ken Keller’s house.” Keller was president of the University of Minnesota–known in the Twin Cities as, simply, “the U”–in the 80s. He was nice enough to reply to an email I sent him and explain the joke.

“In 1988, renovations to the university president’s house (Eastcliff) were the hot scandal of the day with lots of talk about a $600,000 kitchen. Aside from the fact that there was no such kitchen (that was the price of the whole renovation, but that’s a longer story), it made great headlines for a couple of months. Since I was the president at the time, the headlines were about me and “my house.” So Twin Citians at the time would have known the reference.
Never thought of hiring researchers to do the kitchen cabinet analysis. We did it the old-fashioned way: you buy the cabinets and you hang them.”

• There’s no “movie sign” sequence at the beginning of the movie. It goes right from the Mads, into the movie.
• In the theater, Joel and Servo start talking at the same moment, but this time Joel doesn’t give way and finishes his joke. Instead, it’s Servo who gives way. Joel asks him what he was going to say. Servo tells him what it was (it isn’t very funny). Joel says “I’m glad I interrupted you.” Crow adds: “Hey, we’re beginning to annoy ourselves! Cool!”
• Crow mistakenly identifies the kid who starts the fire as Brandon Cruz of “Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” He does look a little like Cruz, but it’s actually another child actor, Steven Chaikelson. He had a very short career, and with his terrible acting in this movie, you can see why. By the way, the little girl playing his sister Debbie is his real-life sister Janice. Her career was a little longer–but not much.
• You can see that Henry Fonda and Ava Gardner pretty much phoned their parts in. Probably were on the set for a day or two at most.
• It’s almost spring in Minneapolis and it was a balmy 34 degrees when the show started, moving up to 35 later on.
• Coming back from Segment 1, the Barry Newman character is talking about unintelligible symbols and Joel says “sounds like viewer mail.” Wow he’s only started getting mail for a few weeks and he’s already jaded?
• The sound mixing is a little rough in this one: during some of the louder movie scenes it’s hard to hear the riffers.
• After segment 3, Joel again runs down the hallway and is run over by Cambot.
• Servo uses the term “kindler gentler”–a popular, if mistaken, phrase in 1989.
• Crow sneezes in the theater.
• Cast and crew roundup: Special effects guy Thomas L. Fisher, sound effects editor Dennis Drummond, sound recording mixer David Appleby and dialogue editor Martin Ashbee all also worked on “The Last Chase.” In front of the camera, we’ll see James Franciscus again in “Space Travelers.”
• CreditsWatch: Todd Ziegler gets the director credit. Brian Funk is listed as an “additional” writer. Alexander Carr gets the audio credit. Clayton James would do makeup for this episode and the rest of the season.
• Fave riff: “Boil some newspapers! ” Honorable mention: “It’s the creature from the gross lagoon.”

Richard Kiel, RIP

kiel FRESNO, Calif.–Richard Kiel, whose towering height and distinctive baritone voice defined his nearly 50-year career in television and films, most notably as the steely toothed James Bond villain Jaws, died at a hospital here Sept. 10. He was 74.
MSTies will remember him as Dr. Kolos in the movie in episode 420- THE HUMAN DUPLICATORS, the Solarite in the movie in episode 902- THE PHANTOM PLANET and, of course, for the title role in the movie in episode 506- EEGAH!

Entertainment Weekly has an obituary.

Frank & Trace at Scare-A-Con This Weekend

Frank and Trace will be guests at Scare-A-Con Friday through Saturday, Sept. 12-14, at the Turning Stone resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y. The will do a panel on Friday night and another one on Saturday morning. More info here.

Weekend Discussion Thread: ‘Say What?’

A certain regular who asked not to be named opines:

[Recently], several of us [commenters in a certain thread] were commenting about how silly the spam messages were, which you’ve since deleted. They sounded like something weirdly translated into English, and I said this might be a good WDT, perhaps call it, “Say WHAT?” — sentences spoken by an MST3K character that make no sense whatsoever. I don’t mean sentences that are hard to hear or understand, like Buffalo Bill’s “New England journalists!” in “Riding with Death” (which I think was a redneck accented way of saying, “You act like you’re enjoying this,” by the way).

My “Say what??” would be from “Agent for H.A.R.M.” when Adam Chance says, “You think you can’t get hurt, Doctor, because this is America? Apple pie and all that jazz? Well, it’s my job to keep the pie on the table, and nobody asks me how I do it!” Why pie? Why does Chance have to keep it on the table? Where else would it be? My brain hurts…

I’ve got a classic: “Flag on the moon. How did it get there?” WHA? Ya wanna unpack that one for me, there, Coleman, buddy?

What’s your pick?

New Short from RiffTrax…

WizardsChallenge_Poster

See a sample or download it here.