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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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And check out the official web site of Joel Hodgson.

This Date in MSTory

1888: Joseph Boyle, assistant director for the movie in episode 414- TORMENTED.
1896: Howard Wright, who played Jake in the movie in episode 313- EARTH VS. THE SPIDER and a medical corps officer in the movie in episode 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST.
1897: St. Thérèse of Lisieux (age 24), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 815- AGENT FOR H.A.R.M.
1903: Laszlo Gorog, screenwriter for the movies in episodes 313- EARTH VS. THE SPIDER and 803- THE MOLE PEOPLE.
1907: Harry Bluestone, music supervisor for the movie in episode 407- THE KILLER SHREWS.
1911: Guy Kingsford, who played Mr. Koberly in the movie in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.
1932: Antoinette Bower, who played Dr. Hayworth in the movie in episode 405- BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET.*
1937: S.F. Brownrigg, editor of the movie in episode 418- ATTACK OF THE THE EYE CREATURES.
1943: Marilyn McCoo, who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 508- OPERATION DOUBLE 007*
1961: Crystal Bernard, who played Carrie Brown in the movie in episode 324- MASTER NINJA II.*

1958: Jack Gargan (age 58), who played Mac the reporter in the movie in episode 801- REVENGE OF THE CREATURE.
1970: Patrick Aherne (age 69), who played a reporter in the movie in episode 201- ROCKETSHIP X-M.
1972: Edgar G. Ulmer (age 68), who directed the movie in episode 623- THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN.
1985: Floyd Crosby (age 85), cinematographer for the movies in episodes 315- TEENAGE CAVEMAN and 912- THE SCREAMING SKULL.
1988: Chick Chandler (age 83), who played Lt. Danny Wilson in the movie in episode 208- LOST CONTINENT and Wilbur the angel in the short ONCE UPON A HONEYMOON, seen in episode 701- NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST.
1994: Fred Stromsoe (age 64), stuntman in the movie in episode 803- THE MOLE PEOPLE.
1995: George Kirby (age 72), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 409- THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN.
2009: Robert S. Baker (age 92), producer of the movie in episode 101- THE CRAWLING EYE.
2011: Margaret Travis (age 90), screenwriter of the shorts SPEECH: USING YOUR VOICE (shown in episode 313- EARTH VS. THE SPIDER), CHEATING (shown in episode 515- THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN), WHAT ABOUT JUVENILE DELINQUENCY? (shown in episode 518- THE ATOMIC BRAIN), WHY STUDY INDUSTRIAL ARTS? (shown in episode 609- THE SKYDIVERS) and SPEECH: PLATFORM POSTURE AND APPEARANCE (shown in episode 619- RED ZONE CUBA).
2012: Barbara Ann Scott (age 84), who appeared as herself in the short JOHNNY AT THE FAIR, seen in episode 419- THE REBEL SET.

1927: Chester Morris, who played Dr. Carlo Lombardi in the movie in episode 808- THE SHE-CREATURE, married Suzanne Kilborn.
1959: The movie in episode 601- GIRLS TOWN is reviewed in Variety.

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: 604- Zombie Nightmare

Movie: (1986) A voodoo queen resurrects a dead teen, who then seeks revenge on his killers.

First shown: 11/24/94
Opening: Crow and Tom are Secret Service agents protecting Mike
Intro: The Mads are into voodoo, so they send a voodoo kit to the SOL
Host segment 1: Crow is reading when Tom runs him down!
Host segment 2: Mike, Crow and Tom enjoy a hot tub
Host segment 3: Crow abandoned his “Batman” screenplay, but neglected to tell Tom and Mike
End: Letters for Adam West, Frank has turned Dr. F. into a zombie
Stinger: Incantation and screaming
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (235 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)

• It’s hard not to like this episode. The movie is big and bold and insane, the riffing is fantastic and the segments have a goofy, happy-go-lucky quality that I like.
• This episode appears on Shout’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XV.
• This episode was held from TV while it made the rounds of many college campuses, during the fall of ’94, as part of Comedy Central’s “Fresh Cheese” tour. It was finally shown on Turkey Day ’94.
• I saw it in the University of Pennsylvania’s cavernous Irvine Auditorium. The sound was terrible and the place was about half full. One of the school’s modern and luxurious (at least at that time) screening rooms might have been a better venue. Anybody else see the college tour?
• This ep marks the change from green to the solid blue jumpsuit we saw Mike wear for much of this season.
• Do you think that “Head!” thing was planned? After so many accidental beheadings of Tom, it nice to think they did this one on purpose.
• This week it’s the “umbilicus.”
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: bulletin board, beaker, book
• Segment 1 is related to the movie — he runs Crow over just like the kids just ran over the guy. But it’s also the beginning of a running gag for season six, in which Tom repeatedly — and cheerfully — smashes Crow in various ways. Unfortunately, this episode, where the running gag begins, wasn’t shown in order, so some of the humor of the running gag was a drained away.
• Tom imitates a Jamaican guy attempting to lure tourists to his jet ski/parasail business. I understand that the cast vacationed together in Jamaica at least once. Maybe that’s where this came from.
• The song Tom is singing at the beginning of segment 2 is “Walkin’ in Memphis,” by Marc Cohn.
• Callbacks: “I’d never touch you, Terry. You’re dirt!” (Teenage Crime Wave)
• Second “Governor and JJ” reference in a few weeks.
• The original film was MUCH gorier. Tia Carrera’s character’s death, to give one example, is far more gruesome than we see here.
• Also, the attempted rape of the Twist N Creme waitress by Jimbo is much more explicit and brutal in the original (the original is on YouTube). There is a huge edit, shades of “Sidehackers,” from the point where Jimbo grabs her and the next scene, where she is wrapped in a blanket telling the cops what happened. That scene also includes the gruesome, explicit and completely deserved onscreen impalement death of that jerk Jimbo. The edit kind of robs us of that cinematic justice.
• I exchanged emails with a representative for Jon Mikl Thor, and he revealed three interesting bits of info.
1. The soundtrack list includes bands called The Things and Knighthawk. They are just Thor in disguise (dull surprise!). 2. A band called Battalion does a song called “Out For The Kill.” That New York City-based band did exist, and even had their own comic book. (Thor co-produced their first album.) Sadly, Thor told us the guitar player of Battalion committed suicide by leaping off a 35-story building in New York City just before their album was to be released, and they were to embark on a U.S. tour. This turn of events ended the band, the release of the album and the tour. 3. A band called Deathmask, reportedly one of the first speed-metal bands, did a song called “I’m Dangerous.” Thor invested a lot of time, money and effort into the band. He helped get them a record deal and then co-produced the record. But, for reasons that are not remembered, the band refused to tour (which is sort of required to back up an album). Without the effort from the band to get out there to promote and tour, Deathmask then faded into obscurity.
• No cast and crew roundup this time: Nobody involved with this worked on any other MSTed movies.
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. This is the final episode for the credit: Video Provided by: Fournelle Video Production Services, St. Paul, MN. The second of two episodes where Sarah E. Wisner helped out with Post Production Coordination with Ellen McDonough Thomas,
• Fave riff: “C’mon, turn the tape over!!” Honorable mention: “They’re missing the forest for the trees with this whole sleazy chicks thing.”

RIP Herschell Gordon Lewis

lewis Horror icon Herschell Gordon Lewis, who directed more than 34 movies between 1961 and 1972 and was affectionately known as the “godfather of gore,” has died. He was 87 years old.
A representative for the filmmaker, who rose to prominence after directing such titles as “Two Thousand Maniacs” and “Blood Feast,” said Lewis “passed away peacefully in his sleep” on in the evening of Sept. 25. Lewis’ rep also confirmed the director had been suffering from congestive heart failure prior to his death.
MSTies will recall that he was the producer, director and screenwriter for the movie in episode 421- MONSTER A GO-GO.

Entertainment Weekly has the story.

Thanks to Paul and Timmy for the heads up.

MST3K Reunion Show Now Available


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.


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 (238 votes, average: 4.42 out of 5)

• 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


“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 (100 votes, average: 4.49 out of 5)

• 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?”