DADDY-O'S DRIVE-IN DIRT
SCI FI ARCHIVES
A continuing series profiling one member of the Best Brains organization.
From Gym Rat to Poobah
If there's one staffer at Best Brains that knows how online MSTies feel and think, it's the Info Club Poobah Barbara "Barbbb" Tebben. But how much do *we* really know about her and what her job is like? We thought it was more than high time we found out!
"I am from the Minneapolis area," she says. "I'm married, have one son. I have a degree in English--I attended the University of Wyoming and the University of Utah. My hobbies are: officiating gymnastics meets, collecting antique dolls, gardening, reading and watching my collection of classic sci fi movies."
She came to BBI like many permanent staffers do--thinking it would be temporary.
"In 1993, I was trying to make the switch from 'gym rat'--I worked in gymnastics for a long time--to office worker," she recalls. "The temp agency sent me to Best Brains to 'enter data for comedy writers.' It was Halloween, and after I passed the guillotine and electric chair in the foyer, I was confronted with a huge moth mask (Mothra), a rocket ship, a skeleton in a parrot cage, and a guy in a green lab coat with his whitish hair sticking up straight (they were shooting that day). I'm a big sci fi fan, and I thought I had landed in heaven! I was sure I had when, *after* Halloween, nothing changed!"
The day Barb arrived at the office, she observed another phenomenon that would happen many times thereafter--a visit by celebrity fans.
"The day I came, The Turtles (a '60's rock group) who were performing in town, arrived in a limo, guests of Kevin, and came in to meet everyone. I remember that when the staff took a break, they used the limo to run to Tom Thumb to buy microwave popcorn."
Barb came to work for BBI just after Mike took over for the departing Joel, and recalls that, "once fans discovered Mike, especially the girls, we started to get lipstick-covered fan letters, graduation photos and, well, racier things than that. No surprise, then, that one day we received a poster of a very scantily-clad lady, autographed to Mike. After unrolling it for everyone in the office, someone discovered that it was delivered to Best Brains by mistake, and that it was for a different Mike!"
Barb says BBI gets about 40 to 50 e-mails per day, and about 100 letters per week from both current and new members. Among the most popular items they receive: 8x10 glossies ("Sorry, no auditions!" says Barb), lots of holiday cards and, many wedding invitations from couples who met because of MST!
"We get mail from 3-year olds on up to retirees," she says. "We're starting to get regular mail from Europe, now that Sci Fi is showing Season 8 shows over there. We also receive a lot of women's body builder magazines, for some reason!"
Is some of the mail nasty? "We do receive some negative mail," she says. "Usually it's from people who don't understand why Mike and the 'bots are ruining their favorite sci-fi movies."
Barb says many fans ask if BBI can find them some obscure movie title -- they can't. And do they ever suggest movies! "We've mentioned before that it's hard, though, because of all the legal mumbo-jumbo that has to take place before we can actually use a movie. Besides, the writers reject most screeners they see."
Despite these repeated statements, fans continue to suggest them. Barb's list of the most suggested films BBI will probably never do includes: Star Wars, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Nosferatu, Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Men In Black.
"I did, however, bring in my treasured copy of Target Earth for them to screen. They liked it (so they said…) but I doubt it will be used. Here's my extended wish list: Day of the Triffids, Reptilicus and The Giant Claw."
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