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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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Weekend Discussion Thread: Pet Names

Alert regular Paul opines:

While watching the recent RiffTrax Live showing of “Mothra,” I made the observation that Mothra was like a giant pet to the two fairy girls. It got me wondering if any MST3k fans have named their pets after any of the characters from MST3k or the films or shorts seen on the show, or would contemplate doing so.

For instance, if I had a pet boa constrictor snake, I’d name him after Coily the Spring Sprite from “A Case of Spring Fever” (get it?). If I had a pet fish, I might name him Dr. Z from the “Blood Waters of Dr. Z” experiment. What MST3k-related pet name would you name a household animal companion of yours after, if you haven’t already?

Maybe some MST3k fans have named a pet turtle after Gamera, or a pet lizard/iguana Godzilla? Or maybe a fan could name a lazy cat Droppo, after the laziest man on Mars from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

I never did this, but I had a friend who had a slightly slow but loyal and friendly golden retriever who I used to call Gypsy.


This Date in MSTory

1894: Charles Meredith, who played Secretary Drake in episodes 413- MANHUNT IN SPACE and 417- CRASH OF MOONS.
1896: Morris Ankrum, who played Gen. John Hanson in the movie in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END and Dr. Ralph Fleming in the movie in episode 201- ROCKETSHIP X-M.
1899: Byron Foulger, who played a railroad conductor in the movie in episode 419- THE REBEL SET and Mr. Matthews in the movie in episode 618- HIGH SCHOOL BIG SHOT.
1899: Ralph Oberg, production designer for the season four serial UNDERSEA KINGDOM.
1908: Lyndon Johnson, who was included in the list of prominent “doughy guys” shown in a host segment in episode 522- TEEN-AGE CRIME WAVE.
1916: Larry Thor, who played Major Eric Coulter in the movie in episode 309- THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN.
1925: Herman Cohen, producer for the movie in episode 809- I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF.
1925: Tony Crombie, musical score composer for the movie in episode 1011- HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND.
1929: Hoke Howell, who played Crapout in the movie in episode 202- THE SIDEHACKERS.
1962: Dean Devlin, who played Ernie in the movie in episode 403- CITY LIMITS.*

1995: Mary Beth Hughes (age 75), who played Kitty Reed in the movie in episode 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS and Terry Williams in the movie in episode 611- LAST OF THE WILD HORSES.
1995: Anthony Baird (age 74), who played a soldier in the movie in episode 818- DEVIL DOLL.
1996: Charles R. Rondeau (age 79), director of the movie in episode 509- THE GIRL IN LOVERS LANE.
1997: Brandon Tartikoff (age 48), who was mentioned in a host segment in episode 411- THE MAGIC SWORD.

1994: Episode 609- THE SKYDIVERS (with the short WHY STUDY INDUSTRIAL ARTS?) first shown.

1995: Pia Zadora, who played Girmar in the movie in episode 321- SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS, married Jonathan Kaufer.

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: 523- Village of the Giants

Movie: (1965) A boy genius invents a growth formula, which is consumed by some trouble-making teens.

First shown: 1/22/94
Opening: M&tB are doing their quarterly workout
Intro: While Mike juices, Dr. F. downsizes TV’s Frank!
Host segment 1: Dr. F. interviews Torgo
Host segment 2: M&tB interview rough-looking Frank
Host segment 3: M&tB sing: “The Greatest Frank”
End: A letter to Frank, Frank gets his job back
Stinger: Tribute to Frank Zappa
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (171 votes, average: 4.52 out of 5)

• This is just a great episode all the way around: Great segments, a fun and very riffable movie, great riffing, a great song, everything you can ask for.
• This episode is included in Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XXVI.
• If you want to know more about this movie — a LOT more — check out Some amazing stuff there.
• The song Tom is singing in the opening segment is “Chicken Fat” sung by Robert Preston in the original song. I have vivid memories of being forced to do calisthenics to it in elementary school gym class.
• The segments are essentially one story, but each sketch is also a little bit of brilliant free-standing satire on the inanities of the working world. Having been canned myself, the opening resonates.
• Of course, one feature of this movie is an appearance by The Beau Brummels. I had never heard of them when I saw this for the first time, but they have their admirers, apparently.
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers; close up film canister; pan down to notebook; shot of blackboard–a big bone hits it
• Callbacks: “Coruba!” (Outlaw) “What sin could a duck commit in a single lifetime?” (Amazing Colossal Man) “I didn’t steal no bike, neither.” (Teenage Strangler) “Dang smoochers!” (The the Eye Creatures) “I’m gonna moon you, man!” (The Beatniks).
• Segment 1 is another gem. The line “Well, I work too hard…hahaha” never fails to slay me.
• See something familiar in those exterior shots? That’s the back lot. Some of those houses were also used for TV’s “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie.”
• Segment 2 is yet another classic. I always have a hard time not using Frank’s lines when being interviewed.
• “Let Me Be Frank about Frank” is great stuff. The Paul Williams impressions are particularly funny. It was performed at the live shows in 1994, and featured a lovely interpretive dance by a leotard-clad Frank (video of which was included on the “Scrapbook” tape). The segment also features a great montage: Again, Cambot gets the credit, but the real artist is probably Brad Keeley. The song was created by the songwriting duo of Michael J. Nelson (music) and Bridget Jones (lyrics).
• In the credits, we get a reprise of the song and we think it’s all fun and then the whole thing becomes poignant. In the ACEG, I believe it was Kevin who noted that Zappa had contacted the Brains shortly before his death with the idea of doing something together, but time ran out, alas.
• Cast and crew roundup: Again, I am not going re-recite the Bert I. litany. Suffice to say we know him well. Some guy named H.G. Wells also wrote stuff that “Riding with Death” was very loosely based on. Cinematographer Paul C. Vogel, special effects guy Herman Townsley and art director Franz Bachelin all worked on “Tormented.” Photo process guy Farciot Edouart, sound recorder Charles Grenzbach and make-up man Wally Westmore all worked on “The Space Children.” Sound effects guy Jack Cornall worked on “King Dinosaur.” Editor John Bushelman also worked on “King Dinosaur” and “Tormented.”
In front of the camera, Tommy Kirk and Jim Begg were both in “Catalina Caper.” Johnny Crawford was also in “Space Children.” Bob Random was also in “Being From Another Planet.” Joseph Turkel was also in “Tormented.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Kevin Murphy. Also, with this episode the “Manager of Business Affairs” credit vanishes, and in its place is a “Director of Operations” title, held by one Jeffrey P. Young. He lasted a grand total of five episodes. I bet there’s a story there.
• Fave riff: “This is Tommy Kirk REALLY acting!” Honorable mention: “A buffalo shot that covers three states.”

Weekend Discussion Thread: Advice that Would Ruin the Movie

Alert regular “GizmonicTemp” opines:

“Just Stop and Aim, You Idiots!”
Crow gives this free advice to the mutineers in “Space Mutiny” and I realized something. Had they actually followed this little “Duh!” nugget, it would have completely changed the outcome of the movie; Ryder is dead, the ship is overthrown and Kalgan is in control.
Of course, it would ruin the movie but lives would be saved, etc.

Therefore, what in-movie advice would you give that would greatly affect events or your favorite Mst3k movies? You can’t reveal plot points or secrets and you only get one intervention, but you have the undivided attention of the character or group of characters.

I’ll go with “Killer Shrews.” When Thorne and Griswold arrive, three of the five who are trapped on the island casually stroll down to the beach to meet them. With danger imminent (that’s why Jerry was armed and an 8-foot fence had been constructed) and your salvation arriving as scheduled, have Mario and Radford join you and get on the stupid boat!

I’ve said this before but I’ll say again: John Forsythe, TELL THE COPS THAT ANN-MARGRET IS IN YOUR HOUSE!!

Your advice?

What Did You Think?

Theater a bit more full than in recent shows (I wasn’t here for MST3K reunion show, so I don’t know how full it was, but maybe the increase is a residual effect) — maybe half full — in suburban Scranton.

I liked this one a lot. It was up there with “Jack the Giant Killer,” which I think was one of their best. Great short (“Time to visit that guy he can’t quit!”) and a truly crazy movie (“I’ve seen things no mouse should see…”).

What did you think? (“We don’t need any more ladders!”)

Episode guide: 522- Teen-Age Crime Wave

Movie: (1955) Delinquent teens on the run hold a farm family hostage.

First shown: 1/15/94
Opening: M&tB are escaping
Intro: Dr. has invented mace mousse, the escape plan fails
Host segment 1: M&tB salute the golden age of the “doughy guy”
Host segment 2: M&tB create the first deli in space
Host segment 3: M&tB present a commercial for Mystos
End: Tom delivers some letters; Frank is “Doughy Man” but Dr. F. sprays him again, again and again…
Stinger: “TURN IT OFF!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (150 votes, average: 4.37 out of 5)

• For those who missed the note last week, I am skipping episode 521- SANTA CLAUS for the time being. I will get to it around Christmas. (One alert reader noted that THIS episode is also a holiday movie — the events happen on Thanksgiving!)
• This episode is included in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. XXXIII.
• This movie has a great opening half hour and pretty exciting last 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it also has a deadly 40 minutes in the middle. The segments are hit and miss, with a wonderful finish. All in all, it’s in the fair-to-good range.
• Mike’s jumpsuit, which has been green since he became host, is suddenly tan in the opening segment, then reverts to green for the rest of the episode.
• Invention exchange fadeaway watch: The mace mousse seems to be a genuine invention. Frank is hilarious, by the way. Mike’s still busy escaping–though he does CALL it an invention!
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: pan to beaker; closeup on datebook.
• As the opening begins, Mike is pulling something off the wall that he says “we’re gonna need.”
• Movie observations: Why doesn’t Jane save herself and rat out the guys? She HATES them! They tricked her! What loyalty does she owe them? I don’t get it. Also, an example of stupid script writing: The matron asks the feuding inmates: “Who started this?” What real matron would bother? Has that EVER worked?
• Segment 1 was an instant hit and within hours the MSTie internet was bursting with tributes to doughy guys. And as a doughy guy myself, I enjoyed it. Mike really belts out his part.
• Segment 3, of course, riffs on Mentos commercials that had become a regular feature of the episodes of late. By the way, Trace, who famously has trouble carrying a tune, does pretty well singing the Mystos song.
• Callbacks: “Mitchell!” Of course, there are too many callbacks to count in segment 2. “Want some?” (Daddy-O) And “Thank God we have Radar!” and “Why don’t they look?” has already joined the rotation.
• Mike carries Servo by the neck when they enter the theater after segment 2. He doesn’t seem to mind.
• Of course this episode also gave us the classic line: “He’ll never touch you, Terry, you’re dirt.” The Brains apparently really liked because it was used many times thereafter.
• Somebody emailed me about this the last time around and I have still not been able to get a satisfactory answer. There is a quick shot of Ben and Jane sitting on the basement steps, and Mike’s riff is: “I like Wade, he’s just not a dancer.” What’s that from?
• The movie shows an obelisk and Mike (I think) says “The Roddy McDowall monument!” Um, huh? If they’d said “The Milton Berle monument” I’d get it. Was Roddy known for his, um, endowment? (Last time around, several commenters confirmed that he was.)
• Just like in 319- WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, this movie’s climax happens at L.A.’s Griffith Observatory — quite a remarkable jump, considering that the rest of the film supposedly takes place in the Midwest.
• The mace mousse bit at the end just gets funnier and funnier. It’s very reminiscent to the “Daddy-O” ending.
• Cast and crew roundup: Producer Sam Katzman also produced “The Corpse Vanishes.” In front of the camera: Sydney Mason was in “Revenge of the Creature.” Larry Blake was in “Beginning of the End.” Robert Bice was also in “Invasion USA,” George “doughy guy” Cisar is also in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and Sydney Mason was also in “Revenge of the Creature.”
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. Andrea DuCane returns to do hair and makeup for the final three eps of the season. The title of “Manager of Business Affairs,” which appeared on the credits at the beginning of the season, appears for the last time in this episode, along with the person who held the title, Heide A. LeClerc-Becker.
• Fave riff: “You’re gonna have to get in line. Couple o’ cows ahead of you.” Honorable mention: “I will not be ignored, Ben. Hold please.”

MST3K Monday at RiffTrax…

The-Incredibly-Strange-Creatures-Who-Stopped-Living-and-Became-Mixed-Up-Zombies This week’s episode is 812- THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!?.

Frank’s Book Now Available

Frank’s new book “Twenty Five Mystery Science Theater 3000 Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever” is now available from Amazon. If you’d like to order a paperback copy, we’d appreciate it if you used this link. If you’d prefer a Kindle version, kindly use this link. Thanks.

Weekend Discussion Thread: ‘Fly on the Wall?’

Our alert pal Timmy asks:

What film that the Brains chose would you have like to been in the room for, when they watched/wrote the jokes. Mine are the 2 Joe Don Baker films.

I want to go with “I Accuse My Parents” ’cause I think they got SO into the movie, it would be fun to witness the creative process.


New Annotated Episode…


As always, post any additions or corrections there, not here.

And speaking of augmenting episodes, a brave fellow has begun completely closed captioning all the episodes (he hopes) for the hearing impaired. His Youtube Channel is here. It’s tough to read a puppet’s lips and it’s even harder when the puppet his its back to you, so, as somebody with a loved one who is hearing impaired, I very much approve.

His latest work is 113- BLACK SCORPION. A test run will stream at here on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 8:30 EDT.