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Archive for the ‘MST3K’ Category

A gift from Joel…sort of

The new Shout Factory boxed set of MST3K DVDs contains a rather shoddily produced ‘making of MST3K’ featurette. (Basically it’s just a bunch of interview segments tied together with a small number of video clips.) Most of the video clips in part one are a real tease, as a significant portion of them are previously unseen footage from the MST3K pitch tape (aka, episode K00 – The Green Slime).

Thankfully, the tease is not completely cruel. Apparently, Joel Hodgson (creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000) brought with him a complete copy of the MST3K pitch tape to a Cinematic Titanic convention appearance about a month ago. The whole thing was bootlegged, and has since wound up on the Digital Archive Project, and YouTube (in significantly reduced quality). So we are able to see it, apparently all the way through.

It is a pleasure to finally see this material, as rough as it may be. I, for one, have always been a fan of the KTMA programs. Their spontaneity actually makes me like them more than perhaps as much as 50% of the scripted national shows. I really enjoy them, despite the dead space. So to be able to see this first draft material is a real joy.

The whole thing runs roughly 14 minutes. Though there are several ‘theater sequences,’ there are only maybe two ‘riffs.’ (One of which is hilarious.) The real content of this is a rough draft of a pilot storyline. Joel introduces himself…twice…and then goes into his ‘Silent Running’ influenced material, in which first a vacuum flower, then Gypsy, then Beeper, then Joel get sick with some kind of foaming disease. The ‘show’ concludes with a wonderful bit from Trace in which he asks Joel if he ever wonders if this isn’t actually reality, but is in fact a tv show in which Crow isn’t a robot, but a puppet controlled by a man under the table.

It’s not great, comedically, but it’s a fun piece of history.

I do wonder if we actually have been allowed to see everything, as there were two theater sequences in the original “MST3K Scrapbook” tape released by Best Brains years ago which are noticably absent from the pitch tape. (The ‘Green Slime’ logo and the that’s no moon it’s a battle station riff.) The riff might have been from one of the other missing episodes, and I might be imagining the other. This is probably complete. But I do wonder.

Anyway, here’s some screenshots to prove that I’m not crazy.

sick-flower
Joel Holding a sick vacuum flower (from Shout Factory)

sick-Gypsy
Joel attending to a sick Gypsy (from Shout Factory)

final-sequence
Crow questioning Joel’s reality (from Shout Factory)

beep-in-thea
Here they test run Beeper in the theater with Crow and Joel (from the bootleg)

gypsy-in-thea
Thrillingly, here they test Gypsy in the theater with Joel and Crow (from the bootleg). I have wondered for quite some time whether or not Gypsy was in the theater before Servo had his head changed, as she appears in the theater in the credits and in an early print advertisement available on the internet.

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Blam

Episode two of the two-minute animated adventures of the Bots over at www.mst3k.com is up.  It is infinitely superior to the first episode.  I’m still struggling to get used to the new voices, but the closing line of this one gave me a good old fashioned hearty laugh.

It uses the old MST cliche of jumping onto a real world item that just seems a little strange and riding it straight into a wall.  Ha ha funnies ensue.

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Two unbelievable gifts in the same day. 

My delight over the last post has tumbled over into a speechless ecstasy.

Joel, Trace, Frank, Mary Jo, Josh (J. Elvis)…  I honestly can’t say anything about this.  I am comatose with glee.  Just read the site and be overjoyed.

www.cinematictitanic.com

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‘Big’ News

Shamelessly pilfered from MST3Kinfo.com

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Next week, MST3K.com will become a new destination for a brand new site, created by a reconstituted, relaunched Best Brains Inc.

Or, as they put it when they contacted us about this: The ‘Bots are Back!

Beginning November 5th, BBI will be launching its very own website at MST3K.com. The site will feature brand-new animated adventures of Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy. We’re told the goal is to have one new adventure each week (though “some settling may occur with shipping,” they added). The Web site will also feature work from the original series (which BBI is now calling “the legacy series”), behind-the-scenes footage and other material culled from the BBI vault.

Also on the site will be BBI’s first online store, featuring all new merchandise. (This means that the BBI merchandise section of our site will be taken down. )

The new adventures of the ‘bots are being produced by BBI President, MST3K series writer and the returning voice of Gypsy, Jim Mallon. He will be joined on this new experiment by veteran MST3K series writer and performer Paul Chaplin (who will be on the writing team and will be providing the voice of Crow) along with new writing and performing talent.

We know this is going generate a lot of buzz among the fan base and you all probably have a zillion questions. So do we. Many will be answered on Nov. 5th. More will be answered soon after. Jim told us that the site and project “are going to grow in a very organic fashion and we’re going to let the characters and the story take us in the direction they want to take us.”

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While I personally have to admit to being disappointed at the fact that the original cast will not be performing the voices of Crow and Tom Servo, I have thought for years that the best way for MST3K to return to the air would be to turn it into a half-hour sitcom along the lines of Red Dwarf.  I’m glad to see this concept being tried, although I’d rather it wasn’t a cartoon.

I’m as excited about this as I’ve been about anything recently…and that includes the rebirth of Doctor Who three years ago.

I’ve missed my bots and their humor based in “solid midwestern values.”

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