Greetings & Salutations Fellow Movie Fanatics!
From November 24th 1988 to August 1999, perhaps the worst fate (or saving grace depending on the point of view) for some of the worst films ever made was to be scrutinized, dissected, and ultimately laughed at by one guy and three robots aboard a space station orbiting the earth known as ‘The Satellite Of Love’. Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been listed in Time maga-zine as one of the ‘100 Most Important Television Shows’ of all time and despite its cancelation years ago continues to be watched religiously via reruns, DVDs, VHS cassettes (yes … I said VHS cassettes) by die hard fans and new fans alike.
The brainchild of host/creator Joel Hodgson and produced by ‘Bad Brains Inc.’, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) starred Hodgson as Joel Robinson, a janitor working at the Gizmonic Institute in the underground lair of two mad scientists Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) and his sidekick Dr. Laurence Erhardt (Josh Weinstein). As part of an evil plot in the quest toward world domination, Forrester and Erhardt launch Joel into orbit and trap him on an orbiting space station (The Satellite Of Love) and force him to watch the worst films ever made in order to determine the precise B-Movie that Dr. Forrester will use in his evil plan. In order to maintain his sanity, Robinson salvages parts from the station to create robot companions Tom Servo (voiced by Josh Weinstein, Kevin Murphy), Crow T. Robot (voiced by Trace Beaulieu and Bill Corbett), and Gypsy (voiced by Josh Weinstein, Jim Mallon, and Patrick Bransteg) to keep him company. Accompanied by Camboot, who silently records and broadcasts the experiments and much of life aboard the space station, and Magic Voice a mysterious computerized female voice that makes scheduled and totally random announcements during the show, Joel and ‘The Bots’ are subjected to Forrester’s weekly experiments. Because he used the vital components to build his robot companions, Joel has no control when the movies start and conclude. However, he must enter the theater when the movie is set up or face potential punishment from the ‘The Mads’ which could include oxygen depravation and electric shocks. In the space station’s theater Tom, Crow, Mike or Joel would sit in the front row pictured in silhouette and the three would verbally and physically mock the movies that often followed old shorts, newsreel footage, and outdated educational films. Something all of us have dreamed of doing at one time or another in movie theaters during a horrible film. During its most popular years, Joel would read a letter from the MST3K fan club after the end of the film and the show would sign off with Dr. Forrester telling TV’s Frank to “Push The Button Frank!”
What started off as a TV show in a college town in Minnesota soon became a national and later a global phenomenon. During the show’s run there were several cast changes. Josh Weinstein left and Frank Conniff came on board as TV’s Frank to replace Forrester’s lackey Erhardt and Kevin Murphy took on Weinstein’s role as the voice of Tom Servo. When Joel Hodgson left during season 5, the shows chief writer Michael J. Nelson came on board as The Mad’s latest guinea pig Mike Nelson. Later, when Conniff departed show writer Mary Jo Pehl took on the role of Dr.Forrester’s mom Pearl Forrester. The show finally ended its run on the Sci-Fi network in August of 1999 but the fans never gave up on it and continued watch it through various recorded media.
Since that time the folks behind MST3K have carried on the show through similar projects such as The TV Wheel, Rifftrax, Cinematic Titanic, The Film Crew and Cartoon Dump. A revival of the show featuring an all new cast staring Felicia Day, Jonah Ray, and comedic great Patton Oswald brought about by a Kickstarter campaign is set for a release in late 2016 that’s being met with great anticipation.
On June 28th, fans across the world will have the chance to see the original cast reunite after the shows initial run ended nearly 17 years as Fathom Events and RiffTrax.com bring the live MST3K reunion show to movie theaters across the country broadcast from the State Theater in Minneapolis. The reunion will feature Hodgson, Pehl, Conniff, Beaulieu, Bridgette Nelson, and Jonah Ray who is taking part in the shows 2016 revival during which the cast will riff on educa-tional shorts and comedic interludes before capping off the evening with something only re-ferred to as SUPER RIFF-A-PALOOZA! The reunion will broadcast at 8pm ET and 7pm CT and broadcast on delay 7pm MT and 8pm PT so check your theater times online when purchasing your tickets!