Published on July 6th, 2016 | by Neil Jordan0
MST3k Reunion Show
Crowdfunding. It is a godsend to many, a bane to others. It has the power to do incredible good for those in urgent need of medical care or required a means of travel and have nowhere else to turn for monetary resources except to perhaps rely of the kindness of strangers or those willing to listen to their plight. For others, it can be the potential lynchpin in bringing a great idea to fruition when any normal avenues of funding such as bank loans or grants cannot be acquired. Then there are those who take advantage of people’s kindnesses and sympathies via crowdfunding and fabricate a story or a potential idea in the hopes of quickly swindling money from strangers via the internet. Today however is an example of one of those instances where crowdfunding (specifically KickStarter) was the lynchpin that brought and incredible idea to fruition. An idea that had been quietly building up for 16 years.
This year, RiffTrax used the KickStarter approach to fund a television reunion broadcast live in theaters across the country on June 28th. The long awaited reunion of the cult and cultural icon that was and still is ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’. Call it infamous. Call it notorious. Call it groundbreaking. Call it the humorous dissection of some of the most well known AND unheard of B- movies in all of cinema. What started out in a college town in Minnesota and later became a national and global phenomenon. The weekly comedic saga of ‘regular joe’ Joel Robinson (in later seasons Mike Nelson) and his robot friends Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Gypsy trapped aboard an orbiting satellite who were subjected to weekly experiments by mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester and his equally mad minion TV’s Frank. The experiments being? Forcing the human guinea pig and his companions to watch some of the worst movies ever made in order to find that one bad film that ‘the mads’ could use in their plot to take over the world.
On June 28th, the RiffTrax cast of Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbet, and Michael J Nelson assembled at the State Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota with their fellow MST3K alumni Joel Hodgson, Frank Conniff, Bridget Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, and Mary Jo Pehl. Also present alongside the reunited cast was Jonah Ray from the planned MST3K revival. There wasn’t much in the way of reminiscing and only brief references to the past such as how they’d all aged slightly with the exception of Frank Conniff who mysteriously looked the same as he did 16 years ago. What did occur was far more hilarious and was pretty much the reason fans gathered in theaters nationwide. To see the cast reunite one more time and lambaste some of the most outdated shorts and ridiculous movie clips ever to be filmed. The highlight of which was a special episode of George Reeve’s version of the classic Superman TV show filmed for the US Treasury Department encouraging young people to save money and invest in savings stamps/bonds. It was nostalgia at its finest and most humorous. It’s situations like this when you think about every time you were young and an older person walks up to you and starts off with, “You know … When I was your age …”. You know what …. We’re there. The good news is we’re not talking about walking ten miles in the snow to get a pack of bubblegum or going out and digging up our own veggies from 3 feet of mud. We’re talking about humor. We’re talking about funny memories. We’re talking about hilarity that ensued on TV late at night on Fridays and weekends during our high school and college years and now through reruns and DVDs. We’re talking about a ‘kind of funny’ that’s gotten lost in recent years. It’s one of those uncontrollable ‘monsters’ that got tired for a while and took a nap. For one night, the monster that was and will continue to be ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ awoke with a mission. A mission to get people to forget about their day-to-day lives for an hour or two and laugh. Laugh about what people in the past thought would be entertaining. We laughed at their idea of educating American youth with short films. We essential laughed at the past and perhaps, in that regard, we do owe the folks of the past some of the credit for inspiring the crews from MST3K and RiffTrax to make us laugh even more. As someone who is a fan of MST3K and RiffTrax ill say this much, the day of the show I was suffering from a severe case of food poisoning. I should’ve gone to the hospital. Instead, I went home and got as much rest as I could. Later that day, I went to a nearby theater and had the good fortune to get to watch the reunion. The say laughter is the best medicine. I’m not too sure about that but thanks to the crews of ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’, they laughs and hilarity that ensued during the reunion made the illness much easier to deal with and to Joel Hodgson, Frank Conniff, Bridget Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Mary Jo Pehl, and Jonah Ray I say ‘Many Many Thanks For The Laughs’
This is your friendly neighborhood freelance photographer ‘The CameraMan’ and on behalf of my fellows at ‘Skewed & Reviewed’ allow me to say thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at the movies.