Cinematic Titanic LIVE! -
Minneapolis, MN 9/15-17/2011
This seemed like a perfect opportunity to take a trip to Minneapolis to see a few sites, visit some long time friends and enjoy a Cinematic Titanic triple header. The fact that two of the shows were going to be filmed for the next DVD releases just sort of added to the fun of the idea to attend. I decided to take a couple days to drive out to Minnesota so I could enjoy a relaxing drive through northern Michigan and rural Wisconsin. Of course I tried to plan a few MST3K related stops along the way too.
Driving north through Michigan my first stop was Mackinaw City. Here you can see the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse with the majestic Mackinac Bridge in the background. A short walk away you can visit the 18th century Fort Michilimackinac where I ran into some interpreters, including the gentleman standing next to me who I first saw working there back in 1972. (He has been doing this since 1970!) Next I crossed over the bridge into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. My father's family was from Houghton, MI so I was lucky enough to make a few trips up there when I was growing up. Many truly beautiful sights to see.
To the left, Tahquamenon Falls is 48 feet high and 200 feet across. The picture below that is from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore where the wind and waves of Lake Superior have worn away the sandstone shore. Three more nearby waterfalls are A. Wagner Falls, B. Munising Falls and C. Alger Falls.
A. B. C. My next stop was in Hayward, WI. I decided to go there because back in the summer of 1985 a bright-eyed Jim Mallon fresh out of the University of Wisconsin decided to film his first motion picture in this area. Originally titled Muskie Madness the film was released in 1987 by Troma Films re-titled Blood Hook.
The giant muskie statue at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame was seen in the film. Some other scenes were shot on and around Round Lake. The movie had its premiere on 5/30/1987 at the Park Theater.
While I was in Hayward I got to spend some time chatting with Katy and Barb, who work at the Sawyer County Historical Museum. Barb was the owner of the Park Theater at the time of the film's premiere.
While driving through Wisconsin I began noticing the unusual way they named their streets. Most were something like 22 1/2 Avenue and not too difficult to follow. Then I crossed this intersection. Luckily I had a sliderule and protractor with me and I was able to confirm I was still on the correct route. Once I arrived in Minneapolis it was good to see some local publicity for the CT shows in the City Pages and the latest issue of The Onion (thumbnail). The Cinematic Titanic cast was interviewed and appeared on a couple different morning news shows promoting their rifftastic offerings. (I actually saw the feature on TV on 9/16.) Here is the Parkway Theater itself in a fairly sleepy area of southern Minneapolis.
I arrived at the theater at 7 PM and before going to get some dinner I went in to pick up my ticket at will call. The nice lady said "Good timing. The show is just starting." I was surprised because I thought the show didn't start for another hour. I walked in, sat down and the lights dimmed as Gruber took the stage. Perfect timing on my part once again...ehem. Yep, just as I planned it.
I noticed that there were multiple cameras set up at the rear of the theater. I spoke with the cameraman for a while and I guess they did indeed film Doomsday Machine, but only to work out lighting, sound, etc. I don't think that version of the show will see the light of day anyway since Josh's microphone went out during the movie for what seemed like an eternity. He did his best to shout out a few of his favorite riffs until it came back on.
Josh handled the events of the evening very professionally, especially when you consider that the amplifier on his bass guitar also didn't work during the pre-movie acts.
The Parkway is attached to a really good Tex-Mex restaurant named Pepitos. Good beef enchiladas. The next day I made the obligatory trip to the Mall of America. The best part of this had nothing to do with shopping. My friend Joe Pipp joined me for the day. Joe and I have known each other since Junior High. After having lunch we just hung out for a couple hours strolling around the mall. Legoland always gives me a laugh.
We marveled at crowds of literally hundreds of women waiting in line for hours at a scrapbooking show in order to see and try out the latest scrapbook-related innovations. (Hey, who am I to say anything about people who are fiercely dedicated fans of unusual things.)
Joe attended War of the Insects with me that evening and we had a great time. Trace was kind enough to spend some time with us before the show. We also had a long talk with RAD, who offered Joe two complementary tickets for him and his wife to come back the next night.
It was also kinda cool that Mr. Bill Corbett and his wife Virginia attended the show this evening too and I got to say hello to them before the show.
Since this was the first time I was in the audience for a show being taped for a DVD release I decided to have the Titans sign my ticket. Saturday afternoon the Minnesota Twins had a home game versus the Cleveland Indians. I don't particularly follow either of those teams, but I thought it would be fun too see my first game at Target Field. Joe and his eldest son Joseph joined me for the game. That's them pictured below with baseball great Tony Oliva, who we saw at the game.
Even more exciting were the grilled brats that we had for lunch that day at the ballpark. Delicious!
Joe and his wife Joan did join me that night to see Rattlers. We got to relate the story to Joel how Joan accidently ran across a show while flipping channels during a commercial break of the Super Bowl back in 1989. They first noticed the show was an old Space: 1999 episode then realized there were shadows of characters in the corner of the screen making fun of the movie. They threw a tape in their VCR and taped the rest of the show. (This was episode K10 - Cosmic Princess.)
They were the ones that first told me about MST3K, which I wouldn't get to watch on my own local cable television until July 1993.
Sunday, after a great time in Minneapolis, I began my trip home. Per my new tradition I picked up cheese curds and beef sticks for lunch in Wisconsin. Tastes great and are easy to eat while driving down the highway.
I then stopped in Lincolnwood, IL (northern suburb of Chicago) and had dinner at Lou Malnati's. Really good Chicago style pizza. This "small" pie covered dinner, a snack later that evening at my hotel in Hammond, IN and finally a slice for breakfast the next morning.
Finally, Monday afternoon I made one last stop to pick up some old MST3K video tapes I had purchased on eBay from a long time MSTie.
When I first watched episode K07 - Gamera vs. Zigra I noticed that there were a few seconds before the show started with this image on the screen. Sure enough this was taped during the New Years Eve special airing on 12/31/1988. (I think this is the earliest actual taping I have seen. The copies of K04, K05 and K06 that we all own were actually taped during reruns in the Spring of 1989.)
About half way through this tape I was stunned to see a commercial featuring Trace and Josh as Dr's Forrester and Erhardt, but it wasn't the Pizza 'n' Pasta ad we have all seen. This is an ad for a local hardware store called Warners' Stellian and they are hawking an Amana Radar Range! (Once I figure out how to do it I will create a clip on Youtube for everyone to enjoy.)
You'll also notice the quality of the picture is great. There are about twelve KTMA tapes that are easily the best quality copies I have ever seen. My buddy Gary (Skyronitor) Bacon is transferring them to DVD and will make them available on his web site. See I'm always looking out for my MST peeps.