The End and Beyond - Part 8

2017 began with the promise of an incredibly exciting year for MSTies. Foremost, for the first time since 1999 new episodes would be seen by fans. There were also rumblings that there would be some other new MST related merchandise on its way. Eighteen years after the last new episode appeared on the Sci-Fi Channel, MST3K seemed to be continuing to gain momentum and fans. (I just like the moonrise picture below that came out about this time too. I’m not sure who created it, but if they want to contact me I will be happy to give them credit.)

 

At the London Toy Fair (UK) there was an announcement that Funko Pop figures of Tom and Crow would be released later this year. (More on this later.)

There was a little bit of a furor caused on 1/28 when we received a message of Joel reminding us that when he sends out messages “for backers only” we should not be posting them online for the world to see. In this case he had let us know some information about some upcoming red-carpet premiere events of the first episode of the new MST season 11. After this MSTies were much better and following directions and allowed backers to enjoy some perks for contributing and supporting the rebirth of the show.

On 1/30/17 Felicia game birth to a daughter. We had just learned of her pending delivery a few weeks earlier when she tweeted a picture to her fans. Soon after the birth we heard from her again, ”Oh yeah Calliope Maeve has hit the world. Currently wearing a onesie that says ‘Bard in Training’." (Felicia Tweeted the following picture on 1/3/17 letting us know that she was expecting.)

The re-release of MST3K DVD set IV was seen on 1/31. The episodes included Space Mutiny (820), Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (822), Girl in Gold Boots (1002) and Hamlet (1009). The only extras were vintage intros by Mike Nelson.

The MST3K Revival League introduced a new logo for the group and podcast on 2/2/17. We also saw some new publicity pictures for the Mads and for the RiffTrax gang.

   

Comet TV decided to piggyback off of the Super Bowl to announce they were going to hold an MST3K marathon on 2/5. The six back-to-back episodes shown were Last of the Wild Horses, Robot Holocaust, Eegah!, Night of the Blood Beast, “Manos” The Hands of Fate, and Beginning of the End.

On 2/10 Patton Oswalt was seen as one of the featured actors on CNN's The History of Comedy episode one, F***ing Funny. Just two days later, on 2/12 he won the Best Comedy Album Grammy award for his "Talking for Clapping" album.

   

The on 2/14/17 the big event happened. The first of three world premieres of MST3K season 11 took place in NYC at the Loewe’s Theatre in Lincoln Square. All the premieres were sponsored by Netflix and required audience members to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement committing not to discuss the movie or any details of the show until after they were officially released on Netflix. The film was the 1961 Danish-American film Reptilicus. There was a red carpet entrance for VIPs, a greeting and introduction and an after party with the cast. The last picture was taken by a MSTie who happened to see the digital film being delivered to the theater.

     

       

The Chicago premiere took place on 2/16. Earlier in the day the cast appeared on the AV Club hosted by Erik Adams. While the fans waited for the Music Box Theater to open a new character helped entertain the crowd. We would learn that this was Waverly being puppeteered by Grant Baciocco. As in NYC there was a red carpet and photo ops for VIPs, a fun Q&A that included Rebecca Hanson, who plays Synthia and the new Gypsy, and an amazing after party. This was the premiere I was able to attend along with my nephew Rick. Here are some pictures of the cast and other special guests that were in attendance. Beez McKeever and I had been online friends since 1999 and this was the first time we got to meet face to face. Bill and Virginia Corbett were in there as was Paul (Chaplin) Scherston.


     

     

Also, on 2/16 MST3K announced their first ever consumer products program. The list of distributors and collectibles included (This is the exact list issued at the time. Some were more successful than others at actually producing a product for fans.):

The third and final season 11 premiere took place 2/21 at LA at the Cinerama Dome Theatre. A very large group of MSTies gathered before the show for a day at Disneyland and then back to their hotels to change into their evening attire suitable for a Hollywood premiere. Some of the special guests included Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton, Josh Weinstein and Dana Gould. At the end of the evening Netflix announced that the official release date for the new season would be 4/14/2017.

   

   

On 3/2 Trace and Frank kicked off their 2017 Mads Are Back Spring Tour at the Alamo Drafthouse in Corpus Christi, TX. Then the March/ April 2017 issue of Horror Hound Magazine, released on 3/11, was released with three different covers featuring Joel, Mike and Jonah.

 

MST3K DVD Set XXXVIII came out on 3/28 and featured Invasion USA (602), Colossus and the Head Hunters (605), High School Big Shot (618) and Track of the Moon Beast (1007). This was the set that was supposed to include a bonus disk of a “nearly” complete compilation of KTMA host segments that ended up getting postponed and eventually cancelled due to the poor quality of the source material. Instead, the first 1500 to order from Shout! Factory received the Play MSTie for Me Triple Decker. Extras included documentaries Zugsmith Confidential (about Albert Zugsmith the director of Invasion USA), Mike by Joel and Tracking a Moon Beast with actress Leigh Drake, theatrical trailers for Invasion USA and High School Big Shot and the original un-riffed version of High School Big Shot.

 

On 3/28 we saw a new version of the familiar MST3K shadowrama appropriately modified to show Jonah in the theater seat. Then on 3/30 some new publicity photos of the new crew were posted online.


     

Also, on 3/30 Frank’s latest book was released. Cats V. Conniff: A chronicle of the historic lawsuit brought against Frank Conniff by his cats, Millie & Barney is a chronicle of the historic lawsuit brought against Frank Conniff by his cats, Millie & Barney.

Fans kicked off an online MST3K Watch Together Marathon at 6 PM on 4/1 running through 4/14 when the new episodes would debut to the public on Netflix.

Baron Vaughn starred in the Fusion TV series Fatherless that premiered on 4/2. That same day the NY Daily News issued an extensive story about the re-birth of MST3K.

     

Frank and Trace appeared on Better Kansas City hosted by Belinda Post on 4/7 prior to a Mads show at the local Alamo Drafthouse.

Also, on 4/7 Netflix added a new screen promoting the upcoming launch of the show. The same day there was a fun new picture of the cast that was used with an article in the New York Times. On 4/9 the first episode, Reptilicus, was made available to Kickstater backers on Netflix and there was a question and answer session with the cast held after the online stream via VHX. Just for fun, on 4/10 we got to see a behind the scenes picture of Beez McKeever helping prepare the bots costumes for one of the upcoming episodes. It was also announced that iPics Theaters would be presenting a special theatrical screening of 1101 Reptilicus throughout the weekend of 4/14 to 4/16.

     

The RiffTrax Live! presentation of Samurai Cop took place at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville on 4/13. The short Manners at School was also riffed.

     

Finally, on 4/14/17 the new season was made available on Netflix to the public. Viewing parties were held across the internet and the world. Not too surprisingly Netfix managed to crash a couple times from the tremendous volume of viewers. Almost immediately tributes and accolades began coming in. Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% rating on the Tomatometer. Carvel Cakes created a new Money Bag cake in honor of an invention exchange in episode 1102 Cry Wilderness.

     

 

Jonah, Felicia and Hampton appeared on Comedy Central’s @Midnight with host Chris Hardwick on 4/18.

 

A few items occurred over the next week. We saw a wonderful signed director’s chair seat back that was auctioned off for charity. On 4/20 the Revival League Podcast that was recorded the previous summer was posted. The picture below shows the MST3K cast as well as Ryan Smith, Ron McAdams and Greg Tally from the podcast. On 4/21 the Mads appeared at the Hollywood Theater in Pittsburgh, which was promoted with this wonderful poster. And Felicia was joined by some balloon bot friends while appearing at Planet Comiccon in Kansas City, MO on 4/30.

     

The second season of Hidden America with Jonah Ray kicked off on 5/4/17 including episode 6 filmed in Minneapolis. This show had been taped back on 12/2/16 and costarred Trace, Mary Jo and Joel.

The Satellite News celebrated their 20th anniverary on 5/5 with a new banner on their home page. (I think this is the correct banner. I had it on file with this date, but feel free to correct me if I have this mislabeled.)

We saw a few videos posted on 5/11 of the bots spending some time at the Netflix offices, including one of them making various sales pitches to Netflix CCO Ted Sardanos.

   

MST3K DVD set V was released on 5/15 and included the episodes Time Chasers (821), The Touch of Satan (908), Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders (1003) and Boggy Creek II (1006). There were only a few extras on this set including vintages intros by Mike Nelson and interviews with Mike and Kevin.

The Mads kicked off their Deep Hurting Tour on 5/20 at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. On 5/25 they were joined by some special guests at the show at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis.

   

Also, during May there were some more Revival League Backer rewards mailed out including a tiki mug (that experienced some breakage issues in the mail), a keychain (which experienced some breakage issues when handled by backers), mission patches, posters and stickers.

       

Frank returned for one last appearance on Cartoon Dump on 6/3/17. The show, which had been performed on both coasts since 2007, starred Frank as Moodsy, the clinically depressed owl. Emo Philips, J. Elvis Weinstein, Jimmy Dore and Lisa Corrao appeared, along with animation historian Jerry Beck.

The RiffTrax Live! Summer Shorts Beach Party with guests Mary Jo, Bridget, Trace, Frank and Paul F Tompkins at Belcourt Theater in Nashville on 6/15. Shorts shown were Ricky Raccoon Shows the Way, Office Etiquette, Rhythmic Ball Skills, The Griper, Sentinels of Safety, A Touch of Magic and The Baggs. I included three different fun posters that were used for the show as well as for the Kickstarter campaign.

       

On 6/17 Brickworld Lego Con in Schaumburg, IL featured a huge Lego Satellite of Love, including the bridge, entire doorway passage and the movie theater. Then on 6/24 ID10TFEST, or Idiot Festival took place at Shoreline Amphitheatre in San Francisco. Hosted by Chris Hardwicke some of the guests included Jonah, Hampton, Rebecca and Paul (of Paul and Storm) and Wil Wheaton.

 

On 6/26 Shout! announces a 6-day marathon of 38 classic episodes on their Twitch Channel.

 

The Watch Out for Snakes Tour began at the Shubert Theater in Boston, MA on 7/6/17. Joel would host the event and do a Q&A with the audience. The cast was made up of Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston, Hampton Yount as Crow, Tim Ryder filling in for Baron Vaughn as Servo and Rebecca Hanson as Gypsy. Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt appeared on video as Kinga and Max. They would riff the movie Eegah! at each stop of the tour (hence the tour name Watch Out for Snakes, which is a fan favorite line from that movie). There were many large and small snakes shot into the crowd to make sure we were watching out. At some stops they also performed a secret surprise feature, which turned out to be Argoman the Fantastic Superman. I was able to attend a double feature of the two movies on 7/14 at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, MI. The tour would wrap up on 8/12 at the Atlanta Symphony Hall.

     

     

San Diego Comic Con kicked off on 7/20. There was a new t-shirt featuring Jonah and the season 11 lineup available. Felicia showed up with her new daughter Calliope, who of course was an immediate star of the weekend. A fan even made an adorable Kinga costume for Calliope. An MST panel was hosted by Erik Adams was held on 7/22 and featured most of the stars of the new season.

         

The minor league baseball team the St Paul Saints hosted an MST3K night on 7/22. Here are a couple pictures of the scoreboard taken by a fan in the stands that night.

 

Shout! announced that DVD XXXIX would be the last set issued since they were unable to obtain the rights to the twelve remaining unreleased episodes. There would be a disk that included the host segments from those shows when the set was released later in 2017.

We saw Shout! Factory release a Cinematic Titanic DVD set including all of the twelve previously released shows. (Samson and the Miracle of the Seven Worlds, Astral Factor and the Doll Squad although performed live would not receive a DVD release.) The set included a new interview with J Elvis Weinstein and a “Between the Riffs” featurette.

The long promised RiffTrax Live! super-secret mystery show was announced by Mike, Kevin and Bill to be Doctor Who: The Five Doctors. The show was performed 8/17 at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, TN.

     

The next leg of the Mads tour kicked off at the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak, MI with shows on 8/23 and 8/24. The first was the TIngler followed up the next evening by Glen or Glenda.

     

On 8/31 the MST3K season 11 soundtrack album was released by Shout! Factory featuring all the original tunes performed by the cast throughout the new episodes.

Starting 9/1 Dragon Con took place in Atlanta over the next few days and featured, among other events, a panel discussion with Frank, Trace and Bill, a podcast with those guys and Caroline Hidalgo and the now annual MST3K Night V.

   

The bots appear in special exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, House Industries: A Type of Learning. This exhibit was about fonts and creativity. There was even a display by the Cannae company that Joel Hodgson was working for at the time. (The show had actually been open since 6/8/17 and ran thru 9/4/17. I listed it here since I visited it on 9/2.)

   

That same day, 9/2, Funko posted an announcement that the special Tom Serv-Crow Funko Pop was being cancelled. What we didn’t know was that they had already been produced and were actually going to be used as the “mystery gift” promised to Revival League Kickstarter backers. Some would end up being released in Australia by mistake, which started a gold rush on eBay to pick one of what was thought to be an extremely rare item.

Frank's latest book, How To Write Cheesy Movies came out on 10/6. The Only Screenwriting Guide You'll Never Need! was released by Pothouse 90 Press.

Happy Death Day, a black comedy directed by Christopher Landon debuted on 10/13. During scenes in a dorm room we can see an MST3K: The Movie poster on the wall.

MST3K DVD VI was rereleased on 10/17. Episodes included Teenagers From Outer Space (404), Attack of the Giant Leeches (406) and Gunslinger (511) along with Mr B’s Lost Shorts, featuring Mr. B Natural, X Marks the Spot, Hired, Part 1, Design For Dreaming, Johnny At The Fair, and Are You Ready for Marriage? There was also a new bonus featurette Shortsighted: An Interview with Film Archivist and MST3K Shorts Supplier Rick Prelinger.

On 10/20 the Funko Pop figures of Tom and Crow were released.

 

Hampton began a podcast 11/7 with co-host Dave Ross called Suicide Buddies.

On 11/8 The Food Channel posted a recipe for a Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Satellite of Love Cocktail.

Ingredients:
1 part Stoli Ohranj vodka
½ part Shambord
½ part pineapple juice
Splash of lemon juice
Preparation:
Pour all the ingredients into a small glass filled with ice. Stir, then strain into two shot glasses.

In November more backer rewards were sent out. Season 11 DVDs and Blu-rays became available to various levels of Kickstarter backers. Also, a VHS of Reptilicus was available. There were also other backer rewards such as Mimobots USB drives, 2018 wall calendar and, after some initial confusion “Mystery Gifts," which for most backers turned out to be the previously announced and then cancelled Funko Pop Tom Serv-Crow. Backers would get a special numbered certificate inside the box that was signed by Joel.

     

   

MST3K DVD XXXIX was released on 11/17 and included the episodes Girls Town (601), Amazing Transparent Man (623), Diabolik (1013) and a fourth disk called Satellite Dishes, which was made up of all the host segments from the final 12 episodes that Shout! Factory was unable to get the rights to and therefore would not be released as a complete episode. (Rocketship X-M (201), Godzilla vs Megalon (212), Godzilla vs the Sea Monster (213), The Amazing Colossal Man (309), It Conquered the World (311), Fire Maidens From Outer Space (416), The Eye Creatures (418), Terror From the Year 5000 (807), I Was a Teenage Werewolf (809), The Deadly Bees (905), The Space Children (906) and Quest of the Delta Knights (913).) Other extras included documentaries Chuck Love and the Anatomy of a Theme, Beyond Transparency: New Featurette about the Amazing Transparent Man, Showdown in Eden Prairie: The Final Experiment, The Last Dance and Behind the Scream: Daniel Griffith on Ballyhoo. Also, the first 1500 sets ordered from Shout directly would get a bonus disk, The Complete Poopie!

 

On 11/22 Richard Parks of RRParks Cards kicked off the MST3K Trading Card series 1 Kickstarter, that ended 12/28/17, easily exceeding the target goal. This was very exciting news for MST collectors who had been hoping for a trading card set for many years.

MST3K Turkey Day took place on 11/23/17 and was hosted by Joel, Felicia and Jonah. Episodes shown were The Day the Earth Froze, Night of the Blood Beast, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, Warrior of the Lost World, The Girl in Lovers Lane and Santa Claus. There were also a bunch of original clips advertising various MST related merchandise such as bottle openers, glassware, t-shirts and a BBQ set, which Jonah modeled during part of the marathon. At the end of the marathon there was one more bit of breaking news. Joel announced that MST3K has been picked up by Netflix for season 12.

     

   

On 11/24 a collected edition of Mary Jo Pehl’s Jailbait comics, a sexy camp series, written as a tongue-in-cheek B-movie serial was released. Jailbait follows the adventures of an all-female undercover organization looking to hunt down predatory perverts by any means necessary and prevent children from becoming targets. It has been described as "To Catch a Predator" meets "Charlie’s Angels" meets Ed Wood’s "The Violent Years." (I honestly don’t know much about this comic series. Somehow it got by me when it first came out. It should be noted that Mary Jo felt that much of her original script was abandoned and she effectively disavows her support of the project now.)

On 11/25 Joel and Mary Jo joined other performers for a charity performance to help out Joe Minjares, the owner of the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis. Joe was experiencing some dramatic health issues and his many friends in the entertainment industry had joined together to help raise money for his medical bills.

A documentary by J Elvis called I Need You to Kill premiered on 12/5. It is described as "three American comics - Chad Daniels, Pete Lee, and Tom Segura on a six-show tour through three of the world's newest stand-up comedy scenes: Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau. The film explores the anxieties and surprises of taking your act halfway around the world as well as giving a ground-floor glimpse into Asia's newest growth industry - stand-up comedy."

On 12/13, to end out the year, MSTies saw another question on Jeopardy that we all could answer (I hope).

RiffTrax joined with drᴉp to create a new subscription service called DripTrax on 12/14/17.

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