Sep. 28th, 2015

krpalmer: (mst3k)
Each new collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs from Shout! Factory makes up a new "general description" on the back of the box for the merriment within. With this latest collection, I was struck by its invitation to "Choose Your Own MST3K Adventure," although in thinking a bit about it I can wonder if someone about my age would be most likely to remember those books, which might even put them in about the same place as me for having the cultural references particularly in the early episodes fly over their heads.

In any case, just as the second paragraph's own invitation suggested, I "chose" each episode in turn, interested in seeing if I could hit on any new perspectives to go with my previous experiences. The extras in these collections do seem to help there. This time around there wasn't any "Mystery Science Theater"-focused content other than the "Mystery Science Theater Hour" segments for "Daddy-O" and "Earth vs. the Spider," but there was something about the making of each original movie.

"Daddy-O" was an early example of the show moving a bit beyond its apparent purview of "mystery science," but also anticipated several more episodes where the main character just happened to perform several songs along the way, and it does happen to include a supporting actor who appeared in other movies in the "MST3K canon." "Earth vs. the Spider" was more "conventional" that way, of course. It's possible I took particular interest in "Teen-age Crime Wave" among of the episodes in this set, if also aware it might not be everyone else's favourite. Its special features were interesting, if a bit wide-ranging. A little documentary about the movie's producer Sam Katzman told the tale of a man who moved up in the movie world, from the really low-end studios to the mid-range ones to one of the most notable ones (if at a time when it was starting to get a bit run down itself); while it mentioned "Teen-age Crime Wave" in a moment's passing, it had already surprised me by mentioning Katzman had also produced "The Corpse Vanishes," another episode in the MST3K canon (and a movie subsisting almost entirely on Bela Lugosi's name). There was a bit more detail about the movie itself in an interview with its top-billed actor Tommy Cook, who'd started as a child actor on radio (if one playing roles that would be more than a little politically incorrect these days). The disc menu for "Agent for H.A.R.M." got off the Satellite of Love bridge to point out the episode's "host segment" storyline of Mike being put on trial for having blown up several planets over part of the eighth season, which got me thinking a bit of how anyone else watching the episodes as they're released on DVD won't have seen them "in order" and remembering how this was the first of the "Sci-Fi Channel" episodes I saw; I at least wasn't dwelling too much on previous impressions of the "riffing" tilting meaner towards the end. There was also an interview with the "movie"/unsuccessful TV series pilot's star Peter Mark Richman, who mentioned how he'd added the white streak in his character's hair (a streak I'd got to wondering just might have prompted a joke or two about skunks; whether that was "too easy" for the "Best Brains" might just point out the difference between them and me).

June 2017

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