11 February 2007


The MST Scrapbook - Exactly as the name suggests, this is a compilation of pieces of show history taken from its first seven years. Never released on DVD, this tape was only available from the MST Info Club. It's now out of print and I suspect it'll never see the light of day again. For one, it has a very limited audience. More problematic, given today's legal climate, is that it probably couldn't pass the "fair use" test anymore. In the background of one of the KTMA host segments, monitors play random movies that station KTMA-23 owned. At MST Live, Joel performs ventriloquism with two volunteers, making the masks they're wearing sing a Mo-Town song. While BBI builds the set for the cable series, random music plays from a radio. At MST Alive!, we get to see Joel and the bots riffing on a scene from World Without End. Lesser instances of "background intellectual property" have brought down more popular documentaries in this era.

Here's everything that can found on the tape:

  • K00 host segment
  • KTMA Sales Tape
  • Season KTMA Opening
  • K02 host segment
  • K03 host segment
  • K04 host segment
  • K07 host segment
  • K16 host segment
  • K19 host segment
  • K21 host segment
  • MST Live (1989)
  • Comedy Channel Pitch Tape
  • Birth of Best Brains
  • Season 1 Opening
  • Season 1 TV Spot 1
  • 102 TV Spot
  • Season 1 TV Spot 2
  • Season 1 TV Spot 3
  • Season 2-5.5 Opening
  • Turkey Day '91
  • This Is MST3K: Scraps from the Cutting Room Floor
  • Death & Taxes Marathon TV Spot
  • MST Alive! (1992)
  • 513 Opening & Host Segment
  • American Red Cross TV Spot 1
  • American Red Cross TV Spot 2
  • ConventioCon ExpoFest-A-Rama '94
  • Photo Slideshow
The behind-the-scenes stuff is the gold here. The near-useless This Is MST3K is redeemed with the "Scraps from the Cutting Room Floor" bits on this tape. Finally, we get good, long looks at the writers' room, behind the console on the SOL's bridge and in front of the theater's seats. This is what I wanted to see in that show, not Penn Jillette mugging for the camera. "Birth of Best Brains" is fascinating camcorder footage of the season 1 sets being built. There's a long discussion about hanging Trace that is pretty bizarre. I love how down-to-earth the show was. How many other television programs that ran for more than a decade had their sets partially built by the onscreen talent?

The scenes from the lost KTMA episodes were interesting. They reminded me just how not-great the show was back then. Thank Torgo the robot Beeper didn't make it past the pilot. You think Josh's Gypsy voice is annoying? A show full of him beeping all of the time would've been torture.

After the behind-the-scenes footage, the second best bits were from the MST Alive! show and the ConventioCon ExpoFest-A-Rama. Outside of the staged Turkey Day '93 bumpers, I've never seen real-live MST fans geeking out over their favorite show. We're not a pretty bunch of folks, but we come from all walks of life it would appear. Also: I will have the image of Frank dressed in a skintight leotard burned into my retinas for the rest of the week. Thanks a lot, guys!

It seems unlikely at this point in time that we'll ever get a really comprehensive documentary on the show. Combing this tape with the upcoming The Making of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is probably the closest we can get.

"I was afraid I'd look ridiculous." (7/10)

mst d. [various] (Spring 1995)