The Morristown and Morris Township Library is taking their penchant for whimsical programming to the next level with a celebration the 25th anniversary of the television program Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The event will run in a series on Sept. 18, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9.
On Thanksgiving Day 1988, a janitor named Joel and his self-made robot companions Crow and Tom Servo, and the gang first aired their wisecracking (or should that be “sidehacking”) ability to the horrendous movie Invaders from the Deep in the “let’s-make-fun-of-really-bad-moves” show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Joel and the ‘bots used the joking to make the movies more bearable. Phone requests and a tremendous response from Minnesota viewers––who watched the initial shows on the local KTMA television station––led to the launch of additional episodes and a series that ran on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Network from 1989-1999. As they moved to syndication, head writer Mike Nelson eventually took the reins from the departing Joel and the show spawned its own full-length feature film in 1996.
The series developed a huge cult following, with early shows being circulated from person to person via VHS tapes, often around college campuses. The series’ silhouettes of Joel (or Mike) and the robots in front of the movie screen became iconic and many of their witty rejoinders to the film’s characters or about popular culture references, became the equivalent of Facebook posts for a prior generation.
Even after the show’s cancellation, the concept lives on as Mike Nelson, Kevin “Tom Servo” Murphy and Bill “Crow” Corbett continue their antics on the web based Riff Trax series.
To celebrate with MSTies (what fans of the show call themselves) around the world, the Morristown & Morris Township Library is offering a series of films in preparation for the anniversary. The Library will show two episodes of the cult-favorite show and will also show a non-MST3K movie for patrons to poke fun of themselves. Learn from the MST3K masters on Sept. 18 and Oct. 2 with classic episodes Manos: The Hands of Fate and Jack Frost and then come on Oct. 9 to give a try at ‘riffing’ a different film: Konga, a 1961 film about a giant ape that terrorizes the city of London.
The free programs begin at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served. This program is supported through funding from the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Series Schedule At A Glance:
Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Manos: Hands of Fate (episode 424, season 4)
This 1966 film features a hapless family on a car trip in rural Texas when they take refuge at an inn that harbors a deadly cult. The episode also includes the conclusion of the two-part short, Hired!, where the sales manager hero gets advice from his father.
Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Jack Frost (episode 813, season 8)
This film version of a Russian folk tale from 1965 shows a woman is forced to slave away, while a young boy with the head of a bear must perform a good deed to reverse the curse
Wednesday, Oct. at 6:30 p.m.
Test your own riffing abilities on this horribly-rated, mad scientist thriller, without the aid of the MST3K characters. See what ensues when Dr. Decker tests his advanced growing techniques on a small chimpanzee and then decides to unleash it upon his enemies.