The old credits had the request for fans to keep circulating the tapes. I was fortunate in the late 90s to make some online connections that resulted in being sent a couple of VHS tapes with episodes such as Pod People, Cave Dwellers, and Manos. I think I got Mitchell too. Were you also a lucky recipient, did you do the good work of spreading MST3K, or a bit of both?
My first introduction to the series was through tapes mailed to a college friend by MSTies in Wisconsin. The show was never on in Canada (that I’m aware of anyway) but the movie was go to crowd pleasing fun for my friends. I had no idea there was more until my friend sat me down to watch Hamlet and Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders. I never circulated any tapes myself, but I’m glad I got to participate in this era of the fandom.
I never sent off any tapes, but I did frequently show episodes that I recorded to friends and family, and I’ve since sent some single episodes to my best MSTie friend across the country when I got box sets that made the individual copies redundant
I supplied tapes to a fan in Boston who became a friend, probably some other random requests, but my big give was sending 40 episodes to a fan club in Australia. They paid me in Tim Tams and Vegemite.
Nothing in terms of sending/receiving tapes across the country, but I did both here and there throughout school.
On one side of the spectrum, I let friends borrow my tapes - both what I got from TV and the Rhino VHS selections - in the hopes of trying to get more folks to join the MST3K collective.
On the other side of the spectrum, there was this one kid in school who I knew was on the level when I saw that he had an MST3K shirt. He let me borrow episodes on tape that I never saw before, including Crash of the Moons and The Beatniks.
Even when tech had moved on to DVD-Rs
In high school, I taped a bunch of the later season episodes for my friends who didn’t get the Sci Fi Channel.
Back in the day I did this with Anime but I didn’t get into MST3K until the mid-2000s so I’ll leave it up to your imagination…
These days I buy what I can for my collection. So far many of my favorite riffs have been made available (which is awesome) always look forward to re-issues. Some collections are getting expensive to buy plus they come used so the creators don’t get any money from that.
I also support the Twitch channel which I watch almost every day and of course Kickstarter projects
I feel like I’ve contributed a lot despite getting into the fandom late.
Isn’t that Lemminkäinen?
He’s earned some much needed downtime after having to make a SAMPO
I tried… but i was a bit late to the game.
I was introduced to the tape game by a customer of the comic shop I was working at. It was shortly after that I ended up getting involved with the local Anime community where we were trading a number of fansubbed shows.
Sadly most of the episodes I had on tape were already in circulation or available to that group, (as was the person who introduced me) and most the long distance trading to give or get new episodes was already handled by a few guys who had been trading for a while.
In my fandom heyday, I was devoted enough to get almost everything I recorded done ad-free. I moved to a smaller place, and there wasn’t room to keep them around. So I found another MSTie on Livejournal to adopt the tapes. I don’t know if they’re still out there. But if they were, that’d be… pretty nice.
I wasn’t really involved in circulating the tapes, but I was kind of involved in their production.
As a kid waaaay back in 1990, while at my grandparents’ house, I caught the last 30-ish minutes of Robot Holocaust during its original airing on The Comedy Channel (back before it was called Comedy Central).
We didn’t have cable TV, so I couldn’t watch MST3k at home, but my grandparents had a satellite dish. I really liked the part of the RH episode I saw, so I asked my grandmother if she would tape the show for me when it came on again.
The next time I went to visit my grandparents, they had a stack of tapes for me with Moon Zero Two, Untamed Youth, and The Black Scorpion episodes, which were the next 3 episodes to air after RH.
For years, all the way through season 7 until MST switched to the Sci-Fi Channel (which they didn’t get on their satellite), they would tape episodes for me whenever they could and would set up a second TV room on Thanksgiving so I could watch the Turkey Day marathons while everybody else watched football.
I actually had a tape trading page back in the day - SoL Brother’s Tape Trading - and had all episodes other than KTMA #1 eventually. Good times.
I guess I should mention that up until 1993, when I moved to Atlanta, I didn’t have access to MST3K myself, so my friends would tape it for me. I hadn’t intended to record every episode, but by then I was into furnishing copies to others, so I kept it up after that.
For a long, long, long time, the only episode I didn’t have was Robot Holocaust.
Including the elusive KTMA #3?
I loved the tape circulating thing and I used to put three episodes on a tape with a custom spine sticker that had the title card images from all three movies. There was some site back then that had captured them for all the episodes.
I was quite proud of how they looked.