Episodes that almost happened

Full disclosure, I’m a longtime MSTie (1990, or so). I’m also fond of “alternate history” thought experiments. Put those two things together and you have this topic.

As many fans likely know, during the majority of the years at Comedy Channel/Comedy Central, Frank Conniff was tasked with sorting through the boxes of screener tapes that were sent to Eden Prairie by Nina Hahn. Obviously, a number of tapes were viewed and written off fairly quickly as possibly test subjects. Kevin Murphy once remarked that “twenty films were looked at before a film was picked that would work for the show”.

However, more interesting is that there were a some movies that got past the early rejection phase and made it to the next stage of development. In some cases, these were even listed in upcoming episode guide during the early days of the Usenet Newsgroups. Or, even referenced by cast members in interviews, etc.

Mars Needs Women:

Has been mentioned in several interviews through the years, even by Joel himself. I think this was targeted early on (Comedy Channel).

Charro:

Was originally scheduled to be Episode 421, per the Usenet, (ultimately replaced with “Monster a Go-Go”), there may have a been a rights issue that prevented it. It has subsequently been mentioned by several cast members (Mary Jo, Frank).

Moment by Moment:

Has been mentioned in several interviews over the years as one that “got away”. Apparently there was a rights issue and it was replaced by another film through the same distributor.

Beyond the Bermuda Triangle:

Originally slated as Episode 623, per the Usenet groups, but dropped. Replaced with The Amazing Transparent Man.

Master Ninja III:

Originally scheduled for the conclusion of Season 6, Episode 624. However, once Frank decided to depart the show, he selected Samson Vs. the Vampire Women for his finale.

The Land Unknown:

Originally scheduled for Season 8. Mentioned during an online discussion with Kevin Murphy in 1996/97. I assuming rights were an issue.

Day of the Triffids:

Mentioned by Mike in a TV Guide interview during Season 8. Also assume rights were an issue here, as well.

Assignment Venezuala:

This was scheduled to be the MST3K CD-Rom that never saw release.

On this topic, am I missing any?

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Welcome to the forum!

Good news: Assignment Venezuela is available on Shout Factory TV! and was one of the 20 shorts just released to backers.

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Oh that’s very cool, thank you much. I didn’t realize they had procured the ability to stream that.

Sweet!

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Mylar: What’s it to You is a short that was supposed to be on the CD-rom, but the tape was misplaced and it’s never been released.

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It was first included years ago as part of the “Assignment Venezuela and Other Shorts” tape initially available from the Info Club and then included on Volume 7 of the DVD boxed sets.

The real missing short is called “Mylar: What’s It To You?”. It was scheduled for the same MST3K CD-ROM project with Voyager in the mid-90s, but it’s said that the tape was lost at the Best Brains offices back in the day and has never been heard from since. So that’s really the lost MST that was apparently actually filmed.

This screen cap comes from the MST Turkey Day Marathon from 1995 Turkey Day marathon when they first spoke of the project and mentioned the shorts involved.

Mylar

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Good call, I remember the VHS being available to Info Club members and also, now that you mention it, being on one of the Rhino sets. I had practically all of those, at one time.

Has the “Anthology” VHS ever been made available by Shout Factory? I thought that was a nice collection of “stuff”.

For some reason I don’t remember the ‘Mylar’ short. I do remember the CD-Rom being tentative forever. Side note, wasn’t Voyager originally the parent company of Criterion?

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Selfishly, this is the one I lament the most. MJI and MJII are among my favorite episodes – period. The idea that they almost did the next set FVI packaged episodes (‘Master Ninja III’) has always tantalized me. I just need more riffing of Van Patten and Van Cleef in their… Dodge Van.

I think maybe 8-9 years ago I wrote something on the Rifftrax board as a suggestion to please do it. Nothing. I’m probably in the minority, to be sure, but I just can’t get enough of those episodes. I can quote them.

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The storyline host segments that led to Night of the Blood Beast were released on Volume 31 of the DVD sets along with Night of the Blood Beast (and the turkey day themed host segments for that episode).

The Poopie Parade of Value infomercial that aired that night was included the Complete Poopie DVD that Shout Factory had as a preorder bonus on their website for one of the boxed sets.

As for Criterion, it’s a messy story, but Criterion used to be a subsidiary of Voyager as far as I can tell…and they both worked with Janus Films to put out material. But in the late 90s, Voyager went out of business and Criterion kept on keeping on. It is currently owned by the sons of the men who own Janus, so there’s a close relationship there.

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The 1962 Day of the Triffids is probably the target on this one…? It’s a little too slow but the SoL crew knows how to save those.

The serial from 1980-whatever is pretty good. There’s room for riffing but it holds itself up just fine.

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Always thought it was cool that Bryant Haliday of Devil Doll and the Projected Man fame, was one of Janus’ founders.

As for ‘almost experiments’: I know there were a bunch they’ve mentioned wanting to do - MJ was hopeful about getting the rights to Starship Invasions for season 7, along with Laserblast and Melting Man. They got 2 out of those 3 (Rifftrax would eventually cover Starship). And Mike mentioned Baffled with Leonard Nimoy, but was that a wish, or one they actually tried and failed to get the rights too?

I’m curious how far they went with some of these, did they do any writing on Charro, for example, before the plug was pulled.

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No I’m right there with you. I would have loved to see another Master Ninja epsiode!

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i read somewhere that ‘angry red planet’ was considered for the movie. i don’t remember why they couldn’t do it.

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For one that did actually happen, but is still quite a story: getting the rights to A Case of Spring Fever was an especially long and grueling process that took more than half the show’s original run. This is why there’s a host segment referencing it in Bride of the Monster; they were so bouncing off the walls wanting to share this short with the world that they threw in a full recreation of it despite absolutely no one at the time understanding what they were referencing.

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