The case of the vanishing riff!

After looking at this thread:

Does anyone else recall a riff that seemed to have disappeared? Whether by changing cuts, Mandela effect, or spring sprites, a riff that you vividly remember that just up and vanished upon later airings/recordings?

I definitely recall a bit in “The Home Economics Story” where when one woman is holding up a vial, the riff goes “This is phlegm–” but swear it was followed up by her picking up another vial and the riff continuing, “And this is mucus.” In all tapes and rewatches, though, it cuts off after ‘phlegm.’

I’m certain there were a couple more that I knew were present when I saw them way back when on Comedy Central, but on tapes/dvds or later airings, just disappeared like-- BOOOIIIING! Anyone else?


The phlem and mucus riff is on my SHOUT Factory DVD. Though there was an early shorts compilation that cut it off.

There are different cuts to Pod People, TV vs DVD release, I don’t recall any riffs being lost, it just shaved a few seconds off the movie (somewhere around the Simon game scene)


Yeah, there was something wonky going on with Pod People.

There’s a video about a different set of different video edits: MST3K Pod People editing quirk - YouTube


As for the topic at large, I know that the episodes are edited to make them fit for The Mystery Science Theater Hour. Even so, I’ll revisit the full episodes and it seems like the deliveries of a very few jokes are different from how I remembered them from The Mystery Science Theater Hour.

It could just be a trick of the memory, of course, but I’d like to dig up my MST Hour tape for The Giant Gila Monster and see if those differences exist or if I’m just misremembering things.


So, this line is the reason I know the hour cuts are sometimes a touch different, as I noticed this as well, and checked the hour cut for differences, where the joke remains intact.


Not quite what you’re talking about, since I know exactly what happened, but:

I went to the Cinematic Titanic live farewell tour. Had an awesome time laughing with friends who’d never seen anything MST3K before. Our favorite riff that had the entire theater laughing uproariously was Frank making a joke in East Meets Watts about how one of the minor characters looked and acted like Blackenstein (a 70s Blacksploitation version of Frankenstein). It was pretty funny the first time when he just said “… Blackenstein?” But then, out of nowhere, an hour later, the guy shows up again and recoils from either a sparking wire or an electric fence. And Frank goes “Grr. Fire bad!” in the Phil Hartman voice and it was perfect.

I eagerly bought the DVD and went to watch it, and… no Blackenstein riffs. So disappointing.

Like I said, I know what happened: They recorded the DVD version early on, and then the script evolved over the course of the tour, with them trying out new riffs, cutting ones that didn’t work, changing things up a bit just so it didn’t feel so repetitive doing the same riffs over and over at every tour stop, etc.

IDK if they have recordings of the later live shows. I’d be thrilled if they did. Otherwise, that moment will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.


More vanishing voices with this one.

Season 12 had some riffs that you could only SEE if you had captioning on.

When it originally played on Netflix, in Killer Fish when Gyps drops off the payload, you could see her mouth move, but heard no sound. They fixed that when it went to DVD (don’t know if it’s still that way on Netflix). However, it happened again the next episode and that wasn’t fixed in the DVD release - in Ator a little over the 22-minute mark, if you have captions on you can read Jonah’s line “That was fun, you guys wanna crash that bris?”


In the show I saw, it was Joel, and he yelled it as if surprised so we got: “BLACKENSTINE?!”

I remember it as one of my favorite jokes from that show because it blindsided me SO hard that the reserved and good natured Joel would just explode with this weird, out-of-NOWHERE comment.

So it goes to show that they’re always workshopping the riffs!


That “Blackenstein” joke was in the Astral Factor riff that Cinematic Titanic did. Sadly that is one of the shows that was never released commercially. There used to be a version on Youtube that synced the audio from the riff with a print of the movie.


Wasn’t there a case of a vanishing stinger? I think one of the Rhino VHS releases somehow left one out (I seem to recall being puzzled when I watched one that just ended after the twang).


Sure was! That would be the stinger for The Atomic Brain, which I believe has been restored by Shout Factory.


Just remembered another scene, but don’t know what they riffed. I could’ve sworn in “Design for Dreaming” that the mysterious dream man was explained by a Playbill in the woman’s room, but it’s not in any copy I’ve seen. Does anyone recall it from the MST Hour, perhaps?

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“Design for Dreaming” is attached to the Season 5 finale, 12 to the Moon, but the MST Hour never covered any Mike episodes. I think they only got as far as Episode 507, I Accuse My Parents.


I think I found it…


I just watched the short unriffed from the Library of Congress and didn’t see a Playbill.

I am curious about the “It’s you” reaction at the end… you, who? Are we supposed to know him?


Thank you! Maybe I imagined it. I make more sense than the makers of the short, apparently… :stuck_out_tongue:

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