The thing about a cult classic, for example The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Clockwork Orange, is that they don't necessarily attract a huge fan base -- but the people they do attract are die-hard show merchandise collecting, DVD buying, can quote every line, will pay a gazillion bucks to meet the star-type fans. Such was (or is) the case with Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K as it's known to the aforementioned fans.
It's been two decades since the show, which featured a guy and a bunch of robots lobbing insults and quipping one-liners at a movie screen showing some of the worst crap in filmmaking history, first aired on Minneapolis' lousiest TV station. Ten seasons (7 on Comedy Central and 3 on the Sci-Fi Channel), a Peabody Award, a couple of Emmy nominations and a feature film later, this cute little show had a strong following. As evidenced by the nearly sold-out crowd at this past weekend's Cinematic Titanic -- a new live show featuring MST3K creator Joel Hodgson and original cast members Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl and J. Elvis Weinstein -- at Mesa Arts Center.
More crazy fan-filled pics from Cinematic Titanic after the jump...
Friday night's gem of a movie was the 70's (we're guessing on that, as all traces of it seem to have been wiped from movie history) not-so-classic kung fu slash blaxploitation film East Meets Watts. Long story short, Asian guy looking for brother hooks up with black guy after both are unfairly profiled by crooked cop and handcuffed together. Thankfully, we had Cinematic Titanic's awesome cast to pull us through with punchlines like "Ok, who called the polyester police?" and "Damn, I wish I could find a Chinese laundry place in San Francisco!"
Yes, it was a horrible film. But that's the point, isn't it? We geeks wouldn't be thrilled if Joel and his hang were making fun of actual good movies like Harry Potter or The Dark Knight now, would we? Next up, we're hoping for Terminator Salvation. Ouch.
This cute geek couple proudly shows off their Cinematic Titanic swag, ready to brave the long signing line at the end of the night.
Trace Beaulieu greets fans and chats while signing various pieces of swag, from old videos to posters and t-shirts.
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Wow, an MST3K VHS tape. We'd be surprised if youngest cast member J. Elvis Weinstein actually remembered those. Known as the original voice of robots Tom Servo and Gypsy, Weinstein joined the cast of MST3K when he was just 17 years old. Damn! We were still flipping burgers back then.
Here's the man of the hour, creator Joel Hodgson with cell phone in hand. You might think from the pic that Hodgson is one of those guys who's so self-important that he needs to check his cell phone every second. Nope. He's actually trying to track down the rest of the cast (who are supposed to be on the signing line) to see where the heck they are!
In every geek crowd, there has to be one King (or Queen) geek; you know, the one who shows up in a handmade Darth Vader costume or runs the local chapter of the Battlestar Galactica fan club. That honor clearly goes to Mike here, who came prepared with a miniature Tom Servo robot replica he made himself out of a gumball machine and spare parts.