Feb. 16, 1996
MST3000 Delivers Unusual Evening
By Ellie Walradth
UW-RF News Bureau
"Dazed and Confused," the theme for this year's winter carnival at UW-River Falls, could describe how crazed fans felt after an unpredictable evening with Mystery Science Theater 3000.
As a winter carnival event sponsored by the Hagestad Union Board, three short films and the characters of the irreverent and popular television program were beamed to North Hall Feb. 13 for an evening of laughter and ridicule.
As stars Trace Beaulieu and Mike Nelson of MST3K appeared on stage for the show, their fans yelled and applauded with enthusiastic excitement. Then Beaulieu and Nelson introduced three short, corny films, "A Date With Your Family," "Why Study Industrial Arts" and "Last Clear Chance."
The first film, "A Date With Your Family," was a classic black-and-white film that gave instructions on the proper manners to use at the family dinner table. While the narrated movie played, characters "Tom," "Crow" and Mike Nelson sat as silhouettes in the right hand corner of the screen and added their own witty commentary to make fun of the perfect, suburban Leave-it-to-Beaver-type family on the screen.
The second flick," Why Study Industrial Arts," also had the crowd roaring with laughter as "Crow," "Tom" and Mike Nelson mocked the old- fashioned, formal language used by the film's main character, a 1950s high school boy wearing thick black glasses and a crew cut.
"Last Clear Chance," told the story of a boy who died when his car collided with a train. As the tragic event unfolded, the trio resorted to black humor one-liners that had the crowd bursting into laughter.
MST3K enthusiasts also were given a sneak preview of "MST3K: The Movie," a full-length feature film to be released April 18. During the evening, the audience members also fell prey to the MST3000 cast's ridicule.
After the films, as fans stepped up to a microphone to ask questions, comedians Beaulieu and Nelson picked on their hair, clothes or questions. Getting a straight answer from the wisecracking cast seemed to be an impossible task. The crowd loved it.
One fan asked Nelson if it was true that he attended college at UW-RF and whether his education helped prepare him for his role with MST3000. Nelson replied that it did because it provided him with the opportunity to live next to a liquor store, and, ". . .because I was able to watch a lot of television."
When audience members ran out of questions, Nelson and Beaulieu offered to sign autographs on stage, sending about 20 fans darting toward the stage.
Based on the reactions of the fans, it's clear that MST3000 has created a cult following that is similar to those spawned by "Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Beavis and Butthead," or "The Simpsons."
According to Beaulieu and Nelson, the twice-Emmy-nominated and Peabody-winning program may be returning to the Comedy Central cable network, where it enjoyed a seven-year run. If not, it may move on to a commercial television network.
Either way, fans and fanatics will enjoy the continuation of new MST3000 broadcasts from outer space temporarily taking control of their television sets.