Thursday, July 12, 2012

MST3K: Episode 701T - Night of the Blood Beast (Turkey Day)

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 701T: Night of the Blood Beast (Turkey Day)

First aired: Comedy Central on 23 November 1995
Availability: Amazon (Volume 16 standard edition / Collector's Edition), Shout Factory (Volume 16 standard edition / Collector's Edition), Best Brains (Volume 16 Collector's Edition)

Mrs. Forrester provides the film.
This one's odd. Well, not so much the movie, although, it's a Roger Corman sci-fi film.

No, it's the episode. Or the version of the episode.

Let me explain.

There were two versions of this episode. There was the version that first aired, then the version that aired subsequently.

Yeah, that doesn't really help, does it.

This episode first aired as part of the Turkey Day Marathon in 1995. It was the last episode -- and the only original episode -- that aired during that 15-hour, 7-episode marathon. And, yes, it did air again a week and a half later. Twice that first weekend in December, in fact. It was the first original episode that aired since March of that year. And, another new episode wouldn't air until February 1996.

Mrs. Forrester talks to the crew of the Satellite of Love while Dr. Forrester entertains Thanksgiving Day guests.
This version of the episode was the Thanksgiving, or as they called it, Turkey Day, episode, with the host segments specifically talking about Thanksgiving, guests, and "the game."

The Turkey Day episode had, as part of the Host Segment story arc, Dr. Forrester hosting a Thanksgiving Day party. Only, he didn't know about it. At the beginning of the marathon, the bumpers had guests showing up from invitations Frank sent out before Torgo the White took him to Second Banana Heaven. The guests included Jack Perkins (with his famous Mexican three-layer dip), Mr. B Natural (who brought his famous Mexican three-layer dip), Pitch (with his Mexican three-layer dip), the Kitten with a Whip (who brought a hairball and his litter box), Michael Feinstein, and, last but certainly not least, Mother Forrester. That covers the bumpers in the marathon, which concluded with this episode.

This is the episode with the famous scenes of Jack Perkins hitting on Mr. B Natural. It started during the marathon, but continued into this episode, including Perkins announcing he wanted to marry Mr. B Natural.

Jack Perkins hits on Mr. B Natural.
Early on, Mrs. Forrester recognizes "Art" -- a running gag dating back to Joel, imitating Jackie Gleason, introducing Crow as "Art Crow" in Episode 203: Jungle Goddess, and a letter that was read in Episode 402: The Giant Gila Monster that indicated the writer, a four-year-old, thought that Crow's name was Art. This is a throwback to that. Oh, and Pearl will call him "Art" from here on out.

That's the main thing about this episode: the Host Segments. The Short, "Once Upon A Honeymoon," and the film, Night of the Blood Beast, are the same. Only the Host Segments are different.

We'll cover the film in greater detail when we cover the standard version of this episode. That version is considered the official one. The Turkey Day version is a "bonus feature" on the Volume 16 compilation.

Mary Jo Pehl joins the on-air cast.
The Host Segments were fun, and during the last one, it mentioned that Mrs. Forrester would be staying, which was the official introduction of Pearl Forrester as a regular cast member. Oh, and that last little tidbit is why this episode falls after The Movie. Had the episode ended with her just being one of the guests, rather than staying on, then The Movie could have fallen in the timeline after this episode. But, that's not how things shook out.

This episode was a fun one. The Host Segments made it a classic, and explain why they included this version as a "bonus feature" on the Volume 16 compilation.

Though I didn't talk much about the movie -- okay, I didn't say anything about the movie -- it neither took away nor added to the overall rating of this episode. This one is great. One of the best of the Mike years.

Next, we'll see how it stacks up to the standard version of this episode. I haven't seen the regular version in some time, so I'm quite curious about what I'll think about it, compared to this version.



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