Mystery Science Theater 3000: DIABOLIK
May 5, 2018 6:28 PM - Season 10, Episode 13 - Subscribe

AKA Danger: Diabolik. "Out for all he can take, seduce, or get away with." A master criminal steals all kinds of stuff in a series of capers, killing lots of people along the way. Oh, and he's our protagonist, yay! He's based on an Italian comic character, which might explain things a bit. Pearl plays around with a joystick she got at Radio Shack, but it breaks and sends the Satellite of Love into reentry, and she can't do anything about it. Mike and the 'bots are coming home! And with this, we have reached the end of our tour of Mystery Science Theater 3000; see inside for closing words and odds and ends. But MST Club isn't done yet! Episode 1013 is available on YouTube. Premiered August 8, 1999.

Episode 1013
Satellite News - Mighty Jack's Episode Review - War of the Colossal Fan Guide - TVTropes - Annotated MST3K

The final entry (to date) of the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide has reflections from Mary Jo, Bill, Paul Chaplin and Patrick Brantseg. It wasn't the last entry written, mind you; that would be the one for 706 LASERBLAST. There's too much to quote here in full; read them through their links, it's what they're there for.

Daddy-O's Drive-In Dirt
Rotten Tomatoes (Critics 70%, Viewers 71% [hey, that's Fresh!]) - Wikipedia - TVTropes
IMDB (1968, 6.5 stars)
"International man of mystery Diabolik and his sensuous lover Eva Kant pull off heist after heist, all while European cops led by inspector Ginko and envious mobsters led by Ralph Valmont are closing in on them."
Directed by Mario Bava. Written by Angela Giussani, Luciana Giussani, Arduino Maluri, Adriano Baracco, Brian Degas, Tudor Gates and Mario Bava. From the comic book by Angela and Luciana Giussani. Starring John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli and Aldolfo Celi.

Diabolik is a famous Italian comic book character. While he may seem to be a male power fantasy, the character was actually created by two sisters.

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This is, as of this writing, the last of the main MST3K episode posts. We made it! There will be more episodes in the future, and maybe Rewatch posts, but for now, we can rest.

Well... there is a little more....

There are a few remaining bits of MST3K ephemera. Rather than give them their own posts (where would they even fit into the episode structure?) I'm going to mention them here.

There are the KTMA episodes. 21 episodes aired on Minnesota local TV station KTMA and were never broadcast in any other form. Some of them are early versions of movies they would later riff on Comedy Central, especially the Sandy Frank stuff. Most of these episodes are pretty hard to watch though. In the very earliest episodes, it's not even clear that the show was intended for movie mockery, it was more of a show where you watched along with Joel (the robots weren't in the theater in the first episode!), and he'd occaisionally make a comment. I don't know if the riffs were improvised, but these episodes are much less dense than even the first cable season. The robots all look very different, and sometimes act different. Tom Servo is "Beeper" at first, for instance, and communicates through weird vocal noises. Joel Hodgson later referred to Beeper as an example of a robot born without charisma.

Moving far ahead, there are a small number of other bits. There's the commercials they made for Comedy Central, which are often brilliant and wonderful. I'm especially fond of the "Death and Taxes" maration commercial, from the days when CC seemed to recognize what a gem they had in MST3K. There's also the commercials and ad bumpers they did for various Turkey Day marathons through the years. Here's a YouTube playlist of the first of these, Turkey Day '91. Because of YouTube's propensity for deleting things some of the actual episodes are missing from the playlist, but I believe all the ad spots are intact. A good YouTube search will uncover more Turkey Day bits. The last Turkey Day on Comedy Central had the premiere of 701 NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST, and they did alternate host segments for that episode. That year they also had Adam West (who appeared in that movie) do the bumpers, reportedly because they didn't want to pay Best Brains to do Turkey Day bumpers that year.

Why were relations with Comedy Central so contentious towards the end? Some have claimed that fans were being too demanding, with their complaining about Penn Jilette's voice covering closing credit gags and CC scheduling the show capriciously. There may be something to that... if we accepted that Comedy Central's management was unusually petty at that time... but even then....

MST3K had, and still has, a fandom that most other shows can only dream of. Other networks would love to get their hands on such a show; in fact, the Sci-Fi Channel picked it up less than a year after Comedy Central dropped it. What, honestly, did Comedy Central expect?

A change in management at Comedy Central appears to be the actual root cause of MST going on the outs, but, another likely contributing factor? In the early days of cable TV channels, a new 24-hour station had to find a way to fill up airtime with more than just reruns of The Lucy Show and That Girl. MST3K offered a compelling mix: not only did it fill up two whole hours of material a week (and more, including reruns), they could do it cheaply, and the show even had huge critical buzz (Tom Shales of TV Guide loved it) and an enthusiastic fandom. As the network aged, however, they came to care less about filling airtime and more about making TV shows that they could reap profits from through DVD sales, and likely the one major problem of MST3K, from Comedy Central's perspective, was that they didn't own the show. MST3K was, and always has been, creator-controlled (even if the creator was distant from it for a time).

You can almost draw a solid line between early era Comedy Central and the current age, and it would be placed right around the cancellation of Mystery Science Theater 3000. MST3K's last year on Comedy Central (I'm going by memory here) was close to the first of both The Daily Show (then with Craig Kilborn) and South Park, two shows that remain with the network today. It was also around the time that they dropped Penn Jilette as the voice of the network, and much of their other programming, like Viva Variety and early original sketch shows Exit 57 and The Vacant Lot, were soon to change too.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, other MST video things! Let's see.

They made a few specials for the Sci-Fi channel. There was the Academy of Robots's Choice Awards Preview Special, the 1st Annual Summer Blockbuster Review and the 2nd Annual Summer Blockbuster Review, all of which afforded a preview of Rifftrax by letting the guys riff on big budget movie clips. (Hey, there was one of those on Comedy Central too, the Little Gold Statue Preview Special!)

There are a few bits that mostly saw the public through Info Club sales, and sometimes those bits made it onto DVD as extras. One of these was Poopie! an outtake reel. This got marketed on Comedy Central in a silly kind of informercial called Poopie Parade of Values. Also sold in that infomercial was the Video Scrapbook (two hours long!). There's some more things like that if you look for them. Here's a KTMA Scrapbook compilation, which contains a lot of the same material. They released some collections of MST music, the Clowns In The Sky CD issues. #1 - #2

Mike and the Bots riffed some game footage for the Playstation Underground magazine-on-CD Sony released for a while for the original Playstation console. Here that is.

There was a long-running project for a MST3K CD-ROM, along the lines of Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time, back when those things were popular. They wrote and filmed a complete short for that, Assignment: Venezuela, that was left orphaned when the project fell apart. It was put on one of the DVDs, but can now be found on YouTube.

Classic Talk Soup had a couple of appearances by the MST characters in the Mike Comedy Central era. Here's #1 and #2. They were once on CBS This Morning.

A few extra bits got made for DVD releases. This one is notable because it has Joel, Dr. F and Frank in it, yet was made long after the Mike era ended!

During the Comedy Central era, Penn Jilette, who no matter what you think of him was a prominent booster of the show in its early era and even did a "HERE at COMEDY CENTRAL!" for old times' sake during the S11 Kickstarter marathon, hosted a making-of special on the show called This Is MST3K.

MST3K: The Movie was notoriously cut down, so its final run time was in fact shorter than the movie it riffed, This Island Earth. Some deleted scenes survive.

When MST3K started appearing on the Sci-Fi Channel it was the early days of the popularity of the internet. One bright idea the channel had was to run "MST3K: The Home Game," a showing of the movie Day The World Ended, but with a crawl at the bottom of the screen with riffs from viewers in an IRC Channel. I don't think any of the Brains had anything to do with it though. Promo - 4 PM airing - 11 PM airing.

There were two official show conventions during the run of the show, the Conventio-Con Expo Fest-A-Rama, and the Conventio-Con Expo Fest-A-Rama II: Electric Boogaloo (it was long before that joke became overused). Here's almost two hours of footage from the second one. YouTube user EyesOnJeremy has a lot of it on YouTube, in five parts. I made a playlist of them.

One of the conventions featured a movie that none of the show's staff has ever riffed in a different context, World Without End. Some of it survives, but YouTube has blocked it. This YouTube has a link to a share for some of it, but I have not tested it out. Reader beware.

There's some more bits out there too, but we're getting close to the bottom of the barrel. Of course a number of bits were made to promote Season 11, but those are still fresh in our minds, aren't they? There's also The Adventures of Edward the Less (roughly 55 minutes), a barely animated Tolkien parody the Brains put together for the Sci-Fi Channel. I rather like it!

YouTube user "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Rarities Archive" collects a few extra show related and quasi-related things. Like the soundtrack to Manos, early KTMA clips, clips from episodes, interviews with cast members, shows that MST members appeared in like the 8th Annual Young Comedians Show (early Joel appearance), some episode rough cuts, excerpts from the Kickstarter telethon they ran to fund Season 11, the controversial bot-only Flash cartoons Jim Mallon produced to try to try to produce new content (but without riffing), and other things.

If you hunt around YouTube, sometimes you can find amazing things. The old Nickelodeon show Out Of Control, notable for being Dave Coulier's first major show (he was one of the uncles on Full House), had an episode that guest starred Joel Hodgson! Could this be his first nation-wide television appearance? I dunno.

After leaving MST3K, Joel Hodgson made a pilot of a show for HBO called TV Wheel, which was quirky, hired a lot of comedians, is fairly memorable to watch, and completely failed to go anywhere. He also worked on something called Statical Planets, but I know very little about that.

There was the website Timmy Big Hands, an internet comedy magazine some of the Brains tried to make happen post-show, but it didn't last for longer than a couple of years. Some of the bits included Mike's Socratic Dialogue With A Steak, Kevin's tale of leaf blower frustration, a few "games" in the KILL A GUY series, and the epic tale of Syrup Ads. Some of these might be found over at the Internet Archive. Perhaps someday the full content of Timmy Big Hands will return to the internet. That day, unfortunately, is not today.

So long as we're talking about internet rarities, after leaving the show Joel Hodgson kept his internet presence going with the "Gizmonic Ant Site," an ant farm-themed thing that never really got off the ground.

Anyway... that's about it from our tour of all of Mystery Science Theater 3000. At least, for now! Season 12 has been announced. I still intend on writing those episodes up, and MST Club will watch them. But for now, MST Club is entering what I'm going to call "encore mode."

First--we're taking a break for a couple of weeks. I think we've earned it.

Then, instead of two episodes a week, we're going back to one. First, we're going to go through Season 11 again, in order, as we kind of promised back when Season 11 was new. After that, we'll switch to a "greatest hits" assortment of episodes, chosen by poll. (Get in your votes here! Check as many as you like!) Coupled with these episodes will be other long-form items. Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic that we own copies of. Film Crew. Other riffed material, if good examples can be found. (We have high standards.) Examples of unriffed badfilm, if we can survive such things. The plan is to keep up the schedule of one post a week, doing Rewatch posts for reseen episodes, and/or Movie posts for other bad movies. If Fanfare's format opens up a bit, maybe we could find a way to do posts for Rifftrax and the like? Who knows.

I'd also like to announce that I'm opening up the leadership (which is basically just the person who organizes the showings and makes the posts) to other club members some weeks, and even, if they happen to want to do it, maybe showtimes at times other than our Thursday showings. If you're interested in running and/or watching things like that, please let us know! The comments to this post are one place where you could do that.

Eventually, like the sun, MST Club will burn out. That's okay. It is in the nature of all things to end. But look at what we accomplished: we have watched every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. You could put that on a resume, and then sit back as you completely fail to be hired for anything ever again! We've earned many millions of fake movie experience points!

We've seen the coming and going of a lot of Metafilter MSTies, who jumped on enthusiastically, then after three or so episodes just mysteriously stopped coming. Heh heh, too hot for you?

Just kidding! MST Club has always been intended to be a laid-back thing, here if you want it, or for some reason need it. We hope to be around for a good while to come. Thanks, everyone: the occaisionals, the one-timers and the regulars. Special thanks to oneswellfoop, valkane, hobgadling, The Snake of Argument and TV's Ilana, our most common attendees. We'll be spinning around the Earth in geosynchronous orbit for a while yet. I hope you'll JOIN US....

But for now, speaking for MST Club, this is JHarris saying, good night.

Push the button, Frank.


(satellite engine hum)
posted by JHarris (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Hmmm I wonder if DIABOLIK influenced Japan's Lupin.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:34 PM on May 5, 2018

Is that stud coming?

Really great post- some of these rarities on YouTube I have not come across before. Thanks for digging them up.

I like this episode - I think it has some good riffing. And I thought the ending was clever.
posted by wittgenstein at 8:17 PM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all you've done, JHarris!
posted by Chrysostom at 8:23 PM on May 5, 2018

I went to both Conventio-Cons, and while I did keep some mementos (tickets, autographs), one of my few regrets in life is that I didn't take any photos.

On the topic of post-MST stuff: it's probably been mentioned somewhere in prior posts, but Trace and Frank have an excellent podcast, Movie Sign with the Mads, where they discuss (not in character, BTW) recent and old movies, mostly major titles. And of course there's their fantastic live movie riffing shows; I went to one and, not only was it worth the several-hour drive, but I got to buy merch from the Mads themselves. I literally, personally handed Frank my money. (I did have the presence of mind not to make an ass of myself by saying "Shut up and take my money," I'm happy to say. I imagine he would've been confused and frightened.)

And excelsior to you, JHarris, for this epic labor of love!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:10 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've seen them live twice (and again in a few weeks). They put on a good show.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:11 AM on May 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

The weekly MSTClub meetings ran for FOUR years, which is longer than most of my jobs, relationships and addresses. A truly heroic effort by jharris (alias rodneylives), who deserves the title "Honorary Mad". Yes, I volunteer to be one of the post-run curators (the best model would be three/four of us on a rotating basis, like the old NBC Mystery Movies; I want to be McCloud). I'm already investigating post-show credits for the MSTMakers and am particularly interested in "Other Space", the short-lived series on the short-lived Yahoo video in which apparently Joel played a spaceship janitor and Trace played a robot.

I was looking up holidays on May 10th (this Thursday) and noticed that Christian calendars note it as Ascension Day, appropriate as the MSTClub ascends into Heaven - or the Satellite of Love. It's also Shrimp Day (definitely a solid choice as a movie snack you usually don't get in the lobby), Clean Up Your Room Day, Confederate Memorial Day in North & South Carolina, and Mothers Day in Mexico and much of Central America. Then as we recover from the celebrations on the 11th, it'll be National "Eat What You Want" Day and Twilight Zone Day when Bill(y) Mumy will wish us all into the cornfield. But I digress.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:45 PM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Undoubtedly the most acclaimed movie director ever to be MST3Ked.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:23 PM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Dibs on Columbo!
posted by JHarris at 6:57 PM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Great, that means I’m McMillan & Wife. Unless you’ll allow two-season Hec Ramsey.
posted by valkane at 3:48 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Other Space was a cool show. I watched it when it first came out.
posted by wittgenstein at 8:44 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I picked McCloud because jharris HAS to be Columbo. But if we get enough participants, we could expand to other 70s TV detectives: Kojak, Banacek, Barnaby Jones, Mannix, Ironside, Cannon (I'd be tempted to transfer to him because William Conrad also was the over-enthusiastic narrator on Rocky & Bullwinkle), but NOT Baretta. My intent was purely to put more Mystery into the Theater 3000 Club.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:43 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hmmm I wonder if DIABOLIK influenced Japan's Lupin.

Diabolik the comic book came out in 1962 and Lupin's came out in 1967 so it's possible. I've never heard of anyone making a direct connection between the two and Lupin's creators cited the French pulp character Arsène Lupin and James Bond as being the main influences. But the late 60s were full of characters like Lupin and Diabolik.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:01 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

“Hello, this is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I'll get back to you. [beep]”
posted by valkane at 12:42 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just for the record, I didn't include Rockford in my list of '70s TV Detectives because his name was not the entire show's title (I also reluctantly excluded McGarrett of Hawaii Five-O and Pepper Anderson of Police Woman and all the other 'teams' from Starsky & Hutch to Cagney & Lacey to Hart to Hart). But if we open things up to include 'signature bits', I'm taking William "Cannon" Conrad AS the Bullwinkle narrator:
"Don't miss our next uninspired episode: DIAL D FOR DIABOLIK or LUPIN THE LOOP"
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:34 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here we go!

MST Club is our weekly showing of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. We meed Thursdays at 7 PM Eastern time (that's 4 PM Pacific) to watch. This is the last week in which we watch two episodes; after this, the plan is to take a short break, then come back showing one episode at 9 PM plus one something-else at 7 PM. I'm not yet sure where this will be announced, but it'll probably be here in Fanfare again, in the form of Rewatches. They take place at

This week's show:
101 THE CRAWLING EYE (the first of the classic series)
1013 DIABOLIK (and the last of the classic series)
posted by JHarris at 4:01 AM on May 10, 2018

I'm so sad that I missed the final series episode. (I was spending Ascension Day in Germany, ascending into some schnitzel and applewine.) It's been an absolute pleasure watching and riffing these movies with all of you. (Of course, it's not really over yet, but it's still a milestone.)

Thanks so much, JHarris, for spearheading and hosting this for so long!
posted by ilana at 11:47 AM on May 15, 2018

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