Saturday, December 23, 2006

The ur-MST 3K

It seems that there was an early ancestor of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, the show which featured a man and his robot friends in silhouette, adding wiseacre comments to a film as it was shown on your TV.

A few months ago, Turner Classic Movies aired The Movie Album, a Vitaphone short from 1931. Warner Brothers collected some snippets of old silent movies and had a narrator comment and joke on the soundtrack. It's nowhere near as funny as MST3K. Yet, it is interesting to see that the latter idea for the TV show may have been so smart that a diiferent version of it had been tried before. (Not to mention the Fractured Flickers TV show.)

Was there an ur-MST3K?

I wonder if the MST3K writers ever heard of or saw any of the Movie Album shorts. Probably not, as only a handful of the Vitaphone shorts appear to have been made.