News just broke that two of the first three Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, long given up on by fans as ever seeing the light of day, have been recovered and made available.
The Peabody award-winning television show got its start on KTMA, a local channel in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Though decidedly rough around the edges, the 21 episodes produced were enough to sell the show to The Comedy Channel. It’s more or less the same premise as the cable version, but there are differences here and there: a few changes in the theme song, Joel’s hair is longer, Gypsy is very different, and Tom Servo is silver and just called “Servo”.
Most of the episodes have been in circulation for quite a long time, but the first three episodes have not been seen since the show premiered on Thanksgiving weekend 1988. It has been generally assumed that the master tapes were around but the cast & crew were “squatting” on them due to their low quality. However, to the surprise of fans worldwide, Joel Hodgeson (currently in post-production for the new reboot) announced on November 25th that the first two episodes had been “found” and promptly put them available to backers of the new series.
This now only leaves the unaired pilot and episode 3, “Star Force: Fugitive Alien II” on the missing list. Interestingly, they did actually revisit this movie in a later episode (series 3, episode 18). However, this will be the first time Misties will be able to see the first episodes, Invaders from the Deep and Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars getting the riffing treatment.
The episodes are available to download for Bring Back MST3K kickstarter backers who pledged at any level with the “Classic MST3K Bonus Episodes” reward.