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Mystery Science Theater Alums Discuss the Art of Movie Riffing

Mystery Science Theater Alums Discuss the Art of Movie Riffing

Dr. Forrester and TVs Frank - Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff

(Above: L-R Frank Conniff as TV’s Frank and Trace Beaulieu as Dr. Clayton Forrester in the early days of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”)

The revival of the cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuted on Netflix last month (April 14, 2017).

MST3K Logo Shadow FinalThe show’s premise is all an excuse just to hear a guy — no different from you or me — make fun of a cheesy B-movie (the worst they can find) all with the help of his robot friends. Mad scientists have trapped him on a spaceship and are studying the effects of this terrible cinema on his mind. Got it?

The mad scientists in the earliest days of the show in the early 1990s were played by Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff. Beaulieu played Dr. Clayton Forrester (along with writing and voicing one of the robots), and Conniff played Dr. Forrester’s henchman, named TV’s Frank.

Since then, the two have teamed up on podcasts and to mock movies onstage in a project called Cinematic Titanic. And their latest project involves more mocking of bad movies — this time also live onstage — in a tour they’re calling The Mads Are Back. The tour comes to Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park Saturday and Sunday (May 13-14, 2017).

Michael Hagerty talks with Beaulieu and Conniff about the art of movie riffing, the revival of MST3K and how Twitter has democratized the art of riffing.

About the Author

Abner Fletcher

Abner FletcherAbner Fletcher is a multimedia producer for Houston Matters and Houston Public Media.View all posts by Abner Fletcher →