Kiss those bad movies goodbye

Television: It's been fun listening to the hilarious running commentary on `Mystery Science Theater 3000' -- the last episode airs Sunday

Radio And Television

August 04, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Maybe they'll finally get off that dang spaceship and see a good movie for a change.

It's the least that should happen to Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo and their human partners (first Joel Hodgson, then Mike Nelson), those caustically quipping authorities on bad films who have spent the past 10 seasons trapped aboard the Satellite of Love, forced to watch some of the worst movies ever made.

In what appears to be a mercy killing for them, but a minor tragedy for the rest of us, their decade-long run as the centerpieces of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" ends Sunday on cable's Sci-Fi channel. The last cheesy film they'll have to endure: "Danger Diabolik," a 1967 effort from Italian director Mario Bava in which master criminal Diabolik routinely eludes police and government agents attempting to capture him.

Sure, it'll be nice for Mike and his robot friends finally to escape the clutches of the evil Pearl Forrester, the sadistic scientist whose twisted experiment has kept them spacebound. But it's sad news for the rest of us, who from now on will have to watch such films as "The Creeping Terror" (about an alien carpet sample that eats people) and "Robot Monster" (about an alien gorilla wearing a diving helmet) without their often-hilarious running commentary.

We'll also lose one of television's surest pop-culture barometers. Trying to keep up with the boys' caustic quips has long been the best way to test your familiarity with the prevailing culture (not to mention your ability to keep up with their patter while paying at least marginal attention to what's going on in the movie).

The final episode of "MST3K" airs 9 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday, with a rebroadcast at 11 p.m.

Specials drive pledge month

Oh, happy day, MPT is having another pledge drive. Those patience-trying begathons that are the price we pay for public TV return to MPT this month. Running from Saturday through Aug. 22, the 14-day drive will feature (as pledge drives always do) a plethora of music specials, from a diverse group of artists that includes Earth, Wind & Fire, Jose Feliciano, Ray Charles and Lawrence Welk.

Scheduled non-musical highlights include:

"Our National Parks: Sunrise to Sunset" (Saturday, 4 p.m.-5 p.m.), a photograph-, poem- and song-filled visit to some of our nation's most beautiful wilderness areas, including Yellowstone, Utah's Canyonlands, Arizona's Saguaro, Hawaii Volcanoes, Yosemite, Oregon's Crater Lake and the Grand Canyon.

"America's Quilts" (Aug. 14, 3 p.m.-5 p.m.), a look at one of America's warmest and most homespun traditions, followed by "MPT On Location Magazine: Maryland's Quilts" (5 p.m.-6: 10 p.m.).

"Nature: A Conversation with Koko" (Aug. 15, 8 p.m.-9: 30 p.m.), featuring an in-depth visit with a gorilla who some scientists claim has learned to communicate through sign language.

"The Chinese Americans" (Aug. 17, 8 p.m.-9 p.m.), another in a series of PBS' look at the immigrant groups that have helped shape America.

Station of the Year

WPOC-FM (93.1), a longtime favorite among Baltimore Country music fans, has been nominated as Station of the Year by the Country Music Association.

The station is one of six nationwide nominated for the award. The winner will be announced later this month, with the award being presented during the CMA's annual awards show, slated for Sept. 22. WPOC has won the award twice, in 1990 and 1992.

The station, owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc., finished third in the most recent ranking of Baltimore's most-listened-to radio stations.

Space tunes and the BSO

John McDaniel, bandleader on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," will be in Silver Spring on Friday conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a free outdoor concert.

The concert, titled "Stars and Space," will include music from "Star Wars," "The X-Files" and "Star Trek." It will include fireworks, is slated for 8: 15 p.m. Friday at the Federal Research Center, 10901 New Hampshire Ave. Rain date is Saturday. Guests are encouraged to tale a picnic dinner; there will be no food vendors on-site, and alcohol will not be permitted.

`Bob & Tom,' Nasty Nestor

News on Baltimore's radio dial:

The syndicated "Bob & Tom Show" has taken over the morning slot at WOCT-FM (104.3). The team of Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, whose show is heard in more than 90 markets, has won three Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters and six consecutive Billboard Awards. The station has been using fill-in talent and playing mostly music in the mornings since parting company with the former morning team of Herman and McBean in March.

Jim Dolan, vice president and market manager for parent company Clear Channel, said the station opted against hiring its own morning team because "morning show talent is extremely difficult to find right now. We wanted to [use] the best talent we could find, and these guys are it."

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