The Movie


City on Fire is a 1979 disaster film directed by Alvin Rakoff and featuring an all-star cast, as was the custom for that time. The film’s plot revolves around a disgruntled civil servant who sets fire to an oil refinery, setting off a blaze which engulfs an entire city. [1]


The film was partially financed by the government agency Telefilm Canada and filmed on a relatively confined budget. Some of the fire sequences utilized stock footage from both existing movies and news footage. City on Fire was ultimately a failed venture for the company and had a limited run at the American box office. [2]

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: The Mads get a letter informing them that their grant money has been terminated, because they no longer qualify as mad scientists... merely "mildly peeved researchers."

Segment One: Servo and Crow trick Joel into looking into a phony telescope, which leaves him with a black eye. (This segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)

Segment Two: Joel invents a new anti-theft device for purses, called "Hell in a Hand Bag." Joel demonstrates it on Crow, much to Servo's delight.

Segment Three: Joel & the Bots perform a military-style song, which seems to have little purpose other than reminding the Bots how great Joel is. (A portion of this segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)

Segment Four: Gypsy informs Joel and Crow that she's spent the entire day designing newsletters. Joel displays Gypsy's creations: the Satellite News, the Fan Club Certificate (suitable for framing) and the Fan Club Membership Card. Joel points out that they are available by writing to the MST3K Fan Club.[1]

Obscure References

  • "I'm Servo. Now that I'm dead, don't smoke."

A reference to an anti-smoking PSA that actor Yul Brynner filmed shortly before his death from lung cancer and had aired posthumously, in which he said "I'm dead now. Don't smoke."

  • "They've got the Keystone Kops putting out the fire!"

The Keystone Kops was a series of silent comedy movies about bumbling policemen.


  1. Satellite News

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