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The theater when viewed from the screen

The Mystery Science Theater is the projection room where subjects view movies as part of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 experiments. The original was aboard the first Satellite of Love, with additional theaters appearing on later SOLs, in Moon 13 and on board the Simulator of Love.

Construction, operation and history[]

The original Mystery Science Theater was connected to the Bridge of the Satellite of Love by a hallway with several doors. There were also alternate entry points. All subsequent theaters have had a similar construction.

The initial construction included air vents that stopped Tom Servo from being able to hover in, thus requiring Joel or Mike to carry him to his seat (although he was able to get in himself on some occasions). Later theaters do not have this issue.

Although the theater and the material shown there is typically controlled by the Mads, when no experiment is being run, the inhabitants of the SOL have been known to screen other material, such as film clips and trailers for award show retrospectives or summer movie reviews.

Screenshot 2017-05-15 at 4.26

The Theater "in action"

Towards the end of Experiment #913, Pearl Forrester brought contractor "Eggs" Eggleston into the theater to investigate why she wasn't getting enough pain out of the movies. After some investigating, Eggs suggested the weatherstripping around the screen needed to be replaced to avoid pain leakage out the sides, and ran a bead of caulk around as a temporary measure. Eggs further suggested the whole theater could be enlarged to maximize pain, but Pearl balked at his estimate of the cost and resorted to just bashing Mike and the Bots over their heads with a clown hammer instead.

The original theater was presumed destroyed when the SOL crashed to Earth following Experiment #1013. The theater was later rebuilt by Kinga Forrester as part of the new SOL. The orientation of the new Satellite, apparently to the side compared to the original, permitted a broader, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio versus the original Mystery Science Theater's 4:3 ratio.

Another Mystery Science Theater was built surreptitiously by Jonah Heston throughout "The Gauntlet". He built it behind the Kingachrome cannister repository in Moon 13 and trapped Kinga and Max in it, where they riffed a notorious short before blasting their way out, drowning Moon 13.

Kinga later brought Emily Connor to the Moon to build the Simulator of Love, a partially-functional replica of the Satellite of Love. The Simulator has its own Mystery Science Theater.

The remaining known Mystery Science Theater is a part of Joel Robinson's SOL from the year 3000. Its origins are unclear.

Behind the scenes[]

Wikipedia article:

During the original run, the theater scenes were filmed in the same area as the bridge. A white sheet was placed in front of the bridge counter to hide it. The host would sit in front of a cardboard cutout of a row of theater seats, and the Bots and the puppeteers would sit behind them and control the robots. The actors would watch the movie on screens beneath their feet, and the movie would then be edited onto the white sheet after filming with a process called "luminance key". Unlike the better-known chromakey, which uses a screen of blue, green, or other color to make a replaceable background based on the color value, luminance key uses brightness value instead, and is better suited to monochrome effects such as the theater seats.

Later the routine evolved to the host and bots all sitting in front of wooden cutout theater seats, with the bot puppeteers sitting on seats low to the floor while the host sat on a taller chair. The bot puppets used for the theater segments were painted black to minimize reflection and glare.

On-screen appearances[]

The Mystery Science Theater chiefly appeared in silhouette form in every episode of the series, with fully-visible scenes taking place in the theater a rare occurrence. During the The Sci-Fi Channel era three specials were produced which featured scenes shown from the front of the theater seats. The 1st Annual Summer Blockbuster Review, 2nd Annual Summer Blockbuster Review, and Academy of Robots' Choice Awards Special all featured scenes of Mike and the Bots presenting the special to camera and bantering amongst themselves in the Theater.



Joel Hodgson has stated that he drew inspiration for the silhouettes on the screen from the art for the Elton John song "I've Seen That Movie Too" appearing in the liner notes of the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.[1]


The Satellite of Love
Primary Residents Joel RobinsonMike NelsonJonah HestonCrow T. RobotGypsyCambotTom Servo
Minor/Other Residents BeeperMagic VoiceXT-5000TimmyMike's RobotClayton Forrester (mirror)TV's Frank (mirror)Eddie Nelson (alternate universe)The NanitesMike Nelson (robot)WinstonM. WaverlyMatt Claude Van DammeGrowlerEmily Connor
Visitors EnochDemon DogsNuveenaGypsy (mirror)Tom Servo (mirror)MonadThe ObserversFinneganHadrianAdrienne BarbeauLydiaOrtegaPhantom of KrankorHenry KissingerBowler-Hatted GuyDelivery ManGoosioMikey the Mike spriteMikesocksy the Mike's Socks SpriteBrain GuyPearl ForresterProfessor Bobo
Terminology AirlockDeus ex MachinaHexfield ViewscreenHyper-warp escape shipsJet ScreenManipulator armsMovie signRocket Number 9The TubeUmbilicusWhirlpool
Locations BridgeCrow's RoomJoel's roomKitchenMike's roomMystery Science TheaterTheater hallwayTom's room