The Mystery Science Theater Hour is, as the name indicates, an hour-long version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The program consists of previously produced episodes split in half to fit within the allotted hour run time.
The Mystery Science Theater Hour came about because Comedy Central had reservations about keeping a two hour long show and felt an hour time slot was easier to fill. Episodes began airing in in November, 1993. All episodes were drawn from Joel Hodgson's time as host, as Michael J. Nelson had only recently taken over.
In 1995, when Tradewinds Television began syndicating MST3K reruns to local broadcast stations, the show was offered in two formats: the original versions or the MST Hour versions for stations unwilling to schedule a two-hour programming block.
The Mystery Science Theater Hour has a very simple title sequence, beginning with a wide shot of "Your Host", played by Michael J. Nelson, inside a studio featuring images from that episode's film, while a piano rendition of "Mighty Science Theater" plays.
In the first half-episode, the host introduces the film and gives a brief description of its plot. In the second half-episode, the host gives a recap of the first half, accompanied by clips.
At the conclusion of the hour, Perkins would return for the show's final segment, either teasing part two or reflecting on the nature of the film as a whole. The studio lights would dim, leaving the host in silhouette, usually doing something comical related to the final segment.
Behind the scenes
The host is never named, but is quite obviously Mike's version of Jack Perkins.
Sixty episodes of The Mystery Science Theater Hour were produced, edited from thirty episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Given the nature of the show as a cut-down version of the parent program, actual, as-aired episodes of The Mystery Science Theater Hour have never been released on home video. Most of the opening and closing segments, however, can be found as extras on the DVD releases of the originals. The nine episode pairs with unreleased host segments are noted below
- 301 - Cave Dwellers
- 302 - Gamera
- 303 - Pod People
- 306 - Time of the Apes
- 307 - Daddy-O
- 309 - The Amazing Colossal Man*
- 310 - Fugitive Alien
- 311 - It Conquered the World*
- 312 - Gamera vs Guiron
- 313 - Earth vs the Spider
- 317 - Viking Women vs the Sea Serpent*
- 319 - War of the Colossal Beast*
- 320 - The Unearthly
- 321 - Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
- 401 - Space Travelers*
- 402 - The Giant Gila Monster*
- 404 - Teenagers from Outer Space*
- 408 - Hercules Unchained*
- 410 - Hercules Against the Moon Men*
- 411 - The Magic Sword
- 414 - Tormented
- 415 - The Beatniks
- 417 - Crash of Moons
- 418 - Attack of the the Eye Creatures*
- 420 - The Human Duplicators†
- 422 - The Day the Earth Froze
- 424 - "Manos" The Hands of Fate
- 504 - Secret Agent Super Dragon
- 505 - The Magic Voyage of Sinbad
- 507 - I Accuse My Parents
* MST Hour intros not available
† Only second episode intro missing