UEN-TV SciFi Friday

 

The Show

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Beginning of the End

Series info on UEN-TV

Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) gets eco-apocalyptic with "The Beginning of the End" (1957). Veteran photojournalist Audrey Aimes (Peggie Castle) discovers that the small town of Ludlow, Illinois suddenly has a population of zero. Clues lead her to the laboratory of Dr. Ed Wainwright (Peter Graves), who has been using radiation to grow mega-sized vegetables. While at first this lead seems to be a dead end, Audrey discovers a warehouse of Ed's radiation-enhanced wheat has resulted in a pestilence of atomic proportions.

As the MST3K crew points out, the special effects upstage the actors in this film, and more for the sheer silliness than the power to frighten. Stock footage and superimposed close-ups of grasshoppers insert are more likely to amuse than frighten today's viewer, yet "The Beginning of the End" is cited as launching director Bert I. Gordon as the king of giant creature flicks.

MST3K jolted new life into old movies with its wraparound low-budget production of the adventures of Joel Robinson and his robots, Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy who are trapped on a space station and subjected to watching bad movies by an evil scientist.