There are a handful of unimpeachable Thanksgiving institutions. Multi-thousand calorie meals? Of course. Football games featuring the Lions and Cowboys? Naturally. Parades? You bet. Watching hypnotically wonderful marathons of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Unfortunately, not since 1997.
Of course, that all changes this Thanksgiving. EW is pleased to announce that MST3K creator Joel Hodgson is hopping on board the Satellite of Love once again to program the return of Turkey Day. Shout! Factory, who have been doing a stellar job putting out MST3K on DVD, is helping to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary with a Turkey Day Marathon, curated and hosted by Hodgson. Beginning at Noon Eastern on Thanksgiving Day, fans will be able to log on to MST3KTurkeyDay.com for six glorious, classic, Sampo-filled episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
But which classic turkeys will get basted by Joel, Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo on Thanksgiving Day? That’s up to the fans. Hodgson is going to be taking fan suggestions via his Twitter, so hit him up to sound off on whether Manos: The Hands of Fate is more harrowing than Jungle Goddess, or cast your vote on whichever Gamera movie you think is the most Thanksgiving-centric. It’s up to you, so give him a shout!
The first Turkey Day was all the way back in 1991, when the Comedy Channel was making its transition into Comedy Central. The network suggested the idea of the marathon, and Hodgson and his team happily obliged with a ton of classic sketches. What Hodgson didn’t realize was that this tradition would continue for years—even long after MST3K left the airwaves. “When I started doing Cinematic Titanic six years ago and we started doing live shows, that’s when I really met these people who love Mystery Science Theater,” Hodgson told EW. ”I’d hear all these stories about Turkey Day. People would say, ‘Yeah, we still watch Mystery Science Theater on Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition, like the Lions playing.’ I was kind of amazed that it was in people’s lives like that.”
Hodgson will be programming, hosting, and testing your MST3K knowledge during the Turkey Day bonanza, and he has enjoyed diving back into the series’ 198 episodes. “It’s really been interesting, and I really loved getting to go back and look at these shows, especially the Mike/Kevin/Bill episodes, which I’m not as familiar with,” Hodgson said. “They’ve been extra funny because I don’t know any of the jokes. That’s been a really cool thing.” He does, however, bemoan the lack of Thanksgiving-centric monster movies available for riffing purposes. “A giant turkey would really fit in the lexicon of things like Gamera. You have Gyaos and Godzilla, Rodan, and Turkathon. Actual turkeys are horrifying. Their temperament is terrible, and they’re just tall enough to go for your crotch. And they seem to have a genetic predisposition to go for your crotch. They’re also really stupid, right? They’re famous for being stupid and delicious. That’s exactly what you want.”
So send your Turkey Day suggestions and favorite MST3K-related Thanksgiving memories to Hodgson, get your bird in the oven early and then log on to the website starting at Noon Eastern/9 AM Pacific for the epic return of Turkey Day. For more MST3K and to celebrate Turkey Month, hit up Shout! Factory on Twitter and Facebook. And, as always, watch out for snakes!
What’s your favorite episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000? After you let Joel know, give your top pick a shout out in the comments.