At the Club-MST3K forum, and in my own mind as well, questions about the people who sent in art and letters are often raised. Are they still fans? Are the viewing groups still friends? What do they remember from the experience of having their letter or art on the still-store? It seemed without chance I would not cross path with any of these artist or writers. Sometimes, chance needs a hand.
DSA: As for myself I am a big fan. I had no idea though that I could see all the episodes on-line! Zounds! That rocks! Thanks for telling me. As it stands now I still buy a lot of stuff from the boys at Rifftrax.
In preparation for my viewing of Marooned (the non-FVI title for Space Travelers), I have seen one of my favorite piece of fan art many times. The “There’s a New Gang in Town” drawing is, for my money, the best rendition of Joel and the Bots sent by a viewer; they just feel ‘in character’ in this picture. Plus, Tom Servo is priceless in his leather jacket.
DSA: Yes…All Joel could think of to say is “It’s Servo…wearing…clothes.”
Each viewing when Joel told me it was sent by David St. Albans of Albuquerque, I felt the urge to type those bits of information into search engine and see where it lead me. For whatever reason, after this years’ Labor Day Holiday, I did enter the information. A tentative email later, I had made contact with the artist.
Q1: Please state your name, occupation, and how long have you been a MSTie? What is your favorite episode?
DSA: Hello, My name is David Thomas Pudelwitts-St. Albans. I am an author and an artist by nature. I now work for Uhaul as a part time job doing roadside assistance calls. So if you ever breakdown in a Uhaul please don’t yell at me! I am very sensitive. I’ve been a MSTie since the show first premiered, I was a fan of Joel when he did stand-up and was so happy to fins MST 3000 on the old SciFi channel while living in Albuquerque. I think my all time favorite has to be “Hands of Manos!” Just too weird!
Q2: Our correspondence indicated you were a fan of Joel Hodgson before MST3K, how did you become aware of his work and later MST3K? Are you still a fan of the show or did you lose touch after it was canceled?
DSA: I believe I first saw Joel on “Fridays” a sort of L.A. knock off of Saturday Night Live. (1979? 80?) I can still remember his prop comedy…where he’d take a silly pair of sunglasses and say, “By day, Joel Hodgson, comic. By night! (puts on glasses) I become…Agent J!” His delivery was so dry I nearly wet myself. I think he made appearances after that on Rodney Dangerfield’s show and The Late Show with David Letterman. I did become tragically sad after MST3K was cancelled. I had the teeshirt, the certificate, bought the movie. When I heard they had to quit because the B movie owners didn’t want them making fun of those old pieces of crap on celluloid, I was really angry. Those films weren’t historical artifacts. They were just cheeseball movies. But I do now follow Rifftrax to some extent.
Q3: What moved you to send your art piece to the show? Was this specifically done for the show or was it a personal project?
DSA: I believe the Bots said that kids should send in their stuff to them…I think they meant really nice presents…(and why they thought it was kids watching was beyond me). Everyone in my adult science fiction group in Albuquerque, N.M. was into MST3K. I think it was one of my buds that turned me onto it. I think that is what made me buy into cable…anyhoo, I decided to send in a fan drawing done specifically for the show. To sort of tell them that yes, adults watched the show. So I was amazed when about two weeks later just at the very end, they showed my work! I told all my friends of course! And I still sell prints of the picture.
Q4: You mentioned the inspiration for the picture was a SNL skit, can you elaborate on that?
DSA: There was this SNL skit that was like a take-off on West Side Story with a modern twist. In the skit the cops bust this gang of kids. One of the cops says “We got you little gangsters red handed!” and one of the kids yells in a Latino accent: “We’re not a GANG! WE’RE A CLUB!” For some reason I thought that was hilarious. And so when they came up with the idea of the MSTK 3 Club I decided to dress the bots up as gangsters…(face it, they were often cruel to Joel and the other characters…not very “club like.”) Hence the leather jacket and switch-blade knife and Joel with his hat on backwards wearing “Bling” etc. I am noted for my “Underground and Alternative” artwork, so I was trying to be a Little “edgy.”
Q5: You had a lot of confidence in this piece, Joel reads from your letter you felt it was “on camera granted,” what specifically gave you such a good feeling about this work?
DSA: The artwork was, at the time, some of my best. I was being published in comics and alternative magazines. So I knew it was good work. I can’t recall what the letter said…I’ll have to look up the show again…but I was just teasing them to see if they had the cajones to put up the work…maybe they would be too shy because of the “kids?” I was happy thought that they showed my work. I felt like a kid myself!
Q6: Did MST3K contact you before your piece was featured or was it a surprise to you when you saw it? Do you ever rewatch the episode?
DSA: I was totally surprised! I would have missed it completely, but at the time I was recording every show, so I was able to go back and say “Really!? They showed my work!?” I’ve watched it several times since and used it as part of my portfolio for awhile. I like to show it to my family, who consider me “famous” now. Hehe!
Q7: You are still working as an artist, how would you describe your art? How similar/different is your work today compared to the piece sent to MST3K?
DSA: I am still an artist. I have my own business, graphic, fine art and editing. St. Albans’ Editorial & Graphic Service. I do lots of interesting things which can be seen on my FB page at: http://facebook.com/saintalbans1 I also have a lot of work up on Deviant Art. I have my own websites, blogsites and vampire sites as well. If you Google St. Albans you’ll find me plastered all over the web. My artwork has gotten a lot better. I am a master at what I do. (Not to toot my horn, but somebody’s got to give a toot!) I believe my work is truly better now in every aspect, even though I am going blind with retinopathy (very slowly thanks God!) I think that it was the Joel and the Bots piece that catapulted me into a professional status finally, because even a little shout out like that garners mucho respecto. So I want to thank MST3K for that! And the fact that you found me after all these years says something about modern communications, the web and the fact that world is definitely getting smaller! Thanks for having me!