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MST3K K16 - City on Fire

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K16 - City on Fire
Air Date March 19, 1989
Running Time 104 min.
Movie Director Alvin Rakoff
Year 1979
Cast Barry Newman
Susan Clark
Shelley Winters
Leslie Nielsen
James Franciscus
Ava Gardner
Henry Fonda
Preceded by K15 - Superdome
Followed by K17 - Time of the Apes

The Movie


City on Fire is a 1979 disaster film directed by Alvin Rakoff and featuring an all-star cast, as was the custom for that time. The film’s plot revolves around a disgruntled civil servant who sets fire to an oil refinery, setting off a blaze which engulfs an entire city. [1]


The film was partially financed by the government agency Telefilm Canada and filmed on a relatively confined budget. Some of the fire sequences utilized stock footage from both existing movies and news footage. City on Fire was ultimately a failed venture for the company and had a limited run at the American box office. [2]

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: The Mads get a letter informing them that their grant money has been terminated, because they no longer qualify as mad scientists... merely "mildly peeved researchers."

Segment One: Servo and Crow trick Joel into looking into a phony telescope, which leaves him with a black eye. (This segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)

Segment Two: Joel invents a new anti-theft device for purses, called "Hell in a Hand Bag." Joel demonstrates it on Crow, much to Servo's delight.

Segment Three: Joel & the Bots perform a military-style song, which seems to have little purpose other than reminding the Bots how great Joel is. (A portion of this segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)

Segment Four: Gypsy informs Joel and Crow that she's spent the entire day designing newsletters. Joel displays Gypsy's creations: the Satellite News, the Fan Club Certificate (suitable for framing) and the Fan Club Membership Card. Joel points out that they are available by writing to the MST3K Fan Club.[1]

Obscure References

  • "I'm Servo. Now that I'm dead, don't smoke."

A reference to an anti-smoking PSA that actor Yul Brynner filmed shortly before his death from lung cancer and had aired posthumously, in which he said "I'm dead now. Don't smoke."

  • "They've got the Keystone Kops putting out the fire!"

The Keystone Kops was a series of silent comedy movies about bumbling policemen.


  1. Satellite News

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