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|“||My shorts are never boring||”|
|— Tom Servo|
Short refers to short films that are used to beef-up/pad-out the running time of MST3K experiment. Riffed like the main experiment, many of the short are arguably as popular and memorable as any full movie, the best example being the infamous Mr. B Natural.
The first shorts on the show were serials (Radar Men from the Moon, The Phantom Creeps and The Undersea Kingdom), but as the series continued they began to increasingly use unintentionally hilarious newsreels and sponsored films (i.e. social guidance films, advertising films and educational films).
Shorts were most frequent in the Comedy Channel/Comedy Central era, while the various restrictions forced by the move to the Sci-Fi Channel contributed to only having three shorts in that period. Only the KTMA episodes and Season 8 were devoid of any shorts. The majority of shorts are shown before the film, but in one instance (Ring of Terror) the short was shown after the main film, just when the SOL crew thought they were safe.
Unlike many of the movies on the show, the majority of shorts are old enough to be public domain or are considered to be unprotected orphan films. This fact and the popularity of the shorts has led to a number of commercially released VHS tapes and DVDs of various shorts from both BBI and Rhino.