The concept of snakes flying around emerged from a classic movie moment featured on Mystery Science Theater in the 90's where a main character had "watch out for snakes" poorly overdubbed in a scene with no lip movement. The movie was being featured in the live show, so it was dubbed the "Watch out for Snakes" tour, and a prop spring snake gun was designed to be used throughout the tour to complement the theme.
Here's a clip of the boisterous interlude created to celebrate the classic moment as it occurred mid-show.
I performed as art director on the shoot where the footage was pre-recorded. This was also the source of footage of the villains from the Netflix Show, played by Felicia Day and Patton Oswald. The actors interacted with the clips in call and response style throughout the live performance.
We sourced the parts of the spring snakes all separately. After doing a bunch of spring research, I found a spring company in New Jersey who coiled springs to our specifications. I designed an ornate fabric wrap in assorted bold colors. Then we had the springs and fabric delivered to a local seamstress who assembled the snakes.
We had hundreds of snakes made, as not only were they used as props in the show, but they were also sold as a novelty throughout the tour. The merch versions were stuffed in MST3k branded travel mugs with lids. They popped out just right.
Rife, and cannon variants of the snake guns were created in addition to the pistols. The 2 cannons were each stuffed with 14 jumbo snakes that measured 8 feet long and had a 1 foot diameter. I created a graphic wrap for them to create visual continuity with the rest of the world of MST3k. The guns were constructed by Russ Walko at his Puppet Garage.