While many know Emmy-Award winning host “Mystery Jeff” Houghton, and many of the show’s writers which appear in skits and videos during the show, much of the work behind the scenes for The Mystery Hour comes from people you never see.
The show is produced by Hite Media, a production company based in Nixa. The company began around the time the Springfield Cardinals came to town and Hite produced televised games for the club. Soon after Houghton returned from a stint in California, Hite began to produce the Mystery Hour show from the Randy Bacon Studio in Springfield.
“It’s been an adventure with Jeff,” founder and owner Brandon Hite told OI. “Moving with him to the Gillioz gave us a real challenge but I’m thankful I’ve had a crew that has really done a great job with everything.”
Hite and his team arrive at the theater at least ten hours before the taping begins to set up cameras, run cables and get the stage set up for the show. The crew frets even the smallest details of the setup, with one crew member tasked with making sure the backdrop behind Houghton’s desk has no wrinkles in it so that it looks smooth on TV.
Hite praised his crew for their work.
“There’s no way I could do any of this without them,” he said.
But it’s not just Hite’s crew who is working behind the scenes to make the Mystery Hour the runaway success it has been in Springfield. There are also folks like Cara Maddock, the show’s makeup artist.
Maddock drives down from St. Louis every month just to volunteer to do the makeup for the show. Not only does she have to do the cast’s regular makeup (which includes putting makeup on Houghton’s hands because otherwise they look significantly paler than his face on television), she also does the makeup work for sketches. For the finale, she made over writer and cast member Nate Black to look like a dog.
“I get to do a lot of fun stuff,” Maddock told OI.
The backstage area is the domain of producer/house manager Frank Gonzales. On taping days, while Jeff may be the star of the show, Frank sits on the proverbial Mystery Hour Iron Throne.
Frank has been with Houghton from the beginning of the TV show and has refined the processes for the production every season. He took the show from the early days of anything goes to limiting access to parts of the theater and assigning individual roles.
“Frank really made things a lot more professional around here,” Houghton joked to OI.
Here is a gallery of pictures behind the scenes at the Mystery Hour’s season finale. You’ll see shots of the Hite Media team getting ready, Maddock’s makeover artistry, the incredible green room that GigSalad allows the show to use, and much more…