1007: Track of the Moon Beast
by Wyn Hilty
Inside Al Gore’s head.
Al Gore is a Democratic politician who served as the vice president of the United States under Bill Clinton from 1992-2000. He ran for president in 2000 but lost the disputed election to George W. Bush. He has often been mocked for his stiff manner.
This is a lousy version of “Hey, heyeeoh hey, hey-heyeee ay …”
A reference to the song "Return to Innocence" by Engima. Also a reference to Show 904, Werewolf. (Thanks to Michael Crews for the Enigma reference.)
He’s the Ginger Baker of the tribe.
Peter “Ginger” Baker was the founder of and drummer for the rock trio Cream.
Icarus! Pull out, Icarus!
In Greek mythology, Icarus was the son of the inventor Daedalus, who built the Labyrinth on the island of Crete to imprison the Minotaur. In an attempt to escape from Crete, Daedalus constructed wings made of feathers and wax for himself and his son; however, Icarus carelessly flew too close to the sun and the wax melted, sending him plunging into the sea to his death.
How green was my credits.
How Green Was My Valley is a book by Richard Llewellyn about a valley in Wales ruined by the coal-mining industry; it was made into a film in 1941.
I’ve got a creepy feeling that this was filmed at the Spahn Ranch.
The Spahn Ranch is a ranch in Chatsworth, California, named after its owner, George Spahn (1889-1974). Numerous Westerns were filmed there, including episodes of Bonanza and The Lone Ranger. The ranch later became infamous as the home of the Manson Family, which lived there briefly in 1968.
Hawkeye Pierce returns to the M*A*S*H unit.
Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce was the main character in the movie MASH and in the television series based on the film. The role was played by Donald Sutherland in the film and by Alan Alda in the TV show.
Frank there is a child of the universe, no less than the trees.
A play on the name of the executive producer, Frank Desiderio. This is a line from the poem “Desiderata,” written in 1927 by Max Ehrman. Sample lines: “You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars./You have a right to be here./And whether it is clear to you or not, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
We’re gonna have to practice some Zen and the Art of Watching Motorcycle Maintenance.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a 1974 book by Robert Pirsig that describes the trip he and his son took by motorcycle across the United States, complete with numerous metaphysical musings on philosophy, epistemology, and the like.
He got that bike cheap from Gary Busey.
Gary Busey is a wild-man actor who has appeared in more than a hundred movies and TV shows. In 1988 he suffered nearly fatal head injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Ha! A rare sliver of concrete from the Eisenhower epoch!
Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the 34th president of the United States (from 1953 to 1961) and the supreme commander of Allied forces in World War II. During his presidency, he presided over the creation of the interstate highway system.
I have found an inscription—it says “Fiestaware.”
Fiestaware is a line of dinnerware made by the Homer Laughlin China Company. It comes in a variety of decorator colors and is highly prized by collectors.
Sorry to be so naughty. We’re just bad lands, I guess.
Badlands National Park is located in South Dakota, nearly 250,000 acres of bizarre but gorgeous moonscape.
I saw the Stones here, man.
The Rolling Stones are a hugely influential rock band formed in 1962; among their countless hit songs are the classics “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Ooh, Queen Latifah.
Queen Latifah is one of the most successful female rap artists of the 20th century. She has also acted in a number of films, including Jungle Fever (1991), and hosted a short-lived talk show, The Queen Latifah Show (1999).
Surprise guest star Don Ho!
Don Ho (1930-2007) was a Hawaiian singer familiar to many through his regular gig at Duke’s nightclub in Waikiki, although he also appeared in L.A., Las Vegas, New York, and elsewhere and released a number of albums.
I borrowed my outfit from Doc Severinsen.
Doc Severinsen was the bandleader on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from 1967-1992.
“It’s his Indian name. His tribal one.” Like Wahoo McDaniel.
Wahoo McDaniel (1938-2002) was a former football player turned professional wrestler who worked the ring for 30 years before retiring in 1989.
I’m Kent Brockman.
“I’m Kent Brockman” is the catch phrase of the pompous newscaster on the animated TV series The Simpsons; the part is voiced by Harry Shearer.
“What’s in it? –Oh, a lot of things.” Rattlesnake, Velveeta …
Velveeta is a processed cheese product manufactured by Kraft Foods.
It’s a Gran Fury, about 1973.
The Plymouth Gran Fury was a full-size automobile manufactured by Chrysler; it was actually only produced between 1975 and 1977; a later version was produced from 1980-1989. The Gran Fury was popular with police departments and taxi companies.
I just want some peyote.
The peyote cactus is native to southern Texas and northern Mexico. It has hallucinogenic properties and is used in the religious ceremonies of some Native American faiths.
And Coyote battled Road Runner.
Wile E. Coyote is a character in the old Warner Brothers short cartoons, who perennially tries to catch and consume the Road Runner with various elaborate schemes, many of which result in Wile E. falling off a cliff. The character was created by Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese, making his first appearance in 1949.
Uh-huh. Do you know Billy Jack?
Billy Jack is a 1971 film starring Tom Laughlin (who also produced, directed, and wrote) as a Native American martial artist/crack shot/Vietnam veteran who tries to protect a hippie school from local racists.
And so they called it maize.
In a 1976 TV commercial for Mazola margarine, a Native American woman standing in a corn field delivers a rather stern lecture about Mazola’s corn-based wholesomeness, saying, “You call it corn; we call it maize.”
“This is one of my favorite places on earth.” After Branson.
Branson is a city in southwestern Missouri. Starting in the 1930s, the city began consciously to position itself as a tourist attraction; it is now considered the “family-friendly Las Vegas” because of its many attractions, which are located along a neon-lighted “strip.” It is particularly known for its musical acts, which consist largely of country and bluegrass. Featured acts include Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, and Andy Williams.
I guess Wilt Chamberlain’s in town or something.
The 7’1” Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999) was a professional basketball player who played with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, among other teams.
(Sung – “Palladio I, Allegretto”)
Also known as "the music from those De Beers commercials:" a series of mid-90s TV ads featuring diamond jewelry being worn by shadowy silhouette-people. The piece was written by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, inspired by 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio. Various arrangements were used for numerous De Beers ads, and became so well recognized that Jenkins put out an album titled Diamond Music in 1996, which features the London Philharmonic Strings and cover art that looks a lot like a De Beers commercial. (Thanks to Kevin Johns for the De Beers reference, and to Archer for identifying the musical piece.)
New Puffs Plus. With strontium-90.
Puffs Plus is a brand of facial tissue manufactured by Procter & Gamble; the tissues contain a touch of moisturizer to keep runny noses from becoming chapped by repeated wiping. Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium and is a common byproduct of the fission process in nuclear power plants. When it is taken into the body (usually through contaminated food or water), it is absorbed by the bones, where it can lead to leukemia, bone cancer, and a host of other nasties. Strontium-90 contamination was a serious problem after the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union.
That’s one big French press there.
A French press is a type of coffeemaker consisting of a pitcher-like container for steeping ground coffee in boiling water, which then filters the grounds by pressing them down to the bottom of the container with a tight-fitting plunger.
Why do you keep a picture of Army Archerd on your nightstand?
Army Archerd (1922-2009) wrote the “Just for Variety” column for the Daily Variety newspaper for fifty years, finally retiring it in 2005. His column was very popular among the Hollywood crowd; among his many scoops was the revelation that Rock Hudson was being treated for AIDS.
[Sung.] When will our eyes meet/When will …
A line from the Barry Manilow song “Weekend in New England.” Sample lyrics: “When will our eyes meet/When can I touch you/When will this strong yearning end/And when/Will I hold you again.”
Retired Senator Strom Thurmond (1902-2003) died in 2003 at the age of 100. He had served in the Senate since 1954; in 1948 he ran for president on a strict segregationist, anti-civil-rights platform, and he only got cuddlier after that. Reportedly in his last few years in office he became rather frail, and some questioned before his retirement whether he was still fully capable of carrying out his duties to the people of South Carolina.
Ahhh, we’ve stumbled into an Eagles concert! It’s a nightmare!
The Eagles were a rock band formed in the early 1970s that had a string of massively popular hits during that decade, including “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Take It Easy,” and “Hotel California.” They are considered one of the seminal American rock bands of the 1970s.
Shelley Duvall is a slender actress whose best-known role is as Wendy Torrance in the 1980 horror film The Shining.
He stole Robin Gibb’s head!
Robin Gibb (1949-2012) was one of the three brothers who made up the quintessential disco band the Bee Gees; during the height of their success he had famously long, flowing locks.
Marcia Brady on backup.
Marcia Brady was the oldest daughter on the TV sitcom The Brady Bunch (1969-1974); the role was played by Maureen McCormick.
Hey, look, behind Longbone: There’s Waldo! Waldo!
Where’s Waldo? is a series of children’s picture books that ask the reader to find Waldo, a fellow clad in a striped shirt and hiking gear, among an enormous crowd of people.
I started a joke …
The 1968 song “I Started a Joke” was written and performed by the Bee Gees (see previous note on Robin Gibb). Sample lyrics: “I started a joke which started the whole world crying/But I didn’t see that the joke was on me oh no/I started to cry which started the whole world laughing/Oh if I’d only seen that the joke was on me.”
The original Smashing Pumpkins.
The Smashing Pumpkins were a popular alt.-rock band during the 1990s; their 1995 double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness hit nine times platinum in the United States. The band broke up in 2000, although they reunited five years later.
He opens his curtain and immediately gets hit by Skylab.
Skylab was the United States’ first orbiting space station, launched in 1973. In 1974 it was abandoned in a parking orbit expected to last eight years; however, it reentered the atmosphere in 1979, two years before a space shuttle was scheduled to return. Its impending destruction was widely covered in the media, with much speculation and alarmism devoted to its potential disastrous impact. In the end, debris was scattered across a wide swath of the Indian Ocean and Western Australia, with no injuries or destruction of property reported.
I’m the Jim Morrison king!
Jim Morrison (1943-1971) was the lead singer for The Doors. One of his nicknames was “The Lizard King,” taken from a line in his poem “Celebration of the Lizard.”
Hi, I’m here for the misbegotten?
A Moon for the Misbegotten is a 1947 play by Eugene O’Neill about tenant farmers in Connecticut threatened with eviction by their alcoholic landlord.
[Sung.] All by myself … Don’t wanna be …
A line from the Eric Carmen song “All By Myself,” which hit No. 2 in 1975. Sample lyrics: “Livin’ alone/I think of all the friends I’ve known/But when I dial the telephone/Nobody’s home/All by myself/Don’t wanna be/All by myself anymore …”
Thing, get down from … oh.
Thing was the disembodied hand on the TV series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966.
Dennis the Menace’s dad really hit the skids.
A reference to Henry Mitchell, the father of Dennis the Menace in the comic strip of the same name, created in 1950 by Hank Ketcham. In 1959 it was turned into a TV show starring Jay North.
He has an M.A. in bowling from Duke.
Duke University is a private university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a respected research institution.
Is that Dick Gregory?
Dick Gregory is a standup comedian and civil rights activist. In the 1960s he became one of the first black comedians to reach a crossover white audience. In 1968 he ran as a write-in candidate for president, earning himself a place on Richard Nixon’s enemies list.
Matching the descending notes of the movie's score, Tom is singing the similarly descending part of the 1975 David Bowie song “Fame.” (Thanks to Uisce Preston for this reference.)
Oh, Gourmet Express delivered her tomato bisque under the door.
Gourmet Express is a restaurant delivery company in Minneapolis that delivers takeout food from more than eighty restaurants.
(Sung) What’s your name…what’s your name…what’s your name…
Another bit of lyric from David Bowie’s “Fame” (see above note).
“What kind of thing would cut up someone like that?” Martin Yan?
Martin Yan is the Chinese-American host of the PBS cooking show Yan Can Cook, which first aired in 1982.
Or the meat department at Ralphs.
Ralphs is a supermarket chain with locations all over Southern California; it is owned by the Kroger Co.
JCPenney hooker wear. For the casual hooker at work, rest, or play.
JCPenney is a chain of mid-priced department stores with more than a thousand locations throughout the United States. It was founded in Wyoming in 1902.
The iguana redemption.
The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 movie starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as inmates serving life sentences in a state prison in Maine. Robbins’ character (spoiler alert) eventually escapes after digging a hole through the wall of his cell.
Thanks, Brigham Young.
Brigham Young (1801-1877) was the leader of the Mormons during their exodus to Utah in the 19th century and the founder of Salt Lake City. His tenure was controversial, due to his endorsement of polygamy (with a total of 55 wives) and his armed opposition to the authority of the federal government in Utah.
He’s a Who!
The Whos are the residents of Whoville in the classic children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss.
[Hummed.] “Fah Who Forres.”
This is the opening song from the 1966 animated Christmas special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, based on the Dr. Seuss book (see previous note).
Bobby Sherman looks on.
Bobby Sherman was a teen heartthrob in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with such hits as “Little Woman” and “Julie (Do Ya Love Me).”
Hi-yo! Get the kids out of the room!
“Hi-yo!” was the signature exclamation of Ed McMahon (1923-2009), longtime sidekick of talk-show legend Johnny Carson.
I swiped these from that Indian while he was crying about the garbage.
Iron Eyes Cody (1904-1999) is remembered as the crying Indian in the 1970s PSA commercials about littering, but he was actually an Italian-American named Espera Oscar de Corti. He arrived in Hollywood calling himself Tony Cody in 1927 and claimed to be of Cherokee-Cree ancestry; throughout his career he made a living playing American Indians in Hollywood, and was active in Native American causes in his personal life. He married a Native American woman and adopted several Indian children. His true origins were revealed in 1996 by a New Orleans newspaper, but Cody went to his grave denying it.
“Everything is authentic Indian.” I thought everything was Archie.
“Everything’s Archie” is the theme song to The Archie Show, which first aired in 1968. Sample lyrics: “Everything’s Archie/Archie’s here, Betty’s here, Veronica too/Reggie’s here/Hey Jughead, where are you?”
Now look at his better stuff, from Galyans.
Galyans Sports & Outdoor was a chain of sporting goods stores based in Plainfield, Indiana. In 2004 the chain was bought by Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods.
That’s right, walk in front of me so I can see the VPL.
VPL stands for “visible panty line,” when the contours of someone’s underwear is visible beneath their outer garments. The phrase appears to have originated within the military sometime in the Vietnam era, but it was brought into the pop-culture vernacular by director Woody Allen’s Academy Award-winning 1977 film Annie Hall.
I’m gonna go play some Nine Inch Nails.
Nine Inch Nails is an industrial rock band founded by Trent Reznor (who is also the only permanent member). NIN was very popular (and controversial) in the 1990s, with such hits as “Head Like a Hole” and “Happiness in Slavery.”
Wow, they could shoot a Fiona Apple video here.
Fiona Apple is a singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the mid-1990s. The video for her 1996 single “Criminal” shows Apple dancing around a 1970s-style tract house.
He’s got an autographed picture of Elvis Costello and Dean Acheson.
Elvis Costello is a highly regarded British singer-songwriter whose hits include “Veronica” and “Pump It Up.” Dean Acheson (1893-1971) was the secretary of state under President Harry Truman and is considered one of the main architects of the Cold War.
I’ll just settle in with a bound copy of TV Guide.
TV Guide is a national weekly magazine that carries local TV listings along with articles and news about television shows. It was first published in 1953.
Look over there, it’s Chairy before she gained weight.
Chairy the Chair was a character on the children’s TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which aired from 1986-1991.
Good night, Keith.
Keith Moon (1946-1978) was the drummer for the rock band The Who. He died young after overdosing on anti-seizure medication.
Louie Anderson’s sitz bath.
Louie Anderson is a portly standup comedian and actor who had a very successful animated show in the 1990s called Life with Louie. He has also appeared in a number of movies and other television shows; from 1999-2002 he hosted the revival of the TV game show Family Feud.
Sounds like Lurch is playing in the back yard.
Lurch (played by Ted Cassidy) was the Frankensteinish butler on the TV series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966. He frequently played the harpsichord to entertain the family.
Yes, it’s Gabe Kaplan’s poker camp. For kids.
Gabe Kaplan is an actor best known for his role as Gabe Kotter in the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979). He is also a highly successful professional poker player.
“I paint life as I would like it to be,” artist Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) once said, and the secret of his enduring success is that he painted life as a lot of other people wish it could be, too. Rockwell had a knack for painting nostalgic scenes that awakened the viewer’s longing for a mythical simpler, purer time. In his myriad illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post—he painted more than 300 of their covers over 50 years—he evoked a vision of small-town America that still resonates today.
[Sung.] Your own … personal … moon rock …
A paraphrase of the Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus,” released in 1989. Actual lyrics: “Your own personal Jesus/Someone to hear your prayers/Someone who cares …”
Thank you, R. Crumb.
Robert Crumb, or R. Crumb, was an underground comix artist in the 1960s. He created Fritz the Cat, coined the phrase “Keep on truckin’,” and influenced an entire generation of counterculture artists.
We also found some stray Q-Tips.
Cotton swabs were invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang, who put bits of cotton on toothpicks and called them “Baby Gays.” The product was bought and (thankfully) rebranded “Q-Tips,” with the “Q” standing for “quality.” Today, Unilever owns the brand, while the name “Q-Tip” has itself become a brand eponym for any kind of cotton swab. Doctors say they aren’t safe for cleaning the ear canals, but pffft. What do they know?
“What’s happening to the Indian in the painting?” Oh, he’s in the cupboard.
The Indian in the Cupboard is a 1980 children’s book written by Lynne Reid Banks, about a young boy who discovers that a small plastic Indian toy comes to life inside his bathroom cupboard. It was made into a feature film in 1995.
“A lizard that walked like a man.” Michael Douglas?
Michael Douglas, son of actor Kirk Douglas, is a Hollywood leading man who has starred in such films as Romancing the Stone (1984) and Fatal Attraction (1987). He often plays somewhat sleazy characters, such as his immortal turn as Gordon “Greed is good” Gekko in Wall Street (1987).
It can turn a Manwich into a meal.
Manwich is a brand of canned sloppy joe mix made by Hunt’s, and made famous by the 1970s slogan “A sandwich is a sandwich but a Manwich is a meal.”
“No one knows what may happen.” Except for Faith Popcorn.
Faith Popcorn is a business strategist and trend forecaster who became famous in the 1990s for her Popcorn Report, which claimed to spot evolving trends and predict the corporate future.
And look what Tide can do for stains.
Tide is a brand of laundry detergent first introduced in 1943, when it quickly became the best-selling detergent in America. It is manufactured by Procter & Gamble.
I see he’s wearing his Doris Day pajamas.
Probably a reference to the 1957 movie The Pajama Game, in which Doris Day (1922-2019) played a worker’s representative at a pajama factory.
I was dreaming, and then suddenly Judith Light appeared over my bed.
Judith Light is an actress best known for her role as Angela Bower on the TV sitcom Who’s the Boss?, which aired from 1984-1992.
He’s becoming Michael Ontkean! And then Michael Nouri! And then Michael Parks!
Michael Ontkean is an actor who played Sheriff Truman on the cult TV series Twin Peaks (1990-1991). Michael Nouri is an actor who played Jennifer Beals’s romantic interest in the 1983 film Flashdance, among many other roles. Michael Parks played the title role in the TV series Then Came Bronson (1969-1970).
He’s turning into Roy Scheider.
Roy Scheider (1932-2008) was an actor whose best known role is probably that of police Chief Martin Brody in the 1975 film Jaws; he also had major roles in All That Jazz and The French Connection.
I’m ready to fight Captain Kirk.
The Moon Beast here bears a strong resemblance to the Gorn, a lizard-like alien that appeared on the episode of the original Star Trek series titled “Arena,” in which powerful aliens pit the Gorn against Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) in a clumsy battle to the death.
And now this from Pond’s cold cream.
Pond’s is a brand of cold cream used as a facial cleanser.
Wearing Underoos is fun.
“Wearing Underoos is fun/And you can choose from more than one” is an old advertising slogan for the kids’ underwear line.
“I’d like to see Kathy.” And I’d like to see Marmaduke.
“Cathy” is a comic strip by Cathy Guisewite about a young woman who is perpetually overweight and eternally frazzled. “Marmaduke” is a comic strip created by Brad Anderson in 1954 about an ill-behaved Great Dane. Following Anderson’s death in 2015, his son Paul took over drawing the strip.
“Aack!” is the signature expression of frustration of the cartoon character Cathy (see previous note).
Guests of Track of the Moon Beast fly TWA.
TWA, or Trans World Airlines, was one of the largest U.S. airlines. Founded in 1930, it was sold to American Airlines in 2001.
Does anyone need a food cart to crap on?
In 1995, on a United Airlines flight from Buenos Aires to New York City, investment banker Gerard Finneran entered the annals of legend when he became one of the most unruly airline passengers of all time. Having downed a substantial amount of alcohol, he became enraged at being cut off. He raided the airline’s liquor supply, poured drinks on his head, assaulted two flight attendants who tried to stop him, and, for a grand finale, lowered his trousers and defecated on a food cart. He was arrested on landing and subsequently pleaded guilty, receiving fines and two years probation, along with community service. Among his fines was the requirement that he reimburse every passenger on the plane for the price of their ticket. (Thanks to Kurt Steidl for this reference.)
I must get to my Skitch Henderson convention.
Skitch Henderson (1918-2005) was a bandleader who played with Frank Sinatra for a number of years, but he is probably best known for his stints on the Tonight Show, first for Steve Allen and later for Johnny Carson.
Hey, did you hear about Niels Bohr and his wife?
Niels Bohr (1885-1962) was a Danish physicist who fundamentally changed our perception of atomic structure; in 1922 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. During World War II he was one of the leading scientists on the Manhattan Project.
“This is Dr. Rizzo.” What up, bitch?
A reference to RZA, a.k.a. Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, lead producer of the Wu-Tang Clan and one of the most influential hip-hop producers in the industry. (Thanks to Michael Crews for this reference.)
Then my doppelganger will give you an MRI.
A doppelganger is an apparition in the form of a person’s double; in German folklore, seeing your doppelganger is a sign that you will soon die. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, a form of medical imaging that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to help make diagnoses and check the progress of treatments.
“Self-consumed.” That’s a soccer team for you.
In 1972, a plane carrying 45 members of a Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes, and in the subsequent ordeal the survivors were forced to eat the passengers who had been killed in the crash. By the time they were rescued more than two months later, there were only 16 passengers left alive. The story was told in the 1993 movie Alive.
Tonight on Sightings.
Sightings was a TV series that focused on paranormal phenomenon such as UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, and the like. It aired from 1992-1997.
“If I’m gonna die …” Let it be as a blonde.
Lady Clairol was a brand of hair dye that was wildly popular in the 1950s, with the iconic slogan “If I have only one life, let me live it as a blonde!”
In my feetie pajamas.
“Footie pajamas” are one-piece, zip-up pajamas with slipper-like soles on the bottom of the feet; they are a popular after-hours fashion item among the infant and toddler set, and have become increasingly popular among teens and adults as well.
Well, maybe they’ve got an opening at Reptile Gardens.
Reptile Gardens is a tourist attraction in the Black Hills of South Dakota, featuring many different species of reptiles and amphibians and putting on trained animal shows; it opened in 1937.
Just buy a gecko to remember me by.
A gecko is a type of lizard native to many warm climates. Their unique characteristics include a lack of eyelids (they lick their eyeballs to keep them moist) and very sticky pads on their feet that allow them to traverse walls, ceilings, and windows with ease. In populated tropical locales, like the Hawaiian Islands, geckos have adapted to living indoors (where they are known as “house geckos”), and people like having them around because they eat a lot of disease-carrying mosquitoes.
“I want you to go back to Dr. Sutton’s office.” Dr. Frank Sutton.
Frank Sutton (1923-1974) played the long-suffering Sgt. Vince Carter on the TV series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which ran from 1964-1970.
I need a wheat penny and a Glock!
The wheat penny (featuring Lincoln on the face and two stylized stalks of wheat on the reverse) was produced between 1909 and 1958. Glock is an Austrian weapons manufacturer specializing in handguns.
Your brain has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.
“This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down” is the message generated by a general protection fault in Microsoft Windows 95, 98, and NT. The message is usually accompanied by a warning sound from the computer and an expletive from the user. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
His pants are Haggar. And they’re horrible.
Haggar is a clothing manufacturer known for its varying lines of men’s dress slacks, many of which feature a “comfort fit” elasticized waistband. The company was founded in 1926 by J.M. Haggar Sr. “Hagar the Horrible” is a comic strip about a shaggy Viking, first published in 1973.
Hey, everybody, let’s throw water balloons on Georgia O’Keeffe!
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was a highly respected American painter known for her sensuous paintings of flowers, rocks, skulls, and other still-lifes. She lived in New Mexico for most of her career, and many of her paintings have a strongly Southwestern flavor.
“Over the years I got to know Paul pretty well.” The other Beatles were kind of aloof.
Paul McCartney was one of the four members of the iconic rock band the Beatles, generally classified as “the cute one.” The other band members were John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.
Baretta (1975-1978) was a cop show starring Robert Blake as New York City undercover detective Tony Baretta. He drove a 1966 Chevy Impala nicknamed the “Blue Ghost.”
Should’ve brought the wet vac to scoop him up.
A wet/dry vacuum cleaner, of which the most famous brand is the Shop-Vac, is a heavy-duty vacuum that can clean up both wet and dry messes and is commonly used in shops and garages.
I’m gonna get my car Simonized and then I’ll be right back.
Simoniz is a brand of car wax; for a time a number of auto dealers referred to auto detailing as “Simonizing.”
[Sung.] Get your kicks on me …
“Get your kicks on Route 66” is a line from the song “Route 66,” written in 1946 by Bobby Troup and recorded by Nat King Cole and Perry Como, among many others.
If I catch his death on tape, I can send it to Fox!
The Fox TV network became infamous in the 1990s for airing a series of “caught on tape” specials with titles like When Animals Attack, featuring homegrown videos of animal attacks, deadly accidents, and other wholesome tidbits.
“Paul.” Is dead.
For years, an urban legend circulated that Paul McCartney of the Beatles (see above note) was killed in a car crash in the mid-1960s and secretly replaced with a double, with various “clues” cited in Beatles photos and songs. Among those was a spoken word phrase heard as the 1967 song “Strawberry Fields Forever” is fading out, which sounds very much like “I buried Paul.” John Lennon claimed that was his voice saying “cranberry sauce,” but years later Beatles producer George Martin said Lennon, who was high as a kite, was actually saying “I’m very tall.” Isolated tracks from the recording session seem to bear this out.
My sun tea will be ruined!
Sun tea is a method of making iced tea in which you place tea bags and water in a glass container and set the container in direct sunlight to steep. More recently this practice has been discouraged, as it can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria in the tea.
“If I don’t reach the crest …” Or another effective dentifrice …
When Procter & Gamble introduced Crest toothpaste into the market, they marketed it as a cavity fighter, brandishing an endorsement by the American Dental Society. Crest quickly became the dominant brand in the toothpaste market.
[Sung.] The sun is a’risin…
“The Sun is Rising” is a song written and performed by Chicago blues legend Howlin’ Wolf (born Chester Arthur Burnett, 1910-1976) that was originally recorded in 1952 but didn’t see the light of day until his 1962 compilation album Howlin’ Wolf Sings the Blues. Sample lyrics: “You know sun is rising just about three/The sun is rising just about three/I have nobody hoo to talk with me.”
Paul, or Spock, help me!
A reference to the episode of the original Star Trek TV series titled “The Savage Curtain,” in which the bad guys capture Surak, the founder of Vulcan, and try to lure Spock to his doom by imitating his voice crying out, “Help me, Spock! Spock, help me!”
My Earth Shoes are slippery.
Invented in Scandinavia, Earth Shoes are an unconventional style of shoe with a thick sole that puts the toes higher than the heels. Popular in the hippie-dippy early 1970s and discontinued by the late ‘70s, Earth Shoes were reintroduced in 2001.
Oh, he’s turning into a great NFL receiver—they all have big hands.
The National Football League (NFL) is an association of professional American football teams that was founded by eleven teams in 1920; today it encompasses thirty-two teams, helping make football one of the most successful and popular sports in the country. In football, a receiver (usually called a wide receiver) is a player who specializes in catching passes; they are usually the fastest and most agile players on the field, so they get a lot of on-camera time.
[Sung.] His hands are big, I know, but they are not yours …
A paraphrase of the Jewel song “Hands.” Actual lyrics: “My hands are small, I know/But they’re not yours, they are my own/And I am never broken …”
Is the scene over? Okay, I’m heading back to craft services.
In movie, TV, or video production, craft service provides food and beverages to the cast and crew, either in a studio or on a set or location. (Craft, in this case, refers to the various skilled trades working on a production, such as prop makers, set designers, hair and makeup artists, etc.) Craft service is available at all times during a production, as compared to catering, which provides full meals at specific times.
They’ve shot two Klieg lights and a gaffer.
In movie, TV, or video production, Klieg lights are especially bright carbon arc lamps, usually focused with a Fresnel lens, the same kind of lens that lighthouses use. Klieg lights are named after their inventors, brothers John and Anton Kliegl. A gaffer is the head electrician, usually in charge of designing and operating the lighting of a set or location. The name comes from the overhead racks that hold lighting equipment, which are called gaffs.
“We’re fighting something we barely understand, Kathy.” Esperanto.
Esperanto is a “constructed” language developed in the late 19th century by L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish linguist who wanted to create a language that native speakers of any tongue could master, in hopes of facilitating international relations. Today probably 2 million people speak Esperanto.
See above note on Paul McCartney. When the Beatles were still touring as a band, young girls would gather and begin screaming and fainting and generally getting hysterical, a phenomenon dubbed “Beatlemania.”
The arrow caused him to frug!
The frug was a dance craze popular in the 1960s, similar to the twist.
[Sung.] And the monster’s red glare …
A paraphrase of a line from “The Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air …”
Hey, I’m in a Buggles video!
The Buggles were a new wave band founded in 1977; their biggest hit was “Video Killed the Radio Star,” in 1979; two years later the video for the song was the first video ever aired on MTV.