by Sean Marten & Chris Baumgartner
Me? I’d rather have a case of Bass Ale.
The Bass Brewery, the original brewers of Bass Pale Ale, was founded in 1777 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. In 2000 Anheuser-Busch bought the company’s brewing operations; since then Bass Ale has been manufactured by AB. The draught version is still made in Burton.
[Imitating Gilbert Gottfried.] I wanna play but I can’t.
Gilbert Gottfried (1955-2022) was a comedian and actor who performed with a distinctly shrill and gravelly voice; as a voice actor his best known role was that of the parrot Iago in the 1992 Disney animated film Aladdin. He was also the voice of the duck mascot in Aflac Insurance commercials, until a poorly received Twitter joke about the 2011 Japanese tsunami got him fired.
[Sung.] “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down.”
“The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” is a 1937 song written by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin of Tin Pan Alley fame that gained immortality as the theme song for the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon series. Played over the opening and closing credits, it is the song over which Porky Pig declares “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” at the end of each cartoon.
My Tamagotchi seems okay?
A Tamagotchi is a small, egg-shaped digital toy marketed as a “digital pet.” Created by Japanese toymaker Bandai Co. in 1996, a Tamagotchi usually has three buttons, which owners use to “care” for the digital creature that appears on the screen—the pet’s welfare depends on how much attention the user pays to it. Tamagotchi were a huge toy fad in the 1990s, with many schools banning them as a distraction; kids’ ardor for them has cooled, but they are still sold, including, since 2013, in app form.
His Edgar Kennedy one-man show is going good.
Edgar Livingston Kennedy (1890-1948) was an American character actor best known for his bald head and “slow burn” reactions to the madcap chaos going on around him, which established him as the “poster boy for frustration” in the early days of cinema. He worked with some of the biggest comedians in film, including Fatty Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, and the Little Rascals, and was one of the first Keystone Kops. He also had a memorable turn as a lemonade vendor tormented by Harpo in the 1933 Marx Brothers comedy Duck Soup.
Wow, Billy Barty was driving the car last.
Billy Barty (1924-2000) was a prolific American actor who, as an adult, stood 3’9” tall. He crusaded for societal acceptance of little people and founded Little People of America in 1957 to work toward that goal. He appeared in nearly 200 films and TV shows during his lengthy career.
Looks like Eleanor Roosevelt.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt and served as First Lady from 1933-1945. Later, after her husband’s death, she served as the U.S. delegate to the United Nations and the U.S. representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights. While she was an accomplished, intelligent woman who dramatically expanded the role of the First Lady and remains one of the most respected women in American history, she was not conventionally attractive.
It’s a Zero!
The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was the fighter aircraft used by Imperial Japan’s navy during World War II. It was used both as a highly effective dogfighter against Allied pilots and, toward the end of the war, as a kamikaze suicide craft.
Its Coily’s army of darkness, look!
Possibly a reference to Army of Darkness (1992), the campy third installment in the Evil Dead franchise, starring Bruce Campbell and his chainsaw.
Jam Handy reminds you to keep your preserves in a convenient place.
The Jam Handy Organization was a prolific producer and distributor of educational films, also called “social guidance” films, from 1935 through 1968. Founded by former Olympic swimmer Henry Jamison “Jam” Handy (1886-1983), numerous Jam Handy productions found a home on MST3K: Hired! (Show 423, Bride of the Monster, and Show 424, Manos, The Hands of Fate), The Selling Wizard (Show 603, The Dead Talk Back), Uncle Jim’s Dairy Farm (Show 607, Bloodlust!), Young Man’s Fancy (Show 610, The Violent Years), Out of This World (Show 618, High School Big Shot), and this one, A Case of Spring Fever. The MST3K Special Edition DVD of Manos, The Hands of Fate features a documentary about the history of the Jam Handy Organization.
Oh yeah, this is the night that the lights went out in Georgia.
“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” is a 1972 song written by Bobby Russell and performed by Vicki Lawrence, who at the time was best known as a comedian and a regular on the sketch-comedy TV series The Carol Burnett Show (CBS, 1967-1978). The Vicki Lawrence version became a number-one hit, and a 1991 version by Reba McEntire became a hit single as well. Sample lyrics: “That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia/That’s the night that they hung an innocent man/Well don’t trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer/Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands.”
Ford to Fly Creek: drop dead.
“Ford to City: Drop Dead” was the famous headline on the October 30, 1975, issue of the New York Daily News. The accompanying story reported on then-President Gerald Ford’s decision not to use the federal purse strings to bail NYC out of its financial crisis. Some observers think the headline may have cost Ford New York state in the 1976 election—and thus the White House.
The most bizarre freak of nature ever recorded ... oh! Broccoflower.
Broccoflower is an edible plant that is a variety of cauliflower, but colored green like broccoli. One variety of broccoflower grows into somewhat spiky, fractal shapes, like little green pine cones. If you’re a meat-and-potatoes person, it is somewhat bizarre looking.
[Scroll on screen: “This is the story …”] Of a man named Jed.
The theme song to the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, titled “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” begins with the line “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed.” The song was written by Paul Henning, the show’s producer, and sung by country musician Jerry Scoggins, accompanied by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (a.k.a. the Foggy Mountain Boys).
[Imitating Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies.] Jed! –That was inevitable.
An imitation of Irene Ryan, who played Daisy May Moses, better known as Granny, on The Beverly Hillbillies. More important, a callback to Show 802, The Leech Woman, in which Tom Servo did an extended riff on Ryan’s character, which consisted of loudly and repeatedly screeching “Jed! Jed! Jeeeeed!”
There are other productions of this movie? –Oh yeah, this one’s the best. Bergman’s was a little slow.
Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) was a Swedish writer/director/producer who is one of the most highly respected filmmakers of the 20th century. His films include The Seventh Seal (1957), Persona (1966), and Cries and Whispers (1972). Bergman films are usually a little on the bleak side, dealing with death, betrayal, insanity, and other light-hearted topics, and their pacing tends to be rather leisurely.
It’s Paula Cole scatting.
Paula Cole is an American singer-songwriter. One of the original artists in the traveling Lilith Fair music festival, she gained fame in 1996 with her single “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and went on to win a Best New Artist Grammy Award in 1998. Scatting, or scat singing, is when a vocalist strings together nonsense syllables or wordless phrases—essentially “taking a solo” with their voice, improvising melodies and rhythms on the fly, without being restricted by actual words or rhymes. Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, and Cab Calloway are considered masters of the form. Frank Sinatra … not so much, as evidenced by his often-parodied “doo-be-doo-be-doo” run of scat singing at the end of his massively popular 1966 recording of “Strangers in the Night.” Sinatra hated that song, by the way, calling it “a piece of shit.”
Uh-oh, he’s gonna get Dave Barry all over his head.
Dave Barry is a syndicated humor columnist and author of numerous books who wrote for the Miami Herald from 1983-2005; he won a Pulitzer for humor writing in 1988. The sitcom Dave’s World (CBS, 1993-1997), starring Harry Anderson as Dave, was loosely based on Barry and built around situations from his columns.
Clinton’s next job.
Wiliam Jefferson "Bill" Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States, serving in the Oval Office from 1993 to 2001.
The monster called Gamera is destroying the city, huh?
A typical line spoken by a poorly dubbed Japanese news announcer from any of the twelve Gamera movies produced between 1965 and 2006. Gamera, of course, is a flying, fire-breathing giant turtle who is “friend to all children.” Gamera also happens to occasionally destroy large tracts of Tokyo, presumably killing thousands, including, presumably, children. MST3K riffed on five Gamera movies, first in the KTMA days (K04, K05, K06, K07, and K08), and then did revised versions of those same five in season three (302, 304, 308, 312, and 316).
Steven Tyler worm.
Steven Tyler (b. Steven Victor Tallarico) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and television personality. As the front man of the rock band Aerosmith, Tyler is known for his lithe physique and acrobatic stage moves (which have been toned down in later years as age catches up with him). Tyler became well known outside the rock world thanks to his run as a judge on American Idol from 2011 to 2012.
Oh, of the failed career Smedley-Astons?
British film editor and assistant director Brian Smedley-Aston has 25 films to his credit as an editor, the best known of which is the 1970 crime drama Performance, which features the acting debut of Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and weathered mixed reviews to gain a certain cult status.
George Man Ass. The “e” is silent.
George Manasse has more than 50 films to his credit as either producer or production manager. The highest-profile titles on his resume include Indecent Proposal (1993) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995).
I’m a nude model for Georgia O’Keeffe.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was an American painter who is highly respected for her sensuous paintings of flowers, rocks, skulls, and landscapes. She was not a portrait painter. Interestingly, O’Keeffe did pose often for her husband, photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. Some of the photos, including nudes, were exhibited in 1921; they still exist today.
The Jim Varney library.
Jim Varney (1949-2000) was a comedian, actor, and writer best known for his portrayal of the bumbling Ernest P. Worrell in commercials and a series of movies, and for his voice work as Slinky Dog in Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999).
Oh, it’s Brad Dourif. –A plucked stork! Oh no, it’s Brad Dourif. Oh, I mean it’s her.
Brad Dourif is an American actor best known for his roles as Billy Bibbit in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and more recently as Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002). He also voiced the murderous doll Chucky (and played serial killer Charles Lee Ray) in the Child’s Play horror movie franchise.
Well, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge again.
The 1967 hit song “Ode to Billy Joe,” written and performed by Bobbie Gentry, led to a quickie novel and then a 1976 film, Ode to Billy Joe. Sample lyrics from the song-of-origin: “And at dinner time we stopped and we walked back to the house to eat/And mama hollered at the back door, ‘Y’all, remember to wipe your feet!’/And then she said she got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge/Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”
We’re out of Billy Beer.
Billy Beer was a brand of beer named for and endorsed by Billy Carter (1937-1988), the younger brother of the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter. Meant to capitalize on Carter’s “good ol’ boy” image, Billy Beer was introduced in 1977, became a brief fad, and was discontinued in 1978. Endorsing beer was the least of the embarrassments Billy brought upon the Carter administration: he also urinated on the runway in front of the press while waiting for Libyan diplomats at the Atlanta airport and took a $220,000 loan from Libya at a time when relations between that North African nation and the U.S. were strained.
All the Smithfield hams will go off.
A Smithfield ham is a type of salt-cured country ham made in the town of Smithfield, Virginia. Smithfield has very specific environmental conditions (humidity, airborne mold spores), and only hams produced there can bear the name “Smithfield ham.” The earliest record of a Smithfield ham being sold dates back to 1779.
Plus, I’m expecting a gentleman caller.
In Tennessee Williams’ 1944 play The Glass Menagerie, the character of Jim is Laura Wingfield’s “gentleman caller.” When Williams wrote the play, he based it partly on an earlier screenplay he had written titled The Gentleman Caller.
I do hope Ashley Wilkes can get through.
Southern gentleman Ashley Wilkes is a major character in the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, its 1939 film adaptation, and the 1991 sequel to the novel, Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley. Scarlett O’Hara is in love with Wilkes, but he marries another woman, Melanie Hamilton. Leslie Howard played the character in the film version.
Hey! Mornin’, Cindy Williams!
Cindy Williams is an American actress who sports a kicky short hairstyle. She landed memorable film parts early in her career, in George Lucas’s American Graffiti (1973) and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974), but she is best known for her role as the blue-collar Shirley Feeney in the TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley (ABC, 1976-1983).
I’ve got to go play with the New York Dolls.
The New York Dolls are an American rock band. Founded in 1971, they are considered early trailblazers in the punk rock and glam rock genres. Singer and actor David Johansen, who also performed in the 1980s under the name Buster Poindexter, was their founding singer and songwriter. After numerous personnel changes, the band broke up in 1977; three surviving members, including Johansen, reunited in 2004.
I’m switching to the all-“Philadelphia Freedom” station.
“Philadelphia Freedom” is a song by Elton John, with lyrics by Bernie Taupin, that became a number-one hit in 1975. It was written as a favor for Elton’s friend, tennis star Billie Jean King, who was a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team, though the lyrics have nothing to do with tennis. The tune did, however, fit nicely into the flag-waving celebrations of the United States bicentennial, which hit the following year. Sample lyrics: “`Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia freedom/From the day that I was born I’ve waved the flag/Philadelphia freedom took me knee-high to a man/Yeah gave me peace of mind my daddy never had.”
“Out robbing corpses again?” It’s easier than goin’ to Pamida.
Pamida was a chain of department stores that had more than 175 locations in the midwestern United States, mostly in small towns. Founded in 1963, the last Pamida stores closed in 2012. The name was a combination of the first two letters in the names of co-founder Jim Witherspoon’s three sons: Pat, Mike, and David.
If Steve Young and Alvin the Chipmunk had a baby.
Steve Young is a former football player, a quarterback who played fifteen seasons for the NFL between 1985 and 1999, first for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then for the San Francisco 49ers. Alvin is the title chipmunk in the animated television series The Alvin Show (CBS, 1961-1962), and its reboot Alvin and the Chipmunks (NBC, 1983-1990). The shows featured three mischievous and speedy-voiced chipmunks (with Alvin as their ringleader) and their long-suffering, adoptive human “father,” Dave Seville. Alvin and the Chipmunks were also a very successful novelty recording act, winning three Grammy Awards and scoring a number-one hit with “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” in 1958.
Pogo’s back from vacation.
“Pogo” was a satirical comic strip about a group of creatures living in a swamp; the title character was an opossum. The strip, created by Walt Kelly, ran from 1948-1975 and has been collected in a series of books.
Imperial Grand Dragon and I still gotta drive a bus.
A conflation of titles bestowed upon leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist terror organization with origins in the American South during the Reconstruction Era that followed the Civil War in the 1860s. “Imperial” rank indicates a national officer, “Grand” indicates an officer at the state level; there is no rank that combines “Imperial” and “Grand.” The highest rank in the organization is “Imperial Wizard”; a “Grand Dragon” is the highest-ranking member in a given state.
My lamp, my ant farm—oh, grab the other end of my anvil there, will you?
An ant farm (properly called a formicarium) is a sort of thin terrarium that allows the study of ant colonies; two pieces of glass or clear plastic are separated by half an inch or so, filled with sand or dirt, then populated with ants, which can be seen going about their ant business between the transparent plates. The formicarium was invented around 1900 by French entomologist Charles Janet. The term “ant farm” was copyrighted in the early 1950s by entrepreneur Milton Levine, who made a fortune marketing “Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm” in comic books. Levine went on to further success with potato guns, shrunken heads, and toy soldiers (“100 Toy Soldiers for $1!”)
I’m on the Jonathan Winters workout plan.
Jonathan Harshman Winters III (1925-2013) was a stout-figured American comedian, actor, painter, and writer whose career lasted six decades. He recorded more than 25 comedy albums that are among the best-selling in the genre; he was nominated for eleven Grammy Awards and won twice. Known for his lightning-fast improvisational skills and memorable characters that could switch instantly from one to another, Winters made hundreds of appearances on TV variety and talk shows in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, and appeared in such films as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966).
Oh, and you’ll need a conical hat with eyeholes cut into it.
At gatherings of the Ku Klux Klan (see above note), members wear long white robes, with their faces and heads covered with white cloth hoods with conical tops and eyeholes. Early Klansmen during Reconstruction did not wear these hoods; they often wore masks to conceal their identities, but these varied widely. Some wore pillowcases, others animal horns and fake beards; some even wore blackface to mock their victims. The conical white hood became de rigueur only after D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which showed Klansmen in the now-classic costume and sparked a resurgence of the Klan in America; six years later the Klan began manufacturing official robes and hoods that looked like the ones in the film.
Southern man don’t need you around anyhow.
A paraphrase of the 1974 song “Sweet Home Alabama,” by American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The relevant lyrics: “Well I heard Mister Young sing about her/Well, I heard ole Neil put her down/Well, I hope Neil Young will remember/A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” The band was referring to Neil Young’s 1970 song “Southern Man” and his 1972 song “Alabama,” both of which dealt with racism in the South; the lines in the Skynyrd song were meant as a rebuttal. Guess they showed him. In fact, Neil Young said in 1976, “They play like they mean it. I’m proud to have my name in a song like theirs.” Young has sometimes played “Sweet Home Alabama” in his live shows.
Jennifer Beals is welding behind that bush.
The 1983 movie Flashdance stars Jennifer Beals as a steelworker by day/exotic dancer by night who nurtures dreams of becoming a ballerina. You know, that old story. Much of the drama takes place in cavernous, warehouse-y spaces; quite a bit of welding is involved.
Wow, look at that, he’s actually lost in the wooley swamp.
“The Legend of Wooley Swamp” is a 1980 song written by Charlie Daniels and recorded by the Charlie Daniels Band. Sample lyrics: “If you ever go back into Wooley Swamp, well, you better not go at night/There’s things out there in the middle of them woods/That’d make a strong man die from fright/Things that crawl and things that fly/Things that creep around on the ground/And they say the ghost of Lucius Clay gets up and he walks around.”
I don’t know, this feels like Powers Boothe should be in this scene.
Powers Allen Boothe (1948-2017) was an American actor who won an Emmy for playing Jim Jones in the CBS TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones; he also played detective Philip Marlowe in a series of films on HBO in the 1980s. More recently, he played Cy Tolliver on the HBO drama Deadwood and the corrupt Senator Roark in the Sin City films.
Sharpened bamboo sticks on the bottom were a nice touch. Ow.
Punji sticks were used as guerrilla booby traps during the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong. They are sharpened sticks made from wood or bamboo that are then hammered into the ground with the sharp end sticking up for the unwary to step on. Sometimes they were smeared with poison or feces to infect the wound. They could be camouflaged on a jungle path or placed at the bottom or sides of a pit trap. A pit trap armed with punji sticks is called a trou de loup (French for “wolf trap”) or a tiger pit.
Say, can we see the weird kid with the banjo?
In the 1972 film Deliverance, four men from Atlanta (played by Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jon Voight, and Ronny Cox) go on an extended canoe trip deep into the Georgia backwoods. There they, ahem, clash a bit with the locals. Among the troubling things they encounter is a young boy, clearly deformed and the likely result of generations of inbreeding, who is nonetheless an amazing banjo player.
This is my vent figure.
“Vent” is short for ventriloquist; a “vent figure” is another term for a ventriloquist’s dummy.
Like my Dorothea Chambers signature racket?
Dorothea Lambert Chambers (1878-1960) was a British tennis champion. She won seven Wimbledon Championships and a gold medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics, all while wearing ankle-length dresses.
Peg Bundy, played by Katey Sagal, is the deeply sarcastic wife of oafish family patriarch Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) in the (very) American sitcom Married … with Children (Fox, 1987-1997).
She’s getting groped by Paul Harvey.
Paul Harvey (1918-2009) was an American radio newsman and commentator who was on the air more or less continuously from the 1930s until 2008. He was known for his regular monologues, broadcast twice daily, as well as his “The Rest of the Story” segments, which focused on a person or event from American history.
I’m gonna Willem Dafoe all over you.
William J. “Willem” Dafoe is an American actor known for his work in such films as Platoon (1986), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), and the Spider-Man franchise.
Southern lunch counters are a lightning rod for trouble.
In the period between the abolition of slavery (1865) and the passage of sweeping civil rights legislation in the United States (1968), there was widespread segregation, especially in the South. This meant separate facilities—such as waiting rooms, bathrooms, and drinking fountains—for blacks and whites. During the 1960s, lunch counters became a frequent site of nonviolent protest: black customers would sit at “white only” lunch counters and peacefully withstand the abuse and eventual arrests that followed. The most famous such protest began at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, in February 1960 and continued daily for six months. It resulted in the company desegregating its lunch counters.
You’re gonna wanna see the possum rendering plant, and the yam that looks like Lyndon LaRouche.
Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche (1922-2019) was an American political activist, convicted felon, and world-class conspiracy theorist. He ran for president eight times between 1976 and 2004, attracting a devoted (and sometimes violent) following. In 1988 he was sent to prison for six years for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax violations. Among his favorite conspiracy theories: the Soviet Union and/or the International Monetary Fund introduced AIDS to kill Africans, George H.W. Bush’s family helped fund Adolf Hitler during World War II, and Queen Elizabeth II is a leader of the international drug trade.
Excuse me, I just need an Ipecac, I’ll be right back.
Syrup of Ipecac is an over-the-counter medicine meant to induce vomiting in the case of accidental poisoning.
Don’t hit the bionic man.
“The Bionic Man” is the name often given to the lead character in the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man (ABC, 1973-1978). The role of Steve Austin, a former astronaut fitted with super-strength-giving bionic implants, was played by Lee Majors. A spinoff series, The Bionic Woman, ran on ABC from 1976 to 1978 and starred Lindsay Wagner in the title role.
Remember when we picked up Vanilla Ice?
Vanilla Ice is the stage name of American rapper, actor, and television personality Robert Matthew Van Winkle; his 1990 single “Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip-hop single to hit number one on the Billboard charts. Major success eluded him after that, but he has acquired a certain status in the pop culture landscape: his name is usually the first to come up when somebody wants to make a joke about white guys adopting hip-hop culture.
The Ford station wagon, un-small at any speed.
The Ford Motor Company is an American automaker, founded by Henry Ford in 1903, that manufactures a wide range of cars and trucks; their most popular full-size station wagon was the Country Squire, introduced in 1950 and discontinued in 1991. The 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, by Ralph Nader, accused automakers of indifference toward design flaws that made their products rolling death traps. Safety reforms, including seat belts, eventually followed—but only after General Motors tried to silence Nader through a campaign of harassment and intimidation. GM lost a resulting lawsuit, and Nader used the money he was awarded to fund lobbying efforts for consumer rights, leading to the Clean Air Act and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Let's drop in on the Ziffels.
Fred and Doris Ziffel were recurring characters on the TV sitcom Green Acres (CBS, 1965-1971). They are memorable for having “adopted” a pig named Arnold as their son. Fred Ziffel was played by Hank Patterson (1888-1975), who also appeared in three movies riffed by MST3K: Show 309, The Amazing Colossal Man; Show 313, Earth vs. the Spider; and Show 517, Beginning of the End. Doris was played by Barbara Pepper (1915-1969), who began her show-biz career as a Goldwyn Girl, the stock dance company that worked for Samuel Goldwyn. Other Goldwyn Girls: Lucille Ball, Betty Grable, and Virginia Mayo.
They had to stop and Pledge the side of the car.
Pledge is a brand of furniture polish made by S.C. Johnson.
“What happened?” Someone had a Bronto Burger.
In the animated TV sitcom The Flintstones (ABC, 1960-1966), the opening credits feature the Flintstone family dining at the “Bronto Burgers and Ribs” drive-in.
Damn it, Bones. I’ve always wanted to say that. Damn it, Bones.
A riff on Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), the leading man on the landmark sci-fi TV series Star Trek (NBC, 1966-1969) and its various feature films. Kirk would often verbally spar with his longtime friend and ship’s doctor, Leonard “Bones” McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley), who would frequently exclaim, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a [fill in the blank].” (Some variants: bricklayer, mechanic, engineer, coal miner, and, oddly, escalator.)
Brian Setzer at his day job.
Brian Robert Setzer is an American musician, singer, and songwriter best known for having brought about a revival of the rockabilly style in the early 1980s with his band the Stray Cats, followed by a swing revival in the 1990s with The Brian Setzer Orchestra. His stage appearance used to include a carefully sculpted blond pompadour.
A rare Queen Anne bass lure.
Named for Queen Anne of Great Britain (reigned 1702-1714), the Queen Anne style of furniture boasted curvy lines, wingback chairs, and cushioned seats, and was popular among newly affluent American colonists in the 1720s and 1730s. Genuine furniture pieces from that era are valuable antiques today. Bass is an umbrella term for many different species of freshwater and marine fish; they are easier to catch using brightly colored lures instead of bait.
[Sung.] Truckin’ …
“Truckin’” is a 1970 song by the jam-happy American rock band the Grateful Dead, recognized in 1997 as a national treasure by the U.S. Library of Congress. Artwork for Grateful Dead albums, posters, etc. usually features skulls and skeletons. Sample lyrics from “Truckin’”: “Truckin’/Got my chips cashed in/Keep truckin’/Like the do-dah man/Together/More or less in line/Just keep truckin’ on.”
Baiterers to Her Majesty since 1667.
In the U.K., a royal warrant of appointment is given to people or companies that supply goods or services to members of the royal family, allowing them to advertise that fact, along with the royal coat of arms. Currently royal warrants are issued to suppliers of the queen, the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip), and the Prince of Wales.
[Sung.] The word “worms” repeated to the tune of “Dueling Banjos.”
“Dueling Banjos” is a 1955 instrumental song composed by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith. Its first national exposure was in a 1963 episode of The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968). An arrangement of it became a hit single in 1973, thanks to its use in a memorable scene in the 1972 movie Deliverance (see above note). Thanks to Deliverance, the song has become a sort of pop-culture musical shorthand for creepy backwoods yokels.
Fish love moo goo gai pan.
Moo goo gai pan is an American/Chinese dish consisting of stir-fried chicken and mushrooms, with other vegetables such as snow peas and water chestnuts usually added.
Lowly Worm’s worst day ever.
Lowly Worm is an anthropomorphic earthworm who appears in various children’s books by American author Richard Scarry, as well in the animated TV series based on them.
The Dalai Lama says I must honor all living creatures.
The Dalai Lama is a monk of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The first Dalai Lama lived from 1391 to 1474; the 14th and current Dalai Lama, considered a reincarnation of his predecessors, is Tenzin Gyatso. Tibetan Buddhism has around 18 million followers worldwide; nonviolence toward all living creatures is a central precept in the Buddhist philosophy.
I’m Peter MacNicol, and I’m concerned.
Peter MacNicol is a short, curly-haired American actor who has appeared in such films as Sophie’s Choice (1982), Ghostbusters II (1989), and Addams Family Values (1993). He has also worked in television, acting in Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, and Veep, among others.
Hey, hey, hey … gently down the stream.
A reference to the traditional nursery rhyme/children’s song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” first published in 1852. Sample lyrics from the most common modern version, first recorded in 1881: “Row, row, row your boat/Gently down the stream/Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily/Life is but a dream.”
So how is it possible that Jerry Reed isn’t in this movie?
Jerry Reed Hubbard (1937-2008) was a Grammy Award-winning country music singer and songwriter, who had hits with such country-crossover novelty songs as “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).” He also had a fairly good run as an actor, his best-known role being uber-good ol’ boy Cledus Snow in three Smokey and the Bandit movies.
This is a job for Antique Man.
“This looks like a job for Superman!” is a catch phrase from the old Superman radio show, as voiced by Clayton “Bud” Collyer. The phrase was also used in the Max Fleischer theatrical cartoons of the 1940s, for which Collyer also supplied the voices. It was in the Fleischer cartoons, too, that Clark Kent became known for changing into his super suit in a phone booth.
He's got that lighter set on the Dan Haggerty level.
Dan Haggerty (1942-2016) was an American actor best known for his role as the title character in the 1974 film The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams and the subsequent TV series based on the film (NBC, 1977-1978).
You have a fatal case of pyuria.
Pyuria is a condition of pus, or white blood cells, in the urine. It is often a symptom of a urinary tract infection or pneumonia. It can also be an indication of sepsis, a potentially life-threatening immune reaction to infection.
It’s Chuck Wepner’s skull.
Chuck Wepner is an American former heavyweight boxer who famously went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975 (Ali won by TKO) and claims to be the inspiration for the Rocky Balboa character in the Rocky film series.
The mind meld doesn’t work on dead people.
In the Star Trek television series and feature films, the “mind meld” is a technique that the half-human, half-Vulcan Mr. Spock uses to share the thoughts and memories of another individual, usually by placing his hand on the other person’s face. It was first seen in the original Star Trek series (NBC, 1966-1969) Season 1 episode “Dagger of the Mind,” and was even used to read the mind of a humpback whale in the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986).
Please, I need to get back into Gary Hart’s closet.
Gary Hart (b. Gary Warren Hartpence) is an American politician, professor, and commentator; a former U.S. senator (D-Colorado); and a two-time Democratic presidential contender. Hart’s 1988 presidential bid was torpedoed by scandal—the press uncovered an affair Hart was having with a young woman named Donna Rice. Hart’s name became a punchline, synonymous with both sexual indiscretion and being very, very bad at hiding it.
First there was Piltdown Man, then … [sung] Southern man …
The Piltdown Man was the name given to some bone fragments recovered from a gravel pit in East Sussex, England, in 1912. Originally thought to be the remains of an early human, they were exposed in 1953 as a hoax. Neil Young’s 1970 song “Southern Man” (see note on “Sweet Home Alabama,” above) contains the lyrics “Southern man better keep your head/Don’t forget what your good book said/Southern change gonna come at last/Now your crosses are burning fast/Southern man.”
[Sung.] Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball …
The first line of the 1969 song “Pinball Wizard,” from the rock opera Tommy by British band The Who. In the 1975 film adaptation, Elton John performed the song on stilts stuck into enormous, Doc Marten-style boots. Sample lyrics: “Ever since I was a young boy/I’ve played the silver ball/From Soho down to Brighton/I must have played them all/But I ain’t seen nothing like him/In any amusement hall/That deaf, dumb and blind kid/Sure plays a mean pinball!”
I got tickets to the George Wallace concert.
George Corley Wallace Jr. (1919-1998) was the governor of Alabama for four terms in the 1960s and ‘70s. At his first inauguration in 1963, he gave the infamous speech wherein he declared, “I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” In that same year, he physically attempted to block two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama, standing in front of the entrance to the auditorium where registration was taking place (he ultimately moved at the orders of a U.S. deputy attorney general and the National Guard). Wallace ran for president several times; in 1972, during his third run for the presidency, he was shot five times by a would-be assassin, paralyzing him from the waist down. In the 1980s, Wallace was supposedly “born again” and repented of his segregationist past, apologizing to civil rights leaders.
Oh, Roger, you complete me.
“You complete me” is a famous line from the 1996 romantic comedy film Jerry Maguire, starring Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger.
No more sucking whip cream cans, I’m going for the big score.
Inhaling the nitrous oxide that is used as a propellant in cans of whipped cream is a way to ingest a small amount of that intoxicating gas. True connoisseurs use “whippets,” small steel cylinders of nitrous used in commercial whipped cream dispensers.
Pringles are a brand of potato chips developed by Procter & Gamble in 1967 and now owned by Kellogg’s. Unlike other chips, which involve slices of actual potatoes and come in bags, Pringles are machine-made: compressed potato residue and wheat starch chips sold neatly stacked in cylindrical cardboard tubes. The Pringles logo is a cartoon figure of a man’s head—“Julius Pringles”—sporting a large mustache and hair parted in the middle, 1920s style.
Let’s see, John Birch Society literature …
The John Birch Society is a far-right political group that supports limited government and opposes communism. It was founded in 1958 and named for an American missionary and military intelligence officer who was killed by communist forces in China shortly after World War II—pronouncing him the first victim of the Cold War.
Letters from Der Weisse Engel.
This is more a reference to the 1976 film Marathon Man than to the real-life Nazi ghoul Josef Mengele. In the film, Lawrence Olivier plays Dr. Christian Szell, a Nazi dentist based on Mengele, who has been living as a fugitive in South America. He has to return to New York to retrieve the diamonds he’d stolen during the war, where he is recognized by a Jewish concentration camp survivor, who calls out, “Der Weisse Engel!” (“The White Angel” was Mengele’s nickname at Auschwitz, for the white doctor’s coat he wore as he stood on the train platform to inspect arriving prisoners.)
Klan minutes, 1972.
See note on the Ku Klux Klan, above.
It’s the skull of Mortimer Snerd.
Mortimer Snerd was a ventriloquist’s dummy, the slow-witted friend of wisecracking Charlie McCarthy. Both dummies were given voice by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (1903-1978), who first introduced McCarthy on the vaudeville stage in the late 1920s and then Snerd on various radio programs in the late 1930s, followed by decades of appearances in numerous films and TV shows.
It belongs to a guy named Al P. Yorick.
A famous scene in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet (c. 1599-1602) finds Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, holding the unearthed skull of a jester named Yorick he knew in his childhood. Pondering the nature of mortality with his friend Horatio, Hamlet says, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.” The line is often misquoted as “Alas, poor Yorick; I knew him well.”
Come on in the snout, we got a pinochle game going.
A reference to a line in “The Hearse Song,” which was popular with soldiers during World War I, and gained further popularity with children after it was included in the Alvin Schwartz short-story collection Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981). The relevant lyrics: “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out/The worms play pinochle on your snout.” Pinochle is a card game, usually for two or four players and using a 48-card deck. It was popular around the time of World War I, although at least one American city outlawed it in a frenzy of anti-German sentiment (the game was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants).
Tarzan’s experiment with electric vines goes awry.
Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and first published in magazine form in 1912 and then in book form in 1914, Tarzan of the Apes is the story of an orphaned British child raised by apes in the African jungle. Burroughs eventually wrote more than two dozen sequels. The character became so popular, and references to him so pervasive, that it is nearly impossible to account for every adaptation of the Tarzan legend (they include film, radio, TV, video games, books by other authors, and more), but swinging through the jungle on vines is a standard trope of the tales.
I can pick up that spare.
In the game of ten-pin bowling, two rolls of the ball are allowed to each player in each frame. If on the first roll the player fails to knock down all of the pins but succeeds on the second roll, then that player scores a spare. This means that the person has scored ten points for the frame, plus the number of pins knocked down on his or her next roll.
They cancelled Hee Haw.
Hee Haw was a syndicated country music-variety TV show hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark. The show featured cornpone humor and appearances by virtually every major star in country music, including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Loretta Lynn. It ran from 1969 to 1971 on CBS, followed by a 20-year run in syndication.
I do believe I have the farts, I—I mean vapors.
The “vapors” was a catch-all malady of women in Victorian Britain and the pre-Civil War Deep South. It could cover anything from depression, PMS, lightheadedness, fainting, or even just a state of general ill-health, which was considered an almost desirable sign of femininity.
“Roger?” Rerun? Dwayne? Dee? Mama? Shirley?
Roger “Raj” Thomas, Freddy “Rerun” Stubbs, Dwayne Nelson, Dee Thomas, Roger and Dee’s mother (whose name was Mabel), and Shirley Wilson were all principal characters in the TV sitcom What’s Happening!!, which aired on ABC from 1976 to 1979.
James Herriot, no!
James Herriot was the pen name for James Alfred Wight (1916-1995), a British veterinarian who wrote several semi-autobiographical books about his experiences as a country vet in Yorkshire. His memoirs, which began with the 1972 book All Creatures Great and Small, were adapted into a 1975 feature film and a TV series by the same name, which ran on the BBC from 1978 to 1980 and from 1988 to 1990.
Even after death he has irritable bowel syndrome.
Also called “spastic colon,” irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal problem that involves bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
Don’t eat the gorditas.
A gordita is a Mexican dish consisting of a small corn flour cake stuffed with various meats, cheeses, or other fillings. The name is Spanish for “little fat one.”
Mr. Bean is a slapstick-heavy British TV series that starred Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean (no first name is ever mentioned), “a child in a grown man’s body.” Its original run was from 1990 to 1995 on the British network ITV. An animated TV show and two feature films followed. Atkinson also appeared in character as Mr. Bean at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Ha! I stole a Lions Club mint.
Lions Club International is a worldwide fraternal organization with more than 1.4 million members. Lions collect used eyeglasses to recycle for needy families, among other health, disaster relief, and charitable community works. Their fundraising efforts include the sale of breath mints that are displayed at convenience store checkout counters.
Hey, Richie Cunningham, tuck your shirt in.
Richie Cunningham, played by American actor/director/producer Ron Howard, was the central character on the TV sitcom Happy Days, which aired on ABC from 1974 to 1984. The series portrayed an idealized version of American family life in the 1950s and 1960s, with a focus on teenagers.
Not a bad outfit to wear if you’re a … [sung] Southern man …
See note on “Southern Man,” above.
Jame Gumb rents this shack.
Jame Gumb is the serial killer known by the nickname “Buffalo Bill” in the 1988 novel The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris and the 1991 film adaptation that starred Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. In the film he was played by Ted Levine. The film is one of only three to win Academy Awards in all five major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay/Best Adapted Screenplay). (The others are It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.)
It’s an historical landmark, it’s Mickey Gilley’s birthplace.
Mickey Leroy Gilley (1936-2022) was an American country singer. He is a cousin of rock & roll wildman Jerry Lee Lewis and tearful TV preacher Jimmy Swaggart. In 1970 he opened a nightclub in Pasadena, Texas, Gilley’s Club, which later became known as “The World’s Biggest Honky Tonk.” Gilley’s was a key location in the hit 1980 movie Urban Cowboy. The club closed in 1989 due to financial difficulties; a fire attributed to arson gutted the building the following year.
A certain convocation of politic worms!
A line from Hamlet (see note on “Alas, poor Yorick,” above). In Act IV, Scene 3, when discussing what has happened to the murdered Polonius, Hamlet claims he is “at supper,” saying, “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at him.”
[Sung.] Happy Birthday to you …
This song, which has become the standard for birthday parties, was written (albeit with different lyrics) in the 1890s by two sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, under the title “Good Morning to All.” It was the most widely performed song of the 20th century. In 2016, a judge ruled the copyright claims to “Happy Birthday” invalid; companies had been collecting royalties on it for 80 years. The current rightsholder was earning about $2 million in royalties per year at the time of the ruling.
Kevin McHale, crossdresser.
Kevin McHale is a former Boston Celtics basketball player (1980-1993). In college he played for the University of Minnesota, and after retirement he went to work for the Minnesota Timberwolves in various positions, ultimately becoming head coach.
We have Eraserhead chicken.
Eraserhead is a 1977 black-and-white movie directed by bizarro filmmaker David Lynch, his first feature-length film; he would later go on to great fame with films such as Blue Velvet (1986) and Wild at Heart (1990), and the TV series Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990-1991). Many of the techniques Lynch is known for were pioneered in this film. Among the many disturbing images in Eraserhead is a dinner scene in which the hero’s odd-looking meal is described thusly: “We’ve got chicken tonight. Strangest damn things. They’re man-made. Little damn things, smaller than my fist, but they’re new!”
Mom? Diane Arbus wants to take some pictures of me.
Diane Arbus (1923-1971) was an American photographer who got her start in fashion (working with her husband, Allan Arbus, who today is better known for playing psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on the TV show M*A*S*H). However, she became renowned for her portraits of people on the fringes of society: strippers, nudists, transvestites, dwarfs, and other similarly marginalized groups. Her work is disturbing, not least because it is impossible to tell whether the photographer is sympathetic or condescending toward her subjects. Diane Arbus committed suicide in 1971.
I know how much he loves creamed kudzu.
Kudzu is a plant, a climbing, coiling vine in the pea family that is edible but considered an invasive species because it grows so fast it kills other plants. In East Asia, kudzu’s starchy roots are used to thicken sauces, much like cornstarch. The flowers can also be used to make jelly, which apparently tastes something like grape jelly. But in the American South kudzu is a scourge. It was originally promoted by the government in the 1940s as a way to prevent soil erosion during times of drought; since then it has flourished at the expense of native species, covering trees and choking out other plants at a phenomenal rate.
There you go, Big Ethel.
“Big” Ethel Muggs is a character in the Archie comic books. First introduced in 1962, Ethel is a boy-crazy student at Riverdale High with a particular obsession with Jughead. Ethel is thin and gangly, with short black hair and buckteeth; the “Big” nickname, which referred to her height rather than her weight, was dropped in the 1990s.
The kid from A Separate Peace is up there.
A Separate Peace is a 1959 novel by John Knowles that was adapted into a 1972 film starring Parker Stevenson. The book is a coming-of-age saga set in the United States during World War II; a crucial plot point turns on kids jumping out of a high tree into a river.
It’s Oliver Hardy’s house.
Oliver Hardy (b. Norvell Hardy, 1892-1957) was half of the comedy team Laurel & Hardy, which made a string of movies during the 1920s and ’30s. Hardy, a stout man, played a childish, bossy, fussy character opposite Stan Laurel’s thin, gentle incompetent. Their 1929 short film Big Business involved a fair amount of home vandalism.
Breathe deep …
A possible reference to the first line of the spoken word poem “Late Lament” in The Moody Blues’ 1967 song “Nights in White Satin.” The song itself was written by guitarist and singer Justin Hayward; the poem was written by drummer Graeme Edge. Heard roughly six minutes into the album version of “Nights in White Satin,” it goes like this:
“Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold-hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?”
Well, at least I still have my short ‘n’ sassy Dorothy Hamill look.
Dorothy Stuart Hamill is an American figure skater, now retired. She won the Olympic gold medal in 1976 in ladies singles and the World Figure Skating Championships that same year. After her Olympics triumph, her kicky short wedge haircut became trendy and was widely copied for a time.
This is for Rudy Boschwitz.
Rudolph Ely “Rudy” Boschwitz is a former U.S. senator (R-Minnesota) who served from 1978 to 1991. He was also the founder and chairman of Plywood Minnesota, a chain of home improvement stores. TV commercials for the chain featuring Boschwitz dressed in a plaid shirt and spouting the slogan “Our best shot all the time!” became part of Minnesota popular culture. The chain changed its name to Home Valu Interiors in 1993 and closed down for good in 2010.
Hey, this is Georgia-Pacific plywood.
Georgia-Pacific is an Atlanta-based lumber and paper company founded in 1927. It makes a lot of plywood and toilet paper, among many other products.
Woo! Beef lo mein!
Lo mein is a Chinese dish consisting of wheat flour noodles mixed with vegetables and meat.
Anyone seen the Mr. Bubble?
Mr. Bubble is a brand of bubble bath marketed chiefly to children. First sold in 1961 and now owned by The Village Company, its slogan is “Makes getting clean almost as much fun as getting dirty!” Its ad mascot is an anthropomorphized soap bubble.
I was gonna work on my fadeaway jumper, but sure.
In basketball, a fadeaway is a jump shot made while moving away from the basket, in an effort to put distance between yourself and an opposing player who is attempting to block the shot. It is a difficult shot because the player must use greater strength and accuracy, while having less of a chance to recover the ball if he or she misses the basket.
Twizzlers order’s in.
Twizzlers is a brand of candy made by Y&S Candies, now owned by The Hershey Company. Established in 1845, the company first made regular black licorice, and in the 1970s started making multiple flavors of “licorice vines,” including grape, chocolate, and watermelon; they are now best known for their Cherry Twizzlers. FYI: Twizzlers are both kosher and vegan.
I had a Kleenex, I’m sure of it.
Kleenex is a brand of facial tissue made by Kimberly-Clark. It was introduced in 1924 and has become an informal brand eponym for all such facial tissues.
Okay, first step, get a shillelagh.
A shillelagh is a wooden walking stick that usually has a large knob at the top used as a handle; if the stick is turned around and used as a club, the knob becomes the business end. Sometimes the knob is hollowed out and filled with lead for extra oomph. It’s an Irish thing.
Well, you’re no Barney Fife.
Barney Fife (full character name: Bernard P. Milton Oliver Fife) is the hapless and excitable deputy sheriff in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, on The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968). The role was played by Don Knotts (1924-2006), and was revived briefly for several spinoff shows and reunion TV movies. Knotts won three consecutive Emmy Awards for his first three seasons on The Andy Griffith Show, and two additional Emmys thereafter; his five wins for five Emmy nominations is a record that still stands.
They gave the camera to Dustin Hoffman.
Dustin Hoffman is an Academy Award-winning American actor whose long career includes such acclaimed films as The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Lenny (1974), and Rain Man (1988), as well as one of the most notorious flops in movie history, Ishtar (1987). At 5’6”, he is one inch shorter than his Rain Man co-star Tom Cruise.
The worms are driving around in Matchbox cars.
Matchbox is a brand of die-cast miniature cars introduced in 1953. They were originally packaged in small cardboard boxes that resembled matchboxes. The brand is now owned by Mattel.
“Stop doin' that. –Doin' what?” Being a horrible grey beaver-toothed Randy Travis.
Randy Travis (b. Randy Bruce Traywick) is a Grammy Award-winning American country singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has had more than 50 singles on the Hot Country charts, 16 of them number-one hits. As an actor, he’s appeared in such films as The Rainmaker (1997) and such TV series as Touched by an Angel (CBS, 1994-2003).
In the mid-1960s golden era of teenage dance crazes, the Frug (pronounced “froog”) was an energetic offshoot of another dance craze, the Chicken, which was itself a sub-craze of the Twist.
A moldy Slim Jim! Oh, no, it’s her.
Slim Jims are a brand of long, thin beef snacks marketed primarily to teens and manufactured by ConAgra Foods. They were invented in Philadelphia in the 1940s by Adolph Levis. The vinegar-filled jars he sold them in (mostly in bars) featured a caricature of an elegant man with a top hat and cane that Levis dubbed “Slim Jim.” They weren’t sold as individually wrapped snacks until the 1950s.
[Sung.] Isn’t she lovely …
A line from the Stevie Wonder song “Isn’t She Lovely,” off his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. The song was written to commemorate the birth of his daughter Aisha. Sample lyrics: “Isn’t she lovely/Isn’t she wonderful/Isn’t she precious/Less than one minute old/I never thought through love we’d be/Making one as lovely as she/But isn’t she lovely made from love.”
Mom’s knitting a sweater for William Faulkner.
William Faulkner (1897-1962) was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist best known as a writer of Southern fiction. Among his most famous works are The Sound and the Fury (1929) and the Snopes trilogy (The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion).
It’s hard to do this and not fall into a Klan rally down there.
See note on the Ku Klux Klan, above.
[Imitating Winston Churchill.] We must bomb Jerry day and night.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was a British statesman who is best known for serving as prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. “Jerry” was a slang term for Nazi Germany’s forces during the war, and Churchill gave many morale-boosting speeches to the British citizenry, emphasizing the Allies’ determination to fight relentlessly and win at all costs.
Ah, the hell with the Olympics.
The Olympic Games are a series of international sporting events. Hosting athletes from more than 200 countries, the games are held every four years, with Summer and Winter games spaced two years apart. The Olympic flame, symbolizing the fire that Prometheus stole from the god Zeus in Greek mythology, is a major symbol of the games, and the “torch relay” of the flame from Olympia, Greece, to wherever the games are being held has been a part of the opening ceremonies since the 1936 games in Berlin.
Eww, it’s Franco-American.
Franco-American is a brand of canned pasta established in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1886 by French immigrant Alphonse Biardot and acquired by the Campbell Soup Company in 1915. Their best-known products are SpaghettiOs and RavioliOs, along with good old Spaghetti & Meatballs in a can. Yum.
There’s a lot of Elton John in that face.
Elton John (b. Reginald Kenneth Dwight) is a flamboyant British pop singer and pianist known for such hits as “Bennie and the Jets” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” He hit his peak of popularity during the 1970s, with a streak of seven consecutive number-one albums in the U.S., and went on to win five Grammy Awards and sell more than 250 million records, making him one of the best-selling solo artists in the world.
He was made by a Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper.
Play-Doh is a soft, non-toxic modeling clay marketed by Hasbro. It was first made in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s and wasn’t sold as a children’s product until the mid-1950s. Play-Doh comes in various colors and has a wide range of accessories to make different shapes and forms. Among those was the Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber and Beauty Shop, introduced in 1977, which would squeeze Play-Doh through a mold to create extruded worm-like “hair.”
They must have tunneled through Vaseline.
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly first introduced in 1872. The brand is owned by Unilever, which also makes a line of skin-care products, deodorants, and personal lubricants.
It’s Glinda the Good Witch. And she’s hung up in the wires.
In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, makes her appearance in a glowing sphere that floats down from the sky. In the series of children’s books by American author L. Frank Baum, which began in 1900 with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Glinda is actually the Good Witch of the South, and is the most powerful sorceress in the Land of Oz, having overthrown the Wicked Witch of the South.
Her dream date, wedged into a tree with Howdy Doody.
Howdy Doody was a children’s TV program that ran on NBC from 1947 to 1960. Encompassing the earliest days of television, the show is considered pioneering, setting the template for much of the children’s programming that followed. The show involved various puppet characters in Western and circus settings; Howdy Doody himself was a freckle-faced boy marionette dressed in cowboy garb.
Thanks, Hank Hill’s friend.
Hank Rutherford Hill is the main character in the animated TV series King of the Hill (Fox, 1997-2010). Voiced by series creator Mike Judge, Hank is given to waxing philosophical in a thick Texas accent while sharing beers with friends.
Huzzah, he’s back.
“Huzzah” is an olde English exclamation, similar to “hurray,” that has been around since Shakespeare’s time.
You can’t deny he was truly a … [sung] southern man …
See note on “Southern Man,” above.
Brown spots on the wall by Hu Flung … –Okay, we know the rest.
One of the perennial jokes that seems to make kids laugh is “Books Never Written.” Examples: Twenty Yards to the Outhouse by Willie Makit, illustrated by Betty Wont. Sliding Down a Bannister by Dick Burns. The Nudist Colony by Seymour Skin. You get the idea. Boys’ Life magazine used to publish them in its humor column. One of the classics, often repeated, was Spots on the Wall by Hu Flung Pu.
Never ask Tom Arnold to housesit.
Actor/comedian Tom Arnold and his wife, comedian and sitcom star Roseanne Barr, had a notoriously stormy relationship during their years of marriage (1990-1994) and were often the subject of tabloid gossip. In 1991 the couple were sued by the owners of a house they had rented, who claimed Arnold and Barr had caused $205,000 in damage to the property; the suit was settled in the comedians’ favor the following year.
This is not a great RE/MAX sales tape.
RE/MAX is an American-based international real estate company founded in 1973. It runs on a franchise system and has more than 100,000 agents in more than 7,000 offices worldwide. The name is a mashup of Real Estate Maximum.
Manute Bol’s sister Susan Bol.
Manute Bol (1962-2010) was one of the tallest players in the NBA. The Sudanese-born Bol measured in at 7’7” and played for four NBA teams between 1985 and 1996.
[Sung.] "Shadows of pleasure, shadows of pain." –Shadoe Stevens?
Shadoe Stevens is an American radio and television personality, actor, and children’s book author. He is best known on radio as the host of American Top 40 (from 1988 to 1995), and on TV as Dave Barry’s editor Kenny Beckett in the sitcom Dave’s World (CBS, 1993-1997) and as the announcer on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS, 2005-2014).
How’d you get thirty-five, I have Reykjavik?
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is that country’s largest city. Reykjavik’s reputation as one of the cleanest, greenest, and most crime-free cities in the world makes it Iceland’s most popular tourist destination.
[Sung.] Use a mnemonic device if you have to.
Mnemonic devices are learning techniques that help with memory and recall. Singing the alphabet is a simple example of a mnemonic device that children have used for years.