K13: SST Death Flight
by Trey Yeatts
Isn’t that Ginger? Tina Louise.
Sultry starlet Ginger Grant was the glamorous castaway on Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967); the part was played by Tina Louise. She refused to reprise the role in any of the three follow-up reunion films.
TV’s Billy Crystal.
Billy Crystal is a comedian who rose to prominence on the ABC sitcom Soap (1977-1981) and then as a member of Saturday Night Live’s cast from 1984 to 1985. In the years since his TV career, he has starred in commercial hits like When Harry Met Sally … and City Slickers, and he has hosted the Academy Awards ceremony eight times.
Barbara Anderson is an actress best known for her role as Officer Eve Whitfield on the NBC drama Ironside (1967-1975) and a recurring role on Mission: Impossible.
TV’s Bert Convy from Match Game.
Bert Convy (1933-1991) was an actor and singer who was best known for hosting several TV game shows. The Match Game was a celebrity-laden game show that ran off and on from 1962 to 1999. Contestants were encouraged to fill in the blanks of risqué phrases to match celebrities’ answers.
Peter Graves from Mission: Impossible.
Peter Graves (1926-2010) was an actor best known for playing Jim Phelps on CBS’s Mission: Impossible from 1967 to 1973. He later hosted Biography on A&E. Mission: Impossible was a popular program that focused on members of the Impossible Mission Force as they conducted covert missions around the world from a Hollywood backlot. The show was revived in the late ‘80s (also starring Peter Graves) and in several big screen movies starring Tom Cruise.
Lorne Greene from [speaking over each other].
Lorne Greene (1915-1987) was an actor known for his roles as Ben Cartwright on Bonanza (1959-1973) and Commander Adama on Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979).
Season Hubley is an actress best known for her roles in John Carpenter films. She played Priscilla Presley opposite Kurt Russell in the 1979 TV movie Elvis. She married Russell after filming finished; they divorced in 1983.
Tina Louise from Gilligan’s Island. –Oooh, yeah.
See above note.
George Maharis (1928-2023) was an actor best known for his role as Buz Murdock on the first three seasons of the CBS series Route 66 (1960-1964).
Doug McClure from Search.
Doug McClure (1935-1995) was an actor who starred in the NBC western The Virginian (1962-1971). He also starred in a couple of science fiction films that became MST3K Season 11 episodes: The Land That Time Forgot (1975, Show 1107) and At Earth’s Core (1976, Show 1114).
Burgess Meredith from Search … –The Penguin. And Those Amazing Animals.
Oliver Burgess Meredith (1907-1997) was a notable American actor. His best-known role was as Mickey “Mick” Goldmill, Rocky Balboa’s trainer in the series of Rocky movies starring Sylvester Stallone. Search was a 1972-1973 NBC science fiction series that followed a group of private investigators who used high-tech means to acquire information. On the 1966-1968 series Batman, Meredith played the Penguin. He waddled, quacked, and wore a monocle and a top hat. Those Amazing Animals was a nature-based television series that aired on ABC from 1980 to 1981. Meredith, along with Priscilla Presley and Jim Stafford (who appears in Show 814, Riding with Death), was a host.
Martin Milner (1931-2015) played Tod Stiles on the early ‘60s series Route 66. His biggest role came in 1968 when he began playing LAPD Officer Peter Malloy on the police drama Adam-12, a sister show to Dragnet. The show provided Americans with their first realistic glimpse of police procedures and jargon. It lasted until 1975.
Robert Reed from The Brady Bunch.
See above note.
Misty Rowe from When Things Were Rotten. –Wow, look at that wingspan.
Misty Rowe is an actress usually cast as a perky, busty blonde. She starred on the “comedy” series Hee Haw for nineteen years and on its spinoff series, Hee Haw Honeys, in 1978. When Things Were Rotten was a short-lived but critically acclaimed ABC comedy that aired in 1975. Produced by Mel Brooks, it was a parody of the Robin Hood legend. Rowe starred as Maid Marian.
He used to be on Adam-12. –Martin Milner? –Yeah.
See previous note on Martin Milner.
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin (1931-2020) was a media gadfly best known for hosting Live with Regis & (someone) from 1988 when the show went national from its LA roots, to 2011. Philbin began in the television business when the business itself was still young. In 1999, Philbin hosted the primetime debut of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? According to the folks at Guinness Book of World Records, Philbin logged the most hours on television of anyone ever, about 17,000.
Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom is a nature program that first aired on NBC in 1963. It was hosted by Marlin Perkins and his assistant Jim Fowler. In the 1970s, the show moved into syndication and came to an end in 1988. It was revived in 2002 on the cable channel Animal Planet. Yes, it is still sponsored by the insurance company.
Writing a book about you, Regis.
See previous note on Regis Philbin.
There’s a Dali painting.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was a Spanish painter and one of the leaders of the surrealist movement. His flamboyant eccentricity sometimes pushed his extremely well-painted works out of the spotlight.
His co-pilot’s Ted Koppel. –When he dies he can get his own reaction. That’s good.
Ted Koppel was a veteran newsman and the longtime host of ABC News Nightline, which first aired in 1980. He was frequently ridiculed for his speech patterns and his improbable hair. He retired in 2005.
Isn’t she from Ironside? –Not since she had the operation. –Oh. Why does she walk like that? –Iron hip.
Ironside was a TV show that aired from 1967-1975. It starred Raymond Burr as a wheelchair-bound detective fighting crime on the streets of San Francisco.
[Imitating the Penguin.]
See note on Burgess Meredith, above.
I wonder how Cindy and Jan are doing. –They’re in the luggage compartment. In four different suitcases.
Cindy and Jan Brady were two of the daughters on the aforementioned The Brady Bunch.
This news reporter will self-destruct in five seconds.
In Mission: Impossible, near the beginning of each episode, a hidden taped message would be played for the team leader (either Mr. Briggs or Mr. Phelps). Once the details of the mission had been divulged, the voice would say, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” It would usually smoke and fizzle shortly thereafter.
Hey, it’s the Bee Gees.
The Bee Gees were a rock group popular in the late 1960s; after experiencing a dip in their popularity in the early 1970s, they hit it mega-big with their contributions to the soundtrack of the movie Saturday Night Fever—“Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “Night Fever”—each of which hit number one and helped launch the disco craze of the late 1970s. After the end of the 1970s the group faded into obscurity once again.
And Meadowlark Lemon.
Meadowlark Lemon, the “Clown Prince of Basketball,” was the most popular member of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. During his five decades in the sport, he played in more than ten thousand games.
Marques Haynes to show you how.
Marques Haynes is a former professional basketball player and member of the Harlem Globetrotters off and on for nearly four decades. The Globetrotters claim Haynes could dribble the ball as much as six times a second.
I’m Rodney Allen Rippy.
Rodney Allen Rippy is a former child actor best known for his appearances in commercials for the fast-food chain Jack in the Box in the early 1970s. “It’s too big-a-eat!” was his catchphrase. He also appeared in Mel Brooks’ 1974 film Blazing Saddles as young Sheriff Bart, who was given a pass by a Sioux chief (played by Brooks). In 1974, he co-starred as himself on the short-lived Saturday morning variety show The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine. Throughout the rest of the ‘70s, Rippy cameoed in dozens of TV shows, including The Odd Couple, Police Story, and The Six Million Dollar Man.
Kids, remember: literacy and robots don’t mix.
Probably a reference to the old electrical safety slogan: “Remember, water and electricity don’t mix.”
And if you could step into our soundproof booth, your wife will now give us her answer to the question.
In the CBS game show Tattletales hosted by Bert Convy, celebrities and their spouses were asked personal and sometimes embarrassing questions about their lives. While the questions were being asked of one person, the other member of the couple was offstage and isolated (though not actually in a soundproof booth). The show aired from 1974-1984.
How come everybody’s got Foreman & Clark clothes?
Foreman & Clark was a department store chain founded in 1909 in Los Angeles. The chain closed in 1999.
The Pepsi is leaking.
Pepsi is a major brand of cola, the chief competitor to Coca-Cola. It was first made in 1898 in North Carolina by pharmacist Caleb Bradham and sold as “Brad’s Drink.”
How does Quincy figure into this?
Quincy, M.E. was a TV series starring Jack Klugman as Dr. R. Quincy, a coroner who investigates suspicious deaths. It ran from 1976-1983.
And you only have half a Walkman on.
The forefather of the iPod and other digital personal music players, the Walkman was introduced by Sony in 1979. The original Walkman was a portable stereo cassette player about the size of a Stephen King paperback. By allowing the user to take music of their choice virtually anywhere—listening privately, through lightweight headphones—the Walkman brought about a paradigm shift in the role music plays in people’s lives.
Doug McClure, the career that time forgot.
See above note.
[Sung.] The Skipper, too.
A portion of the lyrics to the theme of Gilligan’s Island.
I had a good time playing in Denver. Bob Denver, ha.
Bob Denver (1935-2005) played Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island.
This movie’s got more stars than that two-hour episode when the Love Boat went to Fantasy Island.
The Love Boat was a TV romantic comedy that ran from 1977-1986 on ABC, about a cruise ship on which a succession of washed-up guest stars found love every week. Fantasy Island was an ABC TV series that aired from 1978-1984. It starred Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban as the white-clad Mr. Roarke, who with his diminutive assistant Tattoo (of “De plane! De plane!” fame) ran an island resort where visitors’ fantasies came to life. On Saturday night, November 22, 1980, worlds collided when Tattoo revealed that his fantasy was to go on a cruise ship like the Pacific Princess (the real name of the “Love Boat”). Oh, his fantasy would come true barely an hour later when Loni Anderson, playing actress Kim Holland, managed to divert the Pacific Princess to Mr. Roarke’s island so she could get away from it all.
Looks like a regular plane with a tilt nose. –747, I think.
The Boeing 747 is likely the world’s best-known plane type. The commercial airliner can accommodate between 400 and 500 passengers and has been in service since 1970.
Nipsey Russell. –No, it’s Barney from Mission: Impossible. –Bryant Gumbel. –It’s that guy from Temperatures Rising.
Nipsey Russell (1918-2005) was a Black comedian known as “the poet laureate of television” because he would often compose humorous poems for his frequent appearances on game shows and talk shows. “Barney” on Mission: Impossible was played by Greg Morris (1933-1996), also a Black actor. Bryant Gumbel is a Black journalist best known for co-hosting NBC’s The Today Show for fifteen years. Temperatures Rising was an ABC sitcom that aired from 1972-1974. It underwent multiple cast and premise changes in its two seasons, but remained set in a Washington, D.C., hospital. “That guy” was Cleavon Little (1939-1992), who played a Black doctor, Jerry Noland. He also starred in Blazing Saddles as Sheriff Bart. The poor bastard they never correctly identify is actually Brock Peters (1927-2005). He rose to fame by starring in Porgy & Bess and To Kill a Mockingbird. He later starred as an admiral in two Star Trek films and performed the role of Darth Vader in the NPR adaptation of the original Star Wars trilogy. Peters was Black.
She’s got a thing for Peter Graves. –She just thinks he’s the Man from Glad. –You just think he’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
See note on Peter Graves, above. “The Man from Glad” was a spokesman for the trash bag manufacturer in the 1960s who was summoned to needy housewives to aid them in their housekeeping tribulations. The spy-like approach to the character was inspired by Mission: Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a TV series that aired from 1964-1968. It starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, the top agent for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement, who battled the evil forces of the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity, or THRUSH.
Billy, you look ... pretty pathetic.
During Crystal’s stint on SNL, one of his most famous characters was a parody of Argentinian actor Fernando Lamas. In his version, Crystal’s Lamas hosted a talk show called “Fernando” wherein he would compliment his guests by saying, “You look mahvelous.” This was supposedly based on an appearance Lamas made on The Tonight Show during which he said, “It is better to look good than to feel good.” A pop single named “You Look Mahvelous!” was released in 1985; it peaked at number 58 on Billboard.
Here, have a Life Saver.
Life Savers are candies that were first manufactured in 1912 by Clarence Crane of Ohio. They were so named because their shape resembles lifebuoys available on ships that can be tossed to people in the water. An urban legend has persisted for years that the hole was put in the candy to prevent children from choking, but this is not the case.
Uh-oh. The Coca-Cola’s leaking.
Coca-Cola is the leading brand of cola in the world. It was created by John Pemberton at Eagle Drug & Chemical Company in Columbus, Georgia, in 1886 in response to the area’s recently passed prohibition laws. Yes, these early versions of Coca-Cola contained cocaine.
Whoa. –The Blob! –[Sung.] Beware of the blob that creeps, and crawls, and slides, and slimes …
The Blob was a 1958 science fiction film that starred Steve McQueen in his first leading role. The title creature was an alien amoeba-like monster with a cool, hip theme song: “Beware of the Blob” by the Five Blobs, co-written by Burt Bacharach. Actual lyrics: “Beware of the Blob, it creeps/And leaps and glides and slides/Across the floor/Right through the door/And all around the wall/A splotch, a blotch/Be careful of the Blob.”
Also known as Q on Star Trek.
On Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), Q was a nearly omnipotent alien played by John de Lancie who often tested humanity by evaluating the reactions of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard to the ordeals Q put him through.
Now, how many times are you able to get by one of those things on an airplane? It just doesn’t happen in real life. –It’s a Concorde, Joel.
The supersonic transport (SST) Concorde (which this film has obviously ripped off) was a joint production of France’s Aérospatiale and the U.K.’s British Aircraft Corporation. It was introduced in 1976 and could reach Mach 2. The aircraft had a drop nose to allow the pilot to see properly for takeoffs and landings; it retracted in flight to achieve supersonic speeds. Because the supersonic service never achieved profitability, the twenty Concorde aircraft were retired from service in 2003.
This is kinda like a parody of the movie Airplane!, you realize that? –You mean it’s not real?
The 1980 comedy Airplane! was a satire of airliner disaster flicks of the 1970s, such as Airport, Airport 1975, and Airport ‘77, not to mention The Concorde ... Airport ‘79. Airplane! itself is a nearly note-for-note remake of Zero Hour!, a 1957 film.
See above note.
Did you forget all those episodes of Batman?
Batman was a campy television series based on the Caped Crusader that aired on ABC from 1966-1968.
And with us. –Oh yeah. –You know O.J. Simpson?
O.J. Simpson (a.k.a. The Juice) is a retired football player turned broadcaster turned actor turned accused murderer turned convicted felon. He was a Heisman trophy winner at the University of Southern California and set numerous records as a player for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers. Simpson became a football commentator for NBC and started his own television production company. He also had parts in the miniseries Roots, Capricorn One, The Towering Inferno, and the three Naked Gun (Police Squad!) movies. In 1994, his wife and an acquaintance were murdered at her home and Simpson was charged with the crime. He was acquitted the following year but found liable in a wrongful death civil proceeding in 1997. In 2006, a book he authored titled If I Did It, describing how he might have committed the crime, was scheduled for release but pulled by the publisher following a storm of negative publicity. In 2007, Simpson and three men stormed a Las Vegas hotel room and ordered, at gunpoint, the return of sports memorabilia he claimed had been stolen from him. The following year he was found guilty of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to 33 years in prison.
Is that Suzanne Somers in the seat behind them?
Suzanne Somers is an actress best known for her role as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, a part she played from 1977-1981. She has also appeared in a number of other films and TV series, including She’s the Sheriff and Step by Step.
Sure. –On one foot? –And for that he’s going to ... bring me some frosty freeze pops, too.
Freeze pops is a generic name for many different kinds of frozen treats made with flavored sugar water frozen inside a plastic tube (and without a stick). Some brand names include Fla-Vor-Ice, Otter Pops, Chilly Willy, Pop-Ice, and Ice Tickles.
Looks like the Kem-Tone Paint thing is busting open.
Kem-Tone was the first commercially successful water-based interior paint, introduced by Sherwin-Williams in 1941 due to the shortage of oil-based paints required for wartime production. It quickly became one of the best-selling paints in the United States.
Get me Florence Henderson on the line. –She’s in the kitchen. –With Dinah? –Hmm-mm.
Florence Henderson (1934-2016) was an actress best known for playing quintessential mom Carol Brady on the TV sitcom The Brady Bunch (1969-1974). “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah” is a line from the song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
See above note.
And tell Hoss to stay out of the kitchen. –Hop Sing’s the co-pilot over on the left.
Hoss Cartwright (played by Dan Blocker) and Hop Sing (played by Victor Sen Yung) were both characters on the aforementioned Bonanza.
It’s leaking Wesson Oil. I think Florence Henderson had something to do with it.
Florence Henderson was a spokesperson for Wesson, a brand of vegetable oil widely available in supermarkets. It is produced by ConAgra.
See above note.
So are you, Lorne.
See above note.
It’s always so quiet on these planes. –No congas or anything.
The conga is a Latin American line dance introduced to the United States by Desi Arnaz in the late 1930s.
Do the words “sugar daddy” mean anything to you? –Do the words “Daddy Warbucks” mean anything to you? –About the same thing as “sugar daddy.”
Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks was the bald millionaire adoptive father of Little Orphan Annie in the comic strip of the same name. He was a war profiteer who was intended to be a model of a sympathetic capitalist by the strip’s author, Harold Gray.
Soylent Green is a 1973 science fiction film set in a dystopian 2022 where the Earth is overcrowded and polluted. The Soylent Corporation issues food rations to billions of citizens in various forms, including Soylents Red and Yellow. Charlton Heston played a police detective who investigates a murder that leads him to the secret behind their newest variety, Soylent Green. Spoiler alert: it’s made of people.
I’m confused now. What? –Soylent Green is made from Skipper. –Oh, okay. –All those years on the island—why didn’t they just eat Gilligan? –There’s only so much you can negotiate with a banana cream pie. –They could make a car, but not a boat. They couldn’t fix a two-foot hole in their boat, either.
See previous note on Soylent Green. Skipper (real name: Jonas Grumby) was a character played by Alan Hale Jr. on Gilligan’s Island. On the show, banana cream pies were frequently baked by Mary Ann, only to end up in Gilligan’s (Bob Denver) face. And, yes, it is unfortunately true that the Professor managed to construct a pedal-powered vehicle yet somehow never managed to build a boat or repair the mostly-okay boat they wrecked on.
Do the Biz test.
Biz is a laundry detergent, first made in 1968 by Procter & Gamble researcher Charles McCarty. Advertisements often featured Biz’s attempts to eradicate various stains from clothes. Helpful household tip: the FBI recommends Biz for cleaning organic tissue off bones and cleansing the interior cavities of skulls.
[Sung.] Up from the column came a-bubblin’ crude.
A reference to the theme song to the CBS sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971). Sample lyrics: “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed/A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed/Then one day he was shootin at some food/And up through the ground came a-bubblin crude.”
Tastes like Kool-Aid.
Kool-Aid is a flavored drink mix that has been popular with kids for decades. Invented by Nebraskan Edwin Perkins in 1927, seven flavors were initially available: cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, root beer, and strawberry. In 1953, the brand was sold to General Foods. In the 1960s, the giant pitcher-shaped mascot Kool-Aid Man was introduced. He would exclaim, “Oh yeah!” after crashing through a wall. The name became associated with a tragedy in 1978 when 918 cultists committed suicide or were murdered in Jonestown, Guyana. The phrase “drank the Kool-Aid” has come to mean a person has bought into a line of foolish thinking or dogma, when in fact the victims drank poison mixed with Kool-Aid competitor Flavor-Aid.
“Don’t worry.” –Be happy. It’s Bobby McFerrin! That’s where he got the song. –Don’t worry, be quiet.
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is a 1988 hit song by Bobby McFerrin. Sample lyrics: “Here is a little song I wrote/You might want to sing it note for note/Don’t worry be happy/In every life we have some trouble/When you worry you make it double/Don’t worry, be happy …”
Apollo? Starbuck? –Propeller. –Hoss. Little Joe. –Code Red.
Apollo (played by Richard Hatch) and Starbuck (played by Dirk Benedict) were two characters on the 1978 Lorne Greene series Battlestar Galactica. Hoss (played by Dan Blocker) and Little Joe (played by Michael Landon) were the Cartwright sons on Bonanza. Code Red was a short-lived ABC drama (1981-1982) that starred Greene as L.A. Fire Chief Joe Rorchek.
If they get into too much trouble, they can just use his big umbrella. [Imitating Penguin.]
See note on the Penguin, above.
See note on Billy Crystal, above.
Isn’t that David Copperfield? Didn’t he make a jet like this disappear once? –He made his career disappear.
David Copperfield is a well-known magician and illusionist who has starred in a series of television specials since the 1970s. Among his more famous stunts: making the Statue of Liberty disappear and walking through the Great Wall of China.
Jerry Mathers! Everybody’s in this movie.
Jerry Mathers is an American actor best known for his role in the TV series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963).
When’s the part where William Shatner looks out of the window and sees the monster?
Actor William Shatner played Captain James Tiberius Kirk on the TV series Star Trek (1966-1969), Star Trek: The Animated Series (1972-1973) and in the series of movies based on the show. He also appeared in T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, Boston Legal, and $#*! My Dad Says. In the famous 1963 Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” Shatner played a plane passenger who saw a creature on the wing of the aircraft. The episode was later adapted for the 1983 big-screen Twilight Zone film with John Lithgow in the Shatner role.
But in the words of Yul Brynner, “Don’t smoke.”
Yul Brynner (1920-1985) was an actor best known for roles in The King and I, The Ten Commandments, and The Magnificent Seven. He was a well-known smoker (having started at the age of 12), and after being diagnosed with lung cancer, he appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and said he wished he could make an anti-smoking commercial. After he died, a portion of that interview became a PSA for the American Cancer Society that included the lines, “Now that I’m gone, I tell you, don’t smoke. Whatever you do, just don’t smoke.”
You sank my Battleship! It’s a hit. It’s a miss.
Battleship is a popular game manufactured by Milton Bradley. It was invented by Clifford Von Wickler in the early 1900s, but he failed to patent the idea. Russian soldiers post-World War I developed a similar game they called Salvo. In 1931, Milton Bradley distributed a game called “Broadsides.” At this point, the game was paper-and-pencil based, featuring four 10X10 grids (two for each player). On one grid, players laid out ships and the other grid was used for plotting attacks on the opponent. Attacks were launched by calling out grid coordinates (“B-4,” for example). “Hit” or “miss” would be the response. In 1967, Milton Bradley produced the now-famous version of the game. Two cases (one red, one blue) contained plastic grids in which plastic ships were placed. Hits were scored with red pegs, misses with white pegs. In 1977, Electronic Battleship was released, which included an on-board computer that scored hits and misses. In 1989, this was followed by Electronic Talking Battleship.
I wonder what Ginger’s thinking right now. –The Skipper.
See note on Ginger, above.
Recognize me? I was Vito Scotti. –That’s why I carry this.
Vito Scotti (1918-1996) was a character actor who appeared in many films (including The Godfather) and TV shows (including Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island, and Batman). “That’s why I carry this” is a paraphrase of a line from a series of commercials for American Express that aired throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. In the ads, semi-famous people would say something to the effect of, “Do you know me? That’s why I carry this: the American Express card.”
Can they talk to each other through those? –[Mumbled.] –It’s kinda like drinking the same Coke.
See note on Coca-Cola, above.
That’s right, a little walk uptown. –Form a conga line, everybody. –C’mon, limbo. –[Sung.] Unh-uh uh-uh unh UH. Unh-uh uh-uh unh UH.
See previous note on conga. The limbo is a dance originating in the West Indies in which the dancer bends backwards to walk under a bar that is made progressively lower as the dance goes on. The song they’re imitating is the frequently heard underlying rhythm of a conga line dance.
All actors form two lines: Love Boat on the left; Fantasy Island on the right.
See above note.
He looks kinda like Mickey Mouse with that thing on.
Mickey Mouse is Disney’s most famous character. First introduced in 1928 with the landmark animated short “Steamboat Willie,” Mickey has iconic ears and an irritating high-pitched voice.
Now we’re seeing what he’s made of. –A tower of Jell-O.
Jell-O is a sweetened gelatin dessert made by Kraft Foods. The powdered gelatin that serves as a base for the product was first developed in 1845 by Peter Cooper. In the 1880s, the patent was sold to a New York carpenter, who replicated the powder but added flavors to it. The first flavors available were lemon, orange, raspberry, and strawberry. The Jell-O name was bestowed upon it in 1897. To call someone a “tower of Jell-O” is to imply that they are a tad wishy-washy in their beliefs. The appellation was famously conferred on California Governor Pat Brown in the 1960s for his tepid opposition to the death penalty; more recently, it was applied to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by opponents of the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
John Denver! –Oh. Far out. –Breathe enough of this oxygen and you do get a Rocky Mountain high.
John Denver (1943-1997) was a country-folk singer and environmentalist who had his biggest hits in the 1970s. “Rocky Mountain High” is one of Denver’s biggest hits. It was released in 1973. In 2007, the Colorado General Assembly made it one of the state’s two official songs (the other is “Where the Columbines Grow”).
[Sung.] Kumbayah, my Lord. Kumbayah.
“Kumbayah” is an American Black spiritual that dates back to the 1930s. Thanks to a folk revival in the 1960s, “Kumbayah” is often parodied and used for comedic effect in films and shows featuring campfires or other “feel-good” gatherings.
Breathe! –That’s normal. –Hyperventilating her way to an Oscar.
Oscar is the name given to the statuette awarded for acting and other filmmaking excellence by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences every year. Theories on the naming of the trophy are legion, but the first awards were presented in 1929 and by 1939 the Academy had officially adopted the name.
I just saw the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is a large canyon created by the winding of the Colorado River over eons in present-day Arizona. It is more than 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and reaches depths of over a mile.
You could always sell FTD bouquets like Merlin Olsen. He’s a washed-up football player. –Or Dick Butkus.
Florists’ Transworld Delivery (FTD) is a wire service and wholesaler established in 1910. It operates as a network of flower retailers around the world that can provide same-day delivery service. Merlin Olsen (1940-2010) was an NFL football player for the Los Angeles Rams and later became a football commentator. He starred in Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy, and Aaron’s Way, but perhaps his greatest role came in Show 512, Mitchell. He was a spokesman for FTD for many years. Dick Butkus was a linebacker for the Chicago Bears, considered by many the greatest linebacker ever to grace the sport of football. He, too, became a commentator and actor.
We’re not trying to turn the Queen Elizabeth; we’re just trying to sink the plane.
The RMS Queen Elizabeth was an ocean liner operated by the Cunard White Star Line, first launched in 1938. It was the largest passenger liner ever built, a record it held for fifty-six years. In 1968, it was sold to a group of businessmen who hoped to turn it into a hotel and tourist attraction. Their plans fell through, and it was sold to a Hong Kong tycoon in 1970 to become a floating campus. In 1972, several fires broke out onboard during construction and the ship capsized in Hong Kong Victoria Harbour’s shallow waters. The fires were considered suspicious, but no one was ever charged. In 1975, most of the remnants of the ship were sold for scrap, while some remain at the bottom of the harbor.
What’s another syringe in the Atlantic Ocean? They’re everywhere.
In the late 1980s, the problem of medical waste disposal became urgent with the appearance on beaches of syringes and other medical waste products; with the recent specter of AIDS on everyone’s minds, the possibility of stepping on a stray syringe was a particularly terrifying prospect. The worst incident was in 1987-88, when “syringe tides” washed up along a fifty-mile stretch of the Jersey Shore, closing beaches and costing more than $1 billion in lost tourism revenue. The source of the medical waste was eventually traced to the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island.
Tell them it was the fish.
In the 1957 airplane disaster film Zero Hour!, food poisoning sickens half of the passengers and all of the flight crew. They all had the fish instead of the steak. This was, of course, replicated in 1980’s Airplane! (“Yes, yes, I remember. I had lasagna.”)
Bingo is a game played with a small card, on which are printed numbers in a grid arrangement; an announcer calls off numbers, and if a player has that number on his card, he covers it with a small marker. When he has covered a whole row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, he calls out, “Bingo!” The game has traditionally been the domain of little old ladies, who routinely play several cards at a time.
Burgess Meredith is shrinking at an incredible rate. –In a few minutes he’ll be Billy Barty.
Billy Barty (1924-2000), who plays the imp in Show 806, The Undead, was a prolific actor who also crusaded for societal acceptance of little people. He founded Little People of America in 1957 to work toward that goal. He appeared in more than 80 films and TV series during his lengthy career.
Mark Harmon’s on the ground.
Mark Harmon is an actor who has appeared in a number of films and TV series, most notably playing doctors on St. Elsewhere (Dr. Bobby Caldwell, 1983-1986) and Chicago Hope (Dr. Jack McNeil, 1996-2000). His biggest success has come as Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the CBS drama NCIS, which first aired in 2003.
My name is José Jiménez.
José Jiménez was a character performed by comedian Bill Dana on The Steve Allen Show beginning in 1959 and into the 1960s. José was Hispanic and supposedly held many different jobs. He responded to Allen’s questions as best he could. If he became stumped, he would respond, “My name José Jiménez.” His most famous occupation was astronaut, and the character had no bigger fans than the Mercury astronauts. He was made an honorary astronaut, and the Mercury Seven would sometimes imitate him during their missions. In 1970, sensing that such ethnic humor was on its way out, Dana retired the character permanently. In 1997, Dana was given an image award by the National Hispanic Media Coalition.
[Sung.] Here’s the story, of a man named Brady … –Who was trapped in a fiery burning wreck. –There was Peter Graves aboard … –Old like his father, and they both burned in heck. –Here’s the story, of Billy Crystal … –Whose career was at a terrible standstill. –So he took a little part, in this movie …
An extensive paraphrasing of the theme song to The Brady Bunch. Actual lyrics: “Here’s the story, of a man named Brady/Who was busy with three boys of his own/They were four men, living all together/Yet they were all alone.”
I said strong constitution. –Like the Bill of Rights?
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Primarily dealing with individual liberties and rights, as well as limitations on governmental power, they were introduced by James Madison to the First Congress in 1789 and went into effect in 1791 after three-quarters of the states ratified them.
Why do I keep thinking he’s gonna pull away his face and it’ll be Martin Landau?
Martin Landau (1928-2017) co-starred with Peter Graves in the previously mentioned Mission: Impossible, which often featured plots with disguises.
“Roger, Roger.” –Rabbit, Rabbit.
Roger Rabbit was the central clumsy anthropomorphized character in the hit 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (based on the Gary Wolf novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?). Set in 1947 Hollywood where animated “beings” live alongside regular humans, the sputtering rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) is framed for murder after his hyper-voluptuous wife, Jessica, is photographed playing patty-cake with Marvin Acme, founder of the famed Acme Corporation. The film led to three animated shorts that played before films in the ‘90s. A sequel has been in production (off and on) since the first one was released.
Wow, Mutiny on the Death Flight.
Mutiny on the Bounty is a novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall about a group of sailors who mutiny against the tyrannical Captain Bligh. It has been made into films several times, with the most famous being the 1935 version starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable.
Off with his head! –Burn the witch! Burn her! –Senegal! Less filling!
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (and in every incarnation of the story, usually titled Alice in Wonderland), the ill-tempered Queen of Hearts would often yell, “Off with his head!” to just about anyone, regardless of the severity of their infraction. Most of the time, however, the King of Hearts would quietly pardon people, so few beheadings actually took place. “Burn the witch!” likely refers to a famous scene in 1974’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail wherein Sir Bedevere oversees a village mob’s clumsy attempt to deduce whether or not a woman is a witch. “Tastes great, less filling” is an advertising slogan for Miller Lite beer first used in 1973; it ran for more than fifteen years.
Orange Whip? Orange Whip? –Camelot! –Who’s going to the market? Market?
“Orange Whip? Orange Whip?” is a line said by John Candy’s character in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. It was a non-alcoholic soft drink unique to the Chicago area that has since faded into history. “Camelot!” is another line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, said repeatedly when King Arthur and the knights see the castle, even though it’s only a model (shhhh).
Cleveland! –Fumijy [?] –Lake Calhoun. –New York. –South America. –I’ll take Manhattan.
Lake Calhoun is the largest lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was named for United States Secretary of War John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), who sent the Army to survey the area in 1817. Given Calhoun’s staunchly pro-slavery views, the lake’s name was changed in 2018 to the Dakota Native American name Bde Maka Ska (“Lake White Earth”).““Manhattan” (often called “I’ll Take Manhattan”) is a song from the 1925 Broadway revue Garrick Gaieties, written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. It has been performed by Lee Wiley, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mickey Rooney, among others. Sample lyrics: “We’ll have Manhattan/The Bronx and Staten/Island too/It’s lovely/Going through the zoo …” (Thanks to Voidisyinyang for the Lake Calhoun reference.)
I’m going to Disneyland.
Disneyland is a Disney theme park located in Anaheim, California. It first opened in 1955. For decades, after a major sporting event (usually the Super Bowl), Disney would air an advertisement that appeared to be an interview of the winning team’s quarterback, for example. Someone off camera would say, “Hey, so-and-so, you just won the Super Bowl! What are you going to do next?” And then so-and-so would respond, “I’m going to Disneyland!”
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
In 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock sacrifices himself to save the lives of everyone on board the Enterprise, and explains his actions by saying, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few … or the one.” The underlying thought predates 1982, of course, going as far back as Aristotle. It has even been cited in American law: in 2010, this axiom was included in a Texas Supreme Court decision limiting the powers of the state legislature.
I wish Florence was here now. –Or Ann B. Davis. –Alice, bring me coffee. –Or Alice’s evil twin.
See above note on Florence Henderson. Ann B. Davis (1926-2014) played Alice, the housekeeper on The Brady Bunch. In the third season episode “Cousin Emma,” Alice goes on vacation and her cousin, an army sergeant (also played by Davis), comes to the Brady household to take care of things. Naturally, she rules with an iron fist, and the family is even more appreciative of Alice when she returns.
Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
In the classic board game Monopoly, one of the cards reads: “Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.”
This would never happen on the Ponderosa.
Ponderosa was the name of the Cartwright family ranch on Bonanza.
I’m taking this horse to Seneca City. –Seneca makes great grape juice, too.
Seneca Foods Corporation has produced frozen and canned produce since the mid-twentieth century. In the 1950s, they teamed with Minute Maid to produce the first frozen grape juice in the United States. Presumably the “horse” is a Bonanza reference, although the name of the nearest town to the Ponderosa was Virginia City, not Seneca City.
Senegal almost went to the Super Bowl this year. –That was the Ben-e-gals. –I’m sorry.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a football team first established in the American Football League in 1968; it merged with the National Football League in 1970 when the AFL was absorbed.
How about a quick game of Win, Lose or Draw?
Win, Lose or Draw was a game show based in part on the game Pictionary; it divided men and women into separate teams, who then had to guess what a member of their team was drawing on a large pad. It was produced by Burt Reynolds and Bert Convy. Two versions of the show aired simultaneously: on NBC daytime, Vicki Lawrence hosted a version from 1987 to 1989. The same day the NBC version debuted, a syndicated version premiered with Bert Convy as the host. He remained host until 1989; Robb Weller then took over until the show ended in 1990.
I’ll have the “666” removed from my forehead. –Can we name him Damien?
In some versions of the Christian Bible, in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation, the number 666 is given as the “Mark of the Beast”: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Scholars have since reviewed the oldest copies of Revelation and discovered that the number should be 616, not 666. In the devil-sploitation film series The Omen, lead character Damien Thorn is portrayed as the son of Satan. He has a “666” birthmark on his scalp.
We don’t need no stinkin’ breaks.
A paraphrase of the famous line from the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”
[Humming M*A*S*H theme.] Watching this movie was not painless.
M*A*S*H was a classic 1970 movie and later a television show, which began every week with a shot of helicopters coming over a mountain range. The theme song was called “Suicide Is Painless.”
Hercules wristband watch.
Wide leather wristbands fitted with a watch were sometimes called Hercules wristband watches. The Swiss company Gevril makes a line of watches specifically named Hercules, but most of them don’t come with a wide leather band.
Protect the legend. –All right, he was Bigfoot.
Bigfoot, a.k.a. the Sasquatch, is a legendary ape-like creature supposed to haunt the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. What is generally considered the best evidence for its existence—a blurry film taken in 1967—has recently been debunked as a hoax, but the debate rages on. A fixture on the ‘70s paranormal “documentary” series In Search Of..., Bigfoot was even a recurring character on episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, where he was played by wrestler André the Giant in a two-parter (revealing that he is the protector of alien visitors) and Ted Cassidy (Lurch on The Addams Family) in later episodes.
He just doesn’t want to wind up on his own program, discussing embarrassing things with his wife.
See above note on Tattletales.
Peter Graves has Mission: Impossible. His brother, James Arness, was Marshal Matt Dillon. –And The Thing. –And The Thing. While Doug McClure was in Search, which didn’t do too well. –And Land of the Lost. –Land That Time Forgot. –He was Shaft. –Richard Roundtree.
See previous notes on Mission: Impossible. James Arness is indeed Peter Graves’s brother. He is best known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. He also played the plant-based alien in the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. See above note on Search. Land of the Lost (NBC, 1974-1976) was a Saturday morning live-action children’s sci-fi series produced by Sid and Marty Krofft (who also gave us H.R. Pufnstuf). Doug McClure was not in it. McClure did star in the 1975 film The Land That Time Forgot (riffed in MST3K Season 11, Show 1107) and 1977’s The People That Time Forgot. John Shaft was a Black private dick that was a sex machine to all the chicks in three ‘70s blaxploitation films (Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score, and Shaft in Africa), played by Richard Roundtree. Again, the guy on screen is Brock Peters.
Course he was in Love, American Style and The Brady Bunch. He was Nurse, with Michael Learned. –And Ginger of course, famous for her banana cream pies.
Robert Reed starred in the previously noted The Brady Bunch and guested on Love, American Style, which aired from 1969-1974. There would be anywhere up to four short vignettes about love with various celebrity guest stars. Produced by Aaron Spelling, the series often used pieces of unused pilot scripts for the vignettes. On two occasions, discarded-pilots-turned-vignettes became full-on series: Wait Till Your Father Gets Homeand Happy Days. Reed also starred in the 1981-82 CBS drama Nurse with actress Michael Learned. Learned won an Emmy for Nurse, but she is best known for playing Olivia on the long-running series The Waltons. See above note on Ginger.