K18: The Million Eyes of Sumuru
by Trey Yeatts
Is this The Last Empteror ... Emperor? Empteror?
The Last Emperor is an award-winning 1987 film about the last emperor of China, Puyi, and how his life intermingled with World War II and the rise of the People’s Republic of China.
Sorry about the outside thing, Joel. We didn’t really know it was you.
A callback to the host segments of Show K17, Time of the Apes. Joel was out of town, but on the show, it was explained that he had gone on a spacewalk and the ‘bots didn’t let him back in.
Seventeen brides for seventeen brothers.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a 1954 MGM musical about seven brothers who plot to get the women they want to marry by kidnapping them.
Was that Twiggy? –Was that Sumuru? –No, that’s a Timex, I think.
Twiggy Lawson is a British model who, in 1966, captured everyone’s attention with her boyish looks and slight frame. Her style inspired many copycats and fads in the ensuing years, and she is considered to be the world’s first supermodel. In the 1970s, she became an actress and released albums. Timex is an American watch manufacturer established in 1854. They joined the pop culture consciousness with their slogan “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” used for decades in commercials to boast about their watches’ durability.
Did you know that Sax Rohmer is Éric Rohmer’s brother?
Sax Rohmer is the nom de plume of English writer Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward (1883-1959). Other than writing three Sumuru books, he wrote dozens featuring criminal mastermind Dr. Fu Manchu (and the story on which Show 323, The Castle of Fu Manchu, was based). He is regarded today as a proponent of the racist concept of the Yellow Peril: the belief that Asians were taking white jobs, industry, etc., as part of a grand conspiracy. He died in 1959 during an outbreak of Asian flu (I’m not kidding). Éric Rohmer (1920-2010) was a French filmmaker considered in the same league as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. He made a bunch of artsy movies you’ve probably never heard of.
Frankie Avalon was a teen idol during the 1950s and 1960s with hits like “Venus” and “Why.” He was particularly known for his string of beach movies during the 1960s, including Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo.
[Screen credit: “George Nader.”] Ralph’s brother.
George Nader is known to MST3K fans from Show 107, Robot Monster, and Show 420, The Human Duplicators. Ralph Nader is a safety advocate and political activist best known for his scathing critiques of the automobile industry in the 1960s and 1970s. He wrote the book Unsafe At Any Speed about the Chevrolet Corvair and others. He has unsuccessfully run for president several times, the first attempt occurring in 1972.
Shirley Eaton as Sumuru.
Shirley Eaton is a British actress best known for her role as Jill Masterson in 1963’s Goldfinger, wherein she was lethally painted gold. She retired from acting in 1969 to lead a quiet family life.
Wilfrid Hyde-White, Larry Tate’s brother.
Wilfrid Hyde-White (1903-1991) was an English actor with an aristocratic air who starred most famously in 1964’s My Fair Lady as Colonel Pickering. He is not related to American television actor David White (1916-1990), who played Darrin Stephens’s boss Larry Tate on the long-running witch-centric sitcom Bewitched (1964-1972).
Klaus Kinski, Nastassja’s uncle.
Klaus Kinski (1926-1991) was a German actor who appeared in more than 130 films, including many of Werner Herzog’s, 1965’s Doctor Zhivago, and a slew of late-1960s spaghetti westerns. Nastassja Kinski is actually Klaus’s daughter. She won acclaim for the 1979 film Tess, but she is perhaps best remembered for posing nude and intertwined with a python in a famous 1981 poster from photographer Richard Avedon.
John Scott is a British composer who has performed on the scores of films like Goldfinger and has written the scores for more than a hundred TV shows and movies, including Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
John Von Klotz? Kotze? What is that? Makes me hungry.
John Von Kotze (?-1986) was a cameraman and cinematographer who actually worked on a good movie once: 1951’s The African Queen.
That’s sacrilegious. –Strike a match on a man? –That was the Buddha. –Close Buddha before striking.
Budai (colloquially known as the Fat or Laughing Buddha) is a Chinese folk deity that has been adopted into both Buddhist and Taoist traditions. Statues of Budai are not uncommon around the world, and tradition holds that rubbing its belly brings wealth and good luck. The phrase “Close Cover Before Striking” usually appears on the outside of matchbooks so that the entire package isn’t ignited when you light one.
Looks like they took five from a Robert Plant video.
Robert Plant was the lead singer for Led Zeppelin, a wildly influential rock band known for such hits as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Dazed and Confused.” After the band split up in 1980, Plant enjoyed a successful solo career. However, Crow likely meant Robert Palmer (1949-2003), the English singer who, in the 1980s, was known for music videos featuring heavily made-up and tight-skirted women dancing languidly around him. His song “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On” was used to great effect in the host segments of Show 907, Hobgoblins.
It’s a Tupperware party! –They’re auctioning off the Ming dynasty collection.
Tupperware is a brand of plastic storage containers that are traditionally sold at “Tupperware parties,” in which a sales representative (usually a woman) makes her pitch to a group (again, usually women) gathered at someone’s home. They were first made in 1946. The Ming dynasty was a period of Chinese history lasting from 1368 to 1644. Some historians regard it as one of the longest, most stable periods of government in the history of Earth. Hollywood regards it for its pottery.
Oh my God. She’s gonna snap off his head like a Pez dispenser. –I think he’s had enough.
Pez is a hard candy that comes in a variety of plastic dispensers, many with cartoon characters on them. It is manufactured by Pez Candy Inc.
[Imitating.] Colonel Klink!
Colonel Wilhelm Klink was the inept commander of the German prison camp in the television series Hogan’s Heroes, which aired from 1965-1971. The part was played by Werner Klemperer (1920-2000).
Looks like they’re all wearing View-Master reels on their chests. –I’ll have to look more closely.
The View-Master is a children’s toy that resembles a pair of binoculars; when the viewer inserts a special disc containing photographic images, they appear in 3D. It was created by a company called Sawyer’s in 1939; in 1966 Sawyer’s was bought by the General Aniline & Film Company (a.k.a. GAF). The rights have changed hands several times since then; currently the brand is owned by Fisher-Price.
Jeannie C. Riley. –The Harper Valley Death Squad.
Jeannie C. Riley is a country singer who became famous thanks to her 1968 recording of the Tom T. Hall song “Harper Valley PTA.” Her stage presence eschewed standard female country singer trappings of the time; Riley opted for miniskirts and go-go boots. In the early 1970s, she was “born again,” began singing only gospel songs, and distanced herself from “Harper Valley PTA” and her sexually charged persona.
What’s that sign say behind them? –No tickee, no shirtee. –Stop, drop, roll. –Eat at Joe’s.
“No tickee, no shirtee” is a stereotypical saying attributed to Chinese laundry proprietors at least as far back as the 1880s. There was even a film released in 1921 titled No Tickee No Shirtee.
Snatch the pebble from my hand.
A line from the pilot of the 1970s TV show Kung Fu. In one scene, Young Caine is training with Master Kan, and Kan says, “Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.” Caine tries and fails. Kan responds, “When you can take this pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.”
She’s shark bait. –She’s doing the dead woman’s float. –TV dinner for any lucky fish. –Know how you make a dead woman float? –No. –Root beer and two scoops of dead woman.
“TV Brand Frozen Dinners” were developed in 1953 by Swanson Foods: frozen meals in compartmentalized aluminum trays that were reheated in the oven. The name quickly became a genericized trademark, and Swanson stopped using “TV Dinner” in their marketing in the early 1960s.
Hey, it’s Frankie. –They’re at Foreman & Clark. They just got a couple of spiffy suits. –He’s acting.
Foreman & Clark was a chain of department stores that opened in 1909 and closed in 1999.
You mean Greg Louganis?
Greg Louganis is an American diver who won gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. In 1988, he was injured when his head hit the diving board, but he went on to capture the gold anyway. In 1994 he announced he was gay, and the following year admitted he was suffering from AIDS.
This is a hard role for Frankie. He’s working without Annette. –Oh brother. –I think we put the wrong one outside.
Annette Funicello is a singer and actress who got her start on the TV series The Mickey Mouse Club (the 1955-1959 edition) and went on to star in beach films with Frankie Avalon.
It’s the Penguin.
The Penguin (real name: Oswald Cobblepot) is one of Batman’s best-known enemies, thanks primarily to Burgess Meredith’s performance in the late 1960s TV series. In 1992’s Batman Returns, Penguin was played by Danny DeVito, and in the long-running animated series in the 1990s, he was voiced by Paul Williams.
He’s a very clean old man, isn’t he? –I was most impressed, Paulie.
A reference to the 1964 Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night. In the film, Paul McCartney’s fictional grandfather (played by Wilfrid Brambell) is frequently described as a “clean old man.”
[Sung.] I shoulda known better with a ... sorry. It’s been a hard day’s six weeks.
A line from the Beatles’ 1964 song “I Should Have Known Better,” featured in the film A Hard Day’s Night (see previous note).
He must be the Japanese overlord of the movie. –He has overlord undertones. –Overlord Underoos? –Sumuru Underoos. –[Sung.] Overlord, over dale ...
Underoos are a brand of children’s underwear produced by Fruit of the Loom and featuring various licensed designs ranging from Batman and Superman to the Dukes of Hazzard. They were first marketed in 1978. “Overlord, over dale” is a paraphrasing of a line in the official United States Army song, “The Army Goes Rolling Along.” The song itself is based on the 1908 composition “Caisson Song,” and the actual lyric is, “Over hill, over dale, we will hit the dusty trail ...”
Chips? No Coke. Pepsi. No fries; chips.
A reference to a series of Saturday Night Live sketches in the 1970s starring the late John Belushi as Pete Dionasopolis, the owner/operator of a greasy spoon called the Olympia Cafe. Customers could only order three items: cheeseburgers, chips, and Pepsi (except in one sketch when he switched vendors to Coca-Cola). If a customer ordered “incorrectly,” he would correct them, often angrily. The first sketch was written by Don Novello (a.k.a. Father Guido Sarducci), who based it on a Chicago restaurant named Billy Goat Tavern (which is still in business). The diner in the sketch was named after a restaurant that Belushi’s father once owned.
You must spend a fortune in Q-Tips. –And mousse.
Cotton swabs were invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang, who put bits of cotton on toothpicks and called them “Baby Gays.” The product was bought and (thankfully) rebranded “Q-tips,” with the “Q” standing for “quality.” Today, Unilever owns the brand, while the name “Q-Tip” has itself become a brand eponym for any kind of cotton swab. Doctors say they aren’t safe for cleaning the ear canals, but pffft. What do they know?
Is that Ward Cleaver? –No, Ward Bond.
Ward Cleaver, played by Hugh Beaumont (Dr. Jud Bellamin in Show 803, The Mole People), was the all-knowing father on the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963). Ward Bond (1903-1960) was an actor with a knack for taking roles in quality movies. He appeared in eleven films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, including Gone With the Wind, The Quiet Man, and The Grapes of Wrath. He also starred in the TV series Wagon Train (1957-1960).
At least they found something to do with the Batcave after the series got cancelled. –And Wilfrid Hyde-White’s there, they found something to do with Alfred.
The Batcave is Bruce Wayne’s hideout/headquarters, located beneath Wayne Manor in the Batman comics, TV shows, and films. Alfred Pennyworth was Bruce Wayne’s butler, who aided him in his fight against crime. He was usually depicted as an older British man—a fairly stereotypical butler.
Where’d you get that voice, pal, a teeter-totter?
A teeter-totter is an alternate name for the playground device known as a see-saw.
Is that the Jerk?
The Jerk was one of several dance crazes from the 1960s, immortalized in the 1964 song “The Jerk” by The Larks as well as the 1966 song “Cool Jerk” by The Capitols. Choreographically, the Jerk was performed by bringing the hands up to face level and crossing them at the wrists. The arms would then be swept outward in time to the music, but this motion was not to be performed gracefully. Yes, your arms were supposed to jerk inward and outward.
It’s Bee Woman.
Invasion of the Bee Girls is a 1973 science fiction film about a mad scientist who creates a bevy of beauties to seduce mankind. The women wear large dark sunglasses because their entire eyeballs are black. The film was written by Nicholas Meyer, the man who later rewrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Who’s that behind the Foster Grants?
Foster Grant is a brand of eyewear introduced in 1919 by Sam Foster. In the 1960s, a ubiquitous ad campaign featured the slogan “Who’s that behind those Foster Grants?” and included a host of well-known celebrities, such as Raquel Welch, Elke Sommer, Mia Farrow, and Vanessa Redgrave.
It’s Admiral Nelson!
Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson (1758-1805) was a British naval officer renowned for his service during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar, he was shot and killed by a French sniper.
Where’s my Subaru? The million headlights of Subaru. –That’s Sumuru, not Subaru.
Subaru is a Japanese automaker established in 1953. In case you wondered, “Subaru” is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster, which explains their logo of seven stars inside an oval (chosen because six companies merged to form one).
I’ve been kidnapped by the Grateful Dead. –No, looks like Canada Dry on the door there. –No, it’s Good Humor. I can tell by their uniforms. Probably freeze him. Make him into a little bar or something. But the door says “PDQ” on it. Maybe it’s Quick Stop. –“Pretty Darn Quirky.”
The Grateful Dead is a famed rock band from the heyday of the 1960s, though they remained active until lead singer Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. Their biggest commercial hit, “Touch of Grey,” was released in 1987. Canada Dry is a brand of soft drink established by Ontarian pharmacist John McLaughlin in 1904 when he first made Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale. The drink took off during Prohibition, when it was used to mask the foul taste of home-brewed alcohols. The brand is currently owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple. Good Humor is a brand of ice cream treats first marketed in 1920. The “Good Humor Man” became an American institution, as kids across America lined up during the summers to buy ice cream from the men who drove the trucks with the tinkling bells. PDQ is a chain of convenience stores in the Upper Midwest first established in 1948. The “PDQ” stands for “Pretty Darn Quickly,” in this case. Quick Stop is a common name for locally operated convenience stores and can be found all over the nation, though a chain with that moniker operated in the central part of the U.S. for more than a decade before it was bought by the Kroger grocery chain. In 2006, Kroger renamed the Quick Stops (and other stores under their umbrella), which are now known as Loaf ‘N’ Jug.
Looks like Gidget’s old van. Maybe they’re going to be in another series. –And there’s Barbie’s car. –Gidget and the Big Kahuna.
Gidget was a 1959 movie about a young girl who discovers the joys of love and surfing with a fella named Moondoggie. Actress Sandra Dee played the title role. Sally Field took over the role for the 1965-1966 ABC TV series of the same name. Both were adaptations of the 1957 novel Gidget, The Little Girl With Big Ideas. Barbie is a fashion doll created in 1959 by Ruth Handler and manufactured by Mattel. It was named after her daughter, Barbara. Over the years, vehicular accessories have been sold, including Jeeps, Corvettes, and RVs. Almost all are pink. In the 1959 Gidget film, Cliff Robertson played “The Big Kahuna,” the leader of a group of surfers. Thanks to that role and its repetition in 1960s beach movies, the phrase “Big Kahuna” came to mean “great surfer” and permeated that culture.
Shouldn’t we be picking up Chip and Ernie about now? –I can pick up Chip and Ernie if I face north. –They asked about you, by the way.
Probably a reference to the 1960-1972 sitcom My Three Sons, about a widower struggling to raise his three sons. Chip (Stanley Livingston) was one of the sons, while Ernie (Barry Livingston) was an orphan who was adopted into the home in 1965 once one of the original three sons left the show.
No pants or shoes with that outfit, huh? –She’s a patient. –The inmates are running the asylum. –They’re having some problems with their own droids.
A callback to an earlier host segment which was itself a reference to a line from 1980’s Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) saw that C-3PO was in pieces and inquired of our heroes, “Having trouble with your droid?”
[Imitating Mission: Impossible theme.]
This is the famous theme to the TV show Mission: Impossible, composed by Lalo Schifrin.
He swallowed a bug, I think.
Possibly a reference to an infamous outtake from the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, when, in the middle of solemnly declaiming one of his big speeches, Marlon Brando stops, grimaces horribly, and says, “I swallowed a bug.”
Is that his real hair? –It’s Annette’s real hair.
See above note on Annette Funicello.
The Thrilla in the Villa! –Magilla. –Chilla. –Gorilla. –Fontilla. Chinchilla. –No thrilla. –Sarsaparilla.
“Thrilla in the villa” is a play on the name given to the 1975 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Taking place in the Philippines, Ali called it “the Thrilla in Manila,” and rhymed it further in his characteristic pre-fight taunts by saying, “It’s gonna be a thrilla, and a chilla, and a killa, when I get the Gorilla in Manila.” The Magilla Gorilla Show was a 1964-1967 Hanna-Barbera animated series about a trouble-prone ape who went on adventures with his would-be owners, who purchased him from Mr. Peebles’ pet shop. Fontella (not Fontilla) Bass is a soul singer who had a hit in 1965 with “Rescue Me.” Chinchilla is a species of rodent native to South America and used in the production of fur coats and stoles. Sarsaparilla (made from the vine Sarsaparilla) was a type of root beer made in the 1800s and common in the “Old West.”
[Sung.] Nothing would be finer ...
A line from the 1922 song “Carolina in the Morning.” It became a standard and was recorded by artists as varied as Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, and Bill Haley & His Comets.
Stuff a wild bikini.
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini is a 1965 film, the sixth in the previously mentioned seven-film beach party series. It starred Annette Funicello and included an uncredited appearance by Frankie Avalon.
[Sung.] I’m gonna tell you all a story ...
A line from the previously mentioned song “Harper Valley PTA.”
She seems to fall short on the eye count. Unless they’re compound eyes, but that seems to create a whole conundrum. –Then they’d be bee women, though. –Certainly a “B” film. –More like a T&A film. –Terrible and awful? –You betcha.
See above note on Invasion of the Bee Girls.
Homina, homina, homina.
“Homina, homina, homina” was what Ralph Kramden (played by Jackie Gleason) would stammer whenever caught in a piece of mischief on the classic TV sitcom The Honeymooners.
David Crosby, Jerry Garcia ...
David Crosby is a founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and one of the most influential folk-rock musicians of the 20th century. Jerry Garcia (1942-1995) was the lead singer of the aforementioned Grateful Dead.
[Imitating Lena Hyena.] It’s a man!
In the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when private investigator Eddie Valiant was trapped in the animated ToonTown, he mistook Lena Hyena for Jessica Rabbit. When she turned and saw Valiant, she excitedly screamed this line and chased him.
Is that David McCallum’s sister?
David McCallum is a Scottish actor best known for playing Russian agent Illya Kuryakin on the 1960s television spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
What would you say to a naked lady?
What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? is a 1970 film starring Candid Camera’s Allen Funt (see next note) that secretly filmed people’s reactions to public nudity in assorted situations.
I didn’t know Allen Funt was in this movie.
Allen Funt (1914-1999) was the producer and host of the television series Candid Camera, which aired in various incarnations between 1948 and 1967.
You did make Beach Blanket Bingo, didn’t you?
Beach Blanket Bingo is a 1965 film starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, one of seven beach party films they co-starred in.
And a year’s supply of Turtle Wax.
Turtle Wax is a line of car-care products, including waxes, polishes, and protectants. In the 1960s and 1970s, Turtle Wax was often given as a prize on game shows.
[Sung.] Sumuru, ma roo ma! –No, that’s a Volvo. –Sumuru ma ree!
A paraphrasing of the 1914 song “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That’s an Irish Lullaby),” which was later popularized by Bing Crosby in the 1944 film Going My Way. Volvo (Latin for “I roll”) is a Swedish automotive manufacturer established in 1927. Their vehicles are well regarded for their safety.
Oh, they’re going to Gene Simmons’s house. –The house of the rising tongue?
Gene “The Demon” Simmons, bassist for the rock band Kiss, was known for his abnormally long tongue, as well as for spitting blood and fire. “The House of the Rising Sun” is a folk song that was recorded by many artists but made most famous by the British rock group The Animals in 1964.
Sounds like Ravi Shankar’s doorbell.
Ravi Shankar is an Indian musician known for his mastery of the sitar, a stringed instrument. His association with the Beatles during the 1960s helped introduce the West to Indian music.
With your host, Donovan.
Donovan was a Scottish folk singer popular in the 1960s, with such hits as “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow.”
Freddie Mercury must have decorated. I hear he’s got a mad posh for the oriental.
Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) was the flamboyant lead singer for the rock band Queen. He was a British citizen of Parsi descent, and he grew up in Zanzibar and India until moving to England with his parents when he was 17.
Another one bites my arm.
A paraphrased version of the title of one of Queen’s hits, “Another One Bites the Dust,” released in 1980.
I know all the words to Grease.
See above note.
M&Ms are a brand of candy-coated chocolates manufactured by Mars Inc. They were first sold in 1941.
I ate the big fat worm.
A reference to the 1987 children’s book The Big Fat Worm by Nancy Van Laan, which is about various animals that may eat another, starting with a bird threatening to eat a big, fat worm.
It’s the Wham-O fun factory.
Wham-O is a company founded in 1948 that gained fame for producing classic toys, such as the Hula Hoop, Frisbee, and Slip ‘N Slide. In marketing materials and books about the company, it has been referred to as the “fun factory.”
No tickee, no shirtee and he was over thirty.
See above note.
Manwich is a brand of canned sloppy joe mix made by Hunt’s, and made famous by the 1970s slogan “A sandwich is a sandwich but a Manwich is a meal.”
A tribute to Boris Karloff. –Or John Carradine.
Boris Karloff (1887-1969) was an English actor best known for playing Frankenstein’s monster in three Universal films in the 1930s. He also narrated the classic 1966 television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas. John Carradine (1906-1988) was an iconic actor who appeared in classic films such as The Ten Commandments (1956) and The Grapes of Wrath (1940). He is the patriarch of the Carradine acting family, and MST3K fans will remember his appearance (and song) from Show 619, Red Zone Cuba.
Not everything can be bought, Frankie. –He’s used to working with Disney.
The Walt Disney Company is the large media and entertainment conglomerate founded by Walt Disney in 1923.
A Slant 6 Swinger.
Slant 6 is the name given to one of the Chrysler Corporation’s best-known engines, so named because its six pistons are inclined at a thirty-degree angle from vertical. The Dodge Swinger was a two-door variant of the four-door Dodge Dart. The Swinger was available from 1968 until 1976.
He said Dodge.
Dodge is an automaker founded in 1914 and bought by the Chrysler Corporation in 1928.
David Bowie (1947-2016) was a British rock musician who rose to fame during the era of glam rock in the early 1970s, with such albums as The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Since that time his music underwent a number of evolutions, from flirtations with soul and R&B to the dance craze of the early 1980s. He is considered one of the most influential rock musicians of all time.
You’re the only Bob Barker lookalike we’ve got. –Your vice president will be Johnny Olsen.
Bob Barker is a former game show host who emceed CBS’s The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007. He also hosted Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975. Johnny Olsen (1910-1985) was a radio and television announcer whose career spanned four decades. He is best known for his announcing work on game shows such as Truth or Consequences, Match Game, and The Price Is Right.
Or would you rather go for the curtain? –I’d rather go for Carol Merrill.
On the long-running game show Let’s Make a Deal (which aired intermittently from 1965 to the present), contestants were sometimes given a choice between visible prizes and an unknown prize concealed behind a curtain or under a box. Occasionally, it was a crappy prize, dubbed a “zonk.” Carol Merrill was a model who appeared on Let’s Make a Deal during its original run from 1963 to 1977.
She probably wants him to tell her she looks like Jennie C. Riley. –Did you have the hots for Jennie C. Riley when you were a boy? –I meant to say Bobbie Gentry. –Oh. [Sung.] I keep on dancing ... Him? Her? It?
See above note on Jennie C. Riley. Bobbie Gentry is a country singer who had a hit with 1967’s “Ode to Billie Joe.” “Keep on Dancing” was a 1965 hit for the group The Gentrys, which did not include Bobbie Gentry (or anyone else with the last name Gentry, for that matter).
To the what? –The jetty. –I guess it’s a jetty boaty. –A Jetty Skiiy. –Revenge of the Jetty. –On the Serengeti. –At the settee. That’s a baby.
Jet Ski is a brand of personal watercraft made by Kawasaki that has become so prevalent in the culture that the name has nearly become a genericized trademark for all such vehicles. Revenge of the Jedi was the original subtitle of 1983’s Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. It was changed before release because George Lucas felt that revenge wasn’t a Jedi concept. The Serengeti is a large region of Tanzania with grassy plains and a variety of African wildlife.
Frankie, you’re a wimp. She’s trained by Sumuru. –All he has to do is start singing. –[Sung.] Venus is the word ... That is revolting.
A portion of Avalon’s aforementioned hit “Venus.”
Vice President Crockett?
In the 1984-1989 NBC series Miami Vice, Don Johnson played Detective Sonny Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas played his partner, Ricardo Tubbs.
Oh. –Wow. –The Graduate. –Sexy Sadie.
The Graduate is a 1967 comedy-drama starring Dustin Hoffman as a recent college graduate seduced by an older woman, played by Anne Bancroft. “Sexy Sadie” is a 1968 Beatles song written by John Lennon while the band was in India. The song was originally titled “Maharishi” and was about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He had allegedly made sexual advances toward women at the ashram, and Lennon became disillusioned because of this.
Joel, I forgot to tell you, but I’m not going to be able to watch the rest of the movie. I have to make brownies for the Pinewood Derby. –All right. –Just come out during the segments in between. –Of course. I wouldn’t miss those. –Got it. –I feel like they’re already done.
The Pinewood Derby is a small car racing event held by Cub Scout troops around the nation. The participants are given an official kit, which includes a block of pine wood, four wheels, and four nails. The finished vehicle is then raced. The first Pinewood Derby was held in 1953 and organized by Don Murphy.
It’s Klaus Kinski. –Oh, I forgot about him. They could only afford his eye.
See above note.
It’s Jerry Lewis. [Imitating.] Hello. Hey, lady. Hello, Dean. –[Imitating.] Ms. Mellon Wellon. Hey, Cinderfella. Pretty lady.
Jerry Lewis (1926-2017) was a comedian who rose to fame thanks to his partnership with Dean Martin in the 1940s and ‘50s and then in a lengthy string of zany films, including 1961’s The Ladies Man, in which Lewis belted, “Lady!” Also in The Ladies Man, the boardinghouse’s headmistress was named Miss Wellenmellon.Cinderfella is a 1960 film starring Jerry Lewis in a revamp of the traditional Cinderella story.
That door was later in the film Mahogany.
Mahogany is a 1975 film starring Diana Ross as a poor woman who becomes a famous fashion designer in Rome.
He thinks he’s Mary Poppins. –Or he’s going golfing.
In the series of children’s books and Disney’s famous 1964 musical of the same name, Mary Poppins was a magical nanny who flew, apparently with the assistance of an umbrella.
I’ll introduce you to Walt Disney.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was an animator and entrepreneur who rose to fame with his eponymously named corporation and the many thousands of hours of entertainment that it churned out. Contrary to urban legend, Disney was cremated after his death, not cryogenically frozen.
Water. Liquid wetness as far as the eye can see. –Liquid space between Frankie Avalon’s ears. –The source of all life in Sandy Frank films.
A callback to the Gamera films riffed on earlier in the series, which opened with shots of the undulating sea. Sandy Frank is a producer who purchased the rights and distributed many Japanese films in the U.S., including the Gamera series, Mighty Jack, Time of the Apes, and more.
No tickee, no shirtee.
See above note.
Oh no. It’s Mr. Clean.
Mr. Clean is the name of a brand of home cleaning products manufactured by Procter & Gamble that first appeared in 1958. The advertising icon for the brand is a large, bald man standing with his arms folded.
Looks like he borrowed that gown from Shelley Winters.
Shelley Winters (1920-2006) was a hefty actress who has appeared in such films as The Diary of Anne Frank (for which she won an Oscar) and The Poseidon Adventure. She also appeared in Show K16, City on Fire.
Boong. James Boong.
A paraphrasing of the famous way in which the Ian Fleming spy James Bond introduces himself in novels and films.
It’s Martin Landau.
On the 1960s television series Mission: Impossible, Martin Landau starred as a spy who often wore disguises and masks to infiltrate the enemy.
Find your key light.
In cinematography, the key light is the primary light used to illuminate the scene.
“His name’s Tommy Carter.” –Jimmy’s brother.
Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States, from 1977 to 1981. Jimmy’s brother was Billy (1937-1988), a comically hapless fellow who urinated on the runway in front of the press and public at an Atlanta airport, took a $220,000 loan from Libya, and sold his own brand of alcoholic beverage, Billy Beer.
Trapped in a pagoda with Trixie Toyota.
Tritia Toyota is a former Los Angeles television news anchor who was immortalized in a 1979 song by punk band The Dickies called “(I’m Stuck in a Pagoda with) Tricia [sic] Toyota.”
Or you can work on the new cold fusion experiment. –Or you could get a complete makeover. –You could join the Twins. They could use a couple of rookies.
“Cold fusion” is the name given to nuclear energy production at or near room temperature. In March 1989, scientists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons claimed to have discovered how to achieve this and the media latched on, thinking that abundant and cheap energy was right around the corner. By the end of the year, though, these claims were debunked. Essentially, the scientists just screwed up. The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis.
Oh, they brought their autoharp with them.
An autoharp is a stringed musical instrument first developed in the 1880s and often used by country and bluegrass performers in the mid-to-late 20th century. Despite the name, the autoharp is not a harp; it’s closer to being a zither.
Those two look like apprentice Catwomen.
Catwoman is a DC Comics villain and occasional romantic foil for Batman. Her real name is Selina Kyle (usually), and she is most often depicted as carrying a whip while wearing skintight leather or vinyl suits in the commission of thefts. In the 1960s TV series, she was played by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. In the 1966 film based on the series, she was played by Lee Meriwether. In 1992’s Batman Returns, she was played by Michelle Pfeiffer. In the popular 1990s animated series, she was voiced by Adrienne Barbeau. In 2004, the character was given a standalone movie with Halle Berry in the title role. Warning: stay away from that one.
Looks like the hotel in Petticoat Junction.
Petticoat Junction was a TV sitcom about life at a hotel near the small town of Hooterville. It aired from 1963 to 1967 on CBS as part of their interconnected triad of “rural” sitcoms, the other two being Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies.
There’s Uncle Joe; he’s moving kinda slow. –No, that’s Uncle Ho. –Don Ho, movin’ kinda slow. –And his sister, Heidi. –Hopefully he’s making lots of dough. –His brother, Heave.
A paraphrase of a line from the opening theme to the aforementioned show Petticoat Junction. The original is: “And that’s Uncle Joe, moving kinda slow, at the Junction.” Joe was played by Edgar Buchanan (1903-1979). Don Ho (1930-2007) was a Hawaiian singer familiar to many through his regular gig at Duke’s nightclub in Waikiki, although he also appeared in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and elsewhere and released a number of albums. “Heidi (Ho)” is likely a reference to a scat refrain used by Cab Calloway in his famous song “Minnie the Moocher,” first recorded in 1931, used (with an animated Calloway) in a 1932 Betty Boop cartoon, and performed by Calloway in 1979’s The Blues Brothers.
Just try to pay no attention to that girl behind the curtain.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” is a line from the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz.
But she’s got a hideous tattoo. –She’s using sex as a weapon.
A reference to the 1985 Pat Benatar song "Sex as a Weapon.”
Tender to a fault. Frankie grows up and goes to Hollywood!
A reference to the 1980s British pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Their biggest hit was 1984’s “Relax,” which was banned by the BBC for being obscene until it wound up being the best-selling single of the year.
That’s not very good boating etiquette there. –The boatniks are coming to your town. –The boatnips? –Boatnips?
The Boatniks (1970) is a film comedy about three inept jewel thieves.
Is this a Howard Johnson?
Howard Johnson is a chain of restaurants and hotels instantly recognizable from highways across the nation thanks to their distinctive orange roofs.
Verrrry interesting. But cuckoo!
An imitation of comedian Arte Johnson on the TV sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973), who would appear dressed as a German soldier to inform the audience that the preceding sketch was “Very interesting, but stupid!”
[Sung.] Fighting soldiers on the beach. Some who run and some who skeech (?). Those great men ...
A paraphrased version of lyrics from the 1966 song “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” by Staff. Sgt. Barry Sadler. The actual lyrics are: “Fighting soldiers from the sky/Fearless men who jump and die/Men who mean just what they say/The brave men of the Green Beret.”
Snap-on hair of Frankie Avalon.
Possibly a reference to the Snap-on tool company, founded in 1920 and famous for developing interchangeable parts for socket wrenches. Also, possibly a reference to Lee Press-on Nails—artificial fingernails with an adhesive backing—which were advertised constantly with low-budget TV commercials during the 1980s. While similar products are still available, Lee Press-On Nails, and their maker, Lee Pharmaceuticals, are no more.
The cold fusion’s almost done.
See above note.
A Sheer & Natural Uzi.
Sheer Natural was a brand of nail polish and manufacturer of artificial nails. Uzi is a famous type of submachine gun first manufactured in 1950 and used primarily by the Israeli military. The weapon that the woman on the screen is using, however, isn’t an Uzi. It’s a Sten, a British submachine gun used during World War II and the Korean War and favored throughout the 1950s and ‘60s by insurgent groups around the world.
It’s Billie Jo.
See above note on Bobbie Gentry.
Looks like the set of the old Gong Show.
The Gong Show was an amateur talent competition that appeared on NBC and in syndication from 1976 to 1980. It was produced and (usually) hosted by Chuck Barris. On the show, singers, comedians, jugglers, etc., performed before a panel of three celebrity judges who, if they didn’t like the act, would strike the large gong behind them, thus disqualifying the contestant. It underwent a brief revival in 1988.
This has turned out to be the rootin’est, tootin’est movie ever.
An imitation of the arrogant lines uttered by Warner Brothers animated character Yosemite Sam, such as in 1952’s “14 Carrot Rabbit”: “Yeah, Chillicothe Sam, the roughest, toughest, rootin’est, shootin’est claim-jumper that ever jumped a claim, and I’m-a takin’ over your claim!” and in 1981’s Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie: “I’m the hootin’est, tootin’est, shootin’est, bob-tailed wildcat in the west!”
She’s got shrapnel eyes.
A paraphrase of the song “Bette Davis Eyes,” written in 1974 by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon. In 1981, Kim Carnes released a cover of it that became a huge hit. The song itself is a reference to Bette Davis (1908-1989), an Oscar-winning actress known for her dark, deep-set eyes.
Cave of the unknown.
A line from the 1983 B-52’s single “Song for a Future Generation,” spoken by lead singer Fred Schneider in an parody of 1980s dating videos. I’ll point out that “cave of the unknown” has been slang for anal sex for many years. Just saying.
That looks expensive. You could see the matte line.
In the pre-computer days of visual effects, the process of layering various elements on top of each other could sometimes lead to visible lines around the primary added element.
Special thanks to the Shaw Brothers’ fine family of films.
The Shaw Brothers Studio is a Hong Kong movie production company that has been around since 1930. They rose to cult prominence in the United States during the 1970s thanks to the influx of kung fu films in syndicated “Black Belt Theater”-type packages, including 1978’s Five Deadly Venoms.