208: Lost Continent
by Trey Yeatts
The Incredible Mr. Lippert.
A reference to the 1964 live action/animated film The Incredible Mr. Limpet. Don Knotts stars as the titular character, a bookkeeper who falls into the ocean and somehow is transformed into a cartoon fish. With glasses. Anyway, he befriends a hermit crab named Crusty (voiced by Paul Frees) and the cleverly named Ladyfish (voiced by Elizabeth MacRae). Limpet’s adventures under the sea include fighting Nazi submarines. I’m not kidding. Executive producer Robert Lippert (1909-1976) produced many films, including Show 520, Radar Secret Service, and directed Show 611, Last of the Wild Horses.
Lippert the Lion and Hardy Har Har.
Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har are Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters that first appeared on The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series in 1962. Lippy (voiced by Daws Butler) was a lion (naturally) who wore a lavender top hat and vest and constantly engaged in get-rich-quick schemes. His sidekick Hardy (voiced by Mel Blanc) was a depressed hyena who wore a porkpie hat and bow tie. They got their own short-lived eponymous show in 1971.
Chick, Chick, Chick Chandler.
Chick Chandler (1905-1988) was a character actor who appeared in more than 130 movies over his career. He’s best known to MST3K fans as the incompetent angel Wilbur in the short “Once Upon a Honeymoon,” which was featured in Show 701, Night of the Blood Beast.
Acquanetta. Snot is running down her nose.
Acquanetta (1921-2004) was born Mildred Davenport in Wyoming of either Native American or African-American descent; she initially passed herself off as South American, was dubbed as “The Venezuelan Volcano,” and began getting roles as an exotic beauty. Four years later her American birth was revealed, but her career continued unabated, now as the first female Native American actress in Hollywood. “Aqualung” is a 1971 single by English prog-rock band Jethro Tull. “Snot running down his nose” is a line from the song.
Hugh Beaumont and Murray Alper as the Beaver.
Hugh Beaumont (1909-1982) was an actor best known for playing all-knowing father Ward Cleaver on the TV series Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963). He appeared in several other MST3K episodes, including Show 420, The Human Duplicators, and Show 803, The Mole People. Murray Alper (1904-1984) was a character actor who appeared in the classics Ocean’s Eleven, The Nutty Professor, and The Maltese Falcon, and in the less classic The Leech Woman, riffed on in Show 802.
Martin Landau’s brother.
Martin Landau is an actor known for his roles as IMF agent Rollin Hand in the first three seasons of Mission: Impossible (1966-1973) and as Commander John Koenig on the sci-fi series Space: 1999 (1975-1977). Richard Landau (1914-1993) was a television and film writer. They are not brothers.
Forever Young’s brother.
“Forever Young” is a 1974 song by Bob Dylan. Rod Stewart released a song under the same title that became a big hit in 1988; the songs were similar enough that Stewart agreed to share his royalties with Dylan, giving him a songwriting credit. Screenwriter Carroll Young (1908-1992) also wrote several Tarzan films as well as a number of other B-movies.
Oh, look. Dunlap, the tire magnate.
Dunlop Rubber was a U.K. tire producer founded in 1889; starting in the 1980s it was broken up and sold off to various companies. Composer Paul Dunlap (1919-2010) created music for other MSTied films, including Show 419, The Rebel Set, and Show 809, I Was a Teenage Werewolf.
Lee Press-On Wood.
Lee Press-On Nails were a brand of artificial women’s fingernails popular in the 1980s, made by Lee Pharmaceuticals.
Do not remove this tag under penalty of law!
Though large mattress tags read something along the lines of “This tag may not be removed under penalty of law,” the warning is directed at the manufacturers and retailers, to prevent them from passing off old mattresses as new ones, as they had in the past. In 1973, the phrase “except by the consumer” was added, but that hasn’t cut down on the jokes.
Produced by Sigmund Neufeld. Directed by his brother, Samuel Newfield. They were in separate lines on Ellis Island, you see.
Sam Newfield (1899-1964) was, in fact, the brother of Sigmund Neufeld (1896-1979). Sam directed other MST3K episodes, such as Show 103, Mad Monster, Show 507, I Accuse My Parents, and Show 520, Radar Secret Service. Sam and Sigmund worked together so frequently that Sam often directed under pseudonyms (his real name was Samuel Neufeld; other aliases included Sherman Scott and Peter Stewart) so people wouldn’t notice the nepotism and the fact that the same guy directed nearly all of PRC Pictures’ films. Ellis Island was an immigrant inspection station located in New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty. It was in operation from 1892 until 1954, and more than 25 million people entered the country there. It’s a myth that U.S. immigration officials purposefully Americanized foreign names. In fact, the names written in immigration records came directly from the passenger manifests of the ships that brought them here. There were, however, occasional errors in transcribing the names or changes in spelling due to foreign alphabets. (Both Sam and Sigmund were born in New York.)
Hey, there’s Carlos Castaneda looking for Don Juan.
Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998) was a Peruvian-American author whose first book, The Teachings of Don Juan (1968), detailed his years spent studying with a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan Matus (no relation to the fictional womanizer). Over the years, many critics and anthropologists have said the book is a fabrication. They could find no real Don Juan Matus and many of his teachings and attributes were inconsistent with Yaqui native peoples.
White Sands. Isn’t this where they get all that stuff for the hotel ashtrays?
White Sands, New Mexico, is home to the White Sands Missile Range, a testing range for the U.S. military. In the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, nuclear weapons were produced and tested there (including Trinity, the detonation of the first atomic bomb in 1945), as were rockets and vehicles for the space program.
Look, it’s a V-2.
The V-2 long-range ballistic missile was used by Nazi Germany during the latter period of World War II to attack targets in Belgium, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe. The “V” represented “Vergeltungswaffe,” translating into English as “retaliation weapon.” More than 3,000 V-2s were launched by Germany, killing an estimated 7,250 people (though 12,000 forced laborers were killed in the production and testing of it). In the final days of the war, scientists who worked on the V-2 (including Wernher von Braun) surrendered to the United States to ensure that they didn’t fall into Soviet hands. The U.S. raced to capture as much of the technology as they could and the USSR was able to procure some as well. For the better part of a decade, the U.S. tested V-2s (many at White Sands; see previous note) with the help of von Braun, and this led to the development of the Redstone rocket, which carried the Mercury astronauts into space.
Aw, I coulda had a V8.
V8 is a beverage made of blended vegetable juices. It was first produced in 1933 and is now manufactured by the Campbell Soup Company. Campbell's has run a series of commercials in which people regretted their beverage choices, exclaiming in chagrin, “I could’ve had a V8!” and smiting their forehead in woe.
We’re on our way!
A callback to Show 201, Rocketship X-M.
He’s playing Pong solitaire.
Pong was one of the first, if not the first, video games. It was essentially an electronic version of table tennis: each player had a “paddle,” and they bounced a little “ball” between them. The arcade version appeared in 1972; the home version in 1975. Solitaire can refer to any card game played by one person, though these days it usually refers to the variant in which the cards are arranged in columns, from king to two, with alternating colors. In the U.K., one-person card games are called Patience.
So that’s what Ward does at the office.
See above note on Hugh Beaumont. Ward Cleaver’s work remained carefully unspecified on Leave It to Beaver. He carried a briefcase and worked in a nice office for a big company; good enough.
Two zausend feet, mein fuhrer!
See above note on the V-2 and the presence of Germans in the American rocket program.
Phillip, get me a screwdriver. –I’ll have a rum and Tab. –Sloe gin fizz for me.
Henry Phillips (1890-1958) was a businessman who (with an engineer friend, John Thompson) developed the Phillips screw. The plus-sign shape on the screw’s head forces the screwdriver to be centered on each turn, thus ensuring that the screw goes in straight. Phillips formed the Phillips Screw Company (snicker) in 1933, and manufacturers adopted the design rather quickly over the following years. Tab is a saccharin-based diet cola introduced by the Coca-Cola Company in 1963. It lost popularity in the early 1980s when studies of saccharin showed its potential to cause cancer in lab animals. Coca-Cola put their efforts behind Diet Coke in 1982, which is sweetened with aspartame (brand name NutraSweet). Tab is still produced and can be found in some areas of the United States, as well as several African countries, Spain, and Norway. Sloe gin fizz is a cocktail made with sloe gin, lemon juice, sugar, club soda, and sometimes egg white. (“Sloe” is another name for the blackthorn berry, a relative of the plum native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa.)
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was the Swedish chemist who invented dynamite. After his brother passed away in 1888, a French paper mistakenly published Alfred’s obituary and talked smack about him for being a “merchant of death.” Nobel wanted to be remembered better than that, so he established the Nobel Prize in his will, awarded to worthy folks in five fields every year: physical science, chemistry, medical science/physiology, literature, and peace. (A sixth prize, in economics, was created later.)
Jane! Stop this crazy thing!
In the original run of The Jetsons (1962-1963), George Jetson can be seen in the closing credits taking the dog, Astro, for a walk on a treadmill that goes awry when Astro begins chasing a cat. George then yells to his wife, “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” Comedian George O’Hanlon supplied the voice of George Jetson.
Top of the world, ma!
A paraphrase of the classic line from the 1949 Jimmy Cagney film White Heat: “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” Cagney’s character was based on a real-life criminal, Francis “Two-Gun” Crowley, who was arrested in New York in 1931 after a two-hour gun battle with police.
Stop this crazy thing!
See previous note on The Jetsons.
It all started at a 500-watt radio station in Fresno, California.
An imitation of the reminiscences of one Ted Baxter (played by Ted Knight), anchorman on WJM-TV, as depicted on the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977). Baxter was fond of musing, “It all started in a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno, California, with just a $50-a-week paycheck and a dream.” Knight based the character on Los Angeles anchorman George Putnam and actor William Powell.
See above note on Pong.
“Top of the world.” Ma!
See above note on White Heat.
Stop this crazy thing!
See above note on George Jetson.
It’s the wackiest ship in the Army.
The Wackiest Ship in the Army is a 1960 film starring Jack Lemmon as a lieutenant who takes command of a ship full of misfits during World War II. The movie later served as the basis for a short-lived television series.
There’s no hope of escape from Stalag 13! –Hogan!
Hogan’s Heroes was a CBS TV sitcom that aired from 1965-1971. It was about a group of Allied service members imprisoned in a German POW camp during World War II. Yes, I typed “sitcom.” “Stalag 13” was the name of the fictional prison camp. In real life, Stalag 13 was a post-World War II POW camp operated by the Soviets and containing former SS personnel. Colonel Robert Hogan, played by Bob Crane, frequently frustrated the camp’s commandant, Col. Wilhelm Klink (Werner Klemperer) and Sgt. Hans Schultz (John Banner).
Now this is a visual representation of a theremin.
The theremin (or ætherphone) is an electronic musical instrument developed in the 1920s by Russian inventor Leon Theremin. The player uses two metal antennas set at right angles to each other. The position of the player’s hands within the range of the antennas determines the amplitude, frequency, and volume of the sound; it is thus played without ever being touched. The eerie quality of the instrument’s sound is its defining characteristic. The theremin has most notably been used in the films The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Thing from Another World, as well as in some of Led Zeppelin’s most popular songs (“Whole Lotta Love,” for one).
Hey, it’s Droopy!
Droopy is a basset hound with drooping jowls (get it?) and a slow, deadpan delivery that appeared in twenty-four theatrical shorts released by MGM between 1943 and 1958. The character was a take on Wallace Wimple, a character on the popular radio show Fibber McGee and Molly; Bill Thompson, who voiced Droopy, also played Wimple. Droopy appeared frequently in other productions and in the occasional reboot attempt for many years after. He was voiced by Thompson, Don Messick, and sometimes even director Tex Avery.
I wonder what the boys are up to.
On Leave It to Beaver, the Cleaver children were “The Beaver” (Jerry Mathers) and Wally (Tony Dow).
I just discovered I look like Robert Ryan.
Robert Ryan (1909-1973) was a tough guy actor who appeared in films such as The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, and The Longest Day.
[Imitating Dean Martin.] Hey, it’s Deano! What a ding-a-ling.
Dean Martin (1917-1995) had a successful yet contentious partnership with Jerry Lewis in the 1940s and ‘50s. After that, he had a lengthy movie and music career in films such as Rio Bravo and with songs such as “That’s Amore” and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?” His membership in the so-called Rat Pack (which included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford) made him even more popular, crowning him the “King of Cool.” In 1965, he started hosting The Dean Martin Show on NBC, where it remained until 1974. The final season of his show was retooled into The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, a raucous affair that continued to be broadcast as specials until 1984.
[Imitating Dean Martin.] Hey, Jerry. There’s something wrong with the stock footage simulator.
Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch) is a comedian who rose to fame thanks to his partnership with the aforementioned Dean Martin in the 1940s and ‘50s and then in a lengthy string of his own zany films, including The Bellboy, The Ladies Man, and The Nutty Professor. Some of Martin and Lewis’s hit films included Scared Stiff, Hollywood or Bust, and The Caddy.
Jane! Stop this ...
See above note on The Jetsons.
This is Neptune! God of the sea!
Neptune is the god of water and the sea in Roman mythology. He was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto and a patron of horses. His Greek counterpart is Poseidon.
[Imitating Jerry Lewis.] Whoa! What’s the matter? –[Imitating Dean Martin.] Jerry, were you messing with this? –[Jerry.] Ooohh! That cuts it, Dean!
See previous notes on Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
See above note on Alfred Nobel.
Well, I better tell June to hold supper.
June Cleaver was Ward Cleaver’s wife on the sitcom Leave It to Beaver (see above note). She was played by Barbara Billingsley (1915-2010).
[Imitating Droopy.] I don’t like this.
See above note on Droopy.
My head’s a plaster cast of Robert Mitchum.
Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) was an award-winning actor known for his roles in Cape Fear, The Night of the Hunter, Rio Bravo, and many more. He is considered one of the greatest actors of the film noir era.
Wally, Lumpy, Whitey, the Beav, Eddie.
These are all child characters from Leave It to Beaver (see above note). Wally was the eldest son of the Cleavers, played by Tony Dow. Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford (played by Frank Bank) was a friend of Wally’s. Hubert “Whitey” Whitney (played by Stanley Fafara) was a friend of the Beav’s. Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver was played by Jerry Mathers. Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond) was the wiseguy, kiss-ass friend of Wally.
Who died and made him Droopy?
See above note.
Adam and Eve on a raft and huh?
In diner lingo, when a waitress shouts to the chef, “Adam and Eve on a raft,” that means two poached eggs on toast. (“Adam and Eve on a raft and wreck ‘em” means two scrambled eggs on toast.)
Mrs. Roosevelt’s looking fine!
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.
“Tail-Gunner Joe” was the nickname of commie-hating demagogue Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957). It came from his false claim that he was a bomber tail-gunner in World War II; in fact, he merely flew twelve times as an observer, a number that magically inflated to thirty-two combat missions in McCarthy’s version.
Look. The Dead. Mel Tormé. Here’s one of mine. Huh?
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. Mel Tormé (1925-1999), a.k.a. the “Velvet Fog,” was one of the 20th century’s most respected jazz vocalists, with a smooth, resonant voice. He was also a prolific composer, writing more than 300 songs during his career.
Ah, Marcel Marceau’s album.
Marcel Marceau (1923-2007) was a famous French mime—just about the only one society could tolerate. He also performed as Bip the Clown. Fun trivia: Marceau spoke the only line in Mel Brooks’s 1976 comedy Silent Movie.
I lead. Give to Cesar what is Cesar’s.
Cesar Romero (1907-1994) was an actor best known for playing Latin lovers and men of action until the 1960s Batman television program, when he became famous as the “clown prince of crime,” the Joker. The riff is a paraphrase of a saying in three of the four Gospels in the New Testament, attributed to Jesus: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” He is purported to have said this in response to some hostile questions regarding whether or not Jews should pay taxes to their Roman overlords.
You taste like Bud Abbott.
Bud Abbott (1895-1974) was the “straight man” to Lou Costello in the comedy duo of Abbott & Costello. The actress here, Hillary Brooke, starred in a couple of Abbott & Costello films as well as in The Abbott and Costello Show on TV (in which she played Costello’s love interest, not Abbott’s).
It’s like an Operation game. Touch her there and she buzzes. –Remove tongue from tonsils.
Operation is a classic children’s game invented by John Spinello and produced by Hasbro since 1965. Players use tweezers to remove humorously named plastic “organs” from tiny cavities in the “patient.” If the tweezers brush sensors around the edges of the cavities, a buzzer sounds and the player loses his or her turn.
Excuse me, major. You wearing your jimmy hat?
“Jimmy hat” is a slang term for a condom (“jimmy” being a slang term for “penis” and the condom being a “hat” for it).
And bring your jimmy hat.
See previous note.
[Monkey noises.] What’s that guy’s name again? –The guy who was on The Danny Thomas Show.
Actor Sid Melton (1917-2011) played Uncle Charlie Halper on the Danny Thomas-starring sitcom Make Room for Daddy (a.k.a. The Danny Thomas Show; 1953-1964). Thomas (born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz; 1912-1991) was the father of actress Marlo Thomas and also the founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
My brother Russell. He made the pep squad.
Possibly a reference to the 1968 comedy album by Bill Cosby, To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With.
[Imitating Curly.] Nyah, ah, ah, ah!
See above note on the Three Stooges. This is yet another of Curly Howard’s trademark noises from the Three Stooges shorts. He had a lot of them.
Gimme another rum and diet, then we auger it in, Phil.
In 1990, three pilots for Northwest Airlines were arrested after flying a Boeing 727 with 91 passengers aboard from Fargo, North Dakota, to Minneapolis, Minnesota while under the influence of alcohol. Court testimony stated the captain of that Northwest flight had consumed 15 rum and diet cola beverages the night before the flight; the other two shared at least seven pitchers of beer. All three were still above the legal blood alcohol limit for pilots when tested the next day after landing. Fortunately, they made the hour-long flight without incident. All were fired by the airline, had their licenses revoked by the FAA, and served time in federal prison. They eventually returned to the commercial airline industry, either as pilots or instructors or both. One of them wrote a book about the whole thing.
[Odd accent.] If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
An imitation of Roseanne Roseannadanna, a character played by Gilda Radner that appeared on the Weekend Update segment for the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live. She was based on former New York TV anchorwoman Rose Ann Scamardella, an Italian-American with a strong Brooklyn accent. One of her catchphrases was “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another!”
Meanwhile, over Ames, Iowa.
The phrase, “Meanwhile, _____,” originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators for films, radio and television shows. Ames is a city in central Iowa with a population of about 60,000. It is home to Iowa State University and has often hosted political events thanks to its much lauded Ames Straw Poll, which is seen as a barometer for aspiring Republican presidential candidates.
You’re really bucking for that Section 8, huh, pal?
Section 8 was a type of military discharge given to soldiers who displayed a profound lack of mental fitness. This is why Corporal Klinger always wore dresses on M*A*S*H, hoping to qualify under Section 8 and be sent home.
[German accent.] I can prove these guys don’t exist.
The German idealist philosophical movement of the 19th century (which included Friedrich Schelling and Georg Hegel) debated the perception of existence.
Remind me to kill you later.
A frequent threat made by Moe Howard (Moses Horwitz; 1897-1975), leader of the Three Stooges, to the other two. Their response was usually, “I’ll make a note of it.”
Don’t say “hi.” Jeepers.
“Jeepers” is a minced oath (subbing for “Jesus”). It first appeared in the 1920s.
I will hollow you out and use you as a sleeping bag.
It might just be the Star Wars nerd in me talking, but this could be a reference to 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, wherein Han Solo uses Luke’s lightsaber to slice open their snow steed, the Tauntaun, so the wounded Skywalker could stay warm while Han built a shelter. Yes, Han crammed Luke into the beast’s abdominal cavity. And, years later, someone made a sleeping bag based on it.
Who had the Manhattan? And who had the fifteen rum and Diet Cokes? Good thing we stocked up in Fargo.
The Manhattan is a cocktail invented in the 1870s at The Manhattan Club in New York City. It’s made with whiskey, sweet red vermouth, bitters, and a cherry. See above note on the Northwestern pilots.
And so ve invade Poland.
Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, an event most consider the opening salvo in World War II. In Germany, this was reported as a defensive action after Polish forces attacked a German radio station (the Gleiwitz incident). In fact, the Polish forces were Germans in disguise; it was a false flag operation meant to provide a pretext for invasion.
Stuckey’s is a chain of roadside restaurants/souvenir shops founded in 1937. At one time they littered America’s highways. There aren’t as many of them now, but you can still buy their famous Pecan Logs at the occasional Stuckey’s, mostly in the South and Southeast.
Meanwhile, over Bowling Green, Tennessee.
There’s a Bowling Green in Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia, but not in Tennessee, although Tennessee does have a Bowling Green Cemetery. It looks like a pleasant place to be dead. See above note on "Meanwhile ..."
“Dead end. Dead end.” [Sung, to the tune of The Pink Panther theme.] –Dead end, dead end, dead end, dead end, dead ennnnnd. Sorry.
“The Pink Panther Theme” was written by Henry Mancini for the 1963 film The Pink Panther and nominated for an Academy Award. The instrumental was also used as the theme song for the long-running Pink Panther cartoon series in the 1960s and ‘70s.
“Rostov! Briggs!” Rico! Youngblood!
In the 1959-1963 ABC television series The Untouchables, two of Eliot Ness’s men were Agent Enrico “Rico” Rossi and Agent William Youngfellow (not Youngblood). In a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Desi Arnaz (a producer of the drama), Dan Aykroyd played Eliot Ness and called for the other members of his team, saying, “Lee! Rico! Youngblood!” The error was further solidified by Frank Zappa (who has a big fan in Kevin Murphy) in the 1988 song “The Untouchables,” in which his guitarist, Ike Willis, also called out for Rico and “Youngblood.”
Meanwhile, over Three Mile Island.
Three Mile Island is the site of a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania that suffered a partial meltdown on March 28, 1979. One hundred and forty thousand people were evacuated within a 20-mile radius of the plant, mainly parents and very young children. The plant itself had to be decommissioned due to severe radioactive contamination, although no one was injured in the accident. The meltdown was a PR disaster and contributed to a massive decline in public support for nuclear power. Out of 129 nuclear power plants that had already been approved for construction, only 53 were ever built. See above note on “Meanwhile …”
Right hand, red.
A reference to Twister, a board game produced by Hasbro, which consists of a large plastic sheet with circles of four different colors on it. The object is to place your hands and feet on the different colors as the game spinner indicates until all players are hopelessly entangled and fall into a gigantic heap. It was first released in 1966.
The captain has put on the “no smoking” sign. Your seat back doubles as a flotation device.
Part of the spiel flight attendants (usually) give airplane passengers before takeoff.
Where’s George Kennedy when you need him?
Actor George Kennedy (1925-2016) played airline mechanic Joe Patroni in the disaster flick Airport and reprised the role in all three sequels.
Hey, we landed on a witch. Maybe the film will be in color from this point.
In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s farmhouse is lifted by a tornado and carried into the land of Oz. When the building lands in Munchkinland, it falls on the Wicked Witch of the East. The portion of the film that takes place in Kansas is in sepia-toned black-and-white. When Dorothy opens her front door and sees Oz for the first time, the film transitions to color.
That’s the last time we let you play in-flight Twister.
See above note on Twister.
Let’s form a soccer team and eat each other.
A reference to the true story of a Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crash in the Andes Mountains in 1972. The sixteen survivors were forced to eat the bodies of the victims to stay alive. They were rescued by a passing horseman more than two months later, long after the search had been called off. In 1993, the ordeal was made into the film Alive.
Maybe there was hand soap in the hydraulic fluid.
A callback to KTMA Show K13, SST Death Flight.
Sounds like an old Duran Duran tape! –“Hungry Like the Wolf?” –Yeah.
Duran Duran is a British New Wave group that formed in 1978 and rose to their highest popularity in the 1980s. Their hits include “Girls on Film,” “Rio,” and “Hungry Like the Wolf.” “Wolf” was released in 1983, reached number three in the US, and includes one of my favorite lines: “Smell like I sound.”
I can see you’re really upset about this, Dave.
A paraphrased line from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dave is Dr. David Bowman (played by Keir Dullea). The line was spoken by the artificially intelligent computer that controls the spacecraft Discovery, HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer; voiced by Douglas Rain).
What a joker.
Cesar Romero refused to shave his trademark moustache when playing the Joker, so white makeup was slathered unconvincingly on top of it.
Vitalis is a line of men’s hair-care products: hair spray, tonic, etc. In the 1940s and ’50s the tonic was especially popular for slicking the hair back in a socially conservative fashion.
Guys, this kind of reminds me of a movie I once saw about two guys crash in a jungle and ... –Shhh. –I wish we could have a charbroiled hamburger sandwich and some French fried potatoes. –That’s what I’m talking about.
A reference to Show 203, Jungle Goddess.
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant. –Thanks, Frank.
A line from the 1959 song “High Hopes,” written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn and sung by Frank Sinatra in the 1959 film A Hole in the Head. Sinatra recorded another version of the song for his friend John F. Kennedy, who used it as the theme song for his successful 1960 presidential campaign.
Looking for a woman named “Wanama.”
A callback to Show 203, Jungle Goddess.
Gilligan? –Mary Ann?
Gilligan’s Island was a CBS sitcom that aired from 1964 to 1967 about a group of people stranded on an island after their boat wrecked during a storm. The premise was stretched beyond credulity in a 1974-1977 Filmation animated series, three reunion films (including the improbable The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island), and the 1982 animated series Gilligan’s Planet, set in space. Gilligan, played by Bob Denver, was the S.S. Minnow’s first mate. Mary Ann Summers, played by Dawn Wells, was a country girl who always managed to scrounge together the ingredients for pies.
Let’s torch the village! Let’s do the whole village, man! Let’s do it!
In the 1986 Vietnam War film Platoon, Lieutenant Wolfe (Mark Moses) orders his soldiers to burn a village suspected of aiding the North Vietnamese guerrillas.
It’s a Gauguin still life! Shoot it!
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was a French post-Impressionist painter. For a time he focused on painting Breton peasants, but in 1891, broke and dissatisfied with European society, he left for Tahiti, where he remained for years, subsisting on fish and fruit and painting a lot of pictures of topless women.
It’s called Harvard.
Harvard University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States. It was founded in 1636.
I’m Cesar Romero, international Latin star.
See above note. Romero also played The Cisco Kid in six westerns, starred as Doc “Halliday” in a Wyatt Earp film, and played the leading man opposite multiple starlets in the 1940s.
Whoa, Sabu speaks!
Sabu Dastagir (1924-1963) was an Indian actor often credited only as Sabu. He became well known in the 1940s; films included The Thief of Bagdad, Jungle Book, and Arabian Nights.
“No, no.” –No, no, no, no-no-no-no-no ...
“Nobody But Me” is a 1962 song recorded by the Isley Brothers and written by O’Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald Isley. It was covered by The Human Beinz in 1967. In just two minutes and sixteen seconds, the word “no” is said more than 100 times; “nobody” is said more than forty.
And then we’ll give you some glass beads and stuff.
Likely a reference to the legendary Dutch purchase of Manhattan from Native Americans for $24 worth of glass beads. Documents from that era show that Dutch settlers traded goods worth 60 guilders; in 1846 a scholar converted that figure to dollars, which at the time was the equivalent of $24. Ever since, people have been failing to account for inflation. In 2006, those 60 guilders would have been worth about $1,000. More important, both sides seem to have thought it was a fair price.
[Imitating Mae West.] Follow me, boys. Ooh.
Mae West (1893-1980) was an actress and writer. She’s best known as a sex symbol and an unparalleled spouter of double entendres. Early in her career West wrote and starred in a 1926 Broadway play titled Sex, for which she was arrested on morals charges. The incident made her famous.
Did you make that out of mashed potatoes?
In 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, after being buzzed by a UFO, Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) begins to sculpt the shape of a mysterious tower in various substances, including his side dishes at the dinner table.
Yeah, it’s FM.
Ah, radio. Before you kids had your iPods and such, you could wrap a wire around a quartz crystal, tie a transistor to it, plug in a battery, and listen to the Beatles. Amplitude modulation (AM) radio was developed in 1906 by Reginald Fessenden. Before Reggie, any radio broadcaster was using that entire part of the spectrum instead of an individual setting. Frequency modulation (FM) radio was developed by Edwin Armstrong in 1933. While AM radio can have greater range than FM, FM has the capacity for greater sound quality. That’s why most music stations are on the FM side of the dial.
Get me! I’m almost outta the frame!
A paraphrase of a line from the 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life, spoken by Sheldon Leonard as Nick the bartender: “Get me! I’m givin’ out wings!”
Look at that. They’ve got their wingtip climbing Oxfords on.
Oxfords are a kind of lace-up shoe worn by both men and women; they were originally a formal leather shoe but are now worn in both formal and casual settings and are made from many different materials.
Climb every mountain, till you find your dream. I don’t think so.
“Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is a song from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. Sample lyrics: “Climb ev’ry mountain/Ford ev’ry stream/Follow ev’ry rainbow/Till you find your dream.”
You ever see Eiger Sanction?
The Eiger Sanction is a 1975 action film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood as an art history professor who moonlights as an assassin. He is hired to kill a man during a climb up the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland.
Love on the rocks. –No big surprise.
“Love on the Rocks” is a 1968 song written by Gilbert Bécaud and Neil Diamond and performed by the latter. It was used in the 1980 film The Jazz Singer. Sample lyrics: “Love on the rocks, ain’t no big surprise/Just pour me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies …”
Could you turn down your Aaron Copland watch, please?
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was an American composer known for his ballet Rodeo (which includes what we know as the “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” theme) and Fanfare for the Common Man (frequently used at sporting events).
Joel, why are we watching this dull mountain climbing sequence? –Well, because it’s there.
In 1923, when asked why he wanted to scale Mount Everest after two failed attempts, British mountain climber George Leigh Mallory (1886-1924) responded, “Because it’s there.” Mallory and his climbing partner were last seen 800 feet from the summit on their third attempt; his body was not discovered until 1999. It is unknown whether he reached the top before his death.
Here’s a little trick I learned either from Will Rogers or Bob Mapplethorpe. Can’t remember who.
Will Rogers (1879-1935) was a world-renowned actor, humorist, and social commentator known for his vaudeville act as a trick roper. He was at the height of celebrity culture when he died in a plane crash with aviator Wiley Post in 1935. Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his homoerotic photographs of nude men. His most controversial work was his shots of the underground BDSM and bondage scene in New York City.
[Imitating Bela Lugosi.] How fortunate. This vill simplify everything.
A line spoken by Bela Lugosi in the Phantom Creeps short in Show 203, Jungle Goddess. Lugosi (1882-1956) was a Hungarian actor who most famously played Count Dracula in the Broadway play and 1931 Universal film bearing that name. He also starred in several of director Ed Woods’s low-budget flicks toward the end of his life.
I’m gonna climb up into Lincoln’s nose.
Mount Rushmore, a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota, features the gigantic heads of four presidents, each about 60 feet high, carved out of the granite of the mountain: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Work on the memorial began in 1927 and was finished in 1941 under sculptor Gutzon Borglum.
Remember, Robin. Both hands on the Batrope.
In the 1966-1968 ABC TV series Batman, starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as Robin, the Boy Wonder, whenever the Dynamic Duo had to scale a building, they were filmed clinging to a rope with their feet firmly planted on the face of the building. This was accomplished by shooting the actors walking horizontally and turning the image on edge. The sequence became famous not only for its absurdity but also for the frequent guest star cameos. Invariably, as they ascended, a famous person would poke their head out of a window in wonderment at the sight of masked vigilantes on the building. Such cameos included Dick Clark, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, and Santa Claus (played by Andy Devine).
No one will be admitted during the breathtaking climbing scene.
Advertisements for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho used the slogan “No one … BUT NO ONE … will be admitted to the theater after the start of each performance.” The phrase was copied frequently in ensuing years, often by campy horror director and producer William Castle.
Ooh, lemme tell ya, workin’ the Catskills is tough, ooooh.
The Catskill Mountains in New York served as a getaway for many vacationers from New York City. A portion of it known as “the Borscht Belt” was popular with Jewish immigrants. Its many resort hotels and lounges made the Catskills famous as the training ground for stand-up comics throughout the early and mid-20th century. Famous comedians who got their start there include Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Lenny Bruce, Danny Kaye, Chico and Harpo Marx, the Three Stooges, and many more.
Dope on a rope.
“Dope on a rope,” other than referencing the relative intelligence of these climbers, is a slang term that has multiple meanings. It might refer to a method of selling street drugs, a method of smuggling drugs popular in the 1980s, or, in military parlance, slang for a paratrooper. This could also be referencing the fighting style called “rope-a-dope,” successfully employed by boxer Muhammad Ali in the famous 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” fight against George Foreman. The phrase was coined by boxing photographer George Kalinsky, who suggested that the boxer stay in the ropes so the energy from the attacker’s blows is absorbed by their elasticity. This will eventually wear the attacker down so the defender can strike back, without having been severely hurt or exhausted.
Little buddy. Don’t let go.
On the show Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967), “li’l buddy” was the oft-heard name The Skipper (a.k.a. Jonas Grumby, played by Alan Hale Jr.) gave to Gilligan (Bob Denver).
Hey, what’s Henry Fonda doing there?
Henry Fonda (1905-1982) was an award-winning actor known for roles in The Grapes of Wrath, 12 Angry Men, In Harm’s Way, and On Golden Pond. His children Peter and Jane Fonda are actors themselves.
Wherever there’s a guy climbing a mountain, he’ll be there.
A paraphrase of one of Henry Fonda’s famous lines from The Grapes of Wrath: “Wherever you can look—wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there.”
Don't do it! Don't you do it! I've got nowhere else to go!
These are Richard Gere’s desperate words to Lou Gossett Jr. in the film An Officer and a Gentleman when Gossett threatens to throw him out of Officer Candidate School.
“Just making a check with the Geiger.” Is that check current?
German physicist Hans Geiger (1882-1945) invented the Geiger counter in 1908 along with Ernest Rutherford to detect alpha rays. In 1928 Geiger and student Walther Müller created a new and improved version, the Geiger-Müller counter, that could detect beta, gamma, and X rays as well. The device that checks electric current is called an ammeter.
Lucite is one of several brand names for the transparent plastic material polymethyl methacrylate. Another well-known brand name is Plexiglas.
This is better than that Indiana Jones truck sequence.
In the film Raiders of the Lost Ark, there is a famous sequence in which Indiana Jones chases after a truck full of Nazi soldiers with all kinds of action and stunts.
That was the exciting Odessa Trips sequence.
Battleship Potemkin is a 1925 Russian silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, widely regarded as one of the best and most influential films ever made. It is, in fact, a propaganda piece dramatizing a 1905 mutiny against tsarist superiors. The most famous scene in the movie—the Odessa Steps sequence, which shows a massacre of civilians by the tsar’s soldiers—did not happen in real life. The scene has been endlessly duplicated, homaged, etc., ever since.
Not since Andy Warhol’s Empire State has a camera stayed in one place for so long.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist who was a founding figure in the Pop Art movement. He became famous for his multicolored portraits of pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe and everyday items like Campbell’s soup cans. He was also known for making bizarre films such as Empire (not Empire State), a 1964 black-and-white film that consists of eight hours of nonstop slow-motion film of the Empire State Building, and *** (a.k.a. Four Stars), which clocks in at a whopping 25 hours long and involves two reels of film projected on the screen simultaneously. It was only shown in its entirety once.
Oh, that can’t be healthy. Did somebody have a Cobb salad or something?
Hollywood’s Brown Derby Restaurant, and its owner Robert Howard Cobb, made this main-dish salad famous in the 1930s. It consists of finely chopped chicken or turkey, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, avocado, scallions, watercress, and chopped lettuce tossed with a vinaigrette dressing and topped with an ample portion of Roquefort or another blue cheese. Since 1937, the Brown Derby restaurants have sold more than 4 million Cobb salads.
No, it was the Cobb salad. I’m sure of it.
See previous note.
Plot point, plot point. –Syd Field would put that earlier.
Syd Field (1935-2013) was the “guru of all screenwriters,” according to CNN. He taught screenwriting at the University of Southern California and wrote several books on screenwriting that are used as standard texts by hundreds of schools. Amusingly, his actual screenwriting credits are few and far between (a handful of TV episodes, a short film), but his fingerprints are all over Hollywood to this day. Field taught the “three-act” structure, in which the plot is set up in the first half-hour (the first act), the second act focuses on the main character’s struggle to achieve his/her goal, and the third act is the climactic struggle and aftermath, in which the protagonist either does or does not achieve the goal.
I turned around and the hitchhiker was gone!
The “gasp” line of an old campfire story.
“The gods are angry tonight.” –I’d say they’re bowling. –And crazy.
“Don’t worry, honey, it’s just God bowling” (or “the angels bowling”) is sometimes used by parents to reassure frightened children during a thunderstorm. The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 South African comedy film about a tribesman from Botswana who finds an empty Coke bottle and concludes it is a present from the gods. There have been four sequels (one “official,” three “unofficial”).
One of the oldest running gags on the show, dating back to the earliest KTMA episodes. According to Trace Beaulieu, Crow simplified the entire animal kingdom into either “doggies” or “kitties,” though most of the time he just said “kitty.”
I’d say doc’s been sniffing his polychlorinates again.
Polychlorinates are used in plastics and solvents (as in, polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs). I couldn’t find one with medical applications.
We’re gonna need a bigger cave. We’re going to get a bigger cave, right?
A paraphrase of the 35th most famous line in cinema history, according to the American Film Institute. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” was said by Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to Captain Quint (Robert Shaw) after he first spotted the great white shark in the 1975 classic Jaws.
[British accent.] It’s very foggy.
The so-called “pea souper” or “London particular” common in that city in the late 1800s was not purely fog. It was actually a thick smog caused by the burgeoning industrial sector and the many thousands of chimneys using coal for home heating. It persisted until the 1950s when, in 1952, a particularly bad bout known as the Great Smog caused 4,000 deaths from respiratory illnesses over just a few days. The Clean Air Act of 1956 banned the use of coal for domestic heating, and the problem cleared up.
Hey, the land of Dairy Queen.
A reference to an old advertising jingle for the Dairy Queen chain of restaurants: “In the land of Dairy Queen, we treat you right!” Commercials for the chain in the 1970s featured close ups of sundae toppings looking like mountains.
It’s Edmund Hillary.
Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) was a New Zealand mountaineer. In 1953, Hillary and his guide, Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, were the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. By mutual agreement, Hillary and Norgay never revealed which of them actually set foot on the summit first, saying only that they achieved it as a team.
Hey, save the fog. We can use it in a Ridley Scott film.
Sir Ridley Scott is a director best known for the sci-fi classics Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982). Both films were pretty foggy.
They just climbed through the ionosphere. Is that legal?
The ionosphere is part of the upper atmosphere, extending from about 50 miles up to 600 miles above the Earth’s surface.
We’re in hell. Neat.
Hell is a metaphysical locale in various religious traditions where the dead (usually the sinful) are punished for their transgressions in life. Prior to the New Testament of the Bible, many believed the dead, both the good and bad, went to Sheol (in Hebrew) or Hades (in Greek). In Catholic terms, it was a kind of limbo. The Christian concept of hell was based in part on a flaming garbage dump outside Jerusalem (called Gehenna, or the Valley of Hinnon). In modern times, hell has been viewed as an actual physical place where the souls of the damned are tortured for eternity by demons and ruled over by Satan (a.k.a. the Devil).
You know what I’m really hungry for right now? Rock lobster. For some reason. Anything by the B-52s, really.
The B-52s are a pop-New Wave band (with retro flair) that were founded in 1976. Their biggest hits are 1989’s “Love Shack” and 1990’s “Roam.” “Rock Lobster,” their first single, was a lesser hit in 1978, but it has influenced other artists and, thanks to its fun, nonsensical lyrics, persists today.
Robert Lippert presents a mountain out of a molehill.
See above note on Robert Lippert.
This is a madhouse! A madhouse!
“It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!” is a line from the 1968 Charlton Heston film Planet of the Apes.
I never knew Mountain Time was so slow.
The Mountain Time Zone is two hours behind the Eastern Time Zone and seven behind Greenwich Mean Time. States in the zone include Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.
Should I play up this plot point? Oh, what the hell. Forget Syd Field.
See note on Syd Field, above.
I’ve plummeted to my death and I can’t get up!
A reference to the (in)famous TV commercials for LifeCall, which produced small electronic devices for the elderly that they could use to notify medical services in case of a home accident. In an ad that first appeared in 1989, a woman named “Mrs. Fletcher” activated her necklace and famously said, “I’ve fallen ... and I can’t get up!” Three actresses have been credited with playing Mrs. Fletcher: Edith Fore, Dorothy McHugh, and Bea Marcus. The phrase was trademarked by LifeCall in the 1990s and was later appropriated by the similar service Life Alert. Both companies use the phrase on their websites, and it has entered the pop culture lexicon, under the “Unintentional Camp” category.
Hey, what happened, Gramps? You lose something? –Yes, but the light is so much better over here.
This is the punch line of a joke that begins with a drunk looking on the ground under a streetlight. A passerby sees him and asks what he’s looking for. The drunk says “My keys,” and the pedestrian asks if they were lost there. He answers, “No, but the light is so much better here.”
Get your paws off that mountain, you damn dirty apes!
Another paraphrased line from the aforementioned Planet of the Apes.
Noonan. Noonan. –Miss. Noonan! –Noonan!
In the 1980 film Caddyshack, when Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is attempting to sink a putt, his fellow caddies try to distract him from the sidelines by chanting his name.
Throw me the whip! –Throw me the idol!
A paraphrase of the exchange between Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his treacherous guide, Satipo (a very young Alfred Molina), at the beginning of 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Satipo was Molina’s first film role; in a 2013 interview he called it a “gift from God.”
Is this Robert Mapplethorpe again?
See above note.
Ollie in free!
Sometimes “olly olly oxen free,” “ollie ollie umphrey,” etc., this is a phrase called out during children’s games to indicate all the players should return. It’s most frequently used when playing hide and seek to prompt all the hiders to expose themselves. It comes either from the German phrase “Alle, alle auch sind frei” (“everyone, everyone is also free”) or “All ye, all ye ‘outs’ in free.”
We’re on top of Ol’ Smoky.
“On Top of Old Smoky” is a folk song that dates back to the 1800s and likely is about a mountain in the Ozarks (which one is unknown). The Weavers recorded a hit version in 1951. Tom Glazer recorded a parody in 1963 titled “On Top of Spaghetti” that has since become a children’s classic.
You know, this secondhand smoke is just as unhealthy.
When this episode first aired, studies on secondhand smoke were in the news (being released from 1986 well into the 1990s), proving people could be harmed just from being in the room with smokers. The tobacco industry vigorously fought the studies for years.
Hey, guys. Watch this. I saw it on Mannix once. –[Imitating theme.] Bah-dah, bah-dah!
Mannix was a television series starring Mike Connors (1925-2017) as Joe Mannix, a private eye in Los Angeles who indulged in frequent car chases, shootouts, and fistfights. It aired from 1967-1975. Mike Connors (under the name “Touch Connors”) appeared in Show 503, Swamp Diamonds.
The Russian judge gives him a three point five.
In Olympic event scoring, Russian judges are often considered to be especially strict.
Throw me the whip.
See above note on Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Hey, guys. Watch this. I saw it on Mannix once. –Bah-dah, bah-dah!
See previous note.
Noonan! –Noonan! –Miss. –Noonan!
See above note on Caddyshack.
I saw this on Mannix once. Ve produce ze best athletes.
See previous note.
“We’ve hit the top!” –Broadway!
Broadway is a street in New York City, famous for being home to much of the nation’s premier theater productions, and the spine of the Theater District.
Doug McClure (1935-1995) was an actor who starred in the NBC western The Virginian (1962-1971). He also starred in the sci-fi films The Land That Time Forgot (1975) and The People That Time Forgot (1977).
It’s the Jungle Goddess set.
Another reference to Show 203, Jungle Goddess.
This is the classic exclamation uttered by Homer Simpson (referred to in scripts as “annoyed grunt”) on the animated TV series The Simpsons, which first aired in 1989. Twenty years before that, it was often said by the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) on the ‘60s sitcom Gilligan’s Island. Actor Dan Castellaneta, who supplies the voice of Homer, has said he borrowed the phrase from a comedian named James Finlayson, who appeared in a number of Laurel & Hardy shorts. In 2001, the expression made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, thus becoming officially enshrined in the English language.
Well, men. Let’s bungle in the jungle.
“Bungle in the Jungle” is a song by the British progressive rock band Jethro Tull, from their 1974 album War Child.
“You’re looking at a kind of world that hasn’t existed for millions of years.” Who are you? Camus?
Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French philosopher and writer known for absurdism. His major works include The Stranger, The Plague, and The Myth of Sisyphus.
You look at it. I’m bitter.
The first usage of this oft-repeated phrase by our riffers.
I told you it was the Cobb salad.
See above note.
“Purple Haze” is a classic psychedelic song written and performed by Jimi Hendrix and released in 1967.
Thank you, Morty Gunty.
Morty Gunty (1929-1984) was a nightclub comedian who appeared on many television shows in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, and even acted in a couple of feature films.
Chili peppers. They burn my gut.
A callback to Show 202, Sidehackers.
What about Hungerdunger? –Oh, you left him out and he’s the most important one.
In a scene in the 1930 Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers, Groucho is dictating a letter to his lawyer, the Honorable Charles H. Hungerdunger, of Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, and McCormick, and then demands that Zeppo read it back to him.
Zeppo [reading]: Honorable Charles H. Hungadunga …
Groucho: That’s it, Hungerdunger.
Zeppo [reading again]: … care of Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, and McCormick.
Groucho: You’ve left out a Hungerdunger. You left out the main one, too.
Must be FM.
See above note.
This square bugs me! He really bugs me! –Easy, easy.
A reference to Show 207, Wild Rebels.
Saigon. I can’t believe I’m in Saigon.
A paraphrase of the opening voiceover spoken by Martin Sheen in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. The actual line is: “Saigon … shit. I’m still only in Saigon.”
The use of the rimshot or sting at the punchline of a joke dates back to early 20th-century vaudeville performers.
This movie makes Shoah look like a two-reeler. –Easily.
Shoah (Hebrew for “Holocaust”) is a 1985 French documentary about the persecution and attempted genocide of the Jews by Nazi Germany before and during World War II. It was directed by Claude Lanzmann and is more than ten hours long.
And there on the handle was a ...
This is the end to a famous campfire tale wherein a hook-handed maniac terrorizes teens making out in cars.
MRs? Is that like a handful of yours?
An “mR” is a milliroentgen, one-thousandth of a roentgen, an obsolete unit for measuring the amount of radiation exposure, as in medical X-rays. It’s named after the German physicist who discovered X-rays, Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923).
The Japanese would’ve owned all this anyway.
Anti-Japanese sentiments in the U.S. came to a head in the 1980s. American industry (especially automakers) had been on the wane for years and Japanese firms were thriving. Well-known properties, such as Columbia Pictures and Rockefeller Center, were purchased by Japanese companies and drew the ire of many Americans. “Japan bashing” arose not only in public sentiment and even hate crimes but also in pop culture. Japanese antagonists in books such as Rising Sun and films like Black Rain became more common. These feelings subsided when bubbles in Japan’s economy popped in the ‘90s and the U.S. economy, fueled by the dot-com boom, improved.
My compliments to Dinty Moore.
Dinty Moore is a brand of canned beef stew first manufactured by Hormel in 1935.
Another character from Leave It to Beaver (see above note): a friend of Beaver, Larry Mondello was played by Robert “Rusty” Stevens.
Turd Museum in Citrusville.
In Show 207, Wild Rebels, Citrusville was the site of the film’s climax. “Turd Museum” is an old Steve Martin joke: “I went to the turd museum today. They’ve got some great shit there. You know, some of that crap is worth a lot of money.”
Yeah, but you’ve got a Chippendale calendar.
Chippendales is a traveling adult erotic dance show featuring male performers, aimed at mostly female audiences. The men are bodybuilders who dance and put on a show before stripping. They have touring companies worldwide, and have a standing act in Vegas. They have spawned a highly successful merchandising line that includes posters, calendars, playing cards, and so forth.
This is where they shot Mad Monster. A little ways down here, you’ll see where they did Jungle Goddess. There’s Rocketship X-M, filmed right here, too. –Neat.
References to Shows 103, 203, and 201, respectively. Mad Monster was also directed by Sam Newfield (see above note).
[Jerry Lewis-style noises and words.]
See above note on Jerry Lewis.
[More Jerry Lewis noises.]
See above note on Jerry Lewis.
“I’ll stick with the needle, too, huh?” –Oh, Sid and Nancy are coming.
Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie; 1957-1979) was an English punk musician, bass player and singer for the influential group the Sex Pistols. He was engaged in a mutually self-destructive relationship with Nancy Spungen (1958-1978); both of them abused drugs, particularly heroin. On October 12, 1978, Vicious claimed he woke up from a drug-induced blackout to find Spungen’s dead body in their shared apartment, killed by a single stab wound, courtesy of a knife owned by Vicious. Police charged him with the murder, but before he could be tried for the crime he died of a drug overdose, which some believe was deliberate suicide. The story was told in the 1986 film Sid and Nancy, which starred Gary Oldman as Vicious and Chloe Webb as Spungen.
I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic’s, and his hair was perfect.
A line from Warren Zevon’s 1978 hit song “Werewolves of London.”
Apatosaurus is a species of herbivorous four-legged dinosaur that lived more than 150 million years ago. Its fossil was first uncovered in 1877 by famed paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. Two years later, Marsh found another fossil that appeared to be a different species, so it was given a new name: Brontosaurus. These fossils were among the largest found by that point, and their mounted skeletons (along with the Brontosaurus name, meaning “thunder lizard”) captured the public’s imagination. In 1903, paleontologists realized that the Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils were actually from the same species, so the first name prevailed among scientists. But, again, the public’s imagination had been captured and they didn’t care about accuracy. The error continues to this day. Yes, I’m a dork. I’ve accepted it. In fact, I even refuse to buy books or toys for my son that use “Brontosaurus.” That’s right; I’m that guy.
Now a word from Hunt-Wesson.
Hunt-Wesson is an older name for food producer Hunt’s that was coined after they merged with Wesson Oil. They’re all part of ConAgra Foods now.
He brought Stravinsky with him.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian composer who created many of the classic works of modernism, including his Rite of Spring, which caused a near-riot when it premiered.
Turns out I’m a herbivore. These guys got nothing to worry about. I’m really just a red herring. Please enjoy the film. Now a word from Jays Potato Chips. You’ll enjoy it.
Jays Foods is a maker of snacks, founded in Chicago in 1927 by Leonard Japp, Sr.; products include potato chips and popcorn. It filed for Chapter 11 in 2007 and was acquired by Snyder’s of Hanover. Distribution is limited to the Midwest.
“Run away!” was screamed by King Arthur (played by Graham Chapman) in the 1975 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail as the French hurled cows and other animals at his knights.
[British accent.] Brontosaurus in Africa? –Shhh!
A paraphrased line from the 1983 film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, from a scene in which a British soldier has clearly had his leg bitten off by a wild animal. The actual line: “A tiger?! In Africa?!”
Stuck in the middle with you.
“Stuck in the Middle with You” is a 1972 hit single by Stealers Wheel. The song enjoyed a resurgence in 1992 thanks to its use in the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs.
A watch? For fifty years of movie service?
The tradition of presenting employees with a gold watch upon retirement apparently began with PepsiCo. in the 1940s, when gold was relatively cheap. Eventually the watches became gold-plated; now employees are lucky if they get noticed at all when they retire—assuming they can afford to.
“Take any of those rocks.” –Please.
A reference to comedian Henny Youngman’s (1906-1998) most famous joke. His wife, Sadie, was often the subject of his one-liners (despite his lifelong adoration of her; they were married for more than sixty years), and the origin of the joke dates to the mid-1930s, when Youngman asked a theater usher to escort his wife to their seats. He said, “Take my wife, please,” and the usher laughed, thinking it was a joke. A classic bit was born.
Hey, where’s that copy of Aviation Weekly?
Aviation Week & Space Technology, often called Aviation Week, is a weekly periodical covering the aerospace industry, first published in 1916.
Turn to the Cessna. Whoo!
Cessna Aircraft Company is an airplane manufacturer dating back to 1911 when Kansas farmer Clyde Cessna built his own plane out of wood and fabric. He founded the company in 1927; its first plane, the DC-6, was approved the same day the market crashed in 1929. The company went into hibernation briefly as the economy struggled, but by the late ‘40s, they were one of the most prolific producers of small aircraft.
Sometimes referred to as “sad trombone,” “loser horns,” or, more technically, “chromatic descending ‘wah,’” this sound effect dates back to early 1900s vaudeville. It was carried over into radio and then television. Today, it’s mostly known thanks to the series of “Debbie Downer” sketches on Saturday Night Live.
Oh, this was also called Cesar Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
George Romero is a writer and director best known for popularizing the genre of zombie films. His films include 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, 1985’s Day of the Dead, 2005’s Land of the Dead, 2008’s Diary of the Dead, and 2009’s Survival of the Dead. He’s done non-zombie stuff too.
They went to Perkins without us.
Perkins Restaurant and Bakery is an American casual dining restaurant chain offering breakfast any time and selling fresh baked pastries; it was founded in 1958. Many locations closed abruptly in 2011 when the company filed for bankruptcy, and the company has continued to experience financial difficulties.
When stools ruled the world.
A reference to the 1970 movie When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, which featured stop-motion beasts and Playboy Playmate Victoria Vetri.
Who brought the string bass?! –It’s a contrabbasso, sir. –Shut up, maggot!
The double bass (a.k.a. string bass, contrabass, stand-up bass, etc.) is a large stringed musical instrument originating in the 1400s and present in most orchestras and jazz groups to this day.
Hey, look! The cast of Star Trek!
The original Star Trek series aired on NBC from 1966 to 1969. It followed the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. Leonard McCoy, and the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise as it explored the galaxy.
[Muffled voice.] Help me, Kirk! Help me, Spock!
Lines from the Star Trek episode “The Savage Curtain,” in which powerful rock beings seek to understand good and evil by teaming Kirk and Spock up with facsimiles of Abraham Lincoln and ancient Vulcan philosopher Surak and then pitting them against four facsimiles of evil characters from history. One is of the first Klingon emperor, Kahless the Unforgettable, who apparently was a professional impersonator in his spare time, because he imitates both Surak and Lincoln in attempts to draw Kirk and Spock out from hiding.
No, June! Not the clown suit!
See above note on June Cleaver.
I’m not an animal! I am a rubber model!
A famous line from the 1980 fact-based drama The Elephant Man, wherein the severely deformed John Merrick (played by John Hurt) is confronted by an angry mob and screams, “I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I ... am ... a ... man!”
I wonder how he keeps his hair back like that? Kinda reminds me of Patti LaBelle.
Patti LaBelle is an R&B singer and actress best known for her 1974 disco song (with the group Labelle) “Lady Marmalade.”
You and me going ‘round and ‘round. Model e model.
“Mano a mano” is a Spanish phrase meaning “hand to hand.” It was first used for bullfights in which two matadors competed for the audience’s love, but it is more commonly applied in the boxing world these days (often incorrectly translated as “man to man” or “one on one”).
[Imitating Beaver.] Gee, dad. Why’d you have to go out and get a greenstick fracture?
An imitation of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (see above note). A greenstick fracture is a break in a young person’s bones, so named because the still-soft bone bends before it breaks, not unlike fresh wood.
Just as dinosaurs must protect their young, so must you invest in Mutual of Omaha.
Mutual of Omaha is a Nebraska insurance company founded in 1909 that is best known for having sponsored the nature show Wild Kingdom from 1963 to 1988 and its revival on the Animal Planet network, which began airing in 2002.
“Say uncle” is a demand for submission, usually by schoolyard bullies who have pinned one’s arms behind one’s back. The earliest published example of the phrase dates to a joke in the late 1800s.
Dinah Shore (1916-1994) was a singer, actress, and television personality who starred in her own eponymous series in the early 1950s and two daytime talk shows in the 1970s. Her last talk show, A Conversation with Dinah, aired on TNN from 1989 to 1992.
Meanwhile, in a less interesting part of the film.
See above note on “Meanwhile ...”
Check it out. Graffiti from the Donner Party.
The Donner Party was a group of about 80 settlers who, led by George and Jacob Donner, tried to make it to California during the winter of 1846-1847. They got trapped in a pass by a winter storm in the Sierra Nevadas; half of their number died before they could be rescued, and the rest resorted to cannibalism to survive. The pass where they were trapped is now named Donner Pass.
Candy cigarette? They’re toasted.
Candy cigarettes are treats introduced in the early 1900s, usually of compressed sugar or bubblegum shaped to resemble cigarettes (sometimes even with red dye on one end to look like it’s lit). Many felt that the candy inured children to the practice of smoking, leading to bans and voluntary withdrawals from the marketplace in some countries. They are still sold around the world, usually as “candy sticks.” (The bubblegum cigarettes were the best: they came wrapped in paper with excess powdered sugar inside, and before you unwrapped it, you blew through one end and a puff of “smoke” emerged.) “It’s toasted” was the longtime slogan of Lucky Strike cigarettes, referring to its method of heat curing the tobacco, which supposedly made the cigarettes taste better.
“Not disturbed because it’s still B.C. instead of A.D.?” No, because I’m AC and you’re DC.
AC is “alternating current,” a means of distributing electrical power over great distances by rapidly shifting the current’s direction. DC is “direct current,” pretty much what it says: the direct flow of electricity to a device. In the late 1800s, there was a “War of Currents” between Thomas Edison (proponent of DC, because he owned all of the patents) and George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla (proponents of AC, who owned those patents). AC won out, primarily for efficiency’s sake. For one thing, DC around the country would have required massive power facilities every few hundred feet. But Edison certainly tried: he electrocuted dogs, cats, cattle, and even an elephant to show how dangerous AC supposedly was. “AC/DC” is also slang for a bisexual.
CD, or compact disc, is a polycarbonate disc with binary data burned onto it and sandwiched between plastic discs and a reflective disc designed to reflect the laser that reads the data. They were designed in the late 1970s as a smaller-scale spinoff of Laserdisc video technology by Sony. In 1982, the first CD sold in stores was Billy Joel’s album, 52nd Street. At this time, the discs themselves were $30 or more and the players were $900. By 2007, more than 200 billion CDs had been made but their decline was in full swing as downloadable music files were taking hold.
“Si” means “yes” in more than a dozen languages, including Spanish and Italian.
“ASAP” is an initialism/acronym for “as soon as possible.”
Hitler. What a jerk.
See above note on Adolf Hitler. Hitler was also an animal lover, particularly of dogs. His favorite was a German shepherd named Blondi (of course).
Hugh, take that Walkman off. You’re closing out the world.
Walkman is a brand maintained by Sony Corporation for their line of portable audio electronic devices intended for single-person use. The first Sony Walkman was produced in 1979 and played audio cassettes. When compact discs came out, Sony created a Walkman for them called the Discman. Over the past decade, Sony has made Walkman versions for MiniDiscs and mp3s. The cassette-oriented Walkman is still produced.
That’s colitis all right.
Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine that can be acute or chronic and has several possible causes (infection, complications from surgery, chemical irritation, etc.).
Well, take some Maalox.
Maalox is a brand of over-the-counter antacids owned by Novartis International AG; it was first sold in 1949.
A line spoken by Michael Keaton in the title role of the 1989 Tim Burton film Batman.
Winged freak, huh? Wait till they get a load of me.
Another line from Batman, this one spoken by Jack Nicholson as the Joker.
Shouldn’t he be on the Pee-wee set?
Pee-wee’s Playhouse is an Emmy-winning Saturday morning show that aired on CBS from 1986 to 1991 and starred Paul Reubens as the titular man-child, Pee-wee Herman. The character got his start in the late ‘70s when Reubens acted in the famed Groundlings troupe in Los Angeles. In 1980, Pee-wee appeared on film in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie. Shortly after, Reubens began a stage show called The Pee-wee Herman Show that aired as a special on HBO in 1981. After appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and a successful nationwide tour, he was offered a film, directed by Tim Burton (his first) and released in 1985 as Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The CBS series followed, as did a 1988 film, Big Top Pee-wee. A 1991 arrest for public masturbation (in an adult theater) stymied Reubens’ career and put Pee-wee on hold for a decade. Reubens is in the midst of staging a comeback for the character.
[Imitating.] Hey, somebody shot Pterri! Nice job, ughh.
An imitation of Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman. Pterri the Pteranodon was one of many creatures and anthropomorphized objects who populated the Playhouse. He was voiced by John Paragon and George McGrath.
[Imitating Shaggy.] Let’s get out of here, Scooby!
An imitation of Shaggy, a scruffy, goateed character on the Scooby-Doo animated TV series, which first aired in 1969. He was voiced by Casey Kasem, the well-known syndicated DJ.
A reference to ads for Fisher Nuts, founded in 1920 in St. Paul, Minnesota, by Russian immigrant Sam Fisher. The brand is currently owned by John B. Sanfilippo & Son.
Finally. My light brown pumps from Bloomingdale’s.
Bloomingdale’s is a high-end department store that was started as a hoop-skirt store by Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale in 1861 in New York City. Bloomingdale’s is now owned by Federated Department Stores, a.k.a. Macy’s.
You will die at the hands of a Triceratops?
Triceratops (meaning “three-horned face”) is one of the best-known dinosaurs ever discovered. The four-legged herbivore was first found in Colorado in 1887 and dates back some 68 million years to the latter portion of the Cretaceous period.
Twinkie wrappers. We were here before.
Twinkies are a yellow, cream-filled snack cake currently manufactured by Hostess but invented by James Dewar in 1930. The filling was banana-flavored until World War II.
“It’s gonna rain. And me without an umbrella.” Thank you, Joey Bishop.
Joey Bishop (1918-2007) was a member of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. He frequently acted as a guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and hosted two series of his own during the 1960s.
Where are they again? –They’re on top of that pile of mashed potatoes.
See above note on Close Encounters. The tower Roy builds is an image of Devils Tower, a natural monolith in Wyoming.
Hey, you kids. Stop jumping around up there. Eddie, Lumpy ...
See above note.
They come to bury Cesar, not to praise him.
See above note on Cesar Romero. The line “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him” is spoken by Antony in Act III, Scene II of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Rock the casbah!
“Rock the Casbah” is a 1982 hit single by English punk band The Clash.
You know, fellas. It doesn’t get any better than this. We gotta do it again sometime.
“It doesn’t get any better than this” was a longtime ad slogan for Old Milwaukee beer.
It’s like the Book of Revelation. But nothing touches them.
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament, written by one John of Patmos around 95 C.E. It’s primarily a vision of the end of the world, the return of Jesus Christ to Earth, and the condemnation of humanity. Lots of crazy visions and creatures that would only make sense if you’re on ‘shrooms. Contributions to pop culture include the “Four Horsemen,” “the Mark of the Beast,” and plenty of fodder for old school Baptist preachers.
Must’ve been filmed in Katharine Hepburn vision.
In her later life, actress Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) suffered from something called “essential tremor,” which meant that her head and hands shook constantly and a quaver affected her voice.
This is the wrong time of year to visit San Francisco.
The 1989 San Francisco Earthquake (a.k.a. “The Loma Prieta Earthquake” or “World Series Earthquake”) hit on October 17, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale. Sixty-three people were killed and nearly 4,000 were injured. It’s very well-known because it hit just before the start of Game 3 of the World Series, so its first moments were broadcast live on TV, and also for footage of a collapsed double-decker freeway in Oakland, which killed 42 people and injured many more.
Just shakin’ the bushes, boss.
A reference to the famous line “Shaking it up here, boss!” from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman as a loner on a chain gang. During a bathroom break, Newman’s character is allowed some privacy but only if he shakes the bushes while he urinates so the guards don’t think he’s making a break for it.
[Imitating Lugosi.] How fortunate. This will simplify everything.
See note on The Phantom Creeps, above.
Throw me the whip! I throw you the idol! C’mon! –I can’t throw you the whip, it’s ... never mind.
See above note on Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Gilligan! –L’il buddy! Well, they must know the [something] the lagoon. –I bet the professor rigged that, huh?
Another reference to the aforementioned Gilligan’s Island. Roy Hinkley, played by Russell Johnson, was a high school science teacher nicknamed the “Professor” for some reason even though he couldn’t fix a three-foot hole in the boat while he went on making cars and convoluted contraptions out of coconuts and bamboo.
We can hide in that shelter there. –It’s kinda like helter shelter right now. –Yeah.
“Helter Skelter” is a song by the Beatles, on the so-called White Album, released in 1968. Crazed cult leader Charles Manson believed he heard in its lyrics a prediction of the coming race war. In fact, it is a song about an amusement park slide.
It’s the end of the world as they know it and I feel fine.
A reference to the 1987 song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by rock band R.E.M.
Yummy, yumma, taka-taka bowlful. –You catch ’em, a big, big flavor. –Oceans of ...
A line from the Hawaiian-style jingle for Puffa Puffa Rice cereal: “Uh-new-ah, uh-now-uh, Kellogg’s uh, bring you (uhm!) new kind breakfast cereal (uhm!). Him puff and toasted nice; him call Kellogg’s Puffa Puffa Rice. Yummy-yummy, taka-taka bowlful (uhm!) you catch ’em big big flavor; oceans of en-er-gy. Him call Kellogg’s Puffa Puffa Rice.” The cereal was puffed rice with brown sugar; introduced in 1967 and last distributed in 1975.
Krakatoa. East of Java. –Certainly not Fentonville.
Krakatoa, East of Java is a 1969 film about the catastrophic eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883. Unfortunately for the makers of the film, Krakatoa is in fact located west of the island of Java. There is no “Fentonville” that I could find, but there are several Bentonvilles: in Arkansas, North Carolina (the site of a decisive Union victory in the Civil War), Ohio, and Virginia.
Midway in Sensurround!
Midway is a 1976 star-studded film about the 1942 Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It was released in Sensurround, a means of using low-frequency sounds to create rumbling sensations in the viewers’ bodies as well as supplementing the bass of the soundtrack. It was developed specifically for the 1974 film Earthquake.
December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy!
A paraphrased version of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famed line from his December 8, 1941, address to Congress, asking for a declaration of war against Imperial Japan for their previous day’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The speech opened: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
There it goes. Bikini Atoll.
Bikini Atoll is a small atoll in the Pacific, part of the Marshall Islands. After World War II, it was chosen as the site of nuclear bomb testing by the United States, and this decision was announced to the 150 or so natives living on the island. They were relocated to a nearby, smaller atoll, where they nearly starved to death. The government continues to give them financial restitution and, after a poorly planned relocation back to Bikini in the 1970s that led to birth defects and illness, the U.S. settled with them for $150 million. The international Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded the islanders more than $500 million, compensation the United States has thus far declined to pay. Back on the atoll, meanwhile, more than twenty nuclear tests were conducted between 1946 and 1958.