by Trey Yeatts
Look, there’s Yasser Arafat in his teen days.
Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) was chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and became the first president of the Palestinian National Authority. To the Israelis, Arafat was a terrorist. To his people, he was a freedom fighter, struggling for a homeland after having been displaced to make room for the creation of Israel after World War II. In 1994, he received the Nobel Peace Prize (along with Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres) for his part in the Oslo Accords that led to the creation of a Palestinian government. Arafat was also known for wearing a distinctive black-and-white checkered head scarf, called a keffiyeh, which he wore draped over his right shoulder to form a rough triangle, as a symbol of the territory claimed by Palestine.
Walk like an Egyptian, man.
A reference to the number one single “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles, released in 1986.
Hair color by Bozo the Clown.
Bozo the Clown is a much-beloved children’s character first introduced as the star of a series of children’s books in the 1940s. He quickly got his own television show, and soon there were Bozo shows springing up in local markets across the country. Although there were many actors who portrayed Bozo, probably the most famous was Chicago’s Bob Bell, who appeared as the clown on WGN from 1960 to 1984. Joey D’Auria replaced him and became the last Bozo on the airwaves when the show finally went dark in 2001.
Jackets from the Sonny Bono collection.
Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono (1935-1998) was a musician best known for being married to Cher and releasing the hit “I Got You Babe”; a television co-host, also with Cher, of The Sonny and Cher Show from 1971 to 1974 and again (after their divorce) from 1976 to 1977; a politician, mayor of Palm Springs, California, from 1988 to 1992 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, Bono was killed after hitting a tree while skiing. During his Cher days he was known for his extensive vest collection.
I think this was the day the music died, guys.
“The Day the Music Died” refers to the February 3, 1959, airplane crash that killed pop stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. It was immortalized in the 1971 hit “American Pie” by Don McLean.
Now, how much would you pay for this Ginsu switchblade? Wait, there’s more! You get the bread knife! The Uzi automatic! The love beads! A pair of gloves! Some guy’s keys! You know, professional lowlife scum would pay $9.99 for this stuff! But wait, there’s more; you’ll also get this foxy biker chick’s ... uh, Ginsu Bra Snappler.
Ginsu Knives is a brand of cutlery marketed in endless television commercials during the 1970s and ‘80s. Nearly every commercial featured one of the knives cutting through an aluminum can and then immediately slicing into a delicate tomato. Ironically, the “Japanese” knives were actually manufactured in Ohio. They were originally called Quikut until a copywriter made up a “Japanese-sounding name.” Lines like “But wait! There’s more!” were a catchphrase in the Ginsu ads and were quickly picked up by folks like Ron Popeil. Uzi is a famous and distinctive type of submachine gun first manufactured in 1950 and used primarily by the Israeli military.
Hey, Ted Bessell’s got nothing on that guy.
Ted Bessell (1935-1996) was considered a child prodigy when he performed a piano recital at Carnegie Hall at age 12, but he is largely remembered today as a television actor for his role as long-suffering boyfriend Donald Hollinger in the popular TV sitcom That Girl (1966-1971).
Tracy Chapman is a folk singer and songwriter best known for her 1988 Grammy-winning hit “Fast Car.”
Tell Scorpio to use his code name.
Scorpio is a 1973 spy film starring Burt Lancaster as an aging CIA assassin, code-named Cross, who is nearing retirement when he is assigned to train his replacement, code-named Scorpio (Alain Delon). Soon, Scorpio is given his first assignment: to assassinate Cross.
Lee Iacocca is a businessman and automotive engineer. He used to work at Ford, overseeing the Mustang and Pinto lines (hey, you win some and you lose some). In the late 1970s, he became the president of Chrysler and led its revival in the ‘80s, appearing in a series of commercials for the company that made him a household name. He retired in 1992.
Sorry I brought it up. Jeepers.
“Jeepers” is a minced oath (subbing for “Jesus”). It first appeared in the 1920s.
Meanwhile, in outer space ...
Variations of this phrase 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 in films, radio, and television shows.
Anthony Cardoza! Featuring [imitating Ricardo Montalban] rich Corinthian leather!
Oh, we know Anthony Cardoza, don’t we? He produced this film after he and Coleman Francis created their three infamous stinkers: Night Train to Mundo Fine (a.k.a. Show 619, Red Zone Cuba); Show 609, The Skydivers; and Show 621, The Beast of Yucca Flats. Actor Ricardo Montalban did a series of commercials for the Chrysler Cordoba in the mid-1970s in which he bragged about the “rich Corinthian leather” of the upholstery.
Backgrounds illustrated with a Technicolor yawn.
Technicolor is a film process invented in 1916 to capture and develop color. Its eye-popping results were in high demand in Hollywood from the 1930s well into the ‘60s and were used frequently in lavish musicals such as The Wizard of Oz, costume dramas such as Gone with the Wind, and animated features and shorts. “The Technicolor yawn” is a slang term for vomiting that originated in Australia in the 1960s.
Oh, no! Ross Hagen! [Imitating.] Chile peppers, chile peppers burn my gut.
Ross Hagen (1938-2011) was an actor known for starring in the TV show Daktari and for guest roles on lots of westerns in the 1960s. He also starred in Show 202, Sidehackers. This line is a reference to that episode.
Bro Beck. Hope he plays “Take Five.”
Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) was a renowned jazz pianist who recorded highly influential works in the 1950s and 1960s and continued to perform through the end of the 20th century. The Dave Brubeck Quartet was his longtime group, and in 1959, they released one of the most famous jazz recordings ever made, “Take Five.” Google it; you’ll recognize it.
It’s a Rorschach test, isn’t it? What do you see? –I see a dismal film ahead. –Yep. That one. Yep.
The Rorschach inkblot test, developed by psychologist Hermann Rorschach, is a diagnostic tool that was used widely in the 1940s and ‘50s. It fell into disfavor because many clinicians felt it was too subjective, although in recent years it has enjoyed renewed popularity. The test consists of a series of abstract shapes, or inkblots, on cards; the subject reports what images he or she sees in the blots.
Y’know, it kind of looks like Jackson Pollock did the background paintings. –Yeah, after the car accident.
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) was an American painter known for the famous “drip” technique that he used to create his best-known works. He was killed in a single-car accident (along with one of his passengers) while driving drunk near his home in Long Island, New York.
Hey, Gus Trichinosis in charge of undercooked pork!
Gus Trikonis is an actor and director who appeared as one of the Sharks in West Side Story. He directed Show 202, Sidehackers. Trichinosis is a disease caused by a species of roundworm found in undercooked pork or game. In the modern United States, trichinosis is rarely a risk, thanks to close regulation of the pork industry. If you’re still worried, make sure that pork chop has an internal temperature of 137 degrees before you take it off the grill.
Hey, Davy Jones! Before the Monkees! He liked animal groups. –Oh, no, it’s not. –Yes, it is! Before the Monkees! –No, he would’ve been about 14! He spelled his name completely different! –I bet, I bet! –Oh, no way, fembot! –Oh, yes way, space swish! –Hey, I’m going to shut you down for that. –Shut down this. –Shut up, you two! Come on!
Davy Jones (1945-2012) was an English musician best known as the “heartthrob” of the fabricated ‘60s boy band The Monkees. The Monkees had a hit TV show from 1966 to 1968, a psychedelic film called Head in 1968, and a slew of Top Ten hits. The guy in Hellcats is not the same Davy Jones; Jones would have been 22 when this was made and he was hip deep in the success of The Monkees at the time. “Fembot” is, of course, a portmanteau of “female robot; the word originated on the 1976-1978 series The Bionic Woman as enemies of protagonist Jaime Sommers. Later, the term entered the public consciousness in a big way thanks to the 1997 spy spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Oh, look, there’s Tony Huston. –He wrote Sidehackers, too. Yeah. Blech.
Tony Huston was an assistant director, writer, and sometimes actor. Yes, he co-wrote Show 202, Sidehackers, but he also acted in Show 419, Attack of The The Eye Creatures (he played one of the sleazy peeping Tom soldiers).
Houston, Hubbs, Prince, and Hong. Which one of these doesn’t belong? –They’re cops.
A reference to the Sesame Street song “One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others).” There are a few variations on the lyrics, but one version goes: “Three of these things belong together/Three of these things are kind of the same/Can you guess which one of these doesn’t belong here?/Now it’s time to play our game.”
Hey, Eric Lidberg! He flew from New York to Paris in ... –Would you shut up? No!
Production manager Eric Lidberg also worked on Show 202, Sidehackers. (Can I just type “202” from now on? There’s going to be a lot of Sidehackers references. Okay? Cool.) Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) was a pilot who, in 1927, made the first nonstop solo transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. Fun trivia: Lindbergh was a believer in the purity of the white race and an anti-Semite who was also believed to be a Nazi sympathizer. World War II seemed to change some of his opinions. Not the racist stuff, though.
Motorcycles by Ford Puckett, Kirby Puckett’s brother!
Kirby Puckett (1960-2006) played center field for the Minnesota Twins from 1984 until glaucoma in his right eye ended his career in 1995. He died eleven years later, just short of his 46th birthday, from a stroke.
Cemetery furnishings by Jiffy Tomb!
A possible reference to Jiffy Lube, a chain of oil-change centers with thousands of locations nationwide; it was founded in 1979. May also be a reference to Jiffy Pop popcorn, which comes in an aluminum pan with a spiral foil lid. As the pan is heated over the stove, the kernels pop and expand the lid into an oddly shaped, bulbous container. It was first made by Fred Mennen in 1958 and is currently manufactured by ConAgra Foods.
Author of the “Kinzie” Report.
Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) was a biologist and zoologist famed for his groundbreaking and thorough research into human sexuality, published in two books: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), known collectively as The Kinsey Reports.
[Credit for Anthony Cardoza.] Fine Corinthian leather. –Cardoza.
See above note on Tony Cardoza.
Scenic Love Canal!
Love Canal is a neighborhood in the city of Niagara Falls, New York. Before the homes and the school occupying the land were built, Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp. used the site as a toxic waste dump. In 1978, the president of the local homeowners association, Lois Gibbs, began investigating chronic health problems among the residents, including sky-high cancer rates and unusually high illness rates at the local elementary school. After two years of efforts in the face of corporate and governmental stonewalling, the residents succeeded in having the site declared a federal emergency. They were relocated and compensated for the loss of their homes, and the development was bulldozed. As a result of the scandal, Congress established the Superfund, which provided for cleanup at toxic sites throughout the country.
They’re playing “The Girl from Ipanema” here. –Long and cool and tan and lovely, the boy from Ipanipa (sic) goes biking; and when he bikes, all the guys on their motortrikes go “Ah ...”
“The Girl from Ipanema” is a bossa nova song that became a worldwide phenomenon in the mid-1960s. It was written about then-fifteen-year-old Helô Pinheiro, an attractive girl who walked by the songwriters in Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema district every day. She later became a model and businesswoman. The English lyrics for the first verse go like this: “Tall and tanned and young and lovely/The girl from Ipanema goes walking/And when she passes/Each man she passes/Goes Aaah!”
I know this wiener dude, he sells this wiener food; he gives me everything from tire irons on down, hey; I’d like to split his head open with a tire iron. I made that up myself. –Hey, that’s great!
A variation on “The Wiener Man,” a campfire song popular with scout-aged children.
Huh-huh! Nice read ... Richards.
Reed Richards (a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic) is a scientist superhero and the leader of Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four superhero team. Created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Richards was given the ability to stretch his body after an accident involving cosmic radiation.
I’m a stranger to my own soul.
“A Stranger to My Own Soul” was the name of Dennis Miller’s mid-’80s one-man show.
Hey, I remember her now! She was the star of Then Came Bronson! –That was a guy. –No, it wasn’t. –Was too! –Was not! –Was Not Was! There! I made a meaningless pop culture reference! Now knock it off!
Then Came Bronson (1969-1970) was an NBC drama starring Michael Parks as a drifter who inspires change in people’s lives. Was (Not Was) was (ha) a pop group formed by David Weiss and Don Fagenson in 1979. They adopted the pseudonymic last name of “Was” and had a number one hit in 1987 with “Walk the Dinosaur.”
Well, where’s she goin’, anyway? –I dunno, nowhere in particular. –Man, I sure envy her. –Yeah, well, take it easy. –For those of you playing along at home, Joel and Crow just re-enacted the opening scene of Then Came Bronson. We’ll be right back.
What Tom said.
Don Fido is mad.
In Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and other languages, “Don” is an honorific roughly equivalent to “Sir,” as in someone who’s been knighted. Thanks to crime dramas of the past fifty years, “Don” as a title is usually thought of as referring to a mafia crime boss.
Meanwhile, on Route 66, James Dean takes a lazy spin.
Route 66 was a renowned U.S. highway that stretched from Los Angeles to eastern Illinois. Nicknamed “The Mother Road,” it was established in 1926 and removed from the Highway System in 1985 after falling into near-disuse thanks to the interstates. Today, most of the stretch is designated “Historic Route 66.” James Dean (1931-1955) was an actor who had lead roles in only three films—Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant—before his untimely death when another car made a left turn into his lane and collided with his speeding Porsche 550 Spyder. He’s the only actor ever to be nominated posthumously for two Academy Awards. Also see above note on “Meanwhile …”
I just love this Charles Ives music! Got any Ralph Vaughan Williams?
Charles Ives (1874-1954) was an experimental composer known for his reworking of traditional hymns. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1956) was an English composer of operas, film scores, and chamber music.
It’s me, the director, again. I use Vitalis.
Vitalis is a line of men’s hair-care products: hair spray, tonic, etc. In the 1940s and 1950s the tonic was especially popular for slicking the hair back in a socially conservative fashion.
Jimmy Houston, co-writer and A.D.!
See above note on Tony Huston.
I got the dry look.
A reference to the competing schools of men’s hairstyles: wet look vs. dry look. Wet look would be the pomaded, shiny, slicked-back look popular on 1950s sitcoms, while the dry look is the blow-dried, hairsprayed look favored by 1980s yuppies. There is a men’s hair product actually called The Dry Look—early ‘70s TV commercials for The Dry Look declared, “The wet head is dead.”
Let’s park the Barbie-mobile right here!
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, many vehicular accessories have been sold, including Barbie Jeeps, Corvettes, and RVs. Almost all are pink.
Take my hand. I’m a stranger in paradise.
“Stranger in Paradise” is a song in the musical Kismet. It was written by Robert Wright, George Forrest, and Alexander Borodin for a 1953 debut on Broadway. A film version was released in 1955. The song was covered many times by acts as diverse as Tony Bennett, The Four Aces, and Isaac Hayes.
She’s wearing a Sunkist promotional pantsuit! Must be one of the Golddiggers.
Sunkist Growers Inc. is a cooperative of some 6,000 citrus growers from California and Arizona. In 1908, they adopted the “Sunkist” name for their highest-quality oranges. Over the years, they’ve licensed the name for many products, including Sunkist soft drinks, which were first produced in 1979. The Golddiggers are a women’s singing and dancing group that got their start on The Dean Martin Show in 1968, got their own show from 1971 to 1973, and toured the country for decades after that.
Oh, boy, what a tough lie! Glad I brought my light bag! I was playing a Wilson four ...
Wilson Sporting Goods is a company that, unsurprisingly, makes sporting goods, including golf balls. It was started in 1913. In golf lingo, “lie” is where the golf ball comes to rest after having been hit.
Steve has a problem. [Imitating a hi-hat riff.] His problem is “down there.” Now, he must tell Eliza.
Probably a reference to the 1959 short film Innocent Party, which warned of the dangers of contracting syphilis from big-city hussies who wear tight knit shirts and go parking with high-school boys they don’t know, all to a cool, jazzy soundtrack. The film was used in school health classes into the 1980s.
I was in Guam and they stuck bamboo under my nails, all right?
The pressing of bamboo shoots between the nail and the flesh of the fingers is an ancient torture technique, primarily in Asian countries.
“Ibid.” is an abbreviation of the Latin word “ibidem,” meaning “the same place.” It is usually seen in research papers when the same source is referenced for two different citations.
Yeah, and get me a slug from a thirty-aught-six when you’re up!
A .30-06 Springfield cartridge is a type of rifle bullet introduced in 1906, used primarily by the United States military in most 20th-century conflicts (and still in use today).
Hey, I remember this from The Day of the Jackal, guys.
The Day of the Jackal is a 1973 film (based on a 1971 book by Frederick Forsyth) about an assassin contracted to kill French President Charles de Gaulle. It was remade as The Jackal in 1997.
And now Red in “The Silent Spot.” Red plays a guy about to get gunned down. Let’s watch.
“Red” refers to Red Skelton (1913-1997), comedian and variety show host. On the later years of The Red Skelton Show (1951-1971), the show ended with “The Silent Spot,” which had Skelton performing in pantomime before he looked into the camera and said his trademark goodbye, “Good night and may God bless.”
Found this in a warehouse in Dallas; I hope it works. –You gettin’ this, Zapruder? Good.
The Zapruder film is a 26.6-second sequence of silent 8mm home-movie film shot by Dallas businessman Abraham Zapruder (1905-1970) on November 22, 1963, that unexpectedly captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Its role in the Warren Commission hearings and all subsequent investigations of Kennedy’s assassination makes it one of the most studied pieces of film in history. The “warehouse in Dallas” refers to the Texas School Book Depository, the storage facility from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed JFK.
Why ... that sounds like Steve taking a slug from a thirty-aught-six!
See above note.
Steve’s dead now. From here on in, Steve’s death will be represented by the oboe!
A reference to Peter and the Wolf, a 1936 children’s story and musical piece written by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Each instrument in the production represents a different character; the oboe, for example, represents the duck.
It’s not like Steve to run off and die!
Possibly a reference to a series of commercials for Yuban coffee that aired in the 1970s, which dealt with insecure wives who didn’t understand why their husbands wanted a second cup of coffee at a neighbor’s house, but never at home.
Meanwhile, in Gordon Gekko’s jet ...
Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) was the main character in Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street and the 2010 sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. He’s remembered for the line “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good” (usually abbreviated as “Greed is good”).
Ross Hagen? Oh, no! –Oh, man ... Captain Ross Hagen to you, pal.
See above note.
“I wonder ... What?” Who wrote the book of love?
“(Who Wrote) The Book of Love” is a 1958 song written and recorded by The Monotones.
Yeah, you kinda do. Dig a two-foot hole, put Crisco in ... Oh, that’s bears. I’m sorry.
Crisco is a brand of shortening (the first made solely of vegetable oil) first produced by Procter & Gamble in 1911. Thanks to its market penetration, “Crisco” has very nearly become a brand eponym for any kind of similar shortening. The brand was sold to J.M. Smucker Company in 2002.
Catch a show at the Copa. Whenever a brother dies, they fly me in for free; I like to take advantage!
The Copacabana was a New York City nightclub that opened in 1940. Over the years, it featured many popular performers, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Groucho Marx, and more. In the 1970s, unfortunately, it became a disco, and the likes of The Village People, Gloria Gaynor, and others performed there. It closed for three years in the late 1970s when the owner died. It reopened after that and has moved twice since then. In 1978, the club was immortalized in a Barry Manilow song.
I dare you to knock this battery off my shoulder. Go ahead. I dare you.
A reference to a series of commercials in the late 1970s for Eveready batteries, starring Robert Conrad.
Utah. I can’t believe I’m still in Utah.
A paraphrasing 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.”
Then Came Moron.
See above note on Then Came Bronson.
Filmed in Zapruder-vision, guys.
See above note on the Zapruder film.
Innuendo Freeway. –Yeah, you don’t have to be Fellini to figure that out.
Federico Fellini (1920-1993) was an Italian film director known for such art-house fare as La Dolce Vita, 8½, Satyricon, and Juliet of the Spirits.
Yeah, I bet if the scientists sent us Citizen Kane, it’d have a twenty-minute sled sequence in it.
Citizen Kane is a 1941 drama, acclaimed by many critics as the greatest film ever made. It was written by, directed by, and starred Orson Welles as media magnate Charles Foster Kane (based upon real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who hated the film and tried to destroy it at the box office). At the beginning of the film, the elderly Kane dies while holding a snow globe and saying, “Rosebud.” Much of the rest of the film consists of flashbacks of his life as a reporter tries to find out who or what this “Rosebud” referred to. SPOILER ALERT: It was the name of his childhood sled, which we see being tossed into an incinerator at the end of the film.
Moonfire Inn, huh? Looks like a nice country inn; maybe we’ll see Bob Newhart. –Hmmm.
Moonfire Inn was a famous hotel in Topanga Canyon, California. The 1982-1990 CBS sitcom Newhart starred actor and comedian Bob Newhart as an innkeeper in Vermont.
Oh, Linda Blair!
Linda Blair is an actress best known for her head-spinning, pea soup–spewing role as Regan, the little possessed girl in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist.
“Hi-ho!” Hi-ho—what is he, a dwarf?
A reference to a song in the 1937 Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. “Heigh-Ho” was written by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey and sung by the dwarfs (except for the mute Dopey) as they mined gemstones.
[Imitating.] I don’t mind telling you, he looks a lot like Gilbert Gottfried!
Gilbert Gottfried is a gratingly voiced comedian and actor best known for his portrayal of the parrot Iago in the Disney animated film Aladdin (1992).
Sometimes referred to as “sad trombone,” “loser horns,” or, more technically, “chromatic descending ‘wah,’” this sound effect dates back to early 1900s vaudeville. It carried over into radio and then television, and today it’s mostly known thanks to the series of “Debbie Downer” sketches on Saturday Night Live.
Lemme get out of some of these wet clothes and into a dry martini, huh?
A paraphrase of a line from the 1937 comedy film Every Day’s a Holiday, starring Mae West and Charles Butterworth. Butterworth’s character asks West, “Why don’t you slip out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?”
Who does your decorating, Paul Revere and the Raiders?
Paul Revere & the Raiders was an American rock band that formed in 1958 and lasted into the early ‘70s. They had a few hits in the late ‘60s, including “Kicks,” “Hungry,” and “Indian Reservation.” For their stage and television appearances, they frequently dressed in colonial-style jackets and tricorn hats.
Looks like Jim Garner poked out Mariette Hartley’s eye there.
James Garner (1928-2014) was an actor who played Bret Maverick in the 1957-1960 comedy-western series Maverick and Jim Rockford in the 1974-1980 detective series The Rockford Files. He also starred in many films, including Support Your Local Sheriff, Support Your Local Gunfighter, The Great Escape, and Victor Victoria. Mariette Hartley is a stage and television actress who co-starred with Garner in a popular series of TV commercials for Polaroid cameras that ran during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
D’oh, he’s a pushover.
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 Homers voice, 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 enshrined in the English language.
He’s no fun. He fell right over.
A reference to the 1969 Firesign Theatre comedy album How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All. In one of the sketches, a character falls after being stood on his head, and someone says, “He’s no fun! He fell right over!” The riff became a favorite on MST3K.
Hey, you almost spilled my Shamrock Shake!
The Shamrock Shake is a green, mint-flavored McDonald’s treat sold to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. It was introduced in 1970.
He hit Big Jake!
An unsavory character! Can’t have any of that; I better call “Plot Stoppers.”
Crime Stoppers (or Crimestoppers) is a program that allows citizens to provide information to the police anonymously. It got its start in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, when a detective got a lead from a scared witness in a murder case after he appealed for help on TV. The following year, he organized the anonymous tip line, which was later copied by communities around the nation.
Charlie’s Angels was a T&A series that aired from 1976 to 1981. It featured a revolving cast of beautiful women who worked as private eyes under the direction of the unseen “Charlie,” voiced by John Forsythe, who usually greeted them over a speakerphone by saying, “Hello, Angels.”
Her back looks like a Klingon’s forehead.
Klingons are the most famous adversaries of the United Federation of Planets, as depicted in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), the animated series (1973-1974), and many of the feature films. In Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), the Klingons were allies of the Federation (though that peace fell apart briefly in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [1993-1999]). In the original series, Klingons were depicted as heavily tanned humans with sinister facial hair. Their look was updated for 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture to include ridged foreheads, and their appearances have included the prosthetics ever since.
Yeah, looks like every selection there is “Louie Louie” except for this one.
“Louie Louie” is a rock song written and first performed by Richard Berry in 1955. It’s about a Jamaican sailor returning to his island home. The most famous version, by The Kingsmen in 1963, led to an investigation by the FBI, looking into a complaint about supposed obscenities in the lyrics. They concluded that the words were frequently “unintelligible at any speed.” More than 1,500 different versions have been recorded.
Like Question Mark before the Mysterians.
Question Mark and the Mysterians (often printed as “? and the Mysterians”) is a rock group that formed in 1962. ? is Rudy Martinez; his band took their name from a 1957 Japanese sci-fi film. Their biggest hit is 1966’s “96 Tears.”
Did you know this cameraman got his first job on Midnight Special?
The Midnight Special is an NBC musical variety series that ran from 1972 to 1981. The biggest bands and artists of the day performed on the show, and it was noteworthy for its live performances (unusual, because most TV variety shows had their performers lip-sync).
Hey, Louise Lasser!
Louise Lasser is an actress who starred as the title character on the satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976-1977). She was married to director Woody Allen and starred in a few of his films in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Six-Pack: currently working for Roseanne Barr Show.
Roseanne (1988-1997) was an ABC sitcom that starred comedian Roseanne Barr. Barr herself (briefly Roseanne Arnold) is a controversial figure who notoriously gave a disastrous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a 1990 baseball game (she later claimed she was trying to be funny) and even ran for president in 2012 on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. She received 67,000 votes, or .05 percent.
Little Sally: Girl Friday to Susan St. James.
“Girl Friday” is the feminine version of “Man Friday,” meaning a loyal and indispensable servant. The original term comes from the 1719 Daniel Defoe novel Robinson Crusoe. The female version was popularized by the 1940 film His Girl Friday, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Susan St. James is an actress best known for her roles in the TV series The Name of the Game, McMillan & Wife, and Kate & Allie.
Slugger: found dead with Coors Party Ball lodged in throat.
Coors is a brand of beer, established in 1873 by Adolph Coors in Golden, Colorado. A party ball is, essentially, a round mini beer keg, holding about 5 gallons. Coors produced them from the 1980s until 2011.
Iggy Pop. We don’t know why.
Iggy Pop (born James Newell Osterberg, Jr.) is a rock and punk singer and songwriter, best known for leading the group The Stooges, primarily in the 1970s. He’s also known for his wild onstage antics, which have included self-mutilation, vomiting, and stage diving—he was the first to do that, by the way. His most famous song is the 1977 classic “Lust for Life,” co-written by Pop and David Bowie. Even though it’s about heroin, liquor, and other mind-altering substances, it’s been licensed for use in commercials for Royal Caribbean cruises, the Rugrats movie, and more.
Squatter: took a baseball on the head in the third inning at an Angels game.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (translated, I just typed, “The The Angels Angels of Anaheim”). Whatever. The Angels baseball team was established in 1961 as the Los Angeles Angels, later becoming the California Angels, the Anaheim Angels, and finally the superbly redundant name above.
Hey, Shields and Yarnell, working the crowd with their famous Sidewalk Robot routine!
Shields and Yarnell were a dance/comedy/mime team who got their start on the streets of San Francisco during the hippie era. From 1977-1978 they had their own TV series, The Shields and Yarnell Show. They were known for their robot impersonations.
That was number niiiiine!
A reference to the numbered joke scene in 202.
Somebody put a wallet under the guy’s tongue or something!
It has long been a misconception that when a person suffers an epileptic seizure, you should place something (a spoon, wallet, etc.) in their mouth to keep them from swallowing their tongue. A) no one can swallow their tongue, and B) by putting something in their mouth, they could choke or injure themselves. Instead, turn the person on their side and clear the space around them so they don’t hurt themselves during their seizure.
Timothy Hutton, before the boat trip!
In the 1980 film Ordinary People, Timothy Hutton plays a troubled young man recovering from a boating accident in which his older brother died; the film deals with the aftermath of the accident and the guilt he feels over surviving when his brother did not. Hutton won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the film.
And there’s more, there’s Jingo, and Baby Burlap, and Fleegle and Beagle and Drooper and Snork, and uh-oh: it’s the stinky guy!
The Banana Splits were animal rock musicians on a Saturday morning kiddie show in the late 1960s. They lived in Hocus Pocus Park, where their cuckoo clock always read 6:55. The band consisted of Fleegle (a beagle), Bingo (a gorilla), Drooper (a lion), and Snorky (or Snork, an elephant). I couldn’t find a reference to Baby Burlap. Any ideas?
Drew Barrymore is an actress who became famous as a child star, playing Gertie in 1982’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. She had a rough go of it with drugs beginning at age nine, then she rehabbed herself and became a go-to star for romantic comedies in the ‘90s and ‘00s. She’s also a writer, producer, and director.
And a man so mean he once shot himself just for snoring too loud.
In an old Time-Life commercial that ran during the 1970s to advertise their series of Old West books, the voiceover talked about a man who was “so mean he once shot a man just for snoring.” The man in question was John Wesley Hardin (1853-1895), a Texas outlaw who killed at least 21 men between 1868 and 1877, when he was sent to prison. He was pardoned in 1894 and shot in the back of the head by an El Paso policeman the following year. In Hardin’s autobiography, published posthumously, he bragged about having killed a man in his hotel room in Abilene, shooting twice through the wall to get the man to stop snoring.
Hey, Sally Kellerman! Whoa, lookin’ hot!
Sally Kellerman is an actress best known for playing Major Margaret “Hot Lips” O’Houlihan in the 1970 film MASH.
Hey, look; Flo and Eddie.
Mark Volman (a.k.a. “Phlorescent Leech” or “Flo”) and Howard Kaylan (“Eddie”) are two founding members of the 1960s rock group The Turtles. When The Turtles broke up, they were legally barred from using that name and instead swiped their more colorful monikers from the road crew for Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention (with whom they worked). They recorded several albums as Flo & Eddie in the ‘70s and continue to tour to this day.
Hi and Lois.
“Hi and Lois” is a comic strip spinoff of “Beetle Bailey” (Lois is Beetle’s sister) that began in 1954 with art by Dik Browne and writing by Mort Walker. It’s currently being produced by their sons, Chance Browne and Brian & Greg Walker.
Hey, it’s Buck Henry.
Buck Henry is a comic writer and director. He earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for the movie The Graduate. He also created the spy spoof TV series Get Smart, co-directed Heaven Can Wait, and guest hosted Saturday Night Live ten times between 1975 and 1980.
Or Father Mulcahy.
Lieutenant (later Captain) Francis John Patrick Mulcahy is the chaplain assigned to the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the 1970 film MASH and in the long-running CBS series M*A*S*H (1972-1983). In the movie, Mulcahy was played by René Auberjonois. In the TV show, he was played by George Morgan in the pilot and by William Christopher thereafter. Christopher reprised the role in the 1983-1985 sitcom AfterMASH.
Yeah, these are the Manson Family home videos; here, Tex, Squeaky, and the gang lightheartedly tease Charlie.
Charles Manson is a convicted murderer (by way of conspiracy) who was the leader of the “Manson Family,” a cult-like group of 1960s dropouts who believed Manson to be a Christ-like messiah and obeyed his every command, including the ones that led to the shockingly brutal murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others the night of August 9, 1969, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night. Charles “Tex” Watson was a member of the Family and was one of those convicted in the murders. His pronounced accent was the basis for his nickname. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme is a now-freed felon convicted of attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975. She was a member of the Family, too, who, oddly enough, had appeared on The Lawrence Welk Show and at the White House as a child dancer in the 1950s. Fromme had not taken part in the murders, although she served a short jail sentence for refusing to testify against those who had. While in Sacramento, Ford was meeting and greeting people when Fromme pointed her semi-automatic pistol at his abdomen and pulled the trigger repeatedly. No cartridge was in the firing chamber, and the gun did not fire before she was tackled by the Secret Service. She was sentenced to life in prison and finally paroled in 2009.
Beware ... of the dwarf.
A line from the 1978 comedic mystery Foul Play, starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn.
Our minds are melding. We are becoming one.
The Vulcan mind meld is a telepathic technique used by the pointy-eared logical race of aliens in the Star Trek universe. Typically, the Vulcan places his fingertips on the other’s face and recites a kind of mantra. Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) usually said something along the lines of, “Our minds are merging. Our minds are one.” (He said precisely this in the episode “Mirror, Mirror.”)
Because Pepperidge Farm remembers!
An imitation of character actor Parker Fennelly (1891-1988), whose thick New England accent became famous during the 1970s in a series of television commercials for Pepperidge Farm cookies, pastries, frozen goods, and so forth. (He had actually appeared in Pepperidge Farm commercials as early as 1958, but his trademark “Pepperidge Farm remembers” did not become a household phrase until the ‘70s.)
Oh, good thing Cher is there to walk the guy around, y’know?
Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre) is a singer and actress who has appeared on various television shows and in films. She first rose to fame as the co-host of a series of TV variety shows with her then-husband, Sonny Bono.
Everything’s Archie is the title of a 1969 album by the fictional rock group The Archies, based on the Archie comic books and animated TV series and comprised of hired studio musicians and singers. The album contains the song “Sugar, Sugar,” which became a number-one hit single. There was also a comic book series launched in 1969 called Everything’s Archie, created as a vehicle for the TV series.
Uh ... so this isn’t a meeting of the Young Republicans?
The Young Republicans, founded in 1935, is a national organization for Republicans between the ages of 18 and 40; they are particularly active on college campuses.
A line from Show 207, Wild Rebels.
I want it very lean; the boss is making Yankee pot roast.
Yankee pot roast (or just “pot roast”) is a slow-braised beef chuck dish, often cooked with carrots and potatoes.
“Take three bikes.” And call me in the morning!
A paraphrase of the old saying, back when doctors used to make house calls, “Take two of these (usually aspirin) and call me in the morning.”
This must be the stunt cast from Room 222.
Room 222 (1969-1974) was a TV series about a black teacher in a Los Angeles high school. It starred Lloyd Haynes as teacher Pete Dixon.
Duh, fan mail from some flounder?
“Fan mail from some flounder” was a line used before ad breaks on The Bullwinkle Show. Rocky would spot a message in a bottle and point it out to Bullwinkle, who would posit, “Fan mail from some flounder?” Cue commercial. (Thanks to Christopher Eckart for this reference.)
Well, you misspelled “skelter.”
“Helter Skelter” is a song by The Beatles, on their self-titled double LP (the so-called White Album), released in 1968. Crazed cult leader Charles Manson (see above note) believed he heard in its lyrics a prediction of the coming race war, and the words were found scrawled in blood (and misspelled) on the refrigerator at the LaBianca house. In fact, it is a song about an amusement park slide.
Bridget loves Bernie! –Bridget loves burnout.
Bridget Loves Bernie was a 1972-1973 CBS sitcom that starred Meredith Baxter and David Birney as the title characters. It aired between All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and scored very highly in the ratings, but it was canceled after one season due to the amount of hate mail the network received: apparently in 1973, a Catholic woman marrying a Jewish man was highly controversial.
Hmm, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” Five the Hard Way ... –Is there anything by Hoyt Axton on this?
“Tiptoe Through the Tulips” is a song written by Al Dubin and Joe Burke in 1929. It was used in the first ever Looney Tunes short, “Sinkin’ in the Bathtub” (1930) and famously covered by Tiny Tim, who turned it into a hit in 1968. Five the Hard Way was the original title for 202, an attempt to cash in on the goodwill of the hit film Five Easy Pieces. Hoyt Axton (1938-1999) was a country-western singer/songwriter (and occasional actor) whose best-known works were generally those covered by other bands, including “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night, which hit Number 1 on the charts in 1971. His lesser-known works included “My-my-my-my Mitchell,” heard (painfully) in Show 512, Mitchell.
Hey, do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain?
A paraphrase of lyrics from the hit 1979 song “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes.
We’re goin’ to Dairy Queen!
Dairy Queen is a chain of fast food restaurants that specialize in soft serve frozen treats. It was founded in 1940 and operates nearly 6,000 locations today.
He was in Pippin!
Pippin is a 1972 musical by Stephen Schwartz, Roger Hirson, and Bob Fosse. It’s a heavily fictionalized account of the 8th-century son of Carolingian Emperor Charlemagne. Charlemagne’s real-life son was known as Pepin the Hunchback, who wound up exiled to a monastery after leading an unsuccessful revolt against his dad.
A scarecrow, check it out! –Uh, no, Joel; somebody’s surrendering. I think it’s a …
A reference to the famous skywriting sequence in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, in which the Wicked Witch spells out “Surrender Dorothy” with her broom in the sky.
Oh, I hate to ... –Shoot a butt like that! –I’ll do it.
According to an interview with Josh Weinstein (KTMA and Season One’s Tom Servo), this wasn’t based on anything in particular. He came up with the line during a writers’ session and Joel loved it, so they kept using it.
Some surrealist film ... oh. –Steve Allen music. –That’s probably Hummel.
Steve Allen (1921-2000) was a musician, comedian, and TV personality. He was the original host of The Tonight Show, from 1953 to 1957. In 1956, he started his eight-year run as host of the prime-time variety show The Steve Allen Show. He composed more than 10,000 songs and starred as bandleader Benny Goodman in a 1955 biopic. “Hummel” may be a reference to M.I. Hummel, a company producing collectible figurines based on the drawings of Bavarian nun Sister M.I. Hummel. They first became popular after World War II and have been produced for more than sixty years.
He’s probably gonna paint her, like for Laugh-In or something like that.
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was a sketch comedy series that ran from 1968-1973 on NBC. A common sight on the show was cute girls go-go dancing in bikinis, their bodies decorated with slogans written in body paint. One of those dancers was often a young Goldie Hawn, who launched her career on the show.
Oh, it’s a Keane painting! I thought the eyes were supposed to be big.
Margaret Keane is an artist known for her sentimental paintings of doe-eyed children.
Uh, I think her skin’s a number 2.
Love the Steve Allen music.
See above note on Steve Allen.
Uh-oh, yep, that’s Jesse Helms’s Angels.
Jesse Helms (1921-2008) was an ultraconservative senator from North Carolina who was immensely influential on U.S. foreign policy. First elected to the Senate in 1972, he railed against the United Nations, held up White House nominations, and fought a protracted battle to prevent Martin Luther King Jr. Day from becoming an official federal holiday. In 2001, he announced he would not seek re-election. The Hells Angels (in the United States and Canada, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation) is a worldwide motorcycle club (or organized crime syndicate, depending on who’s talking). Their members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles and sport denim or leather jackets or vests displaying their official “death’s head” insignia on the back.
Are you guys working for David Hockney?
David Hockney is an English painter and designer known mostly for his work during the Pop Art period of the 1960s. He likes to paint swimming pools and colorful trees with roads vanishing into the distance.
He’s no fun.
See above note on Firesign Theatre.
Hey, can we borrow your towel? Our bikes hit a water buffalo.
A paraphrased line from the 1985 comedy Fletch, starring Chevy Chase.
Whaddaya think of pointillism, creep?
Pointillism is an art style developed in the late 1800s that split off from Impressionism. It uses small dots of color to create an image. Originally, the term was coined by critics to deride the work. Notable practitioners include Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac.
That’s a Benny Hill sketch!
Benny Hill (1924/5-1992) was a British comedian and actor, best known for his long-running television comedy/variety program The Benny Hill Show (1955-1991). The show relied heavily on slapstick, parody, and sexual innuendo, with many skits involving dirty old men chasing pretty girls around the countryside to the tune of “Yakety Sax.”
In the art world, Neorealism was a movement started by painters Harold Gilman and Charles Ginner in the 1910s. Typically, the style highlighted everyday life by focusing on regular shapes and colors.
It’s the High Times corporate picnic at Itchycoo Park.
High Times is a magazine all about marijuana: growing it, using it, and the fight to legalize it. In 1974, publisher Tom Foroçade printed the first issue as a joke: to treat weed like Playboy treats sex. It caught on, and it’s still published today. “Itchycoo Park” is a 1967 song written and performed by The Small Faces.
It’s all too beautiful!
A line from the aforementioned “Itchycoo Park.”
The gutwagon? Looks like the Bad Humor truck.
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 summer to buy ice cream from the white-clad men who drove the trucks with the tinkling bells.
I want a Bomb Pop!
The Bomb Pop is a frozen treat made by Blue Bunny. It is a tall, Popsicle-like confection consisting of three different flavors. There are many variations, but the original trio of flavors were cherry, lime, and blue raspberry.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
A line more famous than the song from which it comes. “Ice Cream” was written by Howard Johnson (no relation to the hotel guy), Robert King, and Billy Moll and recorded in 1927 by the popular choral group Waring’s Pennsylvanians.
Must be out of fintoozlers.
“Fintoozler” is a made-up, Dr. Seussian word the MST3K gang liked to use.
Burn the Good Humor man! He’s out of Creamsicles!
See previous note on Good Humor. Creamsicle is a brand of frozen treat produced by Unilever, owners of the Popsicle brand name. It’s vanilla ice cream covered in flavored ice, most often orange, though variations include raspberry, lime, grape, and cherry.
Oh, Woody Woodpecker! Eh-heh-heh-heh-heh …
Woody Woodpecker is an animated, wacky, anthropomorphized pileated woodpecker who first appeared in the 1940 short Knock Knock, produced by Walter Lantz Studio. Woody’s trademark laugh was created by Mel Blanc, who used it in Warner Bros. shorts before this. Other voice artists associated with the character include Ben Hardaway, Danny Webb, Kent Rogers, and Grace Stafford.
[Sung.] This one’s got an orange gas tank! –This one’s got shiny chrome! –This one’s got all you need; this one’s … –Oh, this must be the heroin song. –Hey, it still works! [Sung.] This one’s filled with speedball! –Heat the spoon above the candle and shoot!
“Speedball” is drug lingo for a cocaine and heroin mixture.
Hey, be sure you have plenty of Kodak film to catch the antics of those plucky teens!
Eastman Kodak Company was one of the first and certainly the biggest name in photographic film and equipment. Founded in 1889 by George Eastman, Kodak’s share of the camera, film, and photographic equipment business was nearly 90 percent until 1976. Phrases like “Kodak moment” and “Kodachrome” (which is a hit 1973 Paul Simon song) survive to this day. However, in 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and divested itself of nearly all film and digital photography operations, their business destroyed by cell phone cameras and DIY digital photography. Today, they focus solely on corporate digital photography imaging. The only remnant of the film business is their holdings in motion picture film stock.
How low can she go? –Pretty low!
The limbo is a dance originating in the West Indies in which the dancer bends backward to walk under a bar that is made progressively lower as the dance goes on.
Hey, it’s Raffi! Thanks for the drugs.
Raffi Cavoukian is a well-known singer-songwriter who specializes in children’s music. He recorded his first albums in the 1970s and has remained consistently popular since then.
Tongue wrestling! We’ll turn the Metrodome into a giant mud pit!
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is a stadium in Minneapolis that plays home to the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings. It opened in 1982.
I think it’s beer blanket bongo.
Beach Blanket Bingo is a 1965 film starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, one of seven beach party films in which they co-starred.
Where do you wanna be in three years? –Sidehackers 2?
Oh, here’s a pencil in your eye –I mean, mud …
The phrase “Here’s mud in your eye” is usually spoken as a toast. Its origins are disputed: one suggested source is biblical—specifically the Gospel of John, chapter nine, in which Jesus heals a blind man by spitting into dirt and then rubbing the mixture over a blind man’s eyes.
Hey, it’s Donny Osmond! No wonder he has so many women. He’s a Mormon, y’see.
Donny Osmond is a singer and TV personality (and Mormon) known for performing with his many siblings in the group The Osmonds (beginning in the 1960s on The Andy Williams Show) before getting his own variety series with his sister, Marie, in 1976. He had a mild comeback in 1989 with the hit single “Soldier of Love.” In Mormonism—the 19th-century American offshoot of Christianity—polygamy (more properly, polygyny—one man, multiple wives) has long been controversial. When church founder Joseph Smith claimed to have received the revelation from God to sanction polygyny in 1843, his wife, Emma, didn’t take it well and tried to destroy his writings. Regardless, the LDS Church advocated polygyny until 1890, when the church president banned it in order to appease the U.S. government, which had literally waged war with the Church over the practice. There are still breakaway Mormon sects that practice polygyny, many forcing girls into marriage at very young ages; the leader of one such sect, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault in 2011. Former church members have claimed that Jeffs himself had seventy wives.
Hi, Funny Face. What is it, boy?
Possibly a reference to Funny Face Drink Mix, a powdered drink flavoring produced by Pillsbury and sold in the 1960s and ‘70s. Goofy Grape, Injun Orange (later Jolly Olly Orange), and Lefty Lemon were three of the flavors. Or it may be a reference to the 1957 musical film starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.
Half-nelson! –Sleeper hold.
A pair of wrestling moves. The half-nelson is performed by wrapping one’s arm under the opponent and then bracing the hand on the back of the neck. (A full nelson is performed by doing this with both hands.) The sleeper hold is a kind of chokehold that compresses one of the major neck arteries or veins, causing the recipient to pass out.
Wow, she’s an eyeful. Is she Moshe Dayan’s daughter?
Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) was an Israeli defense and foreign minister who served during the Six-Day War (1967) and Yom Kippur War (1973). He was easily recognized around the world thanks to his trademark eye patch, bestowed in World War II by a Vichy French sharpshooter.
“Roses are green, violets are red ...” I like to shoot heroin straight into my head.
A paraphrase of the well-known nursery rhyme that begins “Roses are red …” It dates back to The Faeire Queene by Sir Edmund Spenser (1590): “She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,/And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.” The more recognizable form was first published in a 1784 collection of nursery rhymes called Gammer Gurton’s Garland: “The rose is red, the violet’s blue,/The honey’s sweet, and so are you.”
It’s Hipsy-Dipsy-Nipsey Russell.
Nipsey Russell (1918-2005) was an African-American comedian known as “the poet laureate of television” because he would often compose humorous poems for his frequent appearances on game shows and talk shows. “Hipsy-dipsy” may be a reference to a character performed by George Carlin in the 1960s, Al Sleet the “hippie-dippie weatherman.”
Comanches! –And they’re riding Indians!
Comanche is a tribe of Plains Native Americans who lived primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona, etc. Indian is a motorcycle brand created by George Hendee in 1901. Hendee named his company after the line in 1928: the Indian Motocycle (sic) Manufacturing Company. Poor quality post-WWII led to its demise in 1953.
Everyone, put the living room furniture into a circle!
A reference to the practice of wagon trains in movie westerns to maneuver their Conestoga wagons into a circle to protect themselves against Indian attack. Back in the real world, wagons were often formed into circles at night, but it was to shelter from the weather and prevent their animals from wandering off; Native Americans rarely attacked wagon trains. (The worst attack ever on a wagon train was by Mormons: the Mountain Meadows Massacre, in 1857.)
This phrase comes from the comic Jimbo, Adventures in Paradise, by illustrator and Pee-wee’s Playhouse set designer Gary Panter.
I’m not supposed to be in this film! They lose me after the bunker sequence!
A reference to former German chancellor and Führer Adolf Hitler, who, in 1945 with the Allies ready to march into Berlin, shot himself in his underground bunker near the Reich Chancellory. The line itself is a paraphrase of one spoken by an actor dressed as Hitler (played by Ralph Manza) in the 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles.
Friends don’t let friends drive pink motorcycles.
A paraphrase of the well-known drunk driving prevention slogan “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,” introduced in 1990 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council.
Well, y’know, they all look like rejects from a Renaissance festival, don’t they?
Renaissance festivals (or faires) are an entertainment phenomenon that began in Southern California in the 1960s and spread first to the rest of California, and then the nation. Generally, they feature a number of vendors selling leather mugs, swords, jewelry, and so forth; singers, dancers, and comedians performing; a “court” complete with king, queen, and courtiers; and rides and games for both children and adults.
Hey, it’s the Doublemint Twins. –And one’s already been chewed.
Wrigley’s Doublemint gum has been running commercials featuring identical twins for decades. The gum itself has been produced since 1914. “ABC gum” is a childhood taunt—“Already Been Chewed.”
Oh, I get it; it’s a triathalon! Bike race, knife fight, then beer guzzling.
The modern Olympic triathlon is swimming, followed by biking and then a foot race. It began in 1920s France.
This fight was choreographed by Jerome Robbins.
Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated choreographers. He divided his time between Broadway musicals and ballet, and is probably best remembered for his groundbreaking choreography for West Side Story, for which he won a Tony and an Academy Award.
Chain beats an Yves Saint Laurent belt anytime.
Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) was a famous French fashion designer.
I'm gonna send you a chain letter, monkey boy!
In the days before electronic messaging, chain letters were, essentially, unsolicited spam sent to people in hopes that the recipient would make copies and send them to several others. Very often, these letters promised some sort of get-rich-quick plan (a pyramid scheme, in other words) or simply fantabulous luck. Naturally, a pox would be wished upon those who simply tossed the letter. In the United States, chain letters that request money are illegal; all of them clogged up the mail and were a huge nuisance. Just like spam.
It’s Bob Fosse versus Tommy Tune.
Bob Fosse (1927-1987) was the choreographer and director of some of the all-time classic musicals of the 20th century, including Cabaret and All That Jazz (which was loosely based on his life). Thomas James “Tommy” Tune is a nine-time Tony Award–winning producer, choreographer, actor, singer, dancer, and director. He also won the National Medal of Arts in 2003.
These are the chains I forged in life.
A paraphrased line from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, spoken by the spectral form of Jacob Marley: “I wear the chain I forged in life. … I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”
Whoa, this looks to me like the battle of the network scum.
Battle of the Network Stars was an annual television special that ran from 1976 to 1984. It featured teams of actors from all three networks competing in various events.
[Grumbling.] Biker rhubarb, biker rhubarb, chile peppers …
Along with “rutabaga,” “watermelon,” and “peas and carrots,” “rhubarb” is one of those words that background extras are often told to mutter among themselves as a way to simulate conversation in television shows and films. See above note on “chile peppers.”
Chain, chain, chain of fools!
The opening line to the classic Aretha Franklin R&B song “Chain of Fools,” released in 1967.
Subhuman, I’m not human, subhuman. –Subgenius.
A reference to the parody religion Church of the SubGenius and its “founder,” J.R. “Bob” Dobbs. According to the mythology, Dobbs was a well-coiffed, pipe-smoking salesman who saw a vision of God (an angry alien) in a television in 1953. In actuality, the “church” was founded in Dallas in 1980 and took on a life of its own over the next couple of decades, thanks in large part to the Internet.
Who is he? … It’s Ross Hagen, the Prince of Peace! By the time the cock crows three times, chile peppers will burn his gut!
“Prince of Peace” is a phrase used in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (9:6) and later bestowed upon Jesus Christ by Christians who viewed the Isaiah verse as a prophecy. The riff includes a corruption of the tale of Jesus’s arrest and his disciple Peter’s denial of him, as depicted in the New Testament. Before the temple guards arrested Jesus, he told Peter that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed (according to Mark, the rooster would crow twice; the other three gospels say just once). The following morning, Peter was asked by several people if he was a follower of Jesus and he denied it three times. Then the cock crowed. (In Mark, the cock crowed once after the first denial and again after the third.) And, yes, see above note on chile peppers.
My work is done here.
“My work here is done” was a catchphrase on The Lone Ranger, said at the conclusion of the episode right before he and Tonto rode off into the sunset on Silver and Scout.
C’mon, Ross, this is just peer pressure. Just say no, please!
In the 1980s, First Lady Nancy Reagan was active in the anti-drug cause. At a California elementary school, a young girl asked Reagan what she should do if she was offered drugs, and Reagan responded, “Just say no.” The phrase worked its way into the War on Drugs and was used by Reagan and others in their PSAs and school programs. In fact, Reagan appeared on several TV shows to promote the message, including Diff’rent Strokes and Dynasty (of all things). Years after the fact, no causal link can be shown between Reagan’s campaign and the decline of drug abuse by children that occurred in the ‘80s, and studies have shown that simplistic abstinence messages like “Just Say No” and the similar program D.A.R.E. are generally ineffective.
They’re gonna plow. Y’know, they might just all be Amish … no. –Amish bikers? –No.
The Amish are a conservative Christian sect found predominantly in North America; there is a large population of Amish in Pennsylvania. They are known for their plain, old-fashioned manner of dress and their rejection of much modern technology, including electricity and cars.
Body by John Deere.
Deere & Co. is a farming equipment and tractor company that was founded in 1837 by blacksmith John Deere when he created the first commercially available steel plow. Jake Steinfeld is a fitness guru who had a TV exercise show in the late 1980s titled Body by Jake; his line of exercise equipment is sold under the same name.
Oh, what a drag, but we do have some lovely parting gifts!
The phrase “lovely parting gifts” has been used on more than one TV game show, but it is most strongly associated with Jeopardy! The lovely parting gifts were generally the consolation prizes awarded to the losers on the show.
Calgon, take me away!
“Calgon, take me away” is a longtime advertising slogan for Calgon scented bath products, which include bubble bath, body lotions, and more. They were first sold in 1933. The name itself comes from the phrase “calcium gone.”
It’s the Ross Hagen actor pull, with Gogo the Gorilla dragged behind a motorcycle...
See above note on Ross Hagen. In 1979, a children's album came out titled The Gogo the Blue Gorilla Show, about a blue gorilla and his friends who love to play the funky rock & roll. There was never an actual show; it appears to have been one of those high-concept albums the 1970s adored so. The songs were written by Michael Olmstead and Peter Derge, and the titles ("March of the Munchie Men," "The Funky Skunk") give off a certain cannibinoid vibe. In 1992 the Palo Alto Children's Theatre mounted a musical adaptation of it that was also written by Olmstead and Derge.
Oh, no, he’s backing up! Oh, how horrible! Oh, the humanity, oh …
An imitation of Herbert Morrison’s famous radio broadcast of the Hindenburg airship disaster on May 6, 1937. His actual words: “It burst into flames! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It’s fire and it’s crashing! It’s crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It’s burning, bursting into flames and is falling on the mooring mast, and all the folks agree that this is terrible. This is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world! Oh, it’s crashing … oh, four or five hundred feet into the sky, and it’s a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. There’s smoke, and there’s flames, now, and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast … Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers screaming around here!”
Y’know, guys, this didn’t have much success as an Olympic event, but it is in the Goodwill Games.
The Goodwill Games was a series of sports competitions created by media mogul Ted Turner in response to the highly politicized Olympic Games of the 1980s. (In 1980, many western nations, including the U.S., boycotted the summer games, which were held in Moscow, to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984, the USSR and many of its satellite nations boycotted the Los Angeles-hosted summer games in retaliation.) The Goodwill Games were first played in 1986 and last played in 2001.
Oh, this is to stretch his arms so he looks more Neanderthal.
Neanderthals are an extinct species of human that first appeared in the fossil record about half a million years ago, primarily in Europe and western Asia. Their prominent brow and jaw have led to the use of the word as an insult, meaning “dumb.” Unfairly, perhaps, given our current understanding of them. Scientists currently believe they mated with early Homo sapiens as well, meaning we all have a little Neanderthal in us.
They stretched my legs out! They snagged on me! It’s all hot and hurts and stuff.
A reference to an old commercial for Bactine, a first-aid treatment developed in 1947.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
A line from a nursery rhyme first published in 1611, often titled “To Market, To Market.”
Oh, the love and the fun. You know it’s just like that scene from It’s a Wonderful Life! Hey, hurry up with that blanket! George Bailey don’t wanna be lookin’ at no busted bedsprings!
It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 Frank Capra movie starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man who learns what life would have been like had he never existed.
I’m a widdle rabbit!
A possible reference to Elmer Fudd, a hunter usually pitted against Bugs Bunny in Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes shorts. He first appeared in 1940’s Elmer’s Candid Camera and was voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan from 1940 to 1959. After Bryan’s death, he was voiced by Hal Smith, Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergman, Greg Burson, and Billy West.
Pablum is a cereal processed for infants and first produced by the Mead Johnson Company in 1931. It entered the popular consciousness as a synonym for blandness. The name comes from the Latin word “pabulum,” meaning “foodstuff.” In 2005, Heinz bought the brand; apparently, they still make it.
A reference to Show 204, Catalina Caper.
Whoa, Diana Rigg taught her that. Thank you, Emma Peel!
Dame Diana Rigg is a British actress best known for playing Emma Peel for two seasons in the British “spy-fi” series The Avengers, and as the ill-fated bride of James Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Oh, good, the paramedics. And they took CPR from Anheuser-Busch!
Anheuser-Busch (now Anheuser-Busch InBev) is an American brewing company founded in 1852 and best known for making Budweiser, Busch, and Michelob, among many others.
He watches a lot of Jeopardy!
Jeopardy! is a popular TV game show that has been on the air in various forms since 1964. Created by TV personality Merv Griffin, it has been hosted by Art Fleming (1964-1979) and Alex Trebek (1984-present). More than 9,300 episodes have aired.
Hey, Adolf’s found a girl! I think her name is Eva!
A reference to Adolf Hitler and his longtime girlfriend, Eva Braun, whom he married in the bunker the day before their suicides (she bit into a cyanide capsule, he shot himself in the head). See above note.
No, it’s Annie Lennox.
Annie Lennox is a Scottish singer who rose to fame as the voice of the Eurythmics, an immensely popular band during the 1980s. After the band broke up in 1990, she launched a successful solo career.
Oh, the Hellcats in Whoville, they spanked their danfanklers! They blew their fintoozlers and cranked their grabflanklers! –They whizzed their gizzfunklers, and shanked their whizzbanklers. –They toozled and woozled and peanutted kurktanklers! –Even little Wendy Lou Hellcat. –Went through.
An imitation of the 1966 animated version of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when the Grinch is musing on why he hates Christmas so much. The actual line: “They’ll blow their floofloovers. They’ll bang their tartookas. They’ll blow their whohoopers. They’ll bang their gardookas. They’ll spin their trumtookas. They’ll slam their slooslunkas. They’ll beat their blumbloopas. They’ll wham their whowonkas.” Cindy Lou Who is the small Who child who catches the Grinch stealing her Christmas tree.
Uh, so as I was saying, chile peppers burn my gut.
She asked me! She asked me!
A likely reference to the ending of a Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch (“Cosmetic Surgery”), wherein Mr. Raymond Luxury-Yacht (pronounced “Throat Warbler Mangrove” and played by Graham Chapman) sees a plastic surgeon (John Cleese) about his enormous nose. Once the doctor removes the (plastic) nose, he asks Luxury-Yacht if he’d like to go on a camping holiday, and Luxury-Yacht says excitedly, “He asked me! He asked me!”
Huh, huh, huh. Bozo so funny. No clothes on. I could look at it forever.
See above note on Bozo the Clown.
I see. Using the King’s Indian Defense against my classical variation. I see.
The “King’s Indian Defense” is an opening move in chess. There are several so-called “classical variations” of it.
Lee Meriwether in her first starring role. –I think that’s her first camisole, too.
Lee Meriwether is an actress and 1955’s Miss America. She played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman film, Betty Jones in the ‘70s Buddy Ebsen series Barnaby Jones, and Lily Munster in the ‘80s series The Munsters Today.
Stop the guitar playing! I hate flamenco!
Flamenco is a style of music and dance native to southern Spain. In flamenco culture, the guitar playing is an essential component, known as “toque.”
Why castle when you could get a queen’s pawn?
In chess, “castling” is a maneuver wherein the king can move two spaces toward the rook and the rook moves to the space between the king and its initial position (all in one move). The queen’s pawn is the piece that sits in front of the queen.
Could you please play Yahtzee for a change?
Yahtzee is a popular dice game from Milton Bradley/Hasbro. A Yahtzee is achieved when all five dice rolled come up the same number.
There’s a chicken pot pie in the fridge, but I’m not going to get you a Libbyland Dinner.
Libbyland was a brand of TV dinner–style frozen meals aimed at children. They were produced by Libby’s and sold from 1971 to 1976. Some of the varieties were the “Sea Diver’s Dinner,” which included fish sticks, fries, corn, etc., and the “Safari Supper,” which included a hot dog, Sloppy Joe mix, “potato sticks,” etc.
“Nothin' in life is free.” Only the best things.
“The best things in life are free” is an old proverb that fully entered the public consciousness thanks to the 1927 Broadway musical Good News, written by Laurence Schwab, B.G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson, and a song in the show with that title. It spawned a couple of film versions (including one in 1956 titled The Best Things in Life Are Free).
You’re pretty good, Karpov. –Yeah, you, too, Kasparov.
Anatoly Karpov is a Russian chess grandmaster and former world champion. Garry Kasparov is another Russian grandmaster and former world champ, widely considered to be the greatest chess player ever.
Charo, knock it off!
Charo (born Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza) is a singer, actress, and flamenco guitarist originally from Spain. She was a regular on The Hollywood Squares during the 1970s and appeared frequently on The Love Boat. She now performs regularly in Las Vegas and Branson, Missouri.
Mixing dice with chess really speeds up the game, Karpov.
See previous note.
Get me a Dove Bar. And some smack.
Dove Bars are a brand of ice cream bars manufactured by Mars Inc. They were created in 1956 by a Greek immigrant from Chicago, Leo Stefanos. Yes, you know that “smack” is slang for heroin, but did you know it comes from the Yiddish word “schmeck,” which means “sniff”? It was general slang for “drugs” in the 1930s and came to be identified specifically with heroin by the early 1940s.
Looks like they’re being visited by a constellation. –It’s Orion. –Ore-Ida?
Orion (based on the Greek mythological figure Orion, the Hunter) is one of the most easily recognized constellations in the sky, thanks to its “belt” of three prominent stars. Ore-Ida is a maker of frozen French fries and other potato products. The company was founded in 1952 by brothers Nephi and Golden Grigg and was named after their home base in Idaho and nearby Oregon, where their processing facility was located. In 1953, the Griggs developed bite-sized potato bits they named “Tater Tots,” which is a trademarked name.
I know a wiener man. He owns a hot dog stand. There.
See above note.
I need some thread and an egg and a wheat penny.
The wheat penny (featuring Abraham Lincoln on the face and two stylized stalks of wheat on the reverse) was produced between 1909 and 1958.
Don’t make her watch Cop Rock again! –C’mon. It’s actually gotten some good reviews.
Cop Rock is a television police drama/musical that was cancelled after only eleven episodes aired on ABC in 1990. Created by Hill Street Blues producer Steven Bochco, Cop Rock was ranked No. 8 on TV Guide’s list of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time—somehow, audiences didn’t take to a gritty police show in which characters spontaneously broke into choreographed song-and-dance numbers, Broadway-style.
Here. Divinity. Made it myself.
Divinity is an old-fashioned candy made from egg whites, corn syrup, and sugar. Some cooks add dried fruit or chopped nuts as well. It tastes kind of like the nougat in candy bars.
Your Windsong stays on my mind.
A line from a late 1980s series of commercials for Prince Matchabelli’s Windsong perfume. The perfume itself has been around since 1953.
A well-known line screamed by Marlon Brando in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1985, it was named by the American Film Institute as the 45th most famous film quote ever.
I said, “I know a wiener man! Oh, forget it.” –He owns a hot dog stand? –He gives me everything …
See above note.
[Imitating Barney Fife.] Oh my God. Wait until Andy hears about this. We’re gonna have to nip it in the bud!
An imitation of Don Knotts as Barney Fife, the hapless deputy on The Andy Griffith Show, which aired from 1960 to 1968. “Nip it in the bud” is one of his catchphrases.
[Muffled radio voice.] One Adam-12, one Adam-12.
“One Adam-12” was how the police dispatcher opened her bulletins on the TV cop show Adam-12, which ran from 1968 to 1975. The part was played by Shaaron Claridge, who worked as an actual dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department.
What, are we watching this from the Flubber-cam all of a sudden? I don’t get this.
Flubber is the anti-gravity goop that makes it possible for Fred MacMurray to fly in the 1961 film The Absent-Minded Professor.
Was this film recorded on 78 RPMs?
That’s a phonograph reference, kids. Circular flat platters rotating on a platform as a needle traces the analog waveform of the musical groove. So, depending on the size and recording format of the vinyl record, the phonograph’s speed had to be adjusted. Seventy-eight revolutions per minute was the standardized speed for records by 1925. Later on, large records used 33 1/3 RPMs and singles used 45 RPMs.
Wayland Flowers is dead.
Wayland Flowers (1939-1988) and his puppet Madame were a popular ventriloquist act during the 1970s. They were regulars on Laugh-In, The Hollywood Squares, and Solid Gold.
Hello. I’d like to send a Candy Cave-gram.
Candygram is a telegram service started by Western Union in 1960 that operates by sending its messages along with packages of chocolates. Many other companies have operated using that name. It was famously parodied in 1974’s Blazing Saddles and in the early years of Saturday Night Live in their Land Shark sketches.
They’ve dialed into What’s My Line? –Is he known for his work in the theater?
The TV game show What’s My Line? aired on CBS from 1950 to 1967, the longest-running game show on prime-time U.S. network television. A daily syndicated version ran from 1968 to 1975. A panel of celebrities would question contestants to guess their occupation, each round beginning with the contestant being asked to “enter, and sign in, please.” The final round involved another celebrity—a “mystery guest”—as a contestant, and the panelists were blindfolded and tasked with guessing the mystery guest’s identity, not their occupation.
No, I don’t want to buy any light bulbs.
A possible reference to a series of long-running phone scams in which the scammer cold-calls a house and says they’re with an organization that sounds very similar to the name of a legitimate charitable organization. The less suspicious agree to buy a gross or so of so-called “long-lasting” light bulbs over the phone—bulbs they don’t need and will never see.
You must sink the Bismarck.
The DKM Bismarck was one of the largest battleships ever built. Launched in 1939 by Nazi Germany, it sank one of Britain’s greatest battlecruisers, the HMS Hood, in 1941. This led to a hunt by the Royal Navy for the Bismarck, and attacks by the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal left it badly damaged. Unable to maneuver, the crew scuttled her, killing more than 2,000 men. The story led to a 1960 film, Sink the Bismarck!, which in turn inspired a country novelty song, “Sink the Bismarck,” written and performed by Johnny Horton.
He’s a Flintstone kid, too. He’s taking vitamins.
The animated TV series The Flintstones aired from 1960 to 1966. A prehistoric take on The Honeymooners, it starred the voice talents of Alan Reed (as patriarch Fred Flintstone) and Mel Blanc (as Fred’s pal Barney Rubble). Flintstones Chewable Vitamins are multivitamins shaped like characters from the show that are crunchy and somewhat sweet. They were introduced in 1968. A long-running series of ads for the vitamins featured the lines, “We are Flintstone kids! Ten million strong and growing!”
Sad times befall the scum of the Earth. When bad things happen to bad people.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a book by Harold Kushner that examines the age-old question of why God allows good people to suffer.
No. No-no-no-no-no, no-no.
“Nobody But Me” is a 1963 song recorded by the Isley Brothers. The most famous version was released by the rock group Human Beinz in 1968. In just two minutes and sixteen seconds, the word “no” is said more than 100 times.
She’s riding a black tarry BMW.
Black tar heroin is a variant of morphine, first discovered in 1874. It’s especially dangerous to inject as it causes the hardening and constriction of blood vessels. Bayerische Motoren Werke (in English, “Bavarian Motor Works”) is a German car company established in 1916 by Franz Josef Popp. In the 1980s, the brand became synonymous with the yuppie crowd, and their nickname for the car, “Beamer,” persists to this day.
Well, the old clock on the wall says it’s time for jokes, riddles, and more with Kookie the motorcycling clown!
“The old clock on the wall says it’s time to go” is a closing line from the early days of radio. One online source places it at station WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, but it’s so well-known I suspect it was more widely used than that. Kookie is a slang term, meaning a goofball or clown. The name likely originates with the character Gerald Lloyd “Kookie” Kookson III (played by Edd Byrnes), known for his shenanigans on the ABC TV show 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964).
The oboe represents this slagheap.
See above note on Peter and the Wolf.
[Imitating Valaria.] You and your daughter are doomed!
A reference to Show 110, Robot Holocaust.
Meanwhile, in a Barbara Feldon movie. –[Imitating.] Would you believe Barbara Eden? How about Barbara Bel Geddes?
Get Smart is a television comedy series, spoofing the secret agent/spy genre, that aired from 1965 to 1970. Among the many catchphrases spawned by the series, “Would you believe …” was how bumbling Agent 86 (Don Adams) would begin each attempt to revise his description of something his boss was finding implausible. Barbara Feldon played Agent 99, his partner and love interest, on the show. Barbara Eden is an actress best known for her title role in the 1965-1970 sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. She also starred in the short-lived TV version of the film Harper Valley PTA. Barbara Bel Geddes (1922-2005) was an actress and children’s author best known for appearing in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) and as matriarch Miss Ellie Ewing on the CBS prime-time soap Dallas (1978-1991) for most of its run.
And The Nude Bomb.
The Nude Bomb (also titled The Return of Maxwell Smart or Maxwell Smart and the Nude Bomb) is a 1980 comedy movie based on the TV series (see previous note). It involves Agent 86 foiling a plot to detonate a bomb that destroys everyone’s clothes, thus giving the bad guys a lock on the apparel market. You know, that old story.
Sounds kinda like music from Playboy After Dark, that old show?
Playboy After Dark is a syndicated variety show that aired from 1969 to 1970. It was hosted by the magazine’s publisher, Hugh Hefner (1926-2017), and featured many of the day’s celebrities alongside (dressed) Playmates. The show’s jazzy, hip, swingin’ theme was composed by Cy Coleman.
Has a Mingus quality to it.
Charles Mingus (1922-1979) was a jazz composer and bandleader best known for his improvisational style and his temper, which earned him the nickname “The Angry Man of Jazz.” His best-known works include “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and Epitaph (one of the longest jazz pieces ever written, it takes two hours to perform).
Kinda like Courageous Cat music.
Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse is an animated series created as a parody by Batman creator Bob Kane and produced in 1960. The Peter Gunn-like theme was composed by Johnny Holiday.
Force her to watch Cop Rock. –No! –Cop Rock? –Wow, that guy is mean.
See above note.
That was close. Last time he was like this, he made me watch Doogie Howser.
Doogie Howser, M.D. is a dramedy starring Neil Patrick Harris that aired on ABC from 1989 to 1993. It’s about a brilliant teen who got his medical license at 14 and implausibly works as a surgeon at an L.A. hospital.
She’s a good ventriloquist. –This week at Sir Laughs-A-Lot, it’s Undercover Biker Chick & Buddy!
Sir Laughs-A-Lot was a comedy club in Milwaukee, frequently derided for its seediness and its location under the stairs of a hotel.
[Imitating.] See, hair is protein. Using Protein 21 religiously helps put back some of the protein shampoo takes out.
An imitation of Vidal Sassoon (1928-2012), a British hairstylist who created influential hairstyles in the 1960s and developed hair care products that were sold by Procter & Gamble beginning in the early 1980s. He often appeared in ads for his products.
He likes me! He really …
In her acceptance speech after winning the 1984 Best Actress Oscar for the film Places in the Heart, Sally Field sentimentally told the crowd, “The first time [her first Academy Award, for 1979’s Norma Rae], I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Her emotional sentiment has been endlessly mocked and parodied, and often misquoted as, “You like me! You really like me!”
Thrill as Rommel tries, in vain, to find the entrance.
Rommel was Hagen’s character’s name in 202.
Poorly designed buildings burn my gut.
Only Kookie’s hairdresser knows for sure.
See above note on Kookie. Also, in 1956 Clairol launched a home hair coloring line called Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath with the deathless advertising slogan “Does she or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.” Within six years, sales leapt from $25 million to $200 million.
It’s King Richard inviting you to the Renaissance Festival. Huzzah!
There have been three historical English kings named Richard. Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) was a Crusader and the one in the Robin Hood stories. Richard II (1367-1400) is remembered for his personality disorder and being overthrown. Richard III (1452-1485) died during the Wars of the Roses at the Battle of Bosworth Field (“A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”). See above note on the Renaissance Festival.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
“Tom Dooley” is a North Carolina folk song written by Frank Profitt in the 1920s. It’s about the brutal 1866 murder of a woman by her lover, Tom Dula. One of the lines is, “Hang down your head, Tom Dooley. Hang down your head and cry.” A hit version of the song was released in 1958 by The Kingston Trio.
Tell Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine I want them out.
A likely reference to the 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment, directed by Billy Wilder, which starred Jack Lemmon as a business executive who lends out a company apartment for his co-workers’ extramarital affairs, and Shirley MacLaine, the object of his affection, who is having an affair with Lemmon’s boss.
[Imitating Adam West.] If … only ... I could get to my ... utility belt, Batgirl.
An imitation of Adam West’s (William West Anderson, 1928-2017) Batman, as seen in the 1966-1968 ABC TV series and the 1966 feature film. The utility belt is Batman’s accessory holder, used for ferrying about his Batarangs, Bat-grappling hooks, Bat-shark repellent, etc. Batgirl was played by Yvonne Craig and introduced in the show’s third season, portrayed as the daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. As a matter of fact, a character with that name had existed in the comics before, in 1961, as “Bat-Girl” Betty Kane, sidekick to Batwoman. In 1967, DC Comics was ready to redo the character entirely, and the producers of the TV show caught wind of it. In order to lure in more female viewers, they optioned the character and introduced her a few months later.
Oh, thank goodness. They found a Dremel tool with a cutting blade. –Amazing.
Dremel is a brand of rotary power tools first made by Albert Dremel in 1932.
If ... I could ... just reach.
See previous note on Batman.
Quick! Call Gab Teen! –Hello? This is Gab Teen.
Gab Teen (and Gab Line) were premium party line chat services offered by Northwestern Bell in the 1980s. Some teens racked up huge, four-figure phone bills by calling the numbers and staying on the line for hours to talk to whoever else connected. The lines were canceled in 1985 once the company discovered that Minneapolis teens were using the service to arrange drug deals and sex hookups.
We’re on our way!
A callback to Show 201, Rocketship X-M.
If ... she could only ... get to her ... Bat-whip!
See previous note on Batman. “Bat-whip” is a reference to the predilection TV’s Batman had for slapping a “Bat” prefix on all of his gadgets.
Hey, have some potassium in your diet. Not.
Though many trace the use of “Not!” as a negating declarative back to the late ’80s/early ’90s Saturday Night Live “Wayne’s World” sketches (and feature films), it can be traced farther back to SNL’s first season and a 1976 episode hosted by Madeline Kahn. In a slumber party sketch, the female cast members and Kahn played young girls talking about boys. Laraine Newman said, “Oh, yeah. Now I really wanna get married. Not!” Its usage dates farther back, of course, but that’s the earliest appearance in popular culture I could find.
Hello. It’s Don Ho’s sister, Heidi. Later, we’ll meet his brother, Heave.
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 Callaway in his famous song “Minnie the Moocher,” first recorded in 1931, used (with an animated Callaway) in a 1932 Betty Boop cartoon, and performed by Callaway in 1980’s The Blues Brothers.
Looks like she’s into safe walking. –How do these work? –Putting on her jimmy shoes. –Jimmy stockings.
“Jimmyhat” or “jimmy hat” is a slang term for a condom (“jimmy” being a slang term for “penis” and the condom being a “hat” for it).
Sounds like travelogue music.
Travelogues are a kind of film that show off different areas of the world, usually those rarely visited by the viewing audience. People give credit to John Lawson Stoddard, who, in 1874, gave lectures to audiences about his travels accompanied by slideshows. The travelogue type they’re referencing here, though, are the Movietone News Reels, developed by Lowell Thomas post-World War II. They played in movie theaters in the 1940s and ‘50s.
There’s your Gideon Bible. Don’t forget it.
Gideons International is a Christian organization founded in 1899 with the purpose of producing Bibles to plant in hotel drawers around the world.
Hitch your pony to a star.
A reference to a line by philosopher and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, from an 1862 article in Atlantic Monthly: “Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor, to hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods themselves.”
Oh my God. It’s Aunt Bee! –Hey, Aunt Bee’s looking fine. –Oh, it’s not. I was expecting her to hurl pickles at him or something.
In the previously mentioned The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), Beatrice Taylor (played by Francis Bavier) was Sheriff Andy Taylor’s aunt and caretaker to Opie. She also starred on the spinoff series, Mayberry R.F.D.(1968-1971). The second part of the riff is a likely reference to the episode titled “The Pickle Story.” In it, Aunt Bee attempts to make pickles for a contest, but no one has the heart to tell her that they taste like, as Barney put it, “kerosene cucumbers.”
Hey, Aunt Bee’s here. There’s gonna be a rumble.
See previous note.
Please, kids. Take it easy. I’m reading for a Jack Weston-type role tomorrow.
Jack Weston (1924-1996) was a character actor who appeared in The Cincinnati Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, Gator, Dirty Dancing, and The Four Seasons (as well as its CBS spinoff).
So they woozled their fonklers and wonked on their kooklers. –They brewed the fizzwanklers and mooshed the kerflanklers. They beat on his kidneys and turned them to mush. They pounded his brain and it started to gush.
See above note on How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Hey, I like the new Barbie-mobile.
See above note.
[Sung.] Hellcats, wearing Halstead ensembles.
William Halstead is an English company that has made their own fine fabrics since 1875. Fancy stuff, usually, like cashmere and mohair.